Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May31: What a dreary world!


There are very serious issues facing us, issues that reach right down to the local and provincial levels. One of the biggest is the Panama Papers. All over the world the very wealthy are avoidinig their taxes by hiding their money in tax shelters. Is New Brunswick different? Is it just not happening here?

This isn't a minor issue. It affects the well-being and the opportunities for every person living on this planet . It is a part of a massive distribution of wealth, a revolution in how we all live, one of the most profound revolutions in history. And out news media just gawk at it. 

It's a revolution which is putting an end to democracy. The wealthy have always had more power because of their wealth. Now, they are at the edge of absolute power. In the U.S., democracy is over. It's largely over in Canada. What is left in South America is being destroyed by corruption and by the interference of U.S. wealth.  You can find the same pattern in Europe. And this is taking us into an age of total power for the very wealthy.

(There are almost no communists left to fight. But wars will still go on, wars of capitalists against capitalists - without anybody actually saying that.)

The result of that will be very serious violence -the rest of the world is not so passive as New Brunswick is.  The result will also be the sort of brutality  and environmental destruction we're seeiing in South America and Africa.  

Where is our news on that? Where is our discussion of what it means? So far, the Panama Papers have received less attention than bringing Quebec beer across the provincial border. Where are all the prize-winning ace reporters for the irving press on this?

At the city level, planning seems to consist largely of neat ideas to make some quick money. For a sample of that obsession with quick money, take a look at almost any editorial. But where is the general plan for the future of this city?
What problems are we likely to face in making this a livable city?  What's likely to happen to the river level? Does our general plan of urban sprawl make sense for the future? What housing regulations are we likely to need. What kind of public transit will we need?  (For that matter, what kind of public transit do we have now?)

But all we're getting is one 'neat', money-making idea after another.

Section A, as always, illustrates the problem.
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The banner headline is that there are going to be more discussions about moving the library to Moncton High. 1. of course there will be more 'discussions'. That's scarcely a big story. 2.How come a  building which was 'unrepairable' now is worth spending 20 million dollars on? 3. What is the larger plan this is a part of? 4. How does it make sense to spend 120 million for an events centre to revive Main St., then spend another 20 million  to move a Main st. building that was one of the 'revived' parts of Main St. 

On A3, we get the exciting  ( if unlikely) news that British beer sellers just love Moncton beer. Next to it is a story that's really an ad for Tim Horton's.
And that's it - unless you really, really care that somebody found a coconut in Shediac Bay.
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The editorial writer, utterly without evidence, tells us we really, really need to develop shale gas - and also gives the impression that only a small minority is opposed to it. That's not true. And it's also not the point. The point is 1.the effect that the drilling has and 2. a world already in deep trouble over fossil fuels.
As well - and as the editor surely knows - premier Gallant is not a crusader. His stalling (and that's all it is) is a sure indicator that the boss has approved his tactics. Cheer up, ed. You and Gallant are still reading from the same hymn book.

Norbert, unwisely, writes about education. Taking a business approach, he thinks you can judge education systems simply by measuring results. But those scores don't take in a crucial factor - the attitude of the society to education. The Chinese people take education very seriously. So their children do, too. New Brunswick does not encourage a whole lot of activities that could be called intellectual - well, except for the beerfest.

Canadians and Americans take learning less seriously.  So their children take it less seriously. In New Brunswick, intellectual activity is not taken seriously at all -  unless it's an economic study showing it's all the fault of us commoners if there's a provincial deficit. 

Oh, Norbert, despite what the business world thinks, the word 'parameters does not mean boundaries or perimeters. Alas, though, it's become part of the business world's pompous dressing of speeches for the chamber of commerce.

Louise Gilbert makes an interesting point about how our older generation is the first one to be made highly conformist by facebook and twitter. (That's not her topic. it's about free summer events in Moncton. What really caught my eye was free concerts at Victoria Park and at Moncton market. That brought back memories to this child of bandstands in the park, the band of the Salvation Army, the Canadian navy...I hope that's the kind of concert this means.)

There's a good commentary by Dr.Louis Richard about risk control in contact sports, and about the intelligent action taken by coach Cormier of the Kent South Panthers. And Alec Bruce has a good one on the value of university education to the province.
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Canada&World is its usual self. Not much about Canada, and almost nothing about the world. I was struck by the public reaction to the shooting of a gorilla in a U.S. zoo - (to prevent it from killing a child.) The nation is mourning. Where is all that sadness when refugees are starving to death, drowning, dying of exposure, shoved in vile 'camps' in Europe, when the people of Yemen, including babies, are dying of  Saudi cluster bombs supplied by the U.S. and Britain?

My aren't we selective in our sympathy?

Then there's a big story on how a Miramichi family made a  video of itself dancing to a Justin Timberlake song.

Worse, there is nothing in this section to help us understand what the Canada&World news means - no commentary, no informed columnist.

Student columnist Jana Giles has a column in section C about prerequisites and procrastination in school. I know she's right because in high school, I skipped prerequsites and built my life around procrastination. And, oh, that cost me.
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I chose the next story not because of the story itself - but as a reason to talk about what none of these stories tell us. ISIS is a creation largely of the U.S.

The middle east problem began a century ago when western companies wanted control of middle east oil. In the peace negotiations after World War One, the victors  simply drew lines creating countries that really weren't countries, and gave them to each other. Not one of them was a democracy; nor was it ever intended they should be. From that point, life was simply a matter of letting western companies take the oil - largely with no benefit to the local people.
With the collapse of the European empires in World War Two, the U.S. took over. And it inherited all the hatreds the European empires had built up - and it added reasons to hate and distrust the U.S.

All of this accelerated when the U.S. invaded Iraq. It accelerated what had been the slow growth of 'terror' groups.  (In fact, it had already, and well before Bush, actually created such groups to fight the Russians when they invaded Afghanistan. They financed them, equipped them, and trained them. The Taliban come directly from that.)

Then, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a huge boost to terrorist groups.

The U.S. had more wars to fight - like Syria. But another invasion like Iraq would have really lifted the terrorists. So the U.S. created mercenary armies to fight Syria - and also supplied groups like ISIS; and it did so in cooperation with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The result was a Syria in real trouble. But the Russians ruined that.

They stepped in and stopped ISIS in its tracks with ease.

Result? The U.S. is now willing to talk peace with Assad - anything to get out of this no-win situation. It's also, reluctantly, become more aggressive against ISIS, an attitude which could actually spread ISIS. As well, the American population will not tolerate more high casualty lists. Thus the desire to pull in more support from countries like Britain, France, Germany...Canada.

And none of this has anything to do with terrorism or religion.  It's all about oil.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/31/isis-fighting-back-as-iraqi-forces-try-to-take-centre-of-falluja

And, think of this. If the oil barons gave a damn about climate change, can you seriously believe they would be making this incredibly expensive venture (trillions of tax money) for a  fuel we have to stop using?

Of course, it's not likely that their taxes are paying for this.
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And I just thought this was a match made in heaven.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/31/north-korea-praises-trump-and-urges-us-voters-to-reject-dull-hillary
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Just a taste of the corruption that runs through most of the 'free' world (as well as the unfree one.)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/31/lava-jato-brazilian-anti-corruption-minister-quits-over-secret-recording
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And this because it's nice to read some good news.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/27/isis-palmyra-3d-technology-copy-rebuild-city-venice-biennale
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Here's a story about a trade deal  involving Britain and Canada as well as other countries.  Like most trade deals of recent years, it's designed to destroy democracy so that real power over everything  is in the hands of the very wealthy. This is not just one more thing to be concerned about. This is a real revolution. It puts an end to democracy. It effectively ends the very idea of a nation. It ends virtually all control we have over own lives and societies. And I haven't seen a word about it in the the irving press. Nor am I likely to.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/30/ttip-trade-deal-agreements-ceta-eu-canada
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Here's a story you won't find in the Irving press. Poverty in the U.S. is growing at a tremendous pace. Homelessness is rising. Most schools are in dreadful condition. Hunger is growing. But the money for food stamps is going down.
The rich are doing very well - though we don't know how well because we're not allowed to know how much the very rich really have. This is, I think, what the word evil means. But you won't hear the clergy say that. They're too busy telling bedtime stories about a heaven they've never seen.

