Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31: The good part is.... doesn't take long read a newspaper of the Irving press.

The headline this time is, though, a real one. "Moncton ExxonMobil jobs at risk" And they are. ExxonMobil is moving some, perhaps most, maybe all of the jobs at its world call centre to India.  Gee! But haven't we been told that unregulated capitalism creates wealth for all of us?

It doesn't, of course. It never  has. And it never will. ExxonMobil is moving because having a call centre in India is cheaper. Result? More profit for ExxonMobil. Fewer jobs for us. That sums up the meaning of the British Empire, the Spanish Empire,  the French Empire, the Dutch empire, and the American Empire. Everywhere they have gone they have created death, destruction, poverty, starvation... Take a look at Congo which has been controlled by unregulated capitalism for almost a hundred and fifty years. Look at most of the rest of Africa. Look at Central America. At Haiti.

Unregulated capitalism does not create wealth for us. It never has. It creates
wealth only for unregulated capitalists. That is all it is designed to do. Even in the days of empire, the common folk got very little of the loot. Almost all of it went to the very rich.

Contrary to myth, large numbers of Canadians up to the Second World War lived in poverty. That''s why our larger cities still have some pretty dreadful districts, designed for the poor over a century ago.  Our years of prosperity didn't come from corporation;;  They came from governments controls on business, and they came from  unions. It was unions, not capitalists like Henry Ford, that forced better pay and benefits from corporate exploiters. But Reagan and Thatcher and the despicable Brian Mulroney soon fixed that with deals like free trade - and like the China trade deal that Harper has shaped  to please his corporate owners.

With free trade, they can now, like Exxon-Mobil, get cheaper labour abroad - and spread poverty and destruction abroad just like they did with Latin American and Africa. And that's the corporation answer to the problem of the wage gap - make it bigger. In our time they've been doing it for over thirty years now. The rich are getting a lot richer - and at our expense. That's true in both Canada and the U.S. - though news media in both countries avoid the subject.

Can we reverse this? Some countries have made steps in that direction. The Scandinavian countries and Germany and Switzerland have left us North Americans a century behind them. All have far, far better medicare plans that Canada does - plans that include medication, glasses, hearing aids and more.  Some can afford excellent education systems that are free all the way through universities.
And, far from attacking unions, Germany includes unions on corporation  boards of directors to make up half of the boards. And they include workers at all levels. And German business is doing very well, indeed.

Can it be done here----peacefully?  I don't know. That something I'll save for tomorrow's blog.

Then there's a story that's a warning that a ban on fracking could raise our natural gas prices. Well, of course that's an important, front-page story. The Irving press never has a story critical of fracking. Never, ever, ever. But this story comes from The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. And we can trust it because its advertised itself as an 'Independent Think Tank". And the Board of Directors - oh - it is to die. It is entirely composed of ordinary people just like you and me who happen to be corporation executives. So we can be sure they only want what's best for us.

 A4 has the fast-breaking story that scooters are still popular. That important story takes up much of the page.

Then there's a heart-warming story of how a Moncton firm called TRC Hydraulics, like all capitalist enterprises a company owned by entrepreneurs who risk their own money to make us rich, has just been given a gift from Ottawa of over $650,000 dollars of our tax money. Way to take risks, baby!

Oh, don't miss the ad for the Irving Memorial Chapel. Yet again, it has 'special' music. I'm not sure what 'special' music is. With luck, it might be the minister farting tunes from the hit parade of hymns.

The editorial is a confused one on a topic few will care about. Almost unintelligible, it seems to start on one side, switch to the other, then conclude that something must be done. Somebody should have put a cold pack on the editor writer's head, and sent him home.

Norbert has a column on the lack of ethics of the porn industry. Well, yeah. But what we could use is a column of the lack ethics on the part of our corporation bosses who do more damage to us, much more, than the porn industry does.

