Thursday, January 14, 2016

Jan: 14 The world - for people? or for profit?

The Irving press headline screamed the news that we had heaps of snow yesterday. Gee! That explains why I drove through snow last night, and looked out to see my car covered in snow this morning. The read headline story is a smaller one on the same page.

“Low loonie rasing prices on everything from necessities to big-ticket items” Typically for the Irving press, the only reactions to this are taken from big business sources. But other people will be far more profoundly affected by this. Our food banks can't supply the demand as it is. What will happen when both the price and the need increase? (We'll consider this again when we get to the editorial page.)

Since there's nothing else worth reading in Section A, here we are at editorial and comments.

The editorial gushes over former premier McKenna for his suggestion that refugees be required to sign a 20 year contract to stay in New Brunswick for 20 years. That not only infringes on human rights; it's also unenforceable, and would be ruinously expensive to try to enforce. (Unlike the Irving press, I do not see Mr. McKenna as an oracle. He has been quick to mingle with spokesmen for some of the greediest and most vicious people on this earth.)

Instead of discussing a silly statement by McKenna, wouldn't it have been more useful to have an editorial about people and what they need?

Norbert Cunningham, too, has an enormous respect for McKenna; and he carries on the same theme as the editorial. But he does say one, more important thing. We should concentrate the refugees in two or three cities. He says that would give us critical mass. Now, I have no idea what critical mass means in this situation. But I grew up among immigrant populations of Italians and Syrians. I know the importance to immigrants of having their own community. That lasts for only a generation or so, but it's essential to maintain social centres and places of worship in the early stages as they adjust to Canada, and Canada adjusts to them.

Norbert, for some reason, slips in more praise for Richard Saillant's book, “Over the Cliff?” Norbert, do you know it's important to read more than one book before coming to a conclusion? Do you have any, special expertise and training in understanding a book on government budgeting? In short, do you have a clue what you are talking about? Try this to balance your outlook.

There are many, whole books that would agree with this, and there are many, eminent economists in this world. Yes, there are. Richard Saillant is not the only one.

Austerity causes massive suffering and degradation of the whole society. One of the lessons of the great depression is that austerity budgeting does NOT revive an economy. Quite the opposite. It makes most people poor while the very rich get even richer.

Read more, Norbert, much more. Try this...

And this….

A little learning is a dangerous thing ;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

If we are heading into a difficult period, then we should avoid doing what we did in 1939. It was what the rich wanted. But it caused enormous damage for the rest of us. Panic, like Norbert does, and we'll waken all the Donald Trumps of this world.

Rod Allen's column was a chance to write a column on the meaning of the rise in food prices we are facing. But, as usual, he has nothing useful to say about anything. Instead, he writes on the same topic as Bill Taylor does in the column below his – and he says nothing significant about that EVEN THOUGH HE ADMITS HE READ TAYLOR'S COLUMN BEFORE WRITING HIS OWN! So why did he write it in the first place?

Alec Bruce is magnificent. The has no quick fix remedies. He offers only a question. Are we willing to change? It sounds simple. But it's both difficult and fundamental for the future of this province – and of you. This column is a must read..
There's almost nothing in Canada and World Affairs, and even the almost nothing is trivial.

The only story worth reading is the lead one – funding for New Brunswick's auditor-general is in doubt, and just when it desperately needed to investigate why we lost $70 million dollars given to Atcon by a previous Liberal government. The current government making life tough for the auditor-general is also Liberal. Coincidence.

Rod Allen could have written a column to say something intelligent on that. (Well, maybe not intelligent.)
Speaking of Liberals, Karl Nerenberg, perhaps the best writer on the federal government, has an interesting item on the Liberals and criticism.

That's a pretty mild opinion, I should think. But look at the reaction of some of the letters in response to it.

The international scene is very grim. The U.S. is in a state of panic that has produced politicians who are obsessed though they don't say it openly) with world conquest. And, barely out of sight is the motive. American capitalists want to plunder the world just as they have plundered North America, Latin America, much of Africa and the middle east.

From a purely practical point of view, this makes no sense. Forget what that means in mass starvation, a work world of the living dead, a world that will not deal with climate change (seen any oil companies talking about the importance us cutting down on oil?). World conquest means even more killing than we (especially our side) have done over the last 50 years or so. It raises almost the certainty of a world nuclear war. At best, it means a fully plundered world that has no more to produce for anybody.

But that's almost all the Republican and Democrat leadership races have been about. That's all that politics are about in Britain and France, with Canada tagging along while pretending it isn't.

It comes to a point when it reduces all of us to raging, no matter which side we're on, at the pure greed and idiocy of it all. Here's Robert Fisk speaking while on a visit to Canada. Fisk is one of best reporters in the world which, I guess, is why the Irving press never mentions him.

But Canada won't use its moral power. That sort of thing ended decades ago. Our big business tells Canada what to do. And American big business tells our big business what to say.

And so we have governments that don't govern for people. They govern as if they were operating a business. That's why columnists like Norbert Cunningham say we should dump civil servants. Let Private/Public Partnership run the country. Yeah. After all, government isn't about people; its about business and it should be run like a business. That's why so many people in the U.S. are turning to Donald Trump, a man who doesn't even pretend to care about people. He is in no significant way morally superior to ISIS. He and, in fact, almost all the candidates in the leadership races have that in common. Inevitably, that sort of thinking causes violence both at home and around the world.

Capitalism is an economic system that has no moral foundation whatever. That's not a wild statement. It is certainly not a product of any religious beliefs I have ever heard of. Nor does it have even a code of conduct that I have ever seen. It is based entirely on self-interest, which is a nice way to say greed. And centuries of wars on behalf of capitalists have surely suggested the price of that.

It may not be necessary to abandon capitalism. But it has to have limitations imposed on it. Otherwise, we might as well have hungry lions running loose in our streets. And time is running short. Quite apart from the other problems that capitalism has created and has refused to even recognize is the final one. Capitalism, whether American or Russian or Chinese, is within sight of complete control over our governments and our lives. That's what free trade has been about.


  1. Hmmm, I am paying homage to Monsieur Bruce when I ask if a would be blacklisted blogger could be adopting his handle as a nom de plume for the T&T? How did he sneak that by the editor in chief? ;-)

  2. Speaking of business capitalists trying to gain power the "Trump of the North" Kevin O'Leary may run for the conservatives. His credentials? He ran a business for two years...oh and he gleefully likes to refer to workers that begged him for money, on his old show, as "cockroaches".