Monday, January 18, 2016

Jan. 18: Why do men tip their hats to women?

Several days ago, I wrote a blog that included reference to a commentary by Brian Murphy – lawyer, former Conservative member of parliament, and columnist. I thought it the most ignorant and/or self-serving newspaper column I had ever read. And I wondered that an editor could allow such gibberish to appear in print. But what was it possibly about?

It's a column on his admiration for both Conservatives and Liberals. Only Conservatives and Liberals. And he just loves them all – the big-hearted Mulroney, the thoughtful and intelligent Harper, just loves them.

Message? Mr. Murphy loves all humanity (with the exception of Greens and NDP.) You can trust Mr. Murphy because he's a liberal Conservative, and possibly even a conservative Liberal, or maybe a Mulroney closet Liberal.
And why would he want to send such a message? It tells us we're safe with Mr. Murphy because he's so broad-minded, you can't see any mind at all. It's been stretched to transparency.

I understand there's a race on for the Conservative leadership. And a loving and broad-minded man is just what the party needs.

And if that is the reason for the column, it was damned unprofessional of him to write that as a newspaper opinion column, and even worse for Irving press to print it.

The front page headline? “Saint Andrews welcomes prime minister”. Boy, I can see where people will be talking about that for years to come.

However, by some editorial slip, there are two stories below this that are worth reading. One is about the stress suffered by first-responders. The other, at the bottom of the page, is the rise of food prices – a topic the Irving press otherwise seems not to have noticed. Nor has it made any significant attempt to explain it, and what it means for us.

By page four we're down to reading about how a Shediac woman enjoyed her military service, and how Scouts nurture future leaders. Now, I'm all for scouts. I was a Wolf Cub, Scout, Rover Scout and Senior Scout. My father was a scoutmaster. I like the work the scouts do. But it does not produce leaders. That's not how Baden-Powell designed it. Its purpose, like most youth movements of its type, was to develop reliable followers. That's why it was so widely copied in Mao's China. That's true of most of those early 1900s youth groups. The only exception I know of is a group founded in the United Church – Canadian Girls in Training.
The editorial seems pointless until you get to the last paragraph which says government is too big. We're heading in possibly bad times? Fire civil servants.

In fact, Canada has had many recessions and even depressions. It took years for governments dominated by big business to catch on to the reality. A recession is precisely when you need big government. That was proven in the great depression of the 1930s. Come on, you people at Irving press. We know you have to kiss up to the boss. But try not to slobber.

Norbert Cunningham is just vague. “We need to ensure doctors…..maximize their time doctoring...”
What are they doing now, Norbie? Playing poker in the cafeteria? His final advice is we should should make 'wise' reforms to medical care. That's so true. We really should not demand stupid reforms?

Craig Babstock writes about the life and death of David Bowie. This is the second or third such commentary in this paper – and all of them really say nothing. His death affects people in different ways, says Babstock? Okay, Babstock, can you name a way? In fact, what I have read in the Irving press shows that its columnists have anything to say about Bowie beyond Wow! Great! Famous! Have they never even heard of the religious phases of this life, and how they affected his music? Have they ever heard of the social values his songs advocated?

Good column by Steve Malloy on daycare.

Alec Bruce has a stunningly good column on literacy in New Brunswick. I would only add a small point. Those contests in which children on encouraged to read, read, read for a wild week are, at best, a waste of time. The poorly literate don't take much part. And the literate learn to read quickly, narrowly, and uncritically. Anyway it's not the children. It's the whole society that lacks literacy. And the Irving press, if anything, encourages illiteracy. (I can't get that commentary by Mike Murphy out of my mind. It was designed for the illiterate – unless he really believes that tripe that he wrote.) Literacy isn't about speed reading. It's about enjoying, about learning, and it's fundamental to thinking.
Canada and World has one story worth reading. It's the lead on B1. It's another one about the firing of Dr. Cleary; but this time the reporter asked some questions and the answers are very suggestive. She asked an employment lawyer who said that when the government says she was “fired without cause”, that means they didn't have a reason that would hold up in court.

