Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oct. 10: '...a wide range of worriers and ideologues...

...predicting wrack and ruin for Canada....predictable doomsayers with wildly exaggerated prophecies..."   Thus spake Norbert Cunningham in his column.

Norbert says that the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We know he's never read because it's never been released and, in any case, there's still work being done on it. But Norbert is a sensible guy. He figures that any deal cooked up by presidents and prime ministers who are closely tied to the super-wealthy must be good for all of us. That means Norbert is entitled to bring the whole debate down to gutter condemnations of us ignorant louts who don't agree with him.

Norbert has never seen the deal. He doesn't have the qualifications  to analyze it. And he certainly has no ability to forecast what effect it will have.

Some years ago, when Norbert was still editor of the paper, there was a disgusting  series of name-calling editorials concerning the education system, editorials which not only revealed the writer as a gutter journalist but as one ignorant about education. I always suspected that editorial writer was Norbert. And this latest one fits the pattern.

To make it worse, there are disturbing parts of the pact that have leaked to the public (though not through the pages of the Irving press.) Norbert never mentions them.  The life of drug patents will be lengthened. That means the drug industry will have a much longer period in which to maintain very high prices on its patented drugs - thereby costing us billions more in any year.

But Norbert would never dream of writing anything that might offend rich people.  ( count the number of columns in which he has thrown insults at the Irving people -  the sort of insults he commonly throws at us peasants.)

We've also been allowed to know that if we change our environmental regulations - even if it's necessary to save lives - corporations will be able to sue us for billions in "lost profits".

Norbert, you freely make pronouncements about a document you haven't seen. How come you don't mention the parts that have been leaked?

Just below his column is a statement about letters to the editor. It says they must make no personal attacks. Now, read the first two paragraphs of Norbert's column.

Oh, he also says that society doesn't owe people any lifestyle. And if you're going to succeed you have to do what it takes. Don't get me wrong. I hugely admire the Irvings and the Ganongs for rising above the poverty and misery they grew up in, and working hard to succeed. And, oh, I have contempt for people like my mother who had to leave school in grade six to help the family stay alive.

As well, I see your point that a society shouldn't give a damn about members of it who live in poverty and sickness. I admire your Christian spirit. You should write for the Faith page.

Norbert - you are ignorant, arrogant, unethical, and a boot-licker. And I would be delighted to debate that topic with you in public.

Above Norbert ( but not intellecutally above him) is the editorial. I have no idea what it's about. The lead gives the impression it's about volunteer firefighters. Then it tells us 30% of our property taxes go to fire and police services. Yeah. So? Then it says police and firemen costs are out of control. But it gives no evidence of this, and we get no idea what the costs should be. Then it ends up babbling vaguely about regionalizing fire services.

The page is saved by a de Adder cartoon. Good stuff.

The Commentary page is all good.

Ernie Steeves, Conservative MLA and Social Critic in the provincial assembly, offers a very tough eommentary on the Liberals' handling of nursing care for seniors. I'm no lover of Conservatives. But Ernie Steeves writes like one, really tough opponent. If I ever had to debate him, the first rule I would make is to set a condition that he would not be allowed to speak. He does a very effective job as a columnist.

Jo-Anne Moore, a lawyer, is now, so it seems, a permanent fixture for a Saturday column. Today's column, dealing with fathers in separations and divorces, is an excellent blend of  clarity, good writing, and compassion.

Gwynne Dyer is superb on American hypocrisy in the Middle East - especially concerning Syria. I would just add a   couple of thoughts to it.

What if the Russian intrusions into Syrian airspace were deliberate? What it they were warning to Turkey to lay off on its desire to overthrow Assad? After all, Turkey, with Saudi Arabia and the US, is a leader in using this "civil war" to get Assad. Russia is making it clear he isn't going unless the Syrian people say so.

 It's also possible that Russia was making it clear that it is now a major player in the region - and will remain one. If so, it is a warning that this is the limit of the American empire.  (China has just issued the same warning in response to an American announcement that it will send a fleet through waters that it says are international, but that China says belong to it.) Even a little mistake now, on either side, could be disastrous. But don't worry. The Irving press hasn't said much about it so, like Yemen, it can't be very important.

In World news, "Richard Oland's skull 'completely broken' in attack, court hears." Gee. I thought a skull  hit repeatedly with a club would only be partly broken. There's also a photo in the story that shows a tiny part of a building that has LAW COURTS written on it. So that explains a lot for us.

