Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29:All the news that isn't news...

"Anti-smoking laws to cause revenue shortfall." That's the lead story for today. Well, yeah. But I suspect the Irving enterprises cause us a much, much bigger revenue shortfall than smokers do. But you'll never see that headline. Nor will you ever see the headline story that the very rich around the world have been piling up wealth since the days of Mulroney and Reagan while the rest get poorer.

Jobs and wealth have been transported to the cheap labour part of the world. Of course, the cheap labour  isn't getting the wealth. That stays in the pockets of our own wealthy.

Sometimes, I really despair of writing a blog about a newspaper that is so trivial, so deliberately spreading ignorance. It completely ignores what our society is, and what it must become. That's because it doesn't give a damn about society. All that matters is making money, and making it mostly for those who already have too much.

We survive as societies. Everyone doesn't have to be of the same religion to sustain a society. But we do need to share some common values. We also need to sustain a community life in which we share and care for each other. The closest we come to community life is sharing hatreds and fears and bigotries with our neighbours. And we call these hatreds and fears and bigotries 'patriotism'.

We have just recently received a government commission report on what we did to our native peoples. We destroyed their societies and, in doing so, destroyed the people. We can't fix it. We can't simply hand it all back to them because we have also destroyed the world that was the foundation of native societies. The Plains Cree can't go back to hunting buffalo because we killed most of the buffalo - and we starved  large numbers of the Plains Cree to death - deliberately.

Only native peoples can revive their communities - and those communities will certainly try to save what can be saved. But they will also have to change themselves in order to survive in this century.

In the same way, western powers have destroyed societies all over the world. China was the oldest and most stable nation in the world until we killed and looted it into a chaos of warring factions. We didn't like Mao Tse tung? Well, we shouldn't have created him. Or Chiang Kai shek. We created chaos in China. Mao was a very brutal attempt to fix it. Chiang was our agent in maintaining the chaos. In the end, both lost. And China, like Canada and the US and Russia and most of Europe is now creating chaos for itself by accepting the rule of a predatory class made up of the very wealthy.  They are the ones who created Al Quaeda and ISIS. They are the ones who created tens of millions of refugees, and hundreds of millions more living in despair and terror.

The world has changed enormously, but changed unnoticed by most people who have been taught by our news media to see it largely in terms of who Justin Bieber is dating, and how cute Prince George is. Just ten years ago, mass torture would have been an unspeakable horror. Now, the only ones who are prosecuted for it and the ones who reveal that it's happening.

Five years ago, who would have believed that we would  have a police stat?. Now we do, and it's accepted as normal.

And perhaps the greatest change has been the loss of democracy and independence. We are now  governed by billionaires who hunt likes wolves to kill --us. They have spread poverty all over Africa, the middle east, and now we're on the menu. And they will destroy our society - what's left of it. Added to that, we became independent only to become a colony of the US. That's the reason why we are killing people in Iraq and Syria. That's why we're getting hitched up for an invasion of Russia.

Today's world looks very much like the last days of the Roman Empire when the elite guards would, almost annually, murder an emperor so they could appoint a new one who would raise their pay - and a year later, murder him.

They didn't have newspapers and TV then, or even rock stars, to keep people in a stupor. But they made do with bloodthirsty shows at the Coliseum. Our Irving press is a very tame version of  the Coliseum.

In short, the greed of our predatory economic system is destroying us just as we destroyed our native peoples - and Africa and the Middle East, and Asia and Central America. We need massive change. The US is far, too far gone to provide that change. What is more likely there is widespread violence there with no, predictable results.

The Liberals and the Conservatives in Canada are not part of  the solution. They are the problem. The NDP is honest - but neither it nor Canadians in general - are ready to accept nearly as much as has to be done.

For some grim reading on this, I suggest Jane Jacobs, "Dark Age Ahead". Jane Jacobs was what any newspaper would call 'respected' and 'noted' and 'expert'. The only difference between her and the ones who get so labelled in the TandT is that she really was respected, noted, and expert.

It's a tough read, perhaps best done a chapter at a time with group discussion.
If you're guessing this long intro suggests there isn't much in the Irving press, you're right. A4, for example, assures that "Riverview residents are satisfied with quality of life." So, to the best of my knowledge, are most alcoholics, mice and oysters.

The editorial writer seems to be comfortable with only one topic - the size of garbage cans.

Norbert writes a decent column, but does't really say much. He does, however, in one sentence, admit that we cannot go on using fossil fuels for energy. This is the first time I have seen that by a staffer in the Irving press.

Alec Bruce has a good column on Harper's lust for dictatorship and power.

