Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 12:...It's one pm..

and the Times and Transcript still hasn't appeared. If it were owned by government and operated by civil servants, the editorialist and Norbert would be ranting about how inefficient civil servants are, and would be demanding the paper be privatized so it could be run by clever billionaires.

Well, let's start again with items that might (or might not) catch the eyes of TandT editors.

According to the Toronto Star, 83% of electricity in Syria is cut. Life expectancy has dropped by 20 years - of course it has dropped. Besides the war, there's terrible malnutritution, lack of medical supplies and lack of medical care. How many hospitals can you operate in a country that has only 17% of its electricity operating?

And why is this happening? Its because of a rebellion sponsored by the US and Saudi Arabia among others. That's not even an accusation any more. It's widely acknowledged and admitted by the American government as truth.  Why would they do that? So that they can get rid of (and probably execute after a "fair" trial) the country's leader. Why? Because he's a "bad man". Why is he bad? Because he doesn't do what the US tells him to do - because he thinks that Syria is independent country.

And who are the rebels? Most of them are mercenaries hired from neighbouring countries, people who belonged to Al Quaeda and who, with the help of the US and Saudi Arabia, created ISIS. And ISIS now, no coincidence, has been moving in to join the "rebels" fighting Syria.

Life for Syrians has been hell for five years. And now the Christians of Syria are being singled out for killing by ISIS which, remember, is a product of Syrian 'rebels" and the US and our old and democratic buddy, Saudi Arabia.

US foreign policy has been and has created one hell of a mess - and I do think hell is the appropriate word.
And it is all to enrich American billionaires. And that, by any definition, is terrifyingly evil.
A couple of days ago, a federal cabinet minister ( probably foreign affairs) said that ISIS is fighting us because "they hate our values". That reason for Muslim opposition first sprang about ten years ago from the fertile mind of George Bush Jr.

What values are those people babbling about? Nobody knows what Canadian values are. No, that's not an insult. It's just that it's not possible to know what values we have. How many Canadians have to have a value in order for it to become a Canadian value? 35%?  50%? 100%? Is there a list of Canadian values somewhere?

How old does a value have to be before it's Canadian? Harper says that for a Muslim woman to wear a face veil during a citizenship ceremony is  contrary to Canadian values. Gee. It's not contrary to my values. Who gets to decide what a Canadian value is? He says its rooted in an anti-woman culture.

Steve, baby, have your ever read any history of the Christian world? Or the Jewish world? Or of Canada?
Have you ever read women's columns in newspapers? The only people in Canada NOT rooted in an anti-woman culture are native peoples.

We in the western world didn't even begin to take women seriously until about 50 years ago - and we still have a long way to go. Count the women in your cabinet, Steve, and in your elected members. Tell us how many Canadian women have been prime ministers in this country. Hint - we're ahead of the US by one.

In the Canada I was a child in, I never saw a woman's skirt that went above the knee. That was a value wasn't it? And it changed. Of course. Values (like cultures - another word nobody understand) are constantly changing. Pizza, incidentally, was not originally a Canadian value. Neither was the hot dog.

And how about that good old Canadian value of getting drunk on a Saturday night? Should be forcing immigrants to do that?

Anybody who used the word "values" as you do is ignorant of what it means, and is deliberately making a pitch to the bigoted and ignorant among us.  By the way, did you know that Canadians were massively anti-Jewish from about 1890 and well into the 1960s, at least, because Jews did not share "Canadian values".?
I can get you some books by Jew-hating Christian clergy on that one. Ditto for Poles, Ukrainians, Italians, and many others. Read J.S.Woodsworth, Strangers Within Our Gates.

Are we a nation of Christian values? Not according to church attendance figures. Not according to any "values" I see in most of our political world and all of our business world.

Mr. Harper. You are ignorant and bigoted. and you deliberately appeal to the ignorant and bigoted. I guess you think ignorance and bigotry are Canadian values.
2:15 pm. My newspaper has arrived. Gosh. Those civil servants at the TandT are so inefficient!

The first page headline is "Woman tells court she was in love with teacher". In fact, that is not what the story is about. And the editor who wrote the headline should have realized that. Essentially, it is, as the sub-head says, about doubts expressed by another witness.