There's yet another story about the Lac Megantic disaster that tells us nothing. Oh, it menions that companies which paid the settlement got legal immunity from any charges of criminal responsibility.
JDIrvingLtd. paid the settlement. But that was just philanthropy. There can't be any question of that. After all, if the company was paying to avoid ciminal charges, the Irving press would have told us.

B3 has a story about the dramatic increase in unusual weather over Alaska in the past  years. But it can't be due to climate change. If it were, Irving Oil would immediately refuse to sell any more oil.

The  is close to no world news. Just two stories are worth reading. B6 has the story of rising violence between Israelis and Palestinians, including the many Palestinians who are Israeli citizens.
There have been the Israeli 'settlers' who kill Palestinians to take their land. Now there's a rash of stabbings and shooting inside Israel, with Jews and Muslims killing each other. According to the story,  it's all because of a quarrel over a religious site. It's not.

For decades, Israel has been treating Palestine like a huge concentration camp, keeping the people in poverty and hopelessness. It has been stealing their land. It has been killing Palestinians in retaliation for things they didn't do. Within Israel, it has been treating Israeli-Palestinians like animals, destroying houses, sometimes whole neighbourhoods, forbidding them even to walk on the sidewalks of some districts.

This violence is a result of the hopelessness of the Palestinians. It's not a revolt. It's rage and despair. That's why even children are killing at random. And Israel has been supported in this by Stephen Harper because "Israel can do no wrong", and he needs the Jewish vote.

B7 has the story of another university shooting in the U.S. which left one student dead, and three wounded. No, the shooter was not a terrorist - or a Muslim.

So far this year, there have been some 500 murders in the U.S. Then there are another 500 or more killed by police.  In fairness, Mexico is worse. But that has a lot to do with the drug trade into the U.S. and the activities of American gangsters as well as the local variety.

Below are several sites on this - but it's easier just to google U.S. police killings. That will also turn up sites that deal with the murder rate.

Police and murderers have killed far more Americans than terrorists have - including 9/11. The U.S. has spent over a trillion dollars taking revenge on countries that, in fact, had nothing to do with 9/11.
It has spent way over a trillion if you add the cost of a massive domestic spy system. And Canada, which has never had anybody killed by a terrorist has also spent hugely on domestic spies, and paid in the loss of human rights - not to mention how both Canada and the U.S. are refusing to do anything significant to help the victims of the wars we created.

As a side-effect, that spending also means a destruction of American society through poverty as the government cannot afford to feed its war industries and its people. President Eisenhower warned about this over 50 years ago when he saw that the rise of the "military-industrial complex" could mean the death of the United States.

In the U.S., the killings, which have always been high, are rising rapidly. It's a nation such as Harper would like to make this one, consumed by fear and hatred generated by propaganda and lies.

Is it happening because guns are so easy to get in the U.S.? I doubt it. Guns have always been easy to get in the U.S. That explains some of the killing - but not the tremendous rise of it.   Is it due to the popularization of gun-slinging in U.S. entertainment and news media? - stuff going back to cowboy movies and up to American Sniper?  That's probably an important part of it.

But I do know this rising violence in American life is a dangerous sign of social breakdown. You cannot raise generations of people taught to admire violence and killing without destroying them as a society. You cannot have a multi-racial society crammed with racial fears and hatreds (though that is something that Harper is promotinig in Canada).

The U.S. is destroying itself. And it's happening quickly.

Incidentally, you also cannot maintain a society in which 90% of the financial rewards go to 1% of the people.  Such a society will simply destroy itself.

The most popular form of Christianity in this region appears to be Protestant fundamentalism. These are the ones who are really happy to be in church, and who halleluhya a lot. These also seem to dominate sermonettes on the Faith page. They're harmless, I suppose. But, oh, they seem to live with their noses in their own bellybuttons. They seem to think only of themselves. What is their, personal relationship with Jesus? Can they be sure of getting themselves into heaven? They seem to think that religion was created for them - personally. I thought of that as I read today's effort about keeping your eyes locked on the eyes of Jesus so you won't sink while you're walking on water. (No, I'm not kidding.)

Call me whacky, but if Jesus were here, he might be more interested in talking about the way we treat refugees, the killing we do all over the world, our economic system that's based on personal greed, the trillions of dollars that lie in tax havens while hundreds of millions around the world - including in Canada and the U.S. - live in poverty and hopelessness....
Oh, the story seems to have been missed by the eagle-eyed editors of the Irving press, but you remember the Muslim woman who insisted on her right to take the oath of citizenship while wearing a niqab? Well, yesterday she did it.

So I soon as I heard it, I ran to the window. But, no, the sky is still up where it should be.

That takes me to the subjects of cultures and races and Greece - but I'll save those for tomorrow.

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