Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/climate-change-fossil-leap-economy-pipelines-1.3551585

This is an interesting opinion piece from CBC news.

It caught me eye on several points. One was the unique way of presenting the case. Another was the irony of the style.

The reference to premier Notley who wants to keep pumping oil because it, duh, creates jobs, is a painful reminder of how far the NDP has fallen in priorities and basic intelligence.  (Why did she remind me of Cardy?)

Finally, it reminded me of the utter failure of Moncton city councils to prepare for the future. It is extremely expensive to build a city as if it were a suburban development based on the automobile. And that remains true even if we all switch to electric cars.

There are those long roads to be paved and ploughed and repaired, endless stretches of electrical wire and water and sewage lines. We need denser population - which would also make public transit far, far easier, cheaper, and more convenient.

But the city has given no thought to that whatever. And it's the same at the provincial and federal levels. I recently read the argument that Canada would benefit from climate change, and become warmer. And it would, therefore, sustain a larger population.

Cute. But it's more complex than that. What would happen to plant, animal, and fish species, for example? An environment depends on the interaction of all those.

 Then there are the hundreds of millions, maybe more, who will be (and have already begun) looking for homes that can sustain life. Just to look at the easy part of it - millions will be from the southern U.S., and they will head to Canada. Do you seriously believe that the U.S. and its big business would simply allow all of those people to  come here and make Canada more independent?

There can be no such hope. In such a case, the U.S. will annex, for example, Canada's fresh water to revive some of the south. If necessary, it would annex Canada as a part of the U.S. And that's not even counting the many millions more refugees from all over the world that we would see.

As for Trudeau and his signing of the Paris agreement, it's not possible to believe him. He has shown no great enthusiasm for tackling climate change. As well, he must know that the agreement is based on estimates of time that we probably don't have. Canada and the U.S. have not, to put it kindly, been world leaders on the issue of climate change. And there's no evidence that Trudeau is different from Harper on this.

Gosh, if it weren't for the Irvings, I don't know where we'd turn for leadership on this. Their tireless efforts on behalf of the environment suggest we need another and bigger hall of fame for them.
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Two interesting headlines on A1. The big one is that Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville, an organization of businessmen, will put $250,000 a year into the events centre. The other is that food banks across New Brunswick are struggling to find fresh food and cold storage for the many who go hungry. But don't worry.
B4 has big photos of donors holding up big cheques for   worthy causes. And most of the photos have words like Costco, Via, TD so we'll know which companies to give credit to for money that was actually raised by their employees.
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The editorial deals with the burning issue of the day. The library will be open on Sundays.

Norbert raises a point that is almost interesting. He says that some funding of political parties comes out of us as tax revenue. Well, in fact, ALL such funding comes from us -  whether in taxes or in union dues or in corporate donations. The only source of money is us, whether through taxes or corporate profits or political hanky-panky.

We need to do something about it because so much of our money ends up in the pockets of billionaires that political  parties who aren't good to billionaires can't get much in the way of election funds. Norbert is right. We need a solution to this. But giving us all a say in how the parties are run ain't it.

We get our say when we vote. If we all got our saying in running the parties, then we'd only need one party. And we already have a one-party system. We just call it by two names - Liberal or Conservative.

Brian Cormier still has nothing to say.

Then there's a bizarre commentary by a honcho at the Atlantic Market Studies  propaganda house. The picture suggests the commentary is about the events centre. But it isn't. Most of the commentary says it's about the budget. But it isn't the budget, either.
What it's really about is stated in three sentences of bold print. and again in a single sentence near the end.We should push for the Energy East Pipeline.
There is no evidence connecting this statement to anything - and certainly nothing to connect it with the rest of the commentary. And nothing to connect the pipeline to anything. And the concluding paragraphs don't relate to anything at all.

In a first year university course, I would have given this an F. But I doubt whether the writer is all that dumb. This is a commentary written with the low level of reading skills in this province in mind. This is for readers who will not notice that most of the commentary has nothing to do with his main point. It's for readers who will take away only the message in thick print - we must push hard for the pipeline.

Alec Bruce has another 'feel good' column. He makes the point that Moncton is a good  city for business. No doubt. But that might have something to do with the fact that it's not such a good city for people.
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The only news in Canada&World is "Enbridge Gas could walk away from New Brunswick, official says." Walk away? Hey! We can't allow that. Put me down to give them a lift.

Otherwise, the best page is the one of those people holding up big cheques with their employer logos prominently on display.
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For centuries we have built and are still  building a class that has piled up wealth through plundering other countries, and driving them into misery. That's why China distrusts us. That's why Latin America is being destroyed. That's why Africa has been driven into a hell of confusion,  poverty, and child labour. And some of this is revealved in the Panama Papers - which the Irving press lost interest in within a day.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/26/forget-the-camerons-the-african-giveaway-is-the-real-panama-papers-story
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This takes us off the usual track. But it's interesting. How often have you heard or read of the importance of Christian traditions (or culture, to tart it up a bit) to the Canadian people? In fact, that has not been true for a very long time.
It may have been true - in form if not in practice - through the nineteenth century. But that was in a rural or small town Canada when    everybody in a district knew everybody else, and pressures for conformity were strong.

Things were different in the cities. Neighbours often knew nothing of each other. And you can see the numbers in church attendance drop as the social pressure to conform dropped. There was more to it than that. But the drop in social pressure was an important factor.

Now, we really aren't a Christian nation. And, certainly, Christianity does not seem to be a guiding principle for our leading figures in politics and business.

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/06/27/canadas-changing-religious-landscape/
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And here's another case of a word rarely mentioned by journalists; but this word names the dominant force in our daily lives. And it has no connection with any religion I ever heard of.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/neoliberalism-destroying-almost-everybodys-lives-how-many-people-even-know-what-it
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I have just discovered this speech by Stephen Lewis. He is quite an outstanding speaker.

This one is at the recent NDP convention, and he states the case for the NDP's Leap Forward as the starting point for debate on climate change. So far, I have seen nothing in the Irving press to suggest support for any such debate.

http://rabble.ca/rabbletv/program-guide/2016/04/best-net/watch-stephen-lewis-addresses-2016-ndp-convention
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There are problems that we have to deal with - and soon - like climate change, disintegrating nations, the pressure for war as the 'final solution'. Only a fool would be believe these can be solved within the 'capitalist' system we have. In fact, capitalism is why we have these problems.

But have you ever heard of the Irvings or the Koch brothers speaking of those problems in an intelligent way? Forget the   'intelligent way' part. Have you ever heard of them speaking of them at all?

People like these have become the real leaders of our societies. But it's a leadership determined by birth,  wealth and personal greed, and a leadership supported by that massive propaganda machine we call the private news media. The reality that we face is quite different. And the American leadership campaigns are a good example of it.

With the exception of Sanders, nobody in these races has shown any moral consciousness. Think over that campaign. We are not seeing a vision of a new and better America. We are not even seeing a rational political debate. What we are watching is the social collapse of the United States.

P.S. Exactly what does "Make America Great Again" mean? Invading more countries? Establishing more dictatorships? Exploiting more people, including Americans? Kicking out Mexicans?

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