Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18: Hey. Give me a break. I've had a couple of busy days.

Sorry! This is a disorderly blog. I had nothinig but interruptions in trying to write it yesterday. And today, I felt a need to write the long intro below.

Our very own Brunswick News carries on with hits tradition of trivia, of avoiding major issues, and treathing its readers as morons. There is, for example, one story it often carries - but always without saying anything.

Two beaches, important to our tourist trade, have een dangerously polluted for at least ten years - largely, it seems likely. due to tourist trailer parks and campgrounds. People in government have known about it, but have never posted the beaches to warn people. Now, a cabinet minister is divesting himself of his investment in a new and very large campground. With a pose of nobility, he recognizes that his investment is a conflict of interest.

Well, actually, his nobility comes late. He will remain as our Minister of Health and, therefore, the one who is responsible for the safety of the beaches. Are we to believe he didn't know what was going on? If he didn't, he is one hell of an incompetent minister of health who should resign or get fired.. And if he did know what was going on, he should be facing criminal charges.

Note, too, that the Conservatives are being rather quiet about this. Of course. This was going on while they were in power, too.

And the Brunswick News has tip-toed around the whole subject.

All these are signs of gross corruption, indifference to human safety and, quite possibly of criminality by lots of people. But don't fuss. Just read Brunswick News, and you won't know about it.

There's another scam that Brunswick News isn't talking much about - the (expensive) move of the municipal library into an abandoned high school which will require lots and lots fo money to bring it up to safety standards, and to rebuild the school as a library.


The library as it is now is in an excellent location, and with a size adequate to the library's needs. Is it possible that we are going to asked to  pay taxes for much of the renovation that's required? As well as for the cost of the move?

It's all reminiscent of the scandal of the Events Centre. That is being built with our tax money. We are told that it will mean huge profits for the taxpayers.
Get real. If the Events Centre were going to make big profits for us plebes, do you seriously think the wealthy would let us get anywhere close to owning it?
Of course not. The Events Centre will, indirectly, generate some big  money. But, while we pay for the centre with our taxes, the financial benefits will go to the wealthy.

(Yesterday's Brunswick News had a letter to the editor that it's time for New Brunswickers to elect businesspeople into government. In fact, from the earliest days of elected government, this province has ALWAYS elected businesspeople, and they HAVE always run the province. The only change over the years, is that we now elect puppets of the business leaders.

The result of government by business people  (or the puppets of business people) is, among other things, billions of dollars we  give away to the wealthy in the form of non-payment of taxes, forgiveness of property taxes (as we have recently done for poor Mr. Irving), and regular gifts to the wealthy - as in the forgivable loan of a couple of hundred million to Irvinig shipyards. And that's only the tip of yjr iceberg.

There's a price for this. The price is that the rest of us have to pay more taxes for fewer services. (God forbid that Mr. irving should have to pay his property taxes and for his own business ventures.)

That is translating into reduced services for the rest of us.  Take the case of education. Our public education system dates, largely, back to Scotland.  Though Scots commonly overstate their impact on making public education available, there is some truth in giving them credit for the development and spread of a system available to all. And it was largely Scots who brought that tradition to North America. Without public education available free to all, our modern world would not be possible.

Through the nineteenth century, that commonly meant free education to grade 6 or so. But by World War Two, ecomonic need had made it clear that high school and, often, university were needed. Alas!   Our charity to the rich in matters of taxation means we cannot afford the taxes for education. And, increasingly, we cannot afford the fees. Unlike more progressive nations, our education system is slipping back into the middle ages as something for the rich only.

Too bad; because the children of the wealthy are not generally a distinguished group in education. That's one of the reasons they provide terrible leadership. That's why, immersed in greed and self-interest, they run terrible newspapers designed to keep everyone as ignorant as they are. That's why they don't see the economic disaster they are heading us into. That's why they don't give a damn about how much suffering and death their greed causes all over the world.

Among other things, we need higher educaton to maintain a democracy. Because we certainly aren't' maintaining one now.

It is not an accident that the U.S. has elected a billionaire moron. After all, it has long had multi-millionaire ones like Bush. I suppose that when you're born into wealth, as so many of our wealthy are, it's not a good idea to be a thinker and to recognize what you are.

All the above could be written about almost all of the billionaires in the western world, and in those arising in Russia, the Middle East, and the Far East.
Saddest of all is our failure to recognize what we told our military they were fightinig for in World War 2.

