Friday, July 1, 2016

June 1: Canada Day does not mean Lying Day

Canada, including New Brunswick, is in the midst of a storm over the building of oil pipelines. One of the disputed ones is proposed to pass through New Brunswick. There's another one, the Northern Gateway, projected to go from Alberta to the west coast.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled against the Northern Gateway Pipeline on the grounds  that native peoples had not been properly consulted. How could the editors of the Irving press have missed that story? It was on the web yesterday, on CBC news, in  plenty of time. (I think I can guess why they missed it.)
And one might consider the implications of this for fracking. Remember Rexton? Where native peoples faced riot police and snipers with combat rifles?  Severe force was used to protect poor, little billionaires who just wanted to create jobs for everybody.

Mind you, to be fair to the irving press editors, they needed the space for a big, Canada&World story.. The Supreme Court is willing to hear the appeal of an ordinary, harmless Dennis Oland who was sent to prison just because he was found guilty of beating his father to death. The defence also called him a 'model candidate' for bail.

Of course. He was just upset. Kiss. Kiss.

Also in yesterday's CBC news, but of no importance to the irving press, is that Trudeau is increasing the number of troops to defend Europe from "Russian aggression". It will now amount to a thousand.

What Russian aggression?

Are Russian ships patrolling North American waters? Are the Russians building nuclear missile sites on our borders? Are they carrying out war games on our borders? Was it Russia that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine?
This is not only lying. This is insanity. Troops on the Russian border could not stop a Russian invasion. Nor would it matter if they could. Any such war would be nuclear in minutes.

And the most aggressive nation in the world for the past 70 years has been the United States.

Oh,  and our very own intelligence service says Russia is preparing for war. That, at least, is true. But every military in the world is preparing for war. That's what militaries do. All of them. The U.S. spends more on its military than all the rest of the world put together. It's preparing for war big time.  In the case of the Russians, with western troops playing war games on its border, and western navies off its coast, the Russians would be damn fools not to prepare for war.
And what's the big headline for Canada&World? Our New Brunswick premier has given up his role as chair of the New Brunswick Jobs Board.
Zounds! I must contact Moscow.
The most (and only) important story in Section A news is a warning from the SPCA that dogs don't like fireworks.
The opinions and commentary pages are...well....

The editorial writer uses a Canada Day theme to protest the 2% tax increase and add a pitch for  fracking and the pipeline,  and attacks civil servants just for exisiting, all in one column. It's a staggering display of ignorance, bias and incomprehensibility. Tell, you what, kid, how about a column in which you tell us how much tax your boss pays?

Norbert's message is - damned if I know what it is. It's garbled, ignorant, ranting, insinuating. I have no idea what its real topic might be. He says we are Canadians and just like Americans, but we all differ from region to region. (How is is possible for us all to be just like Americans but to differ from each other? Would we elect a Donald Trump? Do we want to deport Mexicans?  Have we spent the last seventy years invading countries? Do we hate medicare?)

And Norbert, have you ever heard of class differences? Do you think that living in Moncton on a minimum wage is just like being an irving?

This is a silly, shallow, ignorant and impossibly written column.

Then there's a well-intentioned one from Diablogue Canada. It says we committed to collaboration, to accepting differences, to respect diversity....  An nice thought. But nonsense. I spent twenty years, at least, on the provincial committee to protect anglo rights in Quebec. I had death threats; our offices were torched; I  was fired by CBC because its Montreal offices were dominated by francophone separatistis. Separatists were allowed to rant on CBC. I never even discussed separatism on the show I was on. But I was fired because I had become Chairman of the Board of Alliance Quebec - and that was bad. Tell me about collaboration.

Tell me about tolerance in a country that has openly tolerated and promoted hatred of Jews, Africans, Orientals, East Europeans and many others. Fascists and Naziis paraded in Italian and Jewish districts of Montreal in full uniform. African-Canadians were denied jobs in just about everything. - and denied apartments, hotel rooms, even restaurants well into the 1960s.

Oh, and the Fathers of Confederation  had nothing to do with bringing us freedom or social justice or diversity. They murdered native peoples, exposed Chinese labourers to certain death, and were profoundly racist. Nor would they even know what social justice meant. Nor were they visionary.  The idea of confederation wasn't Canadian at all. It was British. And New Brunswick joined Canada because it  had no choice. (We have enough real history to be proud of. We don't need fairy tales.)
Think New Brunswick was pure?

The article below makes the point that if you want to understand New Brunswick, you have to read its poets - like Fred Cogswell. Otherwise, all you get is what the wealthy of New Brunswick want you to think - like the shallow propaganda of the irving press. New Brunswick has always been a province of people who live in fear of  their masters.

When I was a student at Acadia, I was astonished at the racism of Nova Scotia, too. And the racism of Acadia university. It was worse, even, than Montreal. Any changes across Canada are very recent. But we have no sense of  the depth of racism we had and, in many ways, still have.

(Oh, read Alden Nowlan, too. I have a happy memory of an evening spent talking with him in my first university job at UPEI. And I love his writing.)
Then there's a column by one of our new, Syrian-Canadians. It has the same tone as the others. But that's understandable. He happened to arrive at a good time.
Alec Bruce is the only one not to fall into the Canada Day trap. This is a day to tell the truth, not to spread fairy godmother stories.
The reality is there are few such things as 'Canadian' or 'American' or 'anything' values. This talk of supposed values is used to make us all conform. The fact is that immigration changes us, all of us. We do not fully 'absorb' newcomers. Nor should we.