There's money in the U.S. But it's needed for cluster bombs and nuclear missiles and trillion dollar wars - and bribes and corruption and profit and executive salaries and perks. And Canada is headed in the same direction. But not to fret. yesterday's irving press had an inspiring photo and story about Mr. Irving helping poor children to read. (Or was posed as if that's what he was doing.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44776.htm
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And this one - the blueprint for where Canada is heading if it continues as it is.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/once-middle-class-millions-are-joining-ranks-disposable-americans
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Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30: Too much news.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/drowned-baby-picture-migrant-1.3607030

Canadians fought and died in World War Two for many reasons. Many joined up from a sense of loyalty to Britain. Many joined up because there were no jobs. My uncle joined to get away from his wife and children so he could party. A severely retarded boy of 16 who played with me when I was six because, I guess, we were the same mental age stole his older brother's draft notice and joined up because he got a thrill out of hearing his heels click when he marched.

There were many reasons why men died. For many, soldiers and civilians, it was a time of powerful emotions. I thought of that last night as I typed in Vera Lynn on youtube. She was a magnificent British singer, the darling of the troops, of civilians, and even of us kids when she sang:

"There'll always be an England
While there's a country lane,
Wherever there's a cottage small
Beside a field of grain...."

I remember, when I was a kid with other kids and our parents in the church basement while somebody played a recording of it. Lots of people had tears iin their eyes. I didn't understand all the reasons so many people fought and died, or why my parents stood in the basement in tears. But i'm damned sure of one thing.
They didn't fight and die to create a world in which more adults and children and babies would die so that a handful of oil billionaires and bankers could rule the world. Morally, we've fallen one hell of a long way since since that night I heard the voice of Vera Lynn.

Today, 10,000 U.S. troops along with NATO are holding exercises in Eastern Europe. They're aimed at Russia. And they're happening just as the U.S. has planted missile sites along the Russian border. Any slip could lead to a nuclear war.

And a refuge baby drowned.
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But the big story in the irving press is that an anglo student who took French immersion in high school has graduated from U. de Moncton. Wow! Who would have guessed that was possible?

Actually, I would have guessed that was possible. Over the years, I taught way over a thousand students from China, Iran, Palestine, The Netherlands, Syria and others for whom English was at least a second language. For some, it was a fifth.  I taught many Francophone Quebecers, and I have many anglo friends who attended U. de Montreal - in French.

I congratulate the student who did this. But it's not a page one headline.
Then, there are two kissup stories about James K. Irving and kissup Rotarians who have given a kissup fellowship for teaching the poor. (Well, he didn't actually teach anybody - though the photo gives that impression. But it was his idea. So there.)

And the tone continues with Brunswick News winning a national newspaper award.  Just one? That's not actually red-hot.

Then there's "UdeM grads urged  to stay true to themselves". Gee. I bet nobody ever said that before at a grad ceremony.

The whole of section A is just trash.
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The editorial, as always, is very, very local. Apparently, our cities could do great things if they had more power. Great things, like supporing the energy east pipeline and developing shale gas.

Norbert writes, essentially, about how universities should drop varsity athletic teams. I think he's right. The only reason we have them is because of a crackpot educational  theory out of an elite British school called Rugby. The theory was that sports developed character and leadership. Therefore, sports (of the right kind for the upper classes) should be a feature of schools that taught the children of the upper classes. (Schools for commoners should not encourage such sports because common people would be getting 'above themselves' if they learned character and leadership.) It was really an old idea that went back to the days when jousting and hawking were for only the better class of people.

In North America, universities jumped at the idea over a century ago because they were then largely for the upper class - and were unspeakably snobbish. The snobbery continued after school days when hockey and football were still only for the 'better sort'. That's why the Stanley Cup and the Grey Cup were originally for amateurs only. That kept out the peasantry who couldn't afford to join the clubs.

Varsity teams are expensive, and I have seen no evidence they develop either character or leadership. This is a waste of university money.

Craig Babstock tells another bedtime story for wee folk.

Alec Bruce, once again, really has nothing to say.
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Canada&World has four pages. Three and three-quarters of them are trivia.
The lead story, the big item for world news in a world where millions are starving, millions have been murdered, and we teeter on the edge of world nuclear war, is that some work remains to be done on a school in Haiti named after an RCMP officer. It's to give training in basic, manual skills. And it completely ignores all the fundamental questions.

Why is Haiti so poor that somebody else has to build that school? Cuba was once that poor but, despite roadblocks and attacks by the U.S., Cuba managed to build free schooling for the whole country all the way to university graduation. It also established medicare.

Why is Haiti so poor?

Well, both Cuba and Haiti were once that poor. That was when both were ruled by dictators supported by the U.S. and American big business. Cuba got rid of the dictator. So did Haiti - for a time when it kicked out the dictator and elected a president. (who may or may not have done any good - that's another story.)

But the U.S. invaded Haiti (with Canadian help), exiled the elected president, and established a new system so corrupt it's really a repeat of the old dictatorship. Haitians are back to starvation wages, no services, but healthy profits for the American wealthy. You find the same thing in Guatemala and many other South American countries.
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C3 has a worthwhile read by student columnist Jessica Naugler. She discusses how important bees are to us, and the terrible impact that pesticides are having on their survival. But, relax. No big business in New Brunswick would be so irresponsible as to spray pesticides all over.
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U.S. police have now killed 410 people this year.
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Here's one about Syria that is kinder to Assad than most western reports are. However, this one backs up its views with some  useful fact (which we don't get in most of our news media). It also raises practical questions - like the tremendous cost of U.S. military activity in the middle east which greatly exceeds any benefit the American people can get from this. When you combine that with the American wealthy hiding their money in tax havens, these become very expensive wars, indeed.

whttp://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44769.
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http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44768.htm

Gee.  I wonder why the U.S. would want military bases in Argentina on the borders of Brazil and Paraguay.
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Here's a viewpoint that is commoner than we like to think. We're fond of criticizing some religions for their treatment of women. In fact, mistreatment of women is common in almost any religion I have  heard of.

The subordination of women runs through the Christian Bible, the Talmud and the Torah, as well as through Islam. It is only with the 20th century that we have begun to see change in that - and there's still a long way to go.

I have noticed the same thing in Buddhist temples, among Hindus.... Christian preachers are lately given to speak of Jesus as treating women as equals. But the evidence is pretty flimsy. And, certainly, Christians in history have not treated women as equals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPgk0Hv-eTc
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Information clearing house is overwhelming from May 28 to May 30. I can only recommend you read all of them.

The reality is that there is a revolution going on all around us. Capitalism is a system that places no limits on greed and that has no moral obligation to human life. This has been turned loose in a madness such as the world has never seen.  I call it a madness because it's insane even  for the capitalists to pursue this course. The U.S. government, which is owned by the wealthy, is looking for major wars all over the world. But any such war would be sure to call nuclear weapons into use. And even if we can stop all the incoming missiles (which I doubt), the explosion of a thousand (probably more) such weapons in other parts of the world would put an end to all life, perhaps even to the Moncton events centre.
For a start, we might think about changing the focus of November 11. We should not, as we do now, blend military service with patriotim. (Unless, of course, we are willing to pay tribute to the patriotism of German, Japanese, Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi, Taliban victims of war.)

Patriotism is not our highest obligation. When we act as though it is, we are being groomed to die for those who make money out of wars. But we have higher obligations than to those of country.

We do and should remember those who served with sadness and respect and thanks. But we should not blend that with a worship of patriotism. That sort of thinking is what caused us to send Canadians to die in Afghanistan. And that will be used to send more to die in wars that have nothing to do with Canada or, for that matter, with most Americans. They have to do only with the wants of mega billionaires. Funny how most of our churches haven't noticed that.

Time is getting short. We are living in a mad, mad, mad, mad world. The fact that a Donald Trump can not only run for the presidency buy can build up massive support for it is a warning sign of where manipulation of the public can  take us, of why we need honest news, of why we have to be encouraged to think rather than to conform.

The irving press is our enemy. It keeps us ignorant of the world beyond, say, Fredericton; it feeds us propaganda. It keeps us rooted in Moncton with our noses in our own bellybuttons.

But what happens to the rest of the world happens to us.

It reminds me of the end of a part of the story I began with, the one about the 16 year-old boy who stole his brother's draft papers to join the army. His parents said it was terrible, and they would tell the army. But they never did. When he was killed, the government sent his family several thousand dollars which all disappeared into the liquor stores in short order. He was buried in The Netherlands under his brother's name. The mother said she would tell them to correct it. But she never did. (Many years later, I changed it.)

Some years ago, I met a man from our old neighbourhood who had been with Bertie when he died.

