Tuesday, April 19, 2016


The story above appeared yesterday  on CBC news. It has not yet appeared in the Irving press. No story. No commentary by Norbert. (and this goes well beyond lattes. Take a look at those menus. Take a look at the booze.) And all for our income tax people to have a mutual kissup with millionaire tax-avoiders and their buddies in the 'tax industry' - which means non-tax paying.

This has been going on for at least five years. And, right now, a  kiss up tax settlement is being worked out with millionaire tax avoiders so they can still keep most of it. Where's the indignation, Norbert? Where's the scorn?

If you got caught at an Irving station stealing a tank of gas, you could face prison. So don't do that. No. Steal billions with the telp of tax havens. No penalty. And you get to go to some really great parties with Canada Revenue Agency.

These tax havens are well known. And the lost tax means less for education, less for health, less for help for those who need it. It means loss of opportunity for children born into the wrong families. It means the homeless are still homeless - and hungry. It means lifetimes spent (and commonly cut short) by jobs at a lousy minimum wage.

And everybody in the world of politics and journalism has known about this for decades. They have known that our 'elite'  philanthopists have been common thieves, stealing huge sums from us for years. Every politician in my lifetime has known it. Justin Trudeau knew it. His father knew it. Stephen Harper applauded it.

Norbert Cunningham, if he didn't know it, must be the only journalist in Canada who didn't know it.

A big help for the tax evaders has also come from free trade and Canadian ownership of mines in countries that have relaxed tax. environmental and safety regulation. These are all over Latin America, Africa, Asia. They also offer the attractions of the world's cheapest labour, most relaxed safety rules and, in many cases, child labour.

In Canada and the U.S., this has increased poverty, destroyed hope. Indeed, the U.S. is running up record numbers of people who live on the sidewalks, even more who cannot get food stamps because so little tax money is coming in, and that which does c ome in is needed for the highly corrupt war industries.

And very soon, we will be hearing more about the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership which, I'm quite sure, Trudeau will support; and which will open us up to even worse conditions. (But the wealthy will be okay. So don't worry.)
And none of this is going to come out in the Irving press. You can count on it.
The editorial is a stirring call to support the idea of a bridge to Riverview and keep water in the river clean. It's safe topic. I haven't heard of anyone who wants to cut Riverview adrift or poison the river.

Norbert Cunningham writes about native affairs as though its simply a matter of spending money and being more friendly with each other. But it's far more than that. It's a matter of     returning much more control over how and where they live, and to make it possible for them to thrive without being just copies of us.  I won't even pretend to have an answer to that. We began the damage centuries ago. We're not going to fix it just by raising allowances and being friendly.
There's a good cmmentary on housing and the elderly in Moncton. This issue is a good reason why Moncton  council has to give some informed thought to city planning. Most certainly, it is not something to be left to the real estate developers. What we probably need for the future is a fairly dense form of housing in the Main Street area (which, by the way, is a good reason not to move the library). But it should not be the boxy apartments shown in the photo with this column. It should provide outdoor space (including the roofs) for socializing, gardening.

The guest commentary is a propaganda pitch for fracking.  It comes from the Atlantic Centre for Energy (called Atlantica centre on the web) which is run by - surprise, surprise - a product of Irving executive circles. Gee. I wonder who puts up the money for the centre.

Has it ever occured to the editor of this page that it might be unethical to run free ads for the owner of the paper while pretending they are real commentaries?

Then there's Alec Bruce. He rewrites Norbert's column of yesterday on the NDP and its Leap of Faith Manifesto. His writing is better than Norbert's. But it tells us nothing that Norbert didn't. And it makes the same, ranting blunders as Norbert did. There's the talk of latte, the quoting of of the wisdom of Dominic Cardy who says "The problems that face the NDP across the country...has to do with the purpose of the party."

Quite so. And that purpose is something alien to the thought of Cunningham and Bruce and Cardy.

