Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21: Be still, my heart....

The front page of the TandT is always something pithy and stirring. Today, Irving reporters asked the tough question of Justin Trudeau. Will he ask for help from premier Gallant in the campaign. And Trudeau wouldn't say anything. Wow! The news doesn't get any hotter than that.

Then, oh, be still my heart, our deputy mayor says we should have a 'sidewalk of stars' for eminent citizens. Great idea! And I know where there's a star available for immediate use. The Bill Cosby star in Hollywood will soon be on the market. Toss in worthies like, oh, the deputy mayor, the president of the chamber of commerce, everybody named Irving, and all that with the new hockey rink, will make Moncton the hub of tourism for the world.

The only story on the front page that IS a story is one about student university and college debt. It's true that the U.S. is even worse. There, people of retirement age are going bankrupt because they're still paying for student loans. It took me a dozen years to pay mine, and I worked during most of        those schools years, and had scholarships for the last four of them. On balance, I lost money by going to graduate school.

There is something very, very wrong with our handling of education: and there's something wrong with our economic system.  Countries poorer than Canada and the U.S. offer education free.  Tiny Cuba,through half a century of American sanctions designed  to   impoverish it, offers free education from kindergarten to Ph.D.

But that's the difference between an economic system designed to meet the needs of society - and one designed to enrich billionaires at the expense of everyone else.

The rest of section A news ( like most of the first page) is trivia.
The editorial is even more distasteful than usual. It's a fee ad for a new lending company in town. Whoever this editorial writer is, he seems to have no knowledge of anything.

Norbert contributes a thought-provoking column - which is what an opinion column is supposed to do. He doesn't like ideologies - but I suspect that's because he isn't clear on what ideology means. It's a system of thinking and planning. Some ideologies don't work. Some do. But to have any intelligent political and economic system, you need some ideology on which to base your thinking - a sense of priorities, a sense of values.

As for conservatism, it has never really existed in Canada. Roughly, it is an ideology that sees all people a part of a community based on planned development to benefit all. I suppose the closest thing to conservative in Canada is the NDP.

John A. never called himself a Conservative (and he wasn't one.) He called  himself a Liberal-Conservative. But that meant nothing, either, because he was really a stoolie for big business - just like almost all the premiers of New Brunswick. Diefenbaker had some elements of conservatism about him. Brian Mulroney had no ideology at all. He was simply a con artist out for himself - and a thief.

A liberal is one who puts the emphasis on personal freedom. Until a hundred and twenty-five years ago, the Liberal party was liberal, but only in the sense that it wanted the rich to be free. And that's what makes it pretty much like the Conservative Party.

The NDP began (as the CCF) as a combination of elements of liberal and conservative ideology, and with a strong sense of religious (Christian) ideology.

The column says that Liberals and leftists lose touch with existing social realities? Are you serious, Norbert? Do you really believe that Harper is in touch with existing realities? In fact, very few people in any party are in touch with existing realities.

The realities of today are that the wealthy pretty much rule the world. They own the governments. They become richer by imposing poverty on most of the world. They destroy our rights. They create wars to get richer. And they have driven people to a frenzy by the constant emphasis on hatred and violence and fear created by the newspapers they own.

I"m not criticizing Norbert, here. He's thought-provoking in this column. And he provoked me to think. Good for him. That's what an opinion column should do.

Oh, it's true that the early Liberals of Canada were for free trade - but  that had nothing to do with ideology. They wanted free trade because it was cheaper and more profitable for them. But - as industrialization picked up and Canada developed companies like Massey (manufacturing agricultural machinery like tractors), Canadian manufacturers  couldn't compete with cheaper American products - so the Liberal party changed its tune to oppose free trade. . It wasn't ideology. It was money.                                                                                                                    

Alan Cochrane contributes to the stimulating debate over "should old railway cars be used in paintball games? " So much for keeping us in touch with social realities.

Gwynne Dyer's column is an important one. It's about the slump of the Chinese economy, and the impact it's having on daily   life in China. He hints at the most important part of this story - but stops at the hint..

Hardship in China could lead to civil unrest, even revolution. And why should we care?

Well, it is no secret that the U.S. wealthy want control of China. They've wanted it for over a century.  Nor is it any secret that the U.S. has been building a wall of weapons, including nuclear ones, around China. Nor is it a secret that Japan has been encouraged to re-arm for a war - with China.

The very wealthy in the U.S. might well decide that it's now or never to take on China. (No. that's not an ideology. That's just greed.)

Today's replacement for Alec Bruce is interesting. It takes a quite un-ideological look at what is happening in Greece. It's a look that pays no attention to the morality (or lack of it) shown by international bankers. But, from a purely practical point of view, it argues that if  Greece were to (quite possibly) leave the European Union, the effect would be felt all over the world - even in metro Moncton.

