Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8:Man uses gun to kidnap girlfriend for sex game...

It looks like the kind of mental bubble gum you read in those tabloids at the supermarket. - as in "Lady Camilla having affair with Muslim preacher". But it's the big story of the day for the Times and Transcript.

The more important story is  lower on A1. "Health system unsustainable says council". What council? Is it noted? reputable? highly respected? Damned if I know. The site for the council contains mostly the clumsily overdone jargon of a cheap shill.  So I checked a list of the council's board. It did not seem to me to be a board much qualified to oversee and judge a provincial health system. In fact, their citations seemed to suggest that this is a bunch of people who have made careers sitting on boards that are very, very political and obedient. Nor was the list of researchers impressive since it didn't mention their qualifications and backgrounds at all.

Nor was any attempt made to find out if anyone was critical of the council's report.

It does say that the council is independent. Which means nothing. Independent of whom? Technically, the Fraser Institute is independent. But most people know it's really a front for big business.

But spare a moment for the closing paragraph. It's a long and cumbersome sentence impressive with its jargon and adjectives. But it's actually meaningless. Looks to me like the old travelling medicine show preaching its hokum.

And I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Moncton private business, with the help of the Liberals and Conservatives is on a campaign to privatize large chunks of health care. Just on a hunch, I would guess the New Brunswick Health Council is a collection of toadies for big business. And this 'news' story is the paper's way of kissing the boss' rear end.

The editorial page cartoon is, to put it gently, brainless. The theme is that the rich are leaving New Brunswick because their taxes here are too high. Would that they were. The really rich seem to pay very little in taxes. The lower class rich theoretically pay more than the poor. But we don't know what they actually pay.

This cartoon reflects some pretty feeble thinking. First, the obvious message is that we should really hammer the poor who can barely live week to week. And, oh, my goodness, what will we do if the rich people leave? Well, for a start, they won't. But if they did leave? The cartoonist must be a person. who can't sleep because he's worrying about what we'll do when the mosquito season ends.

The editorial, again, is about money rather than people. And once again, it's a scheme for money that will go mostly to the already rich.

Norbert, on immigration is well worth a read.

Brian Cormier, as usual, tells a boring story about himself. Above it is a photo that takes the same space as his column. It's a picture of a muffin. Whoopee! Well, it's cheaper than paying somebody to fill that space with an intelligent column.

Then we hit the bottom of the page with yet another far-right column from The Fraser Institute in favour of corporate greed. It's possible the writer is as dumb as he sounds. But I don't think he's that dumb. I think he's just a corporate liar.

For a start, free trade does not create prosperity - except for the super rich. Free trade enabled Ford and other auto industries to move out of Detroit, and leave behind a city of ruins, despair, and violence. Nor did they create prosperity where they moved to because free trade allowed them to move to countries where they could pay dirt wages with poor if any benefits, avoid even more taxes, and call in the police or the army to shoot anybody who complained.  The same is true, even truer, of mining, clothing, and other industries.

Enjoy your new T shirt from Joe. It's cheap because it was made by women in third world countries who have to accept long hours at very low pay, and have to work in very cheap and dangerous buildings that been known to collapse on them or to burn them to death. (Mind  you, that was also common here well into the 1940s. In the great depression, women in the poor districts of Montreal worked at home to sew shirts for the T. Eaton stores for a dollar or two a day. Funny how few history book mention the dreadul conditions for working class Canadians and Americans thoughout most of their national histories.)

As for protectionism in tariffs, Canadian  big business, far from  free trade,  screamed for high tariffs  for the better part of our history. And, contrary to what the author hints, the great depression was NOT caused by tariffs. It was caused by the greed of the very rich.

 Canada and US capitalists both wanted tariffs because they couldn't compete with foreign goods. Creating jobs had nothing to do with it. They don't want tariffs now because generous free trade rules allow them to close down expensive businesses here, and to exploit some of the poorest countries in the world.

The U.S. civil war was not fought to end slavery. The South wanted to separate because it didn't want tariffs because it was agricultural (an exporter of cotton), and tariffs would force them to buy overpriced northern manufactured goods. Lincoln went to war to force the south to remain an American market. Nobody cared about the slaves. And the north accepted them only as the cheapest of labourers.

Neither protectionism nor free trade have anything to do with creating jobs because creating jobs is not what capitalism is about. Capitalism is about making as much money as possible using the least and the cheapest possible labour. That's all it's about. And, whether as protection or free trade, it brought some prosperity from, perhaps 1940 to 1990 or so. But that was ONLY because it had some regulation from government. Now, free trade has largely destroyed that regulation.

Meanwhile, for most of the past 500 years, capitalism has slaughtered millions, enslaved millions, exploited them - and has directed almost all the proceeds to its very rich. At the height of western empires, the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese people were poor. There was the sort of wage gap we are watching now, but bigger. The history of capitalism has not been a history of growing wealth. It's largely a history of shattering whole societies and civilizations, of greed, of murder, and imposed poverty.

"Protectionism of free trade: which creates more jobs."  isn't a commentary at all. It's cheap and obvious propaganda and lying.

As for Alec Bruce's column, some British reporter said something nice about Moncton, and Bruce just about wet his pants. This is really a shallow and lightweight column.
B1 has a big story about Trudeau criticizing the Conservatives for neglecting water supply to a native reserve.  For a start, Justin, that's a pretty small gesture to respond to the massive implications of the  Reconciliation report. And I cannot remember any Liberal government in Canadian history doing anything to help native peoples. So fixing the water supply on one reserve is scarcely even a start on dealing with the problems.

