Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14: Even as corporate profits reach their highest points in history.....

...some 27%  (at least) of Americans live in poverty. And they have few social services to make it easier to survive. If you find those figures hard to believe, take a stroll some day through the streets of Camden, New Jersey, or Detroit. Wander through the eternal blocks of tenements in New York. For a real treat, do it after dark.

The poor get little social help, do badly in underfunded schools, and can't afford the privatized schools that are now essential to get ahead in the U.S. And, of course, higher education is impossible. This is the United States which goes to war to "spread democracy", the United States which, itself, sold out democracy to the very rich a long time ago. This is the land which now says it will bring freedom to Cuba - the very country in which it crushed freedom many years ago by imposing murderous dictators on it. This, the U.S., is the country that  has crushed freedom throughout Central America, and abused its people (with Canadian help) to make its very rich even richer.

This is not the sort of  world we fought for in World War Two. We, who promised to  spread freedom, equality, democracy have crushed freedom, equality and democracy wherever we have found it. We, in the west, have murdered on a grand scale to please the rich. And all the news we get tells us what good guys we are while others are evil because when we bomb and machine gun and starve them - they have the nerve to shoot back. How very unChristian!

After those years of fighting the Naziis to build a better world, we have become the Naziis. All of this occurred to me as I read the opinion and commentary pages of today's Irving press.

Actually, it started on page 1. In the lead headline, "Gallant blames Harper for provincial job losses".
That's bloody ridiculous. Harper doesn't run this country. He's a hired hand (and, I expect) one who will have a magnificent, if unofficial, retirement plan. Big money runs this country. Harper is just a well trained dog for big money.  The same is true of Gallant.

It's no secret that the person who runs the New Brunswick economy is JDIrving.  He said so himself with a column in this very newspaper. This is his province, not yours. If the economy is running down, we need a headline saying "Irving destroys provincial economy". But nobody in the Irving press has the integrity to do that.

As a regular feature of its ass-kissing, the first page has, at the bottom, a news story that isn't a news story. "Green light for events centre heralds 'new growth for city." That's not a news story. A news story is based on evidence. This isn't. It's simply an opinion. And the Irving press has never printed a story that raised questions about the events centre.  Never once. Quite obviously, someone of great influence is behind this scheme to make everybody else pay for what he wants.

The only item of interest in section A news is an ad for the Irving Memorial Chapel. It always brings a tear to my eye. I feel the presence of God whenever I see the name Irving. It would be interesting to have an Irving Sunday for all churches in which we study the intense religious beliefs of the Irvings as revealed in their daily lives and work. And we could rent a real, high class Rev. Dr. for that. With special music.
The  editorial (Surprise!) is about the events centre - and the editorial writer supports it. Kiss-kiss.
(Ii hope the editorial writer is wearing knee pads.)  Oh, and he offers a shrewd advice. We should make sure the centre has what it needs to put on events. Boy! Who woulda thunk it?

Then came Norbert, the one who got me all annoyed from the start. He delivers an attack on social programmes saying we can't afford them. Now - we can afford to charge the very rich very, very low taxes. And we can afford to let the very very rich hide even that from us. We can afford a hundred million dollar (plus) 'events' centre.

But you have to stop somewhere. And a good place to start that 'stopping' is medicare. In this, as in other cases, he pulls out the old, depression days argument that social programmes like medicare cost a lot.Yes, they do. So does private medical care. In fact, it costs far, far more than our medicare does.
And Norbert, if you close your eyes and think really hard, you'll realize that all medical care has to be paid for by us. So doesn't it make sense to choose the cheaper form? Or do you prefer to watch people die?

He says that politicians always oversell social programmes (how unlike, how very unlike  what the Irving press has done with the events centre). And he says they always underestimate the cost of social programmes. But he doesn't give us a single example.

Yes, social services cost money.They generally cost less than private services They also provide us with a population that is intelligent, mature, secure, and  generally lives longer and more productively than past societies. Yes, they call for more taxes. But they also mean that we pay less than we would without those services.

