Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25: We have met the enemy. And he is....

Since 1970, the rates of autism in children and of alzheimer's in seniors have risen spectacularly. Some scientists, working out of the very authoritative MIT, have concluded that autism will affect 50% of all children by 2025.
The cause? Chemicals, especially glysophate,  that is widely used as a weed killer domestically, and is used to on crops and - oh, yes - on us in New Brunswick to spray our forests (and anything else that's down there.)

The story hasn't appeared in the Irving press. Nor is it likely to. But perhaps it will be discussed over coffee an the barn by the Irving chapel. This is well worth reading. And you may note that, unlike most news that does appear in the Irving press, this one tells both sides of the story.
In Saturday's section A, there's a big story about two lawyers who are challenging the provincial government's right to offer help to students at publicly funded universities if their families earn less that $60,000 a year. The legal team of Murphy and Lamrock says no. Private colleges should also get this benefit. Their argument appears to be that the law guarantees the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

Like hell it does. There is no right to equal protection and benefit. If you think there is, try suing Mr. Irving. Or load up a plane with Roundup and spray his house.

This case has nothing to do,  in any case, with the legal rights of students. It's about the legal right of private institutions to get extra money - in the same way we throw money at private companies to build, say, warships. They're making a case for the institutions, not for the students and what they need.

The reality is that students from families with incomes below $60,000 have far, far lower chances of going to university. It's not just the cost. It's also a matter of social background that causes students not even to think of higher education. It's growing up in a society that has no intellectual interests, and no sense that those who live in it  should even think of   higher education. Put costs and background together - and that adds up to low-paid jobs for life.

I see no reason to have respect for lawyers who take up a cause of the privileged - and who seem to be unaware of social realities.

There is nothing worth reading on the Opinion and Commentary pages. Brian Murphys column is particularly vapid. "There's more than a building worth saving in the MHS story". Yes, yes. There's also memories. This is dreadfully bland and pointless stuff. It's not really a commentary of any sort. But it's guaranteed not to offend anybody.

Below Murphy is a propanda piece from the Fraser Institute.

Canada&World News is almost all trivial. And, again, most of the world doesn't exist.

And, in a world in which Christians are killing people by the million with absolute indifference to whether they are soldiers. civilians, men, women, children, babies. And Christians are deliberately starving millions to death (in Yemen for example) - not to mention that American and Canadian Christians are now confronting Russia Christians; and American special ops (Christian to a man) are assassinating South American Christians, we get to read an intellectually and spiritually drooling Mickey Mouse sermonette on the Faith page.

In Monday's section A, there's a big story about a teen who has been playing chess for fifteen years. Then there's more than a full page on ghosts. And a Dieppe pyschologist is opening a women's boutique. It's a full life.

The commentary page has not a single commentary on it. A commentary takes an important issue of the day, and offers a reasoned opinion about it. And there just ain't one.

Canada&World for Monday is, well, not as good as usual. The tone is set by the lead headline - that the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews, which received over 30,000,000 dollars in provincial government loans is "...finally starting to pay off".

What does that mean? Damaned if know. There is not a single word in that whole story to tell us what is being paid off or how much. In fact, the final paragraph says it's not making a profit yet. Aren't newspaper reporters supposed to ask questions? What has been paid back on the loan? It created 250 jobs. Sure. Most of them seasonal and low paid. That's now much of a return for over $30,000,000.

There is no story about Yemen, where the U.S. is helping Saudi Arabia,  one of the richest countries in the world, to bomb, starve, cut off medical supplies, destroy hospitals and to kill soldiers and   civilians with no distinction in one of the poorest countries in the world.

And Canada has a finger in that pie. We are supplying the Saudis with armoured cars - even though we signed an agreement that we would not. So why did Canada change its mind, and approve it? We never heard a word about the manufacturer or its ownership or its political connections.  And there's something else very odd about this.

There is  no armoured car that is fit to be on a battlefield. Their chassis cannot take the strain of adequate armour to fend off even the lightest tank gun.. Nor can they carry anything resembling an adequate gun. That's why most armies abandoned armoured cars by 1945 - even earlier.

Today, armoured cars are more likely to be found in police forces   (of the more violent sort) for crowd control. They're great for shooting up civilians who have only light weapons - if any. So what are the Saudis using them for? I've heard no mention of public uprisings in Saudi Arabia. That leaves just Yemen. It particularly leaves just the starving civilians of Yemen.

Why don't we know much, much more about what our government is doing? This is surely easy information for journalists to get.
The irving press has said remarkably little about the Panama Papers. That's surely odd for what is the biggest act of thievery in world history. The papers also throw considerable doubt on Norbert Cunningham's fundamental belief - that billionaires create prosperity wherever they invest. In fact, history shows the reverse to be true. The very wealthy are usually thieves on a vast scale There's insight into this   (based on the Panama Papers) in a column about the workings of the wealthy in Africa - particularly in the mining industry. You'll find the same thing in Asia, South America - and Canada.

The site also lists a couple of others worth looking at.
Then there's this one about Bangladesh where the billionaires who made you favourite cheap clothes flock to exploit  child  and adult labour (though child labour is supposedly illegal.) Hours are long, wages, extremely low, and working conditions very dangerous. But, oh, the profits are high. So much for all the journalistic crap about billionaires creating wealth for the society.

Odd - we've never had a sermonette about this on the Faith page. I guess Jesus must have been in favour of cheap labour and the degradation of humans
Then there's a minor story that appealed to me only because I worked for some time in Hong Kong where I taught history and journalism. The major English language daiy in Hong Kong is the South China Morning Post. And the story is all about how the Chinese government is trying to control the paper.

I don't doubt that it is. But the reality is the South China Morning Post has always been controlled. It was controlled by the British and the British governor for almost a century. And it was operated by the most arrogant and least competent journalists I had seen until I read the irving press.

But I have never even heard of a newspaper that criticized the control of the SCMP by brits. Indeed, all around the world, most newspapers, by far, are controlled by governments and by billionaire owners.

Funny how The Guardian gets all excited when the Chinese government controls the press.  It's like the stories on our TV and newspapers that shed tears for the victims of Orlando. But have almost ignored the massive killing all over the world imposed by the U.S. and its allies.