"Yeah. Bertie just loved the army. He loved marchin'.  He could do it all day, listenin' to his heels clickin'.  Then we moved up for our first action.

 We were lyin' on our faces with a German machine gun  cuttin' just above us. I heard something from Bertie, and looked at 'im. He was cryin'. What the hell. He was only a kid, only sixteen. Then he jumped up screamin', and the machine gun cut him in half.

Craziest thing. He was screamin' for his mother."

On Nov. 11, feel the sorrow. Feel the thanks. But don't glorify it with patriotism.
And, long before November 11, take the time to think about the full meaning of the news

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28: A headline about a story! But there's no story.

Today's headline story is a real headline story. The provincial government is delaying any decision on fracking.  Unfortunately, neither the government nor the story have much to say about why. The Liberals say it's the fault of the Conservatives for delaying a decision. Well, okay. So how does that make it right for the Liberals to delay?

And where is all  the research to prove that it should not be delayed? Or to prove it is safe to go ahead?

There's no social license? That's just bafflegab for saying that the government might lose the next election if it approves fracking. Hey! A  government is supposed to have principles and to act on them whatever the cost.
The industry says we need the jobs? No problem. There's a safer solution. Sell our children into slavery to work in Canadian-owned mines in South America and Congo.

In short, this announcement is really 1. The government has done nothing serious to research the issue or, more likely, it doesn't want to tell us the results of its research. 2. It's been told by Mr. Big to lay off the topic for a while so the industry can get more propaganda out.

There's a much better news story on the government's  (in)decision on A6.
In other big news, a Dieppe grocery store is moving to a bigger building. And buying beer in Quebec is still a hot issue. And that's pretty much it for Section A.
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The editorial expresses a hope that the new city councils for this region will collaborate with each other. It's not a bad idea. It's not one of the burning issues of the day. But at least it's not mindless.

Norbert takes a rare stand against some members of the business community in this city when he raises questions about the plan to move the public library into the old Moncton High.

I disagree with several of his points. I think that moving the library is a big deal, a very big deal, indeed, when we're removing it from Main St. at a time when we claim to be reviving Main St. with a hundred million dollar hockey rink. The move would also make it necessary to dump a large part of the library's holdings. And he says it's important to preserve the historical facade of the high school. Didn't he read his own paper yesterday when it printed a picture of the proposed building which would destroy the old facade?

Then he says he doesn't see the value of objections the library board has raised. Well, some of them are the ones he raises. Others are worthwhile because they concern the functions of a library - but Norbert can see only the dollar signs.
This, like the 'events centre' is a scam. Just be grateful it isn't as big a scam as the events centre is. And, for all my reservations, it's nice  to see Norbert taking a stand against what seems to be corrupting behaviour.

Brian Murphy, as usual, has a column  that would not offend man or beast. Just sit back. Turn off your brain. And enjoy. It's a column about parking in the city; and it would have made sense in, say,  1950 when the western world was swept up in transportation by car. But even without considering the problem of fossil fuels, the car is way beyond its best before date. Most cities have now developed effective and cheap public transit - some of it going back well over a century.
The guest column, on genetically modified salmon, should be a good one. But the writer, though certaintly knowledgeable about the topic, is not a very clear writer - especially for any audience with a weak literacy rate.

Alec Bruce offers us a satire about premier Gallant. And it's a pretty accurate satire.
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The big excitement in the Canada&World section is that Dominic Leblanc has announced a review of our terrorism laws. Never mind reality.

The reality is that Canadians have a better chance of being attacked by little old ladies witih hatpins than they do of being attacked by terrorists.  (In the U.S., which crawls with domestic spies beyond counting and which spends billions on them, far more people are killed by police than by terrorists. The score so far in 2016, is 406.)

Canada now has 19 agencies to deal with terrorism - and they spy on everybody.  (The practice of using such agencies to spy on political critics of the government is a very old one in Canada.  And so we now have 19 such agencies in this true north strong and free.)

This story really doesn't tell us much. More interesting would be a story on what these agencies are, how many they employ, what they cost and what restraints there are, if any, on their spying. Good luck on finding such a report in the irving press.

There's a story about Trudeau at the G7 that really tells us nothing.

There's little news in the section, and what there is tells us nothing much about anything. Nowhere is there a word about the alarming social and political collapses in South America, the involvement of the U.S. in overthrowing the elected president of Brazil. nothing about the crisis that is shaping up as China and Russia respond to military threats by the U.S., nothing about the widespread social disorder in the European Union......
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The Faith Page sermonette tells us that even though this is May when the days are getting warmer, God doesn't change; so we should still believe in Him. Wow! Whoever wrote that must be a graduate of the Brian Murphy School of Theology.
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Obama who came to power as a figure of hope and change for the world has been one of the most dismal failures in the history of the American presidency. I remember thinking, during his first election race, that he was all show and no substance. So it has proved. He did nothing whatever to end torture; and he has done nothing to deal with the people who carried it out. He has continued the Bush policy of invading countries  ( Libya and Syria), that have oil. He has continued the use of special ops (death squads) all over the world. He has expanded illegal drone attacks. He has routinized the jailing of American citizens without charge or trial. And this man, who won the Nobel peace prize for promising to lead the way to nuclear disarmament has actually built more of them than most presidents. He has also pioneered in the making of small nuclear bombs whose lower destructive power makes it much easier to use them. especially against countries that have no means of responding. Obama has actually been a bigger disaster than Bush was.

But our news media  haven't noticed.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2016/may/27/hope-and-hype-of-hiroshima-cant-conceal-obamas-dismal-record-on-nuclear-disarmament
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Here is a very fair-minded report of the crisis in Brazil, the one the irving press hasn't thought it worth reporting on.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/18/the-guardian-view-on-dilma-rousseffs-impeachment-a-tragedy-and-a-scandal

Note that The Guardian can  actually write intelligently on something that didn't happen just outside the editor's office window on Main St.
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This next item reflects a situation in Britain. But the same patterns are taking shape in Europe, Canada, the U.S.... This is an opinion column that encourages us to think about the value of religion, the failures of it, and the consequences of its collapse.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/27/the-guardian-view-on-disappearing-christianity-suppose-its-gone-for-ever

I'm not beating the drum for Jesus, here; but it's a reality that a society without a moral code cannot survive. And nobody's going to learn much about morality at a business school. I think churches (synagoges, mosques, temples) have to give serious thought to what it is they're about._____________________________________________________________________________
This one is a little old. But the situation hasn't changed. This is how we get clothes at bargain prices. Can you even imagine the irvingpress running a story like this? Think of this the next time you are buying clothes at Walmart or the Joe something stores.

http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/08/rana-plaza/
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The following item is a reminder that there are no friends between nations. International relations is a game of me first.

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/25/former-911-commissioner-wont-rule-out-saudi-royal-family-foreknowledge-of-911-plot/
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And here's an insight into our glorification of war and killing. This is why almost all war movies are really propaganda. Gee! I've seen this story from several sources. You'd think that with all it's super-keen editorial staff and reporters somebody in the irving press would have noticed this.

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/25/american-sniper-chris-kyle-distorted-his-military-record-documents-show/
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And here's a research project  that, en passant, tells us a lot about the political atmosphere of New Brunswick.

 https://theintercept.com/2016/04/28/new-study-shows-mass-surveillance-breeds-meekness-fear-and-self-censorship/
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Friday, May 27, 2016

May 27: Get mad. Please.

Today's irving headline is not only the cheapest of sensationalism passing as news, it shows a stunning ignorance of recent history, and an insensitivity to Irish Catholics in general . "Kevin Vickers tackles Dublin protester".

     Some genius decided it would be a great idea to honour British soldiers who invaded a rebellious Dublin in 1916 to put down an uprising against British rule. And the British soldiers lost 100 dead - while killing 385 Dubliners. Eventually , this led to the end of British rule which had been murderous and arrogant and abusive for many lifetimes.

There are a great many Canadians whose ancestors had to leave Ireland because they were deliberately allowed  to starve to death in their thousands during the great potato famine. The Irish had to live on potatoes while they operated farms for their British overlords. And then, for several  years, the potato crop failed.
Oh, other crops did fine. But the British landowners took them away to sell for profit  while Irish farmers watched their families die.

     To hold a memorial service for the British dead in Dublin is like holding a memorial service in London for German aircrew who died while bombing London.  What genius in Ottawa decided our ambassador in London should attend this?

And there was no urgency. A man was  protesting this insult to Ireland. He had no gun or knife. He didn't even elbow anybody in the chest. And there were plenty of police on the spot.  What the hell made the Canadian ambassador to Ireland believe he should intervene in this? This is cheap, ignorant  journalism at its most ignorant.

