Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30: Wow! two big stories about an economist!

I mean, you know, economists are experts. This one say that business needs more freedom to grow but, gee, rules and regulations get in the way. And, goodness, if business doesn't make money and create jobs, we'll all be poor. Oh, and he says shale gas is good for us. So there.

Ted Mallet, interviewed for both stories by Brent Mazerolle, who doesn't seem to have asked a question or even made a comment after, "Please tell me what you said, sir."

These stories are pure propaganda. and the economist is  chief economist for the Confederation of Canadian Business. That means he's a shill for business, a point which seems not to have occurred to Mr. Mazerolle or the editor. His line is the old one. If we deregulate business more, it will make more profits, create more jobs, etc. That has never been true.

Oh, deregulation will make more money for big business, and it will cause a lot of damage as we are going to find out when the Trans Pacific Trade deal is signed. But we won't see that money. Unregulated business has never created money for anybody except unregulated business. It then hides the money so it doesn't pay taxes, or it invests in cheap labour countries that don't charge taxes for rich people. Latin America has had over a century of that kind of capitalism. And the destruction of the environment - forever -  is something the Irving press has never reported on. Or the wages of 3 or 4 dollars a day. Or the lack of medical care and education. Or the use of mass murder and terror to keep people in line.

Plenty of Canadians are making billions out of that, especially in mining. God bless them.

Making business freer will not make us richer. In fact, all the evidence is it makes us poorer.

Congratulations, Brent, on a tough-minded, tell-it-like-it-is story. Clark Kent would be proud of you.
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The opinion and commentary pages are disasters.

The editorial writer wets his pants over Canada's 'fast' response to the call for help from Nepal. Evidently, he has not heard about the Canadians in Nepal who are furious. One woman, caught in an avalanche and fearing for her life, called the appropriate office in Ottawa. As she was explaining the crisis, she was put on hold, then an answering machine told her to send an e mail.

And I really wonder about that $5,000,000 aid package. How much of that will go to private contractor friends of the government? That's what happens to most US aid, with the result that it mostly disappears.

And I wonder about the nearly 15 mill that Harper is spending to convince us that his budget is the greatest thing since the invention of the birth control pill. Where is that money coming from? His party? Or from our taxes as part of his pledge to "keep us informed"/ You know, like that ghastly mail we get from Smirky Goguen?

Rod Allen started his column as if he were going to say something interesting about it the Frye Festival.  But it becomes just another column about himself.  I wonder what Frye would think of him and the Irving press. (Actually, I don't wonder. I know what he'd think).

In the centre column of this commentary, there is a one-sentence paragraph with two, gross errors - one in grammar, and one in spelling. The page editor should have caught those. The page editor - that would be Rod Allen.

The commentary below is another by an MLA (and again, a Conservative, the only ones allowed to share that space with the Liberals.) That is really contemptible journalism. Saves paying a real columnist, though. And,of course, it's also a plug for the events centre (hockey rink).

Alec Bruce's column is just bland.

Then there's Norbert. He starts by reminding us of Brent Mazerolle's column of last week about Obama's apology for the drone killing of a couple of Americans. Mazerolle's was a quite decent column for which Norbert says he'll add additional perspectives. He doesn't. I have it covered in circles and question marks.

This column is a mix of smugness, imagined morality, and complete ignorance of military history - and of anything military at all.
1. He thinks it noble of Obama to  have apologized for killing Americans. He ignores the fact that his drone attacks have killed innocent civilians, including children, by the thousands. But he didn't mention that. And nobody asked. That says something about our morality.
2. The drone attacks are illegal under international (and American) law. But that doesn't bother Obama any more than illegal torture bothered him.
3. War is brutal.  (What an insight?) Actually, murder is brutal, too. And when you kill over a million people on a trumped up charge, when you provoke and supply civil wars in Syria, when you drone bomb countries, like Yemen, that you're not at war with - and you supply the bombs to kill its people, that's not war. That's murder.
4. Obama is now working very hard to find a way to kill or otherwise destroy the elected government of Venezuela. It's not a secret. The reason is that Venezuela is one of the few countries that has narrowed the wage gap so that even the poor can eat. The oil billionaires don't like that sort of thing. Would you class that as war, Norbert?

Anyway, says Norbert,  perhaps we shouldn't even worry about drone killings. After all, they keep our soldiers safe. Norbert, why should our soldiers be there in the first place? We're killing innocent people by the thousands but it's okay because we're keeping our soldiers safe?

5. and recently, says Norbert, modern armies have been working on ways to reduce civilians casualties, and it is generallythe poorly equipped who cause them - and they're invariably condemned.

Norbert, that is the purest drivel. Civilian casualties have been rising, not falling, for the last century. And it's not caused by poor equipment. It's caused by the best equipped using agent orange, cluster bombs that are still killing children years after they were dropped, napalm....

Ever since the development of the bomber, civilians have been the main target in war. That's why so many civilians were killed in Vietnam and Iraq, and now in Syria and Yemen. It actually began just before World War 1, when Italy hired American mercenaries to bomb villages in Ethiopia. Churchill took it a step further when he ordered the bombing of Kurdish villages in 1920; then there was Hitler in the Spanish civil war with bombing deliberately aimed at civilians. Killing civilians became the standard practice in World War 2 - to demoralize civilians, and so to cripple war production.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deliberately chosen BECAUSE they were civilian, and had no military importance.

