Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nov. 22: Sorry I'm late.

It is really too bad that we  have not seen EastEnergy ads since Thursday. They are really quite wonderful examples of how to lie to people, and manipulate them. Hitler's Dr. Goebbels would have loved them.

Notice the simplicity of them, and the use of solid blocks of colour - especially blue. Without us being conscious of it, that makes us think of clean skies. Notice, too, that the ads tell us only that TransCanada Pipelines, really, really cares about the environment. But they never say exactly what it is they care about. There's a reason for that. If the ad tells us what the concerns are, that will start us thinking about the problems of a pipeline. And they don't want us to think.

One ad featured a picture of quite attractive young woman telling us she was "passionate" about the environment. It said she was the senior officer of TransCanada  in dealing with environmental issues. That raises some interesting questions.

1. Why would they have a senior officer for that purpose? Doesn't the government set regulations? Doesn't the company simply have to obey them? After all, it's our environment. It's not the property of TransCanada. Shouldn't they simply be following environmental rules set down by a government responsible to us? This is rather as if TransCanada had its own police to deal with speeders, murders, etc.

2. A person who sets guidelines for something like a pipeline needs advanced study to understand what the problems and cures are.  That would certainly mean a Ph.D. in the field as well of many years of experience in research and field work. That takes a lot of of time. But this woman hasn't been on this earth for anything like all the time that sort of experience would take.

3. And she spends much of her time speaking to community groups. Oh? In the business, that's what's called a "flack". Her real job - the really  real one  - is to sell people on the pipeline.

4. The closing words of the ads are something like "The more you think about it, the more sense it makes."  But the ad gives you nothing to think about. Of course not. It's not there to make us think. It's there to show us those big blocks of colour, and an attractive woman saying she's passionate about the environment - z-z-z-z-z-z-

TransCanada is paying the big bucks to the world's biggest PR company to put us to sleep.

Oh, let's assume at all that oil that comes down that pipeline is as pure as the driven snow, and has strict orders not to leak. Well, then it will be refined and sold - somewhere. And what will happen them? Well, then it will be burned and send up the carbon dioxide to create the climate change that is already killing people and animals - including 40% of what used to be our polar bear population.

But I guess what's-her-name is too passionate about pipelines to care about that.
Friday, Nov. 21 - the front page headline is "Premier reaches out to business".  Yep, he wants the advice and help of business in running the province. Brian, baby, we elected you. God knows many of us regret that. But we did it. That's called democracy. We did not elect business. And we really don't need such a special interest group getting its nose into the government trough.
Alec Bruce has a superb column on the plight of children in general, and in New Brunswick in particular. We have abysmally cared for children in most of this country. Harper's latest gesture  (in time for the election campaign) is to give  money for early childhood education.. The problem is that most of it will go to the people well enough off so their children already get all the special attention that they need. As a result, their children get educations that compensate for any low IQs the kids might have, and excellent food and medical care so they can grow up healthy, inherit daddy's money, and look down on the rest of us slobs of the lower classes.

Norbert has a really thoughtful column on the trials of meeting the needs of dying relatives. He takes time to thank the hospitals for their sympathy and cooperation. But I'm less enthusiastic about it than I should be because this is the newspaper and the man that insulting ignored the warnings about fracking that came from our Chief Medical Officer.

Justin Ryan has his usual column about immigrants in this province. So far, it's been disappointing because he says so little about them. What problems do they face? After all, New Brunswick, like all of Canada, has a long history of racism. Are there any signs of that left? What kind of work do they find here? What is the school experience for their children?

In Montreal, for example, African and Chinese Canadians could have a very hard time until very recently to find a district they were allowed to live in. African Canadians could get jobs as entertainers in White nightclubs. But they weren't allowed to be customers in them until well into the 1960s. Nor could they get decent jobs anywhere else.

Across Canada, workers of "colour" (and that includes African-Canadians, orientals, and native peoples) still get paid far less than whites in the same job. It's worst in private business. But it happens in public service, too.

An African friend of mine was both very bright and a superb hockey player. But, because he was black, no Canadian university would give him a hockey scholarship - and his parents couldn't help. So he got a hockey scholarship at Princeton, got a law degree, and became an outstanding lawyer. (Until the 1960s, at least, almost all Canadian universities either refused "students of colour" or demanded higher grades for them to get in.

One of my university students, Dorothy Williams, wrote a book "The Road to Now" about growing up black in Montreal. It's an interesting look about a part of our history we seldom hear about.

I'd like to see a column on minorities that has more meat in it.

NewsToday has an excellent story on the problem of mental illness in the RCMP. It's from The Daily Gleaner, and seems to be second in a series. It's a real eye-opener on the stresses police have to cope with. It's also a good example of what a news story should look like.

There's another story about the heavy snowfall in Buffalo, NY.  Like most of the others, it makes no mention of climate change. Let's see, now. It's the heaviest snowfall in recorded American history. It began on a day when every state in the US, including Hawaii,  hit 0 degrees or lower. It happened in a period in which we have have experienced an unusual number of  odd and destructive weather events - including the loss of most of the Arctic ice shield.

Ah! Coincidence. Besides, we're safe, knowing that our oil pipeline is watched by a woman who is passionate about the environment.

B4 has an important story "Vets want answers for lapsed funds". They are victims of a stunt Harper is pulling with several departments - cutting them short of funds so that he can pretend he has balanced the budget. You know what veterans are. These are the people that just a couple of weeks ago Harper said we owe so much to.

Another story to watch as it develops is on B5  "Mounties arrest pipeline protesters". These are people in Burnaby, BC who were peacefully protesting a pipeline that threatens not only the immediate area, but a large part of the waters of our west coast.

Mounties were reluctant to move in, but eventually had to when the company got a court order demanding the arrests. This, like Energy East, is another big move to get money out of Alberta's oil sands. The catch? The export of oil is a long term project. It's not something for ten years or even twenty years. It means we our oil companies intend to be putting oil on the market far, far past the point of no return for climate changes that will, almost certainly, kill many millions (or more) of people and impoverish any who might survive.

Obviously, the oil companies don't give a damn. There's money to be made, and they're determined to make it. They have the law (and most politicians) on their side. They are determined to use whatever force is necessary to get what they want. The result, inevitably, will be violence. I certainly don't advocate the violence. But it's going to happen. Violence just naturally happens when you combine unlimited greed and self-worship with remarkable arrogance and stupidity.

No, the big violence will not start in New Brunswick. This, after all, is the province so inert that it voted for Mr. Gallant -while also giving strong support to Alward.

B5 has two, big stories - sort of.  One is about the tensions in  Israel where Palestinian Israelis attacked a synagogue, killing five people. What they don't tell us is how the Israel government made things worse. According to most newspapers, the government demolished the home of an attacker who was killed at the synagogue. That's not quite true.

The "home" was, in fact, a five storey building which housed many Palestinian families. Israeli police forced all of the families in the building out, forbidding to take any belongings with them. Then they demolished the whole building. In other words, all the people in that building were punished simply because they were Palestinian-Israelis.  Heil Hitler!

In the other story, Kerry is in a crucial stage of negotiations that have been going on for years to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons. In fact, and as American intelligence revealed at the time, Iran dropped research into nuclear weapons years BEFORE these negotiations began. The only state that has illegal nuclear weapons in that region is Israel. But we won't mention that.

So what are the negotiations really about? The US has been mad at Iran ever since the US destroyed Iranian democracy back about 1950, and set up a brutal dictator in place of democracy. It wanted control of  Iranian oil. And, under the surface, that's really what Kerry is negotiating for.

But why should be oil companies care for the oil when they know that burning even more oil will be so destructive? They don't care - because they're too greedy, too arrogant, and too stupid to care.

The Nov. 22 newspaper has a front page story "Are dress codes an issue in Metro Moncton schools?' It's too bad the story is so shallowly done. The fact is that all schools in this world (with the possible exception of those in nudist colonies) have dress codes. One of the major responsibilities of a school is to teach students how to dress as an adult and a worker. It become particularly necessary when parents don't seem to care.

