Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sept. 8: Trivial news; trivial election

Federal elections are almost always fought on trivialities In the U.S., Trump is a big challenge just milking the relatively minor issue of Mexicans crossing the border. This is a man running for president of a country whose standards of living are in rapid decline, whose society is showing very dangerous signs of breakdown, whose education system is a mess, whose system of democracy died a long time ago, killed by the big money that runs whoever gets elected. This is the country with the biggest debt in history largely because of lavish and very, very corrupt war spending. This is a country whose aggressions have placed the world on the brink of the biggest and probably last war for this planet. But millions of Americans are eager to vote on the issue of building a wall to keep Mexicans out.

Front page news in the Irving press as a big election issue is a causeway replacement for the Petitcodiac river. Haof of A3 is a big story that Trudeau says electing him would be good for New Brunswick. (I know of no occasion when Trudeau of any other prime ministerial candidate in the whole history of Canada said he would be bad for New Brunswick.)

We're fighting it on a promise to give money to museums, to reduce taxes for select groups, perhaps to offer a tax break for people who adopt sick kittens.

The hot election news in Canada&World is that Harper blames Nigel Wright for the Duffy scandal. And two Conservative candidates are dropping out because of questionable behaviour on the internet. Compared to us, Trump's building of a wall seems important.

We should – but never do – vote in response to the two questions that count.

1. Which parties are honest? Hint. It's not the Conservatives and the Liberals. We should know this from one hundred and fifty years of Canadian history. John A. was a front man for the very wealthy. He was also, like Mulroney, personally on the take. A certain Conservative named Sir Charles Tupper was notorious, even in the Conservative party for his corruption. Both Liberals and Conservatives have always depended on the gifts of the wealthy to win elections. Harper certainly does. That's why he called a long campaign – because he has the most money to fight a long campaign.

The only prime minister to break that tradition was Conservative R.B. Bennett (of New Brunswick). He was the only one (if a late convert) to care about the wellbeing of the Canadian people and to turn his back on big business. And it cost him.

There are only two parties in this election that have a record of honesty – the Greens and the NDP.

2. Then there's the philosophy of the party. Why does it want to be in power? What principles does it bring to us?

If the Liberals or the Conservatives have any principles that have to do with concern for the people, they have well hidden them. That, by the way, is reflected in the pages of the Irving press. It talks constantly about money, almost never about social needs. The only people it's concerned about are the very rich – and it is never, never, never critical of them. Nor will if ever mention the very rich and their role in creating our provincial debt. Nope. Make the poor pay.

The Greens are concerned about people, and what will soon happen to them in a world being destroyed by the very rich.

The NDP originated from a church movement called the Social Gospel. Two of its early leaders were clergymen.
But neither the Greens nor the NDP can get big, fat campaign budgets from the very rich.

Principles and honesty are the biggest issues in an election. But the news media never talk about that. And that's because the Liberals and Conservatives don't have any principles or honesty to talk about. They never have had. Read some history.

The lead headline is, yet again, the AC/DC concert. A3 has the big news that New Brunswick wants to be a major outlet for fossil fuels to t he world. Yep. Even the local idiots know that climate change is here. It's happening. And it may be happening a lot quicker than we think. And New Brunswick plans to be a world leader in encouraging it.

Duh. It'll create jobs. Yeah. So did the Nazi death camps.

Dennis Oland's jury to decide is he is guilty of murdering his father – four years ago – will soon be chosen. Justin Bourque, who does not come from a wealthy family, was arrested and found guilty in days.

Then there's half a page of photos taken at a local Labour Day picnic. I have no idea why.

The only story that's good journalism is very, very good. It begins on A1 with revelation that the government has been lying to us about conditions in the province's day care system. The government says, of course, it's not its fault and it follows the strictest conditions on day care.
The editorial fills a column without really saying anything. Ditto for Norbert.

Alan Cochrane's commentary….well...it isn't a commentary. It's an interview with astronaut Chris Hadfield who says he wants to revisit the moon, and he's releasing a video of himself singing. I don't care. But most of all, this is not a commentary.

A commentary is an expression of opinion intended to give us a deeper understanding. Don't the editors at Irving press even know what a commentary is? This story about Hadfield belongs, perhaps, on an entertainment page, along with the story of how Pinky left Winky to live with a puppy-wuppy.

Alec Bruce has a commentary that's so vague I have no idea what it's about. It's something about being happy. I think.

The guest column is by Guy Arsenault, President of the New Brunswick Teacher's Association. In contrast to Norbert's ignorant rant about education in yesterday's column, Arsenault is informed, reasonable and intelligent. Read this one. After all, if we can virtually give away a forest to Mr. Irving, we can surely afford better education for our children.
Canada&World has an interesting story for the day after Labour Day. Canadian ship-owners commonly register their ships as Greek or some other flag of a country that levies minimal taxes, and offers cheap sailors. Canadian sailors can't get jobs because these owners are looking for foreign crew who get as little as $2 an hour. Harper has ignored this – as have most of his predecessors.

And here's an interesting note about Irving tankers.


Most of this section is quite useless, bogged now with news that is trivial. There's a big story and a big photo that twin girls in Ontario who had liver transplants are starting kindergarten. A man in Iowa has been charged with molesting a girl on a flight. A woman in China might have an abortion because Chinese law limits family size; so if she doesn't have it, her husband will lose his job.

