Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27: And not too late to send me an expensive birthday gift.

Forgive me for I have sinned. Friends told me (how wise they were) to write my column in Word or something similar so I could finish it, then copy it to the blog site - rather than losing it by writing it on the blog site.

Which I just did. And lost it after three hours of writing. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

The day began badly. I was changing for a swim when a stranger in the locker room glared at me, and burst into a tirade about a fired reporter who had murdered another reporter and a camerman - on camera. He seem so upset and so angry at me that I wondered if the story had said I was the killer.

As news this is cheap and worthless, in a class those awful tabs in the supermarket that have headlines like "Royal baby is pregnant! Prince Phillip flees country!" I can only assume people buy that rubbish so they won't have to think. Anyway, it made me eager finish my swim, get home, and read the real news in the Irving press.

Their big story was the lead headline on B1 of the Canada&World News section.  It was  "Fired reporter films himself killing 2 ex-colleagues on television."

Let's get real. 1. a great many people died all over the world yesterday. Some were killed by American bombs. Some starved to death because of a Saudi blockade on food. But they didn't make the news.   2. This happened in Virginia . So what are we supposed to do about it? Refuse to appear on TV if there's an insane gunman on the set?

It's a sad story. But it's utterly of no value to us. There's nothing we can do about it. This isn't "World News".  It's tabloid sensationalism of no use whatever. But it's the big World News story in the Irving press.

If anything, this suggests an editor who has nothing but contempt for the readers. And you can see the same sort of thing on A3. " Guitar and amp repairs are a growing business in Moncton."  "Man jailed for breaking into and trashing home."  "Judge releases man arrested after gun call."

There are a few things worth reading. On A1 is "Job cuts fly in face of recommendations, Provincial Teacher's Association say." This is worth knowing - and it could have used a bit of research by the reporter.  Education in New Brunswick has some bigger problems than other regions. One is the  size of the rural population, a setting that does not encourage intellectual curiosity - thus the high rate of illiteracy.

Then there's poverty because poverty and social class create huge difficulties for learning. A child can be a bozo and still graduate from an 'elite' private school, and then get a good job working for daddy. It's a lot tougher in public schools which don't have as much money as the 'elite' ones. New Brunswick should be spending more, not less, on  its public education and on adult education. It has good teachers - indeed, they're a hell of a lot better than the politicians and the very rich who take far more than they give.

But, oh, we have to cut education - so we can borrow a hundred million for a new hockey rink.

I'm late on this, so we'll start with what's good in the paper. Norbert is solid in a column on climate change, and the need to protect Moncton - something the city council doesn't seem to have thought of. He suggests improvements to drainage of the river, improvements which could avoid a billion and more of flood damage. And they would cost less than a hundred million.

Nah. Our city council thinks big - like over a hundred million for a hockey rink. If there's a flood, we could all go to stand in the rink - unless it floods, too.

There's a good commentary by Gerard Adams (CEO of Worksafe NB) about the dangers of speeding in construction areas

Alec Bruce has one "Our dwindling democracy" that I thought at the start was as distasteful and useless as Rod Allen's column. But I got quite a surprise just over half-way through. I had been fooled by the light, writing style. But that draws the reader in all the way to an important conclusion.
This is a must-read.
But it's getting late and, covered in remorse, I have to finish this. So I'll skip to a very broad summary of what, I think, is happening to the world.

For five hundred years, the western powers, largely at the command of capitalists, has been murdering and looting all over the world. In the process, it has destroyed social structures and cultures and sent whole nations, whole regions, into chaos.

Thus, the rise and fall of communism, the horrors of repeated civil wars (often assisted by the capitalists), the fears for the future. Thus a United States, suffering a poverty and disorder our news media rarely mention, which has to spend more money for 'defence' than all the rest of the world put together, which boasts the largest number of billionaires in the world, but which cannot feed or house millions of its own people. It also, like its victims, is suffering a severe and possibly terminal social breakdown as a result of the lack of interest of the very rich in what happens to it.

Historically, the rich have needed the poor largely to fight their wars that make the rich richer. Thus we sing of the Queen, "Make her victorious, happy and glorious," And we drag in God as in 'God bless America' as a sort of incentive.

Why do we accept this? Currently,   it's done by hatred and fear - as Hitler raised his following. That's the real purpose of our spy services and most of our news media, the latter using loaded language in words such as terrorist when what the terrorists are   doing is no different from what we are doing.

It works. When the bodies of Canadian dead came back from Afghanistan, they were carried along what the press called the 'highway of heroes', and otherwise sensible Canadians lined up to pay a tribute that was really a glorification of war.  Apparently, it never occured to them or to our news media to ask why they had to die. We have since sent more to risk death - and we shall probably risk many more in the near future without asking - "Why?"

Hatred, fear, and an excessive pride of nation has taken us through fifteen years of wars with much more to come. If we really remembered our dead - if we really cared - we would ask why, and ask it before more are killed.

In this process, the nation-state itself is a casualty. In the rush to uncontrolled capitalism, the nation-state is becoming irrelevant.   Free trade deals now are so very free that we are surrendering control of our own nations so that  uncontrolled capitalism can ignore legislation that should protect what is left of our environment, and what is left of our society.

And wen I write what is left of our society, I mean that our cultures - like those of old China, of the Middle East, of Latin America,like those of our native peoples - are being destroyed by an uncontrolled distortion of capitalism. In the U.S., democracy is gone, faith in both Republicans and Democrats is largely gone. and many, many Americans no longer even vote.

Canada is a very different place from the one I grew up in. I was born in depression, but grew up in a Canada that looked with confidence and enthusiasm to an ever better future.  Only a fool could have that confidence in a Harper future.

We now live in a Canada in which big money owns most of our governments, and owns almost all the news media that should be giving us the information we need.

The only reason big money needs the nation-state now is to pay for and to fight its wars. And even that is coming to an end as armies are privatized.

In 500 years of government at the service of a greedy and irresponsible capitalism, we have destroyed almost every culture on earth - including our own. We have created suffering and starvation and civil unrest everywhere in the world. We are about to see serious civil unrest in Europe. If allowed to go on, this will destroy us - and capitalism. But the capitalists who run loose are too greedy to understand that.

There is no point in voting Liberal or Conservative or Republican or Democrat. These parties are all stooges of big money. They have created the suffering and killing that has destablized the whole world.

We have to turn to political parties that really represent us, parties that have a sense of what a future can be for us. I don't know of any federal government in Canadian history that has been such a government. We need to reclaim our own country, and our own destinies.

I don't think the NDP goes far enough, not nearly far enough. But if it did go far enough, it wouldn't get any votes because we have never been encouraged to think of what Canada is and what its future can be, (and the billionaire-owned news media would turn with a vengeance on anyone who dared to question where we are going.

I'm going to vote for the NDP not because I entirely agree with it. I don't entirely agree with it. But it's the closest we can come to planning a future for us rather than for billionaires as the Conservatives and Liberals have been doing for 150 years.

And that's what's    really happening in the world.
And so to bed.

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