Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30: Why count killings by U.S. police?


It's not an attack on the U.S. police in particular or on police in general though, sometimes, I think The Guardian leans a bit to placing all the blame on the U.S. police. It's important to keep a record of the killings and to know why they happened. U.S. police kill more people in a few days than most western democracies kill in a year and more than a year. When that happens, it's a signal of social breakdown - and where that can take us is anybody's guess. That's why it's important to know how many are dying, to seek out imbalances in the numbers, and to find out the conditions under which they are dying.

I don't think the U.S. police are the whole problem. American social structure is, itself, a major part of the problem.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-killings-by-police-editorial
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I won't spend much time on the Irving press because today is even worse than usual. Section A news is trivial. The editorial and the Norbert Cunningham column are adolescent gush about the events centre, the city council elections, vision and a "city for the future".

Two of the commentaries are free ads for two people running for city council. And they feature all the usual vague and trite terms - "Leadership is about inspiring people". "troubled waters need a steady hand.."

Did it not occur to any of the editors that offering campaign space for just two of the candidates is unethical and even dishonest journalism?

And Alec Bruce's column? More gush about the events centre.  He notes that "some" estimates say it will return three dollars for every one dollar spent on it. But he's silent on who it is that made these estimates. No matter, though, because he also put himself into the impossible prediction mode, and says it will do even better.

His next column should go a step further. Isn't it wonderful that the wealthy of this province, the ones who ripped off our forests, who seem to avoid taxes, and who constantly look to government for charity for the rich are going to let us pay for the centre and to get all that profit. That means they are giving up, by Alec Bruce's estimate, some four million dollars just so us workies can have it all.
God bless them. They're saints. That's what they are.
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Canada&World news seldom gets out of Canada - or even out of New Brunswick. Only a few items are worth reading.

1. Bombardier aircraft, though it has just signed a two billion dollar contract with an American airline, wants us taxpayers to give it another billion. Capitalism in action.
2. A Canadian-backed health centre in Syria was destroyed in a bombing. Nobody knows who did the bombing. But the story, as always in such cases, gives strong hints it was the Russian or Syrian government who did it. I have never seen such journalistic hints that pointed to our side.  And it's really not good journalism to include such speculation in a news story.  In any case, the bombing of schools and hospitals has long been a common practice of all sides. Think of the recent story of Americans who delberately bombed a hospital repeatedly, killing doctors, nurses, patients ... And they were let off with a slap on the wrist.
3. And Ottawa is back to playing games over the problem-plagued and very expensive F-35. What we need first is some definition of what it is our military is supposed to be for. Is it to fight U.S. wars as we used to fight British ones? If so, we should simply become a branch of the U.S. military, and use the same equipment it does.

If not, what does the defence of Canada mean?  Once you decide,  then that meaning defines what the military needs.

Too bad that discussion is never going to happen.
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As for the Faith Page, all is forgiven. It's a well-written one on some of the things that various religious denominations are about. I think that there are other, less pleasant things they are about as well  - but this is a a good start to a needed discussion of those things they aren't, but should be about.

I note, too, that almost half of the Faith page is now ads. And if you examine the bottom ad closely, the one about J.D.Irving Ltd., you'll note, I think, that it involves toilet paper, a devout reminder that we have to cleanse the body as well as the soul.

And, oh, I do with that paper would recognize that we have people of faith who are not Christian.
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And here's a story that one would have expected to find in the Irving press. After all, a great deal of Canada is in the north.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/29/climate-change-refugees-arctic-obama-administration-warning

Tell us again about those deluded people who think that climate and environmental changes represent some sort of crisis.
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And, gee, here's a story about Canada that one would think the Irving press would have noticed. It's about the Leap Forward proposal put forward at the recent NDP convention.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2016/apr/29/surprise-the-pundits-were-wrong-poll-shows-huge-support-for-leap-manifesto

I can't wait to read Mr. Cardy's response to this. Wouldn't he be happier with a party that is closer to his thinking like, say, the Conservatives?
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And here's what climate change looks like.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/20/environment-instagram-photography-climate-change
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So why don't we do more about climate change? Here's a hint.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/20/eu-dropped-climate-policies-after-bp-threat-oil-industry-exodus

Aren't we lucky JDIrvingLtd. would never dream of interfering with government like that? No, sir. It's one person, one vote in New Bruswick. We're all equal.
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The story below is actually from The Intercept, which looks like a source worth following.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44547.htm
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This is an important story, and Seymour Hersh is a top-level journalist. But, oh, it's a tough read because he's a  terribly breathless talker. The bottom line is that Obama always had ground troops in Syria, and is now increasing their number. Hersh  does not explain - as fully as he should - why this is so terrible.

It's terrible because this is exactly what ISIS wants Obama to do. Almost the whole, Muslim world hates the U.S. ( with good reason.) But most Muslims do not want war. ISIS does. But it needs more supporters. That's why it wants more attacks and killing by the U.S. to change the minds of Muslims all over the world, to make them want to fight the U.S. And the way to do that is to increase American assaults on the Muslim world. This is what terrorism is all about. it's a means for the weaker side to gather support against the stronger one. The best recruiters for terrorism are people like Donald Trump, George Bush, Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton....

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44554.htm
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The source for this story is, admittedly, a source that has a bias against the U.S. But, it also appeared on CBS news, and it quotes the US military chief of staff. The U.S. has thousands of troops in Iraq.  Their role is supposedly non-combat. But they have frequently been in combat and have suffered casualties.

What a coincidence! Canada is sending non-combat troops to Syria. And, like the Americans in Iraq, they are armed.

We have joined the U.S. in walking into a swamp that it will be very difficult to get out of. And one that has no value worth the price of being there. The U.S., the world's most expensive military, now finds itself bogged down in three wars  ( Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria). Two of them are the longest wars the U.S. has ever fought. As well, the only opponent it has defeated in the last fifty years is the island of Genada. And there's a new war with Libya. We are putting our troops in an impossible situation.

You want peace in the middle east? You'll never get it by killing people. But it could be achieved by spending the money on the help they need to rebuild their countries, and leave them alone to settle their own political systems.
And that would defeat ISIS far sooner than our military will.

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160429/1038865522/dunford-admits-us-combat-role.html
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I am not familiar with this writer; but John Craig Roberts vouches for her - and his word is pretty good.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44544.htm

The bottom line is that for fifteen years, the U.S. has been killing Muslims by the millions. That's what created ISIS. That's what draws support and recruits to ISIS. Militarily and in terms of foreign policy this makes no sense at all.
But the U.S. government doesn't make military or foreign policy. Those are set by the billionaires who own American governments.
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Finally, there's the site that the author above writes for -

http://dissidentvoice.org/

It's one of those sites that, even if you disagree with it, provokes thought. I'm going to add it to my list  of sites to watch.

Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29: Why are Terrorists Terrorists....?



Donald Trump will tell you it's because they're a lower form of human made evil by their religion and, therefore, not intelligent and peaceful like us Christians. In fact, all the leadership candidates will tell you that - or something close to that.
All this is based on what is essentially racist ideology. So let's go to a different starting point. Let's presume that terrorists are people of normal intelligence who have reasons for what they do. Let's start with 9/11. On that day, they killed over 3,000 Americans. Why?

Did they think the U.S. would instantly surrender? Not bloody likely. 3,000 people and a couple of buildings? No.  Dreams of a U.S.surrender had nothing to do with it.

Cripple the American armed forces? Puh-lease.

It was intended to provoke an American attack on some part, any part, of the Muslim world. It was to make Americans hate Muslims. And the U.S. walked right into it, creating two of the biggest military and foreign policy disasters of any country's history - Iraq and Afghanistan. And what would the terrorists gain by this?

For starters, they would gain recruits for a Muslim war against the U.S. The American reaction to 9/11 would lay the base for war between the U.S. and the Muslim world. 9/11 summed up the grievances of a Muslim world pillaged and dominated by the the west for over a century. Of all the oil wealth that poured out of their lands, most Muslims saw almost nothing.

A violent reponse by the U.S. to 9/11 would bring a century and more of anger and frustration to the surface. It would bring forward people willing to die, to blow themselves up even as they blew up westerners. It would create a mood that would encourage the rise of a Muslim army to face down the west. The Americans reacted exactly as Osama bin Laden hoped they would. And the result of all that was the creation of ISIS - which had been bin Laden's goal from the start.

Even in death, bin Laden has been winning ever since 9/11. American foreign policy has been a shambles ever since 9/11. The best policy, and the safest for the whole world, would be for the U.S. to withdraw from the middle east; and let the region settle its own problems. Nor would it have have any effect on the availability of oil. The profit from it would then go to the people of the middle east, of course, and not to a handful of western billionaires - mostly American. But when I fill my tank, I don't care who gets the profit.

The more difficult question is how to get the U.S. out of the region without losing face. That gets more difficult each day as the U.S. increases its involvement. There are those who think it's better to risk a world war and save face  than to step back.