The American bombing of Cambodia for four (largely unreported) years was aimed exclusively at civilians by carpet bombing cities and  villages almost daily. It was designed to reduce the country to the stone age - as an American general put it. And it did. Nobody knows how many were killed.  800,000 is only a guess.
And they were not killed by ill-equipped soldiers. They were killed by the best-equipped air force in the world.

And those who commit atrocities are invariably condemned?  That's just a silly statement. George Bush's father killed hundreds of thousands as head of the CIA, He now lives in mansion in Dallas. Americans (and British)  have committed atrocities all over the world, killing and starving and torturing millions of innocent people. Is Bush in jail? Tony Blair? Obama? In fact, the first two have become very rich - and the third will be. Can you name anybody on "our" side who is in jail?

We're improving so far? What the hell are you talking about, Norbert?  The slaughter of innocent people is more intense than it's been since the genocide of native American peoples. (and tell me who went to jail for that one.)

Cancel our public debate, Norbert. I hate squashing bugs.
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Section B has little that could be called news, and only one worth reading. It's about the new king of Saudi Arabia dismissing old faces from the government, and appointing news ones  (mostly his close relatives.) What's going on there?

I wish I knew. Obviously, he's angry at the US over its dealing with Iran, which Saudi Arabia sees as an enemy. It's a war he's not likely to win. Few wars are won without boots on the ground. But the royal family of Saudi Arabia is not loved at home - so raising and arming an invasion force could backfire. Thus the bombing. Thus the lavishing of Bentley cars on the bombing pilots.

And the US needs its alliance with Saudi Arabia. So it has to accept the king's defiance of American wishes, and even go further to supply it with bombs..  But I expect even more defiance of American wishes from the king of Saudi Arabia. And that means the whole American strategy (if it can be dignified with that name) has become unglued.

In almost fifteen years of war against terrorism, the war is lost. That's no exaggeration. The numbers, the skills, and the equipment of what we call terrorists have increased enormously. And they have increased BECAUSE of the US or, more accurately, because of the control of US government by oil billionaires. These wars, from the start, were intended to get an American monopoly on the oil in the region.

Forget the propaganda about Hussein, Assad, etc. being bad guys. Forget the stories about  how evil Muslims are. We are always lied to about the reasons we go to war. Wars are almost never fought for the reasons that are given. Fighting Hitler had nothing to do with spreading freedom and equality. Churchill and Roosevelt lied to us. War with Japan had nothing to do with Pearl Harbour. That was the excuse, and if it had not happened, there would have been another excuse. In fact, the US navy from 1920 on was designed for war against Japan. Check out Jane's Fighting Ships. And the real reason was so that American billionaires could get control over China.

American foreign policy is set by oil billionaires. That's why they backed an obvious dolt like George Bush Jr. for president. It was so an oil company man, Dick Cheney, could be vice-president, and be the one really running the country. The 'war against terror' is and always has been a war for the control of oil.

It's not going to be won. But the very wealthy of the US have learned nothing. They are still looking for a quick decision so they can set off the invasions of Russia and China. The only result so far, has been the social collapse of the middle east, and the stunning rise of extreme groups as a direct result of US actions.

We're starting to see signs of the same thing happening in Latin America where countries have been bullied and looted for over a century.

And it's expensive. It's very, very expensive - with two, disastrous results.

In any real, free market, the US dollar is wallpaper, at best. Endless wars by a government that may well be the most corrupt in the world, and with much of that spending going into the pockets of the very rich have put the US in a highly vulnerable position. We are very close to the point at which only a nuclear victory can save it.

The other problem with these costs is that they are creating a profound crisis within the US. Deep-rooted problems, like race and social spending, have been made infinitely worse by the diversion of money to war and from the American people. I might add that free trade is no small factor in that. Baltimore, thirty years ago, had lots of jobs in its factories. But, due to free trade, the factories have almost disappeared. It's happening in Canada, too. And it's going to get worse with the Trans-Pacific trade deal.

 That's why law and order are collapsing. That's why we're seeing the militarization of the police, and the training of the army for a civil war. That's why it has become a police state.  The American revolution ended a long, long time ago. So did the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The billionaires, having socially destroyed the middle east, are now destroying the US, itself.
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As an aside, I've been looking over two Canadian newspapers that I usually avoid. And they haven't changed. Both are gutter newspapers. They're the Toronto Sun and The National Post. Both are dishonest. Both feed on hysteria. A few days ago, The National Post hit a new low with an interview about Canadian history with Conrad Black. Black's opinons were absurd. He's very, very glib, very arrogant, and a man who believes only what he wants to believe. He never listens to what anybody else says. He still thinks he was sent to jail for no reason at all.
When I was on CBC, I often talked to  him and Laurier Lapierre, who were on right after me. He always argued with his eyes closed, hearing only himself - one of the most distasteful people I have ever met. He founded The National Post. And it's still a reflection of his personality. The faults of The National Post are the faults of Black's personality.




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