The first thing that Roosevelt mentioned was to establish a good neighbour policy to Latin America. Since then, the U.S. invaded, committed assassinations, imposed dreadful conditions, destroyed governments, mass murdered, tortured, imposed some of the worst dictators in history all over Latin America.For over fifty years, Cuba has been punished for overthrowing its dictators; Guatemalan civilians have been killed in hundreds of thousands. (And no. It was not the poor or the middle class  of the U.S. who demanded all that.)

Then there were the Four Freedoms - Freedom of speech,   Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, Freedom from hunger. On the last two, the U.S. and the West in general have done damn little. Indeed, we are currently imposing hunger and death from hunger on people In Yemen - to name just one example. And we have done little to ease hunger and want even in Canada and the U.S. And very little of what has been done owes anything to our wealthy.

Freedom of religion? It depends on your religion. Jews were not allowed to come to Canada in the years immediately following World War 2. In fact, Canada and the U.S. have a long history of racism in regard to Jews, Hindus, Muslims. So, of course, does all of Europe. That's why Europe has horror camps for the Muslim refugees we have created. We are still profoundly racist - and always have been.
Freedom of speech? Well, that depends on what you say. Our news media and our political leaders are free to speak of  hatred for Muslims. In fact, UN foreign policy is acceptable in the U.S. BECAUSE it is racist. Anyone who writes a blog that is critical of wealthy is aware of the risk. But, with all their money, the rich can say anything.

We owe a great deal to our veterans. Most of all we owe an apology for betraying all those things we said they were fighting for. Too bad the Canadian Legion has paid no attention to that. Instead, it prefers to be a cheerleader for those who want to send more people to war.
And, while I'm so far off topic, what's this nonsense about fighting for one's country? What were Americans killing Iraqis doing for their country? What were Canadians in Afghanistan doing for their country? What are our pilots in Syria and Iraq doing for Canada?

Any thoughts on including native people who died defending their country from us? Shouldn't they be a part of Nov. 11?

In fact, why is patriotism a good thing? And if it is, why don't we cheer for those Germans, Japanese and Italians who fought for their countries in World War 2? Why don't we cheer for those Iraqis who died fighting for their country?

About 1900, Canadians died while killing Dutch South Africans so wealthy Brits could steal their gold. What did that have to do with Canadian patriotism?
We should think before we chatter the words in our slogans.__________________________________________________________
(sorry for all this diversion. Sometimes, talking about isolated headlines gets boring.)
Here's a bit of free speech that was too free to appear in Brunswick news.

And, gee, how come this related story never reached the ears of our great minds at Brunswick News?
And who could believe that a nice, Conservative prime minister could put lives at risk like this. Boy, if Mr. Irving were in power, just imagine how fast he would crack down on the oil industry.
I include this story because it really doesn't matter. Trump is, of course, a bumbling, ego-driven ass. But, in general, he is pursuing much the same policies as his predecessors. It would be possible, of course, to elect a Hillary Clinton who wouldn't spend her days tweeting, and would not make the blunders that Trump does. But the reality would remain.

Since world war 2, American big business has been pursuing a world-wide American empire to be controlled by American billionaires. Most obviously, that was the policy of Bush and Obama. It's not the policy of Trump. And it's the policy of Clinton.

So far, it's been disastrous. The U.S. has been beaten or fought to a draw by much smaller nations. It has created a swamp of national existences in Africa and the Middle East. In fact, this has been American policy for more that seventy years. Trump's presence in the White House gives a touch to the darkly humorous part of it. But it really changes nothing.
I had to include this one. It's a story about Britain - but it could as well be about Canada or the U.S.

I attended a small school in a very poor district. At recess, there was milk. But it was only for the 'rich' kids whose parents could afford it. For most parents, in that district it was unaffordable. They weren't being cheap. It was a district in which money was counted in pennies. And there just wasn't enough. But the company did provide and extra, free container of milk. And, oh, it was heaven once or twice a month to get a free milk.

Lunch was almost as bad. For many of us, there simply wasn't enough money in the house for lunch - and certainly not enough for a good one. (That remained true for me for many others all the way through grade 11.)

There is something very wrong with a society in which the only children who get properly fed are the ones in private schools.

Britain, certainly, is falling back to the viciously indifferent country it was through the years up to the 1940s. Then the poor and even the not so poor lived in dreadfully unhealthy conditions. It's now going back to those days.
Well, it has to. If they fed children, they would have to tax billionaires. Why, they might even have to cut back on essential services like multi-palaces for the royal family, and 150 or so household servants for a Pince Charles.

