Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 26: Damn!

A reader pointed out I made a mistake in my blog of March 25.  I said the demonstration at MP Goguen's office would be on April 31. I should have said March 31. That's this coming Tuesday at noon.

The front page headline looks important. "Bilingualims giving unilingual workforce more jobs, says report.".
In the first place, language bigots are not going to change their minds based on any report. In the second place, it doesn't matter if it creates more jobs. Not everything is a matter of money. French-speaking people have every right to see, hear, and  use their language whenever they wish to.

New Brunswick should be proud that this is the only province in Canada to recognize the right of both French and English to live in their own language. It's not about jobs. It's about human rights.
The editorial today must be one of the most contemptible this newspaper has yet produced. It admits that, yes, there was something wrong with the government giving 70 million dollars of our money away to a company that was going broke - especially when the premier's father had a stake in it - and doubly especially when virtually all the senior civil servants told them not to do it.

Then the writer mutters, tut-tuts, diminishes the whole issue with a "boys will be boys" attitude.  After all, he says, we elect governments to make decision, not bureaucrats. Well, for openers, that's not true. We elect government to do what Mr. Irving tells them to do.

But even allowing for that, for a whole cabinet to ignore the advice of its own experts is worse, much worse, even than it sounds. I know the Irving press has contempt for civil servants, and licks the boots of big  money which, alone, understands how to run things. But the "bureaucrats"  usually know a lot better than the government on these issues - and, unlike big money, they're impartial.

By the end of the editorial, it's clear that we should just let big business run the province, and stop the poor from causing problems.

This editorial is not simply a matter of ignorance as usual. This is deliberate burying of a story that looks very much like a theft of $70 million of our money, a theft by the very rich. And that's not unusual. A4 has a big story about a man who robbed a bank. The man couldn't have stolen $70 million if he spent his life at it. Why the hell don't we have an editorial on the big thieves in this province?

This should be a crisis for the province. Ten of the cabinet ministers who approved the theft are still in the cabinet. And what about the people in Atcon who took that money? Where are they? Are they living in nice houses? And are police questioning Shawn Graham?

This looks like a very serious crime. So why is the Premier doing nothing much of anything about it? And why is a newspaper treating it as a minor item?

But there is a lesson here fore the very rich. If you want to steal money, don't rob a a bank. That's terribly lower class. No. Make friends with politicians and steal it from the people. You get much more that way.

Norbert has a column about how we're not supposed to criticize the legal system. In this case, it's about a Quebec lawyer who criticized a New Brunswick lawyer in his handling of the Justin Bourque case.
Stuff it, Norbert. There's a lot to question in that case. And nobody is above questioning, Norbert, not even you.

In the Bourque case, that was one, fast trial. Compare it to the case in which an Oland is accused of murdering his father. He's likely to die of old age before the trial happens. And the sentence - 3 life sentences with no chance parole for 75 years. I have no doubt the self-righteous will applaud that.

Is Bourque mentally ill? Don't be silly, says Norbert. Lots of sane people kill police for no reason every day. George Bush killed over a million - and whose complaining? An American soldier got adulation and a heroic movie about him because he killed 300 people - including children.

Yeah. It all makes sense when you think about it.

Rod Allen seems to have no capacity to write columns about anything of significance. He also seems weak on basic information. He writes, for example, that the American economy is picking up. That's going to surprise a lot of Americans. In fact, the employment situation in the US is getting worse. It looks better only because of the way statistics are collected. (Any people out of work for a long time are written out of the statistics, so the percentage of unemployed looks much lower than it really is. Never believe government employment statistics.)

Beth Lyons has a good news column about students at Mt. A who want course in indigenous (native peoples) studies. Most Canadians have a crashing ignorance of native peoples, and most brains are plugged up with myths that started with Columbus and 1492.

That's (personal plug) why my Tantramar Seniors' will start with a look at those myths - and how far they are from the realities.

Alec Bruce does a great job on childcare and its social benefits for all of us. And, again, he has a great, last paragraph. (No peeking in advance.)

There is an alarming story on page B1. A young man in Charlottetown has been arrested "on suspicion" he might be planning a terrorist attack.

It's legal to arrest a person "on suspicion" in Canada. But it's almost unheard of because it's so open to abuse. But this is the new, Harper Canada. Expect to see more arrests and imprisonments under the anti-terrorism bill. And don't kid yourself that you will be exempt.

B1 also has the story that the reason Harper extended our "mission" to Iraq is because the US wanted us to. So there you have it.

Canada, as a colony of Britain, fought two wars for Britain, (Boer War and World War 1) and lost over 60,000 killed. That's why we demanded to have the right to stop being a colony, and to decide for ourselves what wars to fight.

Now, we're a US colony.

We fought two wars for the British very, very rich. Now we fight them for the American very, very rich. Worse, we are going to include Syria as a target. That whole region is crumbling into chaos. Harper is letting us be sucked deeper and deeper into it.

The chaos has a reason. It's not because people of the middle east are just born evil. It's because the west has been killing and looting in that region for a century. Of course, people have been driven to their religion. That's what happens when you destroy the rest of their society. And the stunning brutality of the Bush war on Iraq was the final blow, driving them them into increasingly extreme forms of their religion.

You think that's no excuse. Okay. Remember Bourque and his killing of police officers. How often have you seen the TandT write about the trauma of that?

