Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22: Good news!

It didn't make the Irving press, but....

Dozens of millionaires in New York have told the government their taxes should be raised substantially, and  the money used to help the poor. This request  comes from members of the top 1% in income.

This is important for New Brunswick because Hall of Fame philanthropist J. D. Irving is certain to follow suit, and demand that his taxes and those of all his executives and directors should be on the table, too.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/raise-our-taxes-combat-poverty-say-dozens-new-york-millionaires-1550866
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A reader pointed out to me that he could not get Bishop Spong on the long, long URL I sent yesterday. So here's a shorter version that does work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Kkt8uewew
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Then, I felt terrible guilt about a source of commentary I haven't used nearly enough.  It's a Canadian source, dealing primarily with Canadian issues. And the commentators are among the best available. One of the best is Karl Nerenberg who raises questions about the perception we're being fed that Justin Trudeau is a progressive and modern thinker who works from principle. That's not Nerenberg's impression - or mine.

My impression is that he's a smooth operator - with good advisors who know how to look  progressive while not doing anything. For example, he has appointed economic advisors of whom the majority are women. The Canadian news media gets all excited at his forward-looking ways. But if you check the women he appointed, you find they're not very different from the men that Harper appointed.

Trudeau, like Hillary Clinton, is a 'practical' politician. 'Practical' doesn't mean he does what works for the country. It means he knows how to look as though he's making big improvements when he isn't. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are 'practical in that narrow sense. But neither of them has any great interest in what the society needs. They are ' practical' but without principle.

As an example of his failure of principle, the Trudeau government has refused to stop $15 billion of  arms sales to Saudi Arabia. That's very practical because he knows most news media won't pay much attention it it, and most Canadians don't care. But it lacks principle because:

1. Saudi Arabia is using those weapons to pursue an illegal war against a very poor country.

2. Canada has signed an international agreement not to sell weapons to countries with bad human rights records.

3. Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
But, gee - I bet that weapons manufacturer will give a healthy donation to the Liberal party. And that's practical.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/03/morneau-goes-corporate-his-new-advisory-council

Then there's this one about why the federal deficit should be even larger that it is. Norbert would panic at the thought; but that's also the opinion of leading economists.

Incidentally,   guess how much the Canadian government gave away to the rich with much, much lower taxes, with special tax breaks last year - and not counting hiding money in overseas bank acounts -- $200 billion dollars. Gee! Wouldn't it be interesting if the Irving press did a story on that - naming names? Funny how professor Savoie missed that in his much-praised book about how our provincial government is spending too much.

Then there's the old, practical/principle subject.  Should a party be 'practical', meaning should it base its programme simply on getting votes? (If you think it should, then your ideals should be Trump or Clinton - or Hitler. All of them are/were practical politicians.)

Or should a party operate on the basis of principle?  There's a column that favours the latter.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2016/03/why-centrist-ndp-not-option
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You might guess from all this time given to Rabble.ca that the Irving press doesn't have a whole lot in it today. And you would be right.

The opening headline is a real story. There are 2,000 Moncton families on the wait list for subsidized housing. Worse, there are a thousand or more in this small city who are living in the streets.

There is nothing else worth reading in the news for section A.  Worse, on the pages for commentary and opinion there is not a single word about our lack of caring. Instead, these pages are what they're usually about. Nobert talks about our sick economy without once writing the word Irving. No, it's all because of the politicians. They aren't providing leadership.

No, they aren't Norbert. That's because he whose name you never mention, whose name your paper never mentions unless he's being inducted into another hall of fame, tells both the Liberals and the Conservatives what to do. He even wrote in your paper that he was a member of the government. And you still didn't say a word.

And the people of New Brunswick keep voting Liberal and Conservative even though they know that. And you and your paper have never had the integrity to provide either the news or the leadership that this province needs.
Norbert's cheery note is that good, corporate citizens are stepping forward to take the leadership.  Norbert...

1. What the hell is a corporate citizen? Are there separate rules for these people? Are they special kinds of citizens? Are they better than us slobs?

2. What gives them a special right to take the leadership of the province?

3. At least one of those 'corporate  citizens' attends meeting of the Bilderberg society.  Do you know what that is, Norbert? (hint - he was a premier of this province.)  Do you know what kinds of people join Bilderberg conferences?
Essentially, it's an anti-democracy body which believes that the very wealthy should control the world. And, of course, that fits in with the fascist views that characterize your columns.

The guest column is by Bill Whitelaw, President and CEO of  some oil company. I'm glad they told me that. From his gushing, melodramatic writing style, I though he was a thirteen year old schoolboy who  was writing about how much he was in love with his teacher.

It's a pitch for pipelines and more oil, and it's so silly and pre-adolescent, I really don't know what to say about it.   He writes as though he's never heard of climate change. He doesn't deny it. He simply doesn't recognize it. Now, it's not possible to be that dumb. But he writes with such a sense of tragedy. I can only conclude that he is that dumb.  

Alec Bruce, as always, is a good read. But I've noticed that, lately,  he avoids saying anything.

However, compared to section B (Canada&World),    section A is a treasure house of information and wisdom.

The Vice-President of the Irving press has, I understand, a master's degree in journalism. (and his name is Irving, so we know he must be real smart.) That means he must know these newspapers are trivial, heavily biased, and are newspapers whose sole purpose is to keep people in ignorance of what is happening here and around the world.
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The Guardian, in a story on yesterday's terrorist attack on Belgium, said, "Terrorism has become a global problem."

In fact, terrorism has been a global problem  since the invention of the sailing ship in the fifteenth century.  That's when some European countries got the ability to commit mass murder, slavery, and looting all over the world. Nobody will ever know how many people they slaughtered, enslaved, abused and looted as they carried out their terror in the Americas, Africa and Asia The slave trade in African alone took at least 60 million lives. And it destroyed the living and passes down its inheritance of abuse to the present day.

Add the dead in India, China, the native peoples of the Americas, of Africa, many of whom still live lives of desperation, povery and early death, and the numbers are in the hundreds of millions. One of the leading countries in that murder and brutality was little Beligum which was given Congo to loot and abuse
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None of this is to suggest we should not feel sorrow for those who died yesterday. Of course, we should. Just as we should feel sorrow for the native peoples and the South Africans that our Canadian ancestors terrorized and murdered. And, for that matter. We should remember the ones our ancestors from all over the world, almost all of them, terrorized and murdered.
But what should we do?

We should not do what Republican leadership candidate Ted Cruz is advising. We should not step up police intrusions in Muslim neighbourhoods here  (or anywhere else.)

For a start. Islam did not cause those killings. Take a deep breath.

If Islam is to blame for those killings, then Christianity is to blame for killing hundreds of millions both overseas and at home. And Judaism is responsible for killing and stealing the land of Palestinians and also killing to steal it thousands of years earlier, too.  (Oh, I know. It's okay because God told them to. But save it. Tell it to the judge.)

Certainly, there are 'religious' people who are killers - big time. The U.S. killed over a million people in Iraq, even more than that in Vietnam. But I wouldn't blame Christianity for that - or for the native peoples our ancestors killed. In fact, I don't know of any major religion that advocates killing. (Well, a long, long time ago, Judaism did with its advice to stone some people to death. But I haven't seen that on the Faith Page for quite a while.)

No. Religions don't kill. People do. And they often do it for selfish reasons. Why are we in Iraq? It's to get control of the oil. Why did the U.S. cooperate in the mass murder of Guatemalans? To protect American and Canadian mining companies from demands for decent pay and for environmental protection. Why did we kill Germans? Because they were killing Jews? No. We were as anti-semitic as Germans were. In fact, western big business supported Hitler right up to the start of the war - and some even for  several years later.

Some Muslims are shooting at us because we've been shooting them for a century and more. Groups like ISIS don't just spring up like daisies. They appear as a reaction - and there can't even be guesses about how far such a reaction could sink all of us. We need a more intelligent response.

P.S. Belgium was and still is one of the world's great mass murderers ( in Congo). That's not to say those who died yesterday were guilty of anything. They almost certainly weren't. What is does say is that if we want to end terrorist bombs and killing, we gave stop doing it ourselves.

And note all the righteous outrage we're hearing about this from western politicians. Notice we never heard outrage from them when the U.S. was slaughtering Iraqis and Libyans?___________________________________________________________________________
South America is routinely ignored by the Irving press. That's because capitalism has made much of it a very dangerous to live  - especially if you're an environmentalist or a labour organizer. Mining companies and farming outfits like Dole don't like people who fuss about the environment or working conditions. It's bad for profits.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/20/development-banks-human-rights-crisis-honduras-agua-zarca
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This story is three  months old. But I think it very relevant today. I'm afraid we're going to learn that Trudeau is mostly smoke and mirrors. And his policies are more 'practical' than principled.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2015/dec/03/trudeaus-climate-rhetoric-is-riveting-so-what-about-the-reality
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It looks as though the U.S. is close to officially losing the war in Afghanistan. It was one of the most expensive wars in history,  fought by what is (supposed to be) the most powerful military on earth against a small and poor country.
The U.S. has consistently lost wars for over fifty years. All of them,  so far as most of our news media were concerned, were justified wars against evil people. The U.S. we were told, was forced into all those wars. And those Americans who died gave up their lives to save freedom and democracy. (Funny how nobody got any freedom or democracy out of the wars. (That includes Iraq which has a   government of  U.S. puppets.)

Curious how US freedom is always under attack, even though it hasn't been invaded in any sustained way since the British surrendered to Washington. Since then, there have been no wars in the U.S., only raids. There was Pearl Harbour which was never intended to be more than a raid. There was 9/11 which, terrible as it was, was not an invasion.

And there was that ugly incident in the war of 1812 when the British set fire to the White House.

 Because of it's geographic position, the U.S. has been invulnerable to anything but raids. However, it has been possible for the U.S. to invade its neighbours, and it has done so with wars against Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, almost every country in South America and, of course, Canada.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/03/afghanistan-taliban-won-talk-winning-pakistan-isis-160322054137025.html

This seems a long blog, though I still have a lot of material. But enough. Time for supper.

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