A10 has the story on Moncton's search for new buses. Why? We are facing a climate crisis. In that case, why are we committing ourselves to these monstrous users of fossil fuels? Has this city council never heard of city planning?

Most of Moncton is designed to be served by private cars. That's why it has blocks and blocks of separate bungalows, each with its useless front lawn, rarely used back lawn and the expense of its long, long sidewalks and sewage and water supply. And each with it's own high-maintenance heating system. And it's quite deliberate.

It was encouraged by the good years after World War 2, and the availability of cars, the cheapness of gas, and the belief we could use gas forever. That world no longer exists. It makes no economic sense and it's dangerous to global survival. Has the city council given no thought whatever to that?

The motor bus makes it even worse because it simply cannot serve such a scattered population. In fact, the motor bus doesn't make sense for even a dense population. Until fifty years ago, such service was normally supplied by an electric tram. They're cheaper to make, cheaper to maintain, and last forever. (I well remember riding on a double-decker tram in Hong Kong, and noticing a brass sign at the front. "Built in 1905. Scotland" And they're still in service today.  (They're so popular that tourists just love them. And they'll do more for main street than buses will.) So why don't we seem trams any more?

Because the automotive industry bought most of the transit systems in the US so it could make more money by scrapping the trams and selling them motor buses. A Main Street/Mountain Road tram system might make sense. But, in the long run, Moncton is also going to have to do something about its  1950s sprawl.

I grew up in a very densely populated section of a densely populated city. We didn't have a car until I was seventeen or so. I can't remember ever feeling inconvenienced by that.  And I actually knew my neighbours.
In section B, the only story worth reading is "ECB refuses to increase credit for Greek banks". In brief, Greece is deeply in debt to world banks as a result of corrupt politicians, their capitalist friends, and as a result of backs that kept lending money to those corrupt politicians for their greedy friends - perhaps partly because the greedy friends of the politicians were buddies of the bankers.

The new, and honest, Greek government says the proposed terms of settlement would keep Greece in deep poverty forever - which is fine with the banks, because they and their friends could go on ripping Greece off forever. (Big capitalism works on exactly the same principles as the Mafia. That's not an exaggeration.)

The Greek government says it opposes the proposal, but will hold a referendum on the question on Sunday, and will abide by decision of the Greek people. No, say the godfathers and their associated goons. You have to accept our terms. Right now.

Personally, and before a single Euro is paid out, I would like to see a criminal investigation of the former, corrupt Greek governments, of the big capitalists they gave money to, and of the legality of the bankers actions when they knew all along what was happening. But, of course, the mafia doesn't do things that way.

Nobody know how this will turn out. Greece could pull out of the European Union. And that could start the collapse of the European Union - with its own, unforeseeable results. Greece could establish ties with Russia and China. Then, our news media would start telling us that Greeks were evil and were terrorists. Then the US might ask (tell) Harper to send Canadian 'peacekeepers' as part of an international force. We could see serious violence in several European countries. All bets are off on this one.

Canada has some ships and soldiers in Ukraine, with more on their way. just as the US is sending heaving equipment, large numbers of troops and large numbers of EU troops up to the border. Notably, the only people making threats and tough statement have been Obama and his chirping canary, Harper. Putin has been the only one to maintain a conciliator tone. (Not because he's a nice guy,   but because he's the only one who has nothing to gain from such a war.)

And we are there. Why? Did the Canadian people ask for a war? Did our parliament vote for one? No? Gee. I always understood that we fought in World War One to gain independence and the right to decide for ourselves when to go to war. Instead, we seem to have fought so we could become a colony for the billionaires who own all those nice people in Washington.

There's a story on B3 that New Brunswick's native peoples must negotiate to allow a polluting mine on land they claim, or they must go to court. So much for Truth and Reconciliation. The mining company is adamant. And it looks as though Gallant has chosen his side. (Guess whose side he's on?)

On a happier, if personal note, I enjoyed the big story about the retirement of Irwin Cotler, a Liberal mp who is retiring after 16 years in the Commons. He was, and is, dedicated to human rights with an intensity that reminds me of the old, Jewish Montreal community he grew up in. The Harper years have been sad ones for him as Harper is indifferent even to the rights of Canadians held in foreign prisons.

The URL below is British - but it's a warning because it's happening here - and soon. Big business is determined to privatize everything. That will not only be more expensive for us, but there is no reason to believe that private business is capable of operating anything for the public good. They are looking for complete control of our politics, our schools, of our lives. And it's happening quickly.

1 comment:

  1. Graeme,
    Jut to let you know that I appreciate this and your columns in general (enjoy does not seem an appropriate word given the general themes tackled!). Keep them coming please.
    Stephen Gruber - Montreal