Monday, February 1, 2016

Feb. 1: The things I cannot have.

I learned very early in childhoood that my family could not have a car. We could not have heat in our home after supper. We could not go for a summer holiday any further than the outskirts of Montreal. We could not eat in a restaurant. And, on balance, it's useful to know what we cannot have.

But our news media avoid the subject – so as not to offend their owners.

The U.S. cannot afford the cost of its race for world dominance. It creates big profits for the owners of defence industries. It provides trillions of dollars worth of killers free of charge for the oil industry.

But it has created a national debt which is unpayable. It has created rising poverty and turmoil in the U.S. It has made it impossible for the U.S. government to provide enough food or housing or adequate education for its rising numbers of poor. It may well be a major factor in police shootings in the U.S. The poor are driven to desperation. Almost all have guns. Even children have guns. If I were an American policeman, I'd be damned scared in most parts of the U.S. And I might do something extremely foolish.

Lacking any plan for the development of American society, the nation it is torn by fear and hatred- and the politicians, most of them running on more of the same, only worse, are feasting on that fear and hatred.

Capitalism, at least in the form we have permitted it and as it is praised in the Irving press, does not work. It has a been a political failure, a social failure and an economic failure. But, since it runs on pure greed, those who run it and who own most of our news media, will not recognize what it is doing. Like alcoholics, they cannot recognize what their greed is doing to society, and what it will do to them.

And our politicians are prepared to deliver the final blow to democracy and to us with Pacific and European free trade deals. Sorry, all you rich folks, but in a world as low and as greedy as this one, you set a new mark for evil.


We cannot fight a nuclear war. There's no doubt about this. With all the nuclear missiles in this world, such a war, even with only a small number of them, would destroy all of us. And even if we had a way to defend ourselves by shooting down nuclear missiles, the fallout would still destroy all of us.

So why do we keep building them?

1. The very wealthy see them as the way to beat their competitors in other countries.

And how do we justify it?

1. We say that nuclear missiles are a deterrent to war. Some deterrent. We've been at war constantly since the invention of nuclear weapons.
2. We ignore the fact that we were within minutes of nuclear war when a false alarm went off. We are here now only because an alert Russian officer did not believe the alarm, and did not push the button for a response.

Result, both the U.S. and Russia are now using the nuclear threat to bluff each other in the middle east. The U.S. is determined 'to be great again', a term that means controlling the economy of the whole world. That is why it has been building missile sites and anti-missile sites as close as possible to Russian and Chinese borders. ( If simply having nuclear missiles were already a deterrent, why would they bother doing this?)

I'm not at all sure either Russia or China will be bluffed. And bear in mind that both Russia and China are controlled by capitalists who are just a greedy and murderous and foolish as our capitalists. (Our private news media are fond of implying that Russian and Chinese leadership is evil. That's a variety of racism, of course. But it is evil – exactly as ours is evil.)

Those 'Christian' twits of fundamentalists who demonstrate against abortion because The Bible says we shall not kill might drop their self-righteousness to note that we Canadians have been involved in the killing of people, including babies, in recent years. And the fundamentalists have been right up there with the cheerleaders. Christian is not spelled h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e.

We also have to actually do something about climate change. Yes, I know it will be difficult. The consequences of not doing will be a a lot more difficult than doing it.
The front page is a warning about tax hikes – a warning with comes from “analysts” who just happened to represent the business point of view. Well, I can think of warnings about anything we might do. So let's just lie back and let it happen. Right?

The big story is on A4. “New Moncton Canadian Tire Store to include a Tim Horton's”. Wow! Talk about Resurgo. And that's it for section A news.

The editorial is a “ something must be done” one about the old Moncton High School.

Norbert writes yet another trivia column. This one is about common errors in spelling, grammar and good usage which he says are showing up in even our media once noted for high standards. Of course, he says it all the fault of our schools. Yep. The implication is there once was a time when all New Brunswickers were were leading grammarians. By the way, Norbert, check your last paragraph.
You write, '...assist refugees as they settle into their new home...”

Won't they be terribly crowded if they move into one home?

