Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Feb. 20: Say Hi to the Ku Klux Klan

Americans are all abuzz that Russia played games with the U.S. election. Oh,  those Russians are so evil! Now, the U.S. would never interfere in elections - unless it's good for them. (In fact, the U.S. has a long, long history going back to the 19th century of interfering in foreign elections. And it's not just spreading propaganda.  It's a history of mass murder and of setting up brutal dictatorships. in fact, the list below is missing some such events - as in the overthrow of the elected leader of Haiti and the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.)

http://theantimedia.org/former-cia-chief-admits-us-meddles-foreign-elections-good/
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In World War Two, Canada, the U.S. and Britain refused to accept Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany We sent them back to die in the extermination camps. Today, Israel is sending back African refugees. (Wrong colour. Indeed, some of them are Jewish, but still can't get accepted in Israel because of their colour.)

In discussing world affairs, it's glib to talk about them is if  they're about good guys and bad guys. They're about humans. And all of us humans  have a touch of Hitler in us. (Though, admittedly, Christians may be the worst.)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/israel-africa-migrant-deportation-1.4536580
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http://theantimedia.org/genocide-gaza-dries-out-israel-turns-off-fresh-water/

This is another example of the Israeli abuse of Palestinians that is turning many North American Jews against Israel. Criticism of Israel by Jews has been made very difficult for the last seventy years as enormous pressure was applied to stamp out criticism. But my experience of the Jewish community is that it has a tradition of fairmindedness winning out.
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The risk of nuclear war has become very high this year. In fact, it is even higher than the article below suggests. Israel, for example, is very close to a war with Iran, which would be a formidable opponent. And Israel is a nuclear power. It is impossible to even guess at the impact of a nuclear attack by Israel on Iran.

We have known about the danger of nuclear war ever since 1945. But the leading powers  have done nothing whatever to deal with the problem. In the halls of American finance, in particular, the nuclear bomb was seen to be the great opportunity for world conquest. (Shortly after World War 2, a nuclear attack to 'obliterate' Russia was seriously considered.)

The greedy have not lost their lust for world conquest. And the quest now is to choose the moment to be the first to strike. And it has to be nuclear.

The U.S. military  has performed poorly (except in movies) since World War 2. In fact, Americans are so reluctant to serve in it that  half of the army has be be made up of mercenaries. It cannot bring about the desired world conquest in a conventional war. Only a massive,  nuclear strike can do that. And the greedy have lost none of their greed. Nor have they gained greater intelligence.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/war-risk-blunder-1.4540790
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Hey, for Canadian readers, betcha didn't know that Canada once had a thriving Ku Klux Klan. Yep. It was back in the 1920s and 30s. The most enthusiastic province was Saskatchewan where the Klan dominated the Conservative and Progressive leadership. (Ever wonder where the term Progressive Conservative came from?)

It's influence was strong even in Ottawa under the Conservative government of New Brunswick's very own R.B. Bennett.

It was also popular in other parts of Canada. Kingston, Ontario hosted a convention of 25,000 ardent racists in the 1930s. New Brunswick had Klan parades. It was essentially an organization of white, Protestant racists who rejected anybody different - Jews, Chinese, Japanese, native peoples, African Canadians.... It was also very, very right wing.

Of course, it's dislike of Catholics made it a non-starter in Quebec. But Quebec's Catholic leadership made  up for that with strong support for naziism and fascism. (A Catholic church in Montreal still has its dome brilliantly painted inside with God, Jesus and the disciples standing on a cloud. And among them is Mussolini on horseback.)

The story of the KKK in Canada can be found in Julian Sher, The Ku Klux Klan in Canada. You can also go to google on your computer, select images, type Ku Klux Klan in Canada, and sit back for many, many photos that Conservatives don't like to know about.

And the KKK is why many Canadian Conservatives today call themselves Progressive Conservatives. In the 1920s and 30s, the Conservative party desperately needed the support of two  groups in western Canada - the KKK which effectively controlled a large part of the Conservative Party, and another political group called the Progressive party (though there was nothing progressive about it.)  So the Conservatives agreed to rename their party as Progressive Conservative. But to this day, many Conservatives call themselves Progressive to kid themselves (and you).

Anyway, the KKK is now recruiting again in Canada. And our fear of immigrants plays right into its hands.
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Not all news is in our news media. (In fact, most of it isn't.) Here's an account of where Canadian troops are active now, and have been for some time. I note that we  have had  (and still have) troops and aircraft in Syria.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations/update.page

Oh? Syria never asked us to go there. And when you send troops to another country without its permission, that's an act of war. And the Canadian government has no  right to commit acts of war unless it declares war. That was supposed to be a right we won after World War 1.