In Commentary, Dale Hobson has a nice column about our hospitals. And that's, well, nice. But aren't there more urgent issues to deal with? How did Justin Bourgue get a gun? How come the police had no record of it? How come Irving is paying hush money to Lac Megantic? What happened to the Oland murder mystery? Who, exactly, is behind the push for a hundred million dollar hockey rink? How come we can afford that, but not afford to feed the hungry or house the homeless? Or even to maintain our school system on a   level higher than eighteenth or nineteenth for the industrialized world? Why doesn't somebody on this paper tell us about the poverty , misery, and death that our mining share holders are imposing in Latin American and Congo? And maybe somebody could explain why our pilots are killing people in Syria, and why we have soldiers in Ukraine.

Justin Ryan's column has a point, I'm sure. But I'm damned if I know what it is.

Alec Bruce's column seems to be - well - I don't know.....It's about capitalists, but uses both capitalist and entrepreneur in a way to suggest that the two words have different meanings.

He seems to worry that capitalists (or entrepreneurs) are not as prominent in our political parties as they used  to be.  But, hey, what do I know? I'm only a Canadian historian.

Entrepreneurs (or capitalists - whatever) have always been the major figures behind the Liberals and the Conservatives.However, an entrepreneur prime minister is not common. But that's because entrepreneurs (or capitalists) hire flunkies for that - Like John A Macdonald. For a time,  he was both prime minister of Canada and CEO of Manufacturer's Life  - and saw no conflict of interest at all. Charles Tupper was briefly prime minister who liked girls. (He was known as the Cumberland Ram.)  And he was a sort of entrepreneur as a doctor. But he seldom practiced that trade. He made his money by accepting bribes from real capitalists.

I really don't see the point of Bruce's commentary. Nor do I see why we should lust after having more capitalists (or entrepreneurs)  in political office. Following his logic, does Bruce really consider a Donald Trump to be a great advance for American democracy?

Section A is dreadfully limp stuff.
Section B is worse.

B1 has a story about the bargaining for the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. It leaves us as ignorant about that deal as we always have been. It dresses up protection of Canada's dairy industry as a major point. Actually, the major point is one Canada has already agreed to but isn't talking bout - the rapid destruction of our environment and the loss of political control of our own country. It's our turn to be Central America.

I was not pleased, on the same page, with Tom Mulcair saying nice things about Energy East. The biggest threat facing the whole world is climate change. Some day, we are going to have to deal with reality. And schemes like Energy East put off facing that reality until it's too late.  Climate change is either happening or it isn't. If it isn't, then we should see a column in this paper saying it isn't, and explaining the confusion. If it is happening, then we CANNOT allow any develpment, not any, of the fossil fuel industry. It's one or the other.

Most of Section B is just trivial. For example, B6 tells us that a man attacked a Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. It also tells us the young man who shot people in a Colorado movie theatre used to be a happy boy.

That's it for a whole page.

The only story of note in on B7 "Turkey Military onslaught against Kurds raises anger". Too bad it doesn't really tell much. So here's a bit more.

The Kurds are a nation without a country. Most live in Turkey and Iraq and Syria - though some Kurd regions in Iraq have some independence. They want their own country. That would require land.

The U.S. has been supporting the Kurds because they have been the most effective fighters in the war against ISIS.  (It also lists some of them as terrorist but, hey, who isn't a terrorist these days?)

Turkey is attacking Kurds a) because it is determined not to allow them any independence and b) they could become a political force in Turkey. There's nothing sentimental about this.

The U.S. is letting Turkey kill the Kurds because it needs Turkey more than it needs the Kurds.

Much of the mess was created in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the western powers built new countries and destroyed old ones simply by drawing new maps so each could get a split of  the loot. Now, the U.S. is doing it again.

Oh, they do  have a story about the Canadian journalist in Eqypt who was arrested as a foreign agent in a trial that the whole world recognized as a farce. Every country, including Canada and the U.S., has recognized it was a farce - but the journalist still faces death or long imprisonment. It looks very much as though the journalist was arrested for telling the truth. The government of Egypt is a dictatorship run by the army.

Why is it a dictatorship?

Well, Egypt did have a democratically elected government. But the U.S. didn't like it. So it set up the Egyptian army to take over. Well, reasonable enough. The U.S. supports democracy all over the world. But it's got to be a democracy just like the U.S. - a democracy owned by the rich.

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