Now - imagine troops killing 30,000 people - men, women and children in Moncton. Imagine piles of rubble that were once houses. Imagine orphans, crippled and starving, sitting in our roads. Imagine the piles of bodies rotting in the sun. Imagine Moncton years later, still with no electricity, with schools largely destroyed, with massive poverty and hunger and hopelessness.

That is what has driven some Muslims to extreme religious views.  (Though they aren't nearly so extreme as those of American leaders who believe it is God's will for US billionaires to rule the world. Seriously.)

There are no limits to this war. It has nothing to do with us. Is it possible "terrorists" might attack us? Well,  yes. It could be a natural reaction when we are sending people to terrorize them. Fighting in Iraq does not make us safer. It puts us in greater danger. - though so far we have suffered more terrorism from the oil industry. Lac Megantic springs to mind.

Harper is putting us in great danger both here and in the Middle East. And he's doing it without declaring war through parliament - something our soldiers supposedly fought and died for.

B4 has a story about how those terrible "Boko Haram" extremists in Nigeria are using women and children as human shields. Isn't that terrible? Our side would never, ever kill women and children. Well, maybe sometimes.
I have a note that Foreign Affairs Minister Kenney told the press we have to defend "Canadian values".
Now, I can't find the story. But I remember Harper saying the same thing not long ago.

What the hell are "Canadian values"? Where is it written what I have to think if I am a Canadian?
Quebec has a lot of separatists. Is separatism a Canadian value? Canada starved many native peoples to death, especially in the West. Is that  a Canadian value? I'm not particularly interested in hockey. Does that disqualify me as a Canadian? Canada has a long history of bigotry - against Blacks, against Jews... Is bigotry a Canadian value? Is it a Canadian value to hang people? to use the lash on them  as they do in prisons in Saudi Arabia?  Actually, it was a Canadian value until fairly recently.

This is actually a very dangerous used of words, especially as we descend into being a police state. If there is such a thing as a list of Canadian values, and even if there isn't, then we are all in danger of becoming unCanadian and penalized for it. That's not just a "maybe". In the 1950s, the US government had a House UnAmerican Activities Committee to seek out communists. Apparently, communism was not an American value. (whereas white police who shoot unarmed Black kids is an American value?)

The committee destroyed the lives and careers of a great many, innocent people - though it never uncovered a single communist (except for a very few who had joined the party when Russia was a US ally).. But discovering communists was not what it was really about. It was playing on a public hysteria created by news media like the Irving press. The purpose was to destroy people who supported the Roosevelt social reforms. In fact, the members of the committee never even had a definition of what a communist is.

It's not just foolish and ignorant to talk about Canadian values. It's a very serious threat to freedom,and a warning of where this government is taking us.

This has been a long one. So, I'll just add one piece. It's from a reader who sent it to me.

The source, obviously, raises questions about bias. But that's true of almost any news source. In any case, the words are those of Professor Stephen Cohen who is a most eminent American scholar, and the leading US authority on modern Russia.

In brief, his point is that the US, since 1990, has been looking for a war with Russia. Putin has simply been reacting to US threats. According to Cohen, Putin has wanted closer relations with the West. But the US has its goal as the conquest of Russia to open the world to the dominance of American billionaires.

Cohen is not the first westerner to see this. It's something that has the European Union very, very worried. Greed creates stupidity.

Of course, the Irving press didn't have this story. Nor did it have another big one for the same region.

Western Ukraine, the part on our side, is in a virtual civil war among its own leaders. They are, all of them, extremely wealthy people - each looking out for himself. One actually has his own army - and the leaders are now fighting each other to get a bigger share of the spoils. It's a good example of capitalism destroying itself.

And Harper has put us in the middle of that one - to please our imperial masters on Wall St.


  1. Mr Decarie:
    I believe you do yourself a grave disservice by taking the (any) word(s) of T+T as anything significant. I am commenting on a so called "report", that was little more than a $50,000 piece of creative writing. Any report, generated by 2 "Economists" as an "economic assessment", should at the very least take the costs into account, which it did not, turning a "report" into a statement. In this statement it was asserted that bilingualism helped the minimum, or slightly better, wage earning service sector of the New Brunswick economy. It was also asserted that it greatly enhanced call center employment with there being a 2:1 ratio in uni lingual/bilingual employment. It failed to take into consideration government subsidies to call centers as a reason for their existence in NB.
    I simply, respectfully, suggest you read the report, at the very least to see what $50,000 buys in a Provence that claims to be "broke", and decide for yourself.

  2. I'm afraid you missed the meaning of what I said. And what I said was that the report wasn't relevant. This is not an issue of money. This is an issue of human rights.

    I was, for twenty years, deeply involved in a similar struggle for language rights in Quebec. We lost. I have no love for those who denied English rights. Equally, I have no love for those who deny French rights.

  3. Mr Decarie:

    Unfortunately our province is in meltdown, economically, and we have folks commissioning $50,000 "feel good" statements?
    And this has what exactly to do with human rights?
    May I suggest that if "we" need to "feel good" we all go home and touch ourselves...... it's cheaper.
    Thank you.

  4. The province is in a meltdown for reasons that have nothing to do with language Much of the world is in a meltdown for reasons that have nothing to do with language.NB is not poor because its people can speak to languages. I h ave lived in cities where five or six languages are spoken - and that were quite prosperous.

    NB is in meltdown because big business has melted it down, because its governments have been corrupt for over 150 years, and because its people are too sheeplike to do anything about it. Big money has created similar meltdowns in Ukraine, Greece, Ireland, Spain, the US..... In the face of that it's foolish to blame the French language.