Friday, January 8, 2016

Jan 8: Justin is turning out as I expected.

“P.M. told to deepen ties to Saudi Arabia.” The advice comes from 'federal officials'. And if we are being told about it, it's a safe bet it's because we're being softened up to expect it to happen.

Why should we deepen ties to Saudi Arabia? Well, it's a powerful state in the Persian Gulf. It's oil rich, and that would guarantee our energy future. There's really nothing in this story about people, about their needs, about the effect this would be likely to have on us. It's really about the interests of people who have a lot of money. In that respect, the values in this proposal are so narrowly focussed on money and to hell with people that it looks like a regular editorial in the Irving press.

Is there any reason we should not deepen ties to Saudi Arabia. Well, yes….

1. It would, as the report says, guarantee our energy future. Yeah. Guarantee, in fact, that we won't have any future at all. It was just weeks ago that we agreed in Paris that we would cut back severely on greenhouse emissions. Now, it's suggested that producing greenhouse emissions is the path of the future. This is all about more oil, not less. And it's about committing ourselves to it for a long time to come. And then it won't matter.

The oil industry wants oil to go on. That's why the west is in the middle east. That's why premier Gallant is going to endorse fracking “with the strictest rules in the world.”

This is to hell with the Paris agreement.

2. We are pledged NOT to have dealings with countries with bad human rights records. But, seriously, who gives a damn about human rights? Even in Canada we have government spies watching us. Even Canadians took part in the torture of US prisoners. Our neighbour, the U.S., has a dreadful human rights record – except for its generosity in allowing nutbars with guns and wearing cowboy hats to threaten to kill police and soldiers.

Saudi Arabia has, arguably, the worst human rights record in the world. We are pledged not to have dealings with such countries. But, hey, boys will be boys. Right?

Anyway, we've already broken that pledge with Justin's decision to let the sale of armoured cars to Saudi Arabia go ahead. ( By the way, I read a recent report on this which makes it a point of saying they are 'light' armoured cars. That confirms what I had suspected. They would be useless on a battlefield. These are designed to kill civilians on city streets. That probably means the king of Saudi Arabia is getting worried about his domestic popularity.)

Anyway, Saudi Arabia is our biggest trading partner in the region. 'nuff said.

3. The report doesn't seem to mention ISIS. And that's odd. Saudi Arabia is ISIS.

Saudi Arabia follows the most extreme version of Muslim thought. It is the same version that ISIS follows – extreme application of sharia law, severe punishments and, something the report didn't mention – the killing of all people who do not follow their extreme views. That's why Saudi Arabia carries out severe punishments for even minor crimes. It can be chopping off of both hands for shoplifting, beheading for disagreeing with the government, stoning a woman to death for sins like driving a car…. That's why it's on our hypocritic list of “do not sell to” nations.

It is now, by the way, dropping cluster bombs on the starving people of Yemen. These bombs will still be killing children decades from now. But it must be okay because the U.S. is supplying them.

But it goes much beyond Saudi Arabia and ISIS sharing the same, extreme views.

Saudi really is a part of ISIS. It has been supplying money and weapons to ISIS. Where do you think a ragged band of religious fanatics got the billions to buy the fleet of tanker trucks that carries their oil to market?

Why do you think the U.S. bombers allowed those trucks to pass in daylight in huge convoys through Syria to Turkey? Why do you think the U.S. allowed Turkey to sell that oil on the open market? The U.S. makes a big noise about ISIS in the U.S. But it, and Saudi Arabia, are quite happy to help ISIS in other countries.

There is a part of the report that deals with how Canada could help with reform in Saudi Arabia. That part is censored. But it doesn't matter because nothing is going to reform the kings of Saudi Arabia and their vast families.

In short, this is a report Canadian big business might have made about our relations with Germany in September of 1939 – with almost the same arguments, and with a censored part suggesting Hitler might think of converting to Judaism.

This report is utterly without morality and without intelligence. It ignores the questions of climate change and mass murder. It's really a report on helping Canadian business make bigger profits – whatever the human cost might be.

I think the Liberals will support it. And so will the Conservatives. And I wouldn't be surprised to see an editorial in the Irving press support. Oh, and the Irving press doesn't seem to have heard that Saudi Arabia, of all countries is in serious debt.

Recently, the Irving press had a story leading its front page that a woman was living in dreadful poverty, not far from Moncton. Today, there's a follow-up story. It only made page A3, though I think it's a more important story. “Living in poverty not an isolated situation, says social justice group.”

Part of the story is quite good. It reminds us that a great many New Brunswickers live in desperate poverty. But half  of the story is about how good strangers have been to her. This is just ga-ga, feel good crap. And no doubt we'll soon see a full page of colour photos of assorted goofs holding up big cheques for her which also display the name of Harry's Toilet Works and other pious endeavours.

This is not a story about one person. It's a story about a province in which some people earn a hundred thousand dollars a day while others try to survive on $500 a month or less. And they aren't going to get assorted goofs holding up big cheques for them.

