Monday, January 11, 2016

Jan. 11: Austerity is a crock.

On page 1 of the Irving press, we learn that 6 to 10 hospitals could be closed as part of the government austerity plan. Let's see, so far all the austerity cuts and the discussion of new taxes, have been aimed at the poor and the middle class. Close hospitals so the poor will have the problem of longer trips to reach help. Close public schools, fire teachers, and kick up class sizes. (It's okay. The children of the rich don't go to public schools. And they don't need hours on a bus each day to go to school and get home). Fire civil servants who get a scandalous 100,000 a year. But don't touch the wealthy who get millions a year. (Even though all that money in both cases comes from our pockets.)

I have yet to see a word in this paper about how the wealthy are going to help balance the budget.

On A6, there's a big story (a free ad, really) about a new yoga, dance and fitness place in town. And that's as good as Section A gets.

The editorial, again, is all about money. It never shows any recognition that there are people in this province. This one is another 'shale gas is good for you' effort. That's the only kind of story editors are allowed to write. And, hey, renewable energy is decades away, so what the hell; let the party go on.

And plans for the development of renewable energy? Don't worry. Lots of time. Lots of time.

Norbert Cunningham has a column that says little. It's about the relationship between politicians and people in this province. And, of course, it pretends that the only two factors in that equation are elected politicians and us common folk. Read you own paper, Norbert. Read the column in which Mr. Irving told us that he, without getting elected, is a member of the government.

Craig Babstock uses his 'Commentary' to tells us a pointless story about himself. I guess he figures we're too dumb to understand anything serious. Steve Malloy writes a real commentary that is both angry and amusing. Alec Bruce writes a good column on indebtedness in New Brunswick but, like everybody in the paper, stops short of discussing the role of the wealthy in all this.

Canada&World has 4 pages of nothing on either Canada or the world. Oh, it mentions that Canada has a record number of wildfires in its national parks. Many scientists predicted this because of climate change. But what do they know? Let's go for more fracking.

Donald Trump is making a big fuss because one of his opponents in the Republican leadership race was born in Canada. (His parents happened to be in Canada when Ted Cruz appeared. But they were Americans so Ted Cruz, under American law is American. But not under Trump law.)

The U.S. is up to its ears in problems of race, of religion, of rising poverty, of violence and murder on a record level around the country, of the most heavily armed population in the world, of prisons with more people in them that in any other country in the world, of a collapsing education system, of foreign policy disasters that have killed millions around the world, created tens of millions of refugees who may well destabilize Europe, in a destabilization that has destroyed much of the middle east, opening us to the possibility of a world-wide war within the Islamic faith and has already made it necessary for Russia to step in and outplay the U.S. for another possibility of world war, has created mass poverty and instability across Latin America, that is threatening war against China and Russia, a U.S. that has effectively destroyed the United Nations, a U.S. that tolerates an armed rebellion by 150 armed men in Oregon, and tolerate it because they're good ol' boys – white and Christian. The whole, American Empire is in danger of collapse. Worse, we are all in danger of collapse.

And that's not even mentioning the question of climate change.

But Donald Trump and his competitors and their hysterical followers don't care about any of the above. No. The big issue is Ted Cruz. Can someone be born to American parents in a foreign country and still be American? Yep. That's the big question, that an bombing Muslim into the earth.

We live next door to a nation so steeped in propaganda and myth, so badly informed by its news media, so propagandized, so hog-tied and conformist that it is no longer capable of seeing any reality. Everything is hysteria and fear and hatred. It's a little bit late; but this is George Orwell's '1984'

You can hear the echoes. Sieg Heil. Sieg Heil.

Hitler was not an oddity in western development. He was a quite natural evolution of an exploitive society, and of Christians who had, millenia ago, forgotten the difference between God and country. Check the Irving press Faith page to confirm that.

Wars never solve problems.

World War One was supposed to be the war to end wars. It didn't.

World War Two was supposed end them, too, with the formation of the U.N. But we are fighting wars at a greater rate than ever – and the U.N. has been pretty much destroyed.

World War Two was supposed to destroy fascism. It didn't. Fascism and Naziism are enjoying revival in much of Europe. And in both Canada and the U.S. our political systems are increasingly fascist. In fact, the U.S. is already there. Here, in New Brunswick, we call it public/private/partnerships.

Fascism is not just a dirty word. It means a fusion of government and big business. That's where Stephen Harper was taking us. And I suspect Trudeau will try to continue that with the Trans-Pacific trade deal.

Here's a recent opinion from The Guardian on that.

While we're at The Guardian, there's a long but interesting piece by a Canadian. It's about Trump and Sanders. But, fundamentally, it's about being white in the U.S.

There's also a story much in today's news around the world, but not in the Irving press. American troops are now in Aleppo. Syria. They're there, with the help of American bombers. To help Syrian 'rebels' capture it. And that's a multiple war crime. But nobody in our news media is going to say that.

There are two conditions in which it is legal to send troops to another country.

1. The government of that country has invited you to come in. The government of Syria has invited Russia. It has not invited the U.S.

2. The government of that country has attacked or threatened to attack your country. Even the current state of hysteria in the U.S. would have a hard job proving that. Not that it matters – because the U.S. would never dream of going to the UN for approval. And if somebody else did, the U.S. would veto any criticism.

War crimes are pretty serious. We hanged Germans quickly enough – and Saddam Hussein. But nobody on our side has ever been hanged for war crimes. In fact, only one person has ever even been tried. That was a U.S. army lieutenant who was tried for murdering every man, woman and child in a village called My Lai. He was found guilty - and he served one night in jail.

So, exactly what are the war crimes here?

1. American troops are there without even asking for the permission of the government.

2. They are there to support 'rebels' who are fighting against the government.

3. They are there without the slightest evidence that Syria has ever done anything to the U.S.

4. The 'rebels' exist because the U.S. created and supplied them. And it certainly did not have the permission of the Syrian government to do that.

5. It's a war crime because the use of bombers was certainly not requested by the Syrian government.

6. It's a war crime because, so far, at least 200,000 people, almost all of them innocent civilians, have been killed.

Funny our news media haven't mentioned that. Maybe it's because they're too shy.

Al jazeera has a story about the failures of the American economy that apply equally well to New Brunswick. It's gently worded, perhaps too much so. But it raises serious questions about our own drive for austerity budgets, and the dangerous gap between the incomes of the very rich and the rest of us.
It should be posted in the offices of the Irving press where it could be read (and explained) to the editors.

Nobody has ever created general prosperity by hammering the poor and giving the rich a free ride. You need lots of money in the hands of the general population. Then you get the money spent locally to the benefit, especially, of small business.

But small business has never caught on to that. It likes to think that all capitalists, big and small, are the same, and all have the same interests. They don't.

For further opinion about the failure of austerity programmes, this time in Spain, read ….

And, though our Christian world gets regular news whenever one of our churches has one of those burping sessions they call church dinners, it doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to Christians in the middle east. We have to rely on Al jazeera for that.

Yesterday, I said a Muslim woman had been kicked out of a Trump rally. That was true. But it wasn't the whole truth. A Jewish man who was with her was also kicked out.
Sieg Heil!
Haaretz carries a memorial to music idol David Bowie that is the most interesting (and unexpected) one I have seen.

And, to close on a lighter note, try the following from Haaretz. I have no trouble believing this. Jewish humour is something special, particularly when it's enhanced by doses of yiddish.

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