Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 30: The worst, the very worst, ever.


Thursday is the day for piles of advertising flyers in the paper. I don't understand why - because few people ever read them. Most of them just get tossed out without ever being opened. Anyway, that means there's less paper for news. And the news that there is reminds of  those ditzy mags that have  headlines like 'Kate's Style Secrets'.

The front page headline, get this, is about something that hasn't happened yet. (So, actually, there's nothing to report.) The 'story is that council is going to vote on setting up a proposed car booting committee.

Moving along quickly, a woman in Richibucto found a dead cat hanging in a tree.

Then there's the ad for the Irving Chapel - with special music. (Perhaps a naked band of grade school dropouts will play hymns by squishing their hands in their armpits.) Then there's "Fellowship and coffee in The Barn", a wonderful opportunity to meet the kind of people who would go to coffee and fellowship in the irving barn.

A boutique hotel is to be built in Moncton. What is a boutique hotel? It's an expensive one. It's also referred to as a 'lifestyle' hotel. I think that, too, is meant to say it's expensive. But think about it. Lifestyle means the way you live So that means a flophouse is a lifestyle hotel. And so , I suppose, is a prison. 'Boutique' and 'lifestyle' as used here is advertising doubletalk.

Notice there's no reporter's name on the story?  It's a safe guess that this 'story' is a free ad written up by the hotel company's advertising flaks.

Almost half the story is about how it's going to brew its own beer. Wow! Talk about resurgo!

Then there's a big story about how a local tattoo artist has quit, leaving a woman with an unfinished tattoo on her leg. And there's even a photo of her leg so we can see what an unfinished tattoo  on a leg looks like.

Obviously, the irving press has decided we're all morons.
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Norbert's column is quite decent. Not outstanding, but decent. And that makes it the class act on opinion and commentary pages that reek of ignorance and even hysteria.

The editorial says our premier should set up a coalition of our business, political and academic leaders to meet with their counterparts in Britain to talk them into rejoining the EU. What a twit!

British business, political and academic leaders were not the ones who voted to quit the EU. (And why our business, political and academic leaders would be qualified to offer any advice to anybody is not clear to me.) It was the working class who voted for Brexit. Interesting how nobody in the irving press has even thought of them or why they did it.

The guest column, by an academic,  is also about Brexit. In summary, it says A-A-A-Ah, run and hide. It shows no sense whatever of why 52% of British votes voted to leave. Nor does it show any sense of why other EU countries feel the same way. But it does include a mandatory quotation from Churchill that has nothing to do with the topic.

Rod Allen chooses the same topic, and writes his usual column of uninformed, adolescent 'wit'.

Alec Bruce begins very well in pointing out that a Donald Trump is not a creator of chaos. He is the product of the chaos that we live in. But then, he makes the leap to Brexit being a part of the chaos.

That's nonsense.

Trump surfaced long before Brexit. The chaos we live in, and which goes back to before Trump was born, has been caused by a U.S. capitalism which feeds itself on eterntal wars, mass murder, destroyed nations...It has been creating that chaos since earliest European settlement in the Americas, since its invasion of Canada, its war to steal Texas and California from Mexico, its invasions and dictatorships all over Latin America, and its intrusions into Asia beginning with The Phillipines (where it developed its favourite form of torture, waterboarding.)
American capitalism, following the lead of British and French capitalism has been constantly at war to satisfy its greed. It created chaos and horrible suffering throughout the middle east with its illegal and unjustified wars against Iraq and Syria. There's chaos and suffering throughout a South America which has been vandalized since 1492, with the U.S. taking over the vandal role about 150 years ago. The EU, itself, is essentially a creation of American and (remnants of) European capitalism to wage economic war, and maybe a nuclear one, on Russia.

 The EU is the product and creator of chaos.

Where do we, who read stinkingly ignorant papers like the irving press and who have had almost no information about Brexit, get they idea that we know better than 52% of the British nation?

You want chaos? We are chaos. We, who are afraid to express or discuss opinons in public, and we are among the most illiterate in the developed world, who alternately vote for two parties that are the same...

Then he tells us that Britain and the U.S. have been beacons of tolerance and good sense. (It must be a condition of newspaper writing that one has to be ignorant of history - and even of the present.) Britain, the U.S., and Canada have been up to their noses in racism, slavery, hatreds, and discrimination throughout history. We have all, until very recently, despised Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Japanese Canadians, Africans,Irish-Catholics, Chinese, people from India and Pakistan and, of course, native peoples. We have submitted all of these to poverty, imprisonment, social sneering.

The British have a history of tolerance? I guess  you didn't read yesterday's blog with the poem by Rudyard Kipling. i guess you never heard of the British Empire that that slaughtered millions over one-fifth of the globe's surface, enslaved its inhabitants, looted their lands. It also kept most of the British people in poverty and hunger.

And the U.S. is tolerant? Is this the same U.S. that refuses to help the millions of refugees it has created? The U.S. where half the population thinks it's a great idea to build a wall on the Mexican border, and thinks all Mexican men are rapists? The country where, until the 1930s, African Americans were routinely hanged for the fun of it, and when most African Americans still live in poverty and suffer severe discrimination.

So, says Mr. Bruce, we have to watch out for inflammatory rhetoric. Damn right. That's why I found it hard to finish reading  his column.

The most striking thing about today's columns is that not one of them says a single word about why the British voted against the EU. In fact, in the whole history of this affair, the irving press has given us almost no information - and nothing, not a word, about why 52% of Britain, especially the working class, voted as it did.

There is, as Alec Bruce says, a rising tide of stupidity. And, today, he has made that tide even higher.

Perhaps the paper could save money simply by having Mr. Irving write all the columns in the first place.
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Section B, Canada&World, isn't quite as good as Section A. There's a whole story, a long one on a speech Obama gave to parliament - in which he said nothing.  He warned against protectionsm in trade. This could have been the subject of a commentary in the irving press but, of course, nobody at the press knows enough about the subject to write anything.

Both Canada and the U.S. were built on protectionism. The U.S. actually fought the civil war in order to introduce protectionism, and prevent free trade. We were both protectionist until recent history.

Obama also saw trade agreements as creating prosperity. The reality is that prosperity has been on the skids in both the U.S. and Canada - because of trade agreements. They're designed to make the rich richer by , for example, moving jobs to cheap labour countries. And,  in both Canada and the U.S., we've seen rising poverty and homelessness as a result.

(I am not against free trade. I am against free trade deals that move a nation's money away from most of the people and into the pockets of a very few.)
Nor do these deals usually help the underdeveloped countries, either. If they did, Haiti and Guatemala would be rolling in money.

And, he said Canada must spend more on NATO. Why?

Well, he doesn't say. So let's guess. it can't be because of the war NATO was intended for - the defence of Europe and North America from attack. Any such attack would go nuclear within minutes. There is no defence.

 So why spend more on NATO?

1. Spending more on NATO means lush contracts for hugely expensive weaponry like fighter aircraft - all available from your favourite, U.S. defence contractor.
2. The U.S. wants NATO  to go beyond its original role, and to fight wars of benefit to American billionaires. Syria springs to mind. This is a repeat of just over a century ago when Britain called in its colonies (like Canada) to help fight a war in South Africa so that British billionaires could steal the gold fields.
There's little in Section B, and nothing you wouldn't have learned yesterday by checking CBC News on your computer.

