Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25: Good for Brent Mazerolle

"All Moncton schools to go under review".  That's the headline on A1. And, like every such report I've seen in this province, it's all about costs and efficiency as if education were a sort of assembly line. Everything gets treated as it were a business. But education is not a business. It's about people.  It's about giving people opportunity. It's about stimulating minds. It's about the future of this province. It's about families. It's about the very different needs of many students and many families. I have yet to see the slightest consideration given to any of this.

This government is simply about money and, more particularly, about slashing budgets. That shows weak thinking about education, and very weak thinking about economics. Nor have I seen any signs of human intelligence on this coming from the government, the ministry of education, or the anglophone east school board.

And has it not occurred to anyone there is a crying need for adult education in this province? This a gap that cannot be filled by volunteers. And it's a desperate need in a province that seems to create illiterates. The people aren't stupid. So when you see illiteracy and low literacy races in such a province, it indicates a serious social problem. Of course, if the province were literate and thinking, it would be impossible to sell copies of the Times and Transcript.

 The rest of the news in section A is the usual bubblegum.
The editorial is its usual, empty self. It could have all been said in four words. "Moncton will rise again" or, possibly, "Something must be done." Very inspiring.

Norbert starts well with criticism of the provincial government as being hypocritical.  But didn't Norbert notice that in the Conservatives? Then, in kindness, he says the government is inexperienced. Oh? Ten of its cabinet ministers were in the last, Liberal government just four years ago. This is not a cabinet of giggling virgins.

And,of course, Norbert says they must slash size and cost of the civil service because, you know, only private businessmen know how to do things. Norbert, have you never had the brains or the courage to demand we slash the cost of private business to this province? Particularly very big, private business?

Have you never looked at the staggering salaries and bonuses and perqs  for executives and for board members who do nothing much at all? That's our money, Norbert, sucked out of our economy by people who are too greedy to pay taxes, and people to whom you kiss up every day.  It's not a secret, Norbert. It's part of a massive redistribution of wealth that's been going on all over the world. And that's OUR money that's being redistributed. We have to make ourselves poor, we have to deny our children proper education, we have to deny services we need so the Irvings can put the extra money in their offshore bank accounts - and then occasionally flip a coin to us, and get a big story in your paper about how generous they are.                          
The Irvings did not make us rich, Norbert. On the contrary, we made them rich and made ourselves poor in doing it. Someday, Norbert, have the nerve to look where you have never looked, and say what you have never said. And then you'll be a man, my son.

I have often been critical of Brent Mazerolle for writing some pretty trivial stuff. But I remember, once, not long ago, when I mentioned there was real talent hidden in him.  And in today's commentary, he didn't hide it at all. This is about the use of drones - and it's well-written, thoughtful. This is what Brent can really do - and it's first rate.

Well, I have a small point of disagreement. He says terrorists hate us because of our way of life. In the whole history of warfare, I cannot recall a single war that started because one group hated another group's way of life.  Nor, for that matter, do I know what our way of life means.  What does 'our' mean? Is my way of life the same as the Irvings? Is it the same as that of a black kid in the ruins of Detroit? Is it the same as a single mother working for minimum wage?

No. We are hated by some people because we've been killing them. (Well, some people are touchy about that).  We've killed men, women and children by the millions. We've killed them to steal their oil.

Or now I think of it, maybe Brent is right. For five centuries, our way of life has been killing people by the tens of millions to steal their land and resources. Yeah. Maybe they do  hate us because they hate our way of life.

And Bill Belliveau does a solid job on the bunkum that Harper calls a budget.

The other "commentary" is a sample of the Irving press' distasteful use of commentary space as a free ad for politicians - in this case. premier Gallant. The premier, as one might expect, has nothing to say.
Canada&World actually had a world story on its first page. "Armenia marks centennial of killing of 1.5 million by Ottoman empire". So that gives us two genocides to remember. Right?