In any case, this is really not headline news until there is a judicial decision - and even then, I'm not sure this front-page, wow, look here stuff. At best, this is just cheap sensationalism.

There are the usual stories about the problem of under-enrolled schools. But not a trace of any original thinking by any responsible body in this province. The only concern seems to be cutting costs. Government isn't about people. It's about cutting costs. We're seeing the same thing over much of the western world - and it's going to have very serious consequences - though the Irving press has never mentioned any of that part.

This recession was created by capitalism. Result - everybody is required to pay the price for it - except the big capitalists who caused it. In fact, they got tax cuts and gifts of our money to help them out. Poverty is rising in Canada and the US. It's rampant in Europe - Greece, Ukraine,  Ireland, Spain, Portugal - all are broke. And in all them big capitalism is doing just great, thank you.

International bankers, a major cause of the recession are hammering the worst off countries to cut services to the people that international bankers made poor in the first place. They've used Ukraine's case to lend it money on very tough terms, including giving up all its fertile land to the banks and to big, seed companies. Greece is suffering a real unemployment rate of 25% or so - and much, much higher among young people. But the banks, the ones who screwed up and got paid for it are now setting tough terms for any loans to a country in which the banks have created the unemployment and hunger and hopelessness.

What will happen? The breakup of the European Union is a strong possibility for a start. So is a return of Naziism and racism to Europe - and us. That's the atmosphere that gave Hitler his break. That's why real, today Naziis are prominent in the Kyiv government. Naziism will be no solution, of course Indeed, the fact that it is no solution is the reason why big money in Canada and the US supported Hitler, and made it possible for him to come to power.

Through this whole recession, the people who caused it have been getting richer - with the added insult of giving themselves salaries that have increased a hundred times and even more over the last twenty years or so.

To add to the problem, we have murdered millions in the last 50 years and created political chaos and spreading disorder all over the world (Ukraine and ISIS are just a hint of what's there and what's coming). And we gave done it because the very rich control foreign policies. They control them to make themselves richer with no thought of the consequences. And certainly with no thought of the needs of people.

That's what all our provincial budgets are about. We don't start with people because the very rich don't give a damn about any people except themselves. Is there extremism in the arab world? Of course. What do you expect from people who have been exploited, tortured and murdered in the millions to make the rich richer?

We're in the same basket. Gotta cut, cut, cut. What taxes do the very rich really pay? Don't ask. Make children spend an hour or more to get to school. Or make them walk to school along highways on frigid days. I wonder how long J.D.Irving spent on school buses or walking along icy highways on his way to school?  I wonder how much it was a strain on his parents to send him to university?

Cut back on keeping people healthy. In fact, privatize it all. And just tell the rest of us not to get sick. After all, the editor of the TandT has told us government is too big. Billionaires who actually run governments  aren't too big. But governments are.

The only concern in all of our planning is the profit of the very rich. And, oh, that is taking us into years that will be very troubled and dangerous, indeed.

Planning cannot start with the greed of the very rich. We have to start with the needs of the people. I have seen nothing to suggest we are doing that even in this province. Read some history. Every society that has done that has paid one hell of a price.
The editorial is three cheers for greed. It begins with cut, cut, cut - and with no thought for people. (except very rich ones.)

It ends even lower in a moral pit. Boy, we need to develop them there shale gas, mining, etc. Yeah, there could be a risk of destroying the environment we need to live in but, hey, there's always risks. But our government can set strict rules (you know, like the clean water rules  that have been gathering dust for thirteen years). Hey, trust your provincial government. It listens to Mr. Irving.

And, hey, if we plunge ahead and develop our resources, we'll get rich and our population will grow - just like Guatemala and Haiti and Iraq and Libya.

It's an ignorant and disgusting editorial.

Norbert delivers his long awaited column on how to solve the ISIS problem. His solution? I quote him. "I've no definitive answer." (I think he meant definite.) Great. He writes a column on the solution to tell he doesn't have one. He also says he doesn't think it's time for brute force!!!!! It's not? Then why are we bombing ISIS? Why do we have soldiers there risking their lives? What's going on in Syria if not brute force? What was Iraq if not brute force?  The US has been using brute force without a break, and largely against the Muslim world, ever since World War 2.

