Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2: this will probably be a short blog because...

...I have to be at the shore at noon, sitting on a bluff overlooking either the salt water (if the tide's in) or the sandbars (if it's out) while I languidly eat a magnificent lunch, perhaps served to me by my granddaughter.

Meanwhile, I have received a URL from a reader that is very timely because it illustrates a point I made yesterday. The news is not usually much help in understanding what's going on. To understand it, we need analysis to give it context and meaning. This one is exactly what I was talking about - an analysis offered by a person of very high qualifications in the field of the topic, and one who is likely to be honest.

This one is about the economic crisis in Greece. And it gives that crisis meaning which I have not found in any news item. The crisis, according to the writer, is not really an economic one. It's an artificial crisis being staged by international bankers and capitalists who want absolute power everywhere in the world. They want to destroy social programmes. They want to privatize everything. That's why they're trying to impose a crushing debt on Greece - to make almost all Greeks desperately poor, and to make them pay for a debt created by the rich - which is what the Canadian and New Brunswick governments have been doing to us. This isn't about money. It's about power.

The author is a man who was Vice-President and Chief Economic Advisor  to the World Bank, He was also chief economic adviser to President Clinton. He won the Nobel Prize for economics. That would make him, even by the towering standards of Irving press, 'noted' and 'respected'.
In fact, he might be even more noted than Professor Saillant of UdeMoncton fame. ( Okay, not more. But still pretty good.)

Following that is the URL for the proposal of the Greek prime minister to the bankers.

We could use a similar analysis to understand Stephen Harper's passion for grand monuments. I have a strong suspicion that the monument to victims of communism is not only political - but a monument to Harper. I suspect the same is true of the monument to our military dead proposed for the Cape Breton Trail. I have nothing against monuments. Our monument to those who died at Vimy Ridge is magnificent - partly because it's in a magnificent setting and on the site of  a magnificent victory by Canadian troops under a Canadian general. As well, the design is a very moving one.

Bit it seems to me that in a world in which the west has killed uncounted millions and has tortured on a grand scale, it is absurd to plant, next door to the Supreme Court, a political monument that has nothing to do with Canada. And it's grotesque to put a  huge statue in the middle of a protected region  (in which such building is illegal), and to make it look like a poor people's version of the Statue of Liberty.

Harper, from the start, has wanted power and absolute control and status. This is more than the behaviour of a normal person. This strongly suggests a mental disorder. And the monuments are monuments to his eternal power and control and status.

We also need analysis of the issue of truth and reconciliation in Canada. We destroyed the culture(s) of native peoples. We can't fix them. And they can't fix them because we have also destroyed the world those cultures lived in. We can encourage the restoration of some parts - as religions, as community social structures. But a culture once broken cannot be fixed.

Even as nationalists in Quebec should have learned, in restoring the French culture of Quebec they, in fact, actually invented a new culture that had never before existed in Quebec. They have, for example, invented a secular Quebec. In fact, at no point in its history was Quebec every secular. They have created a French public school system which is not the traditional one, but one modelled on the English schools of Quebec.

We have destroyed cultures and civilizations all over Africa, the middle east, and Asia. We have broken all those things we cannot fix. We have made a chaos which has produced constant war, Maoism, ISIS, tens of millions of refugees, hundreds of millions of dead and crippled and orphaned and impoverished - all because we have broken so many things that cannot be fixed. And, out of pure greed, our political and economic leaders continue to destroy those things we cannot fix.

And now our own cultures are breaking. And changing so quickly and radically, that I would not even try to guess what the various alliances will be even two years from now.

We have made the terrible mistake (which the editorial writer of the Times and Transcript makes every day) of   assuming that government is about money, about building events centres, about keeping taxes low for the rich. It's about privatizing hospitals and schools for "efficiency".

None of that is true. Government is primarily about people and about societies made up of people. We have to learn that. And we have to learn it very, very soon.