But there is one, small story I would recommend. It's not news. But it's something that should not be forgotten, The Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel in 1916
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The Guardian, though a little flabby today, has the best column I have seen (perhaps the only intelligent one I have seen) on Brexit. It's one of  the very few I have seen that (unlike the irving press) explains why the British voted to leave. And it makes an attempt to find a real solution - not just to go back to square one.)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/29/key-lesson-of-brexit-globalisation-must-work-for-all-of-britain
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Gee. Funny how the eagle eyes at the irving press missed this one.

http://newobserveronline.com/clinton-destroy-syria-israel/
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And here's a piece of news about Alec Bruce's land of tolerance and good sense.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/series/counted-us-police-killings
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And here's one you'll never see in the irving press. But it's a good sample of the anger and intolerance that is so prominent in Israeli politics.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44999.htm
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The following story can't be true because we know that God blesses America, and George Bush is a devout Christian.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/lawyer-cia-gave-romania-millions-host-secret-prisons-154300694.html?nhp=1
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What causes terror is 'war against terror'. What we called wars against terror are what caused the emergence of terrorist groups. In fact, one of the earliest Islamic. terrorist groups was financed, trained and armed by the U.S.  This was way back in the early 1980s when the CIA sponsored what is now called the taliban to fight back against a Russian invasion of Afghanistan.  Since then, Western 'wars against terror' have killed or maimed millions and have created tens of millions of refugees. And in all these years of killing and destruction of whole nations, we have made not a dent on terrorism. This item explains it well.

http://fpif.org/paris-istanbul-war-terror-means-terrorist-attacks/
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Paul Craig Roberts is one of the best news analysts in the business. Here's what he says about recent events.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45000.htm
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And here's a comment I must have missed in The Guardian. But a reader sent it to me. This is way above the hopelessly mindless drivel, ignorance and propaganda that has appeared today in the irving press.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 29th June 2016


Let’s sack the electorate and appoint a new one: this is the demand made by MPs, lawyers and the four million people who have signed the petition calling for a second referendum. It’s a cry of pain, and therefore understandable, but it’s also bad politics and bad democracy. Reduced to its essence, it amounts to graduates telling non-graduates “we reject your democratic choice”.

Were this vote to be annulled (it won’t be), the result would be a full-scale class and culture war, riots and perhaps worse, pitching middle class progressives against those on whose behalf they’ve claimed to speak, permanently alienating people who have spent their lives feeling voiceless and powerless.

Yes, the Brexit vote has empowered the most gruesome collection of schemers, misfits, liars, extremists and puppets British politics has produced in the modern era. It threatens to invoke a new age of demagoguery, a threat sharpened by the thought that if this can happen, so can Donald Trump. It has provoked a resurgence of racism and an economic crisis whose dimensions remain unknown. It jeopardises the living world, the NHS, peace in Ireland and the rest of the European Union. It promotes what the billionaire Peter Hargreaves gleefully anticipated as “fantastic insecurity”.

But we’re stuck with it. There isn’t another option, unless you favour the years of limbo and chaos that would ensue from a continued failure to trigger Article 50. It’s not just that we have no choice but to accept the result. We should embrace it and make of it what we can.

It’s not as if the system that’s now crashing around us was functioning. The vote could be seen as a self-inflicted wound, or it could be seen as the eruption of an internal wound, inflicted over many years by an economic oligarchy on the poor and the forgotten. The bogus theories on which our politics and economics are founded were going to collide with reality one day; the only questions were how and when.

Yes, the Brexit campaign was led by a political elite, funded by an economic elite and fueled by a media elite. Yes, popular anger was channelled towards undeserving targets – immigrants. But the vote was also a howl of rage against exclusion, alienation and remote authority. That is why the slogan “take back control” resonated. If the left can’t work with this, what are we for?

So here is where we find ourselves. The economic system is not working, except for the likes of Philip Green. Neoliberalism has not delivered the meritocratic nirvana its theorists promised, but a rentiers’ paradise, offering staggering returns to whoever grabs the castle first while leaving productive workers on the wrong side of the moat. The age of enterprise has become the age of unearned income; the age of the market, the age of market failure; the age of opportunity, a steel cage of zero-hour contracts, precarity and surveillance.

The political system is not working. Whomever you vote for, the same people win, because where power claims to be is not where power is. Parliaments and councils embody paralysed force, gesture without motion, as the real decisions are taken elsewhere: by the money, for the money. Governments have actively conspired in this shift, negotiating fake trade treaties behind their voters’ backs to prevent democracy from controlling corporate capital. Unreformed political funding ensures that parties have to listen to the rustle of notes before the bustle of votes. In Britain, these problems are compounded by an electoral system that ensures most votes don’t count. This is why a referendum is almost the only means by which people can be heard, and why attempting to override it is a terrible idea.

Culture is not working. A worldview which insists that both people and place are fungible is inherently hostile to the need for belonging. For years we have been told that we do not belong, that we should shift out without complaint while others are shifted in to take our place. When the peculiarities of community and place are swept away by the tides of capital, all that’s left is a globalised shopping culture, in which we engage with glazed passivity. Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chainstores.

In all these crises is opportunity. Opportunities to reject, connect and erect: to build from these ruins a system that works for the people of this country, rather than for an offshored elite that preys on insecurity. If it is true that Britain will have to renegotiate its trade treaties, is this not the best chance we’ve had in decades to contain corporate power? Of insisting that companies which operate here must offer proper contracts, share their profits, cut their emissions and pay their taxes? Is it not a chance to regain control of the public services slipping from our grasp?

How will politics in this sclerotised nation change without a maelstrom? In this chaos we can, if we are quick and clever, find a chance to strike a new contract: proportional representation, real devolution and a radical reform of campaign finance to ensure that millionaires can never again own our politics.

Remote authority has been rejected, so let’s use this moment to root our politics in a common celebration of place, to fight the epidemic of loneliness and rekindle common purpose, transcending the tensions between recent and less-recent immigrants (which means everyone else). In doing so, we might find a language in which liberal graduates can talk with the alienated people of Britain, rather than at them.

But most importantly, let’s address the task that the left and centre have catastrophically neglected: developing a political and economic philosophy fit for the 21st Century, rather than repeatedly microwaving the leftovers of the 20th (neoliberalism and Keynesianism). If the history of the last 80 years tells us anything, it’s that little changes without a new and feracious framework of thought. And when it arrives, everything changes. Much of my work over the next few months will be to assess what’s on offer and try to identify and promote the best ideas.

So yes, despair and rage and curse: there are reasons enough to do so. But then raise your eyes to where hope lies.
www.monbiot.com
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There's more. Much more But the sun in sinking, and so am I.

The world is, indeed,  in chaos. And we have played a role in putting it there.  Why are we so blind to the chaos? Why cannot we see that we are within inches of nuclear war?

In the early 1960s, I was teaching high school. I remember the day I got there to see students huddled in small and very frightened groups. There was a terror that had gripped all of us.  The Soviet Union had ships carrying nuclear missiles to be placed in Cuba, just off the Florida coast. President Kennedy announced that, unless they turned back, those ships would be attacked. The whole world was gripped in fear.

We all knew that such an attack could well mean nuclear war. The end.
Happily, the ships  turned back.

Today, the situation is even worse. The U.S. has not threatened to put nuclear missiles on the Russian border. No. It has simply gone ahead and built the sites. Any miscalculation now could trigger a nuclear war - any false or misunderstood message, any human blunder....

Two days ago, U.S. jet fighters in Syria were ordered to intercept a flight of Russian bombers who were bombing rebel positions in Syria. (The U.S. - illegally and without UN consent - supports the rebels. The U.S. airforce also has no right to be flying over Syria.) They ordered the Russians to leave.

What if a Russian pilot had ignored that? What if an American pilot, perhaps too tense, had made a hostile move? Then we would quite likely have had a nuclear war - and it would be over by now. (Luckily, the Russians broke off - then came back later to bomb the rebels.)

But this isn't the early 60s. This is 2016 when our news media don't even tell us about these incidents. This is 2016 when we've been trained to live in a stupor, and to believe that mass murder is just a normal part of life.

The U.S. is willing to risk nuclear war with Russia. It's not because Russians are communists. That ended a long time ago. It's not because Russians are a threat to world peace. Check the record for the last fifty years. The most warlike nation hasn't been Russia. It's been the U.S.

So what's the reasoning behind risking such a war? It's purely economic, to put Russia and then China under the control of the the blessing of our business leaders. And of the news media all over the world that they own.business 'leaders' who control us. And that's also what the EU and the wars in  the middle east are all about.

It's dangerous. It's immoral. It's pure greed. And it is extremely foolish - for all of us. But it has the support of our business leaders and of the news media they own all over the world.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29: Not a good day.

Perhaps unwisely, I may devote all or most of today's blog to brexit and the European Union.

Was this  the result of racism? When I ask this, I remember, at age six or so, being coached by my father to memorize the lines of Rudyard Kipling, writing about the duties of empire.

It was a hymn to racism. In it, Kipling made Britain's slaughter, abuse, theft and exploitation of billions of humans into a Christian crusade to bring the Christian God and civilization to the world. It was written for an American audience because the U.S. was now doing the same thing with invasions of Latin America and The Phillipines.

Just about all people in the history of this world have believed, at some point, that they were racially superior to others. In Canada, we have, on racial grounds, murdered native peoples, exploited and humiliated orientals, blacks. There was a time when Irish Catholics were not welcome in Canada. Nor were Jews. Or East Europeans. Or Chinese. Or Japanese.

