Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3: problems ignored.

I'm starting this on a Sunday, and the first part will be about the news of New Brunswick in the Irving press.

Actually, there is no news in the Irving press. Well, the front page has a big story that three weeks ago, some trees blew down in the cemetery. So the city is going to clean it up.

There's nothing at all that could be called news in the world section.

The commentary page has an absurd article on a study of what Canadian values are. Canadians say they value cultural differences. Like hell they do. This country has a strong record of racism and dislike of people who are 'different'.
And Canadians believe in gender equality? So how come there's so little of it?
And, oh yeah, Canadians believe in bilingualism. Bunk. I lived most of my life in Quebec, a province that forbids bilingualism. And it gets very little attention in most of the country. (New Brunswick is the only honourable exception.)
This is simply a chart of 'nice' questions with 'nice' answers.

One could make up any list on this sort of thing. For example - it's a Canadian value to dislike street beggars. It's a Canadian value to segregate people by race. In Montreal, for example, African-Canadians were limited to a ghetto until very, very recently. So were Chinese. So were Jews.

The same page has, blessedly,  the final of a series of columns by Professor Savoie. Bits of it are extremely annoying.  He feels, for example, we need to turn big business loose, and let it do whatever it likes. (Don't we do that now?)   We should let them drill for shale gas Yeah. More gas is what this shriveling world needs.

And we need to stop taxing big business.  (Professor Savoie, do you read only the Irving press? In fact, the weatlhy hide their money, and many haven't paid taxes for decades.)

Professor Savoie seems incapable of seeing governments as being anything but servants of big business. It's as though he thinks that the ONLY purpose of government is to serve business. With that done, big business will shower down wealth and prosperity on the rest of us.

Well, no. The history of western governments has been kissing up to big business. And the result is always the same. The benefits do no shower down. The reverse happens. The money goes  into the pockets of the rich who then can spend it  anywhere in the world. In short, most of the money we  tive to the wealthy is gone and gone for good. They will then invest it where people can be exploited to work for peanuts. Professor Savoie, don't you know that for some years wealth has been moving from the poor to the rich? The growth of poverty in the U.S. has been particularly noticeable over the past forty years or so.
Professor Savoie shows no sense whatever that the role of government should be to benefit the whole population. It's NOT about making billionaires richer. It's about serving the needs of the whole populaton. And billionaires don't give a damn about the needs of the whole population.

That also means that big business should be controlled by government. It has no right to go off on its own ignoring government.

This is all couched within a suggestion that the maritime provinces should unite. And so they should. But it won't do the people a bit of good if the only purpose of the union is to help the rich rip us off even more.

Reading this commentary conjures up an image of Professor Savoie writing it while holding hands with Mr. Irving.

Oh, this commentary, like all the commentaries at the top of this page, features a very large photo which tells us nothing. So why do these commentaries have those big photos? It's because a photo is a very cheap way to fill space in a newspaper.

Incidentally, how could professor Savoie write such a long series of commentaries without mentioning what taxes the Irvings don't pay, and how much it costs us in handouts for them to live in the style they are accustomed to.
The other excitement of the weekend paper is its ad for Sunday worship at the Irving chapel. With "Special" music.  I wonder if the rented preacher will talk about the need for governments to pay more attention to the needs of the general population.  I wonder if he'll talk about Christian sharing of the wealth of this province.

And will he mention the Acadian lay missionary who was murdered by American and Canadian big business in Guatemala, and who lies just a short distance away?

Nah. That would just spoil the sweetness of coffee and chats in the chapel barn.
And The Guardian proves it has a sense of humour. But don't kid yourself. This is true.
Ever notice that our news media seldom tell us what all our wars are about? Usually they just say it's because the other country's ruler is a "bad man". Saddam Hussein was a bad man. So that's why it was necessary to murder a million and a half people, most civilians. The ruler of LIbya was a 'bad man".   That's why Canadians had to bomb so many "good people", and why a "good guy" on our side had to kill the Libya "bad guy" by running a dagger up his rear end. Syria's leader is a "bad guy".  But the majority of the Syrian people don't seem to realize that because they support him. So we've had to kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians to bring real democracy to the survivors - if any.  Here's a pretty good summary of it.
Trump has certainly been guilty of childish and atrocious behaviour in his dealing with the news media. But we also have to recognize the dishonesty and lying of the American news media. It illustrates again that the problem is not Trump.  Trump is simply the product of a corrupt and decaying American society. Electing, say, Hillary Clinton, would not solve any problem. We are watching the crash of the American empire.
We often brand people with their religion as though all people of any one religion are the same. So it is that most North Americans will think of all Muslims as being the same. That's how Trump was able to win so many votes on his racist platform. All Muslims, all Mexicans were bad.

