In 1978, Chile was a country whose government encouraged decent wages, provided social services. So big business, especially its stockholders in mining companies, etc. in the U.S. and Canada, were not pleased.
But their little hearts warmed when General Pinochet led a military uprising that murdered the elected president, and set up the general as dictator. He then murdered at least 3,000 people, being careful to dynamite most of the bodies – you know, out of respect. Large numbers were also burned alive. Prominent among the dead were union leaders, social activists, and anybody who disagreed with him. So, of course, he was recognized by the U.S. as the legitimate dictator of Chile.
The country, quickly reduced to poverty and helplessness, became an attractive investment for American and Canadian investors. (This you will note, is pretty much the same cure the Irving press advises us to follow to deal with our 'fiscal crisis'.)
The story of the takeover got only superficial coverage in the North American press – and not much even at that. Recently, a Chilean soldier who killed for Pinochet told his story. It appeared in The Guardian, but not in the Irving press. (The Irving press needed the space for a big story about a new Mexican restaurant.)
This is really a snapshot of the history of American policy (also supported by Canada) in its Latin American empire.
The story is told in http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/11/former-chilean-soldier-charged-murder-radio-confession
It's also worth reading the related content just below the story. For more, google “The guardian Chile Pinochet”
The U.S. government and big business are up to their ears in this one. But Canada and Canadian investors have been happy to cooperate. This impoverishment and cruelty happens over most of Latin America and Africa. And don't kid yourself that they wouldn't do it to us. They have always done it. But it is getting much, much worse.
A reader has sent me a superb site that I intend to read regularly. It's by Greg Palast who is a journalist's journalist. He's gutsy; he's intelligent; he's honest. So he'd never get anywhere in the Irving press.
This story is about the common view in the North American press that the defeat of President Chavez in Venezuela was a defeat for dictatorship and socialism. In fact, the only dictatorships in Latin America are sponsored by U.S. big business. Nor is the new government so very different as our press would have us suppose.
There's much more on this page. Read 'em all.
Ralph Nader is the man who, many, many years ago forced the American government to crack down on automobiles (almost all of them) that were too dangerous to drive – not from wear and tear – but badly designed in the first place. He had to fight the automobile industry on that, but he won. It's estimated that his campaign resulted in legislation that saved 3.5 million lives.
But, he says, that couldn't be done today with what the American government and congress have become.
So far, the only stories we get about Ukraine is that the Kiev government is free and democratic, that we are supporting it against evil Russians. What we don't hear is how the U.S. staged the coup that set up this government. And we don't hear about how the western bankers are using the present government to create mass poverty in Ukraine. And we don't hear about the following part….
Another thing we don't hear about is the massive forest fires that are covering Indonesia, with fumes killing people in Indonesia and its neighbours. They are caused by big business, largely foreign, which starts forest fires to clear land which can produce western fortunes when turned into plantations. It's been going on for a long time. But it's become much worse in recent years because of droughts And the droughts are caused by ---climate change. You know. That thing the oil companies tell us isn't happening.
And this is a story that affects all of us because those fires are spewing out more greenhouse gasses than does the whole of the U.S.
So let's look, just briefly, at the Irving press.
“City hikes tax rate, freezes salaries.” Notice how rare it is for this paper to have government stories, at any level, about social conditions? In economic terms, this is rubbish. We will not make this city prosperous by raising taxes or freezing salaries.
Moreover, a city, a province or a nation is made up of people, not of cheque books. But I'll go into that more when I get to Norbert's column.
The editorial says that long wait times for medical treatment prove that we should close lots of hospitals. Right on. Then, when we have no hospitals and no doctors, we won't have any more of those awful waiting times.
Norbert, you may recall, has many times in his columns said that civil servants are overpaid, incompetent, and too numerous. Yeah. We should just sit back and let big business run the province. But, today…
….he announces that the federal government might be appointing more of its civil servants to New Brunswick. And that's the key to our future prosperity because civil servant have high salaries, good benefits, and have good job security.
Norbert, do you ever have dizzy spells?
Worse, like the editorial writer at this paper, and most of the other writers, he sees people as simply economic units. The only problems, therefore, are economic ones. Norbert, these are humans just like you – maybe more so. They make up societies. And those societies have social problems to be dealt with.
In fact, the starting point of any intelligent government should be the needs of the society. Once you determine those, then you look at the economic needs to do the job of fixing them. But first of all, it's about people, not dollars.
The attitude of this government is that it's up to volunteers to deal with social problems. That's why we get regular pages of photos of grinning twits holding up giant cheques (with the employers' names prominent in the pictures.) But volunteers, bless their hearts, cannot deal adequately with these problems.
New Brunswick has human problems that concern housing, poverty, lack of intellectual activity, lack of opportunity not simply because of lack of local jobs but because of a lack of stimulation that should begin at birth. There's a severe social problem of illiteracy. And it's not because of the schools. It's because of attitudes that pervade this province. That is revealed by newspapers so childish, so uninformed, so sloppy, that their very appearance on the streets should be an insult – but isn't because people have been trained to accept this crap. That is one hell of a social problem, and it's one of the biggest factors in holding this province back.
You think we're at the edge of a fiscal cliff? We're already over the edge of a social cliff. That is why I have no great regard for economists who think there's only an economic cliff. The cliff is both social and economic. Very big business likes to pretend the cliff is only economic because big business doesn't give a damn about social survival.
We need a political party in this province which starts with human needs, then works on the economy we need to achieve that. The Liberals and Conservatives don't. The Green Party does start with a human need – but it needs to broaden that and to give more thought to the economic aspect. The NDP used to start with both the human need and the economic need, and it still has much of the spirit in its following to do that. But it's not prominent enough in the platform.
We're people, Norbert. You and me and everybody else in the province. Even Mr. Irving is a people. (yes, he is.)
Brent Mazerolle's 'opinion' column is another cute story about Tinkerbelle. The guest column is by a hack who does research for a big business propaganda outfit called The Fraser Institute.
The only news story in the whole paper worth reading in on B1, and it's about how the Gallant government has been lying to us. It has never asked Dr. Cleary for her permission to tell why she was fired. In fact, Dr. Cleary has, herself, never been told why she was fired.
Bastards. Way to kiss up to your boss.
The most important news story is on B8. Jay Leno says Trump is wrong on banning Muslims because the American constitution would not allow him to ban immigrants because of religion. Leno, close up your garage, and sit down with a history book.
The US banned Jewish immigration from the early 1930s. So did Canada. And they were not admitted even during the war when some escaped the death camps. And they were not admitted to Canada, at least, until several years after the war. The same has been true, at times, of Hindus and other religions.
Nor has the constitution prevented American presidents from imprisoning people, even Americans, without charge or trial. And sometimes killing them. And it hasn't prevented Washington from operating the largest torture network in the world, and the largest spy network to spy on every American. And Canada has been right in that game, too. The American constitution has not even prevented the U.S. from fighting undeclared wars wherever it pleases – as in Syria, as with drones and special ops, and hired killers.
C3 has a very good column by student columnist Amanda Cormier.
C8 has another childish column by a preacher so wrapped up in himself and his enthusiasm for Jesus, that he sees nothing of what's happening in the world, and obviously has not understood a word that Jesus said.