It's all, really, a close relative of racism.
The next article accuses Poland - and much of Europe - of moving toward fascism. That's rather a casual use of the word 'fascism'. I think it would be more accurate to say it's moving  back to a racism that has always been there.

All of us humans have a strong tendency to racism - to a sense that we belong to unique race, and that it it morally and intellectually superior to the races of all other people - especially ones that we are killing or exploiting.

There have been strong echoes of racism on both sides of the language debate in Canada.  Racism gave the British the arrogance to plunder, exploit and murder millions for the empire. There are echoes of racism in most national anthems that I have heard. Racism is what made it possible for the U.S. to condemn the Orlando shootings while giving no thought whatever to the millions of men, women, and children killed by American bombs. The Americans who died in Vietnam are remembered as heroes. But we don't use that word to describe the Vietnamese who were killed defending their country (when they weren't just civilians killed in the general slaughter)  against the most powerful nation in the world.

Hitler didn't invent racism. Racism  goes back thousands of years in human history. It particularly shows up in times of fear - as now in the U.S. and Europe. Poland is just a sample.
And the article above is a close relative to the one below. It's also a useful example of how the wealthy do NOT create prosperity.
And here are two, good articles - one on nuclear war, the other on a reality our news sources never talk about. The US wants the world to live in a constant fear of war. That's why Canada is under pressure to dramatically raise its military spending. That's why some European countries are driven into a panic of military spending.

The military industries of the US have immense power over the government. They exist to sell weapons. Ever notice that once famous military brand names like Supermarine and Hawker have disappeared?  That's because the dominant suppliers of the US war industries have taken over - and the major purpose of NATO is to buy US weapons for 'standardization'.

Watch for Canada's war spending to go up - and soon.
An excellent site, especially for readers interested in the middle east and India is

If like me, you were a child raised on the myth of Lawrence of Arabia, there's a  truer  version currently available in countercurrents. There is also an examination of the "special relationahip" between Britain and the U.S.  The reality is that no such relationship ever existed. Big business has no connection with special relationships and special friends. The two world wars were convenient for the U.S. That's the only reason it entered them.
Perhaps the most thieving companies to found in this world are those in pharmaceutical business. (Not, not your local pharmacist. It's the companies that make the drugs.)_
Lots more. but it's supper time.

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22: Us Very Imperfect Humans.

Again, I shall be off to sea and sand for this weekend.
Man murders   50 in Orlando nightclub.  News media go wild for days, even weeks, in covering it.

Two men murder over a million people, including thousands of their own nationals. They also create millions of refugees of whom thousands die of exposure, starvation, drowning as they attempt to flee. It makes some  headlines - for a day. Now, it's forgotten.

As a result of the Chilcot report, there cannot be the slightest doubt that Tony Blair and George Bush, jr. (a big fan of Jesus) invaded Iraq with no cause and no mandate. There is no doubt they lied about 'weapons of mass destruction'. That act has plunged the world into a chaos of destruction and suffering which will last as far into the future as we can see. The heaps of dead now are only a down payment.

Believe it or not, this is far, far bigger than nightclub murders in Orlando.                                
And there is not the slightest doubt that Blair and Bush lied about their reasons for the war. We have the evidence investigators. We have recorded conversations between the two.

But you'll notice none of this has been mentioned in the U.S. leadership races. And, at the political level, it has received little, if any, attention in Britain.
Nobody has even asked why they did it. If I were arrested for urinating behind a tree in Centennial Park, it would get more news coverage in the irving press than the mass murder of Iraqis, Americans, and British did.

The can be said for the war in Afghanistan where the murder included natives of Afghanistan as well of American, British and Canadian troops. Why did we send them?  Why did some half-wit think that Canadians should die in a war that had nothing to do with Canada against a country that was no threat to Canada. And why did Canadian line the streets waving flags as the caskets rolled by as if there were something glorious about it all? Is this why Canadians died in World War Two? To help U.S. billionaires to conquer the world? And why have the members of The Legion sat on their thumbs as all this happened?

What a sodden, stupified lot we have become! And, concerning a world that goes beyond horror, have you heard a single word from our Christian leaders? Or even prayers for all those murdered people? Or, perhaps, something from the British Legion about this wilful abuse of British soldiers?

And, amazingly, nobody has even asked why these wars are fought - though I think we can all guess why if we close our eyes and think really hard about it.
Iraq, for example, has only one thing worth fighting a war for. Its oil. Now, think about that aspect of it. Did Bush and Blair  do this as a sort of surprise party for British and American oil barons?

Not likely.

No. More likely, the oil barons told them that they wanted that oil. Over a million people died and millions were made refugees to make the already wealthy even wealthier. And, in the process, they have plunged us into war without end.
But have you seen an editorial in the Irving press about this? A commentary by Norbert Cunningham? Perhaps even something from Rod Allen written in a style of adolescent humour?

Almost nothing has been said. Nothing has been done. Nothing is likely to be done because this case is not just about two mass murderers. It's about the whole, ruthless and murderous world of  the 1%. Perhaps you might want to discuss this on Sunday while having coffee in the barn at the Irving Chapel.
There are two items worth reading in section A news. One is about the food bank. Its stocks are way down. There's also an interesting - and thoughtful - story about two Moncton photographers who are raising money to build a wheelchair accessible school for Haiti. A key fearure of this is to pay Haitians to build it. That's huge improvement over the more common practice of putting the job into the hands of contractors with government connections - who then pocket most of the money.
The editorial is on NB Power's debt. And its advice is typical  irving press advice. Make the poor pay.  And don't even mention Irving.
Similarly, Norbert talks about the province's shortage of money  without mentioning the wealthy and their tax privileges.

The three columns on the commentary page are more useful. But they share one weakness with the opinion page. They are all about local affairs. But the world does not end at the borders of metro Moncton. We are far more affected by decisions taken in Ottawa and Washington and even more distant cities. We need to understand this.

We get (some) news about these places. But we also need commentary to stir our thinking, to deepen our understanding. We are now sending troops into danger in Syria and in Latvia. We need informed columnists to understand what we are doing, and if we should do it. We need informed columnists to assure the    timid people of this province that they are allowed to discuss these things.  We cannot act intelligently if we don't understand what's going on.

