Sunday, March 5, 2017

March 5: Maybe I'm just cranky today.

The irving press had a big, front page headline story recently plus longer stories inside the paper - about the scandalous lack of rooms at this province's hospitals - leaving dying patients to spend their last days lying on stretchers in the halls.
Does the irving press give a damn?

For reasons I'll give below, it almost certainly does not give a damn.  Indeed, I suspect this treatment of the dying will simply become a part of its long campaign to privatize health care.  If the irving press did give a damn, it would have run the two stories below. Funny how the irving editors missed these stories. They were the leads for Thursday and Friday for CBC News.

Of course, we are running up government debts. Of course, our health system can't afford adequate space.  That's because so many of the people with big money don't pay taxes. Billions of dollars, nobody knows how many, are hidden away in tax havens. This has been going on for years. Around the world, it amounts to trillions of dollars.

That means the rest of us have to pay much, much higher taxes - but without the taxes of the wealthy we're coming nowhere close to meeting the need. It also means the eventual collapse of our economic system. If we, every year, take money from most people and hand it over to the very wealthy - well - it should take no great brain to figure that eventually the system will collapse.

Trudeau says he'll look into it. Right. Trudeau has known all about this from the start.  It's hardly a secret - and he shouldl have been looking into this even before he entered politics - whenever he could take a break from his career of teaching showboarding.  And the opening up of a tax haven in Canada must have been known to the government. Gee! If some CBC reporters could find out all about this, where were are our secret police who are supposed to protect us from our enemies?

This is a prime example of how greed gets in the way of intelligent thought. This greed on the part of the wealthy creates hatreds and fears. Nor do these hatreds and fears take us anywhere useful. Instead, our politicians who sit in the laps of the wealthy steer the  hatred and fears toward destruction - like the mindless destruction we've seen in the last 16 years of American foreign policy - which countries like Britain and Canada have supported and even  joined in on.

We have created the most dangerous world in history. And, no, it wasn't peasant farmers in Afghanistan who caused the danger. No, it wasn't Vietnamese or Iraqis or Syrians. Nor do we live daily in fear of Yemen bombers in our skies.
No. It was greed - but not the greed of most of us because most of us are no richer and no safer for all the killing.

Now, think hard. How is it possible that any honest  and even marginally intelligent newspaper could miss the story of Canada becoming a tax haven for the wealthy?
The Irving press has also been amazingly gentle in its coverage of the dreadful story of high levels of pollution at some of the province's most popular beach areas. And we're talking of VERY high levels of pollution. The paper gave us a statement of what had happened - but without any attempt to explore why it was allowed to happen - and why nothing was done. The editorial page had a tut-tut about it.

That was it. And that is not good enough, not by a long shot. Who allowed this to happen? Who failed to take action? Why has the government, even now, said and done nothing?

We're not speaking here just of fun at the beach. We're speaking of human health and, quite possibly, human lives. The government has known for a long time that these levels are dangerously high, and far, far higher than national standards permit. Was some person just unbelievably casual? Or was the failure to act helped along by "interested" parties?

A government should have launched an immediate and public investigation. But it's as silent as if this sort of thing happened every day. (And I guess it does in New Brunswick.)

This reaction smells - even more than the beaches do.

And remember - this is the same government that wants us to think fracking and pipelines and forest spraying are perfectly safe.
Sometimes, The Guardian scares me - as in the following item. For a start, this isn't a news story. It's an opinion. It's also a silly opinion.

It claims to be study of left-wing news media in the U.S. - and applies the term to the mainstream, commercial media. What on earth is it babbling about? Exactly what is a left-wing news medium? I suppose some people think they know what it means. But it's extremely unlikely they do.

In any case, only an ignorant fool could refer to any part of the mainstream, commercial press in the U.S. or Canada as left-wing.

And these news sources are encouraging hatred among right-wingers? Again, almost nobody knows exactly what right-winger means. And Americans, of all wings, have been hating African-Americans, orientals, Jews, atheists, Muslims, Mexicans, aboriginals, anybody who's different, for centuries.

This is pure opinion listed as news and, at that, it's stunningly ignorant.
Speaking of left and right, it's astonishing how we daily use words we don't understand. Once, as I was waiting to be interviewed by a parliamentary committee, I fell into conversation with an m.p. He told me he was a Conservative, then hastened to add he was a Progressive-Conservative.  He seemed to think that was important. In fact, it was meaningless.

The world 'conservative' originally meant one who favoured the preservation of old institutions like, say, the aristocracy. The word 'progressive' got added when the Conservative party needed a new leader, couldn't find one in the party, and so offered the leadership to a western premier. That premier was a member of the Progressive party. So he agreed to move to the Conservatives, but only if they changed the name to Progressive-Conservative party..

And what did the Progressive part mean? Nothing whatever. It might as well have been called the Sunshine Party.

Liberalism originally meant a break with the institutions of the past. Now, it doesn't even mean that. (No. It has never meant 'generous' or 'kind' or even 'looking to the future').

And then there's "Canadian values", a theme now being pushed by the Conservatives which means, roughly, kill Muslims. Like "American values", the term means nothing because there is no such thing as a list of Canadian or American values. It comes to mean whatever listeners imagine it to mean.
In the past, it has been a Canadian value to kill aboriginal peoples, to prohibit Jews from coming to Canada, to prohibit people from India, to discriminate against Japanese and Chinese, to tear criminals apart with horses ...