Again, we get the statement from government that it intends to return the focus to protecting and promoting the health of citizens. Well, that suggests Dr. Cleary was not doing that. That would be a cause. But it can't be because if it were, the government would have a cause for firing, and it wouldn't have to give a separation package.

No, what this case tells us is a hint of the sleeze of governments in this province – and, probably, of their obedience to their master.

There isn't much point to reading the rest of the Canada and World news. It has no meaning withpit opinion columns to put these stories in some perspective. Just reading news is the same waste of time that a week of speed-reading is. To understand news, you need opinion to stir your thinking. Opinion columns don't tell you what to think. But intelligent opinions can spur your own thinking so that you actually get something out of the reading. Reading without thinking is a waste of time. News without analysis is a waste of time.

Oh, the Irving press has missed the big story of the past week or two – the collapse of the Chinese economy. If that continues then, believe me, it will not just be a spectator sport.
Just to follow up on the business of reading and thinking, here's an article from an Atlantic site, Schoolhouse Counselling. I'm not sure I agree with all of it – or even most – but we need to think about our illiteracy problem, not just read news stories about it. (And surely not to just read Norbert on the subject.)

And, if you really want something to think about, try these two on the Koch brothers, big stakeholders in oil, including the Alberta type, opponents of climate change, owners of American governments – and maybe not only American ones. I have a couple of stories about that which were sent to me by a reader. However, the reader doesn't want some electronic mischief that would cause his/her identity to be revealed. (That's the kind of world we live in now.) I'm not yet sure how to do that, so I'll just give a brief summary of them.

The Koch brothers, the ones who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to say climate change isn't happening, wanted (and, I guess, still want) the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to a point on the southern border of the U.S. A few points to consider in this context….

1. The Koch brothers are very big time buyers of politicians.

2. They want to pipeline to cripple the Venezuelan oil industry – which the Koch brothers don't control.

3. The Venezuela oil industry is owned by the Venezuelan government.

4. Venezuela has the biggest proven oil reserves in the world.

5. A Keystone link from Alberta to their southern refineries would save the Koch brothers some 2 billion dollars a year.

5. Harper was an advocate of an east-west pipeline. He changed his mind, and decided it was better to send the oil south. Coincidence.

And an afterthought – does anything in the above account (or any other account) suggest to you that the oil industry intends to allow us to develop renewable sources of energy?)

Opinions are divided over whether China's economy is about to collapse. You can check The Guardian about that. Just google China economy. What is undeniable is why it is happening.

The government party of China calls itself communist. Actually, and like the Soviet Union, it never was communist. I think the Chinese and Russians must use the same dictionary as Brian Murphy does. And, certainly, today both China and Russia are capitalist. And all the capitalist countries have been having a hard time. A major reason of the decline in China is one that has also been common in other capitalist countries, including Canada.

Big business is always looking for handouts which it calls loans, but often never repays. One can think here of Atcon, of Bombardier which hit Quebec for a billion, and is now hitting Ottawa for the same. And then there's the unforgettable bailout of banking houses in the U.S. for 700 billion, even though it was their improper and, often, illegal behaviour that caused the crisis.

Now, maybe China will learn what Russia, the U.S., Canada and others have never learned. Capitalism is not like the Easter bunny. It's operated by humans. Humans can be greedy, cruel, thieving...That's why we have regulations called laws that we are required to live by. But there never has been much regulation of capitalism, and what little there is rapidly being cut away. (Cutting away is what today's editorial in the Irving press is really all about. “Less government” really means more freedom for the greedy, amoral, (and often unintelligent) among us.
And that's why the world's top 62 billionaires have ….. but you can read it the Guardian below.

Note the suggestion for the only way to stop this super-wealth built on the poverty of billions. Pay higher wages. Crack down on tax-dodging. Invest in public services.

