Monday, July 6, 2015

July 14:In this world of mass murder, of human suffering, of threats of nature....'s always comforting to read section A news of the Irving press. The Rotary Ribfest was delicious, it seems.  The motorcycle convention had a good time. And a Japanese bar is opening in Moncton. God is  kind to His servants. At least half are stories about  the city making money. And how are the people of Moncton doing?

We have no idea. But, hey, if the city is making money, then there can't be any problems.

The editorial, as usual, was agog with joy at the money that must have been spent last week by tourists and others. After all, if money is being spent, no matter on whom or what, what else is there to be concerned about?

Both the editorial cartoon and Norbert's column are about the Greek crisis. People who know nothing about it will be delighted by the cartoon of the Greeks as brainless kittens. Anyone who does  know something about it will see this as a cartoon by a brainless kitten.

The current Greek leadership did not cause the crisis. It was the political boosters of capitalism who caused it with their corruption and their good friends in the banking world who knew what was going on, who knew it was wrong and where it was leading - but happily went on lending anyway. The Greeks are victims to people whose only morality is that a debt is a debt and has to be paid no matter how many lives that destroys and how much  misery that causes.

The sin of Greece's current leadership is it believes people lives count for more than money. Greeks have been driven into poverty and immense suffering by a ravenous mob of bankers, capitalists and corrupt politicians.

Moncton may get a lesson in that if it votes today to borrow 90 million for an events centre.

By contrast, Norbert has an excellent column on the same subject. He's one of the few in the western news world who have indicated this is about people - as well as about more money the already stinking rich.

Alec Bruce asks "Can we harness human greed?" It's a well-written column, though the last five paragraphs are more than a little bit loaded in favour of oil pipelines, shale gas, mines - without actually saying so. He adds we either progress  (and to him that has always meant oil and shale gas and all the rest) or we face our final recession into oblivion. Too bad it's not that simple.

The reality, almost certainly, is that his idea of development is almost certain to lead us into our final recession into oblivion.

Alec Bruce writes for a newspaper that has always dismissed the dangers we face by letting resource industries run wild. He speaks of finding safe, reliant technologies. But he writes for a newspaper that has always favoured development, no matter what. And this is a province whose politicians and big money can't even protect our forests. There is nothing benign about the cutting we're doing, and nothing benign about using chemical sprays.

Can we harness human greed? I think we can. But not with any government this province has ever elected, not with the massive spread of greed in our business leadership of this century and the last one, and not with the lies and propaganda published by the Irving press.

Capitalism has become something of a myth. It no longer exists at the big money levels. It's no longer about enterprise. It's about control, about irresponsibility  It's broken and, at a minimum, needs major fixing. And it is not likely that the people who control capitalism will let us fix it. They prefer it broken. They caused the recession, and they like the recession because it's very profitable for them. In the long run (and not a very long run) it will crash. But the very rich never think more than three months ahead.

What we have is oligarchy, rule by a small group of people who own the politicians. We're just like the U.S., Russia, China, many other countries. And it's an oligarchy largely by right of birth rather than brains.

In section B, page 1, learn of charges that many schools we help to finance in Afghanistan actually don't exist. Our aid money is, one assumes, disappearing into the well of corruption that is the Afghanistan government. The report comes from a U.S. government agency.  But relax. Everything's cool.

The U.S. government won't do anything because it's always known that the Afghanistan government is mired in corruption. Anyway, much of that 'aid' money goes to wealthy Americans for services they don't provide, either. And the Canadian government? It just doesn't care because it knew where the money would be going before the programme even started.

B3 has an interesting story of a Canadian government internal report that Canada is not prepared to deal with oil spills  in our ocean waters or in the Arctic where the search for oil is getting under way.
And it wouldn't  matter if we were because there is no way of saving disappearing species should such a spill occur.

As well, there are great fears among scientists about the dramatic effect that drilling in the Arctic could have on the world's climate. All this raises two points of interest.

1. We're barely started on Arctic oil so, obviously, oil companies plan to be pumping the stuff for many years to come. How does that square with the development of alternate energy sources? Obviously, alternate energy  sources are not high on the list of 'things to do' for oil billionaires.

2. They're going ahead without assurances - or even much research - to show this is safe even for the short term.

Alec Bruce asks, "Can we harness human greed?" I haven't seen any such harnessing, Mr. Bruce. And, certainly, I haven't seen it in any of your columns or any other columns in the Irving press.  (Well, in fairness, the Irvings do pay for 'special music' and coffee in the barn at the Irving Chapel.)

B5 has the major story of the day, the arrival of Pope Francis for tours in Latin America. He is one of the very few world leaders of any sort who has had anything intelligent and compassionate to say about our world.  I shall never be a Catholic. But I shall always consider Pope Francis one of the greatest - perhaps the greatest - leader of our time - and almost the only one who bases his views on people - what people need, what must be done for them, for people. It is quite the  opposite of the mercenary bilge that characterizes the editorials of the Irving press and, for that  matter, the false and self-serving philanthropy of the Irvings and their sort.

The sites below carry much of the views of Pope Francis.  I suggest them as recommended reading for anyone  who writes those dreadful sermonettes on the Faith page of the Irving press.

The pope's main interest is people, their right and their needs. That's quite a contrast to most of our news media and leaders who are concerned only with money - and couldn't care less about those who don't have it in very large bundles.

The rest of Section B is pretty irrelevant. There's nothing about what's happening in Ukraine, nothing about the horror of indiscriminate killing and mass starvation that we're supporting in Yemen, nothing about the South China sea, nothing on the poverty that we have created in places like Central America and Congo, nothing about Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world that we helped to make poor  to show that we are  good, U.S. puppets, nothing about our pilots who are now serving God and country by killing people we know nothing about in Syria and Iraq, nothing about our ships in the Baltic and troops in Ukraine that could put us in the middle of a war that has nothing to do with us.

And, of course, there's no story on what big business in New Brunswick costs us in lost taxes and welfare payments to the rich. In fact, there's very little about people at all - unless they're enjoying ribfests or opening a pub.

Yes, Alec Bruce, we do need to harness human greed. How about writing a column on that some day?

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