In fact, our troops and aircraft are there as bumboys for the U.S. - which also has no right to be there. And we are setting ourselves up to be caught in the middle of war that is going to be much bigger, and one that has nothing to do with us.

Similarly, we  have a submarine sent to spy on North Korea. Again, we are being sucked into an American war that has nothing to do with us. This is like 1900 and the Boer War when Canadians fought and died in South Africa so that British billionaires could steal the gold mines.

Why do big powers like to suck others into  their wars? Because it makes their murder and theft look legitimate. That's why the U.S. will be putting more pressure on Canada.
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Pope Francis has always been the most admired Christian for me. (I'm a born Protestant, but not a born-again one.) But the task he has taken on is a huge one.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/18/pope-francis-attitude-abuse-scandal-catholic-church-critics
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And aren't those Russians terrible with their propaganda news media? I'm sure if this story were true, the irving press would have carried it.

https://www.rt.com/business/419211-gates-urge-significantly-higher-taxes/
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Another story that wasn't important enough for the irving press.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2018/feb/19/protect-kids-not-guns-students-stage-gun-reform-protest-in-front-of-white-house-video
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It's common for the western press to emphasize the brutality of those on the "other side". And it's true. The 'other side' is brutal. But the whole truth is that 'our side' is brutal , too, slaughtering children, bombing schools and hospitals... That is the nature of modern warfare. It has been for a century.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/20/its-not-a-war-its-a-massacre-scores-killed-in-syrian-enclave-eastern-ghouta
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If you want to know what's happening in Canada, don't waste your time with the New Brunswick press. Go to The Guardian from Britain.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/18/canada-indigenous-first-nations-justin-trudeau-pledge-reaction

And here is the bitter truth that Canada's NDP party has to face. Either it stands for real change in Canada or it doesn't. And what Canada does not need is a smiling version of the Liberals and Conservatives.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2018/feb/19/a-less-timid-version-of-justin-trudeau-wont-cut-it-the-ndp-must-be-bolder

Canada faces a very dangerous future. And a wimpy NDP isn't going to change that.
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Karl Nerenberg was, for many years, the CBC's "main man on the hill." He is still one of the best in the business.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/jagmeet-singhs-populist-rhetoric-inspires-ndp-convention-what-next
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Here's a taste of the reality of war today. It's the deliberate murder, torture, terror inflicted on whole societies. And it doesn't matter who the killers are. They all do the same, even the ones who come home to march in parades with their medals on, and to hear speeches about how they have made America great again.


https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/20/battle-line-blurs-turkey-assaults-afrin/
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In 1945, there was one, great power in the world. It was the U.S. It controlled the UN. It was the wealthiest power. Now, there are three great powers - the U.S., Russia and China, with the U.S. in decline militarily and economically, and China and Russia on the rise.

No. Trump has not made America 'great' again. And it's not likely he will.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/20/three-global-super-powers/
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Uncontrolled capitalism makes no sense either economically or morally. But uncontrolled capitalism is what is running wild in Canada and the U.S. (as it once ran wild - and often still does - in western Europe.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48814.htm
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As I write this, Turkey is firing on Syrian troops in Syria. The U.S. is illegally in Syria,, and is also, with Saudi Arabia, starving civilians in Yemen. Israel is threatening war with Iran (which has close ties to Russia and China). And -

http://theantimedia.org/israel-directly-arming-7-syrian-rebel-groups/

Who are these so-called Syrian rebels? Most of them are, in fact, what we used to call Jihadist terrorists. Yes. They are the same people who created 9/11 in the U.S. They are the same ones who the U.S. armed and trained in Syria.

That whole region is exploding into what could well be a world nuclear war. But I'm sure everybody means well.

And why is this worth risking world destruction? Well, both the middle east and Africa are rich in oil and other natural resources. That's why the west  has been looting them for over a century. Now, capitalist China and Russia want a piece of the action. And that's why wars are fought and civilians slaughtered and millions of refugees created.

