Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25: God bless Moncton's economic leaders.

Let's see. Moncton wants to make its downtown core more active. One of the most active buildings in the downtown core is the public library. It's conveniently located for library users.  The building is in good shape; it's cheap for the library; and it's well equipped. So, some genius says...

"I know. Let's move it to the outer edge of anyhing that could be called a downtown core. Let's renovate an old school that we were told some years ago was beyond repair. We'll repair it at great expense; we'll go through the tremendous cost of moving a library, and setting up the new quarters for it; we'll charge the library much, much more than it's paying now for space. All this we'll do because the old school is a historic site that must be preserved. And to  preserve it, we'll hide much of the school exterior by covering it with big windows to look like a 1950s shopping block.

And that will attract people to the downtown core."

City council was not convinced. One of the promotersof the $21 million deal, doubtless out of civic mindedness ran for mayor. Lost.

The Library board says that the move to smaller quarters would cost much more to operate and would force the library to dump 40% of its holdings.

Now, today's headline story is that the MNA for Moncton Centre says the province could move the library without city council's approval. Gee! I wonder if that MNA knows the developer who ran for council.

There are a lot of questons a good reporter could ask about this. A good reporter could also ask questions about the survey carried out by a private company, showing that a majority supported the library move. Did this private company carry out the survey out of the goodness of its heart? What does it mean to say 71% of those surveyed thought the plan was good idea? How many of those surveyed undestood anything about this plan? (They sure didn't read about it in the Irving press.) How many of them know anything about libraries?

This whole deal smells of being a typical, New Brunswick scam. In fairness, I would guess the reporters were told not to ask questions. As reporting, there is nothing here. Just the smell. Next thing we'll hear is that the Chamber of Commerce will be holding a black tie dinner to honour the public spirited  developers behind this thing.

This is prime material for a commentary in the paper. And that's precisely why we're not likely to see one - unless it's a kissup.

The only story worth reading in Section A news is a sad one.  "Moncton charity gets less than $100 in donations after failed fundraiser."
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The editorial is okay - if lightweight. (It's not as interesting or as well-written as the average student column.
Norbert continues his (very good) column of yesterday on anti-biotics. I don't agree with his suggestion we should pay a billion dollars to pharmaceutical companies for each anti-biotic they develop. Pharmaceutical companie are notorious overchargers; and I would never encourage them. Why pile up money for such companies when government could do the work - with the profits, if any, going to us? Offering deals to pharmaceutical companies is like paying thieves to pick your pockets.

Brian Cormier, as always,deals with a great question of our time. This time, it's about waiting in line. This doesn't even qualify as bathroom reading. Ploughing through trivia is even worse than waiting in a line.

Then we have a column of pure, political propaganda from the leader of the New Brunswick opposition. Propaganda is not the same as commentary.

Alec Bruce has shown over the years that he writes well, and that he has something to say. But for some reason, he has been writing dreadful trivia lately. I can't even imagine what the point of today's commentary might be.
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Most of Canada&World news is, as usual, part trivia and part trash. One story gave me a scare, though. Canada's chief of Defence Staff, General Vance says that military action is Libya is not inevitable, but Canada is watching closely.
First, in a democracy, a Chief of Defence Staff does not set or even speculate publicly on government policy.

Second, of course there's going to be military actioni in Libya. It's already happening, and has been on for some time - except in the Irving press. And, as General Vance hints, the Canadian government is considering involvement.
Why? Has Libya attacked or threatened to attack Canada?

Libya was a political stable country. Then it was invaded by the U.S. and, among others, Canada. Why?

It's leader had the gall to think Libya's oil  belonged to Libya - and he could sell it to whomever he wished. He was wrong. That oil belonged to U.S. and other western oil billionaires. Like the American right of the U.S. to invade any country it likes for any reason it likes, God said it could. Every American knows that. That's what  "American Exceptionalism" is all about.

So the U.S. led an invasion. Ghadaffi was murdered in a manner our press found amusing. Canada took part because the U.S. told it to. And, as has been the case with Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria (and more to come) Libyan society has collapsed, and ISIS has made a major appearance in it.

All of this has happened because the U.S. is determined to establish a monopoly over the economies of all nations, with all decisions and all profits handled by American billionaires. It pulls in other countries, like Canada, to give all this greed and killing an air of respectability (gotta fight them terrorists) , and to make it less obvious that this is all for a handful of the very wealthy. Martin, Harper and Trudeau have all bought into this at some time. And,  in all cases, it simply sucked us into an international cesspool.