That is particularly important in a war-prone world. For at least hundreds of years,  countries have gone to war without knowing why they were going to war. Why, for example,  did Canada go to war in Afghanistan? And please don't say it was patriotism. (If so, we're no different from those Germans who went to war in 1914 and 1939).
Canada&World? One of the big items is that elevators seem to be breaking down more often. Another one is about a local man who has interesting jobs. Yemen? South America? Africa? Never heard of them.
I began today's blog with an account of how killings in Orlanda or Nice or Paris get enormous play in our news media. But our killings of millions are matters of indifference to us. Here's a commentary on that phenomenon.

Here's another mass murder, this one comitted by Indonesia, Australia and Britain. They tortured and killed a half million people. But who cares? It's not as if it happened in a nightclub in Orlando.

God save the Queen.'crimes-against-humanity'/7647274
Here's another example of the same kind of thinking.
I remember 9/11 well. I was on air as the news came through. The host of the show, Gord Sinclair Jr., and I stared at each other. Each of us knew what the other was thinking. The world would never be the same again. Aghanistan, Iraq, Syria were all products of  9/11. Indeed, one might say that World War Three for the conquest of the world by American billionaires began with 9/11.
People say they don't believe in conspiracy theories. In fact, most people believe in them every day. The  war on Iraq was 'justified' by a conspiracy theory. Ditto for the war on Syria. And here, Paul Craig Roberts makes an interesting case about a 9/11 conspiracy.

Get real. We are not led by truthful people.
The Koch brothers, the American oil billionaires who have spent a large fortune (though smaller than their personal fortune) to convince us that climate change isn't happening, have dropped their support of Donald Trump to switch to Hillary Clinton. Final proof, if proof were needed, that Hillary Clinton is just as dangerous as Donald Trump. People like the Koch brothers  don't want just  to peddle even more oil. They want war to steal more oil. And the beauty of  the war part is that it they don't have to pay a cent for the war. The hundreds of billions - even more with some over a trillion - that wars cost are paid for by us suckers. Noor is it common for the wealthy to serve in these wars. The swaggering George Bush Jr. is more an example of the type.

(Countercurrents, by the way, is an excellent source of information about parts of the world the irving press has never heard of - like southeast Asia and Africa and, in fact, most of the world.)
The insanity of greed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21: Not a pretty world

I knew I shouldn't have. But last night I watched a little more of the Republican convention. It was a look into the insanity of hell. There was the raving of a man with a mental age of a 12 year old with severe personality disorders. There was a racism so thick it could be tasted. There was the very dangerous cry of declaring the U.S. a Christian state.

Yes, the country that kills more people (including its own) than any other country - the country whose economic policies are based on greed and exploitation - the country with an uncontrollable rate of murder by its citizens and by its police - the country with the biggest prison population in the world is going to declare itself officially Christian.

Actually, that has nothing to do with religion. Like Hitler's Christianity, it's all about racism. If either party in the U.S. gave a damn about Christianity, the U.S. would not now be the world's leading murderer; and oil billionaires wouldn 't be running around saying that climate change isn't happening.

The Republican party, like Hitler's Naziis, isn't really about religion at all. It's about conformity. Be white. Be straight. If you're male, drink beer and look for easy scores. Call yourself Christian.  (And don't kid yourself that New Brunswickers would never dream of such a society. This is such a society.)
Trump is appealing to the lowest of human instincts. And Hillary? She is pure greed. In her own way, she is worse than Trump.

And we are sending Canadian troops, at the request  (demand) of the U.S. on a military mission that makes no sense, that could, in fact, spark the final war for no reason but to give American billionaires control of the world economy - which would mean control of something that no longer existed.

The pressures for Canada to conform are strong. Canadians, like most people, love to conform.  (That's why we get those Mickey Mouse sermonettes on the faith page. That's why so many robots vote either liberal or conservative. That's why some 'Christians' demonstrate against abortion while saying not a word about the millions of babies killed by bombs, napalm, agent orange, exposure, refugee flights, and deliberate starvation.)

Jesus was not a conformist. That's why he got crucified by the religiously self-righteous. There is, however, no danger that a Trump or a Clinton will ever be crucified.

However impossible it may sound, Canada is going to have to break its support of U.S. policy. There will be a price for it. There will be trade sanctions, at least. And the Irvings of this Canada would never support such a move. (They're very Christian. They even have their own church with all the Christian trimmings - like coffee in the barn.)

All this sounds extreme? It is. Now, think hard. If this were 1937, and we shared a border and trade with Hitler's Germany......what side would you choose?
Or, if you don't want to think, settle down with a copy of today's irving press.
The big, front page headline is the the provincial Liberals'  plan to reform jobs training - and they called for meetings to discuss it. Translation? Nothing has happened. But they're thinking of thinking about it. And that's irving press idea of a big story.

And that's it for section A news unless you really, really care that an old fire station is for sale. Oh, and there's a Moncton cook who makes great doughnuts. Man, it's a full life.

The editorial tells us that nothing has happened with the N.B. registry of lobbyists. That's interesting. But I have a great idea to kickstart this. The editorial writer could write one suggesting that the owner of the newspaper voluntarily register himself as a lobbyist. There. That would set an example.

Norbert Cunningham praises a letter to the editor from a retired teacher on how young people cannot really participate in a democracy because of a failure of schools to teach history, civics, etc.

Quite so. There are just two points I would raise with Norbert.

1. I taught history at all levels from elementary school to university. In elementary and high school, I  could never tell the truth without being criticized by school board officials and assorted busybodies. The school boards wanted propaganda. The busybodies were ignorant of history but wanted conformity to the accepted version.

So I was expected to teach that the British Empire, one of the most murderous and rapacious in history was just, oh, glorious. To this day, any elementary or high school teacher who told the whole truth would be fired. The newest history curriculum in Quebec schools actually teaches that the native peoples and the French settlers got along just great - which is a complete reversal of what actually happened.

2. Then there are the news media who are even worse. We all need changing and broadening information about history, civics and politics all our lives. Our young people don't know history and politics? Does anybody seriously think our older population does?

That's where news media are supposed to come in with the information we need to make democracy work. But most of our news media, notably the Irving press, feed us propaganda (as from think tanks), lies and, most of all, irrelevant and ignorant 'news' stories about fire stations for sale and somebody who makes great doughnuts.

Before you dump all the blame on the schools, Norbert, look in a mirror.