Bin Laden's plan was also helped by an American far, far right think tank called  "Project for the New American Century". Most westerners never paid much attention to it. But bin Laden  probably did. It was on the web for everybody, including bin Laden to see. And it was a plan for world conquest by the U.S.. And it was drawn up by people who became major figures in the Bush administration. Our news media never paid the attention to that it should have.
It played right into bin Laden's plans. Here were people in the U.S. government planning for a world conquest by the U.S.  - the sort of conquest that the Muslim world has learned to hate in more than a century of them.

The intelligent thing for the U.S. and NATO would be to get out. They cannot solve the ptoblems of the middle east. In fact, they ARE the major problems of the middle east. And, by staying there, we are making a world war almost a   certainty.

And we have no capacity to win such a war if it is a conventional one. And nobody has any capacity to win if it's a nuclear war.
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The Irving press is its usual self. The editorial talks about the need to improve the food bank system. It admits this would be costly. So far, so good. But, as with everything that costs anything, I have never seen a mention of the role of the wealthy in this. How much do they pay in taxes? Do they pay taxes at all? It is not possible to discuss any economic issue without some mention of those who have most of the money. But, obviously, the Irving press isn't going to let that happen.

Norbert Cunningham has a column which has interesting bits on what poll results really mean. This will be an exciting read for people who care what they really mean.

The guest commentary is yet another one by a politician. Look. If a politician says something useful, then you quote it in a news story. I have yet to see one of these politicals speeches disguised as commentary that said anything. Nor do I have much of a patience with a newspaper    which prints only the speeches of two parties. If we're going to  have political speeches in the paper, ALL parties should have equal access.

Alec Bruce has a column of despair about the Senate. And despair is all one can do because nobody is going to run the risk of all the political dealing that would have to go on in order to change the constitutional definition of the Senate.
Then, there is a column on Canadian Marketing Boards and their failure to help farmers. It's well written. It looks convincing. But my knowledge of farming is limited to five years of failing to grow the melon my farmer ancestors supplied to King Edward V11, the Decarie Melon. I think this is a good column - but better to seek the advice of a farmer on it.
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The Canada&World section is a smorgasboard of leftovers. The biggest story (and so, presumably the most important story in the world) is that the CEO of Irving shipbuilding says Irving Shipbuilding can  build anything our navy needs.
Well, that's a relief.

Can it also pay taxes?
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Here's a story that has received little coverage in our press. It's about car companies faking carbon emissions tests. This not only breaks the law; it also seriously damages human health. But nobody has been charged for it - and nobody will be. And the list of such companies is far more than this article suggests. Japan, for example, is also involved.

There is also concern that car makers may have been playing games with safety requirements. if so, people will die for that. But not the car makers. Big business kills. It's only objective is profit no matter what the cost to the public or even to human life. And governments won't touch it. We saw that in the U.S. bank bailouts, and we're seeing in the car  scandal.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/29/car-industry-banking-emissions-scandal-vw
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...and speaking of evading the law...

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/29/kunduz-hospital-attack-msf-us-military-charges

Those airmen knew what they were attacking. The attacks were prolonged; and there were repeated calls to tell the the air controllers what they were attacking.
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Trudeau often makes the foreign press. Here's a tentative appraisal of him in The Guardian. I think it's wise to  wait and see because, so far, I've seen little to suggest he has any of his father's abilities.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/29/justin-trudeau-popular-world-canada-reserving-judgment-prime-minister-political-resume
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The speech by Trump looked sensible for the first sentence or so. But it rapidly collapses into the old approach to Russia - using different words. As for his reference to NATO, Trump is talking nonsense. When he refers to NATO "paying its share", he obviously means NATO acting as an agent of U.S. policy.Bin Laden would love it. Why do you think ISIS is setting up raids in NATO countries? It wants that angry reaction. It wants Europe's rejection of Muslim refugees. It wants Muslims to feel they have no hope in a world dominated by the U.S. and other western powers.

He's right that the current relationship between Russia and the US will turn out to be disastrous for both of them. But to say that he will impose a settlement between the two that is 'great' for the U.S. clearly suggests that Russia would be the loser in the deal. Well, I understand the Kremlim has access to TV as well as we do. This is a very flimsy speech to base a policy on.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44542.htm
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Gee! The U.S. has combat troops in Iraq who are actually in combat. They're in Iraq and Syria.  Now think, Canada. We have combat troops in Syria that our government insists are non-combat - except that they might be in combat. Thank Justin for that big step into the military swamp that is the middle east.

Oh, and American combat troops in Iraq are not likely to be greeted by maidens tossing flowers. The remember the invasion of Iraq and the civilian death count very well. Any movement of U.S.  troops in Iraq is a post-mortem victory for bin Laden.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/28/dunford-acknowledges-us-troops-in-iraq-conduct-combat-operations.html
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This is from a Russian news agency. But the source is Ernst&Young, a reputable American firm. Note the position of Ukraine, the country supposedly democratic as a result of western intervention.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/russia-and-usa-have-same-level-corruption-according-erst-young-study/ri14100
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The next one looks bad for Obama. But it's not his fault. The U.S. is a  falling empire. Get used to it.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/04/simply-worst-obama-first-president-ever-not-see-single-year-3-gdp/
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Oh, there's also a story that the U.S. is raising its military aid to  Israel from 3 billion for 4 or 4.5 billion. This is more important than it may look
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1. A U.S. which cannot feed its own hungry can spare 4 billion or more for weapons for Israel.

2. Much of that money will go to U.S. war industries - which means there will be a good deal of corruption here.

3. The U.S. is giving all this to an Israel which has openly been stealing Palestinian land,  withholding money that should be going to Palestine, cutting off Palestine from the world by blockading the Palestine coast, making the passage of medical supplies and  food to Palestine almost impossible, refusing to allow Israeli-Palestinians to walk on "Jewish" streets in the cities, expelling Israeli-Palestinians (and those in Palestine) from their homes, tearing down their homes, segregating public transit, pushing Palestinians into eternal poverty and hopelessness, and completely ignoring all U.S. requests to ease up.

It has made Israelis hated by Muslims, and the U.S. hated for its complicity.
Osama bin Laden could not have planned it better. The U.S. has allowed itself to be sucked into a swamp. It  has also drawn in NATO countries like Britain, France, The Netherlands....and Canada. The plan that began with 9/11 is working like a charm.
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Here's Paul Craig Roberts on Trump's foreign policy speech. I think he's even a little bit gentle on the speech. But he's quite right about the massive power of the Senate to overrule any president and, if anything, understated about various parts of Washington who run their own shows  without paying much attention to any president, and still others who kill and who support strange groups in many countries without the president even knowing about it.

On of the greatest problems of the U.S. is that it has so many agencies - FBI, CIA, and on and on - designed to control people in the U.S. and abroad that the president cannot control them, and commonly does not even know what they are doing.

But I think Roberts is wrong to suggest that if Trump is elected, the public will simply become disillusioned. I don't think so. I think it's more likely to become violent.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/04/27/donald-trumps-foreign-policy-speech-paul-craig-roberts%e2%80%a8/

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28: Journalism 101



It's a standard practice that the banner headline for Section A of a newspaper deals with the major story of the day. And the major story of today is - wait for it - a new middle school is to be built in Dieppe.

There was actually another and bigger story. So I checked the lead headline for Canada &World to find it. "Minister says province may review rules for prosthetic eye coverage."  No, that didn't seem to be it. Then I found it on B3. "Study: Canada won't meet international climate vows."

These are the vows made to reduce emissions by 80% over the next 29 years. Well, we didn't meet the standards on the last go-around. So this was almost predictable. But there's an even bigger problem. We may not have 29  years.
A recent commentary in this very same Irving press revealed that climate change does not happen at a steady pace. As well, we are rapidly approaching a point at which it goes on no matter what we do. I think that may be more important than a middle school in Dieppe or even eye surgery.

This is information that Justin Trudeau must have had when he signed the Paris Agreement. Eventually, we may realize that Mr. Trudeau's specialty is not public policy. It's public relations.

The editorial writer, always alert to the great issues of the day, has a column of pure gush about the opening of the events centre which will take place two years from now.

Norbert Cunningham offers us an almost incoherent rant   about people who are opposed to the centre. And it has all the stock lines like "Moncton punches above its weight".  Then he gushes over a business group which is contributing money. Two things, Norbie. One - this isn't like your daily photos of people smiling and holding up big cheques. When businessmen promise big money like this, there's a reason. He gives the reason, but doesn't seem to understand it. It has to do with what they own or are interested in - hotels and other property develpment. He also says  something important but doesn't recognize its importance. He says they work closely with city hall.

I'll just bet they do.

Oh, and in their praise, he says they are using their own money, not taxpayers' money. Norbert, we all use the same kind of money. And all money has its source in the work we ALL do. There is no difference between taxpayers' money and businessmen's money. And, anyway, that 'gift they'll be giving is tax deductable. Right? So - as a result, who will have to pay most of it in higher taxes or reduced services?