Then he babbles about how these are religious wars. Norbert, wars are very seldom religious. It can lookk that way because a major factor  that causes people to cling to their religion is fear and uncertainty. That's why Quebec became ultra Catholic AFTER the British conquered it.

We did not kill native people and shove them onto reserves because their religion was different from ours. Western Europe has not been invading and exploiting countries all over the world for five hundred years because they were Hindu or Confucian. And, Norbert, the knights who went crusading didn't do it for religious reason. They did it to steal other people's land.

We have been "solving" the world's problems for centuries. That's why the world is such a mess.

He ends by saying defeating ISIS will not the end. We must, for decades, create a world in which religious terrorism will not flourish. Norbert, the problem is not religious terrorism. The problem is that we created the opening and the motive for religious terrorism. And we are not the ones to solve it. That is up to the people who live there. What we have to do is leave them alone.

But the oil companies will never allow that.

Rod Allen writes the only defence of the racism of of Conservative MP John Williamson I have yet seen. Well, at least it's not another navel-gazing story about himself. However, there is no defence of what Williamson said. And to claim that reflects the thinking of his area of New Brunswick is no help. If untrue, it is insulting those people. If true, it is saying they are racist, too. And he ends with a distasteful comment I shall let you read for yourselves.

Of course, there is racism in New Brunswick. There is racism in any part of the world I have ever seen. There was certainly racism where I grew up in Montreal. I find racism, if anything, milder in New Brunswick than I have generally seen.

I grew up in a racist Montreal but, luckily, it was poor so I had friends who were Italian, Polish, Syrian, Ukrainian, Jewish, black, oriental  and - oh, I'm grateful for the experience. And I miss them.

Oh - and a few days ago, I ate at a Japanese restaurant in Moncton. I've now eaten in Japanese restaurants in Canada, Europe, and Hong Kong. There is no such thing as a bad, Japanese restaurant. I don't know how they do it.

Beth Lyons is very much worth a read.

Alec Bruce takes another look at the "anti-terror" bill. He sums it up in a superb closing sentence. "We do, indeed, live in dangerous times - but the greatest threat is to our right to think critically and soberly about the world around us."

At first, I thought he should have said it more strongly - but as I look at the danger of our world and at the threat of this "ant-terrorism" bill, I can't think of words strong enough. I guess Mr. Bruce comes as close as it's possible to get.

There's virtually nothing in Canada&World. The most disappointing news is on B1 - a poll showing New Brunswickers are still not thinking. There is a massive swing to support of the Liberals.

But the fact is that the Liberals are the party that have given virtually of no sense of what they stand for. I'm not crazy about supporting any of the parties. I think it would be very difficult for any of them to put forward the policies we need because Canadians, in general, don't think much about it. They have no idea of what our situation is. They have no idea what our problems are. And they have no idea what the solutions might be.

I would take the NDP the most seriously of the four. But I don't see how any government can do anything helpful with a population that is so glassy-eyed that is has now idea of the problems or of the possible solutions. Canada (and New Brunswick) desperately need to learn more and to discuss more about politics.

As it is, New Brunswick is swinging to the Liberals. Why? Trudeau has no philosophy. He has no platform. All he has is his last name, and he's young. This has echoes of the American election of Obama. New Brunswickers are making their old mistake that goes back through almost the whole history of this province. They don't vote "for". because they never think of what they are "for".  They just vote "against".
Check the back page of ThisWeek for your favorite gun ads.  Notice how almost all of the rifles and shotguns now have military style grips for the trigger hand. Very macho.
Notice the names - tactical, extreme defender, combat scorpio, marine guard. Do those sound like hunting terms?
Check out the scorpio tactical shotguns. They have very, very short barrels. That'g not very good for hunting. But they'd be excellent for shooting people at close range.

Even better. There are two shotguns that have folding stocks. That is, the butt is hinged to fold up and over at about the trigger, making the whole gun much shorter. Now, firing a 12 gauge shotgun with the butt folded up is pretty demanding because of the recoil. But it's great for holdups.

A few of the pistols could be used for target shooting. The rest are exclusively for shooting people. Gee! Good thing we don't have loose gun laws like the US does.

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