David Suzuki wasn't absorbed. We put him, as a child, into a concentration camp. It's a good  thing we didn't absorb him. If we had, he might have ended up as a scientist for the sprays that we're killing our forests, wildlife, and ourselves with. And he'd be writing columns for the irving press about how it is good for us.
My friends in school and later were Syrians, Italians, Jews, Chinese, African-Canadians, Mohawk. They didn't get absorbed into Canada. They weren't allowed to. And I'm glad they weren't. Because I learned more from them than I did from from all the rear-end kissing, conformist Canadians I ever met. They didn't become me. They changed me. And I'm eternally grateful to them for that.
Don't 'accept' people. Join them. I still remember the explosion of theatre, restaurants, serious discussion. community action as waves of immigrants made their presence felt in the Montreal of the 1960s and 70s.

 It was wonderful.
The only thing worth reading, sort of, in Canada&World, is the story of a United Church minister who wants to remain a minister, even though she's an atheist. Damn right! And I insist on being a sexy, beautiful, song and dance star - even though I'm unsexy, homely, and can't sing or dance.

Oh - a p.s. for Alec Bruce. He says that the EU is not and never will be a united states of Europe.  I'll add to that.  It's  run by an unelected bureaucracy which controls the national economies. And that bureaucracy is effectively appointed by major corporations.

Norbert must be terrible confused now. He should be foaming at the mouth because these are bureaucrats. But - they represent the very rich. Oh, what to think?

No  wonder Norbert couldn't get his thoughts straight for his column.
The leader of Britain's Labour party is being pressured to step down. I mention this because of its similarity to the NDP in Canada. Now, I'm sure whether it matters what the party does because Tony Blair destroyed that party a long time ago. Blair saw a way to befriend the U.S. and make himself rich. So he abandoned all the principles of the party, moved it to the right, joined the disastrous and illegal  wars on Iraq and Afghanistan - and made himself very, very rich - a sort British equivalent of Hillary Clinton. Now, another right winger is challenging for the leadership of the Labour pary and he'll probably win.
So that means that even if Labour were to win an election, it wouldn't do anything different from the Conservatives.

Now, Tom Mulcair did not make himself rich. He's not at all that sort of person. But the NDP move to the right in order to win an election has done the same damage to the NDP that Tony Blair did to the Labour Party. And we've seen what that does at electon time.
President Obama has announced that some 160 civilians, all told, have been killed by drone strikes. He's lying. There have been thousands of strikes. They have hit schools, weddings, gatherings of all sorts, and explosions are not choosy about who happens to be standing near the target. It is simply not possible that so few civilians were killed. truth

Nobody knows the true number. Estimates usually begin at   500 and go into the thousands. There seems no doubt that the proportion of children murdered is very high. The U.S. also maintains secret torture prisons in Europe, helps to maintain a starvation blockade of Lebanon, murders environmentalists and politicians all over the world.  It does all the things we were told we were fighting against in World War 2.

And we don't even notice it. In fact, Justin has just ordered 1,000 Canadians to be sent to help out the U.S. in Eastern Europe just like we sent troops to die in Afghanistan for the good ol' USA, and aircraft to bomb Libya and Syria.

I don't know what to think about the next item on education. It sounds wild. But we have to remember that teaching methods in our schools haven't fundamentally changed since the early industrial age. That applies to both public and private schools. (Private schools can provide better services through smaller classes. But their teaching methods are not significantly different.)  And teaching in universities hasn't changed since Moses announced the Ten Commandments.
This is just a small sample of the failure of the world to help Haiti after its earthquake. Most, by far, of the money raised or announced by corrupt governments (like the U.S.) went into the pockets of corrupt,  private 'contractors'. That's common in all such work. I was sorry to read about the disaster of Red Cross aid. I have no reason to believe the Red Cross is corrupt. But it, to, has to deal with private contractors and government officials.
And here's an astonishing one. i really don't know what to think of it. It's a huge improvement on current positions. But I'm not sure that the U.S. and Russia uniting to defeat the Muslim world is any better than the failed method of using  Russia and the U.S. fighting separately to do it.
And this is stunning.
This one is in French.  (There should be a translation, but I can't find it.) Anyway, it's not a hard read - and it gets into what the EU and NATO are essentially about.

This is generally a good site for readers of any language.
What to watch for.

The Repulicans the Democrats in the U.S. both find themselves with potential leaders they don't want. Donald Trump is too much a loose cannon. Hillary Clinton is not popular; she could lose the presidency. As well, she could be facing serious legal charges. But these are the two that democrratic process has produced.

The brass of the two parties have never given much of a damn about democracy. They know that their purpose is to make sure that both candidates serve the interests of the wealthy who pay for the election.

But Trump could be erratic. And Clinton could be a loser. Result? Both parties may use their conventions  to block the democratic choices.  There's lots of room in the rules to do that. So they'll set up their own choices.

So much for democracy.

And, given the choices that there are and the ones that might be set up, it's hard to care what happens to American democracy.

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