The headline below this story is better only because it is so utterly worthless that it's not even offensive. "New Brunswick craft brewers battle for a bigger market". Gee. And here I thought businesses battled to get smaller.
The rest of Section A isn't quite as good as the first page.
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The editorial is at least sensible.

Norbert says the premier's popularity is going down. Don't worry, Norbert. New Brunswickers will show them. They'll vote Conservative next time, and everything will be different. He does have one, annoying paragraph in there. He says our debt is still growing, and our health-care and education systems are failing to deliver as they should. Think hard, Norbert.

Our debt is growing. Could that possibly have anything to do tax havens? With the gift of our forests to billionaires? With interest free loans and grants to business friends of the government? With crackpot schemes  to move the library at great cost? And to benefit whom? Certainly not to benefit tax payers. Or library users. Or Main St. Why does your newspaper never write about that?
Our education is failing? No. What's failing is not education. It's us. And it's the irving press. This is a province which makes almost a cult of lacking intellectual or cultural activity. A high proportion of adults can't read. Well, if adults set that example, no education system on earh is going to be able to help their children.

We have the lowest per capita library budget in Canada. We have some of t he least intellectual activities I have ever seen in a library. We're now working to please a developer by making our library far more expensive and by dumping 40% of its meager holdings.

And we have a newspaper which is mostly trivial trash which encourages only mindless conformity. Of course, out children don't learn as much as they should. But it's not the fault of the educationo system. It's the fault of a society that actively discourages any possible use of the human brain. And the irving press is a big factor in that.

Oh, yes. And our health care is not what it should be. Maybe you can find a reason in the political and business interference in the operation of our health care system. And maybe you can find it by asking questions about why an excellent chief medical officer was fired.

Look carefully, Norbert, and maybe you'll figure out a major reason why things don't work in this province. A big reason is the failure of your newspaper monopoly to act with either intelligence or honesty - while putting the blame on everyone else.

Justin Ryan's column starts off looking lightweight, but develops nicely. It's worth a read.

Then we have another propganda column from the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, this time it's by the chief wheeze of AIMS. He invents a history in which the fathers of confederation had a 'dream' in which they longed for free trade.

Bull.

The fathers of confederation didn't dream about anything but meeting the demands of their richer subjects. And the rich were then profoundly opposed to free trade. And skip the chatter about "the dreams the fathers of our dominion struggled so hard to build." there was nothing idealistic about them. Their sole purpose was to make money for the rich. And that's why they supported - not free trade - but a protective tariff.

And they struggled hard to found Canada? Bunk. The pressure was on them from British capitalists to united the colonies. The struggle, if there had been one, would have been one to prevent confederation.

Oh, and the commentary says that if we were to get full free trade within Canada, then it would be easy to get the Energy East Pipeline built. Wouldn't that be nice?
Then, toward the end, the Chief Wizard of AIMS says that the martimes have shown a desire for greater openess and more efficient standards of regulation on the pipeline. This is gibberish which has no connection to the pargraphs before and after it. I presume this is intended to be up beat. But It's just a misleading way of saying many martimers think they've been lied to about the pipeline, and they don't think the regulations are worth a damn.

Alec Bruce's column is largely a list of quotations that are quite unnecessary to make a point that could have been made (more clearly) in two sentences.
And, as usual, in these two pages of commentary, there is not a word about the world outside New Brunswick. This is really nose-in-your-own-bellybutton journalism.

No wonder New Brunswickers don't read. Smart choice.
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Then there's Canada&World. After years of the U.S. surrounding Russia and China with military bases, missile sites, sea patrols by major warships, spy aircraft, and troops, China has put nuclear missile submarines on patrol, is challenging the right of the U.S. to be a local policeman, and is strengthening its defences. Russia is beefing  up its borders, relocating its missiles, and  strengthening its patrols. In short, the U.S. has for years been pushing the Russians and Chinese all over the world, and right up their borders. Now, Russia and China have drawn a line on the earth and sea.

At the slightest mistake, this could trigger a war which would almost certainly be a nuclear one. There are powerful people in the U.S. who want a war. They have said so. They have published it in Project for the New American Century. They want to conquer the world for U.S. business. With something over 16,000 nuclear weapons involved - and not just in the U.S. China, and Russia - we are at the most dangerous point in human history.

To add to that, some very dangerous economic and political collapse is happening in South America. It will certainly involve the U.S. In fact, some of it was set up by the U.S.

But none of this was important enough to make the Irving press. They needed the space for the story that new cars are selling well in New Brunswick.  

B2 has a story that we should  copy Shanghai education because it always scores tops in the world ratings tests.  Well, I have taught some hundreds of Chinese students. I taught them in Hong Kong, and I taught many who studied at Concorida.

Chinese students are raised in a society that has a profound respect for learning. Remember, it's not simply the teachers who affect exam results. It's also the students. My Chinese students were never late and never absent. If I mentioned an article, even casually, they would all have read it by the next day. It's not the teachers that do that. It's the social tone of Chinese families and sociey.
And it has drawbacks. They have a strong tendency to memorize rather than to learn. When I assigned an article to be read, they all did it immediately and well. Then I told them we would now learn how to criticize it. There was a dead silence, broken at last by one of the boys, Chan Ho Man.

"Sir", he said. "We cannot criticize this. It was written by a great man. We must study it and memorize it."

Criticism is essential to learning. But attitudes to learning don't happen just in school. They happen as products of the whole society. That's why it's damaging for children to grow up in a society that has little respect for learning. And that reads anything like the irving newspapers.

For many years, Jewish students topped the grades in Quebec provincial exams - though most of them had gone through the same schools as I had. That's because Judaism encourages a great respect for learning.   I frequently spoke in churches and in synagogues. If it was a synagogue, I knew I had to say something serious and informative. The might not always agree with me, But they wanted serious discussion. If it was a church, anything that would get a laugh was good enough.
There's really nothing else worth looking at in Canada&World. Trudeau gave a speech at the G7 meeting. It was the usual  pitch that big business wanted to hear. It's a line that has done wonders for profits over the last 30 years or so - but has lowered incomes and living standards over much of the world.  
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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/26/migrant-boat-capsizes-in-mediterranean-italian-coastguard

Why did this happen? Why have millions of families fled their homes? Why are millions starving to death? Why are there millions of children who will never see a school?

Because a handful of oil billionaires and 'defence' contractors are getting even richer out of this. This phase started, I guess, with the illegal invasion of Iraq to get control of its oil. Then there was the creation of a rebellion in Syria, and the destruction of what had been a stable and relatively prosperous Libya. And so we all get sucked deeper into into a morass, kill ever more people, destroy whole societies - so the super wealthy can put more of the world's money into their tax havens.
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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/27/barack-obama-first-us-president-to-visit-hiroshima-japan

I would be more impressed by Obama's words if he had admitted why the U.S. nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki when it was known that neither city was a military target of any sort - and when it was clear that the war was effectively over.

It was done because the Soviet armies were going through the Japanese like a knife through butter, and would soon be in a position to take China. And the U.S. wanted China for itself.

When it was obvious the U.S. wasn't going to get China, it got nice to Japan so that it would have a base and an ally to attack China some day.

Under this story are letters that say the Japanese deserved what they got because they had brutally killed civilians. They certainly did. Name me a warring country of the last 80 years or so that has not brutally murdered civilians. Start with the U.S. in Germany, Vietnam, Iraq and Libya.
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I'm running late today. So I'm going to recommend the reading of all the lead stories in

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/

for today, May 27.
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There is growingly serious unrest over much of the world - much of if due to the seeming collapse of democracy as big business openly takes control. This is true in the U.S., much of Europe, South America. And where it goes is unpredictable.

http://www.countercurrents.org/buddiga260516.htm
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More about the instability that doesn't make the news.

http://www.countercurrents.org/klare260516.htm

The uncontrolled power of the very wealthy is driving us all into instability  with a high risk of a final war. The wealthy aren't going to change. In Canada, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives will change. In  the U.S., the 'great change' of Obama meant no change at all. Justin has shown no sign of coming to grips with the problems that face us.

The change has to come from us. And if we want to save our own skins, we have to change. We have to start looking at reality. We have to develop the courage to get away from groupthink and conformity.