All the words above are imagined words. And everybody imagines his or her own meaning for them. And so politics becomes a debate between the ignorant and deaf on both sides with each hearing what he or she wants to believe.
The Guardian does a better job with this observation on Canada.
Isn't it just terrible to hear these stories about Russians trying to influence U.S. elections? Well, try not to get excited about it. Most countries do it - including to their own friends and allies.
Rachel Carson was a writer who had enormous popularity, notably in her writing about the seas, and what we were doing to them. And here is a pretty chilling look at how matters stand now.
The U.S. seems to be giving up its attempt to replace Assad in Syria. That would be good to hear - if it did not remind us of the hundreds of thousands murdered and the millions refugeed as the victims of a war the U.S. should never have started in the first place. It has been one disaaster after another for U.S. foreign policy - Afghanistan, Iraq,  Iran, Yemen, Syria, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia -  after all that cost and killing, after all that human suffering, after so destroying lands that they will never recover in our lifetimes, it's all been a waste.

Has the U.S. learned anything from this? More accurately, have the billionaires who own the U.S. government learned anything from this? Almost certainly not.
"This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang, but a whimper."
There has been little criticism of Trump for his denial of climate change. Of course not. People who are wealthy enough to own newspapers don't want to spread talk like that. Nor does the oil industry want to hear it.

But it's happening. And, contrary to rules of high society, it will kill the rich as well as the poor. And there won't even be time to give the rich dinners of honour for the their philanthropy.
And here's a sobering note about Canada's 'sanctuary cities'.

While not as vile and inhumane (and unChristian) as the responses of the U..S. and most of Europe, Canada is by no means a leader in aid to refugees. Nor have our philanthropists been much in sight.
A story you may have missed in most of your press.
Saudi Arabia  is one of the cruelest and least democratic countries in the world. It is also our good buddy in the middle east as it happily uses Canadian armoured cars to slaughter the people of Yemen. (Thank you, Justin Trudeau.)

Who are the Canadians who support Saudi Arabia? Well, I certainly haven't heard any hand-clapping in the streets. My guess would be that all the support comes from wealthy Canadians - especially those in the oil business - and from their numerous political  hacks.
For all the sweet talk,  Canada is going to be in the fying pan to maintain good relations with the U.S. And Trump is not going to permit Canada to take it easy on refugees. He is going to insist that his friendly neighbour cooperate fully with American policy. Expect a profound Americanization of our border agents. Expect a gradual drop in the Canadian welcome for refugees. Trudeau will do that because he knows Trump will interfere with freedom of trade if Trudeau doesn't do what Trump wants him to do. And Trudeau knows that our patriotic Canadian business leaders will drop their Liberal campaign donations the instant Trudeau does that. (We already allow armed US border patrol officers to cross the border and operate in Canada. Offhand, I don't know another country in the world that is spineless enough to do that.)

Trump is going to want Canada to conform with the U.S. on refugees. He's also going to put on the heat for Canada to contribute troops to "cooperate" with U.S. troops - as they are already doing in Latvia. Trudeau will be expected to play follow the leader. And he will.
Enough. This has been a slow blog to write. And a depressing one. We live in a world in which our leaders, most of them, are enthusiasts for nuclear weapons - whose use nobody would survive. They've been thinking and talking like this for seventy years. And in all those years, they've made almost no attempt to find a solution to this problem. This is worse than stupidity. This is insanity.

We have news media that work at heating up our indignation at China for creating islands off its coast, and claiming them as Chinese territory. Indignant readers cheer on the U.S. for sending warships into those waters - an act that could easily provoke a world war.

Our news media haven't bothered to tell us that there is nothing unusual about what China is doing. In fact, the U.S. annexed islands (Hawaii) much further off its coast - and did so without the consent of the residents. It also overthrew the elected president of Haiti to insert an American puppet. For that matter, every country in North America is the product of land theft from the native peoples.
In comparison, what China has done is pretty tame stuff. And it may well be perfectly legal. But our news media don't say that. They just follow the official line.

Today, I read a story in a paper about how Christianity is an American value. And the scary part is that millions of people read that crap and nod their  heads.
As nearly as I understand The Bible, there is nothing Christian about building nuclear arsenals, invading countries to kill millions of people and create tens of millions of refugees. There is nothing Christian about the obsession with conquest, nothing Christian about an economic system that glorifies the rich and is based not on human compassion but on competition and greed.

I hate reading the news.

1 comment:

  1. Superb commentary. Your change to an every two-day format has meant better writing, I think.

    Still, we in Canada are still buried up to our necks in climate change denial. A new coalmine in Nova Scotia, hip, hip hooray. And Notley pledging she'll support any pipeline proposal whatsoever to foist fake oil, Diluted Bitumen from the Tarsands (oilsands is a harperism, ain't no oil anyone would recognize as such there) on the rest of us. Across rivers. lakes, land all to make Irving rich on Energy East. They'll just export the crud since the Saint John refinery cannot process dilbit. Or to send it across BC to tidewater and risk debilirating pollution in what amounts to almost an inland sea.

    And the people just sit there taking it on the chin, only wanting a job, uncaring for the future. Give up hope on the human race. I did a decade ago.