A province that allows that to happen is not a model of charity. It's a model of smug hypocrisy. It's a reminder of our indifference to most (almost all) of those who need help. It's a reminder that some of us have an unquenchable thirst for money and power. It's a reminder that we keep electing governments that exist only to serve the greedy and powerful.

Wake up, New Brunswick.

The opinion and commentary pages are mostly pretty soppy stuff, as usual. Norbert has his knickers in a twist because we're not getting any information on charges that the police erred in the Oland case.

Tell you what, Norbert. I don't give a damn about the case of a spoiled rich kid who has been found guilty of beating his father to death. Leave that one to the scandal mags at the supermarket. Tell you what, kid. How about writing something on the firing of Dr. Cleary who was our highly respected Chief Medical Officer?

For a start, how about finding out exactly what the requirements of that job are. That, surely, is something we have a right to know. And maybe somebody at your paper might have the guts (and brains) to learn something about what we are spraying on our forests. And, just a suggestion, let's even consider that the spraying has nothing to do with this firing.

Close your eyes tight, Norbert, and think really, really hard. In the very near future, our premier will be making a decision on fracking in this province. Is it possible that this could be a reason why our government and, more important, its boss, might be concerned about Dr. Cleary in the role of Chief Medical Officer?

In the past year, the provincial government lost $22.4 million to business people who defaulted on their loans. (Oh, I know, business 'creates' jobs. Get real. The purpose of business, the only purpose, is to make profits. It does that by creating as few jobs as possible, and at the lowest possible wage.)

What creates wealth is ordinary people who have enough money to buy food and have a place to live. Oh, big business can create some weath. But only for the very few at the top.

The $22 million we have thrown away could have been used to create wealth. But you don't create it by overfeeding the financially obese. You create it by making sure nobody has to live on $500 and less a month. You do it by funding schools so they can produce people who will be of value to us. You do it by making sure the hungry are fed.

Money spent that way, all of it, comes back into our economy. Money spent on billionaires goes into secret bank accounts and slave-labour mines in third world countries.

This world is undergoing massive economic changes. Poverty is in a steep rise. The already wealthy are, every year, getting a bigger piece of the pie. Wars are being fought, and millions murdered with millions more of lives destroyed so billionaires can be sure of having enough jam on their toast. Private business has effectively destroyed democracy in the U.S., and seriously weakened it in Canada with the finishing touches being applied in 'free trade' deals. And we, the ones who should be aware of all this and its meaning, have little sense of what is happening because the very wealthy control most of our information about the world.

The Irving press hasn't noticed the story yet, but Britain has a problem brewing. The UN has a long list of charges against British soldiers in the Iraq war. It's a list of very serious war crimes – murder, torture, rape, robbery, sometimes all four on the same victims. The list has some 1,500 names, and it's a safe bet that's only the tip of the iceberg.

The British government is try to kill this quietly. That's what all governments do. We are roused into outrage by war crimes against us, but if it's by us…..big silence. Some will remember the case of the American lieutenant in Vietnam who led his squad against a quite innocent village of 700 or so, and led it into killing all of them, including babies. A reporter got the story, but none of the news media would touch it.

However, this was not an Irving press reporter. He forced the government to put the lieutenant on trial. That made the news media carry it. The lieutenant was found guilty. (And he suffered a whole night in jail before he was pardoned by the president.)

All armies commit war crimes. But only the losers ever pay the price.

Canada has far more guns that it needs, and too many of the wrong kind – the macho, pretend I'm a war hero kind. But the world champ is the U.S. with ninety guns per capita. Canada has about thirty per capita. Guess which country has the highest rate of gun homicides.

Then, for a combination of fun and fear, take a look at this one sent in by a reader. I don't agree with everything in it – but I do agree with more than I really want to.

The next one is also from a reader. It's long, and it will sound extreme to some, but that's the way the world really works. It's well worth a read.

There was a story in The Guardian about North American football being too dangerous. Interestingly, it didn't make the sports section of the Irving press. But I know that to be true of quite a number of popular sports. As a child, I got to meet many boxers because of an uncle's prominence in the boxing world. As the years passed, just about every one of them suffered brain damage and/or serious internal injuries.

Another sport that's bad news is the brawl called, for some reason, martial arts – the one in which one fighter kicks another to knock him down, then jumps on him (or her) to pound his head on the ring floor.

If you want your son and daughter to become pro athletes, keep them away from the dangerous ones. Sign them up for wrestling with the WWE. It's quite harmless.

Then there's the big story that I haven't seen in any paper. The UN is dead in the water. The organization that was designed to create a new world order is completely ignored by all world powers. Countries go to war illegally. Nothing happens. They commit war crimes that kill millions. Nothing happens. The UN can piddle around the edges with humanitarian aid – but not much. The wealthy of this world don't spend much on humanitarian aid. It's more important to spend money on useful things – like corrupt arms industries.

What is happening is a takeover of the world by the wealthiest capitalists. What has happened in the U.S. and what is happening in Canada (and Russia and China) who 'compete' with each other. Competing means killing and starving without getting their own hands dirty. They use national 'patriots' for that part.

This article pretty much sums it up. (It also uses the word 'fascism' in its correct meaning.)

It's also summed up in these videos by a pretty outstanding journalist.

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