There's even some news that isn't news at all. B3 has a big story about a massacre of native peoples in Saskatchewan about 150 years ago. It's certainly interesting. But it's hardly news. It's been known to Canadian historians for all that time, and has been taught in our universities.

Then, B4 has a big story about the history of fraternities in US colleges. Who could possibly care? I've known many fraternity members. Most of them struck me as being as frightened and isolated in the world as lost five-year olds. The story credits fraternities in producing a large number of U.S. presidents, Supreme Court Judges and top 500 CEOs. And that's bunk. A high proportion of fraternity members are born rich. That's why they become political and business leaders.

What bozo editor would choose these stories in a world of some of the worst turmoil it has ever seen – and getting worse.

Africa and the middle east are horrors of killing, civil war, refugees, starvation. And we have done that, starting with the kidnapping of millions of Africans, many millions of whom would die in transit. Then there was Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, then there was Britain, France, Italy cutting up chunks of Africa to loot using enforced native labour, in the process destroying societies and leaving only chaos. Then, the U.S. moved in to replace the Europeans so that they could do the looting and social destruction.

We made the horror that Africa and the Middle East are; (by the way, it's been confirmed that Canadian pilots have killed civilians in their bombing, though the Irving press didn't find that important enough to print. Of course. That's what bombers do.) The U.S. wants to destroy Syria because al-Assad has signed a treaty with Russia which involved accepting a pipeline for Russian oil to be sold to Europe.

The U.S. is not there to defeat ISIL or to bring peace. It's there because U.S. capitalists want to control all world markets, especially in oil. And they don't give a damn about the tens of millions of refugees, the starvation, the disease, the destruction of societies. They don't care about the cute little boy drowned on the Turkish coast any more than they cared about the millions of men, women, children, babies who were shot, bombed, burned, starved, poisoned, crippled, orphaned – not concerned about the horrors of trying to survive in a society that has lost all meaning. And the governments we have voted for in Canada have kissed the asses of Bush and Obama every step of the way.

As a sign of what's coming is the destruction of the Greek and Ukrainian states. Both are now fully controlled by international bankers who have looted both countries. Governments and elections no mean nothing in either case.

Will people rebel against this? Some will. And the Irving press will tell us they are terrorists, and we have to kill them for God and country.

This is the new world – a world owned and operated by a small number of the very wealthy, a world in which nation-states are simply property owned by the very rich. We have not just reached Orwell's “1984”. We are beyond it.

There are terrorists, real ones. The biggest by far is the U.S., with Britain, fallen a long way from its days of glory, toddling behind. We are led by war criminals who are paid by billionaires. That's a very hard reality to face. But it is reality.

Did I mention a book called Wealth and Power – by Orville Schell and John Delury? It's a superb study of how China tried to rebuild itself after the West destroyed its traditional society. It's taken a hundred and seventy-five years, and the job is still a long way from done. That's why I'm very doubtful that truth and reconciliation with our native peoples can be managed in any short time.

The only country I know to have made such a transition quickly is Japan. It decided to copy western societies by developing capitalism, industrialization, methods of war. (The navy copied the British. The army copied the Germans.) Within little more than a generation, it was a significant military power, noted for its brutality in war as it killed civilians and wounded enemies by the millions. That's why we were taught to hate Japanese in World War Two. And it's true the Japanese in World War Two were horribly brutal. Of course. They had learned it from us.

Since then, the Japanese have rejected war. They want peace. And guess who wants them to become warlike and brutal again. President Obama.

By our prejudices, we cry about a three year old who drowned. We don't cry for the millions of Vietnamese, Iranians, Syrians, Central Americans and others who have been murdered, tortured, beaten by us. We don't recognize our role in this barbarity.

We're going to have to. And we don't have much time to do it.
Obama, we are told, has warned Russia to stay out of Syria. Most Americans will see that as their country standing up for justice and mercy and AC/DC. And most Americans will be wrong. What gives the U.S. the right to be there and to be killing civilians and terrorists even as it supplies the terrorists? What gives Saudi Arabia the right to bomb and starve the people of Yemen?

I'm not convinced it's a good idea for Russia to go there. But it has at least as much right as the U.S. does to be there -which is to say both have no reason.

In effect, Obama is threatening a war with Russia and, probably, China. And that can only become nuclear.

The best thing the US (and Canada) can do is to get out of there and mind their own business. But capitalists and their newspapers will never allow that.
A reader has told me of a site you can get by googling The Real News. It's admittedly one-sided. But so is the Irving press and all the rest of the Canadian press. I find it excellent reading. And most of it quite credible.

You can also go to a related site by googling The Real News Canada. It's all videos like TV news. And oh, there's a lot of it – far more than I have ever seen in the Irving press – or even most of the major papers.


  1. The Real News is an excellent site, I also enjoy Truthdig and Truthout occasionally. They're definitely biased but so is every human on this planet.

    I have a question about the alleged pipeline that Russia wants to put through Syria. Can you reveal where you got this information? I don't understand the logistics or economics of such an endeavor. There is already plenty of oil in that region. Where is the pipeline going?

    1. Syria's Pipelineistan war - Al Jazeera English
      There are lots of sources to this story. Google the title above, or google Iran-Syria pipeline.

      The reason the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran and why it sponsored a revolution in Syria is because of pipeline deal that would involve Qatar, Iran, Syria, Russia, Europe, Pakistan and possibly India.

      In fact, there is not and never was a revolution in Syria. Almost all the rebels were non-syrians paid for by the U.S. Ditto for the "terrorists" in the region.