Genocide means the killing of people solely because of a race (whatever that means) they supposedly belong to. So, let's see -
1. Armenians
2, Jews.
3.native peoples in the Americas (perhaps the largest genocide in history).
4. genocide of millions and slavery of million of Africans in the slave trade.
5.genocide of people in Congo by Belgium and continued by other countries to this day.
6.Genocide of Vietnamese by France and the US. (These were not just wars. They included the deliberate killing of civilians and children because they were Vietnamese. That's genocide.)
7. Genocide of Iraqis - it's genocide for the reason given in 6.
8.Genocide by starvation of five million people of Ceylon by the British in World War 2.

The world has a long, long history of killing people for genocidal reasons. It's always been a common excuse for war because branding people as racially inferior serves as justification for killing them. Hitler did not invent genocide. Both Harper and Obama are now inciting hatred of Muslims, making them a quasi-race, and therefore justifying our killing of them.

There are a couple of quite disgusting Canadian stories on B3.

Bernard Valcourt, who is federal minister of aboriginal affairs, said, in effect, that native peoples were lazy so he was going to cut welfare to force them to get jobs. You bastard, Valcourt. These are people whose society we have destroyed. Kicking them out to create incentive won't work. These are humans. They have been raised in a society that has never had a chance to repair and adjust to what has been done to them. And nothing Valcourt says suggests any such chance on the horizon. These are people. And Valcourt, the man most responsible for them has not done a thing to deal with the problems they face. Instead, he has just classed them as bums.

Hint, Valcourt. Hire some people with some brains to handle what is going to be a long, long job of re-socializing. And cover the cost of it by getting the money from all your pet corporate welfare bums.

Here in New Brunswick, Education Minister Rouselle is cutting a subsidy to daycare owners which will either force them out of business or force them to raise fees for people who really cannot afford the raise.
According to Rouselle, this makes sense because they are businesses, and should expect to stand on their own as businesses.
1. They are not simply businesses. The people most affected by this cut will be real people, children and parents. Again, we have a politician who sees the whole world as though it were just a big business. It's not. It's people. It's societies. And this decision is damaging to both.
2. And where did he get the idea that businesses stand on their own? On the contrary, they depend heavily on 'subsidies' in the form of tax breaks, on public services like roads and railways and electricity and, if they're big enough, on outright gifts of millions of dollars, sweetheart contracts, and on international trade deals set up by those civil servants that Norbert finds so hateful.
It's dismaying to learn we have an education minister who seems to have large gaps in his own education - and no sense of what people are and what they need.

On B7, American General Petraeus, former head of the CIA, was found guilty of passing state secrets to his mistress. Gee. I guess the poor guy didn't know that was illegal. I mean, if you can't trust your mistress, who can you trust?

So he got hit hard by the courts - two years free on probation, and a fine of $100,000. But don't worry. He can still look forward to a secure retirement with this wife - or his mistress, or both. He makes well over a hundred thousand just for giving one speech.

Compare that to the treatment people who leak secrets out of their principled belief that people in a free country should know these things. They have to flee the country, go into hiding for years or seek refuge in other countries, live in fear of kidnapping or execution and, if brought back the to the US, would face life imprisonment.

On B8, take a look at the picture of a village bombed by the Saudis. Then look at paragraph 1 of the story, where it says that Saudi bombing has killed 500 civilians, including 115 children. This is a very poor country. It has been censured by the UN for kicking out the man who was its dictator for 22 years. Using that censure, the king of Saudi Arabia, with massive US weapon supplies and with the support of US ships offshore, bombed Yemen (which the US has been drone-bombing, anyway, for  years and killing thousands.)

So, the freedom-loving US is helping to kill the people of Yemen in order to bring back a dictator to that country.  And dictator-loving Saudi Arabia, has been killing them for the same reason. That's not only odd in itself. It's super-odd because in its whole history, Saudi Arabia has never shown any interest in helping anybody.

The heart-warming story is that the men who bombed and killed those people are getting a gift from one of the many princes of Saudi Arabia.  Yes, for killing defenceless and impoverished people, the 200 pilots will each receive a Bentley.(actually a Rolls-Royce for people who are too modest to be seen in an RR.)

I really don't know why two wealthy powers are attacking and killing the people of an impoverished country.
General Petraeus might know. But I really don't want to get into bed with him.