Rod Allen gives us another piece of adolescent humour about something nobody cares about. How's that for his responsibility to keep people informed so they can function in a democracy?

There is a superb, intelligent and readable commentary on the relationship between children's health and their family incomes. This is the kind of commentary we need to vote intelligently.

Alec Bruce has a column on developing the tidal power of Fundy to supply electricity. This is based on thoughts expressed by Rick Doucet, NB's minister of energy and resources. I don't doubt Mr. Doucet's sincerity. But this is scarcely a new idea. It's been kicking around for at least 50 years that I know of.
So why no action? Hint - how long do you think it would take a government to do something if Mr. Irving wanted it? Our provincial governments have been bending themselves like pretzels to sell us on fracking and pipelines and forest spray. That's because Mr. Irving wants all of those. But tidal evergy......?
Section B really has almost nothing.   Brazil has been in  political chaos for months as groups which seem to be backed by U.S. business have taken over the government. And the big story in the irving press?  A dog in Rio that was shot has recovered, and is now up for adoption.

A drug dealer in Virginia has been given 41 years for murder.

An 84 year old woman in Virginia is getting a new trial on a charge of poisoning her son's girlfriend.

This is how how the irving press keep you up to date on the things you need to know for our democracy to work. (But it's really all the fault of the schools. Right, Norbert?)  
As I look at some real, world news, I'm reminded that way back I was a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Movement. But the news media of the time painted us as wackos. That attitude spread to police. I remember, after a demonstration, having a beer with a friend who was a policeman. He confided that he couldn't  wait to wade into a demonstration, wacking the the  freaks wearing beards and sandals with his baton.

Apart from sending police to watch us, governments did nothing but build more nuclear weapons, sell lthem to more, they refine them into different types with some small and handy for small groups like the soldiers we're sending to Latvia. From two nuclear weapons in 1945, we've gone to nobody knows how many - perhaps 20,000.

And we are seriously planning to use them.  Nuclear disarmament talks could have begun with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  But the U.S., in particular, kept building them. And, with so many of them, and with massive launches now possible from submarines, it's difficult to see how  they could all be intercepted.
And the U.S. media, the big backers of U.S. nuclear weapons, were shocked when North Korea had the nerve to develop one. (Though they said nothing when Israel got 200 of them.)

Now, the U.S. is setting them up on the Russian border. Well, I'm sure that will make the world a safer place.
The world 'libertarian' sounds nice because it sounds as if it means more freedom for everyone. In fact, that's not what it means. It means all power for the very wealthiest. it means virtually no government at all to get in their way. New Brunswick is close to that. But some capitalists  feel it's necessary to completely destroy democratic politics - not just to buy them off, but to actually destroy them.

Big business has always disliked democracy.  (And don't tell me that George Washington,  a big businessman of his time, was a pioneer of democracy. Democracy in the American constitution's early days  (and later ones) was severely restricted.)

Here's an interesting column on the subject about a man who is supporting Trump. He's very wealthy, a libertarian, and he wants to utterly destroy democracy.)

You're not likely to learn this from the editorial or commentary pages of the irving press.

As a footnote to the above, I'll repeat what i started with. Canada has to detach itself from the U.S. I know that's difficult. I know the dangers. But to stay attached to it is fatal.
The next item is from a source I would normally be wary of. But note that it originally appeared in another source  - which I would also normally be wary of, but for quite different reasons. Briefly, there's good reason to believe this story is true.
The following piece is one I  have often though of, but have never had the courage to write.
I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. But I take Paul Craig Roberts very seriously, indeed. And this one makes sense. American democracy is dead. The U.S., itself, is unravelling. Expect the unexpected.

Are there people in positions of power in the U.S. who would kill Donald Trump for cutting off arms to Ukraine? You can bet on it.
The world has been in trouble for seventy years. We're now in trouble as deep as it gets. The tripping point was, above all, the invasion of Iraq. That is what created a powerful, anti-west Muslim movement. More killing by us will make it wider and stronger.

At the same time, American democracy, never very democratic, has completely collapsed.  Added to that, the U.S. is committed to world conquest to benefit its billionaires. Any leader who threatens to dull that drive is likely to be assassinated. As well, the  real rulers of the U.S. have demonstrated in 70 years of wars that they don't care how many people they kill or starve. Anything to boost profits.

At the same time, they are robbing the American people.  (And, with local help, the Canadian people.) We are heading into very unstable times. And they are not happening somewhere in the future. They have begun now. And expect no help from the private news media. They have been used for over a century to keep us in a stupor.
Here is an excellent item on terrorism, and how the insatiable greed (and low intelligence)  of our big business leadership has created it.

This is the kind of article we need to understand what's happening. And it's also what chains like irving press make sure we never even hear of. Why are young people and older ones hopelessly uninformed on local and world affairs? It's not the schools, Norbert. It's journalists like you.
Enough for a day.

There is no possibility that any American government will change its aggressive and murderous policies in support of the very wealthy. There is no possibility those policies will result in anything but more death and destruction - and fear on both sides. At this time, the world's best hope is a social melt-down in the U.S. And that is quite possible.

The world cannot be run like a business, controlled by dictatorial bosses, and run solely for profits. It can be run only if it is for the people who live in it - and by people they want to run it. But the greedy will never understand that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20: A long day.

A reader sent me a post which I repeat here because you'll never find it in any North American newspaper. It's about the role Canada has taken on in Latvia. The language of this item is more strident and more loaded than the words I would have used. But the message is bang on.

Almost all that has been given as reasons for Canadian intervention in eastern Europe is lies. Indeed, for the U.S. to even suggest it feels a responsibility to protect democracy and to stop aggression  would be laughable to any person with even a modest knowledge of history and current events.

The U.S. is without doubt the most  aggressive country in the world today - and perhaps the most aggressive in human history. The killing began well before 1776 with the destruction of native societies, the takeover of   Hawaii, the conquest of Latin American states, the Phillipines and, more recently, Vietnam, Barbados, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. It is now assisting Saudia Arabia in the slaughter and starvation in Yemen, one of the poorest nations on earth.

And almost everywhere it has gone, it has established either dictatorships or puppet governments. Some of its closest allies - as Saudi Arabia - are dictatorships. Its own government is a dictatorship of big money.
And Justin Trudeau has joined the puppets. Just as Obama has had the same foreign policy as Bush, Trudeau has the same foreign policy as Harper. Kiss the U.S. ass. And keep kissing.