Someday, we shall have to think of what it means to call Canada "the true north, strong and free."
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The U.S. is not the only country in which traditional political parties have lost the confidence of the voters. Similar movements are strong in Europe. And it's virtually impossible to guess where these wil lead us.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/across-europe-distrust-of-mainstream-political-parties-is-on-the-rise
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It's interesting how much the major countries are very alike.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/how-russia-independent-media-was-dismantled-piece-by-piece
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When the International Monetary Fund was created after World War Two, its proclaimed purpose was to aid social development. In fact, it's real purpose, through the political clout of big money in the U.S., was to make the very wealthy even wealthier. And that is still  its main purpose. In fact, it is possible there is no greater creator of poverty than the International Monetary Fund.
The consequence is  that the world, notably North America and Europe, has seen a dramatic drop in prosperity, a rise of economic and social inequality, and a spread of constant war and misery into the rest of the world. The money is still there; but the rich now have a much bigger share of it.  (hey we gotta keep their taxes down. Otherwise, they'll go away and stop looting us with their tax havens government deals.) We have also seen the greed of our society used to create massive suffering in South America, Africa, all over the world.

My generation in North America was born into the luckiest generation in history. The depression was bad; but us kids didn't know we were poor. Then we grew up in the heady days of spreading prosperity of the 1950s and 60s. And we wasted those years. We allowed the wealthy to take over our countries and our lives. We laid the groundwork for louts like Trump,  and thoroughly evil people like Hillary Clinton. A great many of us voted for Harper. And have not improved much by voting for Trudeau.

The years immediately after the war were ideal for building societies based on equality and opportunity. And we blew it. Our failure, combined with the greed and callousness of our economic leaders, is setting up a general collapse.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/25/the-imf-international-monetary-fund-has-not-lived-up-to-hype-on-social-protection
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And here's some support for what I wrote above.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/05/24/in-the-u-s-and-abroad-more-young-adults-are-living-with-their-parents/#more-280257
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Speaking of the International Monetary Fund, here's some charming reading.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/head-of-the-imf-christine-lagarde-in-court-charged-with-embezzlement-and-fraud-8628670.html
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U.S. police have now killed 400 people   in 2016. That's on track for a new record. Either the U.S. is a profoundly criminal society (which I don't think it is) or it's a nation in extremely dangerous social disorder.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/head-of-the-imf-christine-lagarde-in-court-charged-with-embezzlement-and-fraud-8628670.html
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Here is a future problem I've mentioned before. Apparently, the future is here. So - who will control this development? Us? Or billionaires? It's not future. It's now.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/building-robot-mcdonalds-staff-cheaper-8044106
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Many nations have, at various times, believed themselves superior to all others and, commonly, with God's blessing on their superiority. It has  been a common belief in Judaism. It's been true of most imperial powers.

"When Britain first at heav'n's command
Rose out the azure main
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang the strain:
Rule Britannia..."

Yes, the Britain that murdered, enslaved, addicted, impoverished millions over the world's surface, had risen at heaven's command. Rule Britannia.

Historically, it's common for the rise of power to give rise to a belief is was all God's idea - and those with the power have the right to use it as they please. The idea proved especially attractive to fundamentalist Christians who played a major role in bringing it to the U.S. There, it morphed into manifest destiny and now into American Exceptionalism.

I don't know what forms this notion took in earlier years. But for the last five centuries, it's been used by the wealthy to justify murder and looting that makes them even wealthier. And just to draw everybody in, including non-Christians, God is rarely mentioned as part of it any more. But the implication is still there. Yes, Britain rose at heaven's command. And now the U.S. has risen at heaven's command.

Canada played the game for a time, too. Its native peoples can tell you all about that.

http://thesaker.is/examining-american-exceptionalism/

We all take turns being God's favourites. And the world pays a terrible price for it every time.
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And this is more than an amusing touch at the end. Take a look at today's Irving press.  It carried the story of how a Moncton charity went broke when a cultural event it planned drew very, very few people. Just below it is a joyful tale about how the locals are lining up to get tickets for a beer fest.

http://www.alternet.org/comics/alternet-comics-jen-sorensen-beer-ultimate-symbol-patriotism
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I have much more. But there's never enough time.

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