And, Norbert, a society is not a business. You want to know what's really expensive?  Okay giving a forest away to a billionaire is expensive We get very little back from that.  Letting billionaires out of taxes. And that, by the way, is our money that comes out of our taxes. Interest-free loans
 and grants  Yes, and other handouts - those cost us money.

And there's a double consolation. to social programmes. We make this, intellectually,  physically and socially a much healthier province.Think about it Norbert. Without social services you would be an unwashed peasant of the middle ages, producing food for the Lord, and quarrying stone for his castle -with nothing for you but the hungry cries of  your children - and death by age of 40..

Anyway, I know an alternative way to phrase this..

Try this for a column. "How much are New  Brunswickers willing to pay for a family that pays almost no taxes and which constantly demands expensive handouts?"

As for commentaries, they're mostly from people who noses are firmly stuck in their own bellybuttons.. The exception is Justin Ryan who broadens our understanding of other cultures, this one African.

Alec Bruce?  He has nothing to say. And even he must know that some of it is nonsense. Again, it's a kiss-up for the  events centre in which he assures us it will pay for itself in fifteen years, and then mass profit for years after. It is, he says, inarguable.

1. That is no such thing as inarguable.
2' If such a centre were to be profitable, the wealthy of this province would never let us get close to it.

We can't afford to feed the humgry.  We can't afford to have medical care. We can't afford to house people decently. But we can afford a hundred million (and more) of our limited tax money for an events centre which will feature great music by unwashed guys wearing outfits that have lights all over them, lights flickering all over the hall, and a drummer who hits the drum with monotonous regularity while the  singers chant  Hoo Ya   Ya Hoo.

So sectioin A is mostly a feast of crapola.

Section B is worse. World news is scattered, and mixed with local news. And it's just a bland mix with no story properly explained it. The result is it's pretty useless for anyone who wants to understand it.

B3 has a decent story on how CSIS spied on people opposed to oil pipelines. Are they afraid those people might use pipelines to smuggle terrorists into Canada, and force Mr. Harper to hide in a closet again? No. There are people who think pipelines are dangerous and are critical about them

After all, we  were once allowed to express opinions and to protext. But no longer. It you protest now, we have an army of professional spies to watch you, built a secret file on you, and then pay the very high  costs of storing that information. So now Harper knows the name of everybody who disagrees with him. And the testimony of the spies is kept secret. Seig Heil, Harper!

Oh, by the way, Norbgert, this is all done on huge sums of taxpayers money that we aren't told about. Well, at least it's not wastest on the sick or on  education.

And, for the big story on whether oil pipelines are safe, we get the latest flash from a collection of hacks, ideologues and liars who are sponsored by  by big money - The Fraser Institute. Oh, oh, pipelines are perfectly safe. So you can just forget about that one that spilled huge quantities for over a day until it was noticed.      

This is on B4. Below it is the story about how experts want the oil sands project to close down. But Harper and the oil industry want it to go on until it is exhausted - about 237 years from now.  So much for reducing greenhouse gasses.    

That's a pretty good example of the greed and stupidity of the leadership of the Conservative party, and of big business in this country.
___________________________________________________________________________________By the way , Norbert, the U.S. is in debt for some 200 trillion  dollars. That is far, far worse than Greece And I can assure you this is not money that has been spent on social programmes. No. It's been spent on political and economic corruption (on a much larger scale than New Brunswick.)    And it's being spent on the biggest military spending in the U.S. - and all of that to nail down the control of the world's oil supply for the benefit of the world's richest people. - and now, to rule the world.

It's not in the paper. But today's news is that Harper intends to ignore all warnings about fossil fuels. He is going to ignore all the danger signs in our environment. And he has wealthy Canadian and American backing to do that.

As well, the U.S. has  to expand its almost record spending on graft, corruption and military spending so it can invade Russia and China.. Only in that way can it cancel its debt. Only in that way can it avoid the greatest of economic crashes. The cost, even if it should succeed in its plan, would be millions of lives, more likely billions and most likely all lives.

And, as even Norbert might agree, it might be wiser not  to live under a leadership so clearly based in greed and ignorance.

Check out the Irving Chapel on Sunday. See what it has to say about this issues.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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