Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dec. 9: This will probably be a short blog because .....

....I'm mad as hell.

I just spent hours on the blog, and was about to post it when it disappeared. I had been saving it regularly as I wrote - but then the whole thing just vanished.

The Irving press - quickly.

Section a news. Zero.

Editorial - a kiss-up, and a very ignorant one. Apparently, we musn't tax our very rich or they'll go away. No wonder the fiddlehead is our provincial flower.

1. The very rich almost certainly aren't much taxed, anyway. You've heard of tax havens?
2. The very rich do NOT create jobs. Their sole aim is profit. Thus, they create as few jobs as possible, and as lowly paid as possible.
3. They also contribute to our deficit by sucking up undisclosed amounts from our budget - as in getting a forest on the cheap.
4. And when they do invest, they invest all over the world - wherever they get the best profits. We see no more than a small part of that.
5. In short, there is no reason why the Irvings would want to improve our economy. They are much better off with us poor, and begging for jobs.

Norbert is good. The guest column by the minister of health is --well---vague.

Brian Cormier's column is excellent for those who don't want to know anything, and prefer not to think.

Alec Bruce is good.
There is almost nothing in Canada&World. The lead story is about Dr. Cleary's dismissal. But it says almost nothing. The only part of the story worth reading, and well worth it, is four paragraphs quoting former minister of health, Mike Murphy. It's a pleasure to read something intelligent and honest in this paper. And it's a please hearing from a politician who is intelligent and honest in this province.

The last page has a couple of stories about Donald Trump, and how all the candidates are shocked at his hate rant against Muslims. Come off it, guys and gals.

Both Canada and the U.S. have been racist from the word go. We've been bigotted against native peoples, Africans, Mexicans, Jews, Ukrainians, Italians, Chinese, Japanese - some of them for only a hundred years or so each, and some all the time. Hating Muslims has been a hit tune for American governments (and Harper) for a long time - and it's boosted by most of the private press because the wealthy owners of the private press also make money out of making us hate. (Canada has been a little better, but not as much as Canadians like to think.)

In the U.S., a Trump spouting hatred of Muslims will go down well with a nation that has killed millions of them without a regret - and is now doing least to help those millions more fleeing the horror that the U.S. has created in their homelands.

The day's student column is by Sabrina Stace. I like her stuff. It's good. But I'm going to disagree with her a little bit. She says that students need to learn to think - and they do learn to think in high school and university - but, she says - they also need to learn to think even earlier.

I certainly agree with her general point. But they really don't learn much about how to think in high school. If they did, their parents would be banging on the school doors insisting the teachers be fired. For a sample of the attitudes out there, read the sermonettes on the Faith page. They aren't about thinking. They're always about faith,  ow faith can come without thinking. But the writers of that page aren't keen on thinking - just about believing.

And universities don't do much of a job of teaching thinking - for two reasons.
1. Many of the programmes are about memorizing - and that is not thinking.
2. Most, almost all, profs have no training whatever in teaching. So most don't have the faintest idea how to teach thinking.

But I certainly like the idea of that column.

So much for the Irving press.
Today, I got my bi-monthly copy of The Brief, a small, small paper out of the wilds of Fredericton.  (You can subscribe to it at
Comment on their lead story is going to take the rest of the blog - with me   cursing all the way as I try to remember what I wrote the first time.)

The lead story in The Brief is that NB Power is using 'blood coal' from Colombia. This is coal mined by companies that pay starvation wages to the miners, keep tax money from the government so that most children can never hope for education, and none will ever have medical care.  The mining companies destroy the environment to terribly that it cannot be restored in anybody's lifetime - and perhaps never. And anybody who complains about it is very, very likely to be murdered by company thugs.

Mining companies like this exist all over the world - Latin America, Congo, much of  other parts of Africa where police recently killed some 35 miners who went on strike. And this has been going on for a long time. It's been going on for well over a century in Congo where Belgians, then Canadians and Americans and British and French have murdered well over 10 million people.

Canadians who are investors in these mines or who actually own many of them, are big players in this vicious world of mining. Not to put to fine a point on it, some New Brunswickers are major players. Now, let's put on our little thinking caps.

Is it possible that NB Power is buying this 'blood coal' because a big stakeholder in this Colombian mine has influence on the government? I mean, I know no New Brunswick investor would ever interfere in government that way. And I know New Brunswick politicians  have to high a sense of honour to be bought.

But what if? And what is it that makes a person so cruel and abusive and greedy to that. Surely that is not the way humans behave.

Actually, it is the way they behave. Most of us do. This week, the U.S. has been mourning the deaths of those killed in San Bernardino. Why has there been no mourning for the millions the U.S. murdered, right down to babies, in places like Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan,  Guatemala?

Well, we hated them because we were told they were bad. (even the babies) And it's okay to kill people who are bad. We can do it with a clear conscience.

What we call a class system in our society works in the same way. Going all the way back, we have lived in a class system in which the upper class have been barons or earls or monarchs - usually by birth but sometimes by working at it. And the Roman Empire was similar. Today, though shreds of the aristocracy who were better than us still exist, the new upper class is really the very rich.

The new upper class, like the old ones, adopted the very human attitude that they are the upper class because they were born that way (or, at the least, because they are morally and intellectually superior to us slobs.) This is built into their family upbringing and, often, into their educaton.

The myth of class superiority is so firmly rooted in Britain that to this day it has a mass of twits who are Lords and who sit in government simply because they are by birth of a 'superior' class.

That, I realized, is why Conrad Black used to close his eyes when speaking to me. I was beneath his level. He had contempt for me because I wasn't rich.  And from contempt to hatred is only a short step. And from hatred to abuse and even murder is a shorter one.

The poor are poor - not just because they're lazy but because they weren't born with the rights and privileges of the very rich. The very rich are not just the best people in our society; they can be defined almost as a super race in racist terms. You can find echoes of that view in many of Norbert Cunningham's columns.

George Bush is one of the great mass murderers in history. But he is an honoured congregant of one of the biggest churches in the U.S. because of his birth and his wealth.

And, what the hell, if a church won't let you in and if you're rich, you can always build your own church and use a rentarev for  Sundays.

Civilizations are built on rules that place limits on human behaviour. Break those rules, as the Romans did, and the civilization collapses. And we now resemble the late stages of that empire.

The idea of 'blood coal' is vile. We are using it. Canada is a world figure in 'blood coal' and other mining for its stockholders and, often, full ownership of some of the world's worst mines. And these people include some New Brunswickers.

I would dearly love to know who these people are, what connections they might have with government, and why NB Power chose 'blood coal'.


  1. Hi Graeme. I know the frustration of work vanishing. I am certainly not tech savy, but what I did, when mine vanished, was start to look if it was in another file. I hadn't deleted, so I thought it must be somewhere. I found it in my library file. Just a thought.

  2. Um, the House of Lords Act 1999 changed who could be one of them. They're down to 92 hereditary inbred nitwits out of 822 members. The Lords also cannot stop Commons Bills becoming Acts, unlike our Senate.

    For more details, google. Lord His Most Holy on High Conrad Black of Crossharbour, like most colonials once selected, put more gravitas in being one than the average Brit does. Black is an upper class twit all his very own and his elitish hubris I would argue is entirely his own.

    NS power also gets a lot of coal from Colombia as well, citing the low sulphur content but never mentioning the conditions of the mines and miners.

    Here's the story straight from the horse's mouth, published just last week: