Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 3: The climate ain't changing. Nah...

Moncton has had the mildest winter since 1881. (And there are no records before 1881.) As well, the Atlantic Ocean off Nova Scotia is 4 degrees warmer than normal. That's good. That means we can keep building a pipeline all the way to Albarta even on the coolest winter days. And the warm weather will mean easier fracking.

Now, you'ld think that such a front page story would be a reason for a commentary in the paper, even an editorial on the implications of it. Perhaps even a mention that the people who have been saying that climate change is happening were right - and the ranters who said they were crazy were wrong.
But, no, not a word.

It really is happening. And it's going to mean more, a lot more, than getting more time to sit on your balcony. It's going to mean serious disruptions to our fishery, for example. It's going to mean massive migrations all over the world....to huge changes in food supply.

And where will those migrations go? To China. India? They are already overstuffed. To Europe? Get real. To the U.S.? Sure. Americans love foreigners.
And the only major plan we have in the works is to build a pipeline so expensive, it will require burning fossile fuels at even higher levels  for decades to come before it can show a profit. Oh, and, of course, we  have big plans for fracking.
It's so good to know we can rely on the Irvings and their press for leadership.
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While we face these trivial issues, the Irving press editorial tackles the real issues of the day. It has a compelling one today about maple syrup production.

Norbert has another ignorant rant. He spits venom over a wide range of topics. He says the political parties just do things to their own advantage. Grow some, Norbert. In New Brunswick, the political parties do things to the advantage of the Irvings of this world. And not all of the parties, just the Liberals and Conservatives, the only two the Irving press ever supports. Reading Norbert is much like listening to Donald Trump. He plays on hatreds and ignorance. His columns are the sort that normally appear in the real, gutter press like, say, the Toronto Sun. No respectable paper would publish such a column as this one. I can't wait to see whether he writes one about the story of climate change.

And Norbert still struggles with grammar. "...we react with all the indignation of somebody rightfully accused but who cannot bring themselves to look in the mirror." See the problem, Norbert?

The commentary page is better. Justin Ryan gives us an insight into the turmoil of getting refugees settled. David Suzuki makes a (very rare) appearance with an excellent article on climate change policy.  The Irving press must have run out of senators, ex-politicians, and  propaganda houses to write for this section.

And Alec Bruce has a column that's amusing - and also something to think about.
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That Canada and World section is its usual disaster area. With only six pages to cover the world, the first two pages are still in New Brunswick.

Then there's almost a half page to tell us that Trudeau will not speak about Trump while he is visiting the U.S. I don't know why an editor would think this is a story. Offhand, I have never heard of a Canadian prime minister who had ever intervened in a political race of another country. We could as well have had a story about how he will not wear a tu-tu skirt and do a ballet dance on the table at a White House dinner.

On page B4, we're still in Canada with a huge story on what it's like to be a furrier in Montreal.  

And the world news that YOU really need to know? Indonesia won't have a tsunami. And a Turkish down was destroyed by Kurds.

I really don't understand this Canada and World section. It must be deliberate because nobody could be stupid enough to think this is significant news.

The one story worth reading is on B2. It concerns the attempt of professors at St. Thomas University to learn what severance packages have been given to  university presidents and administrators when they leave. (And that's our business, too, because we pay for those packages out of tuition fees.)
However, a court has ruled that information is confidential. And I can understand why it's confidential.

When I was asked to be president of Concordia U, they sat me down with a team of lawyers to discuss the terms. They also loaned me a book on the subject. I was stunned.

The severance package not only contained a very high pension, but also a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year for the rest of my life as well as an interest free mortgage on my home and other goodies.  And this would be payable even if they fired me for gross incompetence and illegal behaviour. And this was over twenty years ago. Things are probably far, far worse now.

I would later realize that this was modelled on practices in big business.  (The president of Volkswagen got severance of 90 million when he had to be dropped because he had criminally misled governments on the emissions of its automobiles.)

It has happened to universties because their boards are dominated by corporation types who know even less than Norbert about education, and who run a university just like a big business.

I turned it down because a) I was a teacher, and had no wish to be an administrator b) I knew that no university board would agree with educational changes I thought necessary c) I knew I would be there just to do whatever the board told me and d) I thought the whole process disgusting.