Poles were pollacks. French were Frogs. English were les maudit blokes. Jews were kikes and yids. And this is not ancient history. Indeed, some of it still exists. For that matter, the poor are often treated as an inferior race. And the very wealthy are treated as a superior race.  You can see samples of that in Norbert Cunningham's commentaries. (I'll return to this later.)

By some miracle of genetics, once people become accepted as Americans (African-Americans are still working on this) all those British, Polish, Irish, Jews, Germans become a part of a new race. That race is, presumably genetically, superior to all others. And it has been chosen by God to rule over all others on this earth. It's a step beyond anything that even Kipling thought of.
God intends the U.S. to rule the world because it is racially superior to other peoples. That is what is behind the 'American Exceptionalism' that even Obama embraces. Yes, the descendant of slaves has publicly embraced the concept of a racial superiority ordered by God. And that, without directly mentioning God, is what Project for the New American Century is all about - God's will that Americans, through genetic superiority, will rule the world. Those who oppose that view are evil, and their evil is a product of their genetic inferiority.

That takes us back to 1945, the end of World War 2. I well remember the day that war ended. I was a very young child caught up in the tumult of downtown Montreal that day, the streets filled with jubilant crowds. The old, war-time signs were still up. "Loose lips sink ships". "Buy War Bonds". But there was also a new one. "We've won the war. Now we've got to win the peace."

I didn't understand it at the time. But our governments explained it. War had killed some 80 million people. We now had to create a world order that would end war. That world order was called the United Nations. That was what so many Canadians had died for, we were told.

But Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China weren't about to submit to anything so democratic. In particular, the first four of those still had dreams of power. So they gave themselves the power to veto any UN decisions. With that, the new world order died even as it was born.

The only power that could take advantage of its veto turned out to be the U.S. And the government of the U.S. was and is controlled by the ambitions and greed of  the very wealthy. And the U.S. public is controlled by the news media owned by the very wealthy.

In the view of the very wealthy, the U.N. was simply in the way of their conquest of the world. And they set out to destroy it by ignoring it. Since world war 2, the U.S. has invaded countless countries. We know about the big wars - Vietman, Iraq... We don't hear about the drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and others - or the illegal acts of war against Cuba (the bombing of a civilian airliner, the trade sanctions), two invasions of Guatemala and a mass murder of its civilians. We pretend the most recent invasion of Cuba was 'peacekeeping'.  And who cares about the carpet bombing of Cambodia - among others?  We dismiss the murders of South American Presidents and environmental and union activists.

By ignoring the UN, the U.S. has effectively  destroyed it. And, by ignoring this, we and our news media have betrayed the promises we made to those Canadians who fought and died in World War Two.

Replacing the UN, we now have a set of U.S. controlled alliances. They are essentially economic and military. They are economic because they are structured to be highly profitable for American corporations, and for allied corporations in other countries. They are military because military power, as in Kipling's day, is the base of economic power.

The European Union was not simply the blending of European countries into one. It was the blending of European economies to ensure the continued dominance of capitalism and, in particular, of American capitalism.

It also blends with American military desires through NATO. One reader wrote to ask what the military has to do with economic policy.  It has everything to do with economic policy. The military is what we use to enforce our economic power over other countries. Any fighting in South America is to kill opposition to American capitalism. The war in Vietnam was to boost American eonomic power in Asia. The fighting in the middle east is to cement American control of middle east oil.

And, like it or not, Canada is right in the middle of all this. Justin Trudeau has committed us to an (illegal) military role in Syria. He has also committed us to an extremely foolish role in Eastern Europe. We, with the European Union, are part of the American empire.  And we are taking up "the white man's burden".
The people of England have been through this for centuries. For pennies a day, they have fought and died all over the world to make the wealthy even wealthier. In return they were left forever in poverty and filth, ruled over and sneered at by the people they had made wealthy. (That's a variety of racism, too, the sense of the rich that they are better than us, and that they have rights we do not have. A case of that took New Brunswick to the brink of fascism several years ago. And it was applauded by the irving press.)

The city of London has become the city of the very rich. And the ones who aren't very rich? Well, at least 8,000 of them - including abandoned children - live in the streets. The prosperity of London has priced them out of any hope of shelter.
There are no official statistics on homelessness; but it may be even worse in the inidustrial cities because there are no official statistics. What there is in those districts is low pay and high unemployment. This has become worse with the creation of the EU because the U.S., abandoning all responsibility for the gross misery it has created in the middle east, has forced an already overcrowded Europe to accept a mass of refugees it has no room or jobs for.

The  contribution of employers has been to hire refugees as very cheap labour, and either fire locals or cut their wages. This is coupled with a strong movement in the western world to cut social services and to privatize everything in sight. As in the U.S., Britain has seen a massive privatization of schools, for example.  (We're getting a steady chipping away of the public sector here, too, with our health system, with privatization of blood collection....)

So, is there some racism in the desire to leave the EU?  Of course there is. We all have a tendency to be racist. Thousands of years of history should have taught us that by now. Note how New Brunswick happily accepted refugees despite its own, long record of racism. It accepted them because (as we were constantly reminded by the irving press) the numbers were small, and because we were also constantly reminded by the irving press that they were essential for our economy.
Yes, racism was surely a factor in Britain voting to quit the EU. And there are at least several other countries ready to leave for the same reason. Racism was a factor. But it wasn't the cause.

The cause had more to do with growing poverty, inequality, lack of opportunity for all but the rich, destruction of essential social services. The U.S. is in a similar situation. But there's almost no discussion of it. There, the discussion is deflected by the use of racism. The US has rising numbers of homeless and hungry. It has one of the worst records for social services in the developed world.
But Trump and Clinton don't talk about that. Trump led off with his wall on the Mexican border, and deporting Mexicans, especially since Mexican men are all rapists. Both tell us that Muslims are evil. (except, of course, for the royal family of Saudi Arabia which is at least as extreme as ISIS). Both reject any responsibility for refugees. Both preach hatred.

This is all the language of racism.  The hatred of Russia is very similar. It's an official racism. That way, we avoid the real issues - control of middle east oil, and squashing of Russian and Chinese economic competition.
And we buy it because we're all prone to racism.

In the sense of all the above, the British vote to leave the EU is a reaction to the behaviours of American business leaders since 1945. They destroyed the UN. They did it deliberately. And I have not seen a word about it in our news media.
To make it worse, their greed is not matched by any intelligence.  The current crisis with the Muslim world has its origins, of course, in the discovery of oil in the middle east. It was made infinitely worse by the U.S./British destruction democracy in Iran, and their creation of a dictator so they could rip off its oil. And the only reason for that was to benefit British and American big oil. (The intervention was also illegal under international law and by the rules of the U.N. It was a sign of the death that awaited the U.N.)

Even worse was the extraordinary brutality (and illegality) of the invasion of Iraq. And then the creation of a civil war in Syria -all to enrich American oil billionaires.

The British exit vote is a product of all this. The world is facing its greatest crisis. It's not Russia. It's not China. It's not Iran or Iraq or Syria or ISIS. It's the unlimited greed of the very wealthy.

 And it's us.

 It's us standing by with our faces hanging out as we refuse to recognize what the real threat is, as we fail to take any action at all to restore the democracy and world order that Canadians, as we've so often been told, died for in World War Two.

We've abandoned those who died. And we've abandoned ourselves.

That's what the brexit vote was all about.
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I suppose I should say something about the irving press. It's a real stinker this time.
Only one story in section A is worth reading. Nurses have met to oppose private blood clinics, and to explain the long history of problems with such ventures. But Health Minister Boudreau says - guess what.....

....it will create jobs.   ???If the hospitals were to collect the blood, wouldn't that create jobs, too?  O-O-OOH, and the government will give the private company a tax rebate. Isn't that nice?

Yessiree. What we got here is real enterpreneurs who are taking risks to make us prosperous. I have no doubt the Chamber of Commerce will give them an award supper.

The editorial is about education, and, as usual the writer knows nothing about it. Brian Cormier has a pointless little story.

Alec Bruce is right about Trump, but dead wrong about Brexit - and decidedly starry-eyed if he thinks we have a democracy.

Norbert has nothing useful to say.

