Saturday, October 8, 2016

April 8: A real editorial in the irving press? (not great. But real.)

As usual, there is nothing in the irving press.  How can there be? Climate change isn't happening. So there's no point reporting on it.  The wealthy of New Brunswick are all paying all their taxes right on time. And writing about an oil pipeline or fracking is a waste of time because most people don't understand them. So let's leave it to the wealthy to make those decisions. In the whole paper, which also pretty much skips foreign affairs because they're just about - you  know - foreigners, there's only one item worth reading.

That one is, annus mirabilis, the editorial. It's about fluoridation of our water supply. It's not brilliant. But it does at least make sense.
Usually, the tone the irving press is that capitalism is the highest form of economics ever developed. Of  course, the press never calls it capitalism. That sounds hard and crude. So the word it uses is  'entrepreneurship'. That word conjures up visions of irvings in their boxing trunks  doing battle against the forces of socialism and welfare and other such evils.

The message is that government interference with the entrepreneurs who do battle to make us all rich is bad. Yes, it is. Capitalism - sorry, entrepreneurship - makes us all rich.  Government such gets in the way of our enterpreneurial angels.

Too bad it's not true.

Canada and the U.S.are both entrepreneurial societies. Both are rich in natural resources. Foreign invasion has been rare. The major exception to that was the invasions by European settlers. Apart from those, the only invasions of significance have been in the distant past - the British in Quebec, the American invasion of Canada in 1812,  (The attack on Hawaii was not an invasion of the American land mass.)

Indeed, we have been in a position to make money out of war by selling weapons. In fact, American profits in selling weapons to Britain in two, world wars, and in taking over British assets in the U.S. in those wars is what has made the U.S. a superpower. Canada did well out of it, too. And, as a result, the ordinary people of the U.S. and Canada are the wealthiest people on earth.



Canada and the U.S. rank about 27th in the world in distribution of wealth.
It's something of a chore to get accurate figures on this because our governments are not eager to tell the truth about it. That's why real unemployment figures are usually considerably worse than reported. The same is true of poverty.

Even using official U.S. and Canada figures, and even in a U.S. and a Canada which have suffered much less destruction  than others from war, U.S. and Canadian living standards are ranked 17th in a list of the world's 29 wealthiest countries. We have, by the kindest of measures, some 15% of our people living in poverty. It's actually worse in the U.S. which has a far lower standard of social services.  (Americans, for example, can get some medicare help - but it's very limited. And even those who get it often cannot afford the prescribed medication.  It's also extremely hard on taxation day - especially as the wealthy commonly do not pay any taxes.)

And to make it measurably worse, both Canada and the U.S. have 1 in 7 of their employed people working in 'precarious' employment - jobs that could end any day.  And the proportion of those with children who live in poverty is even higher. Of course. Four people need more money to live on than one does.
For a great many Canadians, that means living in what can kindly be called 'substandard' housing, and eating what can be called substandard foor and too little of it. It also produces an attitude on the part of parents and children that this is a good as it can ever be for them. Growing up in poverty creates more poverty.
And the proportion of elderly in poverty is high. Anyone trying to live on government pension plans has to live on short rations, indeed.

And the situation is NOT improving. Thanks, among other things, to offshore tax havens, most of us are seeing a steady decline in our incomes. But the wealthy are rising in spectacular fashion.

Mind you, when our capitalists (sorry, entrepreneurs) go into South America or Africa or the middle east, it gets much, much worse. Poverty, as in Haiti, Guatemala, soars. Productive land is destroyed. And anybody who doesn't like it has a strong chance of being killed. It's like that but even worse with Canadian and American mines in places like Congo that drive whole nations into poverty.
And in the middle east? Tens of millions are murdered, crippled, starved, driven into the horrors of refugee camps with their millions of children who will never have a chance to beanything but poor.

'Entrepeneurship' works well on a small scale. On a larger scale, the record is obvious. It creates and sustains massive suffering, ruthless killing and, as we are watching, the insanity of ignoring all scientific advice on what we are doing to the earth we have to live on.
.And it encourages the dregs of humanity to run for political office. Thus the rise of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the banality of almost all New Brunswick politicians, and a whole world collapsing into destabilization. (That destabilization is what has created the pit we are sinking into in the middle east.) And it's happening very, very quickly.