But the Liberals and the Conservatives are not likely to do much for native peoples, not either of them. Both depend on massive support from the very rich. And the very rich don't want native peoples to have more control over their own lives because that might interfere with really important things like pipelines and mines.
World news is almost non-existent in the Irving press. Even the report of the Pope's day in Equador is pure trivia. That's too bad, because the Pope has been saying some pretty important things. Below is a sample:
So when will this chaos in the world stop - the killing, the refugees, the starvation, the horror....?

The answer is it's not going to.

It began over 70 years ago with the collapse of all the western empires - except the American empire. (Of course, the American empire was never called an empire because America was the land of freedom, the one that invented democracy. Right? But there really was (and is) a  huge American empire in much of South America and even some in the Pacific.

The US entered World War 2 with the intention of grabbing the European empires as they fell. That's why they ordered Britain not to retake Hong Kong. The US wanted it for one of its puppets. (but Britain defied it, and did retake Hong Kong.) Worse, the old European colonies like China and Vietnam, had no intention of kicking out European capitalists in order to accept American ones.

The US was able to hang on to influence in South Korea - and for years after the Korean War, it made sure of that by maintaining a dictator in South Korea. And it slapped down the British and French when they attempted to take back the Suez Canal. US business intended to take over the Middle East and Africa for itself. In the same period, it overthrew the Iran government to install a  puppet dictator. And when Iran got rid of the dictator, it paid Saddam Hussein to fight a long and bloody war against Iran.

(Almost none of this appeared in our news  media.)

The purpose was economic dominance. U.S. big business wanted to rule the world - for personal profit. Meanwhile, though, it was distracted by its need to get absolute control of the U.S. government. They needed its military, and they needed to get rid of silly little rules that prevented them from getting as much money as they wanted. The turning point in that fight came with Reagan, Thatcher, and Mulroney.  Big business was freed. Indeed, the American constitution was even altered so that freedom meant freedom for corporations - as corporations were declared to be people.

You'll still see echoes of this in the press as though the word liberty really meant freedom for the rich and powerful at the time of the American revolution.  (And, in fact, that is what the American revolution was about. Rights for ordinary humans had very little to do with it. That's why all kinds of laws are now passed in the US and in Canada taking rights away from ordinary people while, at the same time, expanding the rights of the wealthy in the corporate world. The government might - and probably does - spy on you. It doesn't spy on the very rich. Nor are riot police called out to stop the very rich from doing whatever they want to do.)

Democracy is long gone in the U.S. It's gone because the American people only know the propaganda they get from thoroughly corrupt and dishonest news media. It's  gone because only those with the financial support of the very rich can get elected. It's gone because news media have driven Americans to an almost psychiatric state of  fear and hatred. Democracy in Canada and most of Europe is largely a fiction. In the US, it's already reached farce with Donald Trump not only in the run for a party leadership, but actually in second place after just a few, hopelessly crude and ignorant speeches - mostly about the importance of hatred..

The wars of the U.S. in Africa now are repeats of the wars Europe fought there in the 19th and 20th centuries to divide and break societies by killing and by redrawing borders, all for the benefit of multinational resource companies.   That's why there are tens of millions of refugees, tens of millions starving, uncounted orphans.... And the wars will not stop , partly because American big business needs the killing to boost the hatreds that make us blind - and partly because it's great for one of the few businesses still thriving in the US, the war industries.

President Eisenhower, when he was president, warned this would happen - though I doubt whether he could have imagined the scale of it.

The U.S. has been at war nonstop for close to eighty years. Actually, if you count all the invasions, coups, and murders in Latin America, it's been at war for more like 150 years. Most of them have been in violation of international law and international agreements.  Indeed, most of them have been little mentioned in our news media. What gives the U.S. a special right to kill people in any country with drones? What right did it have to kill over a million in Iraq - one of the countries, incidentally, whose borders have been redrawn. What right to kill many millions more, especially in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Libya, Guatemala, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen......

It is now determined to kill even more in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Russia....almost certainly at the risk of nuclear war (and wars) - and all for the rich to get richer. Nothing else.

To paraphrase an old saying, "Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make rich."

We are taught to hate those we murder and torture. We are taught that they are evil. So we have to give up democracy to fight them. The reality is that we are targets of the very rich just as much as those we are killing. (Our very rich never hated Hitler or Mussolini.  Indeed, most of them admired Hitler's Nazism and Mussolini's fascism. I shall never forget a column in the Times and Transcript in which one of our most revered names wrote what was (probably unwittingly) support for a fascist system in New Brunswick.

The world has changed enormously in just a few generations. And now the patients are running the asylum. I think of the day World War Two ended.

I was sent  home from school that day because I was late. My mother, to my surprise, didn't scold me. She took me to downtown Montreal for the biggest and wildest celebration I had ever seen. The war was over. My father would be coming home.

All the store windows had wonderful signs - the war was over. The  "boys" were coming home. One side looked really good. "We've won the war," it said. I liked that. So I read it again. "We've won the war" - and then another bit, "Now, we've got to win the peace."  

That puzzled me. I mean, if we won the war, then we must have won the peace.

Now, when I think of that, I think of the grinning boys from my father's senior scout troop who came by our house to say goodbye as they left for training - I think of Leslie Bibewell who went down when his ship was torpedoed, of Jackie Danielson, a very big but retarded kid who jumped up just over the German border, days before the end of the war, when he was cut down by a machine-gun.
A family friend who was with him said, "craziest thing. He was cryin'. It was his first action. And he was cryin'.  And screamin' for his mother."

Bertie, who couldn't read, and who played with me because I was closer to his mental age,
 was sixteen.

And we lost the peace. We lost it because of the insatiable greed of that distortion we call capitalism. We lost it because most of our news media, owned by the same greedy people who control what they call capitalism, became liars and propagandists. They, with our help, betrayed everything we claim our veterans' risked their lives for.

And there's worse to come. Much worse.

But you won't read much about it in the Irving press.


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