And, to do that, we don't need news. We need intelligent commentary and analysis of the news.
Today's section A of the Times Transcript is a must read. The headline is about how people celebrating Canada Day in Moncton had fireworks. And, to keep the excitement going, there are four more very large stories telling us how people slid on water slides and, oh, did just everything on Canada Day.

Then there's a huge story about a few high school kids in NB who think it's okay to fly a confederate flag - a sort of nice balance to the Canada Day theme.
The editorial is a stunning exposure of the realities of life in Riverview, a suburb of 'metro Moncton.'
It seems a survey showed that 99% of its residents like living there. I have no idea why. Maybe they think this is still 1950.

Norbert's column is about how New Brunswick needs immigration. Well, you get immigration by offering something. And rule by a puppet government with strings pulled by billionaires who don't pay much in taxes isn't much of an ything.

Rod Allen has another  column talking mostly about himself. (But he has a stunning sense of humour. In almost every column he calls his children "the brats". Breaks me up every time.)  

Gwynne Dyer is back with a powerful analysis of the news. Life species on earth are disappearing at a rate 114 times higher than normal - perhaps even a thousand times higher than normal. It's due to our destruction of habitat, our poisoning and pollution of it, our killing off of species for food... And we, too, are a species.

This column, alone, is worth the price of the paper.

And Alec Bruce is excellent on how Canada is becoming one of the world's most backward nations in its management of crime - thanks to Harper and his 'get tough on crime" policies. They don't work. And they're making our prisons much more expensive, and even less effective than they were. But Harper won't budge an inch because this isn't about controlling crime. It's about getting votes for Harper.
Section B, p.1 tells us that premier Gallant is in favour of greater privatization of hospital services. Well, of course he is. He's in favour of it because his boss is in favour of it. And John McGarry of Horizon Health,  (who the Irving press will undoubtedly refer to as a noted and respected something or other) now wants even further privatization of health care.

We face enormous problems in the survival of human life. Most of those problems exist because of the international piracy we call big business. To hand over even more to them  is worse that loony. It's worse than dangerous. It's fatal.

I do, though, agree with one of Mr, Garry's statements. We need to get our fiscal house in order. But privatizing health care does nothing whatever to get our fiscal house in order. It just makes rich people richer, and - just about always - it drives up costs to make the rest of us poorer. I don't know of any country in the world that has saved money by privatizing medical care.

Mr. McGarry says we need to  change our ideology on health care - and that means we have to change it to his ideology. But his ideology has never worked. On the contrary it has imposed heavy costs and earlier death on us. His ideology doesn't work because it's really just about money  - and just about making the rich richer. The closest he comes to being a medical  expert is that he's a witch doctor.

Like the Irving press, the Irvings themselves, the Liberals and the Conservatives, Mr. McGarry's religious ideology is the worship  of money. And that's been one hell of a destructive ideology throughout history.

A more useful ideology would start with people and their needs.

And frankly, it think that putting an accountant in charge of a health system is  like putting a rattlesnake in charge of a pet mouse.

There's really no intelligible news in Section B with the exception of a story on B3 "Groups seek court order to ease new voter ID rules for fall federal election." Harper recently changed the voting rules to make it difficult and even impossible for tens of thousands of Canadians to vote. Here's hoping a court will stop that.

Oh, and the laugh of the day is on B1. "Province's top earners start to feel tax pinch." We soon learn in the story that the "top earners"  doesn't mean the top earners at all. It means professionals like doctors who are way, way below the real top openers. And they aren't going to feel any pinch.

In sum, even a trivial newspaper like the Moncton Times and Transcript cannot hide the reality that he whole world is facing  problems that are very serious indeed. They need common effort around the world, a common effort made impossible  by our bastard form of capitalism that turns us all against each other.

Indeed, that form of capitalism, along with its servant class of Bachelor of Commerce accountants is what has created the crisis we live in.

We need to stop thinking about money - and start thinking about people.    


  1. I don't know how good your french is, but this guy is also an essential read if you want to know more about the Greek Crisis. I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with him for a short while. Very insightful.

    1. Thanks. I can read French - a lot better than I can write it. And I'm really good at swearing in French.