It's also important in the classroom, itself. The classroom is a place for concentration on learning. And you aren't going to get much concentration or learning in a school that has no standards for dress and behaviour. A boy whose main concern is getting his pants to hang down far enough so we can have the thrill of seeing his underwear, or a girl whose main concern is getting her breasts to flop or a naked leg to stick across the aisle isn't going to learn much or help others to learn much.

Nor, I should think, should we want our schools to produce graduates who think it's cool to look like sloppy louts. That's not going to help them a whole lot when they go out to the real world.

How people dress has a tremendous impact on how they learn. Accepting sloppy dress and sloppy behaviour is a major factor in creating sloppy thinking, and sloppy standards about everything else in life.

The story has a quotation from an educator who says there is no dress problem in the school. I  have been to many school many times where many girls are dressed like hookers - the ones who work low income districts. I have seen some going to school on cold, winter days with bare legs and super-short shorts. The boys often look sloppy and loutish. I can't imagine an employer would be eager to hire any of them. I can't imagine that students who dress like that have much interest in school as a place to learn.

It's a subject that deserves attention with interviews with people who know what they're talking about. But there isn't much of that in this news story.
Bill Belliveau has an excellent column on how Harper is short-changing veterans and low-income parents - and pretending that he's doing it to be good to them.

Norbert has a first-rate column, continuing his experience of being with a relative dying the the hospital. He doesn't offer solutions to the concerns it raises - and he doesn't pretend to. But it's a well-written attempt to get us to think about the problems that exist so that we can begin to look for solutions.

Section B, NewsToday, is pretty much a dead loss. The oddest page is B7, the Faith page. The section listing churches, where they are, and the time of services, has only 4 churches listed. Obviously, one must have to pay to get a church listed. That's odd, coming from the newspaper's owners who are noted philanthropists, and so religious that they even have their own chapel (with special music). They actually give more attention to new pizza restaurants than they do to churches.
As usual, I enjoyed the columns written by students. C14 and 15. Some are very knowledgeable about things worth being knowledgeable about, some are perceptive, and some remind me of the things that interested me when I was their age - back around the fall of the Roman Empire.
Okay. This is late, and it's way too long. And, again, I still have a whole page of notes of important stories that didn't make the Irving press.  I think I might do a shorter blog tomorrow (Sunday) on those.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nov. 21: Despite the date of this one...... might appear on Nov. 20. I've just published the Nov.20 blog, but found I never got to the TandT in it. Instead, I dealt with the case of the Canadian couple who got $950,000 for having a baby in a US hospital. I think it's a story that deserves far more attention than it has received - particularly since we now have a federal government that would love to privatize medicare, and a provincial one that seems to think it's a business.

And I humbly apologize to the editors of the TandT. They did have a short story on the million dollar baby.
For Wednesday, Nov. 19, the news in section A is the usual navel-gazing and triviality. Just one story is intriguing. it's on A3 "Bay store coming down".  And there's a surprise in it.

It seems that the province has been testing the land at Highfield Square, and finds only very minor pollution. So it won't be necessary to truck it away. What's surprising about that?

Well, that land was a railway yard for many years that were the really dirty years of railroading. Back when the "events centre"  hockey rink for people who should be able to pay for their own rink was first proposed, I remember well reading that the polluted soil would have to be trucked away. I even checked with the provincial government to make sure of that. And it was confirmed.

So, all of a sudden, there's no problem. Oh. So all those stories about magic fairies like Tinkerbelle must be true. This story is by Brent Mazerolle. Brent - learn to ask questions; learn to check things out. You are a reporter, not a stenographer.

The editorial, as usual, is about money. Specifically, it's about Dieppe and other municipalities who should hold the line on taxes. There's not a word about what these municipalities and their residents need, not a word about what the money should be spent on - just that the spending be held where it is.

I don't' know which of the editorial twits writes those editorials. But they are never about human beings or about what municipalities are, and what it  is they should be doing. It's in a class with this eternal idiocy about how the new hockey rink will bring hordes of shoppers to downtown. (And I'm sure the editorial writer would find it good to raise taxes for that.)

Alec Bruce has a good one that raises questions about Harper's refusal to take any action on the reduction of greenhouse gasses. Harper knows better than all world's experts and better than the UN committee on climate change. He's betting the whole show on the oil sands. I cannot think of a prime minister in all of Canadian history who has been so short-sighted, so narrow, so pig-headed and,for all of us in this world, so murderous.

Nothing else on the editorial or op ed pages is worth reading.
NewsToday? Well, it has the same problems as always. It's difficult to get meaning out of the news unless you have some pretty good analysis. But there's no analysis at all. And the stories we do get are often more propaganda than news. B4, for example, has a story about Ukraine. But it's loaded in favour of "our side" and, anyway, almost meaningless to the average reader. You have to check a lot of sources to make any sense out of most of these news stories.

For example, why is the US concerned about Ukraine? Because it wants to spread freedom and democracy? Bunk. The US has created dictatorships and and killed democracies all over the world.

What does Ukraine want? Well, it's flat broke and hopelessly in debt, much of which it owes to Russia. People of east Ukraine want the right to live in Russian. Kyiv won't allow that. Western Ukraine has a long history of profound racism and brutality, against Jews and Russians - which it now aims at eastern Ukraine.

Putin has watched US agents set up rebellion and a coup against the elected government of Ukraine. He now faces humiliation if he allows the massacres of Russian-speaking Ukrainians to continue, and he faces the danger of US nuclear missiles being placed within minutes of Moscow.

On the same page, Putin says the US wants to subdue Russia. Of course, it does. American big business intends to dominate the world. That means Russia and China have to be knocked off, and soon.

And why is the European Union following the US? Because it's made up of largely failed empires and failing economies; so they have to ride on the coattails of the US.

Tough times for Harper. He acts as a puppy for Obama, and pretends that the US is Canada's best friend. But he knows that, for all Harper's visits to the Arctic and the discovery of a Franklin ship, the US openly flouts our claims to that region. If the Russians or the Chinese did it, you'd find the story all over the Irving press. But it's the U.S., our good friends. The people who buy and control American governments are not even friends of Americans, let along Canadians.

But the Irving press never mentions that.
Thursday - big, page one headline "Graham regrets failed NB Power deal".

Who could possibly give a damn?

The front page also has another pitch for the new hockey rink (let's call it what it is meant to be). It's disguised as a story about how the hockey rink will make downtown a retail hub. Right.

But there's also an excellent report "RCMP in crisis, says retired officer". (A8)  Despite the headline, that's not quite what it's about. It's really about the spread of PTSD among police officers. The numbers are very, very high. This is a story well worth reading, and thinking about.

Energy East Pipeline has hired the biggest PR company in the world to sell on the wonders of oil pipelines, and to convince us that the majority of us, by far, just love pipelines. Plan to get swamped with these and, probably, with propaganda news stories about how good oil is for us. For a start, page A9 has a game ad "Find the ten items in this picture made with oil". oo--oo-ooh.

But don't get too excited yet. There's an even bigger, full page picture on A11. This one is a woman (all the ads seem to be one woman - or men and women in exactly equal numbers. Her name's Rebekah, and she's passionate about protecting the environment. It seems they don't really lay pipelines at all. What they actually do is environmental protection. Yeah..... Get used to it.

Oh, yeah -and remember - if they lay such a pipeline then they won't be closing it anytime soon. It will be in use for decades, sending even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere

On editorial and op ed pages, the only items worth looking at are the de Adder cartoon, and Beth Lyons' column on an aspect of the treatment of women. This is not just "woman" stuff. It's about a very widely spread problem that has caused enormous suffering in our society.

Alec Bruce and Norbert both write on economic crisis.Again. And again, neither mentions the role of big business in creating and worsening this crisis. Norbert, for example, blames the politicians. Come off it, Norbert. Even you must know that both the Liberals and Conservatives are puppets of big money. If any society is going to solve what is now a world crisis, it will have to deal with somehow putting a leash on the mad dogs we call "business leaders" and "philanthropists".