And the big column is by some twit from a propaganda outfit - the Fraser Institute. That's like having a regular column by a con-man on the Faith page.
Canada&World has little Canada and almost no world. I have never read a newspaper I could finish so quickly. Hint to drug addicts - kick the habit. Subscribe to the irving press, and you'll pass out faster than any opium habit will do it.
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The Guardian is still in panic mode. The only item worth reading is that a new poll shows Clinton and Trump neck and neck. I with I could care. But they're both disasters, and so are their parties. And the American people are locked in a dream of an American that never existed, and kept in a stupor by lying, manipulating news media owned by billionaires who are ripping them off.
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Here's a story on brexit  you won't see  in the irving press.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/opinion/campaign-stops/bernie-sanders-democrats-need-to-wake-up.html?_r=2
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And something else you won't see in the irving press.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/06/27/europeans-contest-us-anti-russian-hype/
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And here's a story about the "three amigos" that our media have been gushing about.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/06/27/mexico-is-massacring-its-citizens-and-nobody-seems-to-hav
Do you think Justin Obama will question the Mexican president about this? Good luck.
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Enough. It's been a long day. Someday, I must write again and in more detail about that occasion when a prominent New Brunswicker almost brought fascism to this province, And nobody noticed.                                    Oh. I forgot.

Here is your copy of The White Man's Burden. Memorize it.

The poem[edit]

The cartoonist William H. Walker ridicules the colonial hypocrisy inherent to “the white man's burden”. (Lifemagazine)
The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands (1899)
Take up the White Man's burden, Send forth the best ye breed
  Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild—
  Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden, In patience to abide,
  To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain
  To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden, The savage wars of peace—
  Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,
  Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden, No tawdry rule of kings,
  But toil of serf and sweeper, The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread,
  Go make them with your living, And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden And reap his old reward:
  The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
  "Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden, Ye dare not stoop to less—
  Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,
  The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden, Have done with childish days—
  The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years
  Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28: New Brunswick = conformity=one hell of a price.

I begin my day checking out the news on CBC. No, not on television.  My days on TV taught me that TV news is overexcited newscasters talking as fast as they can while viewers sit in a stupor watching changing camera angles and shifting colours. Female newscasters are usually young and good-looking,  while their make counterparts can be unspeakably homely and shapeless. TV news isn't news. It's just  shifting colours and noises, very relaxing for minds that don't want to think. So I read it on the computer.

Unlike Norbert, I think CBC news is pretty good. But I have also noticed that it's weak on analysis of the news. That weakness hit a peak with the item below that we should be nicer to oil companies.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/big-oil-neb-transcanada-kinder-morgan-oshawa-1.3650925

I see no reason we should be nice to either of them.
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CBC even dips, occasionally, into a gushing style of news presentation that amounts to propaganda. The latest - and we can see this is all news media - is the reference to the leaders of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada as the three amigos.
It sounds like an old and corny western movie featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. Worse, it gives a sense that their current meeting on trade is a get together of good' ol' boys jes' havin' a good time.

National leaders are not buddies. They represent whoever their backers are and, sometimes, they even represent the people who elected them. The national leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are not fairy godfathers, and they are not meeting in Ottawa as a sorority of fairy godfathers. But that is what we are getting in place of news. It's happening in the print media, too - as in the irving press.

Obama is not Canada's friend. He has to think first of the big money that gave him some of their money to get elected. Trudeau should be thinking of the Canadian people; but he will have to think of his own donors, and to be careful not to think of challenging the U.S. on anything. The president of Mexico is in a similar position. And he will be remembering all those Latin American leaders who got killed or deposed for disagreeing with the U.S.
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The editor of the irving paper did a sloppy job on the headline for the lead story. The headline says most households will pay higher taxes as a result of a tax hike in NB. In fact,  the story says that a group which always opposed all tax hikes SAYS that most households will pay more.

But, if one reads the story further, it also says that the government claims there will be a $100 million dollars a year in rebates to lower and middle income families.

As a newspaper editor should know, many, perhaps most, readers do not read as much as a  half of any story. So it's important to make the meaning of the story clear in the headline and in the first paragraph. As it is, this isn't a story. This is propaganda.

Page A6 has a cutting edge story that graduates at Moncton High were urged by the speaker to be prudent. Sound advice. Yes, indeed. It reminds me of a song some readers might know:

Be prepared. That's the Boy  Scout marching song.
Be prepared as through life you go along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well.
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell......
And that's pretty much the news for section A.
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Norbert Cunningham, bored of writing commentary, turns to standup comedy. (It still needs of bit of work.)

But the commentary page is solid stuff, two days in a row.

Louise Gilbert has an excellent column on urging seniors to get outdoors and into nature.  ( It really is a life-changer,)

There is a superb commentary on N.B.'s carbon emissions by a sustainability consultant. I'm surprised and pleased to see it in the irving press.

And Alec Bruce has the best commentary on education I have seen in the paper. This one is worth careful reading. It actually proposes important solutions rather than just ranting about bureaucrats and teachers.

The great weakness of the editorial and commentary pages remains. They live in a world that ends at the New Brunswick border. We get no analysis of what is going on in the rest of the world. Yet the rest of the world has more impact on us than, say, the opening of a new lingerie  store in Moncton. We need to understand that greater world and, to do that, we need intelligent analysis of what's happening in it.

But I guess the cost of that would interfere with irving profits. That's probably why we rarely see Gwynne Dyer or David Suzuki any more.
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Canada&World has little on Canada and less on World. One of the big stories is that a company in Fredericton that I have never heard of has been sold at a profit. I tried, I really tried, to think of a way in which that will affect the rest of my life. But I couldn't think of one.

And there's another non- story about Dennis Oland and his trials and tribulations as a poor little rich boy convicted of beating his father to death.
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Amnesty International has long condemned the behaviour of Mexico and its president on the issue of human rights. This story is an example of why that condemnation has happened. And that president is one of the three, jolly, ho-ho-ho amigos meeting in Ottawa. And jolly amigo Obama has followed the lead of Bush in mass killing and torture and illegal aggression. That's why I have contempt for this 'jolly amigos' crap.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/27/mexico-torture-amnesty-report-innocent-women
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This is a long one, but worth the read. It's about why some people still believe that the earth is flat - and, linked to that, why some people (like most people in North America) still believe that capitalism creates prosperty and is efficient - despite all the evidence to the contrary. And it goes on to include the way governments use variations on 'flat earth' thinking to convince people that they are good and foreigners are evil.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/28/why-bad-ideas-refuse-die
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Here's a column by a writer who is probably against the British exit from EU, but who has taken the trouble to figure out why it happened. What he finds among the exit voters is a poverty that began in the days when Margaret Thatcher, the heroine of the far left, was prime minister.

There is some racism in the exit vote. But to call it racist is to distort and oversimplify it. Thather and her successors encouraged immigration because it could provide cheap labour for capitalists. Inevitably, that drove down all working class salaries. The real problem is not that the English hate immigrants on some racist grounds. The problem is that immigrants are being used, quite deliberately, to make the poor poorer.

Capitalism is driven by profits, and only by profits. Rather than creating prosperity, the history of capitalism is one of maintaining poverty to supply cheap labour. When unions were formed, capitalism hired gangsters to beat up and even to murder worker leaders. They still do it in much of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Nowadays, they can even get foreign armies and American special ops to do the dirty work. And they set up trade treaties that enable them to close down cities like Detroit, and move whole industries to poor countries that are easier to abuse.

Racism is probably a result, not a cause, The cause is further up the social ladder.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/27/liverpool-london-brexit-leave-eu-referendum

The U.S. has created millions of refugees its non-stop wars. It avoids the consequences of that by admitting very, very few refugees to the U.S. Can you imagine the reaction of American voters if the U.S. were to accept millions of those refugees it has created (or even just hundreds of thousands), then fire an equal number of Americans to replace them with cheaper refugee labour?

America's wars of aggression have consequences. So far, we're seeiing just the beginning of them. It's quite possible that the British vote is just the beginning of much greater consequences.   One could be a collapse of the EU as a fortress of the American empire. The exit vote  has everything to do with the power of international corporations and their abuse of that power.
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And here's a further complication to bear in mind.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44984.htm

The Brexit issue is a long and very complicated story. The results of it are unpredictable. And no-one will ever get any sense of what it happening by reading simply the occasional news story in the likes of the irving press.
Understanding the news means finding a good sources for it. But that's not enough. We also need to live in a society that openly and freely discusses these things. New Brunswick is not that kind of society. This is a society that lives in fear - fear of the bosses, fear of being different......