Politically, there are only two parties in Canada that might make a change - but both need some change themselves, first. The Greens have to realize that environment is only part of the problem. And the NDP has to realize that we really don't need another liberal party. We need fewer wimps because the changes that have to be made are very great.
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There's much more. But it's time to go.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 25: Warning!!


Recently, this site has attracted a very large audience in the U.S. It has always had a steady,  but small, U.S. readership - something to be expected of a blog that deals with a newspaper chain which is pretty small potatoes at best. Its U.S. audience has normally been in a league with audiences in France, Russia, Germany.... But now it has suddenly soared to beat all the others put together.
More curiously, that large, American audience appears in three, very narrow and sharp spikes per day. And each spike is of 140 hits - or very, very close to that. I have pairs of spikes side by side at 140 each, 141 each, and 138 each. That does not look like conincidence.

Obviously, it is possible that this site has come under the surveillance of U.S. thought police,  probably working closely with our very own CSIS.

I intend to keep writing the blog. But I thought readers should be warned.
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The front page has a story, again, on the moving of the public library to the old Moncton High building. The story tells us nothing, again. But it does have a good photo of the proposed alteration to the school, the one that is supposed to preserve its distinctive architectural character. Take a good look. Tell me how this preserves anything. Tell me how beautiful it is.

Then there's a big story on A8 about the first settlers of the Moncton area - the Acadians. Boy, talk about truth and reconciliation with native peoples!
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There's a good letter on A10 on how the public needs the facts on MHS story. Good luck on getting the facts on anything out of the irving press.

For some reason, sombody at the paper decided it would be great to have an editorial by the editor and a column by Norbert Cunningham on the same subject and both, pretty much in agreement. The topic is the collection of garbage. Neither has anything original to say -  but Norbert seems to have the edge in research and information on the topic.

Rod Allan shows that he still has lots of trivial, overwritten, pleased-with-himself columns in him.

Then there's another 'guest' commentary from the Atlantic Institute of Market Research. Generally, I have contempt for these, if only because I have contempt for anyone who would write for AIMS. This one is better-researched than usual. But it's only partially right.

First, he writes in response to calls for government to put a cap size on school classes. He says that large classes are not the problem. He says what's needed is better teaching.

But the request to put a cap size on classes that he refers to has nothing to do with smaller classes. Even the commentator would surely agree that a class of 500 in kindergarten would not be a good idea. Putting a cap on class sizes does not mean making them smaller. It means preventing them from getting too big.
Then he writes, duh, "A class of 30 students with a great teacher is far better off than a class of 15 with a poor teacher." Well, yeah.  But, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has suggested we need small classes with poor teachers.
I have some agreement with the commentator's point about good teaching - though my own experience is that a teacher who geniuinely likes and cares about the students is more effective than one who is just up to date on the latest methods.

This is an illogical, sloppy, and confused commentary. But it's what AIMS likes - an excuse for cutting back on frills like education so we can relieve the tax burden on billionaires.
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The Canada&World section is so shallow and trivial and narror that I would expect the editors of that section live in cages, and drag their knuckiles on the ground. Only two stories are worth reading.One is that the Canadian defence industry (and the Canadian government) are defending the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. (And Canada has long since pledged not to sell weapons to such countries. Of course, so have Britain and the U.S. pledged - but both are pouring weapons on Saudi Arabia.) The story is the usual babble. The companies say they create jobs - a good reason to sell weapons to human rights abusers. The government says it is sure they would not shoot Saudi civilians with these weapons. Maybe not. But how come our government didn't tell us they wouldn't shoot civilians of, say, Yemen?

Anyway, the agreement we signed said we wouldn't sell weapons to human rights abusers - no matter who they were shooting at.

The other story is on General Vance and his belief Canada should return to an emphasis on peacekeeping. He's right - but the story then moves to Foreign Secretary Dion who also says we must do peacekeeping - and this is why we have to fight islamic militants. That's a remarkably stupid statement. In other words, we must do peacekeeping by fighting a war - and an American war at that.

We have to emphasize peacekeeping, and that's why we have to join the U.S. and others like Britain to fight ISIS? For openers, if our army is going to be for peacekeeping, it should be facing off against the most lawless invaders of our time - the U.S. and Britain. To get sucked into a war on their behalf (and, really, on behalf of the oil industry) is rank stupidity and/or hypocrisy.

What an awful section!
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I don't much like TV. But there's a pretty interesting column on the failure of TV to show us the reality of poverty. It's on the front page of the Life section, the column by Kevin McDonough.

Page 5 has its usual, very professonal health column, by student columnist Aurelie Pare.
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It would have been a simple matter for irving editors to find an important world story.

This one ( also in The Guardian) is that, for some years, the U.S. has been provoking trouble by moving nuclear weapons and bases as close as possible to China and Russia. In  the case of China, in particular, this raises the danger of creating a situation in which China's nuclear arsenal - and much of China - could be destroyed in a first strike by the U.S.

China has now responded by saying it will put nuclear missile submarines into the Pacific.

The U.S. has, similarly, sent troops, ships, aircraft, missiles to surround Russia. And Russia is playing tit for tat by responding to these provocations with weapon and troop movement.

This is one hell of a dangerous game - and there cannot be the slightest doubt it  has been provoked by the U.S. The U.S. began this. It has crossed the world to put forces close in for strikes on Russia and China.   The latter two have, so far, not provoked with such action on any U.S. territory.

This is kind of important. There are people close to power in the U.S. who WANT a war. They actually WANT a nuclear war. Will Irving press please wake up?

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/china-to-send-nuclear-armed-submarines-into-pacific-amid-tensions-with-us/ar-BBtveDz?ocid=spartandhp
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Despite the severity of the crisis in Venezuela, despite the mass suffering, the possible violence to come,  the irving press has not had time  to mention it. What's happening is that Venezuela's economy has collapsed - largely because the oil barons have cut the price of oil for some time, now, to destroy governments that aren't submissive enough.

The usual suspects say the best thing for Venezuela would be to return to the free market  (capitalism). It might, But that won't solve anything. The free market makes only oil barons rich. And it's not just oil countries being impoverished by the free market. Look at the poverty of  Haiti, Guatemala, Panama...Look at Congo. Look at most of Africa. The idea that the free market creates prosperity is rubbish.

Venezuela was once a free market country. And it was very poor - with a tiny aristocracy of very rich. Capitalism is not good at distributing wealth. That's why the very richer get richer while everybody else gets poorer.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/venezuela-economic-meltdown-pressure-nicolas-maduro-1.3596682
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Here's a story of how military attacks on hospitals (over half of them deliberate) have killed almost a thousand people over past year and a half or so. The photo is of a destroyed hospital in Yemen. But that one must have been an accident because Mr. Dion has assured us that Saudi Arabia would never kill civilians.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/26/world-health-organisation-hospital-attacks-959-lives-two-years
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And here is a very balanced account of the chaos in South America.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/26/south-america-progressive-dream
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This article is related to a point I made earlier about deliberate American provocation of Russia and China. And note the qualifications of the writer. This is no rabble-rouser.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44737.htm
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The following item, a long one, is about experiments the U.S. conducted on its own soldiers.   In fact, this has been common in most armies for over a century - and sometimes on civilians. (Residue from the nuclear test at Bikini is still killing local people. So is the dumping of nuclear waste along the shores of Africa.) New Brunswick had its own brush with this in the case of Agent Orange.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44739.htm
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I guess the next one isn't really news. But it's quite fascinating, even stunning. And it's much more interesting than the news.

http://www.haaretz.com/st/c/prod/eng/2016/05/jeruz/01/
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Some day, we're going to have to call Israel to account for its behaviour towards its own Palestinian citizens as well as to Palestine, itself. Either that, or get sucked into another, very bloody war.

http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/israels-government-just-became-more-extreme-ever
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I guess we all have images of the link between religion and evilness - except when it's our religion and our evilness. i grew up in a Canada which still connected Judaism with greed. I learned by my teens that any judaic greed was left in the dust by the super greed of some Christians. Devout Christians, including Hitler and our ancestors who settled Canada and the U.S. happily murdered and starved people, as we did with native peoples. Christians were the first to use nuclear weapons - and deliberately used them on civilians. Christians bled China and India, and made China into the biggest drug market in the world. Christians so  shattered Africa it has never recovered. It was a Christian, Lyndon Johnson, who happily had millions of Vietnamese murdered. But I've never heard any of these acts linked to Christianity as we link terrorism to Islam.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/05/myth-moderate-muslim-160511085819521.html?utm_source=Al+Jazeera+English+Newsletter+%7C+Weekly&utm_campaign=e7a6725904-weekly_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e427298a68-e7a6725904-224603881
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 So, to any U.S. Christian domestic spies who might be making reports on this blog, God bless you for your Christian work in defending freedom.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25: God bless Moncton's economic leaders.

