Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18:"National NDP Should Heed Cardy...

Armchair Socialism Won't Fly."


I saw that headline on Norbert Cunningham's column and thought, oh, I can have fun with this. But no such luck.

Norbert not only doesn't know what he's talking about; he doesn't even know the meaning of capitalist, socialist or pragmatic. In fact, his column is nothing but and ignorant rant and second-hand drivel.

For openers, Norbie, capitalist does NOT mean someone who avoids taxes by putting his money in a tax haven. And it does NOT mean someone who spends his life sucking at the government teat for bailouts, interest-free loans, and other gifts. That's not a capitalist. That's a greedy sponge.

Nor are socialists bearded radicals with outlandish ideas. And when Tommy Douglas introduced medicare, he was not being pragmatic.  In fact,  he was defying the pragmatic thinking of the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Pragmatism means to use common sense. But common sense is not always a good idea  because it keeps us forever where we are. That's why Jesus was not pragmatic. If he had been, he would not have been crucified. Instead, he  could have been a highly esteemed rabbi, and on good terms with the Roman authorities.

The NDP has been basing itself on 'pragmatism' for over fifty years. It hasn't worked. And to choose Dominic Cardy (a loser) as a triumph of pragmatism is absurd. Pragmatism is the choice of the person who doesn't want to do anything - just get elected. We already have two  pragmatic parties in the Liberals and Conservatives. Their pragmatism consists of kissing the rear ends of the rich. And none of them, by the way, knows the meaning of Liberal or Conservative.
(Oh, Hitler's mass murder of Jews was a pragmatic one for a fuhrer who wanted to conquer Europe.) Please learn what words mean, Norbert.

As to socialism, it is a common and accepted feature of large areas of Canadian life. A police force is a social institution. So it our public school system. So is medical care. So is the military. So are most public transit systems. So are universal pensions. Almost all the social legislation we have comes from a socialist party that created a demand for it - as reluctant Liberals and Conservatives to pass it - in the smallest possible doses - to get through elections.
Then Norbert gets into rant mode on the 'Waffle', the  group that opposed the NDP when it moved to the centre. Far from Norbert's portrayal of them,  they   were not 'academic dilletantes' who sat around drinking high priced  latte. That would probably be more characteristic of the Irvings that you kiss up to. (Kissing ups is pragmatic.)

I knew many of the 'waffles' very well in my student days. In fact, I was one of them. None of us had the money for $12 lattes. I knew David Lewis who supports the Leap Forward Manifesto. He's brilliant, but not a latte kind of guy, and he's never lived in an ivory tower. In fact, he's spent much of his life in senior positions at the UN dealing with poverty and disease, especially in Africa. Is there an Irving who's done much of that?

Then he quotes Mr. Cardy at length - in excerpts that suggest Norbert cribbed a good deal of this column from Cardy.

He ends, "It's not in Canada's DNA to swing that far left." Apart from being a racist statement, that's also absurd. Just a year ago, the U.S. looked like the most right-wing country in the world. Today, the politician coming out top of the polls for president is Bernie Sanders, a socialist.

This column is a dreadful display of ignorance of history, of politics, of the meaning of words. it's an ignorant rant tarted up with long worn-out wit, like "ivory tower, armchair socialists, latte..."

As well, he  sees, politics as nothing except a place to get elected to. Getting elected is the whole ball of wax. And I just don't see it that way. I see it as a process of seeking out what needs fixing, figuring out how to do it, then convincing people of that.

Incidentally, Norbert writes a whole column damning The Leap Forward. But he never tells readers what's in it.

Norbert, when are you going to have the guts to connect the name Irving to something like, oh, tax havens? Have you heard of tax havens?
To round out the editorial and commentary pages, the editorial is another piece of local boosterism.

Craig Babstock writes about the recent lockdown in our schools, but really has nothing to say about it. It portrays the lockdown of schools as typical of the 21st century. In fact, in the twentieth century, it was common for American schools to lockdown and for the children to hide under their desks. This was in case of a nuclear war. As well  (and I'm not exaggerating) many schools required children to bring sheets to school - to be used to cover their dead bodies.

Steve Malloy has a more useful commentary on the lockdown.

Alec Bruce has an important, if worrisome, column about some very serious health problems - not just among the elderly, but among children and young adults in New Brunswick. This has both life and economic consequences. Got a capitalist solution to that, Norbert?

As usual, there's nothing much in the way of news in section A. But one story is intriguing. The NB government is preparing to spend millions to buy and   operate a failed shipyard in Caraquet. (Norbert alert. This is socialism.) It claims this is a really good business proposition. Well, if it is, why is our latte swilling, socialist premier not leaving it as a private busines?. And why weren't capitalists rushing in to buy it?