Rod Allen has a long column, seemingly designed to show how many words he knows. To get the whole (and very tiny) story without the agony of reading the column, just read the second to last paragraph.

Justin Ryan had a good idea for a column. Unfortunately, the first half and more is in the style of Rod Allan. What he writes about, usually, and writes well, is the work he does in settling immigrants in New Brunswick. But by the time he got to the topic for today, he didn't have enough room left to say anything.

Alec Bruce has a solid column on free tuition for universities. One, little suggestion, though. He says our financial situation doesn't premit us to finance free tuition for all. Gee,  could that have anything to do with the wealthy paying less tax than they should?
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Canada&World is,  as usual, mostly trivial, and with almost nothing about the world. But it's better than usual - with four stories worth a read. "Edmundston passes mostion opposing pipeline route", "Canada won't meet international climate vows", "Canada breaking its own export control rules with Saudi deal", and the war in Syria is on again as the peace talks fail.
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I rarely watch TV news because I've learned that TV is a very bad medium for anything that requires thinking. But last night, while channel hopping after watching Thomas the Tank Engine, I  caught a news story that wealthy Canadians have at least a TRILLION dollars invested in other countries - mostly to take advantage of cheap labour, no regulation, and almost no taxes. That's in addition to the money in tax havens.

And, no, Norbert. It's not THEIR money. It's the same money we use (or can't use because it's hidden.)

Corporations don't exist to create jobs or to benefit any nation. They exist to make money for themselves and to pay back as little as possible in salaries to as few people as possible,  and to avoid  taxes. If corporations created jobs to help people or nations, Haiti would today be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. So would Congo.
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The next, two items were sent to me by a reader.

Recently, the U.S. government was very upset when Russian aircraft made passes close to an American warship. How aggressive!  They were doubly upset because the Russians were able to block all the ships fighting capacities so that it could not fire either guns or missiles. But our news never said why the American ship was so close to Russian waters, and why it was patrolling.

The American ship carried missiles - including nuclear ones. Now, think about that. The U.S. routinely uses nuclear armed ships and submarines in position for an unstoppable nuclear attack on Russian (and Chinese?) territory. How's that for aggression? How's that for looking for a war?

It also has troops near the Russian border doing "training".

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-nato-military-escalation-on-russias-doorstep-deployment-of-nuclear-attack-units-moscow-has-issued-warning/5522104

What is the whole story on this? I have no special insights. But here's what I think is happening.

The American empire is well into collapse. In its desperation, it has to knock out its major competition. It wants a war with Russia and China. But it cannot win a conventional war with either without a monstrous cost in lives and money. And the American people would never tolerate that. This would be much, much greater than the opposition to Vietnam. As well, any such war would be certain to go nuclear, anyway.

No. It needs a war on the cheap and quick. It needs a nuclear war; and it needs one that might be ended quickly and with limited retaliation. Nuclear weapons fired from a ships and submarines just offshore might do it. It's risky - to say the least. But the business leaders of the U.S. are desperate. And this would be, like most wars, a business war. It's remarkably callous, dangerous for both sides, cruel, even insane, and with very little control over the consequences. But, what the hell! The empire is collapsing anyway. (No Donald. America will not be great again - whatever that means.)

Time is passing. And the American empre is passing with it.

The buzzing by Russian aircraft was a warning. "Don't even think about it! We can paralyze your attack."
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And then there's one of my favourite commentators...

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/04/27/what-life-is-really-like-in-the-amerian-police-state/

With the fall of Empire, there is also a social collapse happening in the U.S. The only candidate talking about it  (gently) is Sanders. Apart from Sanders, this is the only election I have known in Canada or the U.S. in which only one candidate has a policy on anything. The others are just playing with crowd emotions.

The  empire is falling.

You think leaders of big business are too intelligent to demand policies that are dangerous to the whole of humanity? Read this.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/28/vw-and-shell-try-to-block-eu-push-for-cleaner-cars

Heard much from the Irvings on the need to control carbon emissions? To control the use of herbicides in our forests?   To demand full payment of taxes? Do you think the rentarev at the Irving Chapel raises these issues in his sermons?
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This can be an interesting site. The problem is that so much of it deals with regions and issues  unfamiliar to us. It takes a lot of going down the list to see that you want to read.

http://www.countercurrents.org/zuesse280416.htm
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In the U.S., police have killed 329 Americans in just four months. That's maintaining the rate at 4,000 a year or more. That's more Americans, far more, than have been killed by terrorists since 9/11. Maybe some of those domestic spies should be checking out the police.

Here's a sample case.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/08/albuquerque-pd-case-study-police-brutality-150828061722574.html
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And, ain't it always like this? Here's a story that comes too late for me.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/28/gene-linked-to-youthful-looks-has-been-discovered-scientists-claim

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/climate-change-fossil-leap-economy-pipelines-1.3551585

This is an interesting opinion piece from CBC news.

It caught me eye on several points. One was the unique way of presenting the case. Another was the irony of the style.

The reference to premier Notley who wants to keep pumping oil because it, duh, creates jobs, is a painful reminder of how far the NDP has fallen in priorities and basic intelligence.  (Why did she remind me of Cardy?)

Finally, it reminded me of the utter failure of Moncton city councils to prepare for the future. It is extremely expensive to build a city as if it were a suburban development based on the automobile. And that remains true even if we all switch to electric cars.

There are those long roads to be paved and ploughed and repaired, endless stretches of electrical wire and water and sewage lines. We need denser population - which would also make public transit far, far easier, cheaper, and more convenient.

But the city has given no thought to that whatever. And it's the same at the provincial and federal levels. I recently read the argument that Canada would benefit from climate change, and become warmer. And it would, therefore, sustain a larger population.

Cute. But it's more complex than that. What would happen to plant, animal, and fish species, for example? An environment depends on the interaction of all those.

 Then there are the hundreds of millions, maybe more, who will be (and have already begun) looking for homes that can sustain life. Just to look at the easy part of it - millions will be from the southern U.S., and they will head to Canada. Do you seriously believe that the U.S. and its big business would simply allow all of those people to  come here and make Canada more independent?

There can be no such hope. In such a case, the U.S. will annex, for example, Canada's fresh water to revive some of the south. If necessary, it would annex Canada as a part of the U.S. And that's not even counting the many millions more refugees from all over the world that we would see.

As for Trudeau and his signing of the Paris agreement, it's not possible to believe him. He has shown no great enthusiasm for tackling climate change. As well, he must know that the agreement is based on estimates of time that we probably don't have. Canada and the U.S. have not, to put it kindly, been world leaders on the issue of climate change. And there's no evidence that Trudeau is different from Harper on this.

Gosh, if it weren't for the Irvings, I don't know where we'd turn for leadership on this. Their tireless efforts on behalf of the environment suggest we need another and bigger hall of fame for them.
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Two interesting headlines on A1. The big one is that Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville, an organization of businessmen, will put $250,000 a year into the events centre. The other is that food banks across New Brunswick are struggling to find fresh food and cold storage for the many who go hungry. But don't worry.
B4 has big photos of donors holding up big cheques for   worthy causes. And most of the photos have words like Costco, Via, TD so we'll know which companies to give credit to for money that was actually raised by their employees.
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The editorial deals with the burning issue of the day. The library will be open on Sundays.

Norbert raises a point that is almost interesting. He says that some funding of political parties comes out of us as tax revenue. Well, in fact, ALL such funding comes from us -  whether in taxes or in union dues or in corporate donations. The only source of money is us, whether through taxes or corporate profits or political hanky-panky.

We need to do something about it because so much of our money ends up in the pockets of billionaires that political  parties who aren't good to billionaires can't get much in the way of election funds. Norbert is right. We need a solution to this. But giving us all a say in how the parties are run ain't it.

We get our say when we vote. If we all got our saying in running the parties, then we'd only need one party. And we already have a one-party system. We just call it by two names - Liberal or Conservative.

Brian Cormier still has nothing to say.

Then there's a bizarre commentary by a honcho at the Atlantic Market Studies  propaganda house. The picture suggests the commentary is about the events centre. But it isn't. Most of the commentary says it's about the budget. But it isn't the budget, either.
What it's really about is stated in three sentences of bold print. and again in a single sentence near the end.We should push for the Energy East Pipeline.
There is no evidence connecting this statement to anything - and certainly nothing to connect it with the rest of the commentary. And nothing to connect the pipeline to anything. And the concluding paragraphs don't relate to anything at all.

In a first year university course, I would have given this an F. But I doubt whether the writer is all that dumb. This is a commentary written with the low level of reading skills in this province in mind. This is for readers who will not notice that most of the commentary has nothing to do with his main point. It's for readers who will take away only the message in thick print - we must push hard for the pipeline.