It's greedy. It's immoral. It's insanely stupid. Raise these questions at the irving chapel. (But don't interrupt the special music.)  
The Guardian, again, is beginning to resemble the irving press. However, it has one story, though necessarily weak on details at this point, to raise doubts about mining 'entrepreneurship' by Canadians and Americans in poor countries.
Then there's the big, big story that Trump should drop out because of evidence that he used coarse, sexual language and groped women. With the whole world on the edge of nuclear war, this is the big issue in an American election?
Hell, in the past, including the recent past, groping women has been a requirement for the presidency. Franklin Rossevelt had a lifelong affair with his secretary. John F. Kennedy groped everything that moved. Clinton had a passion for any female who was young - sometimes very, very young. In fact, it can be difficult to find a president in U.S. history who wasn't a groper.

When are we going to get serious news instead of gossip about this election?

Now, here is real news that, for the most part, we're not getting.
I never thought I would list a story from the South China Morning Post. This was a British-owned paper in Hong Kong which is now, I believe, owned by the Chinese government. i haven't followed the Chinese-owned version. But I remember the British-owned one as a real stinker.  I taught journalism to some of its British reporters. They were arrogant racists, but not impressive.)  One day, it carried the story of a man who invited his neighbour in for tea. Then he raped her. The headline?

"That was some cup of tea."

This one seems better journalism - and, whatever one thinks of the current ruler of The Phillpines, it is notice of a serious challenge to American power in Asia. The U.S. conquered The Phillipines about 1900 in a very brutal war against a primitive people. It then ruled it with an American dictator for over 40 years - until Japan captured it. After the war, the U.S. resumed rule through 'just pretend' elections that were really dictatorships.

However, the new president is running his own show. He's brash, murderous on the issue of drugs - and he's made it clear he has no intention of being an American puppet. In his view, the future lies with China.

And he has lots of popular support. Flilipinos, in general,  have had enough of American dictators and puppet rulers. And they, too, see their future with China rather than with the U.S.

This is a serious challenge to the future of the American Empire.
I have never understood why the U.S. decided to invade Libya, and to kill Ghaddafi. This story of it makes sense. And be sure to play the clip below it by Hillary Clinton.
Noam Chomsky is always worth a listen.
In the most trivial election the U.S. has ever seen, Paul Craig Roberts has a comforting truth. It doesn't matter which of those two clowns win. The U.S. will go on being run by the billionaires who have always run it.

But, duh, a pipeline and fracking will create jobs. Anyway, I feel so much better knowing that people like the irvings are in charge.
Here's a problem that Canadian governments have not moved on for 18  years.

Hey. Be reasonable. Why, if we start building housing for people who need it (and that's a lot more than just the homeless), we'd have have to charge Mr. Irving full tax on his refinery lands in St. John. Then how would pay the rent on his own little nest?

On that same theme, why doesn't city council in Moncton give some thought to housing that not only fills a need for decency and affordability but would respond at least a little to climate change?

Hint - bungalows spread widely over large area won't work.

If fact, has council considered climate change at all? Has it considered the problems created by city designed to sprawl - and therefore to place huge demands on transportation, the cost of excessive lengths of sewage, of roads and sidewalks and maintenence....?
How soon we forget. The war in Afghanistan is still on. It is now quite likely the most expensive war in history. And there's still no end  (or even purpose) in sight. Canadians were killed in that war. We have never been told why Canada got involved in that war. Nor have we been told why we suddenly quit.
 And all that money could have gone a long way to fight climate change, to build decent housing. Instead, the profit  (and, yes, huge profits have been made) have all gone to the wealthy and the corrupt.
The irving press has said virtually nothing about this. But it's heading this way. It the Greed Express.
This is good news about what seems to be a decline in ISIS support. But be sure to read the last sentence.

The U.S. does not want ISIS to fail.It has been financing, arming and training ISIS for years. The reason it's angry at Russia is because Russia IS fighting ISIS. But you won't read that in the irving press. In fact, you won't read much of anything in the irving press.

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