Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 14: The greatest story never told...

The top fifty American coporations have 1.3 trillion dollars stored in tax havens. The governments of Canada and New Brunswick, and even the eagle-eyed journalists of Irving press seem not to know that. But the CBC got it from Oxfam which also named the corporations.

That's not just - ooh, gee, what a lot of money! That's money that does not get invested in the home country of the corporation It's also tax money we don't have for education and health care. It's  money we don't have for our police and our firemen.

How often have you read that corporate profits create jobs? The reality is they don't. Anyone who has looked at Africa, Latin America, the middle east for the last century and more should know that. Corporations exist to get money for themselves. Nothing else.

And these are only the top fifty in the U.S. Can the Irving press find out who the top fifty in Canada are? Then there are all those corporations in China, Russia, Britain....

There's a reason we're in financial trouble. There's a reason why the income gap has been growing.

If somebody is caught talking on a   cell phone while driving, or a drunk breaks a window, we get big stories about it from the court house. That's cheap and easy and trivial gossip news. Then there's been this story of trillions of dollars stolen from us, and it got a total of two, vague stories, then was dropped cold. We got over ten times more on Dennis Oland than we have on the greatest robbery in history.

And we got no commentary on it. Instead, we got bed time stories, and a stirring appeal to put up a stop sign at a dangerous intersection.

We, all of us, have suffered an enormous theft by  people the Irving press prefers to refer to as phil-an-thro-pists. It's not only a massive theft. It means loss of lives around the world, profound suffering, severe social disorder....

This is  hugely important story. CAN YOU READ THIS, NORBERT?

Oh, I know the wealthy work hard for their money. But so do we. And we pay our taxes - so the government can   give grants and forests and that sort of stuff to corporations.

Is there anyone at the Irving press who has integrity? It was on CBC news, right here in Moncton.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a society which calls itself Christian - or Jewish or Muslim - but which tolerates this open greed and indifference to others.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/tax-haven-oxfam-1.3535305

Where is  your book on this, professor Savoie?
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There's a petition going around about Revenue Canada's gentle handling (to say the least) of the wealthy. It also has a list of CBC stories about what has been going on. It would seem the Canadian government is a very happy partner to the very rich in their tax evasion.
google change org.
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And here's a case of bad journalism from The Guardian. Russian aircraft flew provocatively close to American  warships in the Baltic, creating the possibility of an accident. That much is quite true.

But, the Baltic is   right beside Russia. Why are US warships carrying out manoeuvres in the Baltic? Can you imagine the U.S. reaction to Russian ships carrying out manoueuvers in, say, the Caribbean? or Hawaii?
Then we are told that the tension in that region was caused  by the Russian annexation of the Crimea. - the Irving press might think so. But we expect better from The Guardian.

The trouble began when the U.S. organized and financed a coup in Ukraine, deposing the elected government which was friendly to Russia, and installing a government approved of by the U.S. The Crimea was a part of Ukraine; but it's population was Russian, and it wanted nothing to do with a U.S. sponsored government. (That has turned out to be wise as the new, Ukraine government has thoroughly looted the country.)

What the U.S. was attempting to do was to install a regime friendly to the U.S. in a Ukraine that included a region who's population was Russian Russian, and which had a major Russian naval base. That's when Russia intervened.
Imagine if Russia had organized and financed a coup in Hawaii. Would the U.S. just laugh it off?

As well, the U.S. has been moving troops, tanks and missiles up to the Russian border. How's that for being provocative?

It looks like one of two the things in happening.

1. The U.S. is desperate to stop Chinese and Russian development  before it's too late. The American empire is in decline. It can be held together even now only by massive and unsustainable military spending, and by illegal wars. It needs a war, and it needs it now.

or

2. The U.S. hopes to make Russia and China back off with threats, even if that means a high risk of war - and it does.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/13/russian-attack-planes-buzz-uss-donald-cook-baltic-sea
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Page 1 of the Irving press has a strange story. A resort called Larry's Gulch is a frequent meeting place for the provinces wealthy and powerful to  have talks on things like - oh, tax breaks, a government handout for the rich, that sort of thing. News agencies have a code of ethics (yes, they do) which prohibit employees from attending such affairs since they can be seen as an encouragement to collusion between the press and the wealthy. (Which they are.) Two editorial-level staff of Irving press attended, anyway, and arranged to have their names kept secret. This was an offence against the Conflict of Interest Act. Curiously, it was decided that though they committed an offence under the law, it wasn't.....you know....really an offence. Hey, I park without putting a quarter in the meter, and that's an offence.

A2 has the usual list of candidates for councils. And, as usual, none of them has a platorm, just a promise to do 'good things'.