Then read the story above it on B8. It's about refugees from the middle east and Africa, mostly going to Sicily as the nearest haven. If you read anti-Muslim propaganda sites like Black Flag, they're are really terrorists. In reality, most are hungry, scared, desperate for some sort of security. But they first have to wait in concentration camps in Italy. They wait - men, women, and children - for two to three years in terrible and hungry conditions. There are now 63,000 in Italian camps and prisons.

When they do get out to disperse across Europe, they're not welcome. They have become Europe's new Jews. Europeans are now being encouraged by their leaders and their news media to hate and fear the newcomers, just as they were for centuries taught to hate and fear Jews. We are re-creating the Europe that cheered for Hitler (and not just in Germany; it was very widespread).

Nobody knows what the real numbers for refugees are. Many avoided the detention camps, and moved on to other countries. And we have no idea how many died on the way.

Who created this disaster? Mostly it was Britain and the US with their oil wars of public and private slaughters in the middle east and Africa, their destruction of existing societies, and their conversion of the whole area into a hell on earth. And they're still doing it. It's vicious ;it's pure greed; and it's wildly irresponsible. We're not going to see peace and stability again for a very, very long time. if ever... This is a side effect of the collapse of American democracy as the very, very wealthy got complete control over government. It happened in the US. It's happening in Canada. It's happened in New Brunswick.

And neither Canada (which is still killing people in Iraq and Syria) nor the US has accepted any responsibility or offered any significant help - just like the 1930s. And the result, as in the 30s, is likely to be serious disorder in Europe, and a new rise of fascism and racism.

All of this is the result of a capitalism allowed to run wild all over the world, and  the intervention, all over the world, of billionaires who think that being born rich gives them a talent and a right to rule over all of us. This dreadful mess is the creation of the arrogant fools that they are..

The is an item sent to me by a reader. It's a photo with text about the effects of shale gas drilling - you know, the type of drilling that years of experience has shown us is perfectly safe. This one is about the spectacular rate of earthquakes due to shale gas drilling in a part of the US. From zero, the number has risen to several hundred a year, with 800 in sight.

(Oh, I know. They aren't really big earthquakes. True. But they are earthquakes, and that  many of them has effects on water flows, etc. that we don't know anything about.  But don't worry. Gallant will find a comfortable reason to approve of shale gas drilling. After all, he's in the long, New Brunswick tradition of puppet premiers - and he's a young lawyer on the make.)
I can't vouch for the writer of this piece or for the group he represents (Independent Jewish Voices - Canada). I can't vouch for it because all my Jewish friends are in a different group - Peace Now.

However, I know the article is not an exaggeration, and it makes sense in the light of  statements Harper has made. Jewish groups who want peace and  cooperation with Palestine are, I know, under constant attack from the Israeli lobby which has taken control of community organizations which once did good work, like B'Nai Brith, and turned them into propaganda fronts.

One of the fronts is a weekly newspaper, The Cote St. Luc Suburban, whose editor is a very active propagandist. I lived most of my life in Montreal's Jewish community (and got turned down by many a girl because I was a goy. That means male gentile). Of some thousands of public talks I gave, over half were to Jewish audiences. My closest friends in Montreal were - and are - Jews.

But I became critical of the Israeli government. So Beryl attacked me on a web site as an anti-semite. The Israeli lobby is well-financed, well-connected, and quite ruthless. The claim in this article that Bill C-51 is partly intended to make it a crime to criticize Israel is quite possible. And I have heard Beryl speak in favour of such a position.

In reality, Harper has never done anything for Israel but talk big. Nor does Canada have any international standing worth talking about. We once did. But everybody today knows Canadian governments are puppets. However, Harper does need the Canadian Jewish vote's help, and he does need the help of the Israeli lobby to get that. And, as we all should know by now, he has no respect for democracy. So it would make sense for him to use such a bill as C-51 to forbid criticism of the Israeli government.

I suspect one of the reasons Obama dislikes Harper is because the US is the country that built and protects Israel even as Israel attacks and blocks American policy. And Harper gets all the cheers for doing nothing, but talking big.

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