It was a cold day about noon, and the snow was driving hard as I walked, head down against the wind, along the sidewalk. Then I noticed a man. He was sitting in the snow, his back against a wall, and his head drooping. Beside him was a sack, probably full of everything he owned. He was, I think, about seventy. And he was asleep.
On the other side of me, I could see the construction of a huge events centre the province is building at cost of over a hundred million dollars. It will, we are assured, make piles of money. But we can be certain that none of that hundred million will be available to provide a warm room and a bed for an elderly man.
The drive of New Brunswick politics is to swing big deals that will make the rich ever richer. Then, we are told, the prosperity will trickle down to the rest of us. It never has worked. It never will work. The rich don't make piles of money to hand on to us. The make it to put it in tax havens so that we will never get a penny. They use it to invest in cheap labour in countries that have more of it than Canada does.
The rich don't create jobs. They create cities where the poor and elderly sit in the driving snow to sleep at noon.
A human society (not even humane, just human) begins with politicians who see their role as helping citizens. But I have known few, very few, politicians like that. Most of ours exist to be in power. And they do that by pleasing the rich who pay for their elections. That's why they will spend a hundred million on an events centre. But none on people.
And that's why our private news media will publish nonsense about how our very wealthy will make us all rich by leaving an elderly man to die in his sleep.
At the end of World War Two, we were going to build a better world. We were going set minimum standards for living conditions. We were going to provide services which, like health, were essential but out of the reach of most people. We were going to provide equality of opportunity.
That's why Winston Churchill lost the last election of the war. The British knew that, however valuable his wartime leadership had been, he would never support a society of equality and opportunity. No. Churchill was very much an aristocrat of the nineteenth century. So they elected a Labour Party government that would, for the first time, provide health care for all, and would take action about dreadful housing conditions. Canada, too, took steps, though more slowly and on a lesser scale.
In recent decades, all of this has been unwinding as politicians financed by the wealthy have been selling the idea that making the rich richer will benefit all - and they do this even as the 'all' are getting poorer and the rich richer.
Our local paper, the irving press is constantly selling this make the rich richer scheme. That's why we're drifting back to the dirty thirties.
The story above was not important enough to make the pages of our irving press. It needed the space for a story about a gorilla that just turned 60.
Let's see. If we have a nuclear weapons race, then the world will come to its senses and stop developing nuclear weapons. Right.
We have had a nuclear arms race going since 1945. Since then, nuclear weapons have spread and so have the nations who have them. In fact, we already have enough to destroy the world many times over. So, if we keep doing that, well, obviously everybody will stop it.
And the wacky thing is that Trump voters will nod their heads and say, " He's got it right."
Well, gee whillikers Mr. Trump, if the world has not come to its senses in over 70 years of that approach, what makes you think it will change now?
The other bon mot of the day came from Senator McCain. He gave a furious speech about the Russian interference in the American election. (You know, the interference the news has been full of without telling what the intereference was and without giving any evidence.)
Anyway, McCain is mad. He says that an election is the basic right of a democracy, and interfering with it is an act of war.
Well, I don't know where it is written that interfering with an election is an act of war. But I do know that sending drones to bomb countries at peace is an act of war. I know that murdering hundreds of thousands in Guatemala was an act of war. I know it was an act of war to invade Iraq and kill a million and a half people and to do it on the basis of lies. I know it was an act of war to put Saddam Hussein on trial by an American military court, and then to excecute him.
(They used a military court because the accused has no rights in such a court. It also enabled them to hang him right after the trial before any questions could be asked.)
The U.S. also routinely interferes with elections, kicking out elected leaders and imposing dictatorships. Again, Guatemala is a an example of that.
The amazing thing is that American voters, listening to a McCain, will nod their heads as if they were a gentleme's club that would never dream of interfering with another country. The reality is that there is no government in South American they have not interfered with - normally with murderous methods - and few few in middle east, Africa - and Asia.
But American voters seem blithely unconcious about that, and still live with a grudge that the whole world is picking on them. Some day, if we survive, this will be the subject of a scientific study. How could the world's richest country with the biggest military in the world, and one which constantly invades and bullies smaller countries, live constantly in fear that everybody is attacking it?
Here's The Guardian comment about Trump and nuclear weapons.
Here is one of the few, intelligent articles I could find on Trump's threat to increase U.S. nuclear weaponry. It is almost certainly true that Trump is shifting his main target to China. He wants Russia onside for this as an American ally. It's not peace he's talking. It's China first, then Russia.
That's why Putin, alrealy surrounded by American nuclear missiles, has threatened to upgrade his nuclear stock.
So far, and despite the continuing popularity of the federal liberal party in Canada, it is difficult to point to anything essential it has done. That is particularly true of climate.
A natural death for a troublesome oil pipeline?
For a touch of amusement, here's a film about Russia made at the order of the U.S. government back in the days when the official line was that Russians were highly democratic and Stalin a sweetheart.
So what's the truth? What we are seeing now? or What we were seeing then?
The answer is neither is true. Both are propaganda. Our governments and our news media have no interest in the truth.
And here's a hymn of praise to your neighbourhood capitalist (the one supposedly making us rich to help that man sleeping in the snow.
We - all of us - pay for those monster tax breaks. They do not make us richer. (Why do I think now of our Chamber of Commerce and it's absurd big ticket dinner in honour of a billionaire for his donation to a charity? In a real society, we wouldn't need the donation. That money, and a lot more, would go to the needy in the first place, as taxes going back to the ones whose sacrifices made that billionaire into a billionaire.
Here's a story about the poisonous world the U.S. has created in the middle east. Its major allies there are pretty much the same lot who attacked the World Trade Center in 1991, and who are hated throughout the U.S. Funny how Americans don't seem to know that.
And here's pretty much the same story which you can find anywhere except in the North American private news media.
And here's an interesting thought.
Luckily, there is no chance of any of our churches taking this seriously.
As the U.S. loses in Syria, it may well step up the pressure in Ukraine.This could be a bargaining point when Trump meets Putin - or it could be one hell of a bad idea that will go out of control.
Privatize schools? Yeah. Great idea. Just check out the American experience. Big business exists to make money. That is all it exists for. And if making big money means destroying our children - so be it.
As for the next, what can I say? Except - leave it to the religious leadership of a nation to make a big issue out of no big deal while ignoring the theft, brutality and murder that goes on all around them.
plus que ca change.......
the more it's the same.
I am going to take a bit of a break for the holidays. But there will, I fear, be lots of news during them.
Has the U.S. lost its position in the middle east? Or will it try to reassert itself with new wars? Will it try to open a new front in Ukraine? Is Trump (as he appears) really looking for a hostile relationship with China? Will Trump try to involve Canada militarily in Ukraine and possibly in the middle east? How quickly will Trump move to dump climate control legislation? And how quickly will Trudeau jump up and salute?
How will the American economy do? Ninety percent of all jobs created last year in the U.S. were contract or short term. In an economy that has steadily been getting poorer for all but the very rich, that could create a very trouble environment.
Trump likes to make snap decisions on major issues. (Because that's the way it's done on reality TV.) He has already done it before his term begins. And I suspect we're going to see a lot more of it. The strength of snap decisions is they give an impression of a leader who's well in control. The weakness of them is that impression is usually wrong.
The U.S. is in very unhealthy condition. It has been for quite a while. Trump will make that a lot more obvious. And that will be very, very dangerous.
Just in.... from CBC news.
Hey! Chamber of Commerce! Will you hold a dinner honouring the people who did that?