Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jan. 19: My, the Irving press is awful

The first section has news like a Tim Horton's being closed for a few days. The big headline says that the federal government might agree to help local infrastructure projects. Well, yeah. It might. Or it might not. So what's the big story?

Then there's a story that the food banks (all charity operations) have bought a new building. At least 3,000 people depend on that charity to stay alive. How about the next time Mr. Irving looks for a handout or a really cheap price on something, we tell him to go to a charity?

Then, with the whole world seemingly in an economic crash, the editorial sees the issue of selling wine in grocerty stores as the great question of the day. The writer makes a bizarre connection between the ban on selling wine in grocery stores to prohibition. (I would be happy to discuss this bit of idiocy with the editorial writer. I have done several years of research and writing on prohibition- and it had little to do with banning wine in grocery stores.)
The big issue of the day for Norbert is that the federal cabinet is meeting at a hotel that's too expensive. (Citizens unite. Storm the Bastille.) Alan Cochrane's commentary deals with another big issue of the day – we should all go out and have fun in the snow. Then there's Richard Saillant of “Over the Cliff...”, a book of nineteenth century economics that blames the poor for causing the recession, and now wants to punish them for it. Alec Bruce has nothing whatever to say.

The only item worth reading in all of Section A is a letter to the editor from a Donald Alward who corrects an earlier writer about Prime Minister R.B.Bennett, one of the least appreciated but truly great people of this province. He had to contend with the great depression and, in contrast to the tone of “Over the Cliff” and of everything Norbert Cunningham has ever written, he demonstrated compassion and a willingness to do more than write economics books with ideas more than a century out of date.

Let's take a serious look at what's happening. Sixty two people in this world have more money than the poor (half of the world) do. A dozen years ago, it took 300 billionaires to reach that status. Now, it's just sixty-two. The shift of all the world's wealth to the very, very wealthy is the outstanding event of the last decade and more. In the same period, many of the world's people have had to pay high taxes to pay for wars to make the wealthy wealthier. Education, hunger, sickness, starvation, death have become accepted as a reasonable price to make the wealthy wealthier. New Brunswick accepts that we let our hungry and homeless rely on charity. After all, we had to make sure Mr. Irving got our forest for the cheapest, possible price.

Norbert Cunningham, Richard Saillant, the masked editorialist, the whole staff of the Irving press never mention the role of people like the Irvings in what is happening to the world.

Of course not. The wealthy are a superior race. It's like imperialism. The wealthy who live by plundering have to justify it. And the justification is that that those being plundered, from our native people to Africans to Muslims (and, for many years, to Jews), are inferior peoples.

Some civil servants get over a hundred thousand a year? Scandalous. Some private business execs make that (and more) in a day? It's because they are a higher order of humanity. And, like racial superiority, it's inherited.

Alas! Their superiority does not extend to brains. The super, super wealthy have gone from 300 to 62 in just a dozen or so years. And, contrary to the nonsense that appears in Irving press, they do not create jobs and prosperity. Overwhelmingly, they have created poverty, death and massive destruction of the environment. And there's worse to come as the super, super wealthy of the west fight the super, super wealthy of Russia and China. The fighting in the middle east is, essentially, a war between Russia and the U.S. And there is no possible outcome that will make the middle east livable again.
Canada and World is four, lousy pages. Almost all of it is trivial. Only two stories are worth reading at all.

On B1, we are told that the federal government is thinking of putting more refugees into New Brunswick's French communities. And this is pretty typical of our whole attitude to refugees. What's in it for us?

I don't care whether they all go to French communities or English ones. I do care that they aren't being allowed to make their own choices. As well, the more we split them into various regions, the more their own society collapses. It's important for immigrants to have some cultural familiarity around them. They have come from enough hell that the west has caused them without being subject to even more of it.

And they still have to face the Jehovah Witnesses banging on their doors.

B2's big story is that a New Brunswick woman lost weight by running around her local mall. The smaller but far more important story is that our Department of Veterans Affairs has been letting our Afghanistan veterans down badly.

This is quite common around the world. We're all out there proud and noble on Nov. 11, and saying how much we remember their sacrifice. But it's all gone by Nov. 12.

The Guardian has a good article on The Cayman Islands as a tax haven for the very rich. (Richard Saillant didn't have time to mention tax havens in “Over the Cliff...”) In fact, I'm sending you a whole page of Guardian stories about tax havens. They're mostly from the British point of view – but it's very similar to Canada. Except for New Brunswick, of course. The wealthy of New Brunswick are well-known for insisting on paying their full taxes. In fact, that could be the subject of Richard Saillant's next book.

CBC has the story that the oceans are warming at an alarming rate – as a result of climate change. Pay no attention. The Koch brothers say there is no climate change. And, if there were any climate change happening, Mr. Irving would be the first to let us know.

CBC, asks the question, “Is Canada being snubbed by not being asked to attend a Paris meeting with the anti-ISIS coalition?”