And most of its news media reflect that.
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So here's some interesting reading on a related topic. Closely related. The following continues a series I had run previously. It was sent to me by a friend, an excellent journalist I had worked with when the world was young.

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/06/27/news/how-irvings-intimidate-their-critics
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I have much, much more. But I'll end the day with that last one so you can think about what that means to the future of New Brunswick - and the world - if we continue in our submissive behaviour.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27: walking in the dark with irving news

We have recently committed troops to Afghanistan, Syria, and Eastern Europe. In no case  has any government sent its mps around to ask us first if we wanted to do this. I have never even heard of a government that sent its mps and mlas asking the public for its 'social license' to raise or lower taxes.

A government is elected to govern. It is not elected to ask us what it should do. The theory is that parties run for office on the basis of general principles and goals. If it acts on those then, maybe, we re-elect it. If it doesn't, we  elect a different one next time.

For decades, the world's leading scientists have been telling us we cannot go on burning fossil fuels for energy. We have to stop it, and we have to stop it soon. Ice that has existed for thousands of years is melting. Our temperatures are steadily rising.

A new and very expensive pipeline to New Brunswick means a commitment to fossil fuels for decades to come. So does fracking.

So the government of New Brunswick is going to ask the people of this province what it should do. The people of this province are, incidentally, are the same people that the Irving press tells us are the most illiterate and worst educated people in Canada. (I'm just quoting our press.) And, for most of them, all they know about the Energy East Pipeline and fracking  is what they read in a newspaper owned by people who stand to gain from both no matter how risky they are.

This would be comic - if the likely consequences were not so dreadful.
And the government, which has been studying this problem and consulting experts for years, a government which has heaps of information we haven't even seen, is going to ask us what it should do.

This is exactly what it looks like. It's a con game. And it's not a coincidence that this comes just days after the big, big irving press story about the people of Sussex rallying in support of fracking.

Gallant, like most of his predecessors, was never the real leader of this province. He and most of  the rest have been puppets dancing on strings. And, with the guidance of the irving press, we have elected them.

In keeping with the solemnity of this occasion, I think we should all attend these proposed consultation meetings and, when the MLA of the occasion arrives, we should stand - and fart.

In other section A news, a Fredericton lingerie store is opening a branch in Moncton. So there's no shortage of things to do in Moncton. You can look at lingerie, or read about grad speeches that are the same ones that have been given for hundreds of years, or fart.
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The editorial cartoon makes fun of government think tanks. I would have thought it funny if I didn't know that the cartoonist would never dare to print a similar one about think tanks owned by big money. (Atlantic Institute of Market Studies springs to mind.)

Norbert Cunningham's column on language in New Brunswick seems quite reasonable. I don't know why some anglos get into such a fuss about language in this province. Premier Robichaud did a pretty good job of setting New Brunswick on the right path in that respect.

If you want to see a real language problem, try being English in Quebec, or French anywhere else in Canada.

The Commentary page for today  is quite possibly the best I have seen in the irving press. Alec Bruce is particularly insightful and lucid on the Canada Pension Plan issue.
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Canada&World news has little worth reading. The lead story is that British is in turmoil after the EU referendum. True enough. But that will mean nothing to a reading audience that has never been told all that the EU is or what the referendum was all about.

Then there's a story that really tells us nothing about a conference in Ottawa that hasn't been held yet. And there's nothing of any significance about the rest of the world.

But, at that, the section is better than usual. There's a story about the Pope calling our attention to marginalized people in our society, and to the apology our churches owe them.  He's one of the very few religious leaders to be prominent in dealing with issues of real life.

(Incidentally,  one of the Pope's key advisors is Cardinal Karl Marx. Yes. That's for real.)

And, for people who think climate change isn't happening, there are two stories important to read on unusual conditions in the U.S. - floods in West Virginia, and a wildfire that destroyed 400 homes in California.

Then there's a big story on how climate change is forcing builders to change their designs.  You know, the climate change that our provincial government isn't sure about - so it has to ask us.
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The Guardian is disappointing on the Brexit referendum. Most of  its reporting is either about confusion or about disapproval of the vote. There is virtually no examination of why voters wanted to get out.

There is some examination of racism, particularly in regard to refugees. That's terrible, of course. (Except when the American government practices it, and to a far greater degree.) But if racism were the big issue, why wasn't there a big, exit vote in Scotland? The Scots are certainly not strangers to racism. And why was the working class vote for exit so heavy in England when the middle and upper class of England have also had such a pronounced dislike for 'others' for generations?

Nor is it clear why this should lead to collapse of the EU. If all but the English are  happy about it, then why are there so many predicting that the EU, itself, will dissolve?  (In fact, there is a quite widespread unhappiness within the EU.)
Then there's talk about how this threatens the 'new world order'.

Let's see, now.  Here's a system dominated by big money, especially American big money, which is designed to assure American dominance of Europe and, through that, American dominance of the world.

Is that the new world order we dreamed of in 1945? Is that what our soldiers, sailors and airmen died for?

The Guardian took an anti-Brexit editorial position from the start. And both both its reporting and its opinion columns have reflected that. That makes it look like a British version of the irving press and, indeed, of virtually the whole North American press.

I would like to see less opinion and more information than I  have seen so far in The Guardian or anywhere else.
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Here's an item about Trump from an excellent source. It talks about, among other things, Trump's mob connections. Mind you, he would not be the first U.S. president to have mob connections.

http://billmoyers.com/story/donald-trump-story-youre-not-hearing/
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The fullest coverage of Brexit I have found is Information Clearing House.  Some show strong bias, and some use loaded language. But on information, they beat anything I  have seen in The Guardian for months. And I've seen almost nothing in the irving press from the start.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44970.htm

This one breaks the naivete surrounding what the EU is really all about.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44974.htm

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44975.htm

The British vote will, I suspect, be ignored as the PM has already ignored it. And that will arouse an anger of its own.

The vote comes at a time of crisis. U.S. capitalists and the news media they own are determined to get world dominance no matter how much poverty, starvation, ruined lives, and killing that costs. That determination has us on the edge of a world, nuclear war.

At the same time, we are becoming poorer as a rapidly increasing part of our money goes straight into the pockets of the wealthy (who, largely, don't pay taxes on it). It is the rich, not the panhandlers, who are the economic threat to the rest of us.)

The Brexit vote is, whatever may happen, a turning point in history. It could lead to a collapse of British society. It could lead to a collapse of the EU. It could lead to the final collapse of the U.S. attempt to rule the world. It could be the step that triggers World War Three.

And, so far, we're just watching with our faces hanging out. And reading the non-news of the irving press.
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The world is facing a number of national debt crises - and well as millions of personal debt ones. As this one points out, there is a long history of such crises in this world. Greece is hopelessly in debt. Ukraine has been robbed by the friends of its new, 'democratic' government. Debt is a serious problem in most of the world, including personal debt in the U.S.

The answer of the wealthy is always the same. Hammer the poor. Blame them. Make them pay. Weaken or destroy social services. Cut out pensions. This is what Canada did in the depression of the 1930s. And it did make the rich richer - but it did nothing for a good, 90% of the population.

The indebtedness is rarely caused by the poor or the middle class. They're in no position to create such debt. But they pay. That's the history of the world going back to ancient times. Indebtedness is almost invariably caused by the greed of the wealthy.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44971.htm

But don't expect the Liberals or Conservatives to do anything about that. These are the puppets of the wealthy. The Greens are too narrow in their focus. And the New Brunswick NDP is mired in the delusion  that politics is just about winning elections.

 No, it isn't. It's about changing the way people think. If anyone runs just to get elected, then we already have two parties for that person.
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Incidentally, the Liberals and Conservatives have bagmen in each province. The job of the bagman is to kiss up to the wealthy and to make deals with them in order to get money for the next election.

Any guesses on who New Brunswick's bagman  (bagperson) is for the Liberals? Any guesses on who he/she visits?
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Then, from a friend, a note on what artcle 50 of the EU treaty is about, and why it's important.

http:jackofkent.com/2016/06/why-the-article-50-notification-is-important

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 25: Bah! Humbug!

We often use words which, though they have a meaning to us, have no such meaning in reality. The result  is that much of our political debate is carried on with words whose real meanings we don't understand at all. And we miss the point of the whole discussion.

Norbert Cunningham adores business executives, and always speaks well of them.  But he has contempt for civil servants, so he calls them 'bureaucrats', a word which, to him, means incompetent and nit-picking.