A typical story is "Man accused of of voyeurism to remain in custody". This is scandalmag stuff. interesting, though, that he remains in custody while Irving news staff who were colluding with the wealthy are set free.
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The great, editorial issue of the day is that the lot beside the 'events centre' must be used for apartments and retail stores. Then people will go shopping before a hockey game, and dine after, and we'll have a vibrant Maint St.
Right. People always want to go shopping before a hockey game. Perhaps the editor can give us examples where this has happened. (Skip the home ice locale of the Montreal Canadiens. The only place that has opened up is a sandwich shop across the street.)

There's an interesting letter to the editor about how Jesus treated women as equals. Too bad it's not true. He was polite to them. He was gentlemanly. But He never said they were equal and, for over 2,000 years they were not equal in Christian churches. Changes to make them equal have been very, very recent and quite limited. Christiany, Judaism, and Islam have a good deal in common. All of them, for most of their histories, have relegated women to the back seats. And there's still a good deal of that in the Christian faith as in others.

Norbert has, I think, a quite decent column on reform of the municipalities act. But I can't even pretend to know that much about it.

Justin Ryan has an informative article on the very busy time he's been having - along with a great many volunteers -in settling refugees into our society. It's an important read. (I don't think it's really a commentary, though.)

The guest commentary is a free ad for the provincial Conservative party. I'm not crazy about these at the best of times. But, if we are going to have them, we should be getting a broader range of political opinion. We should be giving equal space to all the parties, not to just the two, Irving parties.

Opinions should have equal opportunity - whether represented in the Assembly or not. In fact, the Liberals and Conservatives are the least we need to hear from because they get lots of news coverage. How can voters make informed choices when the only opinions they ever hear come from just two parties, and both of them the same?

Alec Bruce has an important column. It deals with unemployment and says of it, "The root cause of this province's jobs crisis runs deep into social mores that have kept an unacceptably large proportion of New Brunswickers functionally illiterate..." - and on to other failures.

That's true. And it's true not just of the jobs problem. Something very noticeable in New Brunswick is a lack of intellectual activity - of open and free discussion, of a wish to learn, of intellectual activity for children. They go to the Y and the Mall - but just to hang out. What they need is groups that meet to talk about their writing, to debate, to discuss current affairs, to discuss books. But they grow up in an atmosphere that provides little opportunity for these and, one senses, even disapproves of such things. It's a society in which the most important thing is to conform, to fit in. And when that is  your only objective, a brain is a handicap.
Computers, used almost entirely for frivolous activities, have made it much worse.

And the Irving press is a major touch in creating a conformist, unimaginative society.

This is not a problem that can simply be dumped into the laps of the schools. Much of this the schools cannot deal with because they are limited by school bus schedules. In any case, it's a condition that begins in the society itself, that begins before school, that is encouraged in the home, and into adulthood.
It's a problem for the whole province. It may even be the province's greatest problem.
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The front page on Canada&World has two, big stories on things that haven't happened yet. Permier Gallant is going to give a speech to oil execs. A Moncton lawyer is probably going to annouce her bid for leadership of the Conservative party.

Look. If they haven't done it yet, there's nothing to tell us. Each of these stories should be a one-liner, at best.

And I must object to the paper's reference to oil execs as an 'elite'. Would we call successful bank robbers an elite? Successful polluters? What's elite about a gang who vastly overpay themselves and who send their money to tax havens?
New Brunswick municipalities are mad because police and firemen got good wage settlements. Gee. This will make other groups want more. I expect it will. And what the municipalities would prefer is bad wage settlements so we can keep everybody poor.

Spokesman Raymond Murphy says they should pay less to our police and firemen than the ones  in BC because it costs more to live in BC. Damn right.
So J.D.Irving and his execs should get paid less because it costs them less to live in New Brunswick. Anyway, a century and more of labour history has proven that employers always drive wages down as low as they can. And the effect of that is to bring out the Brian Murphys to demand that everybody's salaries should now go down. That's how the Rockefellers built their fortune - by making every else poor.

That leads to something reported on B6. A Montreal -based company called David's Tea requires its employees to phone in each day to see if there's any work for them. If not, there's no pay for them. Perhaps Mr. Murphy would suggest this cost-saving measure to the municipalities.

The only story in Canada&World woth readinig is on B6, "Attaawapiskat crisis has hallmarks of possible 'suicide contagion' experts say."

There is virtually nothing about the world. Well, there is a story about a small brewery in Rhode Island that wants to change the liquor laws a bit.

Much of what appears in Section B could be in section A - with the present content of Section A just dumped. (almost all of it is just trivial).

Section B could then be use for world news - but even that won't save it. Foreign news is usually useless without some commentary to encourage thinking about it.  (As well, foreign news, and far more of it) is more easily watched on TV.) What we need is commentary to stir our thinking about the meaning of it.

TV, for all the chatter, does not do much to stimuilate thinking. It's the no-brainer of the media world.

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