Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 15: The things we cannot have.

The good thing about growing up poor (the only good thing) is that you get accustomed very, very young to the idea there are things you cannot have. As I thought of this topic, it occured to me that I didn't have a pair of winter boots until I was thirteen. What I had, from age five, was somebody's old pair of rubber boots. They were too big for me, of course, but over the years, I filled them, then overfilled them. By age ten or so, they had become annoying, then painful. Then, lucky for me, the war ended, and within a couple of years, the stores were filling up with cheap, war surplus clothing. So I got a nifty pair of air crew boots with rubber feet, high leather tops with lots and lots of holes for laces, a long, long tongue, and sheepskin lining.

Of course, I never actually laced them up. That wasn't cool. Us kids who were in the know left then unlaced, with the tongue flopping over the rubber foot. But for the war, winter boots were something this child could never have. And this takes us to the stunning news which the Irving press doesn't have.


Climate change is happening even more quickly than expected and, in all the years we have been talking about reducing carbon dioxide, we've actually been creating more of it. And our response?

Well, there's a vague statement that Obama and Trudeau will cooperate on climate change. Big deal. That's been said many times over the past twenty years and more. And it's not getting better. It's getting worse.

And I can hear the Irving press response now. Oil pipelines and and fracking create jobs.  And we need a source of energy until we develop something safer.
Listen carefully. We can't have it. There are things we cannot have.

 But the oil companies don't hear that. They're now demanding a pipeline in Canada, for example, that will take at least 30 years to make a profit. So they're counting on more than thirty years of selling oil. And they must be counting on much more than that because I've seen no sign whatever of oil barons showing any interest in alternative forms of energy. Indeed, the Kohl brothers seem to have spent billions to convince the world that there is no climate change. And we are now fighting wars that cost trillions of dollars to get control of oilfields. That doesn't sound to me like an effort to reduce dependence on oil.

It also means trillions of dollars that can't be spent researching alternative forms of energy because they're being spent by the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Russia and China on wars to get more oil. And that's not money that's separate from ours. It IS our money. Big oil, which is very good at dodging taxes, is fighting its wars with our money.

This is greed that amounts to insanity.

Of course, you can escape from all this by reading the wonderland that we call the Irving press. It turns it into a discussion of how we need oil to create jobs. But creating jobs is not the issue here. The issue is the survival of humanity. To babble that it's more important to create jobs than it is to live goes beyond stupidity and ventures into hysteria.

And, frankly, the video of Obama and Trudeau shaking hands and smiling as they agree to work on climate change is not reassuring. For a start, we've already had lots of smiles and handshakes without much result. Even more important, the whole world has to smile and shake hands if we're going to deal with this.
For the same reasons, we cannot have the wars we are currently enjoying. I know, of course, that the people we're fighting against are evil. But so are we. And we all have long records of being evil. We need intense work - NOW - to deal with the massive changes passing over this planet. What are we  going to do with the refugees that climate change is producing? How are we going to travel? How are we going to get an adequate supply of food?

Instead, and most noticeably in the case of the U.S., we are looking for a world war. And only a fool can think such a war would not turn nuclear weapons loose. Even if somebody had a military capable of winning a conventional war, one of the losers, at least, would fire them. And it wouldn't matter where they landed. The sheer number of explosives, even if all were dropped on a desert island, would destroy all of us.

Students and graduates of McGill University feel pretty strongly about this. (though I have seen no sign that premier Gallant, a McGill grad,  shares the views being voiced at his alma mater.)


In terms of international cooperation we haven't advanced an inch since World War 1. Almost all of what we have is things we cannot have.

The people who don't understand that there are things they cannot have are the very wealthy. They believe they can consume forever. They even believe they can make themselves richer by making all the rest of us poorer. That works when you're impoverishing an empire to make your rich richer. But, obviously, it can't work when you're impoverishing everybody.
The headline of todays Irving news is a pretty shattering one. Not far from where I live, there are great, narrow spires of rock that tower up from the beach, so high that the trees on top of them look like miniatures. I have often wondered how many thousands of years it must have taken the sea to carve those rocks, and the caves in them. And one of them has collapsed.

Unfortunately, that's it for secton A news.

The editorial is an almost embarassing one about the federal promise to put more images of women onto our currency. The editorial writer builds on this with suggestions that show that he/she doesn't know much about outstanding women in Canadian or New Brunswick history.

The editorialist also displays an ignorance of Canadian history in general by   saying the idea of confederation originated in New Brunswick. It didn't. And, no, not in any other colony, either.

Norbert has a column on domestic abuse in New Brunswick, and how the province is at last addressing it. But, in the last ten paragraphs, it becomes a hymn of praise to the Irving press for setting change in motion.

Alan Cochrane's column is a touching story about the death of a Moncton musician. It's touching. But it's a story, not a commentary.

The guest commentary is quite a good one on problems in access to mental health care.

Alec Bruce has an interesting column about the origin of the 'war on drugs' back in the Nixon era Then, in the last two sentences, he suggests a war on poverty. But two, short sentences are too little to say anything. And, given what he says about the motives for the war on drugs, I can't see any connection.
The lead story in Section B, Canada&World is about a report on the provincial economy by the 'non-profit' Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Come off it, kids. we know who finances that outfit. And we know they do it because it's profitable for them.

One bright thought AIMS has is that corporations should be allowed to pay zero income tax. Sensational! The poor and middle class are suffering. So let's make life easier for the very rich.

Anyway, what difference would a zero income tax make?  Are they paying any now? Maybe the Irving press could do a big study on that.

Conservative leader Rona Ambrose  chewed out Trudeau for not pressing Obama harder on the energy issue. (translation, let's pump and pipe more oil. Looks like the Conservatives have found another Harper.)

Since most of this section lacks context, there's really only one story to read in section B. It's on page one, and discusses Putin's partial withdrawal from Syria in terms that make sense. Maybe. But if so, it will now depend on the U.S. to show some sense, too. But, when it comes to oil, the U.S. has never shown much sense.

Yemen, American cluster bombs and drones don't make the news, of course. Neither do British and French troops in Libya.
Karl Nerenberg is a journalist of the highest quality who worked many years at CBC. It is now starved for money, and declining in quality. He suggests a solution - and it's not money.


As a person who watches several hundred channels of TV at supper time, most of that time spent changing channels, I am astonished at the low  quality of programming in general, and of sports in particular. The only shows I can bear watching are Thomas the Tank Engine, and Laugh-In Gags.
Here are two views on the Russia easing of its war in Syria. Both make sense. But I'm still reluctant to make any guesses of my own.

Here's an analysis of the role of the very, very rich in running our very warlike world. Note the people and companies it names for supporting Hitler. Note the names that support the Bilderberg group, a regular gathering to plan the future of the world in a way that benefits the very, very rich. (And think back of the name of the former premier of New Brunswick, Frank McKenna, who attends meetings of the Bilderberg group. If I were him, I would have kept that a secret.)

Then there's the story of Hilary Clinton and the destruction of Libya. Watch Hilary closely. She's been described as a sociopath - and that may be kind.

And here is a very long but thoughful and thought-inspiring piece sent to me by a reader.

I have lots more. But it's time to eat supper while changing channels.


  1. Have you read this?


    First of six articles. It has been taken down on nationalobserver's website - they claim it will be re-posted in May and say Irving didn't make them do it. Speculation on halifaxexaminer.ca is that there are some factual errors.

    Anyway, your criticism of NB/Irving actually seems a bit tame compared to this

  2. I'm a gentle and trusting soul. I haven't read that site, but I look forward to its appearance - perhaps in May.