Rod Allen's column is called "City Views". I have no idea why. I have no idea why he is allowed to write a column at all. I have no idea how he could become an editor. It certainly cannot be his laboured wit. I can only guess it must be because of this profound self-esteem.
There's not much to say about NewsToday. Well, there's a story about Putin on page B3. It's "Putin cool to U.S. envoy".  It's from The Associated Press, and it makes a real attempt to be honest and impartial. That's a real change.

There's a story on B4 about an American general who says that the momentum of ISIL has been 'halted'. But that really means nothing because he adds that this war could take years. The more interesting story is one that the editors of the TandT haven't yet noticed.

The civil war in Syria is one that began when the US, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Turkey.....financed and supplied the "rebels" (who are mostly mercenaries.)  The reason we were given as that Assad is a dictator -as if the US cares. As if Saudi Arabia, the world's most severe dictatorship, cares. The real reason was the danger of Assad allowing China and Russia to trade more widely in the middle east.

But it backfired. The so-called "rebels" were largely what the us would call terrorists if they were on the other side and, increasingly, they are "extremist" Muslims.(Americans and British who killed over a million Iraqi men, women and children were not extremists. They were heroes.) Extremists became the huge movement now called ISIL. In short, ISIL was created largely by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Their power is based on their intolerant religious views, views which are themselves the creation of a century and more of western interference and abuse.

Now, Assad's Syria has a wide tolerance for religious views. In fact, Assad has taken in far more refugee Christians than the US or Canada has - and this in the middle of an intense war.

ISIL seemed attractive as a device for the west to make arab states dysfunctional. What it has done is to create the basis for an Islamic super-state. Fighting ISIL will not make arabic muslims any more friendly to the west. Indeed, the record of the west (especially of the US) in such wars has been dismal for a very long time.

Assad has an army that has proven itself pretty competent. Assad leads a country that is largely secular. Assad is bad for the US because he wants to trade with Russia and China. But -ISIL could be - almost certainly will be - much worse.

That's why there is discreet talk of the US shifting its military aid to Assad.

Or it might hold out in hope ISIL leading to a vast civil war of Muslim against Muslim, thereby destroying most of the arab states.

Nov. 20: It isn't just money...

There's a news story that's been big across Canada, but which seems to have been invisible to the eagle eyes of the Irving editors. It's the story about a Canadian couple on vacation in the US when the wife went prematurely into  labour.

The hospital bill, thanks to the spirit of American free enterprise, was $950,000. The story was presented in most news media largely for pure sensationalism. But it's much more important than that. Households making up 1.6 million people file for bankruptcy in the US - EVERY year, and most for medical bills. Over twenty percent of all Americans have medical bills that are their largest, single expense. And many, many millions more don't have any medical bills because they cannot possibly afford to see a doctor.

Even insurance may not help much because medical insurance policies have limitation clauses which still leave the patient with huge medical bills.

In the US, just about everything medical from the hospitals to the pill-makers is run like a private business. In fact, it is all a private business. Even Obamacare is not really a system of medicare. Obamacare consists simply of government paying exorbitant sums to private insurance companies - which provide for only a part of most treatments.

The result of all this worship of private business is the most expensive and least efficient health system in the developed world.

The whole medical system in the US is a corrupt and corrupting system that exists for only one purpose - to make maximum profits for capitalists (sorry -entrepreneurs). But let's not talk about nasty things like people who can look at a suffering person, and see only a chance for personal profit. Let's talk about morality.

Oh, I'm not going to get religious on you. I have no patience with people who believe or even care that Mary was a virgin and an angel came down and - you know...or that Jesus walked on water or that heaven is up in the sky and Jesus rose from the dead then shot up to heaven in the flesh. None of that stuff matters because, even if true,  it doesn't prove anything. As for Adam and Eve, forget it. If they were the only two people and we're descended from them, that means their children must have made out with brothers and sisters. Yuckie-poo.

But religions have been the traditional source (often the only source) of our social values, of our morality. And just about all of them are remarkably similar when it comes to matters of moral behaviour. Simply put, all taught much the same principles of how we can form societies and live together.

Capitalism doesn't fit with any of them. Capitalism is entirely about me, me, me. There is no concept of society. There is no sense of obligation  or service or of anything that could be called compassion or concern for others. That's why it should be heavily regulated. Capitalism is a pit bull. It needs a fence.

The problem is that we, too, have pretty much lost any sense of morality. Until the last fifty years or so, we got our only sense of morality from the churches and synagogues and mosques and temples. But for the majority of Canadians that source is finished. In New Brunswick, Acadians cannot find francophone, Roman Catholic priests in this province, or even in Canada. So they're looking in France (where there also aren't any.)

In the US, the only churches doing well are the (mostly) fundamentalist ones that are full of nutbars who believe that God wants America to rule the world - and who avoid medical bankruptcy by offering faith healing. (It's a con. I can show you how to do it.)  We have such churches here, too. Check out the Irving press' gawdawful Faith Page.

You will notice that the editorials in the TandT are almost always about money - and never about what people need or what a society should be about. The same is true about both the Liberals and the Conservatives. I have never seen either of those parties (or the U.S. Democrats and Republicans) present a programme that could be said to be based on moral principles. The old, CCF party was founded on moral principles. That's where medicare came from. That's where old age pensions came from. Alas, since becoming the NDP, though it has kept personal honesty, it has drifted from its moral roots.

We're seeing the results as we experience this long, economic decline. By their greed and self-interest; the very wealthy have destroyed their own markets. Greed is immoral. And immorality doesn't work.

Morality has always been a tough sell. But now, it has almost vanished. Greed and self-interest rule. That's the meaning of the story of the couple that got a bill for $950,000 for having a baby.


Well, I've used so much space on that point that I don't have room to talk about today's paper. So I'll write another one, and this time stick to the point of the blog. Meanwhile, to give this one a decent length, let's face an unpleasant reality.  Guess who made the following statement.

"I do not agree that the dog in the manger has a right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in an taken their place."

Who made that strikingly racist and arrogant comment? No, it wasn't Hitler - though it sounds very much like Hitler. It wasn't Stalin or Mao, either.

It was Winston Churchill.

In Churchill's view, it was right for Britain to loot and even enslave whole nations because the British were a super-race which was white and spoke English. We all have a tendency to think that way. That's why we are horrified when Arab Muslims kill an American, but don't really notice it when Americans kill Asians, Africans, etc. by the millions.

As well, Churchill was descended of a long line of aristocrats. His father was a lord of the realm.  (But that title could pass on only to the eldest son.) As a man of aristocratic birth, he saw himself as above the common people. That sort of thing is normal when we create an aristocracy, especially an inherited one, when it's an aristocracy of the titled or an aristocracy of the rich.

Churchill was a popular war leader, and a man of undoubted courage. But the British well knew how aristocrats behaved. The knew he have never done anything to improve their social conditions, and he never would. For all his smiling and flashing of V signs, Churchill had only contempt for the common people. That's why they voted his party out of power at the end of the war.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nov. 18:

The Nov.7 Times and Transcript Section A has the usual trivia with occasional breaks for silliness. On page. 1, Justice Minister MacKay believes the life sentence with no parole for Justin Bourque was appropriate because it will deter other people from killing police officers.  That's pretty dumb even for MacKay.

Any person who is unbalanced enough to murder police officers simply because they represent something distasteful to him is not going to be deterred by anything. As for revenge-seekers in the public,  they're as disturbed as the killer is. The long sentence is appropriate - but only because we don't have anything else. In our wreck of a prison system, there is almost no treatment. And Bourque can't possibly be allowed on the street.

P. A6 has yet another "enterpreneur" award, this time for NB's top francophone businessman. Dinners to name top businessmen seem to be the fastest-growing industry in the province.

And leader of the opposition, Bruce Fitch, says we must forget the moratorium on shale gas drilling or risk being sued by the shale gas industry and risk it (gasp) moving out. You're so right, Bruce.  I mean, if it does have more serious consequences than we've been told, if the land and the people do suffer as a result, well - the important thing is it will create jobs. For a while.