Trudeau and the Conservatives and, to its eternal shame, the NDP have joined in putting Canadian soldiers in danger for a 'crisis' invented by the U.S. to cover another American act of aggression.

Justin Trudeau has shown no political principles whatever. His father did. But to Justin, being prime minister is just an extension of the high life he's used to. In the same way, Dominic is not what his father was. Romeo Leblanc had political beliefs and values. I didn't usually agree with them - but he did have them. I have seen no sign of either in Dominic. Like Trudeau, he seems to believe it's all about only one thing - winning elections.

We are now attached to an insane confrontation, and we're doing it at the will of American billionaires insane with power who control a nation in hysteria.
Where is The Legion in all this? Why isn't it asking questions about why we are putting our troops in danger in eastern Europe? Why didn't it ask why we did the same in Afghanistan? Wasn't The Legion founded to serve our veterans and our current serving people?

Or is it really just there to serve American billionaires behind a facade of patriotism?

(One of the dumbest patriotic slogans ever is an American one - 'My country, right or wrong, but my country" Think about it.  Why, it could have been sung by Nazi soldiers as they killed Jews.)
Then there's the idiocy that the rich make us all richer. If that were the true, the last 20 years would have been times of wild prosperity for all of us. If that were true, countries like Guatemala  and Haiti and Iraq would be up to their knees in hundred dollar bills.

In our history, there have been periods when there was a future.  But they were not so for most of us. The wealthy of Britain became monstrously wealthy out of the empire. But the rest of the British people got nothing - except pennies a day to die as soldiers and sailors.

Pay was low in the U.S. and Canada, and working conditions vile until about World War 1. After, things got somewhat better. But then came the crash of 1929. Oh, the rich did better than ever in the 1930s. It was the rest of us who had to suffer.

Things picked up again from 1940 or so. But it's been downhill since 1980 or so. Oh, again, it's still good times for the rich. But they are getting richer by making us  poorer.

Wealth does not usually work its way down from the rich to the poor. It goes the other way around, from the poor to the rich. It always has.
Section A news is really great if you want to know a)that children play outside in summer b)what restaurant just closed c)what restaurant just opened. This isn't a newspaper. This is a pacifier for adults.

Think maybe we could have a story on the effect of glosphates on trees, wildlife, and us? No. I didn't think so.
The editorial deals with one of the great questions of our age. Should civil servants get free parking? I admire the editorial writer's insight and courage.  Could we now get one on whether Mr. Irving should get free parking? And millions of dollars of handouts? And a forest on the cheap? And the right to spray whatever the hell he feels like spraying on us? And low (if any) taxes?
The editorial takes a high, moral position. After all, it says, this is our tax money that pays for free parking for civil servants.  Yeah. It's also our tax money that pays for the  handouts, the gift of a forest, the tax breaks - and the price we will someday have to pay for our forest spraying.

This is an editorial with a self-righteous tone, a boot-licking attitude - and dreadfully weak thinking. Free parking is a part of the union's bargaining arrangement. In effect, it's there in place of a salary raise. Would the editor object to a better raise in salary instead? Yeah. probably.

Then there's the "it's our tax money line." Well, yes. All money that supports government is our tax money. So should we close down all government?
For that matter, all the handouts to the Irvings are our tax money, too. And their low taxes   (if any) have to be made up for with our tax money.

This is a despicable editorial. Still, an editor who writes this sort of slobbering nonsense could have a great future with one of the Conrad Black papers.

However, Norbert's column is worth a read.

There's a column by Britan Cormier, our communications specialist. Too bad he still has nothing to communicate.

Below him is a guest commentary dealing with poverty in respect to payday loans. In effect, he says the problem will look after itself. His educational qualifications to write such a column seem pretty slim. Nor is there any indication of his work experience. Moreover, his claim that just letting free enterprise work its magic to solve poverty seems pretty silly given than free enterprise is what has caused the problem. It's like saying the way to end war forever is to kill everybody.

Alec Bruce's column is okay. It's not on one of the great issues facing this world. But it's okay.
And the big news, the hot story for Canada&World, is that a New Brunswicker is now Canada's envoy to Israel? Well, that certainly changes the way the world turns.  

At the bottom of the front page of section B is a big story that is pure propaganda handed out by a propaganda agency. It's propaganda in favour of building oil pipelines and it comes from a propaganda outfit paid for by the kinds of people who build oil pipelines. It's from The Franser Institute.

Then there's a wasted story on Pokemon Go.  And another on a silly idea of Trudeau's to set up a council of young people to advise him on what young people want. This is pure PR. In the first place, we elect a government to govern, not to ask us what to do.   (Of course, it should in the first place have won the election based on what its principles are. But the Liberal party really doesn't have any principles.) So why ask just young people? Why not ask everybody?

Because this is an old political game. Young people sounds good. It sounds as though they have exciting and new ideas. It also fits Trudeau's image as a young person with new ideas and identifies him with young people on the assumption they have new ideas.

Think this sounds good? Okay. And when you get operated on for cancer, are you going to insist on a young doctor who will be instructed by a committee of young people who know nothing about medicine but have new ideas?

This isn't news. And it's not democracy. This is cheap, political propaganda.

And Canada is going to donate $200 million to help Iraq's economy. Good luck, Iraq. The U.S. has given Iraq billions, almost none of which ever reached Iraq.

There's a big notice in section B that a  spraying outfit will be doing some spraying by a herbicide most of us have never heard of. Shouldn't this also appear as a news story, written by a 'communications specialist' so we could have a fuller understanding of what this herbicide is?

The notice has very soothing words. But it would be useful to have more information.

The major (and only) world story is that some  sedated elephants are being moved.
BBC is not the reliable source it once was. But this story is one that has received wide coverage - except in the Irving press.
This report is one-sided. It tells the truth; but I think there is much, much more truth about Turkey that we have to learn.
This is the clearest explanation - and the most plausible one - I have seen on why the US is encouraging a NATO-Russia confrontation.

The U.S. has made itself dependent on two industries - oil and weapons. The cost of the U.S. defence industry is simply unbearable. Neither Russia nor China could possibly match it. And the U.S. can't maintain it, either. That cost is a major cause of the confused  and still aimless thrashings of American   voters. They are suffering to enrich the defence billionaires - but they haven't figured that out yet.