Think of that next time you're reading one of those garbage mags about the royals.
This story can't be true because the agrochemical industry is controlled by very, very wealthy people - and wealthy people would never put others in danger just to make themselves wealthier. Why, it wasn't long ago the sent the Chief Medical Officer of New Brunswick away so she couldn't get good, Christian New Brunsickers all worried. And our government would never have supported that unless it knew it was the best think for us.
Racism thrives, even among those people who were among the worst victims of it.
ever wonder why the U.S. invaded Iraq?
This should come as no surprise. Forget the bragging that we fought World War 2 to bring democracy and freedom to the world.

What is the war in Syria about? it's not to bring democracy to Syria. It never was. From the start this was a war to give American billionaires control of Syrian oil. It's now also to cut Syria in chunks for various interests.  It is, like Iraq, largely a slaughter of civilians in which (as in Iraq) the U.S. is not doing well.
How come our Christian churches have never noticed this greedy and horribly destructive trait of capitalism?  It has been an obvious feature of western capitalism since at least 1492. And the Christian churches have been cheerleaders.

Or maybe my reading may be faulty. Show me the passage where Jesus says it's good to kill foreigners who have oil. Or it's good to let government be run by billionaires. Or it's a sign of divine grace to allow the wealthy to pay no taxes. Perhaps one of the rented preachers at the Irving Chapel this summer will     explain this.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Generations of Americans have memorized this tribute to a generosity that, in fact, never existed. What American and Canadians wanted, even in those days, was just cheap labour. Now, we want white folks who share our Christian values - whatever they are.
For well over a century, American billionaires  (and some Canadian ones) have viewed Latin American as their territory. American troops have often and freely invaded to overthrow elected governments, impose dictatorships - you know - American values. The only Latin American leader to beat the U.S. off was Fidel Castro. That's why, to this day, Cubans are evil.

I don't know how accurate this next story is. Certainly, it would not be out of character for the U.S. to do what this article describes. And capitalism glorifies greed and indifference to human need. (In fact, this kind of behaviour by the powerful goes back way before capitalism. Capitalism, it seems, brings out a trait that always lurks in us.

Any clergy reading this? If so, tell me about the passage in which  Jesus says that competition is a prime, Christian value.

Or just do what you did in Germany. Shout "Sieg Heil".
Equal opportunity for all students has never existed in either Canada or the U.S., though Canada seemed to be moving in that direction some fifty years ago. The U.S. never has. The system has always favoured the rich. It's a sort of double knee-jerk reaction.

One part is the belief so common among the wealthy that they are a superior breed of human, and therefore entitled to better education. The other part is the tendency to see all human activities simply as sources of profit for the wealthy. (This has already been stepped up in the U.S., and will be on the rise in Canada.)
It's not only grossly unfair to most students. It's also destructive for the whole society.

But, what the hell, it suits the rich.
This has been a terribly long blog; and a slow one in the writing.The nature of our problem is,  I think, dawning on me but slowly.

When I first moved to New Brunswick some ten years ago, I was shocked at the reluctance, even refusal, of people to discuss world and national affairs. I was shocked that they would actually read the propaganda and trivia that is Brunswick News. It took me a while to understand that most New Brunswickers are afraid to discuss anything serious. They fear their political and economic leaders. And, I guess, rightly so.

But as I read every day of writers and commentators all over the world, I see piles of nonsense and propaganda. It is surely not possible for journalists to write and talk the nonsense they do. And I gradually realized that they, too, are scared. (It is not possble to believe one is telling the truth when one heaps criticism on Russians for bombing Syrians - but no criticism of Americans for doing the same thing.)

The reality is, I'm afraid, that most people around the world are scared. They're scared to have an opinion, and would be terrified to express it.

But being scared won't make the danger go away. We have to face it. And we have to deal with it. Soon. We are facing a world calamity being created by a small number of extraordinary and quite immoral people. And they control our leading politicians who, it seems, are themselves often acting out of fear.

We've seen this before, I suppose, as in the rise of Hitler's Germany. Today, we bear a remarkable similarity to those Germans who were too scared to speak out against Hitler, afraid to examine the country's real problems.

And if my writing seems long and tiresome today, it's because I'm wondering how we can cope with that.

(I also cheated by not checking my spelling. So sue me. I'm tired.)


  1. Wow
    Moncton is double the pop of where I live
    Btw have you already picked out your epitaph?

  2. Also

    Yer right aboot our freedoms; there are so many (Liberal and Conservative) who only want freedoms that they deem ok. I weep for our universities.