The purpose of the Liberals and Conservatives is to get elected. That's it. That's why both are essentially the same party. Broadly, they accept the status quo, and see no reason to change it. That's why, though all of them have always known about about tax havens, but have never mentioned them.

As for the candidates, they have many reasons for running. Some actually want to be of service to their constituents. I always think of Warren Allmand in this respect. He served in the Pierre Trudeau cabinet. Devoutly Christian  (Roman Catholic of the Catholic Social Action Movement) he saw political life as a way of providing service to people. And he did it very well. (Nor did  he play favourites. He once gave me quite a grilling before a house committee.)
But I met very few Warren Allmands in the Liberals and Conservatives. Pierre Trudeau ran for the Liberals because, I think, it was something to do. (Many of his political views were closer to the NDP).

Many ran for the paycheques and the pensions. Many, especially lawyers, did it to expand their contacts and, therefore, their marketability. Politics was their key to making money after the political days were over. Think hard. You might be able to think of some politicians in New Brunswick who followed this path.
The CCF was a movement with strong religious motives based on Christian principles. The major figure in the early days of the CCF was J.S.Woodsworth, a Methodist clergyman. Then, of course, there was the Baptist Tommy Douglas. In fact, many CCF candidates and mps have been from the clergy.

Their purpose was not simply to get elected or simply to make the right connections. It was to address the problems caused by the power of the wealthy in Canadian life, a power that was used to impoverish Canadians, to deny essential services,  to live by greed in denial of all other purposes.

Most living Canadians have no idea how brutal it was to live under the thumbs of the very wealthy. There was, for most, no medical care. People injured on a job were simply fired on the spot. With no medicare, death at a young age was common. There was no employment insurance. As a child, the school nurse was always after me to see a dentist. It wasn't possible. I never told my parents because I knew it wasn't possible. Finally, the nurse set up a free appointment for me at the dental school. I never went, and I never showed the note to my parents. I knew they would be humiliated to be thought of as needing charity. Most people had jobs that did not have pension plans. Tough on them - because there were no government pension plans. (Well, a sort of plan was introduced in the 1920s. But a condition to get it was that you had to will your house to the government. Anyway, most people didn't own a  house.)

Anybody who objected to any of the above could expect pretty rough treatment from the police, and even the army.

This eased with World War Two, and even more so in the years after it because Canadians demanded something better. The war had led them to expect something better. That had, after all, been a morale-boosting theme of the war years.

This made the Liberals and Conservatives alarmed at ideas which could shift votes to the CCF. The answer was for the Liberals and Conservative to accept and pass some of those ideas (employment insurance, pensions, medicare), but just enough to keep the CCF at a distance.

That was when the CCF made a big mistake. It put getting elected ahead of determining and convincing people about what was needed. The reason seemed a good one at the time. The Liberals and Conservatives had piles of money, gifts from big business. The CCF didn't. So it entered every election with almost no money to fight, and facing the opposition of most Canadian news media because they were owned by the wealthy.

That's when the CCF invited the support of the unions. But ----

The big unions had ideas close to those of big business. And they put a price on their support. That price was changing its name to NDP,  and dropping their emphasis on human need in order to win.

What over fifty years have proven is that the big unions were wrong. Becoming Liberals did nothing to help the vote. Worse, fifty years that could have been used to make people aware of the problems they faced (after all, the news media weren't going to tell them), were wasted. They became simply another Liberal/Conservative party. And so we now have the Irving press telling us what a great leader Dominic Cardy has been when he hasn't achieved anything. That's why they think he's great. He  hasn't done anything.

Liberals and Conservatives are about winning elections. They always have been, even through the dirtiest and most brutal years of Canadian history.

The CCF was not about that. It was about studying the problems, proposing solutions, and encouraging Canadians to think before voting. Yes,  they want to win election.  But there's no point in winning in order to continue doing the damage that is now being done by the Liberals and Conservatives. And that's what The Leap Manifesto is about.