Tell you what, Bruce baby, tell Gallant to set up a phony study group drawing on the usual professors, and have them study it for a weekend, then present a report saying it's perfectly safe.  You know - like your government did. But not to worry. I'm sure Gallant is already working on that.
The editorial is a slashing criticism of big corporations in this province, and of how they drain us of wealth, control our governments, and weaken social services. It is particularly hard on the Irvings. But you have to read it closely because it's cleverly disguised as a criticism of hospital emergency rooms.

Alec Bruce has an important column on early childhood education, and of great advances being made in New Brunswick. (These are not advances made by the interfering propagandists of Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and their big business bosses. They had been made by boards of education and teachers.)

But the advances cannot be extended as they should be because this is a poor province (except when it comes to building events centres). Ottawa should be leading the way on such educational improvements across Canada. But it won't.

Harper has been getting ready for the election by proving what a good economic manager he is. That's why we now have a military that's badly equipped, badly underfunded, and with no sense of purpose. Harper won't spend a nickel for anything that doesn't help him get re-elected. So expect nothing from  him for education.
There's an excellent letter to the editor - Is "Savoie" solution in our best interest?
NewsToday is the usual incomprehensible muddle. It has two, big stories about Harper on B3.

One is on climate change. He's going to give some money to help poor countries adapt to climate change. Hidden in this story is the bigger one - Canada is going to continue to be one of the world's worst polluters per capita - and Harper doesn't even pretend he cares.

Then, in a real "Johnny Canuck" style moment, he got tough with  Putin, and told him to get out of Ukraine. Putin must have been terrified, perhaps even fearing we might send Peter MacKay over. At the same meeting, Obama warned Putin against "bullying" small nations. Well, Obama would know. He and a long line of American presidents have been the worst bullies of small nations  around the world for the last 60 years.

No Canadian prime minister (and most certainly no Harper) has ever criticized the US for its bullying and mass slaughter. In fact, we've even been known to join them.

On the editorial and op ed pages, the only items worth looking at are de Adder's cartoon about Harper and greenhouse gas emissions- and, surprisingly,  a column on A9 about the severe problems of dependence on fossil fuels.
NewsToday has the usual muddle of trivia and sensationalim that tells us nothing. Charles Manson, a crazed killer now in jail forever (he's 81) is getting married to a 26 year old who will never be allowed to visit him. Well, it sounds to me like a marriage made in heaven. But is it possible anybody cares?
So, let's cut to the chase and talk about what's really happening.

We are in the late stages of western European imperialism.  The early imperial powers were Spain and Portugal, followed by France, then by Britain (the biggest one of them). Then came the US descendants of the west Europeans who conquered (stole) all the land that is now the US, large parts of Latin America, then the Pacific for Hawaii and The Phillipines. Since 1945, US imperialism has expanded to the whole world. Canadian descendants of the west Europeans did the same in creating Canada. (Since then, they have served primarily as hired hands for the big boys.) Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands were also into the empire game.

The growth of the empires was mostly at the wish ( and to the benefit) of the very rich. Nobody will ever know how many trillions of dollars of resources were stolen, how many millions of people were reduced to poverty in close to slave labour conditions, how many millions were killed, starved to death, mutilated, tortured..... It still goes on every day in Haiti, Guatemala, over much of South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia....and is now coming to the US itself, to Britain, to most of Europe, to Canada - through the miracle of free trade.

The great threat to these "happy times" of empire was democracy. Luckily, democracy was slow taking hold in Europe and the US because the very rich effectively were in control until the late nineteenth century. (In the US civil war, for example, slavery was just the selling point for the war. The real struggle was between big, southern white money dependent on agriculture - and big, northern white money dependent on manufacturing.)

Improved conditions came largely from unions and from socialist parties. And they didn't really hit their stride until right after World War 2. Medicare and old age pensions, for example, were forced on Liberal and Conservtive PMs by the old CCF party.

Then, especially with Brian Mulroney, we got free trade. As it expanded to South America, then to other countries, the very rich could hire cheap employees, pay virtually no taxes, and kill anybody who got in the way. It was also a big help to hugely expand the wealth of the very rich who could then buy most politicians and most news media, and so effectively end the burden of democracy.

That's why Brian could move into a huge, stone mansion in Montreal; and Mila could host gourmet dinners for the rich to raise money for the poor, and to hear people say how lovely her newest thousand-dollar plus  dress was.

And we and most people in the US started to get poorer.

In the late 1990s, a group of politicians representing big money created The New American Century, a body dedicated to world conquest to benefit big business.  They weren't shy about it. It was, and is, on the web. That's where, several years BEFORE 2011, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan were planned. Leaders of it were Dick Cheney (VP under Bush) and Bush's brother, the governor of Florida who gerrymandered the Florida vote to get George elected. Funny we never see anything about this in the papers. (And Tony Blair, the British PM who rode their coat tails, is now a many multied millionaire who gets forty thousand a day for giving advice to dictators. Meanwhile, the British who elected him as a socialist to improve social services  are now living in a society that is crashing to make the Tony Blairs of this world even richer.

Most recently, Obama told Russia and China they must stop bullying small countries. This comes from the world's biggest bully of small countries. He also warned China it must obey international law. This comes from the country that trashed international law decades ago, that routinely invades and kills in violation of international law, and that protects Israel from international law - or even investigation - of Israel for its killings. The US also breaks international law every day with what is probably world's greatest use of torture -none of it reported in our news media. As Obama has said, quite openly, he believes in American Exceptionalism. Though little reported, that mean he believes the US has the right to ignore all law and to control the world.

We are now moving close to the end game because US military strength probably cannot be maintained at its present level. The big move for world domination has to be soon. That means isolating Russia and China militarily, and keeping them out of foreign markets that the US wants to control (virtually all of them.)

That's what Ukraine is about. Obama wants a war with Russia. Putin has actually been the one who wants to talk about peace. He made a recent speech in which he talked about the need for a world government. I have no idea whether he was sincere, but it was an intelligent analysis of where we are headed, and how it can be avoided. I have never heard of such a speech from Obama.

All of this is linked to Iran, Iraq and Syria. The US is determined to keep Russia and China out of all markets the US business leaders want - and they want the middle east.  The fight against ISIL is one whose outcome is important to China and Russia and the US (as well as to the people who live there - but who gives a damn about them?)

This puts us within inches of World War 3. And it puts Canada into that war from the start; thank you Mr. Harper.  (Meanwhile, some sources on the Kurdish side) say that the growth of ISIL is astonishing - perhaps as high at 200,000 militants - and well armed and supplied with American weapons to make big profits for US war industries. It also seems to have attracted large numbers of trained soldiers, mechanics, pilots, etc. from many Muslim countries.)

Can the US win the massive wars it is creating? Take a look at the military record of the most expensive military in the the world for the last 60 years. The only clear win it obtained in that time was against a tiny, tourist island populated mostly by cocktail waiters - with only a tiny army, and no air force or navy. Every other military operation (and there have been a lot of them) has been a disaster from every point of view.

The very rich of the US know that, of course. But the also know that the US empire is built on a foundation that is shaky, indeed. It US billionaires want to rule the world, they probably have to strike now or never. And remember, like Canadian billionaires (and Russia's and China's), American billionaires are largely greedy, unscrupulous, and quite unthinking. They remind me of stories of shipwrecked sailors in lifeboats who, desperate for water, drank their own urine. And died from it.

Throughout history, either foreign or domestic policy controlled by the very rich has been a disaster - and usually so for both sides.

Obama says those who behead people on video are evil.

So they are.

So are people who murder helpless civilians by the millions, who bomb them indiscriminately with explosives and napalm, and tons of agent orange that kill people and the land, and that produce horribly mutilated childbirths - who fire radioactive shells into civilian settlements and who supply dictators with poison gas - who torture on a massive scale.

When I see the sense of horror we feel at a beheading (especially if it's a westerner), and the utter indifference to what our side has inflicted on millions - well, I often wonder just how it is we think.

Our side has been inflicting horrible suffering all over the world to everybody from the elderly to babies still in the womb. Obama has done that. And Bush, and Reagan and Johnson and, really, all of them.