Alec Bruce has another 'feel good' column. He makes the point that Moncton is a good  city for business. No doubt. But that might have something to do with the fact that it's not such a good city for people.
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The only news in Canada&World is "Enbridge Gas could walk away from New Brunswick, official says." Walk away? Hey! We can't allow that. Put me down to give them a lift.

Otherwise, the best page is the one of those people holding up big cheques with their employer logos prominently on display.
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For centuries we have built and are still  building a class that has piled up wealth through plundering other countries, and driving them into misery. That's why China distrusts us. That's why Latin America is being destroyed. That's why Africa has been driven into a hell of confusion,  poverty, and child labour. And some of this is revealved in the Panama Papers - which the Irving press lost interest in within a day.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/26/forget-the-camerons-the-african-giveaway-is-the-real-panama-papers-story
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This takes us off the usual track. But it's interesting. How often have you heard or read of the importance of Christian traditions (or culture, to tart it up a bit) to the Canadian people? In fact, that has not been true for a very long time.
It may have been true - in form if not in practice - through the nineteenth century. But that was in a rural or small town Canada when    everybody in a district knew everybody else, and pressures for conformity were strong.

Things were different in the cities. Neighbours often knew nothing of each other. And you can see the numbers in church attendance drop as the social pressure to conform dropped. There was more to it than that. But the drop in social pressure was an important factor.

Now, we really aren't a Christian nation. And, certainly, Christianity does not seem to be a guiding principle for our leading figures in politics and business.

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/06/27/canadas-changing-religious-landscape/
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And here's another case of a word rarely mentioned by journalists; but this word names the dominant force in our daily lives. And it has no connection with any religion I ever heard of.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/neoliberalism-destroying-almost-everybodys-lives-how-many-people-even-know-what-it
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I have just discovered this speech by Stephen Lewis. He is quite an outstanding speaker.

This one is at the recent NDP convention, and he states the case for the NDP's Leap Forward as the starting point for debate on climate change. So far, I have seen nothing in the Irving press to suggest support for any such debate.

http://rabble.ca/rabbletv/program-guide/2016/04/best-net/watch-stephen-lewis-addresses-2016-ndp-convention
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There are problems that we have to deal with - and soon - like climate change, disintegrating nations, the pressure for war as the 'final solution'. Only a fool would be believe these can be solved within the 'capitalist' system we have. In fact, capitalism is why we have these problems.

But have you ever heard of the Irvings or the Koch brothers speaking of those problems in an intelligent way? Forget the   'intelligent way' part. Have you ever heard of them speaking of them at all?

People like these have become the real leaders of our societies. But it's a leadership determined by birth,  wealth and personal greed, and a leadership supported by that massive propaganda machine we call the private news media. The reality that we face is quite different. And the American leadership campaigns are a good example of it.

With the exception of Sanders, nobody in these races has shown any moral consciousness. Think over that campaign. We are not seeing a vision of a new and better America. We are not even seeing a rational political debate. What we are watching is the social collapse of the United States.

P.S. Exactly what does "Make America Great Again" mean? Invading more countries? Establishing more dictatorships? Exploiting more people, including Americans? Kicking out Mexicans?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25: Today's feature - The Pope

I never thought it would come to this. Though born into the United Church of Canada,  I was raised by a Scottish mother who, in her turn had been raised a fearsomely Presbyterian of   that glum and severe Presbyterianism of the highlands. He was also a lay preacher who could make a saint feel guilty.

I no longer have any conventional, religious beliefs. I do, however,  have a belief in many principles expressed in the scriptures. Thus my long disagreement with so many of our clergy who speak within safe limits. The preach about being saved and going to heaven. And that's safe. Some are bored by that. Some get all excited. But few are going to waste time quarreling about it.

But going to heaven and living on clouds (which sounds quite unpleasant) is not the underpinning of the message of Jesus. He talks more about the damage of greed, of self-interest, of abuse of others,   of self-love...but the Christian churches don't say much about that. They will support wars in which we kill people pretty indiscriminately.  Offhand, I can't recall a war in Canadian history when the churches were critical of our role. In World Wars One and Two, most Christian churches in Germany supported Hitler, just as the Papacy supported Mussolini.    In that war of Christians against Christians, almost all the churches were happy to support 'their' side.

That's why I've found Pope John to be  quite different. (Though I would never say that in the presence of my highland ancestors.) Here's something he said quite recently.

 "Gratuitousness is a word not to be forgotten in this world, where it seems that
if one doesn't pay, one cannot live, where the person, the man and the woman,
that God created in fact at the center of the world, to be also at the center of
the economy, has been thrown out and we have at the center a lovely god, the god of money. Today the god of money is at the center of the world and those who can come close to adore this god get close, and those who cannot end in hunger, sicknesses, exploitation. Think of the exploitation of children, of young
people."

That pretty much describes the history of New Brunswick and, indeed of the whole, western world.

It explains almost every war we have ever fought. It explains why our children are never born to have equal opportunitiess. It explains the millions of refugees who are being denied shelter and food. It explains why refugees died in just one incident in the Mediterranean and, for the most part, we really didn't give damn. Compare that to the news coverage of the death of Prince.

The quotation above is from the Pope, but is part of a larger news release by the pope and other clergy.  However, I am having great difficulty getting this transferred to my screen. Bear with me. It's long but it's worth the read. And, as you read it, think of this in the context of New Brunswick. Think, too, of what our mining companies are doing in South America (and here) and in Congo.

https://zenit.org/articles/in-gods-plan-its-not-earth-vs-humanity/

I did it! I'll bet you've never read anything like this on the Irving press Faith page. Here, religion means conforming. But that's not at all was religion really means.
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Thre's really not much to read in today's Irving press - unless you're terribly bored and lonely.

Norbert Cunningham and Steve Malloy disagree with each other in their columns on dropping tuition fees for university students whose parents earn less that $60,000 a year. I can agree with both of them. We shouldn't be arguing with each other over this. That's a problem down here. We argue with each other - and never mention the real problem.

It's not fair that some students get free tuition, and others don't. But that's the best we're going to see - at least at the start. And it's certainly not the fault of those who earn over or under $60,000.

The fault, almost certainly, is that the wealthy of this province, the ones who actually run it,  have no limits in greed. Let's not argue with each other. Let's demand action to the issue of tax avoidance. Do that, and everybody can can get an education. And everybody can get food and a place to live.
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Canada&World is no better. On page B1, our prime minister condemned  the murder by beheading of a  Canadian by Phillipine terrorists. I would be more impressed if he were to condemn the brutal record of Saudi Arabia cutting off heads, feet, hands, whipping, and invading a country for no clear reason. And Justin Trudeau is the man who approved the sale of weapons to  him.

And, with a little thought, he might consider why The Phillipines got so violent. It was invaded by the U.S. about 1900 for no other reason than to give American capitalists a post to get in on the Asia trade. Native peoples were slaughtered by U.S. troops. They were also tortured.. In fact, that's where they invented waterboarding. Following that, they were for over 40 years under an American dictator. And when the Americans gracefully left The Phillipines after world war 2 (leaving behind a people in poverty), they made sure to leave it under a thieving and brutal dictator.

There's a reason why some countries have disorder and terrorists.

However, while he's in a mood to denounce terrorists, he might say a word about the U.S. in Guatemala, and in South America in general. Or its murder of over a million men, women and children in Iraq, or the "civil" war in Syria the U.S. set up, or the U.S. record of torture.

B4 had a story that looked interesting. The Canadian government is thinking of reviving its military role to become one of peacekeeping again.  But there are two reasons not to get all excited about this.

1. Our active days of peacekeeping were many years ago. Essentially, we did it  as agents of the UN. It was very successful. But Canada was then much less a U.S. colony than it is today.

2. The U.S. doesn't give a damn about peacekeeping or about the UN.  It's the U.S. they want to be the chief world body, not the U.N.  Now, other countries are expected to be loyal to the U.S. - just as Britain and France and Germany and others are. That's why Canada is now sending  'non-combat/combat' troops to Syria. That's why Canadians died in Afghanistan.

That's why our  last 'peacekeeping' mission was to Haiti. We were, in fact, a cover for the real purpose of that disturbance. The U.S. has equipped an invasion of thugs from the old dictatorship, then used that as an excuse to invade Haiti and exile the elected president. (The U.S. didn't approve of his policies.) Canada, very foolishly, sent troops ( with other American colonies)  to make it look like a legitimate peacekeeping operation.

Peacekeeping was an excellent idea. But to adopt it now would take more courage than I have seen in many years of Canadian government.  Obama would probably come to slap the wrist of Justin - as he recently slapped the wrist of the British prime minister, Cameron.
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And I'm so glad that no New Brunswicker would ever do a thing like this. (or...?)