Andy our last sentence should have a semi-colon rather than a comma. That's because it's really two sentences. So it should have either semi-colon (;) or a period (.).

Oh, defensible and indefensible are not metaphors for 'claims'. In fact, they aren't metaphors of any sort.

I understand your dislike of the education system. You must have had some really stinking teachers.

Steve Malloy is justifiably angry at the way the Gallant government is dropping hints on its budget. And he has good reason to be angry at it. And he's angry at the way New Brunswickers are sitting back and doing nothing. But he has to understand. Sitting back and doing nothing is the national sport of New Brunswick.

Craig Babstock has a commentary that is, sort of, a commentary. But it really doesn't tell us much about anything.

Alec Bruce says we're going to get hit by a raise in taxes. But don't worry about it. We'll get over it just like we get over snowstorms. (You can save a lot of time just by reading my three sentences on it.)

The only page in section A worth reading is the back page. It's a big ad posted by our civil servants. It's a very solid attack on a myth promoted by Irving and all his little press hacks.

Basically, the idea of small government is absurd. It is not cheaper to privatize. It is not more efficient to privatize. Firing civil servants will not make things better. It will make them worse, especially for those (almost all of us) who need the public service. Canada's most efficient and most effective economic years were the 1940s to the 1960s when we had a superb (and large) civil service.

The Irving papers will support cuts to the civil service because their owner doesn't need it. In fact, civil servants and democracy get in the way of the Irvings of this world. And what happens to us is not something people like that care a hell of a lot about.

Will the Gallant Liberals do us damage with budget cuts? You bet they will. Like every government I have known in this province, this one is a servant to the Irvings.
The only story in Canada and World worth reading is one about environment groups who want Canada to demand an end to the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. It is commonly used by the growing number of merchant ships in those waters, and is particularly destructive since it is virtually impossible to clean up.

Don't depend on either the Irving press of the federal government to do anything.

B2 has what could have been an effective story. It's about how some 10% of Canadian homes rely on water that is tainted by lead (often from ancient, lead pipes.) This is no minor matter. In Flint, Michigan, many have already died, many more are ill and will die.

So why didn't any editor at Irving press have the wit to check how many homes (and schools and hospitals) in this province are in danger?

Here's an old story about the 1990 U.S. invasion of Panama to arrest its president, Noriega. No, Panama was not a threat to the U.S. They bombed a path to his refuge, a path through a massive slum district killing thousands of the poor and quite innocent. The American commander, by the way, was tht nice man, Colin Powell.

I knew all about this years ago because I long ago stopped taking the North American news media seriously. But now, Al Jazeera has broken the real story to the world.

You think they wouldn't do this to us because we're all such good friends? Dream on. This isn't about people. It's about power and money.

Al Jazeera also has the story about corruption and the waste of many millions (probably more than millions) of dollars that were assigned to help West Africa recover from ebola. In this caue, most of the corruption seems to have been in West African governments. But corruption like this is common in all foreign aid from all countries. Haiti saw little of the money 'given' to it by the U.S. Most went to American, capitalist 'entrepreneurs' and their corrupt, political friends.

I am reminded at this point of Dr. Cleary who risked her life to fight ebola. Mr. Irving didn't. Mr. Gallant didn't. But Dr. Cleary is the one, we are told, who lacks essential qualities for be chief medical officer.

I wonder what those essential qualities might be. (Actually, I think I know what they are.)
It will some day dawn on New Brunswickers that the present provincial government is a sleazy as all the others have been.

Remember the Guatemala massacre of civilians? The officers who did that were trained at School of the Americas, an institution in the U.S. that never appeared much in our news, but was used to train Latin-American military officers to kill their own people. Among the beneficiaries of this kindness were Canadians who were substantial holders of mining bonds in those countries.

30 years later, some of them of those officers are being tried for war crimes. The American presidents who authorized the massacre are not being tried – or even mentioned. Nor are the bond holders.

Then there's a topic we need to examine – and very, very soon. Robotization is already in the workplace. There's going to be a lot more – and very, very soon. Robots don't get paid. Robots replace human employees. Very, very soon, there's going to be a huge drop in employment.