But it is not possible that armies in major powers could possibly fight a conventional war against each other with those conventional weapons. Quite apart from the stunningly bad record of U.S. forces in conventional wars against small countries in the last, 70 years is the problem that any such war between nuclear powers would immediately lead to the use of nuclear weapons. And, by immediate, I mean within seconds.

We can't say 'We'll start with a conventional war and see how it goes." Neither side could possibly risk that the other would go nuclear first. Nuclear weapons don't deter war, not when one has a U.S. which spends so much on conventional weaponry as to make it a risk that cannot be accepted.

That's why I have no respect for a Trudeau (or any of the others) who sent Canadians to Latvia. Russia could not possibly risk a first strike by American nuclear bombs, especially as those bombs become so close to Russian borders. It would have to go nuclear immediately.  (And the same logic would apply to the U.S.)

The reality is that nuclear war is now the ONLY kind of war that can be fought between major powers.

But the U.S. defence industry, which owns people like Hillary Clinton, wants high military spending on conventional weapons because it is so profitable for the industry. And that means the U.S. needs NATO to spend big money on American conventional weapons. in fact, a major reason for NATO in the first place was to create a huge market for American, conventional weapons.
That means creating so much fear that Americans and others will maintain ruinous levels of weapons purchases that, in fact, don't protect them at all. That's why what we call the Republican and Democrat conventions are really carnivals of fear and hatred. Americans are being made afraid of everybody except the people they should fear - the owners of their own oil and defence industries.
That's why Canadian troops are being sent to Latvia. The idea that so few troops have any significant military value is laughable. They are being sent to  heighten our fears and hatreds, and either provoke a Russian response or make up an American excuse for a response. And the opening  price of that will be the lives of the soldiers we are sending.

President Eisenhower forecast all of this in a statement we often quoted, but never really took seriously, "Beware of the military-industrial complex".
Killings by U.S. police this year now add up to almost 600. (It should reach  600 by morning.)

This reminds me of the insanity I saw at Rexton with special police in camouflage with combat rifles, presumably ready to fire into a crowd.
Among the interesting goals for the Republican party listed below is the making of Christianity into the official religion of the U.S. What a thrill that would be for Jesus! - the most aggressive, murderous and greedy country of our time would be Christian.

What does this remind me of the Faith page in the irving press?
There's more. Much, much more. But I've been at this for seven hours. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19: Not a happy day

Last night, I watched the Republican convention - on and off. It was boring because Donald Trump is a man whose only interesting features are his severe personality discorders. On matters of government, he is hopelessly ignorant.  I could have tolerated that  part of it. After all, watching an ignorant man with  personality disorders is no worse than  most TV shows.

But both he and his audience scared the hell out of me.

As I watched, I realized I was watching a Nazi  rally, and the speaker was Adolf Hitler. Trump's policies are Hitler's policies. And his major appeal is to the racism that runs as strongly through the US as it did through Hitler's Germany.
Nor is there any comfort to be found in the Democrat party. Though less overtly racist, it is thoroughly committed to world conquest -and conquest, throughout history, has its roots in a sense of racial superiority.  The US is in severe disorder, riddled with hatreds. No significant party has answers. And it is whipped on by a defence industry that wants wars, and an oil industry that wants conquest.
And, at the root of it, are news media that have brain-washed the American people into a rage that has no realistic target.
But don't look to the irving press for enlightenment.

The front page headline is that a company has decided it cannot come to New Brunswick because New Brunswick workers lack physical skill sets. Examples given were driving forklifts and giving first aid.

Is it a practice generally in North America that schools  train students in driving forklifts and giving first aid? Wouldn't it be simple and cheap for the company to train them? I have no training in operating printing machines or doing sheet metal work. But as a teenager, I did both - learning on the job.

And from there, section A news just goes downhill.
Cartoonist de Adder has an all too true cartoon of Trump choosing his runing mate from the horsemen of the apocalypse. (and one could do a similar one for Clinton.)

The other star on the page is a letter to the editor from a retired teacher. Education has to cover more than job skills. We daily need to make decisions about political life - and we have to make them not just about Canada. The world does  not end at Amherst or even at Halifax. We need to undertand what is happening. We need a much stronger  sense of how much we are a part of the rest of the world. We need to learn how to think logically about what is happening in this world because it does - it really does - have an effect on us. That is surely  one of the things to remember every November 11.

As the letter says, our schools need to teach how to think. We need to understand what has happened - and why. That is learned through courses in history, politics....

But such courses are being cut back. And when they are taught, they are interfered with by people who don't approve of thinking - people like newspaper owners. And, oh, this is one hell of a time to produce a generation that doesn't think.

Norbert Cunningham, a leading opponent of thinking, brings us back to earth with yet another column about beer prices.

Then there is a  windy and boring  commentary   by a somebody who is president of some company and therefore, presumably, has something insightful to say. Except he doesn't. All that he has to say is trite, vague and impossibly pompous. He and his 'economic development partners' are passionately and determinedly engaged in our future.

Right on, baby. So are pimps, bank robbers and con artists.

The bottom of the commentary page is the usual - a propaganda piece from the pompous windbags of The Fraser Institute.

And Alec Bruce is disappointing with  yet another one that draws on the price of beer in New Brunswick and the barriers to interprovincial trade.

With the exception of de Adder's cartoon and the teacher's letter to the editor, this is pretty trivial stuff.

What's lacking? Well, we mignt take a look at who pays taxes and who doesn't. We might have a column on how much it costs us to give companies 'concessions' to come here. Then we might have some discussion about whether this really makes sense for us - or whether it's legal robbery. We might have some information on whether it makes sense to go on building this city as if it were a 1950s suburb. We could have some discussion of what kind of housing and layout we are going to need - and very soon.

Or we could have some commentaries that actually go beyond Main Street. How about the rapidly collapsing political system we call democracy. In the U.S., it`s completely gone. In Britain, the new prime minister is the angel of death in a democracy. In New Brunswick, much of what we are allowed to know and think is controlled by a handful of people. And that makes democracy impossible.
Then there is the question of nuclear war. We are very, very close. There is every sign that the billionaires who rule the U.S. are willing to risk it.
Canada&World is, well, there`s a big story of a horse being reunited with its owners in Truro. And an even bigger one about Pokémon players.
The biggest story is that Iran may be able to build a nuclear bomb starting it in 11 years. (It is now under a 15 year pact to limit its nuclear activity.) Oooh, exciting. Tension. treachery.