"Bureacracy" began as a French word - "la bureaucratie". Before Louis XIV came to power in the 17th century, the king's advisors were chosen from the aristocracy and the higher clergy. Louis had no high opinion of either group. So he began choosing advisors who were educated, talented, and intelligent. These were la bureaucratie.

These were also the people he sent to govern his colonies, like New France. This spared New France the often doltish counts and barons who would have been appointed in earlier days. He continued to appoint Bishops to New France.  But most had little influence. Indeed, some never even came here.

As capitalism developed, it copied the example of  the king in choosing people of ability. Those under the king worked according to purposes and by rules established by the king. Those under the capitalists worked according to purposes and by rule established by the capitalists.

In other words, Norbert, both government and private business are served by bureaucracies. And both bureaucracies are the same.

Norbert, it's SO important to know what words mean.
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In a related case, I wonder about our varying treatment of tragedies. While shopping for my staple food of   hoofprints frozen yogurt at the supermarket, I noticed a magazine whose cover was photos of those murdered at Orlando - all 49 of them. And this sort of thing has been the universal response we have given to those killings.

All over the world uncounted millions have been killed with bombs, bullets, gasses, flames, drowning,, starvation, exposure - but with nothing like the treatment given to Orlando. In the U.S., itself, far, far more than 49 people are dying of malnutrition, homelessness, neglect - and all this in the nation that thinks nothing of spending a trillion dollars on 'defence'.

Why is that we mourn the sufferings of a few, but couldn't care less about the millions?
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The headline for A1 in the irving press is  that an infrastructure deal between the province and Ottawa is "imminent". (The "  " on imminent suggest that it may not be.) So here's a   headline that says something might happen soon - (or it might not.)

That's not a headline story. That's not a story of any kind.

The really important irving stories are inside. "Barking dog foils bicycle thief" - "Drunk Driver lands in ditch". Yep. Section A1 has all you Monctonians need to know about your city. What's the state of homelessness in Moncton? What's the rate of malnutrition? What's the condition of housing? Any  information about climate change or what we're doing to prepare for it?  Hey, don't worry. Go to A3 for "Man to stand trial for lying to police about shooting himself". And to give your brain a complete rest, be sure to visit the Irving chapel which will have a preacher with a doctorate in theology. There's also 'special' music (perhaps the minister blows hymns through a comb and tissue paper.)
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The editorial writer has nothing to say.

As for Norbert, the fix is in. He writes a hearty approval of fracking in Sussex. This follows a recent big story on a business group in Sussex which supports fracking, a story which was pure propaganda to support the idea. And there's a subtle touch here.

The government has justified its delays in approving fracking by saying it needs   'social licence'. But now, Norbert roots for an escape hatch. The escape is that if people in any one district approve it, then that's social licence. it doesn't need majority support in the province.  Get ready for the ride, folks. The push is on, and premier Gallant has found (been told) how he can break his promise while still seeming to keep it.

And the disposal of fracking water? Hey! Don't worry about it.

Norbert, compared to you, any bureaucrat,  private or public, is an angel of truth and light.

Brian Murphy is his usual self - friend to all, offensive to none, and generally useless. People, he says, want vistas in a library. I have spent much of my life in libraries all over the world, including the great ones. I never saw one with a vista. (People don't go to libraries to look out the window.)                                                
And it should have a world class art gallery? That, alone, would cost more than a dozen new events centres.

And it should be connected to waterfront trails. Right. Everbody knows that people go to  libraries so they can walk on waterfront trails. (I often walk on the waterfront trails. And I rarely see another person there. Gee! If only they had a library next to them.)

Crowning all this pointless blather is a photo of the current library with its statue of Northrop Frye. It refers to him as a bard. However......

A bard is a person who writes plays about great heroes and epic events. Frye was a magnificent literary critic and and thinker. But he was not a bard - or a ballet dancer or an Olympic medalist or even a lawyer.

Below Murphy is the usual propaganda piece of the The Fraser insitute.

Alec Bruce writes a column that is somewhat critical of a new report on the future of the NB economy. I think the problem with the report is, that like every debate I have seen about the future of this province, it is about money. Almost never is it about the people of this province and their needs. Nor is there ever any consideration of the possibility that we might be loslng billions of dollars every year to tax havens and gifts to business.
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In Canada&World, you will find the expected headline on Brexit (markets reel). Yeah. As I wrote yesterday, markets always reel.

Apparently, nothing worth reporting has happened in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe,,,, What the hell....it doesn't matter. The world ends at the Quebec border. especially for those unsung heroes who try to bring extra beer over that border.

And there is not a single story related in any way to the defining characteristic of our age. Greed. The race, on a scale unkown in history,  is on to acquire wealth no matter what  the damage to life, what the suffering might be.  It doesn't even make economic sense because once the wealthy nail down all the money there is, then they, too, are destroyed.

We commonly blame this on the U.S. But that's an oversimplification. Most Americans are, themselves, losers as this game plays out. It will make the Koch brothers wealthier. But the average American will see a catastrophic decline in living conditions. (It's already well begun.) The American people, including their military heroes, are simply pawns for the like of the Koch brothers.

The revolution of the rich is well under way, and its been gatheriing speed for a good, 50 years. That has a great deal to do with the formation of NATO, of the European Union and, I suspect, with the British vote to leave the EU. It has everything to do with the drive to continue developing fossil fuels, and with our very plodding steps to replace them.

In the end, the greed of the wealthy will destroy them as well as us - but greed, as it so often does, is trumping logic.
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The Faith Page has two sermonettes, one by a local preacher, the other by the Pope. Notice that the Pope spoke of  real world decisions and human need. The local preacher avoided both to write a "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" column.
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As expected, Scotland is preparing negotiations to stay in the EU. That would almost certainly mean a separation from England. When I was in grade one, there was a British flag at the head of the class. Every morning, we stood, saluted, and said. "I pledge allegiance to this   (pointing) flag; and to the Empire for which it stands." Before I was a teen, the empire which once was 20% of the world, had disappeared, and most of Ireland had broken away. Now, it is likely that Scotland will go. All that will be left of the empire that once ruled (and pillaged) so much of the world will be Wales and part of Ireland.

Massive fortunes were made out of that empire. But most of the fortunes stayed in the pockets of Britain's wealthy. Very little filtered down to the British people. That, too, I suspect. is why the vote to quit the EU won. The EU is effectively controlled by a wealthy elite representing international banking and its friends.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jun/25/sturgeon-seeks-urgent-brussels-talks-to-protect-scotlands-eu-membership
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This next is a long one. But it's about why people voted to leave the EU. And that's a side we haven't heard much about in North America.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/25/meet-10-britons-who-voted-to-leave-the-eu
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This one is on a theme I began with, the quantity of our news devoted to relatively unimportant news. It is followed by a second story about U.S. bomber command in Africa. That is a larger story than is told here,  and I'm watching for a fuller version of it.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176156/tomgram:_nick_turse,_lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics..._and_u.s._africa_command
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Here's one with a list of countries the U.S. has bombed since 1945. Quite apart from the millions of innocent people killed is the fact that almost all of these bombings were illegal under international war. Indeed, many were questionable under the U.S. constitution.

The poor, little U.S. All those little countries are always picking on it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44962.htm
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Here's a story that the situation in Venezuela, while bad, is not so bad as the North American news media are telling us. (Of course, the irving press is innocent beause it hasn't told us anything.)

I can't pretend to have a full understanding of what is happening there. But I do know the dangers of imposing a solution.  If the U.S. uses this as an excuse to intervene,  it will put Venezuela completely under the thumb of U.S. big business - as it has with so many Latin American countries who now suffer under an imposed poverty to make the wealthy wealthier.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44963.htm
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Here are two items by Paul C raig Roberts that are excellent on the British vote against the EU.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44969.htm
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The U.N.'s top legal expert says the TTIP trade deal is illegal. Don't expect to see this story in the irving press.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/06/25/u-n-s-legal-expert-calls-proposed-trade-deals-illegal/
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It's still way too early to pronounce on the wisdom or lack of wisdom in Britain's decision to quit the EU. And we can't rely on our North American news media to  explain anything because they're almost all owned by the kind of people who like organization such as the EU. Even its failure wouldn't tell us much. For example, most of our new media will tell us it failed because  leaving was a bad idea. It's at least as likely that the failure would be something engineered by big money. But our news media would never say that.

