Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sept. 14: A Touch of Truth

A belief peddled by propaganda rags like the irving press is  that private business is more efficient than government ownership. In fact, even the most casual studies prove the opposite. Canada's government health care system is far, far more efficient than the private system of the U.S. In fact, we can actually get health care. Millions of Americans can't. Worse, even those who are eligible for Obamacare aren't getting much of a deal because Obamacare simply uses their tax money to subsidize private health care insurance plans at scandalously high prices to pass on to hospitals that operate at scandalously high prices.

Ever wonder why tiny and poor countries like Cuba can offer medical care and higher education for everybody? And the rich United States can't?

Ever wonder how much the irvings and friends cost us taxpayers every year?

Ever wonder why these super-efficient corporations require incentives and gifts to come here? Ever wonder what's efficient about letting them escape taxes by taking our money and hiding it overseas?

And now they want a pipeline all across the country. Now, think hard. At a time when we know we have to deal with climate change, we are going to spend billions to create more greenhouse gas emissions. And, by the very cost of such a pipeline, we will have to cut down on the development of cleaner forms of energy.

Duh, I know a pipeline would create jobs. But, duh, so would serious work on alternative energy. And, done by government, it would be cheaper because governments don't need to make profits and hide them in overseas banks. Governments also don't need administrators who get paid thousands of dollars an hour for their work.

There is something wrong with our values. I've been thinking of that ever since a wealthy man who has extracted billions from us - and for whom I have seen no tax receipts - gave a teeny, tiny portion of his wealth to a worthy cause - and was celebrated for his saintly qualities with a special dinner sponsored by our chambers of commerce and worshipfully covered by the irving press.
Are the editors at the irving press fools or hypocrites? It has to be the latter. Nobody can be that foolish.

Large corporations are being permitted to plunder New Brunswick just as they are being permitted to plunder the world. We are watching pure greed on the loose. That has led to violent reactions all over the world. It has created the anger that is really the major issue in the current U.S. election campaign.

And since that greed affects us as much as it does those angry people we go to war against, there is reason to expect greater violence to come in North America.
Governments have to learn - and we have to learn - that we elect governments to meet the needs of all of us, not just to kiss up to billionaires.
The only thing worth reading in all of today's irving press is Alec Bruce's column. Section A is brainless and  trivial.  Section B, Canada and World, never gets out of North America, and barely gets out of New Brunswick. It, too, is pure trivia.
Democracy in the U.S. - and not just the U.S. - is dead. Political parties that win do so witih big money from wealthy people. This is a story the irving press could have carried - but there is no way it ever would.
You won't ever see the story in the irving press, but the big leaders of the pharmaceutical industries are among the most heartless pirates in the world. They routinely charge full, retail prices for drugs purchased by our governments to be sent overseas to countries that desperately need them. That's full retail prices for purchases of billions of dollars of drugs. They also charge all the market will bear for drugs sold domestically - which is one reason why the cost of Obamacare is so high.
There was never any need for a U.S., UK, Canada war on Libya. It was one of the few, relatively stable nations in the regions. But the U.S. wanted a war to get fuller control of it. So Canada saluted,  and said, "Ready, aye ready." And so Canadians bombed Libya.

Why did we bomb it?  To make our American masters happy. And we bombed it with no thought of the consequences - which include all the innocent dead, and a destroyed nation now suffering constant civil war.  The war was unnecessary for anybody except American oil billionaires. But Canada never asked why. Nor did it give a thought as to the effect such a war would have. It was a war that did no good for anybody except, possibly, for jihadists.

But we were told to bomb. And we bombed.
And another story that wasn't important enough to make the irving press.
Yes, there are problems with pipelines. But, duh, they create jobs.
The distinguishing feature of this American election campaign is that there are no issues. It's all a vaudeville act of low-level comedy and slapstick. Empires are like that.
The title of this next one reminded me of the irving press. And of what it has made of us.
The following item, about the intrusion of private business into public education deals with a practice still in its early stages in Canada. But the purpose is clear - to treat education like chocolate bars or perfume as something that exists only for private profit.
No comment needed. This is what the wars are about. They aren't about spreading democracy or dethroning evil rulers. They're about greed, pure greed.
Here's a Trudeau who sounds more like his father. And he's right. We have become an American colony. I think prime minister Lester Pearson saw this coming. That's why he tried to extablish the Canadian military as a peace-keeping force.
Some closing thoughts.

 Governments are elected by the people to serve the needs of the people. But that is not happening. Instead, corruption by the wealthy and propaganda by their news media created the notion all that has to be done is to attract investement - at any price - and we will all benefit. (Note that the irving press constantly talks about the need for investment, but almost never about the needs of the people of this province.)

It won't work. It never has. The starting point of capitalism is greed, nothing but greed. It will, therefore, work for its bosses. It won't work for the rest of us. It has to be severely controlled. Without severe controls, it will destroy all of us - and itself.

Private business is not efficient. If it were, it would pay its taxes and reduce the salaries of its higher level officers.  As well, there are many services we must have as a society - services that do not thrive as business practices. Health care, for example, is one. Education is another. (A major impact of the business world on universities, for example,  has been the colossal salaries and perks offered to university administrators. There is no evidence that this has in any way raised the educational quality of universities. Business  has also interfered with professors to get some who will produce propaganda for it. I once had an excellent offer for this from an oil company.)

Several centuries of uncontrolled capitalism have been monstrously destructive all over the world. Communism in China, for example, did not arise because "Mao was a bad man." It arose because western capitalism had destroyed the existing Chinese society, spread profound poverty, murdered uncounted people, starved millions (yes. I didn't make that up.)

Sadaam and Ghadaffi became dictatorial leaders because nothing else would hold their countries together after decades of interference by western capitalism - mainly in the oil sector.

The world faces enormous problems of climate change, mass poverty, starvation, loss of the social cement that holds societies together -----but there's no money to deal with these problems because the wealthy don't give a damn. So they prefer to see the money spent on weapons, oil, chemical sprays and private profits.
The wealthy really don't care about what a society needs in order to survive. That's why they insist that they and only they will decided what workers are worth. And that will go from $10 an hour here to a couple of dollars a day in less fortunate countries.

We have to start with people and with what they need. One can get quite sick of irving press editorials that babble about attracting industries to New Brunswick. There are resources here. We don't have to give away our forests to the irvings. They're our forests, and lots of people know how to cut down trees.

If private business isn't interested in developing alternate sources of energy, we can do it - and we can do it cheaper than private business will.

We have to make our politicians understand that they are not simply shills to attract the rich. Hell, if attracting the rich made a society wealthy then Iraq and Libya would have been rolling in wealth for almost a century. Guatemala would be a paradise rather than a land of poverty where people get murdered for being environmentalists.

Greed does not work. And kissing up to the greedy doesn't work, either.
Inevitably, the corruption and greed we tolerate is enormously destructive - as we should have seen just from the body counts of the last seventy years.  It has also led to the breakdown in American democracy that we can watch every night on TV.

The greed means we cannot afford to deal with problems we MUST deal with - like climate change.

It also means we are laying the groundwork for violence against each other. The Trump phenomenon is an early example of that. So is the general violence of American society.

Sorry, folks. Newspaper photos of grinning idiots holding up charity cheques isn't enough. Nor are philanthopists who get feted by the chamber of commerce for their 'generosity'.

We have to do better than that. And we don't have much time.

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