The reality is that there are many, many differences between the many subdivisions of any religion. Muslim are tremendously divided into variations of Islam.  Jihadists tend to belong to a subdivision of Islam that is severely orthodox, intolerant and brutal in its laws. Saudi Arabia is dominated by such Moslems, and it is far, far apart from most Moslems in Syria or Iraq - or anywhere else.

Curiously, the extreme Muslims of Saudi Arabia are the ones who are the closest friends of the U.S. government.

The same is true of Christians. There's a considerable gap between Roman Catholics and Jehovah Witnesses. Even within a single church  (like the Anglicans) there can a wide range of differences. Check racism in the U.S. You're likely to find it much more pronounced in some religious groups than in others.

The same is true of Jews. They can range from the ultraorthodox of severely strict views to far more moderate groups. Israeli government is dominated by the ultra, ultra  orthodox though they are a distinct minority within Israel, and highly intolerant of any religious views but their own severe, rule-ridden and narrow one. They are also the most ferocious persecutors of Muslim Israelis and of Palestinians.

Many (a majority) of Jews in all countries are reacting against the power of the ultraorthodox Jews in Israel. But they are what is keeping Netanyahu in power. And he is so anxious to maintain their support that Netanyahu has recently attacked Jews all over the world for being critical of them.

Curiously, our news media have paid little attention to the reality of these profound religious differences. To speak of Jews or Muslims or Christians as though one label fits all is both ignorant and dangerous.

(I am reminded of a recent column in the Irving press about how North Americans have strong religious values - something like 95% of thos surveyed agreed with that. Get real.

If that many North Americans had strong religious values, our churches would be jammed on Sundays. And the homeless would not be sleeping in streets. And American police would not be be killing  a thousand people a year. And the American poor would not be losing their health care.  And the U.S. government would not have killed millions of people all over the world since World War Two - and billionaires would pay their taxes.)
Canada's tar sands are dead. Even if they didn't cause fatal damage for the planet, they would be dead. Trudeau doesn't recognize that.

I could wish Canadians would show as much anger as the British are showing. But, no, instead we get a column from Professor Don Savoie that we have to cut down on government spending on frills like education, housing so we can spend more on a corrupt defence industry, and spare the rich from the agony of paying taxes.
No. I am not an admirer of Justin Trudeau.

I add this because Lester Pearson, Canadian prime minister in the 1960s, saw all this coming. He saw the mass suicide that nuclear war would be. He saw the danger of Canada becoming a colony to the American empire.

We haven't begun to think about the implications of climate change. Israel, for example, is already worried about its water supply And that will get worse, much worse, as climate change spreads. Israel has already attacked  Syria, primarily to get more water from the region. The water problem is going to get worse.  Israel has a nuclear arsenal.

O-o-o-ooh! Is it possible Russia would get alarmed at a major Israeli attack on Syria?

But not to worry. We have so many nuclear weapons in this world that nobody would ever use one. Unless they really, really had to.

The reality is that our political leadership is not dealing with any of the major problems we face. If we have nuclear weapons, then someday somebody will use them. If climate change continues we will very soon be fighting climate wars just for basic survival. (No. I don' t mean in fifty years. - more like five.)

Instead of dealing with our problems, the wealthy are making them worse, much worse, by redistributing the world's wealth from all of the rest of us to themselves. That's pretty stupid because we are coming to the point at which there is so little money left to take that the very wealthy won't be able to make profits any more. But the very wealthy are often stupid and selfish and short-sighted. We have centuries of history to prove that.

The reality is that we have come to a point at which we can no longer afford this stupidity and greed. And wars are no longer feasible because the next big one   will be world-wide and totally destructive. And increasing climate change is sure to create wars.

Nor has fighting wars been very useful for the past seventy years. We have lost almost all of them - Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, probably Iraq, probably Syria..... And the reaction of our fearless leader, Justin Trudeau? We will increase our defence budget to help our good friend, Mr. Trump. (and to boost profits for our corrupt defence industry.)

Oh - I shall have family visiting very soon, so the blog may become a bit irregular for  two or three weeks. I shall be going down to the shore to swim in our delightfully polluted waters. (Nobody's doing anything about that, either.)

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