Whatever happens, this issue touches many problems that Britain suffers -  the excessive power of the wealthy, the decline of democracy, the sense that Britain (like Canada) has become an errand boy for big, U.S. money....  Expect lots of confusion in Britain, lots of political divisions, with neither the Conservatives nor Labour survivng in their present forms.

And watch the reactions to the U.S. challenge to Russia in placing troops in aggressive moves along the Russian border. Russia has, logically enough, responded with nuclear-armed subs in waters close to the region.  It may dawn on eastern Europe that making itself the battlefield for World War Three might not be a really good idea. Not really good.

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24:Brexit - What we don't know...

We commonly speak of people as being semitic or anti-semitic. And we're usually wrong because semite does not mean Jewish. It refers to people who speak a number of similar lanuages called semitic.  It can include Jews. It also includes Palestinianns, in fact, all  Arabs. Yes, Arabs are a semitic people.
Hebrew is a semitic language; but Jews of Europe and the Americas use the language sparingly, and almost entirely in a religious context. The common language of German Jews, for example, was  Yiddish, which was derived  heavily from German, (and is, perhaps the world's best language, for telling jokes. Yes, even a goy or shiksa would laugh. Only a schlemiel would keep a straight face).

And all that means that if we hate people for being semitic, we hate them because of the language they speak - which is pretty silly. Oh, it also means that when Netanyahu of Israel preaches hatred of Palestinians, he's being anti-semitic.
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The biggest story, by far, in today's irving press is that the remains of a human settlement of 12,000 years ago right here in New Brunswick have been found near Marysville. It was a campsite on the beach of a glacial lake which covered what is now Fredericton. (Sounds like a good idea.) I look forward to learning much more about this.

It's the biggest story in the paper. But it didn't make the front page headline. Instead, it's at the bottom of A1. The lead story is that vandalism at the vacant Moncton High, over the years, has cost the province thousands. Well, the big hit apparently, was when the school fire-extinguishers were sprayed all over the assembly hall. The cleanup cost $3,000. (The story also lists the hundred times higher cost of general upkeep.) So why do we get that sensationalist headine of vandalism costing thousands when that has been a very minor part of the cost?)
Well, halfway through, the story becomes one about the importance of moving the public library into the school. This story isn't about vandalism. It's a propaganda pitch to build up support for developers.

From there, section A goes from trivial to laughable. One story is headlined "Company launches donair-flavoured chips". Hey, that's for real. It's on A6.
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The editorial says police should crack down on bad drivers. It appears, really, to be about motorcyclists, but with car drivers added to sound impartial.
Norbert Cunningham has a quite reasonable column about the failure of the Gallant government to make good on its election promise of jobs. Well, Norbert will show Gallant what's what. Next time, he'll advise New Brunswickers to vote Conservative. So there.

Justiin Ryan has a touching column that gives a hint of what refugees from fighting in the middle east are suffering.

Cecile Cassista has a blistering column on  how New Brunswick has the worst and most expensive care for seniors in all of Canada. (The costs are not just higher. They are stunningly higher; and much of that is because the government has handed much of it to the private sector.) She also points to the importance to keeping seniors in the community rather than warehousing them in homes.) This is a real commentary. And a good one.

For obesity, smoking and drinking, New Brunswick is reminiscent of some of the less desirable parts of the U.S. This, blended with working conditions, computers and other problems led Alec Bruce to a column warning us about out bad habits.
This is well worth a read. I would add only the brain-deadening effect of TV, and of android phones.
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And Canada&World? Lord love a duck. The only world story is that there were tornadoes in Illinois. Seriously. In a world flirtiing with world war and even nuclear war, with mass starvation, with refugees in almost unheard of numbers and dreadful suffering and millions of deaths by drowning, exposure and starvation, with the European Union close to collapse, with much of South American in collapse, the big, world story is about tornadoes in Illinois.

The longest story in Canada and the World is that businessmen just down the road from Moncton are rallying to support fracking. In the whole story, there is no mention of any person in the whole region who is opposed to fracking. Not one.

This isn't a news story. This is a cheering section. And that's an unethical as journalism can get.

And why do we see all businesses, large and small uniting on this?

Part of the game plan of big business is to convince those in smaller business that they're all one, happy group of buddies with everything in common. That fraud is part of what chambers of commerce are about.

The reality is they don't have anything in common. If fracking turns out to be dangerous, Corridor Resources will just move on. But the storekeepers, restaurant owners, motel operators will be stuck to face the consequences.
This kind of propaganda journalism is what puts the irving press in the journalism gutter (where it has lots of company).

Below it is a small story about how Prince Edward gave a funny speech in Regina. The joke? He said that some of the audience people were so tall, they might hit the ceiling. Haw! That must have had the news editor rolling on the floor.
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Read just the top five stories in The Guardian (site is below)on the British exit from the European Union. And don't pay much attention to any opinions. It's far, far too early to do that. As well, I would not pay attention to opinion in The Guardian on this. It's editorial stance and its reporting suggest that The Guardian has not been impartial. New Brunswickers, in particular, should be cautious about opinions because we have been told almost nothing of what it's all about.

What we do know so far is that British Prime Minister Cameron (Conservative) has resigned.

Scotland voted to remain. That means a Scottish vote to separate from England is almost a certainty.

The wealthy British voted to stay. The lower middle class and the poor voted to get out. (except in Scotland). This means the issue has created a sharp class divide. But it is not yet clear why. It might mean that the EU was a good deal for the rich and a bad one for the poor - but we don't  yet have evidence on that.
It might mean a breakdown of most of the EU. There is some, considerable distaste for the EU in other countries.

Will it have an effect on markets and the British pound? Of course.  Any uncertainty always affects the markets and the currency for at least a short time. A sneeze at the wrong time can do it.

The campaign for this referendum has been an extremely bitter one, and it leaves England divided, to a large degree, on class lines. We don't know enough yet to even guess where that might go.

We don't yet have much information about whether or how much this issue is related to the desire of U.S. capitaliststs to control European economies. And most of our news media are most unlikely even to mention the possibility. We do know that they have long wanted a fully privatized British banking system - such as exists in other Eruopean countries -so that they and not governments can control economic policies.

Nor can we speculate yet about the effect this will have on NORAD. And again, our news media are not likely to be of much help in this. NORAD has long since ceased to be a defence organization. It is a military arm of the U.S. empire, used to fight wars for the U.S. (as Britain did in Iraq) and to threaten Russia - as it now is doing in eastern Europe with the help of Canada). NORAD is also important as the second largest customer after the U.S. for the U.S. defence industry.)

As usual, nothing is what it seems. And nothing is even like what our news media will tell us.

Oh, some people say that the ones who voted to leave the EU did it because of their racist feelings toward refugees. I shouldn't be surprised if some did vote for that reason. But why the class split?  after all the British wealthy take a back seat to no-one in their past and present as racists.

http://www.theguardian.com/international
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Much of the news out of South America is dismaying. Economically and politically, the problems are severe . And it doesn't seem to matter whether the governments are on the left or right. The only difference is that the ones on the right, with American support and coaching, are the more murderous.
I don't have an explanation for it. But I expect that well over a century of U.S. invasion, U.S. dictatorships, mass killings and hired killings of  honest people who threaten profits has something to do with the limping development of South American democracy.

Apparently, the mistress of Brazil's  president helped the Chinese to get a big contract in Brazil. It just goes to show you can never trust them Latins. A Hillary Clinton would never dream of being corrupt.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/24/bolivia-evo-morales-press-freedom-gabriela-zapata-child
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What Hitler did that caused World War Two was to invade countries that were no threat to Germany. That was and is illegal under international law - and it calls for the death penalty.

U.S. policy in Syria (as in general) has been a non-stop disaaster from the start. It was illegal for the U.S. to support Syrian rebels in the first place That is an act of war against a country that had not attacked the U.S.

"Regime change" is illegal. No country has the right to change the government of another. No matter how much we may disapprove of another country, who governs it is none of our business. That's been law for a century now. But the U.S. has been invading and changing regimes before and ever since that  law was enacted.  It has invaded at least 70 countries in the last 70 years, and all of them illegal invasions. Obama calls it "American Exceptionalism".

The war in Syria has been yet another disaster, particularly since Rusiia has intervened (legally) on Assad's side. So Obama is now under pressure to intervene directly by bombing and with troops.    (And Canada has lent itself to this illegal plan.)