You haven't thought about it? Too bad. Because just about ever billionaire in the world has been thinking about it. Lots of unemployment. That will make it easy to cut wages, kill pension plans, destroy lives, reduce the ability of government to do anything and to afford anything…...

Would they do such a thing? Well, they always have in the past.

We should have been thinking of this a long time ago. I'm quite sure that Mr. Irving and friends have been thinking about it. And, so far, the 'entrepreneurs' of this world have been lousy at thinking of anything but what's in it for them.

Do we use robotization to enrich a few by impoverishing billions? You might want to go to the sacred hush of the Irving chapel to seek divine guidance on that.

Or do we use it by employing many people at full salaries and benefits but shorter hours? For those who think the rich should get all the benefits, may I point out that the history of progress (where there has been progress) had been marked by shorter hours and rising income.

Then al Jazeera has an interview with Hans Blix on the subject of nuclear war. Blix was chief weapons inspector for the UN. So he's almost good enough to write a commentary for the Irvinig press.


The next item may seem trivial. It's not. Smoking is habit forming, and it kills.

Ever watch old movies (and more than a few recent ones) whose characters are always smoking. Recently, I watched a 50s flik in which someone in every scene was smoking. In some scenes, everybody was smoking. In once, the lovers were kissing while blowing smoke in each other's faces.

In films after the prohibition era and well into the 1960s, everybody had a drink. A standard set for any Fred Astaire film was him in his expensive apartment carrying his top hat and cane,– and getting a drink from his great bar. Drinking was not only good. It was sophisticated.

These scenes were paid for by tobacco and alcohol companies. They were propaganda for booze and cigs – to make them not only respectable, but classy.

I once knew the owner of Canada's largest cigarette company. (Can't even remember the name of it. It's in Montreal.) She hated non-smokers, liked me because, at the time, I was a smoker.)
The next commentary is by a man who is a world authority on financial affairs. It explains to us how banks drive countries into bankruptcy, then 'save' them by looting them.

And other tricks by 'entrepreneurs'.

And something to keep an eye on.

Russia's intervention in Syria has messed up the plans of the U.S. The U.S. intention was to get rid of Assad as president, then divide Syria into three, small states, each to weak to do anything, and each controlled by American oil 'entrepreneurs'. (I think that's a nicer word than capitalists, don't you? Anyway, it's the one the experts at the Irving press use.)

The so-called 'rebels' and ISIS were to be U.S. proxies to defeat Syria.

But now, that's messed up with both ISIS and rebels unable to do the job due to the Russian intervention. Now, the U.S. has to be its own proxy. The only interest in saving Syria and keeping Assad in power is from Russia. The only interest of the U.S. is destroying Syria and Assad.

The U.S. now has an airfield in Syria. Some U.S. 'boots on the ground' have moved into Syria. More will go. We are now past proxy wars. This is the real thing – the U.S. facing Russia, with a very strong possibility of nuclear weapons coming into play.

This is the result of the greedy and extremely foolish invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and Britain. That foolish and murderous act has all of in a deep hole. And the U.S. seems determined to dig it deeper, all so its oil barons can get richer.


  1. Hi Graeme, I've been out of touch with your column for quite a while, so I am not aware of what your commentary has been on Dr. Cleary, but you might find this interesting. The Council of Canadians, Kent County, has confirmed that in her presentation to the N.B. Commission on Hydraulic Fracking she emphasized four points:
    1- she described the shortfalls of the N.B. version of an Environmental Assessment (EIA)
    2- she clarified that the office of the CMOH is not regularly privy to the EIA reviews, such as they are.
    3- she advocates for an alternative assessment process the Health Impact Assessment (HIA), something that has been adopted by some of the more enlightened jurisdictions world-wide.
    4- A HIA is based on a full range of health determinants endorsed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the WHO.
    She also requested a tour of the shale gas industry in the province, but she was fired instead. Now we know why. You have a large readership, perhaps you might mention these interesting details some time. Thanks, Donna