Incidentally, Mr. Bruce, if you are going to dump on the manifesto, shouldn't you have explained it first? Like Norbert, all you do is call it names. Maybe you've been following Donald Trump too closely.

And, Mr. Bruce, would you dare to write such a critical column about the wealthy New Brunswickers and tax havens? And if the Leap Forward is impractical,  what would you call it to allow billionaires to bleed this province?
Well, that's a lot of time spent on one issue. But short answers commonly explain nothing at all.

Anyway, I'll skip the news in the Irving press. There isn't much to skip, anyway. I will, though, recommend the student column by Jana Giles. Her school was locked down recently. So they all had to stay in the room. And they had to give up their cellphone/androids. They could speak only to real people in the room. And it was a startling experience.

It's important to think about that because how we communicate can change our lives and our world. We rarely look at that. The modern, mass circulation newspaper, for example, gave enormous propaganda power to its owners. Indeed, they could and did create wars. Then, radio  brought an intimacy to communication, almost equivalent to a human conversation. It also became a central force in daily life, so much so that many movie theatres shut off the film to play a popular radio show that customers wanted to hear. Later, radio would kill the evening service in most churches. TV was more devastating, crippling not only the churches but the big city night clubs whose performers could now be seen for free. It was also the most brainless and least stimulating communication form ever developed.  Now, its the cellphone/android which has largely replaced human interaction.

Communication can be a very powerful force - for good or bad - so it's important to understand what it does to us.
Here's a story that didn't make the Irving press. It's about refugees stranded in camps. But who gives a damn? Right? The irving press needed the space for a really big story that lots of people don't want Prince Charles to be king. (Not to worry. He's not likely to be king.)

I pay attention to Paul Craig Roberts. He's not only intelligent and honest; he's seen what he talks about. That's because he worked at the highest levels in the American government.


There's much to be understood in connection with this. As Roberts points out, the U.S. did not rise to become a great power. Until World War Two, its conquests had been small ones. Lots of them, but small - Cuba, Haiti, Peurto Rico, etc. The US became a major power by default - when the European empires destroyed themselves in two world wars. But by then, China had evaded the U.S. grip, and the U.S. could not have beaten Russia in a conventional war. And a nuclear one would have been mutually suicidal. For all its military spending and display, and for all the propaganda-inspired praise of the U.S. military, it has not been impressive in its last 60 or so years of war. It has to be careful even in the middle east where another American invasion would be a gift from heaven to ISIS in the shape of a spread of support of ISIS in the Arab world, perhaps even beyond its Sunni following, and beyond the Arab world.  The current western intrusion into Libya may well have the same effect.

But there are those who, for their own narrow and short-term interests. are prepared to ignore all those risks, and to go for American  Exceptionalist dominance of the world.

Trump and Clinton have made it clear that they support American Exceptionalism and world dominance.
Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., it was obvious that Saudi Arabia had a hand in this. There was Osama bin Laden, of course. There was also the large number of Saudi terrorists who had taken part in the attacks. The Saudis are allies. They aren't friends. It's important to remember that there are no such things as friends between nations. And it's important to remember that the Saudis share the same, extremist view of Islam as ISIS follows. Today, Information Clearing house has several articles on this. In fact, today's is the best edition of ICH I have ever seen. I would recommend reading all of it.
And here's a story you haven't (and won't)   find in the irving press.

And for a fascinating look at the aircraft industry with its hands constantly in the pocket of Canadian governments, google the site below.

Canada budget 2016 bombardier

Lots of entries. Lots of secrecy. Billions of dollars vanished. That's the story of Bombardier and of other  aircraft industries in Canada. It's not just shipbuilders and forestry owners who rip us off regularly. And that's what's called the 'spirit' and 'initiative' and 'willingness to take risks' that is our model of capitalism.

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