Gee! Russia and the U.S. on opposite sides in the same war....what a great way to start a nuclear war!

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44949.htm
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And, on a lighter note, the Koch brothers, the multi, bulti-billionaires (sorry, philanthropists) who don't believe in climate change have launched a huge campaign to bring about social equality. Yes. The way to do it is to let the rich do whatever they want, and not pay any taxes.

http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/kochs-biggest-joke-billionaires-pretend-care-about-inequality-latest-ad-blitz

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23: Dum-dee-dum, no news today.

This post, sent to me from a reader, is the only one I have read on the European Union that makes sense.  It is, like the trade  treaties we're signing, an effort made by the wealthy, largely in the U.S., to override democracy, and to put themselves in charge.

It's a part of the revolution against nations and against democracy that I have mentioned many times.  (This is a long item; but stay with it.)

 https://professorwerner.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/eu-basics-your-guide-to-the-uk-referendum-on-eu-membership/
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Sometimes, the CBC annoys me. Lately, it's been an opinion piece by a journalist that the U.S. Republican party is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln. The reality is that Lincoln as the freer of slaves is one of the many myths of history that American believe of themselves and their values.

Lincoln was opposed to freeing the slaves. He didn't to to war to free slaves in  the first place. He went to war because the South wanted to break away - and any such move would seriously weaken the U.S.

The South lived on cotton. It needed free trade to get agricultural machinery as cheaply as possible from overseas - mostly Britain.  But the north was industrializing. It needed tariffs on imports to protect its factories from competition. And the industrial north,  by the time of LIncoln, had become more politically powerful than the agricultural south. That's why the civil war was fought. When one of his generals, early in the war, freed slaves, Lincoln tore a strip off him. For reasons I don't know, he changed his mind late in the war. But, as the subsequent history of the North shows, it was obviously not because the North wanted freedom and equality for Africans.
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The front page headline is that New Brunswick industry is furious that the provincial government did not consult it on expanding the Canadian Pension Plan. Actually, it didn't consult me, either. Or the clergy of New Brunswick. Or fishermen. Or teachers.

Even more actually, we do not elect governments to consult anybody. We elect them to govern according to the  principles they get elected on.  If they want a general consultaion with the public, all of us, I suppose that's okay. (The problem is that is only used to buy delay for governments when they're buying time to okay things like fracking.)

Admittedly, we're handicapped in electing them on their principles because the two, leading parties don't seem  to  have any.

But a special interest group, like business, has no right to demand it be consulted on legislation. A government is elected by all of us to serve all of us. New Brunswick's business community should be spanked and sent home.

Anyway, I don't believe the whole business community of New Brunswick was ignored. There are a few people in this province who just have to blow a whistle, and the Brian Gallants will come running and wagging their tails.

The rest of section A news is the usual trivia, only more so.

I have attended more graduations in my lifetime than I care to remember. All speakers give pretty much the same, safe (and boring speeches). Today, a whole page is devoted to them.
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The editorial writer really has nothing to say, but fills a space, anyway.

Norbert is still ranting about the education report. But he still misses the point. He is for example, indignant whent the report says that supportive learning must occur "starting at birth". His response to that is that until New Brunswick can solve its illiteracy, it's poverty, it's addiction and other social problems, learning from birth is a hopeless pipe dream.( By the way, Norb, the word it's used to signify possession is wrong.)

We can't solve education until we solve illiteracy? Norbert, illiteracy, social problems addictions, poverty are the key problems that have to addressed. They are not separate from education.  They are not different problems. They are all part of the same problem.

Our children move around in a daze because we wander around in a daze. And most of the reason we wander in a daze is because the irving press encourages that, and because we all are the children of generations which kept themselves ignorant in order to conform and to be accepted by the provincial bosses.
No education report is likely to solve that. It's not the system that's wrong. It's us.
Rod Allen's commentary isn't a commentary, and it's a useless, overwritten waste of time. That's the sort of thing that keeps New Brunswick in the education toilet.
The Ombudswoman's column is a good read. But it's not really a commentary. She should have her own space.

Alec Bruce argues for a think tank to plan New Brunswick's economic future. It would be something like AIMS.

If it were anything like AIMS, it would be a body blow. That last thing we need is another bunch of propagandists pumping out 'studies' to please the wealthy.
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Canada&World is, as always, an information desert. The lead story is that Ottawa has made a list of people against and people for the Energy East pipeline. Those on the list will be invited to be interveners in the discussion of the pipeline. How very democratic! (You will be allowed to speak - but only if the government approves of you.)

Anyway, it doesn't matter. This isn't consultation. It's almost certainly cover for a decision the government has long since made.

Apparently, nothing much is happening in the rest of the world.
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The Guardian has this series of photos of the sharp division between blacks and whites in South Africa. Some commentators say this just shows the separation between rich and poor. I'm not sure which it is - and I'm not sure it matters. One group lives very differently from the other. It might be interesting to see an aeriel photo of Moncton.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2016/jun/23/south-africa-divided-cities-apartheid-photographed-drone
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In these terrible times of unemployment and low wages, it's a blessing to see that the super-rich around the world are getting still richer. The sour note is that the super-rich of China and Japan and the Pacific region now outnumber the super-rich of the U.S., and they're growing faster. We may have to bomb them.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/23/china-japan-super-rich-asia-pacific-north-america-wealth
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I've found The Guardian reporting and opinion on the vote regarding the European Union is very one-sided, and the editor has been championing the no side. I have never understood why newspapers have editorials. Their expertise, if any, is about setting up a newspaper. They have no special insights into politics, the economy, or foreign affairs.
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The next one comes from a Syrian newspaper. But it's quite credible. We already know the U.S. does not want to see ISIS defeated. Russia does. The fighting in Syria is not about religion of any sort. The fight is about which capitalists will control middle east oil. American capitalists want Assad destroyed, not ISIS.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/israeli-intelligence-chief-not-want-isis-defeat-syria/

Y 'see, irving press? Something is happening in the rest of the world.
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I'm not sure this story is right when it refers to a "demographic time bomb" of relations between European Jews and Arab Jews. But there has been a dislike between the two groups from the start. And I've seen that antagonism among immigrants to Canada from both groups.

http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/israel-considers-its-demographic-time-bomb

Netanyahu and his predecessors have been working to create - not a Jewish state, but a European Jewish state. Therefore, the Arab Jews, who are the descendants of the Jews of ancient Israel, don't really fit in. The Israeli government, dominated by European Jews. has been taking a racist approach to the 'real' Jews.
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There have been stories lately that Israel has been stealing Palestinian water. Now, it has taken a really, ugly turn.

http://imemc.org/article/rabbi-calls-for-poisoning-of-palestinian-water-supply/

The U.S. has a profound interest, especially politically, in supporting Israel. But making almost all that support in the form of weaponry, and looking only at military solutions, the U.S. is doing no favour for Israel - or for the rest of the world.
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And, on the British referendum on the EU, I think this writer is quite right in his criticism of The Guardian.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44942.htm
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The following is a bit overstated. Suggesting that China is a democracy or a special sort of one is, I think, over the top.  But there's a lot of truth, too, in this interview.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44945.htm
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This story is obviously untrue. We know that oil pipelines never leak.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/california-oil-spill-30000-gallons-crude-oil-leaked-ventura-county
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I was astonished to read this about the number of refugees in this world. There must be something we can do about this. Maybe we can send them discarded hymn books so they can sing "Onward Christian Soldiers".

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/06/22/un-agency-reports-65-million-people-are-refugees-worldwide/
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In South America, many countries routinely use their soldiers to kill activists, environmentalists, all that trash. They do so, and have done so, for many, many years with the full knowledge and cooperation of the U.S. government.  And their targets are people who  interfere with the profits and abuses of American (and Canadian) big business in South America. Here's a story about it.

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/23/state-department-turns-blind-eye-to-evidence-of-honduran-militarys-activist-kill-list/
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See, irving press? There is lots of important, foreign news in the world every day, news even more important than "Lac-Megantic says it won't pursue legal action against Canadian Pacific". ( This relates to an explosion that killed 49 people.)
Incidentally, wasn't the name Irving connected with that incident? And weren't there questions about false labelling of the cargo of that train? And weren't there comments on the unwisdom of sending that train on a long trip with its dangerous cargo - and with only one person on it? And doesn't that all suggest a rather casual approach to public safety?