Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2: A must-see in today's Times and Transcript....

...right in the middle of page A1. It's a photo of Roland Gaudet of the Moncton Model Railroad Society. Not only does he do impressive modelling but, just looking at the houses, you know this is Moncton. And I'm not being at all sarcastic in saying this is the best thing in the paper. It really is good.

Indeed, it reminded me of some disappointment when I visited our Resurgo Museum. It had some superb, large scale railway models. But there was very little sense of of Moncton, of its history, of what shaped it,  in that museum.  My hopes rose for just a moment at the sight of a very old, survey map on the wall because I was curious about the growth of Moncton and the locations of significant work sites, etc. over the years.

Alas! All it showed of Moncton was a tiny dot labelled Moncton. The development of a historical sense of this city would be cheap, easy, would be meaningful for locals and could attract tourists - for much less cost than an events centre.

The rest of the news section of A is mostly about restaurants opening or closing, a new kind of coffee at Time Horton's, and a news flash (again) that Target is closing.
The editorial and Norbert's column are about the provincial budget. As usual, all they can think of are the dollar signs. There is not a word about the human needs of this society -even though that's why we have a government and a budget in the first place. Government, you arrogant twits, starts or should start with people. Yes, Cost is important. That's why we should start with people - to get a sense of priorities.

And in the process of cutting costs, they invariably talk only about what this population and its government and its government services cost. There is never a word about what the very rich cost us. How come the wealth of the very rich is soaring, has been for years, while everybody else's is falling? How come we ignore those who need help? Or, at best, leave their needs up to the cheerful charlies who appear in this paper regularly holding up giant cheques to show their generosity - with company logos above?

How must did it cost us to so generously hand over our forests to Irving Ltd?  What are we on the hook for to help out Irving shipyards? How much tax is it that we don't get because a)they hide it offshore and why do they have low, low tax rates in the first place?

Look, all you journalistic properties of Irving, government starts with people, with a society, with our obligations to each other, with our ideals of what a society should be. Then you work out the dollar signs. And, when you work out the dollar signs, you make sure the rich pay their share of the dollars.

And don't tell me that if we did that, the Irvings would get mad and move away. If they do - great. Let them pick the pockets of somebody else.

Norbert also says there is no indication that education will improve by spending more on it. Really? Could you quote some of your favourite 'experts' on that Norbert? Then he says the real education reforms come from new approaches. What an ignorant twit! Of course, education develops new approaches. It always has, And you, Norbert, don't know a damn thing about it. It also requires money. The lack of it is why African-American kids in their neglected, slum schools don't have a chance.

Norbert, you know nothing whatever about education. You are suggesting a slander of thousands of teachers based on information you don't have, and wouldn't understand if you got it. And you would wet your pants in fear of your master not agreeing with what you say. This is pure slime.

Their is, however, an excellent letter to the editor, "P3 projects rife with problems". P3s are, essentially, handing out government responsibilities, like road maintenance, to private companies. They're called public/private partnerships because the word partnership sounds pleasant and democratic and - just nice.

But they aren't nice. They are devices to rip off our tax money and put it into the pockets of the very, very rich. And they are not efficient. Private business has to make a profit. Government doesn't. As a matter of common sense it is usually cheaper for government to do a job than to hire a private company to do it. However, the chances of a New Brunswick government ever having the brains or the honesty to put an end to P3s seem remote.

Jody Dallaire's column on A 9 is the only item in this paper to take an informed look at the budget and what it should mean to us, the people of this society. And it's well done.

In fairness, Rod Allen takes a stab at a similar approach, talking about the impact of the budget on the people of rural communities. Unfortunately, it too often becomes pointless stories about himself. I suspect that, if he were to bear down on the subject of rural life, he could produce some pretty useful stuff.
Canada&World- - well--- the lead story has a headline that lies. It says New Brunswick's new tax rate is the highest in Canada. But the story doesn't say that. That means the editor who wrote the headline is either lying or incompetent. What the story says is that the new tax on the rich is the highest in Canada.

And even that isn't true because it's only the lower class of the rich who will pay that. The very rich won't.

Then there's a big story that the moratorium on fracking has ruined Corridor's plans. But read the story. It's told entirely from the point of view of the fracking company. It ends by saying, in effect, that the people of New Brunswick are not nice - and Corridor is going to go away and not come back until we're nice to them. This could  have been written by Corridor's PR office. Maybe it was.