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/26/forget-the-camerons-the-african-giveaway-is-the-real-panama-papers-story
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And, at last, somebody noticed.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-wartime-washington-lives-in-luxury/
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Gee. You'ld think the following story would have made the Irving press right away. I know the papers make a lot of money out of car advertising. But Mr. Irving has more respect for us readers than he does for advertising money.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/mitsubishi-admits-rigging-25-years-160426100845709.html
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It's been well-known for 15 years and more that the extreme Muslim terrorist organization, Al Queda, has close cooperation with the U.S. Lately, it has been serving the U.S. in Syria - and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia supply it with weapons and money.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/04/syria-russia-rejects-kerrys-new-attempts-to-shield-the-terrorists.html
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I have lots more. But it's time for this little boy to have supper, and watch Thomas the Tank Engine.

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25: A bad day.

A few days ago, the Irving press had a commentary by Gwynne Dyer.  It was the most alarming commentary I have ever seen. In it, Dyer says that climate change does not  come in a steady growth all over the world. It spreads unevenly. And it may grow in spurts rather than in steady, monthly changes. He adds that we are very close to the point at which it will continue changing whether we stop our carbon emissions or not. He adds that the time we have is short, and it may already be too late to react to it.

Now, Gwynne Dyer is a commentator of world repuation. He gathered the information for this column from the many climate scientests  he spoke to while preparing a book on the subject. The message and the deliverer are a pretty powerful combination. And the reaction of the Irving press?

For the editorialist, the great issue of the day is that city council voter turnouts are low in Moncton.

Both Norbert and Alec Bruce write on the same topic, a lottery error that has resulted in too much money going to native peoples.

Then there's a column by an economics professor - of a certain type. While being a professor, he's also a major figure in Frontier Centre for Public Policy - which sounds like, and is, a propaganda front for the wealthy, in this case, for the oil industry. He wants Canada to plunge ahead - more pipelines, more fracking, more oil....

There are moments when I'm ashamed to have spent so much of my life associated with universities.

Craig Babstock has a commentary  that Newfoundlanders should come to New Brunswick for jobs. I have no idea why.

Dyer raised one hell of an issue. This newspaper printed it. If Dyer doesn't know what he's talking about,   why did the editors choose to run this column?

If what Dyer is saying is true, then Trudeau must have heard of it; and he must know the Paris agreement is far too little, far too late. After all, he has the full resources of a national government to keep him informed on scientific opinion.
The newspaper now has a responsibility to investigate this. It can't be terribly difficult to get opinions on this from climate scientists. A responsibility? Hell! It has an obligation.
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There is nothing much in section A news.The front page headline is about the TV debate between the mayoral candidates. It reads like an insomniac's dream come true. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two candidates is over moving the library to the old, Moncton High. Just a small thought on this.

The city has an aging population. We are coming to the end of oil-fueled transportation. That probably means the elderly will need to live in a short walking distance to shopping and other services like libraries. My! Won't it be a wonderful exercise for the elderly to walk up that hill to Moncton High, especially in winter?

I found no sign of a coherent city plan in the speech of either of these candidates.
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Canada and World has a big story "Nova Scotia law look to proect the rights of service dog owners." Too bad they already ran that story a couple of days ago.
But the big, world story that YOU NEED to know is "Two wounded in Wisconsin high school prom shooting." That's not news. That's sensationalism. Incidentally, they were wounded by shots from a gun that sounds much like those carried by the man who killed three Moncton police  - rapid fire, large capacity magazine. Did we ever get the story on where he got those guns?

There was one, interesting story in the section, "Solar-powered plane completes journey across Pacific."

Otherwise, there's very little in section B news. So let's remedy that.
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CBC (and Irving press) continue reporting on the almost daily disaster of suicides by native peoples. But we hear of little action by governments. I suspect this is not a problem we can solve as if it were some sort of disease. The sickness we see in the suicides comes from the situation in which all native peoples find themselves. I don't know whether we can undo what we have done to whole societies. But I'm quite sure it cannot be done simply by helping individuals. And I'm quite sure it is going to need massive effort by all of us - including a massive redistribution of land and self-government for native peoples.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-report-details-heartbreaking-life-stories-of-7-indigenous-youths-who-committed-suicide-1.3551181
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CBC also has photos of some of the hundreds of thousands of homeless children in Nepal, many of whom now have to work from the age of five for pennies a day. Why don't we give more help? Well, the west needs the money to flood the world with weapons to make the defence industries rich and the oil billionaires richer.

http://www.cbc.ca/news
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There were also two, interesting stories in yesterday's CBC news. One is that we are at war with Russia. That's what it means when we read the weekly report that gas prices are showing little, if any rise. The west is keeping the cost of oil low in order to impoverish Russia which needs high prices for its oil. Once that's done, then the prices will take off as countries like Saudi Arabia have to make up for the tremendous losses they've been taking.

The counter to this is that Russia and China are working to break American control of the value of the dollar - which is very vulnerable, given the huge debt of the U.S., and the U.S. dollar holdings in China.

Now, what if one side sees it all as hopeless, and decides that it's now or never for a shooting war?

CBC also had the report, yesterday, of a U.S. doctor who deals with   PTSD in the military. The numbers seem to be rising  spectacularly; and the damage is often untreatable. It may not be a coincidence that the U.S. changed its training after World War Two to make its soldiers more, much more, willing to kill, and to make them have contempt for others. Thus the many special ops groups that do hired killings all over the world.

It's quite possible that many of them some realize what they were doing, even long after the war. Thus the rise of PTSD.

I was also taken by this story on CBC.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/orwell-surveillance-ideas-1.2921560
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This next item is on a point I made above - how Russia and the U.S. are, in fact, now at war.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44531.htm
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Here's slice of the real South America we never  hear about. For well over a century, the U.S. (with Canadian help) has been butchering, impoverishing everybody from the children up. It has forced them to accept jobs as very cheap labour. It has massively destroyed environments. It has killed anyone who objects. Maybe there's a reason why the Irving press never reports any of this.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44527.htm
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Here's the Russian/China side of the economic war with the U.S.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44524.htm
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The U.S. has been cutting back on social help, including food, for  several years. It needs the extra money for the 'defence' industry, and so  billionaires won't have to pay taxes. In fact, the outstanding feature of American life for the past 20  years and more has been the rise to real, political power of corporation bosses. It's been happening in Canada, too. And now,   corruption and  greed demand that the hungry must get hungrier.

http://www.cbpp.org/blog/food-banks-brace-for-long-lines-as-thousands-lose-snap-benefits
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And here's a warning not to be an environmentalist in South America. And it's another story that, to nobody's surprise, never made the Irving press.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/americas
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There's a mixed story on Turkey's treatment of refugees. This one is from a Russian source; but I've seen much the same from others.

https://www.rt.com/news/340754-merkel-tusk-turkey-camp/
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I've seen this one in western sources, too. But not in the Irving press. And you won't. Depend on it.

https://www.rt.com/news/340752-australian-mp-river-fracking/
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And here's a whole page of stories that you'll never see in the Irving press. They're about fracking.

http://www.alternet.org/fracking
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Now I know why I liked teaching history. It took my attention away from the world we live in.

It's hard to see a shred of morality in any leading country. Our religious institutions appear to be moral only on minor issues - or fashionable ones like abortion. Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have any focus on the needs of people. And the NDP has been losing the focus it had. Democracy has become decorative rather than a reality. The world has been destablized by capitalist greed (which now includes both China and Russia as well as the old hands at it.)

 And the news media, for the most part,  have been used by the  wealthy to 'dumb down' the rest of the population.

We live in everything that George Orwell foretold.
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 23:Obama Humiliates Britain. God Save the Queen.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/obama-uk-eu-trade-1.3550150

Obama's talk to Britain yesterday about the importance of Britain staying in the European Union wasn't a chat. It wasn't advice. It wasn't an old friend speaking. It was blunt threat. 'Stay in the EU or we will destroy British trade.' For all of Britain, and for all the world to hear a whole nation getting a spanking That was a threat and a humiliation.

Britain is, supposedly,  a sovereign nation. That is, it makes its own laws. But what they heard was "you are not a sovereign nation. You are a colony of the U.S. And you will do what your are told."

No leader speaks to another nation like that unless they are enemies. And Britain and the U.S. are enemies. The U.S. used both world wars to destroy British economic power. And it succeeded. There are no friends between nations.
Now, it is the duty of Britain to help fight America's wars along with the rest of that super- American colony we call NATO.

And never kid yourself that Canada's stature is any higher.

The Irving press, of course, hasn't noticed it.

There's a lot the Irving press doesn't notice or just forgets. I came across some notes I had made several years ago. They were about a phone call to the provincial government concerning the health hazards of the site of the 'events' centre. The man I spoke to confirmed that the site was polluted (Not surprising for an old railway yard). And he said the law required that much of it would have to be dug out and hauled away.

I have seen such an operation; and it's not something  you can hide. It's a long process using lines of trucks, a dump site commonly hundreds of kilometres away, and a large watertank truck to spray the road. But we haven't seen any of that in this case. And it doesn't seem that the editors of the Irving press really give a damn.