Obama says ISIL is evil. And we nod our heads in agreement with this mass murderer and torturer. Yes. They must be killed.. They are evil. We are good.
Finally, Thomas Young was an American soldier wounded in Iraq who suffered terribly for years. Recently, he died, leaving a last letter to the US government. I strongly recommend this letter to you. It can be found at  www.information clearing

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nov. 15: Entrepreneurs and stuff....

I have never before seen a news medium that uses the word entrepreneur as much as the Irving Press does. There is an English term that covers what they use it to mean - business owner. But entrepreneur doesn't mean quite the same thing. It means business owner who operates his business at his own financial risk. In fact, it's only the small business owners that run a risk. With the big owners, we're the people who take the risk.

But some pompous asses just love to say 'entrepreneur' because its French and, like many French words, it sounds more distinguished than the English one. It's used the way some pretentious twits who know only two, French words will say to a waiter, "Bring me a glass of water, toot sweet."

It's also used to confer a sort of mystique on business owners. It implies that from Irving Oil to your corner convenience store, they are more daring, more able, more innovative than others. They know how to govern - unlike those ignorant and clumsy civil servants. That's why Irving could claim to be a member of the government, even though nobody voted for him. That's why almost every copy of our wretched newspaper has pictures of rich people getting awards for "giving back to the community".

Actually, we have a system for "giving back to the community". It's called paying taxes, a system that allows the community to decide what to spend the money on. But the rich don't like that. "Giving back to the community" is much cheaper than paying taxes - and fools a great many people into thinking they really are doing something for us when they're actually bleeding us dry.

Friday's front page of the TandT has pictures of two fat cats grinning as they receive the Order of Moncton for their good works that rival the sacrifices of Jesus. (Actually, most of those "good works" would seem to be more symbolic than real; and some, like "educating" young people about entrepreneurship  (toot sweet) are really self-serving.

The third person getting the Order of Moncton ( is there an order or a business hall of fame of Shediac? of Sussex? of Buctouche?) - anyway, the third person getting the order is Claude Rousel who looks a little embarrassed to be there. That's because he seems to be the only one who has actually done things to help others.
The other big story on the front page is "Downtown Moncton needs more activity to grow". Duh, yeah. Or you could say "Downtown Moncton needs to grow to generate more activity."

More logically, you could say that decades ago Moncton opted for a city plan based on the use of the car. That's why we opted for shopping malls with big parking lots for a sprawling city that is expensive to provide services (and school busses) for, and downtown parking that rivals much bigger cities for hopelessness.

Add to that a public transport system that is extremely difficult to operate in such a sprawling city. I was able to use Shanghai and Beijing and Rome public transport on my own from my first days in those city. But after more than five years in Moncton, I still can't figure out the logic of its transport system.

The whole city plan is bad. And the ability of real estate speculators to influence city planning is making it worse. That's why moving Moncton Hgh way out to help housing sales in a remote, middle-class boondocks was such a bad idea.
There's really nothing else worth reading in Section A. The only intelligent opinion column is Alec Bruce's..... is it possible to write about our economic future without mentioning the most glaringly obvious problem?

We have a capitalist system in which capitalists, unlike all the rest of us, are being allowed to operate with virtually no government control - in fact, with all the control being in the hands of major capitalists who control the governments?

We have a system in which the wage gap is growing out of control, with almost all the profits of world business going into the pockets of the very, very rich - so the rest of us descend even deeper into poverty. We have essential services like health and education being starved because the poor and what is left of the middle class are paying out tax money they really don't have, while corporate bosses avoid taxes by banking in secretive banks outside the country - as in Luxembourg.

And the closest the Irving press comes to mentioning this is the regular, smiling photos of hypocrites who get awards (from the business leaders) for "giving back to the community".

What is happening all over the world is the mad race for all the power and all the money by a tiny group of multibillionaires who send young people off to die in wars that will make the rich richer (something we forget on the day of remembrance). We have lived through the creation of a small number of super-rich who are above the law because they ARE the law. They have created massive poverty and massive killing all over the world. That's what Ukraine and the Middle East and Vietnam and Afghanistan have been all about.

It's not the American people. They, too, are going through terrible suffering in this greatest and most violent robbery in history.

It's the greed and stupidity and callousness of those people who are so fond of giving awards to each other (and building chapels named after themselves. Somehow, I can't imagine Jesus building a chapel and calling it the Jesus chapel - with special music.).
In NewsToday, it's interesting to see the paper splashing the story of the provincial Liberals looking for Liberal businessmen (entrepreneurs) to give contracts to. That has been the common practice of every Liberal or Conservative government Canada has ever  had, both provincial and national, since 1867 and before. So why make this case a big deal?

Well, it's a reminder to Gallant of who the boss is, a reminder to get off his butt and go ahead with shale gas. (don't worry, boss. He's going to do it. He intended to from the start.)
I seldom look at the sports section because it's such a feeble one. It has almost no analysis or comment in it. It's a surprisingly drab, narrow and amateurish sports section for a city that is supposed to be mad about sports.
Section A for Saturday is the usual flood of trivia and ads in disguise.The editorial opens with a piece of advice from Robert Goguen, always a bad sign. He and the editorialist are opposed to any public inquiry into the RCMP shooting deaths in Moncton. The excuse is a wartime one. We don't want to tip the enemy off to our plans.

Well, yes. The police have to keep some of their action plans secret. Of course. But the public certainly has a right to know (this is a democracy, remember?) how this happened, how a person got a very military rifle, how  he was able to routinely take it to a shooting range without anybody mentioning it....There are lots of questions. This also has implications for Harper who has been a big friend of the US National Rifle Association, and very casual about controls. (This buys him the gun nut vote.)

The editorial ends by saying that if we know how all this happened, it would be counter productive. Huh?

Notice, too, that the editorial has war language. "Loose lips sink ships." Yes, indeed. The last thing in the world we need is a police force that is militarized. But it's happening across Canada and, even more, in the US. In a democracy, we have police to protect us and our rights. Militarization creates a police force that protects the very rich by keeping us peasants in line. And that's where North America is heading.
Norbert is just silly. He's opposed to helping writers in a society which doesn't have a big enough market to pay them enough to write. A Norbert solution? Put a small charge for getting a book out of a library, and use it to help writers.  Brilliant.

We already have libraries that are the worst funded in Canada in this, the most illiterate province in Canada.
Norbert's proposal would do serious damage to the small library use we already have. and writers are not just story-tellers. They give us insight into what our society is like, what we are like, why people behave as they do. Independent writers have told us more about New Brunswick than all the Irving papers put together. I think here of people like Maillet and Nowlan.

His other bright idea is that writers should get day jobs. It works for Norbert, but only because his day job is writing, and only because he uses his writing to kiss up to his boss and owner. That's why it's good to  is be illiterate in New Brunswick. You don't have to read Norbert.

Bill Belliveau is back on the "fiscal cliff". He suggests we bring in 50,000 immigrants a year to New Brunswick in units of families of at least eight. And with a capital worth of $250,000. Oh, and with university educatons. Right. And we should also bring in a boy in green who can fly and a fairy with a wand. Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle spring to mind. (check first, though. They might be Muslims.)

I went to public schools with a high proportion of immigrants, mostly Italian and Syrian. None of them had any capital worth until pay day, and then they had it for only a couple of days.

If a family has a capital worth of $250,000 in its own country, why on earth would it migrate to New Brunswick - or anywhere? Most immigrants are people desperate to get out of their own countries. They're fleeing persecution. They're refugees fleeing the wars that we inflict of them. They're people fleeing places like Haiti and Guatemala to get away from the poverty that we and the US have imposed on them.

Besides, Harper is very, very choosy about immigrants. He doesn't want Romas or Arabs or anybody who looks or dresses too differently. That's because he needs voting blocs -and he knows that large numbers of Canadians are racists and bigots. He wants their votes. (I know. You think Canada is and always has been open to the world. Forget your high school history books. Ask those immigrants who get jailed or deported because they aren't the "right sort".)