The deals given to university presidents and administrators are or should be a national scandal. It commits money to areas that already are grossly overpaid, and takes it away from where it is needed. On that day, twenty years ago, I lost what lingering respect I had   for university presidents and adminstrators.
This is the kind of story the Irving press should be investigating - but won't.
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Now, here's a really big story that wasn't important enough for the Irving press.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-zombie-economy-layoffs-petricic-1.3473002

Just think of the implications of this. Quite apart from the immediate effect of firing millions of people in China, and the danger this raises of civil turmoil, think of how a desperate United States might seize on the turmoil - and even stimulate it - as a way to eliminate China as a rival. This is exactly what happened in China about a century ago, and led to the victory of Mao.
Already , the U.S. is warning China not to patrol the waters around it - even as the U.S.is planning with Japan and India to hold naval exercises in waters claimed by China. The U.S. wants     war._____________________________________________________________

We get almost no news about South America. But, if you search, you can find many examples of slavery across that continent. Big companies once accepted the use of slaves, and many still offer something close to slave conditions. But others see the dangers to them, and are backing away.

We have a great deal to learn about this. There's the long and very ugly story of Dole. Like many such companies, it was owned the decendants of American and British missionaries to Hawaii. The offspring of those missionaries used their power in Hawaii to  go into, among other  fields, the agricultural business, using the cheap and near-slave labour of native Hawaiians. They are also the ones who forced Hawaii to become a part of the American empire.

(If you watch the TV show, 'The Bounty Hunters', you will notice that a high proportion of the poor and the slum dwellers are the native peoples of Hawaii.) Dole is also very big in South America, and an avid supporter of dictators and amazingly cheap labour.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/mar/02/nestle-admits-slave-labour-risk-on-brazil-coffee-plantations
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And here's a morale booster for Canadians.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/03/liberal-americans-come-to-canada-us-election-2016-donald-trump
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And if you  think more pipelines and fracking are just what this world needs, enjoy this story.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/03/greenland-ice-sheet-melting-global-warming-feedback-loop
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We never hear much about India and Pakistan from the Irving press. But things that happen there do affect us.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/03/india-pakistan-heading-nuclear-showdown-160303053541342.html

As a footnote to that, nuclear weapons do NOT act as a deterrent. If they did, then we should arm the whole world with them - and we'd never have a war again. If nuclear weapons deterred war, then the U.S. and Russia would not be bristling at each other. And, if major powers were to fight (as they threaten to do every day), can you seriously believe that the losing side would not go nuclear?
The only possible way to end the nuclear threat is universal disarmament. And that is most unlikely to happen until we 1.bring unleashed capitalism under control and 2. grow out of nationalism. Forget pride and patriotism. They have served their time, and are now hopelessly out of date. We need to do what we were told we were doing way back in the 1940s with the foundinig of the UN. We need a world government to rule over all our governments.

To his dying day, Albert Einstein regretted his role in the development of nuclear weapons. But we have them. And if we  have them, then we sill some day use them.
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This one is an important background to understanding what is happening in the middle east - and what has been happening for the last century, at least.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44359.htm
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Then there's the chaos of the refugee crisis in Europe. And we ain't seen nothing yet. This may break Europe; and it's only the beginning. Even as this is happening, more refugees are on the way, and every day we are creatinig more refugees. This is the disaster begun by George Bush and Tony Blair with Afghanistan and Iraq. They lied about both wars. And they have led to non-stop wars ever since. (By the way, there's a new book about Tony Blair, and how he used his political career to make himself an extremely wealthy man. He's quite a disgusting person.)

The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq had nothing to do with good and evil. They had to do with the desire of leading capitalists to have greater control. That desire and greed have created international disaster.

We have to control capitalism. Maybe, probably, we have to do more than that. All those wars, all those deaths, all those refugees are the creations of capitalists. And, lest we forget, this includes the capitalists of Russia and China. (I have no idea how much - or if - China controls its capitalists. But I think we'll soon find out.)

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/03/02/europe-slow-motion-debacle.html
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The U.S. has serious internal problems. The only leadership candidate who has even tried to address them is Sanders.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-chicago-segregation-idUSKCN0W41JE
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And ya gotta love Pope Francis.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-We-don-t-want-your-dirty-money---pope-tells-patrons
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