Well, the fact is that it was the U.S. and six allies signed that pact with Iran. They wrote the terms.  But the story makes Iran seem like the villain. One has to wonder, as well, why Israel was allow to build a nuclear bomb, in fact to build over 200 of them - and nobody said boo. This has been a phony issue from the start - and this story looks very much like the beginning of a campaign to provoke a confrontation with Iran.

Generally, the whole section is heavy on trivia And it makes no mention of the most alarming development since 1945 -the movement of nuclear missiles and anti-missile missiles up to the border with Russia. The only reason we are given is that Russia is preparing for war. The reality - and it has been the reality for 70 years - is that everybody is preparinng for war. And far the most aggressive country in that period has been the U.S. It is also, as shown by its spending, preparing for war more than all the rest of the world put together.

The idea that a piddling NATO presence will frighten Russia off is such nonsense that even a cub reporter should see through it. Most of western Europe is very unhappy at this move. They know is make no sense. And they know that they would be the first casualties of any war.

Our Canadian troops are not going there to threaten Russia. They are there as a provocation to Russia - to make it do something to justify an American attack.
The U.S. has hinted its anti-missile missiles can shoot down Russia missiles almost as soon as they are fired. Maybe. It has hinted it can destroy the whole Russian arsenal. Maybe.

The history of warfare is that nobody ever knows how weapons will work out. And nobody ever knows how other countries will react. India and Pakistan could use such an attack to settle their own scores with each other. So could Israel.
And then there`s the question of the fallout, and how it might affect us.

And if you don`t think American economic bosses would be so cruel as to kill huge numbers of people in nuclear attacks just to make more money -try a count of the millions they have killed, starved, refugeed, mutiliated just to make more money in the last seventy years. And it`s quite possible they are being urged on by an impending collapse of their own huge but corrupt and ramshackle economy.

Not surprisingly, the irving press has yet to carry a significant story on this beyond the original announcement.
This next is more than an unpleasant story. This is about a nation tearing itself to pieces in a rage that it doesn`t understand because it is so wrapped up in myths and propaganda about itself and its character and its history. U.S. police killings  could well set a new record for this year. This is the rage of a society destroying itself.

This one is gentler than it should be - and not as clear as it should be. But it`s worth thinking about.

And this is an intriguing story - about Canada.
As should be obvious by now, Turkey`s Erdogan knew well in advance that a coup would be attempted against him. Thus his ability to round up so many plotters so quickly. (No doubt, he has also rounded up many who weren`t in on the coup - but whom he doesn`t like.) It`s also likely, as the source below suggests, that the U.S. was behind the coup. Erdogan`s quick reaction naming the U.S. suggests that. And, if so, the U.S. could well be facing a considerable realignment against it - a realignment that could include Israel. Ater all, it`s hard to believe that Netanyahu did not know of this. And Netanyahu has been publicly unhappy with the U.S.

Remember - no nations are `friends`. NO nations.
Netanyahu has problems that have not made most North American news outlets.  He has already been cited for accepting large sums of money from foreigners, some with criminal  connections. Now, he`s being investigated for giving much of that money to members of his family.

There`s also another story you won`t hear.  The chief  rabbi for the israeli armed forces recently made a statement that it was acceptable for soldiers to rape women in a time of war. Israel`s military chief has said this is a reasonable statement.
I`m just back from a break to eat supper and watch the Republican convention. I found that I couldn`t stay with the convention. Almost everything said, including the numerous lies, was irrelevant. For great masses of Americans, there are no principles or issues. There are only slogans. `Make America Great Again`. Nor are things better on the democrat side. There has been virtually no debate on any major issue facing the country. There has been no mention of any issue facing the country.

For example,  the U.S. has the world`s most expensive and least efficient health care system. The rise in poverty and homelessness is not just a bump on the charts. This has been developing for decades with no sign of any change on the horizon. Nor is it a secret why this is happening.  The U.S. has had forty years of trade treaties designed to make billionaires richer and Americans poorer. Nor has there been any mention of tax havens. The nation is so stunned that it doesn`t care about hundreds of billion (at least) being stolen by the rich every year. And in the mythology that Americans call their national history, anyone who suggests any change in anything is unAmerican, and a threat to the most perfect society the world has ever known.

I hate political conventions. They are, almost as a rule, gatherings of morons to cheer for scoundrels.
I have some interesting items sent to me by readers. The first is a crushing correction to something I wrote yesterday - that The Saker had Russian ties. He hasn`t. He is an American and he lives in the U.S.   (not Iceland). His blog is sited in Iceland because in its days in the U.S. it was freqently hacked. I thank the reader for correcting.

I forgive the reader for correcting me. I forgive. But I never forget.
The following is also from a reader. I don`t know how accurate his criticism of the quality of American weaponry is. Certainly, the U.S. has spent enough on weaponry to build the most effective military ever known. But much of that spending has been corrupt. And American performance in the field has been decidedly inferior for decades.
And his one.

I can`t comment on this one because my computer seems reluctant to download it.
Most dismaying is the U.S. leadership campaigning. There`s a message in there for us. When a country which calls itself the leader of the free world can produce only an ignorant and mentally disordered leader like Trump, and a bought and paid for (and murderous) Hillary Clinton, the world is in deep trouble.

And to counter this, Canada has Justin Trudeau.

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18: A very bad day in the news.

Of 33 metro regions in Canada, St. John holds down position no. 33 for its poverty rate among single income families. And, before you raise a cheer for Moncton, it stands at 31.

No, I didn't find this story in the irving press.  (In fact, I couldn't find any story in the irving press abut anything for the past Saturday and this Monday.) If it were carried, the story would be just a moan that these are tough times - or that poor people are too lazy....  Anything but the truth.

The truth is that, in New Brunswick, greed rules. The wealthy get low taxes - and whether they pay even those is unclear. Then there are the rip-offs - like a hundred million dollar 'events centre'. Then there are those news media, owned by the very wealthy, that tell us nothing except to pump out the gospel of the wealthy - that rich people create jobs and make us wealthy. (If that were true, St. John would be rolling in money - rather than in poisonous fumes.) But enough people believe this to vote in government after government that gives away millions to the wealthy, and doesn't ask questions about their taxes.