On the same page, New Brunswick universities are scrambling after the government has forced budget cuts on them. They should have started scrambling some 500 years ago when they should have realized they could not continue as only research institutions. They have to realize that teaching is at least as necessary as research. They have to realize that they are utterly incompetent as teaching institutions. They have to learn that they have to cut costs - and that giving status to the teaching role can save them lots of money.

But they won't. Just as 500 years ago, and in a pattern that is getting worse, egos and the lust for prestige will block the road. I taught in several universities in Canada, one in the Netherlands, and one in China. They're all the same, all dominated by self-adoring people who consider teaching to be beneath them.

Then there's the sad story of how we're stopping Trans-Canada pipelines from creating thousands of job and billions of tax dollars with an oil port they want to build on the St. Lawrence in eastern Quebec.

Apparently, some silly people were saying that such a port would eradicate the beluga whale population which is already down from 10,000 to 1,000.

There were also doubts about the claim of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for tax money out of the project. (Why do I think of the Moncton events centre?)

So they'll run the pipeline to St. John. Well, why not? The place is already barely habitable.

Scandals of spending by senators continue. They're only the tip of the iceberg. These are simply party hacks who get very high salaries and benefits for working (maybe) three months a year. I've had to appear before senate committees. They're a joke. Even the MPs are far, far more intelligent.

B5 has the story of Harper making the case for war in Iraq.

He says that the killings of two Canadians by people sympathetic to Jihad (though not actually committed to it) makes it necessary for us to go to war in the middle east at a cost of many billions of dollars and unpredictable loss of life - some of that loss certainly, to be innocent civilians and children. What an idiotic statement!

Two people who were not assigned by Jihadists, killed two Canadians some months ago. Traffic accidents kill more people than that every day. Nor have we been shown any connection between those killers and ISIL.

Then former foreign affairs minister John Baird is quoted as saying, "we must defend....human liberty and dignity - principles that have withstood the tests of fascism, communism, and now terrorism."

What an ass!

1. We did not take a stand against fascism until we were forced to. Until that time, we actively cooperated with fascists, helped them to power, and condemned Canadians who fought them. Baird, read some of that history you talk so glibly about.
2. We withstood communism? What war was that? Korea was, at best, at draw - and the communist side we fought is still in power.
3. Now we fight terrorism?
 We are terrorists. That's what war is about. Anybody who goes to war is a terrorist. In all wars of the last century, the major targets have been innocent civilians. All wars. Both sides. What was the slaughter of millions in Vietnam and Guatemala and Libya and Afghanistan about if not terror? And if Jihadis are such terrorists and they are so evil, how come our good friends in the US and Saudi Arabia supplied them with money and weapons?
4.We defend the principles of liberty and human dignity? What are you smoking John? If we fight to defend liberty, how come we left a dictator in charge of South Korea? Yes, in World War 2, we restored liberty to those Europeans countries which had liberty before 1939. But we stood by and cheered when Britain, France and The Netherlands refused to give liberty and human dignity to their colonies. Nor did we lift a finger when the US refused to permit freedom for those Latin American countries that suffered (and still suffer) under American dictators.
5. If we're so red hot about defending liberty and dignity, why didn't we invade the US when it was murdering millions and cooperating in killing the president and setting up a dictator in Vietnam? Why didn't we attack the US when Bush obviously lied his excuses for mass murder and inpoverishment in Iraq? Why didn't we bomb the US when a Canadian lay clergyman was murdered (with American leadership) in Guatemala?

John Baird is a man who has become rich out of kissing asses. And this is a good example of why they pay him. His idea of dignity is sitting on a corporation board, raising his hand to vote aye when he's told to, and having a good scotch.

Baird is also quoted referring to President Assad of Syria as a brutal dictator.
1.Gee. that's not at all like our good friend the King of Saudi Arabia.
2. If Assad is a brutal dictator, how come the people rally around him to defend Syria from rebel forces who are really mercenaries hired with US and Saudi money - and supplied by them?

Baird is as cheap and disgusting as they come. He's now on the board of CPR. Maybe - he might even become President of the CPR.

On the last page, a Canadian journalist working for Al Jazeera (a news company designed by a Canadian, and designed well) needs a Canadian passport. His passport was seized when he was arrested in Egypt. Now, he's in danger just walking on the street without it. He asked Canada to send him a duplicate. Harper refuses to lift a finger.

So much for liberty and human dignity.