We happily accept Ukrainian Naziis, but are less welcoming to Guatemalans. We wet our pants for Chinese billionaires, but won't touch any of the millions of Iraqis and Syrians who have been made desperate refugees by western butchery and destruction.

We don't even treat our native peoples as equals, even though we're the ones who pushed them aside.

He also says we should build bigger schools,  consolidating smaller ones. It would save money. Uh, yeah. It would also make the schools increasingly too big to maintain welcoming atmospheres. And it would and hugely to the cost of transportation.

His best idea is quick and efficient rail transport linking St. John, Fredericton and Moncton. That's a good idea but he proposed we do it a dreadfully expensive way by laying new rail. Surely, what rail we have now must be perfectly safe. My goodness, the nice people at Irving Oil use it every day to transport crude oil in fragile, antique tanker cars.
Brent Mazerolle blazes another, really good column - so far, the only intelligent column I have seen in any paper about the US Navy Seal who claims to be a hero for shooting an elderly, unarmed man (Osama bin Laden) while the latter was with his wife. My hero.

I know. You think, perhaps rightly, that bin Laden deserved it.  But read the paragraph at the centre of Mazerolle's column. He says it much better than I could.

In fact, why was bin Laden shot at all? The Seals had him. And they had a helicopter. It would have been an easy matter to put him into the helicopter, and take him back to the US for trial.   (In fact, they did take his body into the copter; but they dumped it into the sea. Why?)

Anyway, aren't we and Americans people who believe in trials? Well before the US invaded, Afghanistan offered to send bin Laden to an international court for trial. Bush refused at what proved to be a cost of a over a trillion dollars, uncounted ten of thousands killed, and all for a lost war.

Could it possibly be because the FBI back in those days publicly said, several times, it had no evidence that bin Laden had planned 9/11. And no evidence, except for a video of bin Laden claiming credit for it, has surfaced since.

Navy Seals are heroes only in a very sick society. And that's true of a lot of what we call "special ops". I grew up with some kids who became mafia killers. When I was still a kid, our next-door neighbour was a small-time hood who missed a payment, and was found wrapped in chains at the bottom of a lake.

Navy Seals are very well trained thugs - and they're the creation of a government (and it's financial owners) that are very similar to the mafia. Any society that calls them heroes is in trouble.
There are two, superb letters to the editor. One is about the "events centre".  "A pleasure dome, or built for vanity?  Then there's a hilarious, but sadly true letter - "Puzzled by tycoon's gas-fracking lawsuit". (I had to correct my original spelling of tycoon. I had spelt it "tygoon". I think I had it right the first time.)
And, in a world on the edge of nuclear war and desperate for some sort of international means of fighting climate change, perhaps the biggest (of only two) foreign news items is "Wildcat prowling Near Disneyland Paris is not a Tiger...." I'm so relieved.
According to the Faith page ad for church services, there are only three churches in Moncton - two Baptist and one Anglican.  In other words, the family that built the Irving Chapel to talk to their very own God, charges churches to advertise their services -and charge too much for most churches to afford.

The sermonette of the day is the usual babble that has nothing to do with real life. It reflects the fundamentalist Christian  obsession with believing simply in order to get themselves into the New Jerusalem where they will walk on solid gold sidewalks, clapping hands for Jesus, and do it forever and ever. Every day. (I don't know. Sounds like a hard sell to me.)

You don't even have to do anything for anybody - except, of course, give money to the church. All you have to is to read The Bible with special attention to all the things you must not do - like being gay or lesbian, or worshipping one of those yuckie-poo gods who isn't the real one. Oh, and  you have to be completely dunked or it doesn't count.

The Congregational Christian Church plans to bring Christ into your life with an evening of bluegrass music and jokes. Well, it beats walking golden streets while clapping hands every day for millions and millions of years.
The Whatever page (C9) is, as usual, a good read - though I want to protest against its absence of male writers. This is feminism out of control..

I was particularly interested in Aurelie Pare's column on some of the harmful effects of video games - for children and adults. As I read it, I thought of another problem which video games worsen.

We are not taught to think. From my own teaching experience in elementary and high school, I know that almost all parents will say they want their children to learn how to think -and almost all will raise hell if you try to teach them to think. For the most part, universities are no better, largely because almost all profs have no training at all in how to teach people to think. I found that true all the way through the doctorate.

Most of university is about learning professional skills, and memorizing information which is soon forgotten. But the processes of thinking get little attention. To learn the processes, you need lots of small-group discussion, lots of reading, and lots of freedom and imagination in planning courses. And perhaps you need Order of Moncton hall-of-famers who can do something more than be boosters for entrepreneurship.

Now, for some news  you'll never see in the private media.
First, there's  stunning documentary about the levels of corruption and election rigging in the US. It is very likely that George Bush 2 stole both of the elections he won.That was particularly true as the use of electronic voting machines spread. There was lots of information about it at the time - but very, very little reporting. This documentary looks, for example, at how computer vote results were wildly out of sync with voter exit polls.

There are also bits about how Bush made himself very, very rich while governor and then president - and how he did illegally by, among other things, insider trading. That's not surprising. His daddy made an even bigger fortune in the same way.

It also covers the way in which big business has become the real government.

The commentary is excellent, and delivered by first-rate journalists. But be warned, it's an hour and 45 minutes. So forget  your video game.
I hope I got that right. If not, let me know.
Henry Kissinger was a real powerhouse in American foreign policy until his retirement and even after. He was as right wing conservative as it was possible to be. He was a murderous imperialist and servant of big business. And he was probably the most powerful Secretary of State in American history.

Recently -now get this - he said that the major blame for the Ukraine crisis lies with the US. For the most part, the US has provoked, and Putin has simply responded. That's what has just happened at the G20 conference. Western leaders like Harper made outrageous threats to Putin. Putin knows of course, that Harper always talks big and tough, and never does anything. He knows Harper is talking to the Canadian-Ukrainian vote ifor the next election. So he just said the hell with it, and went home.

Actually, Kissinger is kind to Obama. He knows that Obama is the one who provoked the crisis in the first place, but he doesn't say so.  And, as Kissinger does say, Putin has consistently looked for a peaceful solution, and Obama has consistently been provocative and threatening. And Kissinger knows that all the privately-owned mass media in North America have been lying through their teeth.

Anyway, read what Kissinger says in
There's also a story about how some 17 states - with more to follow - have restored that horror of Charles Dickens' time, the debtors' prison. 48 million Americans live in poverty. (notice the Irving press has never mentioned that?) They're poor because the very rich have made them poor - just like New Brunswick. And when you're that poor, there comes a time when you can't meet even a small debt. So US courts are now sending them to prison.

And it's not like the kind of prison master thief Conrad Black went to with good food and tennis courts and, you know, the right sort of people. No. it's the hell holes that are the overcrowded and violent places that are among the worst in the world.

This is a well told story, with lots of evidence, and with the mark of solid research.

In the Iraq war, Britain and the US made heavy use of "depleted" uranium for munitions.Despite the word "depleted" this stuff is radioactive and toxic. They're all over Iraq, and they have already killed uncounted numbers by creating cancer and birth defects. And they will keep doing it for many thousands of years.

The UN has voted for its member states to help clean up this disaster. A majority said yes. Who said "NO"?

Britain and the US.

Funny how the North American news media missed that one.

There's another site I've just looked at. It's an American site, sometimes a little uneven in quality; but generally it's good, and offers insight to a world we never hear of.

To reach it, google Black Like Moi
Ever hear of Ezra Levant? He's a very successful newspaper columnist for the Toronto Sun - a newspaper slightly below the intellectual standards of the Irving press, but with more imagination. He's a celebrity on
radio, television, , very well paid.

He calls  himself a conservative but he's actually closer to nazi. He's a hate-monger, climate denier, racist, stunningly ignorant and, according to recent news, perhaps a liar. Recently, he claimed that an Ontario school board had given Muslim students Nov. 11 off so they wouldn't have to attend a school Remembrance day event.

Levant said that, then launched into a racist, hateful rant about the board and about Muslims.