In Canada&World, the headline is "Premier says talks going well for regional register of lobbyists". And what will that do? Well, people who ask for the multi-million dollar gifts and tax breaks - or contracts at inflated prices, will have to register.   And what will that do? Nothing whatever. People who have been getting special access to the government will now have to register.

But the problems is not that they aren't registered. The problem is that there are people who have access to government to get special favours. In fact, any of us could name several of them as it is. The story says this will make the practice transparent. No, it won't. They'll still have access. They'll still be a corrupting force in a provincial government that exists largely to be corrupted.
The attempted coup in Turkey made the Irving press on Saturday and Monday - on the last page! And there's no hint of what that coup could mean. No, the big, front-page headlines  were about the drop in the price of beer and about nothing happening on the question of booting cars.

What does it all mean? I don't know. But there are suggestions worth thinking about.

Given the character of Turkey's leader, Erdogan, it could mean that Turkey will now become, effectively, a dictatorship. Or - well - there's a question of who was behind this coup. Was it just a few, top army officers? Maybe, but not likely.
Could it possibly have something to do with Russia or the U.S.? Or both?

Turkey is close to Russia, economically, in general trade and in oil. Is it possible that Erdogan was moving too close to Russia? Is it possible that the U.S. paid for what it likes to call a 'regime change'. After all, this is something the U.S. has been doing at quite a pace for over a century, now.

Or is it possible Russia was behind this?  Possible. But, if so, how could the U.S. not know about a plot in a NATO coutry involving thousands of people? If the many U.S. and allied espionage agencies did not know about this ----- no, it's not possible.
A reader sent this to me from The Saker. This is by a Russian who now lives in Iceland. Yes, there is a possiblity of bias - but no more so than in almost all the western news media.  Generally, I've found The Saker an honest and reliable source - and this analysis of what might have happened in Turkey makes sense - as most of the others do not.

The item below, quoting Kerry, suggests (unintentionally) that the U.S. was behind it. Otherwise, diplomacy alone would have made Kerry's reaction overdone.

Whatever the case, this could mean a major change in world politics, with Russia taking a very strong position in the middle east. Most of the Muslim world has no enthusiasm for Russia - but it has even less for the United States.
And here's one that gives a general picture of the whole mess the world is in. I agree with it  - except for the final paragraph which, I think, is off the wall.
I haven't spoken ot the irving press for Saturday and Monday. How can I? There's nothing in it.

On the Faith page, Brett Annington comes very close to  having something to say with,  "When the rich young man came to Jesus to ask what he might to do inherit eternal life the answer was quite straightforward....Give everything you have to the poor."

But readers need to be taken a step further than that. They need an example not from 2,000 years ago in another land, but from now - in New Brunswick.  In the long history of this province, can you name a single rich man who has given all he had to the poor? Do you think this is a regular topic for discussion at board meetings of Irving Oil? Or from the rent-a- revs who preach at the Irving Chapel?

In fact, this statement is based a concept that is contrary to the whole structure of our society. If Jesus said this at a dinner of the Chamber of Commerce, He'd never be invited back; and His picture would be removed from its place in the Chamber's hall of fame.

There is simply nothing in this paper. We have been told that the editor-in-chief of the irving press has a master's degree in journalism. I've taught journalism at the Bachelor's level where students were taught to write well, to avoid triviality, to avoid bias. I guess the Master's level is where they learn to put readers into a collective stupor.
I have spent many hours, now, plodding through every source I can think of for an analysis of the failed coup in Turkey. Everything I find is speculation. The Saker one makes sense - but it's still speculation. The Guardian really has nothing (which is somewhat more than the Irving press has.)  So here's Gwynne Dyer, though even he is less than his usual self.

My sticking point is that we are asked to believe that in a Turkey, crawling with international spies and with electronic espionage as well as its own s[pies,   was unaware of a plot involving at least 6,000 people. (Incidentally, Turkey is also home to a stockpile of U.S. nuclear weapons.)
Then we have the political chaos in Britain. The new prime minister, Theresa May of the Conservative Party,  looks like the kind of person who could trigger some severe violence.

Nor is there much reason to look to the Labour Party. It was destroyed by the treachery and self-serving policies of Tony Blair. And it's nowhere close to recovering.
In the U.S. there's been a tremendous growth of charter schools. These really are private schools - and they're based on the Norbert Cunninham delusion that private ownership is always better than public ownership.

Now, there's nothing wrong with private schools - except   that these are supported by a massive campaign of propaganda. In many regions, unless you send your children to a charter school, they are dead in the water so far as any future is concerned. The result is huge numbers of parents going into debt for a system which is in  no way superior - but is very, very expensive, and which also gets money from the government. And the offshoot of that is savagely reduced budgets for the public schools which are now the schools of  the poor.
Again, there is nothing wrong with private schools. But there's somthing terribly wrong when the growth of public schools is destroyed by budgetting, and the only choice of the poor - and much of the middle class - is to attend the schools of the poor  to train for a life of being poor.
And here's a cheery one to get you through the evening.

Not that it makes any difference. HIllary Clinton has her own devils. If fact, she's one of them.
And here's one to squelch any notion that British prime minister Theresa May  is intelligent.

Even the irving press has come to accept that climate change is real. However, it has also decided we should not do anything about it because it creates jobs.
We have yet to realize that there are things we cannot have no matter how much we want them.
This has been a profoundly disturbing day. We have been fighting wars or preparing to fight them for over 70 years. And despite the impression one might get from the news, we are not fighting to bring anybody democracy or to protect ourselves from all those poor and small countries that we are told are a threat to us. It's all being done to make hundreds of millions poor so the rich can get much richer.

So, if you're poor, good luck on asking a rich New Brunswicker to give you his money.

As for the world, we appear to be on the edge of the crisis of greed and indifference to others. It's happening all over the world and we, believe it or not, are part of that world. What makes it worse is that the greedy and indifferent are also remarkably stupid. They have been destroying whole societies, whole nations around the world.  They have created over 25 million refugees. They have murdered millions.

Can you seriously expect a better world out of this? And Canada is wrong, dead wrong, in playing a role in this orgy of greed and mass murder.