Let's see. Moncton wants to make its downtown core more active. One of the most active buildings in the downtown core is the public library. It's conveniently located for library users.  The building is in good shape; it's cheap for the library; and it's well equipped. So, some genius says...

"I know. Let's move it to the outer edge of anyhing that could be called a downtown core. Let's renovate an old school that we were told some years ago was beyond repair. We'll repair it at great expense; we'll go through the tremendous cost of moving a library, and setting up the new quarters for it; we'll charge the library much, much more than it's paying now for space. All this we'll do because the old school is a historic site that must be preserved. And to  preserve it, we'll hide much of the school exterior by covering it with big windows to look like a 1950s shopping block.

And that will attract people to the downtown core."

City council was not convinced. One of the promotersof the $21 million deal, doubtless out of civic mindedness ran for mayor. Lost.

The Library board says that the move to smaller quarters would cost much more to operate and would force the library to dump 40% of its holdings.

Now, today's headline story is that the MNA for Moncton Centre says the province could move the library without city council's approval. Gee! I wonder if that MNA knows the developer who ran for council.

There are a lot of questons a good reporter could ask about this. A good reporter could also ask questions about the survey carried out by a private company, showing that a majority supported the library move. Did this private company carry out the survey out of the goodness of its heart? What does it mean to say 71% of those surveyed thought the plan was good idea? How many of those surveyed undestood anything about this plan? (They sure didn't read about it in the Irving press.) How many of them know anything about libraries?

This whole deal smells of being a typical, New Brunswick scam. In fairness, I would guess the reporters were told not to ask questions. As reporting, there is nothing here. Just the smell. Next thing we'll hear is that the Chamber of Commerce will be holding a black tie dinner to honour the public spirited  developers behind this thing.

This is prime material for a commentary in the paper. And that's precisely why we're not likely to see one - unless it's a kissup.

The only story worth reading in Section A news is a sad one.  "Moncton charity gets less than $100 in donations after failed fundraiser."
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The editorial is okay - if lightweight. (It's not as interesting or as well-written as the average student column.
Norbert continues his (very good) column of yesterday on anti-biotics. I don't agree with his suggestion we should pay a billion dollars to pharmaceutical companies for each anti-biotic they develop. Pharmaceutical companie are notorious overchargers; and I would never encourage them. Why pile up money for such companies when government could do the work - with the profits, if any, going to us? Offering deals to pharmaceutical companies is like paying thieves to pick your pockets.

Brian Cormier, as always,deals with a great question of our time. This time, it's about waiting in line. This doesn't even qualify as bathroom reading. Ploughing through trivia is even worse than waiting in a line.

Then we have a column of pure, political propaganda from the leader of the New Brunswick opposition. Propaganda is not the same as commentary.

Alec Bruce has shown over the years that he writes well, and that he has something to say. But for some reason, he has been writing dreadful trivia lately. I can't even imagine what the point of today's commentary might be.
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Most of Canada&World news is, as usual, part trivia and part trash. One story gave me a scare, though. Canada's chief of Defence Staff, General Vance says that military action is Libya is not inevitable, but Canada is watching closely.
First, in a democracy, a Chief of Defence Staff does not set or even speculate publicly on government policy.

Second, of course there's going to be military actioni in Libya. It's already happening, and has been on for some time - except in the Irving press. And, as General Vance hints, the Canadian government is considering involvement.
Why? Has Libya attacked or threatened to attack Canada?

Libya was a political stable country. Then it was invaded by the U.S. and, among others, Canada. Why?

It's leader had the gall to think Libya's oil  belonged to Libya - and he could sell it to whomever he wished. He was wrong. That oil belonged to U.S. and other western oil billionaires. Like the American right of the U.S. to invade any country it likes for any reason it likes, God said it could. Every American knows that. That's what  "American Exceptionalism" is all about.

So the U.S. led an invasion. Ghadaffi was murdered in a manner our press found amusing. Canada took part because the U.S. told it to. And, as has been the case with Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria (and more to come) Libyan society has collapsed, and ISIS has made a major appearance in it.

All of this has happened because the U.S. is determined to establish a monopoly over the economies of all nations, with all decisions and all profits handled by American billionaires. It pulls in other countries, like Canada, to give all this greed and killing an air of respectability (gotta fight them terrorists) , and to make it less obvious that this is all for a handful of the very wealthy. Martin, Harper and Trudeau have all bought into this at some time. And,  in all cases, it simply sucked us into an international cesspool.

Someday, we shall have to think of what it means to call Canada "the true north, strong and free."
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The U.S. is not the only country in which traditional political parties have lost the confidence of the voters. Similar movements are strong in Europe. And it's virtually impossible to guess where these wil lead us.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/across-europe-distrust-of-mainstream-political-parties-is-on-the-rise
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It's interesting how much the major countries are very alike.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/how-russia-independent-media-was-dismantled-piece-by-piece
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When the International Monetary Fund was created after World War Two, its proclaimed purpose was to aid social development. In fact, it's real purpose, through the political clout of big money in the U.S., was to make the very wealthy even wealthier. And that is still  its main purpose. In fact, it is possible there is no greater creator of poverty than the International Monetary Fund.
The consequence is  that the world, notably North America and Europe, has seen a dramatic drop in prosperity, a rise of economic and social inequality, and a spread of constant war and misery into the rest of the world. The money is still there; but the rich now have a much bigger share of it.  (hey we gotta keep their taxes down. Otherwise, they'll go away and stop looting us with their tax havens government deals.) We have also seen the greed of our society used to create massive suffering in South America, Africa, all over the world.

My generation in North America was born into the luckiest generation in history. The depression was bad; but us kids didn't know we were poor. Then we grew up in the heady days of spreading prosperity of the 1950s and 60s. And we wasted those years. We allowed the wealthy to take over our countries and our lives. We laid the groundwork for louts like Trump,  and thoroughly evil people like Hillary Clinton. A great many of us voted for Harper. And have not improved much by voting for Trudeau.

The years immediately after the war were ideal for building societies based on equality and opportunity. And we blew it. Our failure, combined with the greed and callousness of our economic leaders, is setting up a general collapse.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/25/the-imf-international-monetary-fund-has-not-lived-up-to-hype-on-social-protection
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And here's some support for what I wrote above.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/05/24/in-the-u-s-and-abroad-more-young-adults-are-living-with-their-parents/#more-280257
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Speaking of the International Monetary Fund, here's some charming reading.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/head-of-the-imf-christine-lagarde-in-court-charged-with-embezzlement-and-fraud-8628670.html
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U.S. police have now killed 400 people   in 2016. That's on track for a new record. Either the U.S. is a profoundly criminal society (which I don't think it is) or it's a nation in extremely dangerous social disorder.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/head-of-the-imf-christine-lagarde-in-court-charged-with-embezzlement-and-fraud-8628670.html
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Here is a future problem I've mentioned before. Apparently, the future is here. So - who will control this development? Us? Or billionaires? It's not future. It's now.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/building-robot-mcdonalds-staff-cheaper-8044106
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Many nations have, at various times, believed themselves superior to all others and, commonly, with God's blessing on their superiority. It has  been a common belief in Judaism. It's been true of most imperial powers.

"When Britain first at heav'n's command
Rose out the azure main
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang the strain:
Rule Britannia..."

Yes, the Britain that murdered, enslaved, addicted, impoverished millions over the world's surface, had risen at heaven's command. Rule Britannia.

Historically, it's common for the rise of power to give rise to a belief is was all God's idea - and those with the power have the right to use it as they please. The idea proved especially attractive to fundamentalist Christians who played a major role in bringing it to the U.S. There, it morphed into manifest destiny and now into American Exceptionalism.

I don't know what forms this notion took in earlier years. But for the last five centuries, it's been used by the wealthy to justify murder and looting that makes them even wealthier. And just to draw everybody in, including non-Christians, God is rarely mentioned as part of it any more. But the implication is still there. Yes, Britain rose at heaven's command. And now the U.S. has risen at heaven's command.