Egypt, by the way, is essentially a military dictatorship. It did have an elected government. But the US didn't like it. So they got the generals to replace it.  I believe Baird was foreign minister at the time. But he didn't say anything about liberty and human dignity.

Some people are really beneath contempt.
Okay. It's been a long one. And I promised yesterday to say something about the chances of nuclear war.
(I also have some good sources on this, and I'll try to give the sites.)

The US has been extremely aggressive in its reaction to the fighting in Ukraine. Obama has made many, many threats to attack Russia. Putin is no angel. But he's not looking for a war, Anything he has done up to now has been in reaction to Obama. For the last year, Obama has been stepping up the threats, with concentration of NATO forces and rockets close to Russia, with some 200 military exercises held close to Russia, with thousands of overflights. Obama wants a war. That's why the European Union has been getting nervous.

The purpose of such a war is the purpose of all the 200 or so wars the US has fought - to get economic dominance or what Obama has publicly called American Exceptionalism. The scale of death doesn't matter. That has surely been proven in Iraq and Vietnam. Nor does it matter who dies. Obama has immense power with the size and equipment of his military force

When he was elected, I expressed the opinion on air that he was a man of no substance. But that's part of the problem. He is the servant of the very, very rich in the US. They are the ones who don't care how many they kill. They are the ones whose greed has blinded them to any consideration of morality or even world survival.

Obama, himself, is still a man of no substance. But he is controlled by people as evil as any this world has ever known. And so Obama, the man of no substance, has become the worst president the US has ever seen and, quite possibly, the most dangerous person the world has ever seen.

And keep another kicker in mind. The US military, though huge and expensive, has not performed with much distinction since World War 2. Despite overwhelming force, it couldn't beat little Vietnam. Iraq was a much, much greater effort than it should have been. And, in fifteen years, it can't even beat a deeply divided and backward country like Afghanistan.

Now, think of all those US forces near the Russian border. Then think of how the US would react if Russia had similar forces carrying out war games on the Mexican border with Texas. Compared to what the American reaction would be, Putin has been playing it pretty cool with the US so bluntly threatening war. Putin does not want a war. Obama's handlers do.

Any war between Russia and the US would necessarily involve China. It cannot possibly allow the US to establish that sort of economic dominance on its borders. Nor can it possibly allow the US to hold territory on which it could plant nuclear weapons to attack China up close. And there are other countries in the same position. The US really does not have many friends left in this world.

The US military, however big it might be, cannot defeat Afghanistan. What do you think its chances would be in a conventional war against Russia and China? Or you can think back to World War 2, and the unmatched determination of Russians to accept unheard of casualties to defend their country. China would be the same. And China has no reason to have fond memories of any western power, including the US.

But big business in the US wants a war with Russia - and a conventional war would be one hell of a risk.
1. The temptation  for Russia and China to go nuclear immediately would be great. After all, it they wait, the US could go nuclear first.
2. The temptation for US to go nuclear immediately would also be great. After all, it if waits, Russia and China could go nuclear first.

The bottom line is that the chances of any such war being a conventional one are zero. Worse. Both sides are worried about the other making a pre-emptive strike before any opening of hostilities. That means both have to consider deciding on a pre-emptive strike.

We are lucky that Putin has been pretty careful so far, and has not allowed Obama to push him into a corner. But the aggressiveness of the US may force him to change his mind. It may force him to decide on a pre-emptive strike. The American government knows that, too, of course. And that may force it to decide on a pre-emptive strike.

The theory of nuclear weapons, never a very intelligent one, was that fear of their power would discourage countries from going to war. As we're seeing, the opposite is true. Fear of their power actually makes it more likely they would be used - first.

All of this is the result of the effective collapse of democracy as big business has taken over control of government (in Russia and China as well as here.) Capitalism, if uncontrolled, is one hell of a destructive force.

Nobody would be crazy enough to do this? At least two, very prominent Americans, both Republican, have openly called for an immediate nuclear strike on Russia. John Bolton was delegate to the UN under Bush. John McCain, another leading Republican, has done the same. And the polls show war fever is running high.

As for the sites - Paul Craig Roberts is an American journalist with a very impressive record, indeed. It's also outstanding common sense - something missing in most pages of the Irving press.


  1. Graeme, I expect that you know who John Taylor Gato is. A well known American Teacher, who seems to know what all Educators should be doing. Check him out on You Tube. I like your Epistles,