So - Are we really planning to build an events centre and shops and offices on polluted land?

Then there's the business of tax havens. If you shoplift a chocolate bar, you have a good chance of getting your name and picture in the paper, and action is taken on your immediately. So   where's the action on those people who steal chocolate bars by the billions? Where's the commentary on it?
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And the beat goes on.  In today's paper, there's a story that Irving oil has launched a $23.5 million dollar suit against an insurance company which refused to contribute to a $74 million dollar settlement to compensate Lac Megantic for the devastation of the town and for the lives of 47 people killed when  trainload of Irving oil hit the town like a bomb.

Well, that's reasonable. After all, it wasn't the fault of Irving.  No. It was all the fault of that terrible train driver who was driving the train all alone half-way across Canada. Now, if he had used just half of his pay to hire a brakeman for the trip, this would never have happened. I'm sure there are no hard feelings in Lac Megantic for Mr. Irving.

Oh, big story. "Man acccused of robbing teens outside   burger joint..." There's not yet a decision on whether there's enough evidence to justify a trial.  But the man's name is given. Now....

Imagine this story. "Man accused of robbing governments of billions in taxes...." Imagine they give his name (think of your favourite one) in the story. You have to imagine it because you'll never see it.
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The editorial and the column by Mike Murphy are, once again, 'feel good' stories that really aren't commentaries at all. Then there's one from the Moncton Wastewater Commission that isn't a commentary, either. It's a news story. Alec Buce has nothing to say at all. So he tells us he likes Moncton.

The best commentary (and the only real one) is by Norbert Cunningham on palliative care and assissted suicide.

Yesterday, Gwynne Dyer had  what might be the most important commentary we shall ever see. Nobody picked up on that theme. Nobody enlarged on it. Nobody attacked it. It just lay there. Is there nobody at that paper who can recognize a serious issue?
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Canada and World has 8 pages. Four of them are ads. Then, over a half a page is given over to Trudeau who has now formally signed the Paris agreement on climate change. What it doesn't mention is that Canada and the U.S. are among the worst polluters in the world. And that, if Dyer's column is at all correct, we many not have the thirty plus years that the  Paris agreement is based on.

Perhaps the closest thing to a real, world story in this paper is that Nova Scotia is going to permit blind people to bring along their seeing-eye dogs when they go shopping.
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For those who are still convinced that climate change isn't happening, here's another scientific study about where we're heading. This study says the earliest effects will be felt by poor countries. But that doesn't mean it will affect only those poor people. It will have a tremendous effect on our food supply, our  various mining and other cheap labour investments, and on our ability to maintain world order.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/21/study-reveals-greater-climate-impacts-of-2c-temperature-rise-heatwaves
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The Irving press is never interested in the subject of drones.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/21/drone-war-obama-pakistan-cia
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This one is about the very different treatments handed out to people guilty of passing on state secrets in the U.S.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44513.htm
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There is lots of news on the oil front. All we ever get in the Irving press is reports of what gas will cost you this week. But there are more important things. The U.S. has been holding down world prices on oil; but not so that oil billionaires will sell us cheap gas. It's to break the Russian economy which depends on expensive gas prices.

In addition, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not friends. No two countries are. So far as the U.S. is concerned, Saudi Arabia is a an American satellite, just as it once was a British satellite. And it's in very deep trouble.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44519.htm

And Saudi Arabia is the country, of course, that Justin Trudeau  thinks we must sell weapons to so it can kill some of the poorest people in the world.
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And this one is an interesting comment on our sense of values.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44517.htm
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Here's another story of a policy that's now blended with the American determination to destroy the Russian economy. It's the story of rigid U.S. control over governments in South America.  (And it's been a very brutal story, indeed.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44511.htm
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U.S. police are very close to maintaing their kill rate of last year. This is important because the U.S. is very likely to be in a very unstable condition by the end of this election process. And more such killings could be the spark.
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Climate change is not as 'foreign' as it used to be.

http://video.aljazeera.com/channels/eng/videos/florida-copes-with-impact-of-climate-change/4859414791001
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Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22: The best (and worst) Irving paper ever.

It looked like a normal day as I turned to the Opinion and Commentary sections of the Irving press. The editorial was yet another half-baked one about reviving downtown  by opening a former jail as a tourist attraction. It's not an old jail - not unless you consider the 1980s the Middle Ages. And the writer still hasn't caught on. If we want to revive downtown, we need people living there - especially older people in walking distance of the stores on Main St.  We need buildings that can house people as well as shops and offices. And those buildings also have to supply recreation.

Norbert has quite a decent column about our provincial government bailing out the Bas Caraquet shipyard at great expense. He thinks this is wildly irresponsible. I think he's being kind. This whole deal has a strong smell to it.
Then there's a guest column that's really a fee ad for another politician. And there's a good, if not gripping column, by Alec Bruce.  Then there's Gwynne Dyer....

It is, quite likely, the column of the year. All of us, except for our diminishing ostrich population, know that we are living in steady and dangerous climate change. Based on this steady rise in temperatures, politicians have been basing their planning on gettinig the change under control by 2050 or so. But...

....Dyer informs us that the change is not steady. It can change pace at any time and in any part of the world. And, he says,  there has been a frightening increase in the pace of change over the last, three months. Worse, we are fast approaching the point at which climate change keeps going on its own, even if we eliminate all emissions.

This might be good reading for those people who just days ago, were denouncing the NDP's manifesto on, among other things, climate change as silly and ill-informed. Norbert Cunningham and Alec Bruce spring to mind.

We also should remember the wise words of people like the Koch brothers and the oil industry in general for assuring us it's all perfectly safe. And a special thanks to all those twits telling us, "Duh. It creates jobs."

Oh and a round of applause to the Gallant government for sending its recommendation for the Energy East pipeline off to Ottawa without telling city councils - expecially Fredericton City Council which has opposed it as a threat to its supply of drinking water.
____________________________________________________________________________
The rest of today's paper won't take long. Concerned citizens will be pleased to hear that Boo, the black cat who was rescued from a fire is in stable condition. They ran the same story yesterday; so this could turn into another news marathon like the Dennis Oland trial.

The head of NB Power says a recent rate increase is justified. Gee!  Have you ever heard a CEO saying that his/her rate increases aren't  justified?

 Canada&World is still at least half about New Brunswick. There are only two things that happened in the 'world' that editors of the Irving press thought important. Donald Trump supports transgender bathrooms. (The real story, surely, is that this is a major issue in the U.S. leadership campaigns.) The other one is that Ecuador will raise taxes to pay for earthquake damage. Who would have guessed?

But the front page headline story for Canada and the World is that the CEO of Horizon Health will retire. Zounds! I must inform Beijing.

The only story of importance in Canada and World (sound of trumpets) it that New Brunswick is "near bottom of pack on international  climate report card".
Yep, New Brunswick, the province whose colmunists and whose politically transgendered NDP leader thought the NDP was wrong and backward in voting for more aggressive action on climate change.
_________________________________________________________________________
Here's the estimate of how much money a list of poor countries needs for the fight against climate change. And this is just to meet the modest goals of the Paris agreement.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/22/climate-change-study-poor-countries-4tn-2030-avert-catastrophe-paris-agreement

(Something seems to be happening at The Guardian. It seems to be that for some months, now, it's been becoming tamer.)
________________________________________________________________________________
Here are some pictures of refugees that the Irving press doesn't consider important enough to report on. Notice that nobody has any significant luggage. Take a good look at the children. Do they look so very different from ours? These are just a few of the many millions who now have no homes and no futures because it is God's will that American oil billionaires should control the middle east.

God bless Donald Trump for facing the real issues - like transgender washrooms.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/04/families-flee-isil-iraq-160419093744425.html
_______________________________________________________________________________
Obama is visiting Britain. We haven't been given any clear reason for the visit. But the this one sounds plausible.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/04/21/us-assaults-british-sovereignty-paul-craig-roberts/

Countries have reasons for forming alliances like NATO. And they have nothing to do with national friendships or shared values. They are formed for political and economic reasons, reasons of importance to the economic bosses of at least one of the countries. NATO is a major defence of the American economic empire. That's what the U.S. has made of an organization originally for the military defence of Europe.  Those smaller countries who support it had little choice because the Soviet Union was a threat to them. That threat, despite scare mongers, has pretty much faded. But NATO remains to provide the U.S. with assistance in its many wars. It's important, even in US domestic politics, for the U.S. to speem as a spreader of freedom and democracy - despite its long record of doing the opposite.

Why is Canada in it? It's not to defend Canada from Russia. Any attack on Canada would get an immediate response from the U.S. in any case because the U.S. could not possibly allow such a foothold on what is, essentially, American property.
________________________________________________________________________________
Here's a full discussion of the Senator Duffy case with some blunt proof of Harper's willingness to abandon people. It also, though, suggests that Duffy is by no means an innocent victim.