Canada played the game for a time, too. Its native peoples can tell you all about that.

http://thesaker.is/examining-american-exceptionalism/

We all take turns being God's favourites. And the world pays a terrible price for it every time.
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And this is more than an amusing touch at the end. Take a look at today's Irving press.  It carried the story of how a Moncton charity went broke when a cultural event it planned drew very, very few people. Just below it is a joyful tale about how the locals are lining up to get tickets for a beer fest.

http://www.alternet.org/comics/alternet-comics-jen-sorensen-beer-ultimate-symbol-patriotism
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I have much more. But there's never enough time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24: And the state of the world is not my fault.

Let's not even pretend that section A has any news. The headline,  the big story YOU need to know, is that city councils in New Brunswick are sworn in with pipers, poets and cadets. And it doesn't get better. There's also a big story that a three legged cat still likes to jump. So, as a public service, I offer these suggestions for stories that the irving press might consider for the future.

1. We are facing climate change - and that means we have to make changes in the way we live. One of those changes is in our housing. A city of tinder dry,  wooden housing in the middle of a forest is insane. We need housing that is fire-resistant.

We also need housing that is more compact because we are going to have to become efficient in heating them.

The fire-resistant material isn't a problem. Size is. We have become accustomed to houses larger than we need. And that costs energy. Luckily, there has been a good deal of work down on more compact housing. Even an Irving press editor should be able to find it. Such an alert editor could also find such houses that heat themselves with solar panels. It may sound terrible to live in a smaller house - but it commonly makes sense in many ways. As well, I grew up in flat of, at most, 400 square feet - and without any sense of inconvenience.

We are going to have to make changes in the way we live. A newspaper should be giving us information about that.

2. A series of stories on what impact climate change is likely to have on us. and some sense of when that change is likely to happen would be useful in raising awareness and responses. There are plenty of scientists in this region who are competent to discuss this.

3. It would be useful - through a story and a large map - to get a picture of exactly what the city plan (if there is one) for Moncton is. For this, too, it would be useful to interview experts on the subject - not real estate developers. (And maybe it would be useful not to have real estate developers run for mayor - as happened in Moncton's election. Luckily, he lost).

4. We are fast approaching a condition in which machines and robots will replace people on the labour market. How do we prepare for this? Will we let the free market take its course - and make the rest of us just cheap labour? Or shall we explore ways so that all of us - not just billionaires - benefit from the change?

5. What is the record of our prison system? How many of the people in it are reformed by their experience of it? The American record of reform is a very bad one, indeed. Most prisoners  (Conrad Black springs to mind) come out of it quite unchanged from what they were when they went in. In my own time of prison work, I met many prisoners. But I never met one who showed any change after release. Why is this? Is there something we can do about this? What are the experiences of other countries. (There are other countries that do get results.)

6. Then here are projects that might provide both enlightenment and entertainment.

 Professor Saillant of U de M wrote a book on the disastrous state of the New Brunswick economy. It put the blame on New Brunswickers in general and, quite pointedly, not on the wealthy. It was wildly applauded by the irving press. Since then, we've learned a good deal about tax havens - a possible factor that was not mentioned in the book.

Is it possible that these tax havens have been a problem for the New Brunswick economy? Is it possible that the professor of economics had never heard of tax havens?

Whatever the case, shouldn't the Irvinig press be considering the implicatons of all this?

Mind you, I'm sure we can still blame the poor and the middle class by writing editorials about how they avoid taxes by using tax havens.

7. New Brunswick entrepreneurs have been spraying its forests despite widespread concerns that these sprays are toxic -   something denied by the forestry entrepreneurs. I'm sure they're right because they'd never do anything bad for us. So wouldn't it be educational for a bunch of senior forestry execs to be placed in a large room with TV and comfortable chairs for a couple of days while forest sprays are pumped into the room?

Just a few suggestions to make the newspaper more newsy.
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Both the editorial and Norbert are quite acceptable and professional today.
The commentary page has a superb one on the seeming insanity of moving the library to the old Moncton High building. This is a very expensive proposition that fits into no scheme of city planning that I can imagine. In short, I think this is a scam, and we are being taken on a shakedown scheme. This is going to cost us a bundle for no benefit whatever to us.

Below this commentary is one that I groaned at as I began it. It's about garbage collections.  But I was wrong. This is an excellent column on what we can do to prevent some very nasty accidents to garbage collectors.

Alec Bruce talks about getting older, and what that means - a message that struck all too close to home for me. But it's an excellent column. And today has been the best I have ever seen for the two,  opinion pages of the irving press.
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Section B, Canada&World, isn't good enough to wrap garbage in.

South America is in a chaos of rising poverty, U.S. interference,  overthrown government - and there's not a word about it in this paper.  The US placing of missile sites along the Russian border has hugely increased the risk of nuclear war. But not in the pages of the Irving press. There's a big story about Trudeau arriving in Tokyo - but it has nothing to say. Curiously, paragraphs 8, 9, and 10 are quotations from the Japanese ambassador that are so bizarre as to suggest a hopeless ignorance of Canada, and of geography in general.

The European Union is trembling on the edge of break-up. But not a mention in the Irving press. Yemen? Nope. spreading starvation in Africa? Who cares?  Israel's Netanyahu could well have engineered a crisis. He has also introduded a bill to legalize hanging of arab terrorists. But Israeli terrorists will  not be subject to it. There's no story on the crisis in Ukraine where the government established by the U.S. has led the country into bankruptcy and poverty. It doesn't matter whether the irving press resports on it because almost all of its reports on that nation have been lies.

The only story worth reading is of the meeting between Pope Francis and a major Islamic leader. There's honest leadership here that we haven't been seeing from our politicians - or journalists.
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"The Counted" (the record of killings by U.S. police is back on display again. With 397 killed already this year, American police are on track to matching and even beating last year's score. With this killings, and with the biggest prison population in the world, the U.S. is a very violent and unstable country - something an election is likely to make even worse.
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Here's a story from a source sympathetic to Russia. However, the information in it is quite correct. And it shows a flaw that has developed in our thinking. Judging from our news reports, the U.S. has a right to overthrow foreign governments - so long as they call it 'regime change'.

Now, no country, including the U.S., has the right to change any country's government.  And it doesn't matter what government people have. Who the government might be or what kind of a government is no business of us or of the United States. And,  in fact, the governments the U.S. has imposed after regime change (like Haiti or Iraq or Afghanistan) have almost invariably been dictatorships or puppets or incredibly corrupt - often all three.

Contrary to wide belief in the U.S., God has not given the U.S. the right to intervene in the affairs of other countries. ( And the crazy thing is that this is a wide belief. not just in the U.S. but in Canada. It's the mark of the old, arrogant imperialist mentality.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44724.htm
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And then there's this - a column by a Jewish writer who agrees with a prominent Israeli general that Israelis are developing a nazi streak. (Yes, I know there has been no Palestinian holocaust. Neither I nor the general says there has been. But marked nazi traits are certainly observable.)

The first trait is racism. Israelis believe they are a race. There is, in fact, no evidence that there is such a thing as race - at least not in the sense we usually use that term. But the belief in race enables Iraelis to treat Palestinians as an inferior people, just as British and French racists treated their empires, and just as Hitler treated Jews - and we treated native peoples.

Racism is the underpinning of the right of Jews to a claim to Israeli. God, it seems, promised it to the Hebrew tribes. If so, then God was having a  sloppy day. The Hebrew tribes were not, in any way, a race. They were, in fact, of much the same origins as all the people around them.

(Indeed, most of the Jews from Europe have nothing to do with the Hebrew tribes. They are much later converts to Judaism.)

But Israel commonly treats arab Israelis as inferiors in Israeli law, routinely destroying their homes, forbidding them passage with Jews in public transport. regularly stealing Palestinian land, and kicking out the people living on it, refusing to make payments it owes to Palestine, and controlling Palestinian trade by cutting off access to the borders and territorial waters of Palestine.

No. It's not as bad as Hitler. But it's on track. And it's coming under heavy criticism from large numbers of Jews in North America.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44722.htm
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And here's the story you won't find in the irving press - or most of all the North American news media.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44719.htm

The US' South American empire could be on the edge of a major revolt.
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This next one is VERY disturbing reading. But I'm afraid it's quite true. And the same thing is happening in Canada.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44726.htm
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The next one is about a report that is due on Tony  Blair's lies that led to the Iraq war. The Blair and Bush lies opened  the way to one of the great mass murders of history. And they plunged the U.S. and Britain into a strategic disaster that they can't escape. Neither, thanks to the Trudeau government, can we.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3602942/Chilcot-report-savage-Tony-Blair-absolutely-brutal-verdict-attack-key-figures-Jack-Straw-Sir-Richard-Dearlove-says-former-minister.html
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According to the Israeli state comptroller, Netanyahu has illegally diverted government funds, and done other, financial misdeeds. There's not enough information on it  yet to give any details. Watch for it in the irving press. (Good luck.)
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Here's a general look at the world by Noam Chomsky. It's not pretty. But he's almost as smart as the editors at irving press.