Of course it is. Trudeau is going to be under tremendous pressure to fight ISIS as well as anybody else the super-wealthy want us to fight. These wars have nothing to do with helping anybody except the super-wealthy. We're going to be told about the terrible atrocities committed by ISIS. And there are such atrocities. And the Irving press will tell us all about them. But you can be sure it won't tell us about the American and British and French atrocities that far exceed anything ISIS can do.

This is going to be a tough decision time for Canada. The Anti-ISIS coalition is made up of countries that have to kiss up to the U.S. to please their own capitalists. If Canada joins that coalition, we might as well close up shop and become an American colony.

Both CBC stories are below.

So far, the candidates for Conservative leadership are Trump imitator Kevin O'Leary, and Peter MacKay. Brian Murphy starts to look like an attractive alternative.
Most readers probably won't agree with the following article. But it makes good sense. ISIS is not a significant threat to the west. In the U.S., American police are a far bigger threat. The war on terror has gone on for 15 years, and the only one to benefit by all that cost in money and human life has been ISIS. Worse, ISIS was created by the determination of American capitalists to control the whole world, killing millions as they have been doing it, and enforcing poverty on regions like Africa and Latin America. And ISIS has been thriving on money and weapons sent to it by the U.S. and our good buddies in Saudi Arabia – not the mention the western capitalists who buy cheap oil from ISIS.

For the most part, our side is not a moral force in the world. It never has been. Our side has created centuries of mass murder and slavery and impoverishment. We are not 'good'. We are now even worse than we have been over the centuries.

But, quite apart from the ethical question, there's the practical one. ISIS and all the groups related to it are not states. We can beat states by destroying their structures. But there really is no structure in these groups to destroy. That was the ignored lesson of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. They exist because they hate us. All they need to survive is that hatred. ISIS has grown in the past year – because our attacks encourage and spread the hatred of us.

For the sake of everyone (except maybe the oilpatch owners) we need to end this.


The poor U.S. All those bullies like Guatemala and Haiti and Cuba and Congo are always picking on it.
By the way, the peace-loving U.S. has more aircraft carriers than all the rest of the world put together. And aircraft carriers are essentially offensive weapons. For the U.S., in particular, aircraft carriers have almost no defensive value at all. Think about that. And guess who the aggressor really is.

I have much more. But I'd like to move to a pleasant topic.

Hong Kong is, believe me, a very, very crowded city. There are virtually no back yards or lawns. And there's also doubt about the safety of some imported foods. So Hong Kongers have roof gardens – big time.

Why should the people of Moncton care? They should because this is a city designed for 1950, when the automobile was the whole future. A result of that is that it can never hope to develop a workable public transit system. The population is just too spread out. Dieppe and Riverview are worse.

Does our city council ever think of the future?

We can't rely on cars and gasoline. There really isn't a choice. And to try it is mass suicide.

Nor is most of the housing suitable. The reliance on bungalows makes density of population impossible – and you cannot have mass transit without some density of population. As well, the reliance on wood for building seems to be a severe fire hazard, requires considerable maintenance, places limits on size.

Could city council take a brief break from drawings of the new hockey rink to consult a bit about housing for the 21st century? Perhaps of housing designed so that the roofs become usable space for all the tenants, thereby freeing up all the land around them?

Then there's this tipping hats business that I referred to yesterday. So far as I can find, the origins of it are religious, particularly in Christianity. And, I'm pretty sure that it has to do with putting women down.

In the synagogue men have normally worn a head covering. I still have the one I wore whenever I spoke at a synagogue. But that's because Jews had another way of putting women down. They made them sit in a separate area of the synagogue, and usually a less desirable one, perhaps up in a gallery. And rabbis were, of course, men. Some of these practices are changing, but it's a slow process.

Among very orthodox Jews, men grow their hair – and beards. But women, on marriage, shave their heads. They wear wigs for the rest of their lives. As well, orthodox women stand when a man enters the room. ( I used to enjoy that.)

And it may be significant that Eve tempted Adam, not the other way around.

As well, Judaic scriptures advocate the stoning of women to death –by men.

Men could be stoned to death, too. But to the best of my knowledge, not by women.


Now, Jesus was a Jew, and was raised in that tradition of woman's inferiority. It's not an accident that his apostles were all men. So, of course, it was the apostle Paul who wrote that women's hair should be long because it is a glory. However, it must be covered during prayer because if uncovered it is a spiritual distraction to men.

In short, woman's hair is a glory unto man. But man's hair is a glory unto God.

It is not an accident that, in the Catholic faith, only men can be priests. (There is a story of a woman in man's clothing who made it all the way to pope. You can probably find it under Pope Joan.)

Among Protestants, some women are now accepted in ministries, but women are still far from equal.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam all originated in the same region. And, to a very considerable degree, they reflect common attitudes of the region. One was the inferiority of women. In one group, this shows up in making them shave their heads. In another it permits them only a limited role in the church. And in another it calls for the hijab.

We are not nearly so different from each other as we like to think we are.

And if you're a woman and I meet you, and I tip my hat, it's to remind you that my hair is a glory unto God – and yours is not. And tipping your hat back would be rude, and perhaps simply a snare and a delusion for me.

I shall be on guard.

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