Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27:The best is the cartoon page...

Oh, no, I don't mean the cartoon page in the Irving press. The days of cartoons that were both funny and insightful ended years ago,and after only a brief life. There was Peanuts, Pogo, Doonesbury, Calvin and Hobbes, ad few others. But they're long gone.  We're  now in the age of one-joke strips designed for those who think slipping on a banana peel is funny. Andy Capp? He's a drunken lout. Ha-ha.

But comics can be both funny - and have something useful to say.  Try the site below.

http://imgur.com/gallery/h82vC

That short strip is a profound insight into how us humans think - and how most of us suffer for the way a few of us think.

The wealthy of our world, like the aristocracy that preceded them (with just a short break here and there for democracy) believe they are superior to the rest of us. They also believe that their superiority comes to them genetically. That's why Irving industries has had a series of Irvings in charge. It's really a racist concept - no different from Hitler's absurd theories about the superiority of "aryans" over Jews, no different from the contempt that centuries of British and other European aristocracies had for their peasantries, no different from our indifference to the killing and crippling and destruction that we have forced on Muslims - and Vietnamese and Central Americans and Africans and, for that matter, our own native peoples..

It's necessary to feel superior. When you use and abuse people, you need an excuse that justifies it. Otherwise, you're just a murdering bastard. That excuse commonly takes the form of racism - as with the days of black slavery, of Asian conquest and looting, of the conquest of the Americas. Racism was built into the blood of British empire-builders. Much of it is still there.

When I was a child, we (and our parents) were taught that Japanese were evil simply by being Japanese. That's why most Canadians applauded when the Canadian government put Japanese-Canadians into prison camps in 1942, letting them take only what they could carry. The rest, including their homes, was taken by the federal government and sold.. I worked on the Japanese-Canadian campaign for restitution though, by then, it was largely the children of the camps who were still alive. Most of them, so many years later, could not talk about it without choking up at the humiliation they felt.

And, after the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it ruled that the Japanese, because of their racial tendency to cruelty (imagine the people who dropped the nuclear bombs making such a statement?) ---anyway, at the surrender, the US government ruled that Japan would never again be permitted to raise a military capable of aggression.

But now, and for several years, Japan has been going through a frantic building of its military for aggressive purposes. Apparently, the Japanese are not racially prone to cruelty any more. Nope.It's them Chinese and Russia ya gotta watch.

In North America, we are seeing the opening of a tremendous gap between rich and the rest of us. And the gap is growing. A great many people are suffering - and they're going to suffer more. The wealthy of North America are not only making record profits while poverty grows. They are hiding their wealth from taxation so that basic social services to all of us are being cut. The rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer because that's the way the system is designed to work.

We gotta reduce our government debt, say the Norberts of this world. And how to reduce them? Well, don't even dream of taxing the rich. And don't dream of cutting off their forest lands or at least getting a decent price for them. No, says the Irving press. My goodness, if you tax the rich, they'll go away. But, if you let them get really, really rich, They will invest and make us all rich.

No, they won't. They can invest their money anywhere thanks to free trade deals and hidden bank accounts. So it is we have mine-owners who prefer to invest in Congo and Central America because they can pollute as much as they like, pay wages too low to support life, pay no taxes at all  (and thus allow no services like education and health care). That's good because creating poverty in so much of the world, and taking so much money out of Canada and the US, and paying little tax, can do good things - like creating poverty in Canada and the US, and so making it possible to reduce wages here, too.

Even better, the gradual privatization of essential social services, like health and education, is good. It effectively destroys those services for us and makes profits for them. There is a catch, though.That massive transfer of money from most of us all over the world to the very rich eventually destroys all economies.

Are these wealthy people real bastards? Oh, goodness, no.

They are intellectually and socially a superior race. God meant them to rule us - with the help of the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the private news media. Think hard. How often have you heard it said or implied that it's their own fault the poor are poor? Now, give me a single example of the Irving press saying that it's the rich who cause poverty?

The whole world is facing a triumph of greed, arrogance, immorality, and stupidity that it cannot survive.

That's what that cartoon is about.
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As you might guess from the prologue above, their really isn't much worth talking about in today's paper.

Worth reading is a story on A3 "Food bank has only enough money to stay open another couple of months". This is the province that can afford to make gifts to the very wealthy, like handing over our forests on the cheap, and spending over a hundred million on a hockey rink to cater to a wealthy team owner. But it can't afford to feed its own people.

A11 has a commentary worth reading. "Taking the premier to school om needs of N.B. students"  The New Brunswick education system, one of the better ones in this world, is in great danger, partly because the government and the Irving press can think of nothing but hammering us to pay for a recession that was caused by big business, and has actually made big business bigger.

The government is also showing a tilt to privatization of parts of education. The US did a lot of that. It's now ranked somewhere around 50th in the world for quality of education. Cuba is way ahead of it. Haiti, where education  is largely in private or institutional hands and which is effectively ruled by the US has one of the lowest ranked education systems in the world. Only a minority can get to school at all in that country. And, of that minority, only 2% finish grade five. (Canada is usually ranked in the top 8.)

Mind you, New Brunswick is VERY low ranked in literacy. But I don't think that's because of the education system. I think it's because of a social atmosphere in this province that actually discourages thinking.

I would also recommend a glance at the editorial cartoon - but not because it's good. It shows a fracking truck help up by signs that read uncertainty, indecision, waffling,...all of them negative. But that's NOT what's holding up the truck. Two things are holding it up.

One is a government that is buying time to pretend it's studying the situation when it knows that it's going to say yes, The other is not an uncertainty - but a sure thing. We know very little about the environmental dangers of fracking. And we certainly haven't learned anything about it from this newspaper or its cartoons. This cartoon, in fact, is very close to being propaganda by writing off the whole issue as if it were just a political fumbling..
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There are only two items in Canada&World worth reading. One is "Canada's military better in Arctic than people think..." The story is from some think tank - and it's a crock.

There is only one country in the world that might have any reason to attack our claim to the Canadian Arctic. That's the US. If another country were to attack the Arctic, the US would have to join in - not to protect us, but to protect its own claims.  But we have no defence in the Arctic to deal with the US. And that's going to cost us.

The US has been using the Northwest Passage (Canadian) freely for decades. It doesn't ask for permission, as it's supposed to. It simply ignores our claim. And that passage is close to becoming a major, world shipping route. We're going to face the same problem soon with Arctic land areas that are likely to  have oil and other minerals. (a  news editor should have known that, and have seen the story got to some capable person on the editorial or commentary page.)

B4 also has "Undercover police gave money for B.C. terror suspects, says lawyer.' The claim is that some 245 police were involved in an operation aimed at a poor, isolated, and mentally damaged couple. The purpose was to convince them they should be terrorists. In the course of it, they were instructed how to make a bomb, were given lots of attention and money, and were constantly encouraged and even threatened to get the bombing under way.

Well, that's not surprising. It happens in police states. There have been similar stories out of the US. And so we had245 police officers working on a drug addled couple to convince them to set a bomb so they could be charged with terrorism. Our tax dollars at work.

B5 has a related stor. Australia intends to strip citizenship from people suspected of terrorism. Not accused. Not tried. Just suspected. And what is a terrorist? Well, it's anybody the government says might be a terrorist.

So much for democracy. So much for rights under the law. We are, all over the world, entering a period of rule led by a seventeenth century aristocracy, and, as in the seventeenth century, an aristocracy by birth. And we are shaping police forces whose job is not to protect us but to protect the aristocracy from criticism or interference..




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