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/chomsky-gop
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Enough. Life rushes in on me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23: not a nice day

The big, front-page story in the irving press is that Moncton's mayor wants a solution to the car-booting issue. That's nice, even commendable. But it's scarcely a big story of the day. And it gets worse. Its companion on front page is a story that New Brunswick needs a new generation of truckers. Think about that.

The world is going under to climate change. And our great need is a whole new generation of truckers so we can burn lots of fossile fuels for forty years to come.
And the rest of section A doesn't get any better.

The editorial left me hopelessly confused. "Celebrate Queen Victoria, but Canada's future, too." I can quite agree it's time to dump Vicky, a thoroughly self-absorbed woman of no great intelligence who never did anything useful. But to celebrate a future that hasn't happened yet? That makes no sense at all.  Anyway, Victoria Day doesn't celebrate Victoria, anyway. And it hasn't for at least a century.  It's just a day off.

Then it wobbles into the idea featuring a prominent Canadian woman for the May holiday. Then switches to a Mi'qmac grand chief who fully cooperated with Jacques Cartier and the French, converted to Catholicism and adopted a French name. Thus, according to the editorial, helping to found our nation.

I'm not sure that native peoples would be nearly as thrilled by that as the editorial suggests.

Craig Babstock's commentary is trivial, as usual.

Steve Malloy is on burning question our day - the right to buy enough beer in Quebec to get decently sozzled back home in New Brunswick. Alec Bruce writes about premier Gallant's love of travel - but really says nothing. And that leaves us with Norbert.

He''s brilliant. He writes on climate change. He doesn't rant. This is solid, common sense - something which is not common at all. I would just add one point. He mentions large numbers of Americans moving to Canada to get away from the climate problems showing up in states. This could be a very big problem, indeed, big enough to become th end of Canada.

Think. You are an American billionaire who needs the large American population to vote for the parties that the billionaires control, who needs their taxes and their bodies to fight  his endless and expensive wars. Do you really believe they would allow large numbers of those voters and taxpayers amd potential warriors tosimply walk away to create a U.S that would be weaker?

No way. Canada would be annexed tp become states. And a Justin Trudeau (or a Harper) would be their boy.
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In a miserable, four pages of Canada&World news, one of the biggest stories is about a dress designer in Halifax who sells tartan dresses. Then there's the same story we've read a dozen times about the fire at Fort McMurray. I've yet to see an irving story that even mentions the  role of climate change in this.

There's a nothing story about Trudeau visiting Japan for trade talks. There's no mention, for example, that Japan trade is being proposed at a price that means giving up almost all control over our own environment.

Then,Trudeau solemnly tells us that China is a real threat to Japan. Any commentary columnist who can find Wikkipedia on the web could  have written a column of instruction for Justin.

Of all the major power in this world, China has, for centuries been the least likely to invade anybody. The U.S. has invaded other people's lands in almost every year since it was created. Ditto for Britain and France and Spain and Portugal for some centuries. One of their favourites for invasion was China.  

Japan has long been a happy and vey brutal invader invader. Ask any Canadian who served at Hong Kong in 1941 orthe Russians who got invaded by Japan in  1900. Ask the Chinese who suffered long years of murder and famine and Brutality in World War Two.

Then check China's history of invasion for the last several thousand years. It's relatively slim pickings.

Canada has a more aggressive history than China does.

So we have a prime minister who doesn't know what he's talking about. And a press that doesn't know enough to question him.

The Canada news is trivial and even silly. The world news doesn't exist.
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In this story, we are told that that Russian and Chinese aircraft are patrolling international air spece, but close to American coasts. And the U.S. feels this is very dangerous. Gee! The U.S.  would never do such a thing. Well, except in the Baltic, or the South China Sea or, possibly, almost the Russian land border - or perhaps via its thousand or so bases all over the world. Oh, and the Black Sea.
Notice that the article never mentions any of this.

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/us/threat-from-russian-and-chinese-warplanes-mounts/ar-BBtkG1B?ocid=spartandhp
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The trouble with stories like the ones below is they don't realize that we need to build oil pipelines and get more truckers because - duh - they create jobs. That's why our politicians and oil billionaires  (bless their little hearts) have so far done close to nothing about climate change. That's why we're preparing an invasion of Libya ( something the irving press didn't consider worth mentioning). It's not because of ISIS. And it's not because most of us give a damn about Libya. It's because Libya is bursting with oil. And western oil billionaires want to control it, all of it. Hey. they want to create jobs. They're real sweethearts that way. Look how rich they've made Iraq.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/23/world-could-warm-by-massive-10c-if-all-fossil-fuels-are-burned

P.S. Don't worry about the year 2200. The world would be dead long before that. And good luck if you're counting on Justin.
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But don't worry. I'm sure our world leaders and the billionaires they serve will do the right thing.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/may/23/indias-record-breaking-heatwave-in-pictures

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/may/22/southern-africa-worst-global-food-crisis-25-years
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And this comment spoke to my heart. I'm having the same problems as the commentator. Damn microsoft. Damn Windows 10.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/23/microsoft-windows-ten-10-software-update-problems-iplayer
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This next one seems extreme. But I'm  inclined to accept it because 1.the west has centuries of proving it is as aggressive, murderous and thieving as the article says and 2. I've always found Paul Craig Roberts to be a pretty reliable commentator.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44715.htm
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The next story is crackpot. But I think it's real. (I've heard of samples of it in Canada, too.)  This comes at a time when a victory for either Trump or Clinton will provoke serious anger from the many who hate either - or both.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2016/05/21/armed-with-guns-and-constitutions-the-patriot-movement-sees-america-under-threat/
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This one is about how the U.S. government claims to be fighting terrorism when, in reality, it has been financing, supplying and even training terrorist groups for years. It's really old news. But it has yet to appear in the irving press.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44709.htm

The story below it is a Saudi claim that the American government staged 9/11. It's possible, I suppose - though I doubt it. Certainly, I would not rush to take the word of a Saudi official.
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It's always hard to guess what news readers want. It's especially tough with countercurrents.org

Much of its commentary will seem esoteric to most readers. But it's worth checking out from time to time to see what rouses your curiosity.
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I also found several items arguing that Jesus was a homosexual. That's quite possibly true - but it's a  hard sell. The average Canadian, 21st century heterosexual Christian will feel that Jesus was of, course, just like him or her - and voted Liberal or Conservative, and bought Lotto Canada tickets every week. Many scholars who have spent their lives studying the subject say he was almost certainly a homosexual. But what do they know?
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I found the article below on World War Two a little questionable on its avoidance of Russia's occuption of Poland after the war - but  quite reasonable in its main point. The U.S. planting of missiles on the European borders of Russia does nothing to protect the people of Eastern Europe. Worse, it puts Eastern Europe on the front line should a war break out.

At every stage of World War 2, the U.S., like most countries, put first the interests of those who controlled it - in this case, the very wealthy. It deliberately impoverished Britain during and after the war so that we now see a puppy dog British government wagging its tail at whatever its master tells it do do.

In the same way, the U.S. controls almost all the European countries. They have become economic servants and battle fodder. It tried, but failed to get control of the British and French empires. The colonies of those empires beat out both the Americans and their old, European rulers.

It also failed to get control of China - a task it is now assigning to Japan. Its only great success was stealing control of British and French-owned oil fields in the middle east - and now even that is in danger.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article191828.html

The author of this article was, of course, jailed last week by the freedom loving government of Poland. I am not aware of any objection to this from the North American press.( I doubt whether the irving press even knows about it.)
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Something to watch for -- Democrat contender Bernie Sanders has to start a new party. Even if he were to win  the presidency, he would never be able to achieve anything with a Democrat party that is fully as corrupt and bought by big money. In fact, Hillary Clinton has far the largest campaign fund, one big enough to buy both her and the party.

Both parties are very old apples that are rotten to the core. And there is not the slightest chance they will change. There probably isn't time before the presidential election. But nothing useful is going to happen until a third party is formed.

Americans don't have a democracy; and they don't have choices. So far, the country has hung together on the basis of myths and illusions which are collapsing into pure anger. So far, it's anger that has little direction but violence. And that could be very, very dangerous for all of us.
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