In fact, the board had done no such thing. Even if it had been true, his column about it was vile. But none of it was true.  It was big, big news in The Toronto Globe. But it wasn't carried by the Irving press. It needed the space for a really big story about how Brooke Shields regrets marrying Agassi.

Will Levant's career be harmed by this revelation that He made up all that vile and untrue stuff. I doubt it. He'll continue to be a poster boy for the sewer that North American journalism has become.

To read the story, just google Ezra Levant Muslims.

Enough. There's lots more, but I need to find a life for the rest of the day.

For a quick summary of what's happening in the world, American governments  (not necessarily the American people) are determined to hand over control of all trade all over the world to American super-billionaires. That's why it wants a war with Russia. That's why it's fighting wars against Muslim countries to destroy their nation-states and their social structure. That's what Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and the Syrian "civil" war are all about. That's what the new Iraq/Syrian war is really about. That done, they have to muscle in on China in the near future.

Will the American military be able to restore normalcy? 1. no. 2. it can't. Check the record for the US military restoring normalcy in Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq, again. The war in the Middle East is going to get much bigger - with lots and lots of boots on the ground - and we're in it because Canadian big business wants to suck up to the US to share in the loot. Then we can remember more dead. Ditto for Britain.

Can this be avoided? Possibly. Big business has destroyed the American economy while making itself richer. It has created massive poverty -and is too greedy and callous and stupid to do anything about it. All the blame for the damage is being laid on the poor. The same thing is happening in Canada. That puts the danger of civil violence very high on the list of possibilities. And that civil violence would put a crimp in world conquest. (But it wouldn't help us much).

The race is on. The news media have to create hatred and fear to make people focus on those evil foreigners instead of our evil business leaders. (Sorry, entrepreneurs).

And that pretty much sums up what's happening in the world. Oh, and if you check the Irving press, something else important is happening today. Petula Clark turned 82.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Nov. 14: Taking up where Nov. 13 left off.

This is my second attempt to use up all the notes I have on current events. And, before I even start, I must admit I forgot an excellent book for those who want to get a sense of what it's like to be in a war.  It's Farley Mowat's  "And No Birds Sang' It's about the little heard of, but very difficult, struggle to push Hitler's armies out of Italy.

Now, we go to stories the Irving Press missed  ( partly because it used up so much space showing pictures of "entrepreneurs" getting hall of fame awards).

 KM oil (Kinder-Morgan Oil) is suing environmental protesters. Well, it has a good reason. You see, KM wants to build a pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. for export. It means, among other things, blasting a tunnel through a mountain in the Rockies, and loading very large numbers of ships on our Pacific coast with the world's dirtiest crude oil.

Some people in Burnaby thought this might not be a good idea. So they went to a public park and held up placards - which, so far, has been legal in a free country. There was no fighting. No blocking. Just holding up placards.

 KN is suing for 5.6 million in expenses plus 88 million per month for lost revenue. Oh, and they also want to lay assault charges on the grounds that some of the protesters gave them dirty looks.

Just in case Alec Bruce finds out about this and writes a column about how stupid the protesters are and how safe oil pipelines are, consider a few points, nothing bleeding heart, nothing gullible, just obvious to anyone.

1. Climate change is happening. There is not the slightest doubt of it. We see it in changing weather patterns. We see it (or rather don't see it) in the ice that covered the Arctic for a million years or more.
2. Further climate change will, among other things, destroy vulnerable food producing areas - like California. It will also kill animal life - including us.
3. Oil companies (and news media like the Irving press) have long sponsored denial campaigns, arguing that it's all perfectly safe - despite the fact that they know points 1. and 2. very well, and have known it from the start.
4.We have very little time left to slow the change down so as to get breathing space to develop new energy.
So far, we have wasted a quarter century of that little time. The oil companies were behind much of that wastage of time. The reason the time is so limited is that there comes a point when the change cannot be slowed down or stopped. We don't know when that point is. But we know it's soon.
5. If we cut down on using oil, but export it, then it still gets burned and still changes the climate.
6. To build a pipeline takes time and money - especially if it requires a tunnel through the Rockies.
Then it takes time to make all that money back, plus a profit. In other words, the oil industry expects to keep making trillions of dollars for years to come - and well past any estimate of the deadline to slow down the use of fossil fuels.

So let's forget the blather about tough regulations or how drilling has been proven safe. Let's even forget about the question of where to dump all the trillions of litres from shale gas drilling.

The people who run the oil industry - and other fossil fuel industries - have, most of them, been born to the idea that they can have whatever the want. But the reality is that none of us can have whatever we want. People who are born very rich often have a sense of arrogance and greed and entitlement. And the commercialization of our world encourages that sense in a great many of the rest of us. Even Nov. 11 has become commercialized in poppy-covered ads for private business -as in "Free Remembrance Day Buffet at Moncton Casino".

But arrogance and greed and entitlement can turn humans into fools. The KM pipeline is not a short term deal. Like New Brunswick shale gas, corporations will keep drilling and pumping out greenhouse gasses long past that little time we have left to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, we will see very little of the profit from it all. As it is, the drift of money has become a torrent from us to the very rich, and is intensifying all over the world. Much of the money ends up in shady banks in remote islands or tiny states like Luxembourg that offer great deals to avoid taxes.

Take what you want. By all means. Take anything you want. But be ready to pay for it. And the price here will be human lives and whole cities - and perhaps even the decay of the hallowed halls of fame lined with the pictures of proud entrepreneurs.

Since the Irving press will never admit any of this, try
Israel has extended its laws to cover land it has taken for settlements. That's illegal. That's not legally Israeli territory. Israel has kicked out the Palestinians who lived there and has settled Israelis on it. But, legally, that land is still Palestinian. And Israel has notified Palestinians living in another 3,000 acres of Palestine that they have to leave their homes so Israeli can move in more of its settlers. That makes it pretty obvious why Israel has never wanted peace with Palestine. It intends to create a greater Israel which will include Palestine and, quite possibly Lebanon, and then other states. The people kicked out of their homes and their countries might throw rocks at Israelis and shake their fists. If so, they will be called terrorists and killed.

Then, check
This is a video about Israeli troops routinely beating jailing, sexually abusing, torturing and even killing Palestinian children. And it's been condemned for this by the UN. I'm careful in using information clearing house because I don't trust all of that site's sources. But this one is a video by Australian Broadcasting Corporation which is pretty good as news media go.
Meanwhile, nothing about any of this has appeared in the Irving press.
There's another interesting and VERY important story which appeared on CBC, but not in the Irving press. For as long as I have known, the US has be able to force the rest of the world to use the US dollar as the standard medium in international trade. But no more.

Canada has signed a deal with China to use the Chinese remnibi and the Canadian dollar in trade. Many other countries in Europe and around the world are doing the same. Given the huge American level of foreign indebteness, this is becoming a very serious blow to the value of the American dollar. For a fuller explanation, see www.informationclearinghouse,info/article40210.htm

I have often spoken of how Bush and Obama have destroyed the US constitution. I may even have mentioned that the US intervention in Iraq is illegal.  It is a illegal under American law and international law; and its the kind of thing we hanged Naziis for.  Yeah. I know. I'm just a radical. So check out the following opinion from Senator Rand Paul who is both a Republican and a far right-wing one, even by Republican standards.

(He loads the blame on Obama, though Obama is just a continuation of Bush, and both were creatures of the very, very wealthy.
The Irving press has been (sort of) covering Canada's role in WW1. In that context, I may have said I found it remarkable that they missed the outstanding performance of Canadian troops in the last hundred days of the war - and they missed the remarkable man who commanded the Canadian army in France. (This is the same press that babbles on Nov. 11 about how patriotic it is, and how it honours our veterans on Remembrance Day.)

The remarkable man was General Arthur Currie. Most generals in World War 1 were career officers of long experience and, often, with battle experience before the war. Currie entered the war with only the very limited experience available to a young school teacher who became a businessman. He joined the militia which met once a week for drill, and was largely a social affair. He started as a private.  I know of no other general in World War One with so little military background.

