Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jan. 21: No. The world has not become nicer. But we can.

Richard Saillant, Norbert Cunningham and most of the Irving press staff have consistently warned us that we cannot afford the government spending we are doing. Our public service is way too big. We spend too much on education. Our public debt is on the edge of a cliff, says professor Saillant – and Norbert daily climbs on his desk, screams “over the cliff” and leaps, head-first, to the floor.

A reader sent me a brochure by David Coon, leader of the Parti Vert NB Green Party. Here's what David Coon says.

1. Our public service is the 4th smallest in Canada. At 85 people per thousand of population, it is at the national average.
2. In education, NB is in the middle of funding per student across Canada.
3.In health service, NB is fifth of 10 provinces in its cost per person.
4. The proportion of out provincial revenue that goes to pay the provincial debt is less than that of six other provinces.

This sort of information is not difficult to find. How come it never occurred to any person on the staff of Irving press to look for it? Professor Saillant must surely have known all this. Mr. Gallant must have known all this.

Did Mr. Coon say this in the legislature? Has he said so in public? If he has, why want's it reported?

And even if the figures above are arguable, shouldn't we have known of their existence?

Do you smell a rat?

This province has been whipped into a frenzy, and private business has been allowed to intrude on health care (for its own profit at our cost.) And this has been done by a newspaper with the journalistic standards of a scandal mag or – more accurately – a propaganda machine that endlessly pumps out what the boss wants people to believe.

The public service is too big, and its salaries too large and overpaid? Well, in a democracy, a public service is what makes it possible for a nation to operate. Any modern country needs a well-educated public service. We pay them too much? Well, it's peanuts to what we pay for senior executives and board members in the private sector. And the salaries, bonuses, and perks for them come from OUR pockets, but like the salaries of public servants.

A newspaper should give us ALL sides of a story. It should give us all the news we need to know, so that we can decide what should be done. That's not what we have. And that means we cannot be a democracy.

The newspapers and the governments of New Brunswick have long been propagandists and liars, the spit-lickers for the wealthy, and indifferent to the needs of the people of New Brunswick.

Today's paper is not different from its usual self.

Gas prices could fall, we learn, but they will later go up. They quote an expert on that. I can't wait for their next 'expert says' story. “Sun will go down today, but will rise tomorrow.”

The real story is WHY it has gone down – WHY it will go up. It's going down because the market has been deliberately flooded with cheap oil This is a war. That's why Saudi is pumping huge surpluses. The king of Saudi Arabia is is not Santa Claus. It is being done to destroy the economies of competitors – like Russia, like Venezuela. For the big oil players in the U.S., this is part of the process of world conquest by the U.S., the one that is outlined in Project for the New American Century (which has never been mentioned in the Irving press), and exemplified by the concept of American exceptionalism (which has never been mentioned in the Irving press.

Once that conquest is achieved, the super-wealthy can get back to shafting all of us.

There's a story on Oland making an appeal and bail request. Of course. The family is behind him. Of course. After all, killing one's father looks so – you know – lower class. So there's lots of money to string this on forever. This has been going on for years. That's because in our system of equality before the law, you have to have a pile of money to be equal.

The editorial says nothing in particular. Norbert has a column on selling alcohol in grocery stores. Reading it, brought me back to the several years I spent researching letters, diaries, etc. about drinking in Canada a hundred to a hundred and fifty years ago. Norbert's columns remind me of the rants of those – on both sides.

Norbert, the issue here has nothing to do with encouraging or restricting alcohol. This is not a return to prohibition. It's about whether we should get the profits of alcohol sales or whether they should be privatized.

Letters to the editor has a good one on Prime Minister Bennett that beats both the editorialist and Norbert. R.B.Bennett, the very image of the arrogant and self-serving billionaire, was actually a man who learned to care about people. It was quite a remarkable transformation. That's why he introduced the legislation mentioned in this letter. There's also an excellent book called “The Wretched of Canada: Letters to R.B.Bennett – 1930-35” edited by Lynda Grayson and Michael Bliss. He was very much in touch with ordinary Canadians.

The depression years changed Bennett. Whatever else he might have been, he was a man with a soul and compassion. He came to office as a man who loved power. He left it as a man who loved people. Too bad that doesn't seem to be catching among billionaires.

There's a decent column pointing out the nonsense of Frank McKenna's idea of making immigrants promise to stay three years or more in the place they're billeted to.

Justin's Ryan's column is – well, you have to read it. This is one, powerful column. And it raises a subject I think I'll deal with on Sunday.

And Alec Bruce seems to be staying on safe ground.

There's really nothing in Canada and World.

There's a big story, deservedly so, about a Taliban attack on a university in Pakistan. But, like most news stories, there isn't much in this one to explain why it happened or what it means. Nor does it mention a kind of important bit of information. Pakistan has been a major supporter of the Taliban for many years. (Everybody's playing a game.)

There's also a big story that the U.S. and its favourite buddies in NATO have agreed to continue fighting the Islamic state. Was anybody expecting them to do anything else?
The Guardian has excellent opinion column on the corruption and rot of American democracy, and how it has been twisted to suit elite groups ranging from big business to big crime to gather all wealth into their hands, and impoverish everyone else. The U.S. is not the only place it happens. It has, over the years, been true in just about all western countries. And it's very evident in New Brunswick.

Also from The Guardian is this story about the world destruction of the fisheries. Another thing I have to think about for Sunday is the idiocy of international political debate (as in the U.S. leadership race) in it's concentration on hatreds, fears all designed to make us want to kill people who are in the way of our billionaires while we ignore far, far greater problems.

And this one just for the sheer truth of it.

For some reason, editors at the Irving press didn't mention that Canada's largest newspaper conglomerate is merging operations and firing staff. That's no loss to the world of journalism. It isn't, like the Irving press, the ragged sewer of journalism. It's more a well-dressed sewer.

Newspapers just about everywhere are in trouble – perhaps due to TV and computers because they're easier to use. The trouble with TV is that us humans don't connect all that well with it – we just watch. We're not involved. And the trouble with computers is you get unreliable sources, like me.

Anyway, here is an important Canadian story that a Canadian newspaper missed. But a British one got it. (An editor really should have noticed a story like that.)

The following column is long, but worth reading to see the hatred of Muslims from a Muslim point of view. As I read, it occurred to me that if I were a Muslim writing this blog, I would almost certainly be labelled an extremist, be denied airline travel, and be subject to constant surveillance by Canada's gestapo. Odd. I can't remember any attacks on Christianity in World War Two, even though Hitler declared himself a devout Christian (RC).

Then there's this rather complex analysis of Iran and Saudi Arabia in what their strife is all about. Like almost all strife, it's about money and markets. But that's not a socially acceptable reason to kill people. So our news media keep it simple for us by talking about things like democracy, extremists and moderates and other fictions.

Now, I must give some thought to Sunday, when I try to suggest how we should respond to all this.

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