I've know quite a number of senators. My experience is that few are chosen for either intelligence or wisdom. They are chosen for partisan reasons. Nothing else. Senator Linda Frum has no record of any significant work experience What she does have are severely intolerant right-wing views, and a genuine hatred of those who disagree with her. And, to my knowledge, a genuine hatred of anyone who isn't rich.  And that was enough to get her a lifetime job with a generous pension.

We really don't need the senate.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/04/duffy-found-not-guilty-on-all-charges-harper-does-not-look-goo
___________________________________________________________________________
And an editorial note on my own. For all the nice things said about the Report on Truth and Reconciliation with our native peoples, I have not seen much action from our governments, and no imagination at all.

As one looks at the suicide rates, prison population, disappearances of native women, it is surely naive to think we can remedy these problems by throwing money at them. I will not even pretend to be an expert on this, but the severity of what we are watching surely suggests that these people want the right to be different from us. That surely means they need much more power to control their own affairs, their own lives.

For centuries, we have tried and failed to absorb them into our society. Money alone is not going to end our long failure. We shouldn't be thinking just about individuals here. We should be thinking in terms of communities.
________________________________________________________________
And here's a disappointed look at former PM Harper ---and at current PM Trudeau.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-saudi-arabia-arms-transparency-liberals-conservatives-neil-macdonald-1.3547714
______________________________________________________________________
And here's another strong note on President Obama's meddling in British politics. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if, say, Trudeau publicly told Obama how to run the U.S.?

It looked like a normal day as I turned to the Opinion and Commentary sections of the Irving press. The editorial was yet another half-baked one about reviving downtown  by opening a former jail as a tourist attraction. It's not an old jail - not unless you consider the 1980s the Middle Ages. And the writer still hasn't caught on. If we want to revive downtown, we need people living there - especially older people in walking distance of the stores on Main St.  We need buildings that can house people as well as shops and offices. And those buildings also have to supply recreation.
Norbert has quite a decent column about our provincial government bailing out the Bas Caraquet shipyard at great expense. He thinks this is wildly irresponsible. I think he's being kind. This whole deal has a strong smell to it.
Then there's a guest column that's really a fee ad for another politician. And there's a good, if not gripping column, by Alec Bruce.  Then there's Gwynne Dyer....
The is, quite likely, the column of the year. All of us, except for our diminishing ostrich population, know that we are living in steady and dangerous climate change. Based on this steady rise in temperatures, politicians have been basing their planning on gettinig the change under control by 2050 or so. But...
....Dyer informs us that the change is not steady. It can change pace at any time and in any part of the world. And, he says,  there has been a frightening increase in the pace of change over the last, three months. Worse, we are fast approaching the point at which climate change keeps going on its own, even if we eliminate all emissions.
This might be good reading for those people who just days ago, were denouncing the NDP's manifesto on, among other things, climate change as silly and ill-informed. Norbert Cunningham and Alec Bruce spring to mind.
We also should remember the wise words of people like the Koch brothers and the oil industry in general for assuring us it's all perfectly safe. And a special thanks to all those twits telling us, "Duh. It creates jobs."
Oh and a round of applause to the Gallant government for sending its recommendation for the Energy East pipeline off to Ottawa without telling city councils - expecially Fredericton City Council which has opposed it as a threat to its supply of drinking water.
____________________________________________________________________________
The rest of today's paper won't take long. Concerned citizens will be pleased to hear that Boo, the black cat who was rescued from a fire is in stable condition. They ran the same story yesterday; so this could turn into another news marathon like the Dennis Oland trial.
The head of NB Power says a recent rate increase is justified. Gee!  Have you ever heard a CEO saying that his/her rate increases aren't  justified?
 Canada&World is still at least half about New Brunswick. There are only two things that happened in the 'world' that editors of the Irving press thought important. Donald Trump supports transgender bathrooms. (The real story, surely, is that this is a major issue in the U.S. leadership campaigns.) The other one is that Ecuador will raise taxes to pay for earthquake damage. Who would have guessed?
But the front page headline story for Canada and the World is that the CEO of Horizon Health will retire. Zounds! I must inform Beijing.
The only story of importance in Canada and World (sound of trumpets) it that New Brunswick is "near bottom of pack on international  climate report card".
Yep, New Brunswick, the province whose colmunists and whose politically transgendered NDP leader thought the NDP was wrong and backward in voting for more aggressive action on climate change.
_________________________________________________________________________
Here's the estimate of how much money a list of poor countries needs for the fight against climate change. And this is just to meet the modest goals of the Paris agreement.
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/22/climate-change-study-poor-countries-4tn-2030-avert-catastrophe-paris-agreement
Something seems to be happening at The Guardian. It seems to be that for some months, now, it's been becoming tamer.
________________________________________________________________________________
Here are some pictures of refugees that the Irving press doesn't consider important enough to report on. Notice that nobody has any significant luggage. Take a good look at the children. Do they look so very different from ours? These are just a few of the many millions who now have no homes and no futures because it is God's will that American oil billionaires should control the middle east.
God bless Donald Trump for facing the real issues - like transgender washrooms.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/04/families-flee-isil-iraq-160419093744425.html
_______________________________________________________________________________
Obama is visiting Britain. We haven't been given any clear reason for the visit. But the this one sounds plausible.
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/04/21/us-assaults-british-sovereignty-paul-craig-roberts/
Countries have reasons for forming alliances like NATO. And they have nothing to do with national friendships or shared values. They are formed for political and economic reasons, reasons of importance to the economic bosses of at least one of the countries. NATO is a major defence of the American economic empire. That's what the U.S. has made of an organization originally for the military defence of Europe.  Those smaller countries who support it had little choice because the Soviet Union was a threat to them. That threat, despite scare mongers, has pretty much faded. But NATO remains to provide the U.S. with assistance in its many wars. It's important, even in US domestic politics, for the U.S. to speem as a spreader of freedom and democracy - despite its long record of doing the opposite.
Why is Canada in it? It's not to defend Canada from Russia. Any attack on Canada would get an immediate response from the U.S. in any case because the U.S. could not possibly allow such a foothold on what is, essentially, American property.
________________________________________________________________________________
Here's a full discussion of the Senator Duffy case with some blunt proof of Harper's willingness to abandon people. It also, though, suggests that Duffy is by no means an innocent victim.
I've know quite a number of senators. My experience is that few are chosen for either intelligence or wisdom. They are chosen for partisan reasons. Nothing else. Senator Linda Frum has no record of any significant work experience What she does have are severely intolerant right-wing views, and a genuine hatred of those who disagree with her. And, to my knowledge, a genuine hatred of anyone who isn't rich.  And that was enough to get her a lifetime job with a generous pension.
We really don't need the senate.
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/04/duffy-found-not-guilty-on-all-charges-harper-does-not-look-goo
___________________________________________________________________________
And an editorial note on my own. For all the nice things said about the Report on Truth and Reconciliation with our native peoples, I have not seen much action from our governments, and no imagination at all.
As one looks at the suicide rates, prison population, disappearances of native women, it is surely naive to think we can remedy these problems by throwing money at them. I will not even pretend to be an expert on this, but the severity of what we are watching surely suggests that these people want the right to be different from us. That surely means they need much more power to control their own affairs, their own lives.
For centuries, we have tried and failed to absorb them into our society. Money alone is not going to end our long failure. We shouldn't be thinking just about individuals here. We should be thinking in terms of communities.
________________________________________________________________
And here's a disappointed look at former PM Harper ---and at current PM Trudeau.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-saudi-arabia-arms-transparency-liberals-conservatives-neil-macdonald-1.3547714
______________________________________________________________________
And here's another strong note on President Obama's meddling in British politics. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if, say, Trudeau publicly told Obama how to run the U.S.?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/barack-obama-united-kingdom-european-union-brexit-1.3546531

This is  the kind of control the U.S. commonly imposes on its 'friends'. Obama is doing it to Cuba, too. But he'll never have to do it to Trudeau. Good dog.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21: Enough!

Canada ranks fourteenth out of sixteen comparable nations for its reduction of greenhouse emissions. The U.S., not suprisingly, is last. The reality is that after all these decades of conferences and promises and talks, nothing has been done. And the clock is ticking. There's a lesson in that for the Dominic Cardys of this world.

There is no point whatever in having a new political party if it's going to have the same, failed policies as the two major parties. Dominic Cardy thinks it unwise to have a more ambitious programme on climate control than the other, two parties? Okay. So why did he waste his time on another party?  Hey, if you want to be a Liberal, Mr. Cardy, by all means become one. Why waste your valuable insights on a party that was founded to be different from the Liberals?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/conference-board-environment-1.3546331        
There's a terrible reality that our children will have to face if we won't. The climate is changing. It's changing because of us.We're just starting to see the consequences - starvation due to drought, disappearance of species, refugees desperate to escape conditions in their home countries. And this is barely a start.
Nobody knows how quickly this will happen. But it will happen, and it is happening. And our children will have to live - or die - with the consequences.
Obviously, there is not the slightest chance of Mr. Irving or either of his political parties doing anything about it.