By the way, if you google CBC news, then click New Brunswick on the bar that lists provinces,you'll get far more (and more up to date) news about this city and this province than you will in the Irving press._____________________________________________________________________________
For Canada&World, well, it's not the fault of the Irving press that nothing is happening in the world. There's just no wars, no refugees starving or being deported or shot or drowned, no tax havens...
Tom Feeley, though still recovering from a stroke, is back in business at Information Clearing House. He has the following story about the city of Fallujah in Iraq which must have suffered more bombing over the last 15 to 20 years than any other city on earth. This time it's victimized by both the U.S. and ISIS. As well, its soil is polluted by the depleted uranium shells that the U.S. used against it during the Iraq war.
When I was a child, I was taught that Japanese were evil. And they certainly were evil in any movie I saw them in. And we were told how our soldiers had died to defend Canada against the evil Japanese. (In fact, Japan never invaded Canada. The only war-like attacks on Canada were the balloons designed to cause forest fires, and the shoot-up of a lighthouse by a submarine.)
Now, the major western powers are urging those evil Japanese to re-arm so they can fight the Chinese (who were  good, but are now evil.)
I'm a little heavy on information clearing house today, perhaps because it's so good to see it back.

I remember the first election of Obama well. I said on air there was no substance to him. His only policy was "We can do it". His greatest advantage was he was black.

Neither of those made him any different from Bush as president. Hillary Clinton may well win the presidency (presuming the Democrats find a way to get rid of Sanders). But Hillary's record is at least as bad as those of Bush and Obama. But she might well win, somewhat as Obama did, because then she would be the first woman president.
And one more, a story that escaped the eagle eyes of Irving editors. No-one knows how much of this earth has been and is being polluted by nuclear radiation. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the only bomb sites. In fact, well over a hundred nuclear bombs have been exploded, many of them much more powerful than the early ones. The U.S., alone dropped them for over a dozen years in and around the Marshall Islands and even in the U.S. And how long will the radiation last?

Here's a story that will upset Norbert. The Netherlands plans to put an end to fossil fuel cars by 2025. By then, it's to be all electric. Gee, Norbert, and  you got yourself all in a tizzy because the NDP Leap Forward document called for an end to fossil fuels by 2050.

I bet all those Dutch politicians just sit around drinking latte. (Actually, I lived there for half a year, and never once saw anybody drinking latte.)
And here's a question the world is going to have to face very, very soon. But New Brunswick won't. Mr. Irving and friends will toss bones to their editorial dogs, and we'll never even hear about it.
A footnote on Canada's military.

For something over a hundred years, Canada has not had a defined purpose for its military. Before that, its functions had been to displace native peoples and to play some role in case of an American invasion. But, in the latter case, Canada would need to have British support - something Britain had long ceased to have any interest in.

We fought two world wars, neither of which posed a threat to Canada. Okay, Canadians insisted on going to the help of a Britiain which would not have returned the favour. But those two wars finished Britain as a major power. So Canada found itself fighting wars for the U.S. But at no point has it fought a war in defence of Canada since the Fenian raids of over 140 years ago.
Instead, Canada has, in effect, become part of the American empire, with its armed forces increasingly modelled on the U.S. mijlitary and fighting American wars - as the Korean War, Libya, Afghanistan, in Iraq against ISIS, and now with combat/non-combat troops in Syria.

In effect, our military is a branch-office for Washington's military.

Lester Pearson took the view that the Canadian military should fight wars that were in Canada's interest to fight, not wars the  empire wanted us to fight. That's why he established the peace-keeping role for our military. It made sense. There was no war that was to Canada's interest. It was to Canada's interest to tone down the existing wars. Thus Canada the peacekeeper, a role it played well and usefully until it was used to do the U.S. a favour, helping it kick out the elected  president of Haiti in order to install an American puppet   government, thus returning Haiti to its status as one of the poorest countries in the world and, therefore, a happy hunting ground for US big business looking for cheap labour.
The Harper  government happily dismantled what  was left of peacekeeping. It's business supporters wanted Canada to maintain close relations with the U.S. because it was beneficial for them. Today, Canada has little training or equipment necessary for peace-keeping. So, instead of fighting British wars, we fight American wars. That's not much of an advance over the centuries.

This policy continues under Trudeau. The sending of troops to Syria - for whatever excuse - is not only a bad move for Canada. It's a move that ISIS is probably cheering for. It's recruitment and growth depend on western hatred and western intrustions into the arab world. That's what it's terrorist attacks are all about.

Canada needs to do some serious thinking of what its interests are, and what it is we send our soldiers to risk their lives for.

Peacekeeping was in Canada's interest not only in shutting down wars, but in building an impressive image of itself in the eyes of the rest of the world. As it is, we have lost that status because the world can tell when it's looking at just another colonial flunkie.


  1. David Lewis?

    I think he was Avi's granddady.

  2. Who's Avi? (I live a sheltererd life.)