Compare this to the servile slush we get every day in the Irving press. Check the record of wealth over the years in this story. Wealth does NOT trickle down to the rest us. In fact, it goes the other way. That's why, everywhere, the numbers of billionaires it takes to own half the world goes down – and the number of poor goes up.

That is by far the biggest problem this world faces. We have to get capitalism under control – NOW.
Wake up, New Brunswick.
To add to our troubles, ISIS plans to pump an extra 500,000 barrels of oil a day. This will be delivered through our friends in Turkey to be sold on the world market, and then retailed to our friends in the oil business. And it will be used to finance the ISIS wars. (Notably, the U.S. is not considered to be a problem in all this. After all, it never has been. Despite the fears of Donald Trump, ISIS has been protected by the U.S. from the start – and Donald Trump would protect it, too. It's helping to give the U.S. oil industry control of all middle east oil.

The price of oil is not dropping because the King of Saudi Arabia wants to show his appreciation of us. It is dropping because the Saudis and all their western buddies want it to drop. The dropping price is a weapon in the war of western capitalists against Russia and Chinese and other capitalists. Saudi Arabia is paying a heavy price for this war, but it and others of its type, need to destroy other economies so they can control the world. Sieg Heil.

We pay less to fill our gas tanks so that a few people can gain enormous power. Once they have it, watch for oil prices to soar.

Paul Craig Roberts is the most highly qualified commentator I have ever come across. He spent years working at the highest economic and political levels in U.S. government and in journalism. And he has a story that even the eagle eyes of the Irving press missed.

Hillary Clinton may be facing a legal charge serious enough to jail her.

Actually, that's not what attracted me to this commentary because I could say the same and worse, much worse, about Obama and Bush. In fact, Trudeau really blew it when he allowed Canadian aircraft to attack Syrian territory – against international law, and without parliamentary approval.

But the real meat of this story is how Bill and Hillary and Bush and Britain's Tony Blair became enormously wealthy as a result of going into politics. All can get hundreds of thousands of dollars for fifteen minute speeches to university graduations, supper clubs, etc. Tony Blair reached sixty million years ago, and it's still growing.

Now, I have run university graduations. I got TV host Barbara Frum to speak for the price of a supper. So what's going on here?

The very wealthy are paying the politicians back for “favours”. These are bribes, paid after they're out of politics. (and for Hillary, while she's still in them.) Universities are big for this because the wealthy have their people sitting in control of the boards of governors. It's more common in the U.S. and Britain than it is in Canada – far more common. But it can happen here.

This is a very respectable setting for criminal favours.

Then there's a story from Russia's Tass. I would normally be suspicious of such a source; but I've known abpit this story for several years – from good sources. However, it hasn't yet made the Irving press.

Our news reports on Syria often come from an outfit called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It's reports are featured regularly ( and seriously) in the western press in reporting on Syria. However, even the news media know that it's a fraud. The “observatory” is one man. He lives in England. And he is the one who tells us how Assad is an evil man.

So I can believe this Tass report. It just adds details to what has already been reported in honest media.

Israel's Netanyahu is all aflutter because he says Iran will build a nuclear bomb. There is no evidence it will – and no advantage to it. As well, poor little Israel has some 250 nuclear missiles – and with the capacity to deliver them by submarine. So what's really bothering Netanyahu?

He wants Israel to control the region – including Iran.

Anyway nuclear arms are perfectly safe. We've been assured of that every year since 1945. Nuclear weapons don't cause war. They're a deterrent. Yeah. That's it. So – if they're a deterrent, then everybody should have them. Then we'd never have a war again.
Oh, yeah. The topic in my headling - men tipping their hats.

People object to Muslim religious practices relating to women, like wearing the hijab. Actually, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are much more closely related than one might think. And all three have a history of suppressing women. (And all three still do so.)

In a Christian church, for example, men take their hats off. Traditionally, women don't – and any changes in that have been very, very recent. Christian men also tip their hats to women. You think that's all for politeness? No. It's a putdown.

I'll talk about that tomorrow.

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