When war was declared, the Canadian government chose this most obscure and inexperienced man to be its field commander. His superior. British officer was General Haig, a lifetime soldier and a pompous ass who, though he threw lives away by the hundreds of thousands, kept his post throughout the war. After it, he was rewarded with an earldom and a fortune.

Currie had a shaky start. He was one the least experienced men ever to become a general of any army. But he had a good role model in his immediate British superior, General Byng (who later became governor-general of Canada. And Currie was a man with a marvelous ability to learn on the job. He became one of the few generals on either side in that war capable of original thinking, of phenomenal attention to detail - traits that brought enormous successes while, at the same time, saving the lives of many of his soldiers.

After the war, the British prime minister confided that he had intended, if the war lasted longer, to fire Haig, and to put Currie in command of all Imperial troops in Europe. It's a unique and quite amazing story. But I guess none of the "rememberers" of the Irving press ever heard of this amazing Canadian soldier.

The Irving press also never told us why WW1 was fought in the first place. In fact, many historians have by now concluded that there was no good reason to fight it at all. Yes, we are always lied to about the reasons for war; and the real reason often is sheer stupidity and incompetence.  BBC did a docudrama on this one. It's called "37 Days". It's still available, but only on the web, so far as I know, and for a price. It's at itunes, and Amazon.U.K.
Now, it's late. And I'm tired. And I have to rest before the intellectual challenge of reading tomorrow's Moncton Times and Transcript.

And so to bed.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Just a little bit about the Irving press...

...because there's nothing in it... not even yet another picture of Robert Irving accepting yet another award from some hokey hall of fame.

Thursday's headline is about how the provincial Liberals seem to have been caught preparing to give our tax money to, - you know - good people, like Liberal contractors looking for government contracts. I was so shocked that this could happen in New Brunswick. I mean, this is a place where we don't really have contractors; they're "entrepreneurs", and they get into halls of fame for their goodness.

We're so lucky that our super-entrepreneurs have never indulged in such a thing. I mean, if they had, the TandT would have told us all about it.

The oil people are putting on the big push with ads. P. A6 has a half pager in full colour about how the Energy East pipeline makes sense. Then flip to A9. There's a full page of a beautiful blonde woman who is happy, happy, happy because she's a pipefitter and the pipeline would  give her a chance to have a career, and put down roots.

Both ads are from, and I'm so happy to see them speaking out, and giving such a helpful hand to the feminist movement. All over New Brunswick, there are beautiful, young women who have always wanted to be pipefitters. Energy East is so good to us.

The only readable part of that days' section A is Jody Dallaire's column. The rest is trash and trivia.

Section B, NewsToday, has nothing. There's a story that the US and China are setting new goals to cut gas emissions. That doesn't mean a damn thing. There's no way Congress will approve that. It would hurt oil profits.

In Your Business, PremierGallant has been meeting with oil execs to get their opinion of developing natural gas. If they say so, we'll know it's safe.
The Wednesday edition's page one is mostly telling us that the day before, Tuesday, had been Remembrance Day. Well, Some people might not have known it. There's also a story about a dog getting a swimming pool. I'm always happy for pay for a paper to learn things like that.

There's not a damn thing worth reading in the whole of Wednesary's section A - and that includes even Gwynne Dyer. Most disheartening is a letter to the editor "Terrorism generates curious reactions." It's about how we don't hate Muslims enough. It's a bit frightening to see in those letters how little some people know about what's really going on in the world.

Newstoday was 2 and a half more pages of mostly photos of Remembrance day.

The only story worth reading is on B5, "Pop Culture  shapes memories of war". Very true. As I've said before, our idea of war and of Canadian military history is based heavily on American films and TV - and of course, the story also blames the "flash-bang" of social media. (I don't know where they get the social media bit. I've never seen much there on war Even Youtube doesn't have much - and most of that is trivial.) -

Why doesn't the story mention our newspapers as part of the blame?  How much about Canada's military history have you ever seen in the Irving press? Even in the weeks of remembrance day prep and this year of remembering 1914, I haven's seen a damn thing about precisely why Canada has gone to war, or about what has caused wars, or any coverage of what our military accomplished - though the accomplishments of our military in both world wars were impressive by any standard.

And, as I read through many newspapers, the major sources they talked about were some absurd John Wayne flicks. Does the Irving press have anybody who knows anything about where we can learn this? Does the Irving press know even who to talk to about it?

And let's not forget the Legion. It's an organization that did its best to suppress a series of excellent films from our own National Film Board on World War Two.

But don't blame the schools. Any teacher in our schools who told the whole truth about anything in Canadian history would be fired on the spot.
I'm sorry to have wasted so much time on the utter crap that calls itself the Irving press. But I also have some excellent stories from the web.

First, there's

The Guardian is one of the few, good news sources left in the world. This one is an excellent opinion column on the meaning of the recent mid-term elections in the U.S.  These were elections that might well have a deadly meaning for the whole world. But only 36% of voters bothered to turn out. For voters who were young and/or poor the turnout was 20%.

Even in decent elections, the US usually ranks 120th in the world in voter turnout. IN THE WHOLE WORLD. America, America, the country that tells us it invented democracy and freedom - and it kills people all over the world to make them free---almost two-thirds of the US didn't vote in a very, very important election.

It gets worse. Most American voters have no clue what any election is about. Seriously. Polls show they commonly don't even know who their senate representative is. God bless America (somebody has to do it.)

Those who do know what it's about often don't vote because they also know it doesn't matter who they elect. The Congress and the president are all bought by election rules which guarantee that only those chosen by the very, very rich can get elected. In the US, billionaires and huge corporations can give as much as they like to the party of their choice.

(Canada is almost as bad, and getting worse under Harper; but we have rules at least a little tighter.)

The US has long, very long, in fact from the start, been deeply soaked in the vilest corruption, made worse by a lying and manipulative (and often damned ignorant and childish - think Fox News) news media. If you like New Brunswick, go live in the states.  You'll really, really love it.

Under Bush and Obama, the constitution was effectively destroyed. The president has become something close to a dictator (though taking his dictation from big business) who can declare war all on his own, imprison Americans on no charge, keep them there as long as he likes, torture anybody all over the world, violate constitutional rights with secret police (just like Canada)...

The American presence in Iraq and Syria is illegal under American law. It's supposed to be Congress, and only Congress, that can approve a war. But the due date has expired; and Obama hasn't yet even asked for approval. That makes him a criminal under American law - and a war criminal for that and other reasons under both US and international law. He and Bush and Tony Blair should long ago have been tried and hanged - as we did to Saddam Hussein. (Instead, all three are getting very, very wealthy.)

Democracy in the US is history. And where does that take us?

It takes us straight to violence. There is no possibility, none whatever, of honesty in US politics or news media. Nor do I see any possibility of a peaceful outcome of all this. The US cannot form an alternative philosophy for its society because the general public is in hopeless ignorance of what the alternatives might be. What we are likely to see is pure, raging violence, vicious and destructive, a tantrum more than a rebellion. And it's made worse by a wildly corrupt and greedy corporation world that is sucking in all of the money in the whole country.

This is well known to American governments. That's why police are getting machine guns, armoured cars, drones, camouflage suits, even tanks. And it's not all that different in Canada. Remember the armoured car our police got? Remember the RCMP special squad we saw with camouflage outfits and rapid-fire combat rifles?

But we still have a bit to go. I don't think it will start  here. It will start in the US. And there are strong possibilities of a similar melt-down in Europe.

Capitalism is based on self-interest and greed. That's why it cannot operate properly without close regulation. When it becomes corrupt and powerful, as it has in both Canada and the US, it allows its greed to overcome any brains that might be lurking. And it destroys itself. And it destroys a whole society with it.

Part of the destruction process begins with news media that teach us to hate and fear  - oh, say Muslims. The idea is to get us to ignore the theft of our money and of our rights by the very wealthy, Hitler played the same game, using Jews.

Ask the Irvings to mutter a prayer about that next time they do God a favour by going to their Chapel.

Wow! This is long. And  I've covered just a tiny part of my notes. I'll post this one as is, and continue it tomorrow.