Yes, what happens all over the world happens to us. That's why we should pay attention to it. And that's why a real newspaper would pay more attention to the rest of the world.
In Canada&World, Canada's Energy Minister, Greg Mitford, says Canada must increase its  exports of oil. Yep. Gotta get more oil burned up in this world. It creates jobs for quite a few, and vast fortunes for a very tiny number who sometimes give back a little bit of money for something named after themselves. And don't worry about climate change. That's just a bunch of freaks and fanatics. Canada, one of the world's worst polluters, and a world leader in doing nothing about it, wants to sell even more oil. Hey! Who do you trust? A foreign-looking guy like Suzuki? Or a real Canadian like Stephen Harper?

Throughout history, we have known greed. Greed isn't an ideology. It's something worse, rather like a mental illness. Greed creates  stupidity. And it's stupidity that destroys.

Oh, B3 has the story that this year is breaking global heat records. Don't  worry. Mr. Harper and Mr. Irving will soon set an even high record.

So we do have to face an ideological issue. What is more important to us? Profits for the very rich? Or human life?

On B3, the Canadian Senate  (a body of grunting hogs and thieves) wants to control CBC funding (by cutting it), and wants to explore means of privatizing it. CBC is the only honest and competent news source we have in this country. They want to destroy it. And I doubt very much that this idea came from the Senate. It came from Harper. He's wanted this for a long time. He wants CBC to be something like the Irving press because the Irvings are his kind of people.

B4 has a full page of smiling groups holding up cheques for scholarships, for mattresses for veterans - all good causes, but for needs that should not have to depend on charity. If we are proud of those who do this work, we should have contempt for our society that makes such charity necessary.

Tell you what, Mr. Gallant, next time Mr. Irving asks for a handout from our tax money (or another Irving wants a hundred million dollar hockey rink), tell them to hold a cookie sale.

The last page of B has a story about the situation in Greece. It's a story that anyone who reads Canadian history of the 1930s or who reads the Irving opinion columns on the question of New Brunswick's debt, already knows.

Greece has been placed in deep trouble by corrupt governments and their billionaire friends in Greece and in banking. Now, the corrupt and the wealthy run free with their stolen money; but the rest of the Greeks have to pay.

That sort of thing is exactly what happened in the great depression of the 1930s and, just as today, the news media owned by the rich, screamed their message that everybody but the rich had to pay. In consequence, the rich could cut salaries, make vacations unpaid and working hours longer, cancel pensions - and get very much richer as everybody else got poorer.

It's always like that in Central America and in much of Asia and Africa. And people who protest get beaten up by the police and put in jail. (I have never even heard of big business executive or owner) being beaten up by police or jailed for the human misery they create.
There is no news that the UK government is now breaking the law by bombing Syria - Syria has never attacked the UK and that's supposed to be a requirement for going to war. There's still not a word about our pilots bombing Syria and Iraq (also illegal under international law).

There's not a word about the continuing slaughter of the people of Yemen (among the poorest in the world) by Saudi Arabia (the richest in the world.) Nor is that war legal since Yemen has never attacked Saudi Arabia. Nor is there a word about the continuing and daily slaughter of people in many countries by U.S. drones. (This, too, is illegal since the U.S. a)has not been attacked by the people it's killing and b)the U.S. has never declared war. How's that for a democracy in which the people rule?)
I'm no longer astonished by how much our news media lie to us. But I am astonished at how we react to what should be terrible news. It reminds me of an old and not very good joke.

News flash - 650 Turks killed in train crash said the Moncton radio station. "Oh", said the people of Moncton, "the poor man."

Us humans are like that.

When thousands of Americans were killed on the day of 9/11, Canadians immediately offered help and sympathy. Many Canadian churches held special services of mourning.

Then the U.S. murdered way over a million people in Iraq. They had nothing to do with 9/11. The evidence is clear. Blair and Bush lied, and used the lies for a mass murder. And, of course, Saddam Hussein was tried and hanged for war crimes.

But I never even heard of a church service mourning or offering prayers for all those murdered men, women and children. And the mass murderers, Blair and Bush,  have never been arrested for war crimes. And both attend church regularly. Jesus wants them, I guess, for sunbeams.

The U.S. murdered uncounted millions, most civilians, in Vietnam. They died because they wouldn't accept U.S. capitalism. Stephen Harper proposes a huge memorial to victims of communism. Can you imagine him proposing a memorial to the victims of capitalism?

And I cannot recall Canada ever doing anything to help U.S. victims in Vietnam. Nor did any church sponsor a pancake breakfast with prayers for those who were murdered in that war.

The U.S. was complicit in the murder of something in the range of a quarter million people in Guatemala. Among the dead were Roman Catholic priests, nuns, laymen....One of them was from this province. Did any Roman Catholic church in the province have a memorial service for all those who were murdered?  Was sympathy expressed in the Irving press? Was it even mentioned?

Us humans live in an imaginary world, not at all like the real one.We believe that 'we' are good, and that 'they' (Russians, Chinese,, Muslims) are evil. And, I   guess that Russians, Chinese, Muslims feel that "they' are good and "we" are evil.

That is something that Norbert would call a "social reality". So it is, but my ideology tells me that sometimes we have to change social realities.

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