Yes, I know fossil fuels create jobs. So does nuclear war with all the clean-up and stuff. Does anybody suggest nuclear war would be good for our economy?
____________________________________________________________________________
And here's a story for much of the world to think about.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/peabody-orphan-wells-remediation-1.3542778

We could be facing huge costs as fossil fuel corporations shut down. The fact is that our laws for making them pay for the cleanup are weak - and don't even exist in most of the world. Nor is it likely we could force the owners to pay - not so long as we allow them to hide their money in tax  havens.

The fact is that capitalism is a system based on greed and self-interest. Yes, it's also based on ambition. But ambition has to be controlled or it becomes greed and self-interest. We've been lax on control - and even getting worse in our laxity. That's why free trade and the Trans-Pacific Deal are all about encouraging greed and self-interest, taking us back to a world worse than the industrialization of Canada and the U.S. in the late nineteenth century.

Either we lead or the Irvings of this world do. Think about the consequences of that.
________________________________________________________________________________
Check out the last page of section A in the Irving press. This is from a shop called The Smoking Gun. O-o-o-o, macho. Check out how most of the rifles are designed to look like military weapons. In column  one, there's the Windham with its military cartridge and big magazine. No serious target shooter would waste money on this one. And the cartridge, while good at killing people, is rather a poor one for hunting in the forest. Ditto for the Dominion further down the column. Then, third from the bottom, is the CSA combat (wow), with a massive magazine for the heat of battle. The cartridge and the design make it useless for target shooting or hunting of any kind. Even against people, it's useful only at very short range (like in a bank) and, preferably, against unarmed people.
Some of the pistols can be called 'shooting range' guns. But most of them are simply for killing people at short ranges.

Most of the weapons on the page are designed for men who need to feel, you know, manly. And that suggests a certain degree of immaturity. It's really time to look at our gun laws again. Nice as it is to put up monuments to our police who were murdered on duty, it would be even nicer to make such murders less likely to happen.
_______________________________________________________________________
A big story on A3 is that a black cat named Boo is in stable condition after being saved from a house fire. Well, that certainly changes my plans for the day. There's also a half page about mayoral candidates in Bathurst having a TV debate. More interesting is an ad on the facing page that you can get 2 litres of Tetley Tea for just 99 cents at the Superstore.
________________________________________________________________________________
The editorial is another piece of boosterism. Look, an editorial is supposed to be an opinion piece reflecting on a major issue, and giving the unanimous opinion of the editorial staff. Please check  your old notes from journalism school.
Norbert's column is simply a repeat of the editorial. In effect, we get the editorial twice. It's okay, Norbert. I think we got it the first time. (P.S. Part of the job of an editor is to make sure this doesn't happen.)

Then there's a commentary by a Conservative MLA. That, like the photo above it of a university so we know what one looks like,  is a cheap way to fill space. But if we must suffer what are, in effect, free ads for politicians, we should be seeing the full range of political opinions in this province. And that full range should include all parties whether they have elected members or not. And it should be equal for all parties.

We need a full range of opinion. We aren't getting it.

The other guest commentary (on physician-hastened death) at least has the merit of being intelligent.

Alec Bruce makes a good point, if one that comes too late. Provinces enjoying a resource boom should save a lot of money for the day the boom runs out - as Alberta and Newfoundland are discovering.

In fact, when the Alberta oil boom began, the premier of that time DID set up such a fund. But it was soon forgotten by his successors. Of course. Such an arrangement  could affect their profits.
______________________________________________________________________
As for Canada and World section, we're still in New Brunswick for half of the section . Among this half is the joyful news that The New Brunswick Business council (you know, jes' folks like McCain Foods and Ganong) has set up a committee to advise the provincial and federal government on climate change.
And what qualifications does this council have? Well, you know, they're rich. Their already are provincial and federal government committees studying this. But, you know, they might do foolish things, things that would unjustly penalize business. A provincial government official was very polite when asked about  his. He used nice words. But the message was clear, "Get stuffed."

On the world front, there's an important story that a Toronto man is refusing to take down a treehouse in his yard.

But, credit where credit is due. The paper does have the big story that 500 refugees are feared dead after their ship went down. Too bad that story is four days late.
_____________________________________________________________________________
So, Hillary Clinton won the New York primary. Or did she?

The U.S. is notorious for the corruption of its election system. George Bush won his first term largely because of a victory in Florida. We've known for a long time that victory was engineered by brother Jeb Bush, who was then governor of Florida.  He disqualified large numbers from voting. (Though the Irving press probably didn't have that story.)

That sort of cheating has been routine in American elections for a very long time. It reminds me of my childhood in Montreal, when neighbourhood thugs rented themselves out to ride in trucks on election day, and to descend on voting sites that were considered undesirable by the 'boss'. Then, they would pile out, wreck everything, destroy ballots and maybe beat up a few people - and then ride to the next. Funny thing, police were never there.

Here's the story on Hillary's 'victory' in New York.

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160419/civic-center/stringer-plans-audit-board-of-elections-over-chaotic-primary-day
_______________________________________________________________________
Here's another story that wasn't important enough for the Irving press.

https://www.rt.com/news/340359-china-test-ballistic-missile/
__________________________________________________________________________
It must have been a year ago that Volkswagen was proven to have faked the level of dangerous emissions from its diesel cars. (The CEO was severely punished. He had to resign with a severance pay of only 90 million dollars.)

Now the scandal is getting much worse as other brands are being revealed as cheaters.  (Check out your Mitsubishi).

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/21/all-top-selling-cars-break-emissions-limits-in-real-world-tests

Germany's time limit to remedy this problem has passed - and virtually nothing has been done. Canada, in particular, seems indifferent to the whole issue - as does the U.S. (So tell me all about Trudeau's wonderful plans to fight climate change.)
________________________________________________________________________________
The name of Roy Cohn is one I had almost forgotten. He was a thoroughly despised lawyer for Senator McCarthy when the senator was building an American panic over communists hiding under their beds.

Now, it seems, we learn that he was a great influence on the creation of Donald Trump. He also played a role in making all newspapers, large and small, into propaganda machines.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/20/roy-cohn-donald-trump-joseph-mccarthy-rosenberg-trial
____________________________________________________________________________
Today's sample of "the wealthy create jobs".

http://www.alternet.org/media/watch-hidden-cameras-show-trump-workers-dubai-toil-and-live-filthy-awful-conditions
________________________________________________________________________________
This is a site I haven't paid much attention to. I really must in future.

http://www.alternet.org/world/im-kill-list-what-it-feels-be-hunted-drones
________________________________________________________________________
We are living in an age of extraordinary brutality, greed, killing.... And all of it seems to be connected with the 'ethics' of big business. Every day, people are murdered or tortured or exploited all over the world.

We, who were taught to detest the German use of torture, now use it to a greater degree than any people in history. (Yes, Canada was involved in the Bush/Obama torture business.) Our democracy has been all but destroyed, with big business and its owners of most news media being a major factor. We have sent Canadians to kill and to die in wars that have nothing whatever to do with us (Afghanistan, figher-bombers in Iraq and Syria, 'non-combat' troop to Syria.) We learned from the Boer War, over a century ago, the folly of that when we sent Canadians to die for British oil billionaires in South Africa. But the lesson has been forgotten.
Big business is motivated only by greed. Nothing else. It's a vicious, attack dog. And we're letting it run loose.

We will get nothing from this. The wealthy will get richer until the system collapses - and it will collapse. And we? We will get poorer. It's happening now. It has been happening for some years. The patients have taken over the asylum.
That's why we have a Donald Trump on the rise. That's why his major opponent is a bloodthirsty and money-hungry Hillary Clinton. And Canada's political and economic state is not significantly different from that of the U.S. as we have allowed ourselves to be governed by parties of very inferior politicians completely subordinate to big business.

There are crises that are very close. There's a crisis of playing nuclear games as we are, a crisis of 'American exceptionalism' as all such schemes to conquer the world have been. There's a crisis of economic stability, only a part of which is the refusal of the wealthy to pay their share. There's a climate crisis which big business is encouraging because to deal with it would interfere with profits.
There's a crisis of  information and understanding, and only part of that is due to lying, propangandist news media. Much of the crisis lies in our refusal to see what is happening. We're too eager to conform, to fit in with standards as defined by the news media and their manipulating owners.

In this setting, a Donald Trump is not an accident. Here is a man who is all spectacle and no substance, a creation of a world of TV game shows and android cell phones - and of a public which wants to rebel but wants to do it while still conforming -  which means not really doing anything at all except getting involved as reality show spectators.

Hillary Clinton and most Canadian political leaders are as bad, but without the entertainment value of a Trump.

Somehow, we have to learn not to 'fit in', not to be so boringly (and suicidally) conformist. And not so damned silent.