And Canadians will be pressured to join in, and we'll call them heroes.
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Yep. Russia is just like the U.S. now. It's news media manipulate the public just like American news media do. In fact, it's a little ahead of the U.S. It jails uppity candidates.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/russia-police-raid-navalny-office-protests-180128075916211.html
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And again, if you want serious news and opinion about Canada, don't waste your time with most of the Canadian news media.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/killing-colten-boushie-canada-hypocrisy-180219143228584.html
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Netanyahu is in deep trouble over corruption charges - and it's quite likely he will find a  way out with a war.

I can send only the headline for the story. However, Haaretz is worth reading just for its headlines. Try them.
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Feb. 17: How we miss the news we need to know.


http://theantimedia.org/playboy-model-details-9-month-affair-with-trump/

So Trump had a long affair with a model. Lucky him. And  his wife doesn't like to hold hands with him.  But what does this have to do with his presidency? If the first requirement of a president is to be a virgin, then the U.S. has been in trouble for a long time.

It's no secret that President Roosevelt had a long, long affair with his secretary . And it was no secret from his wife, Eleanor. When General Eisenhower was in London directing the U.S. war in Europe, he had a long and open affair with his British driver. She thought he intended to marry her, and was terribly crushed when she realized he was going to stay with his wife.

John F. Kennedy was raised in a home in which his father had constant affairs, often bringing his love of the moment up to the bedroom while his wife entertained visitors downstairs.  Like his father, John F. made no secret of his many, many affairs, even bringing some  home to the White House. And his long affair with Marilyn Monroe was national news. Indeed, the press and the American public hugely enjoyed the stories about Kennedy and Marilyn. Many, probably most, presidents have had affairs. And the press and its readers have usually just giggled about it.

Anyway, presidents are not elected on the basis of their virginal purity. They are elected on their domestic and foreign policies. And Trump's domestic and foreign policies are not all that different from those of his predecessors going to back to 1945. He represents the very wealthy who want wars of conquest, and plundering of the American people. He wants to kill millions - as did Kennedy and many of the presidents before and after him.

These are the issues , not his sex drives.

But who cares about killing millions and impoverishing even more? Who cares about starving children to death in Yemen? Who cares about starting a world, nuclear war in North Korea or the Middle East?

No. Evangelicals, hypocrites that they are, will still clap hands for Trump. They are, after all, the ones who still support killing babies all over the world - while getting indignant about abortion.

An oversexed president is not the great threat to this world. The great threats are presidents like Kennedy who punished Cuba for getting rid of a dictator. He impoverished Cuba with trade sanctions that are still in force. He sponsored an illegal invasion of Cuba. A later president blew up a Cuban civil airliner killing all aboard. (Yes, I know Cuba was prepared to accept Russian missiles. But Castro turned first to the U.S. for help. He did not turn to Russia until after the U.S. had turned him down, until after the U.S. Bay of Pigs invasion, and after the U.S. bombing of Cuba.)

It's amazing how people will react in different ways to similar events.

In a related case, we see the horror over a school shooting in Florida. And, yes, it is a horror. But where is the horror over killing millions, mostly innocent civilians, in Vietnam, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Guatemala and, likely, Iran?

The killer in the school shooting will no doubt get the maximum possible sentence. The American killers of those millions - the bomber pilots, the Agent Orange sprayers, the machine gunners will get medals and parades and cheers and be called  heroes and patriots.

The Christian evangelicals among them will sing "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam".  The mainstream Christians will, as always, do nothing.

Yes, when we murder millions of innocent people by guns, bombs, napalm, cluster bombs and mines, that's good. And we applaud the killers. But when a severely disturbed kid shoots 17 school mates, he's evil.

And how did a disturbed kid get his gun? That was because of an arms industry in the U.S. that gets away with selling guns to anybody (mentally feeble, aggressive...) who wants one. And the industry gets away with it because Congress and the president, himself, accept large sums of money - graft - to let it get away with it.

Trump's sexual tastes are the least of the ills and social rot and moral collapse of the United States. But they are the ones the commercial news media will hit on because it takes attention away from the real problems. And nobody wants to hear about yucky things like the deliberate mass starvation of children by the 'heroes' of the U.S.
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Here is a story that seems to clear Trump of any deal to use Russian help to win the election. Amazingly, the irving press doesn't have the story.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/16/robert-mueller-russians-charged-election
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And here is a reminder. Russian  (and Chinese) capitalists are exactly like Canadian and American ones. And there are no limits to what any of them want.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/16/russian-oligarchs-fight-mine-battle-in-london-court
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And here's another story that the 'news-as-it-happens' irving press has not carried. (And won't carry.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/canadians-sacrifice-food-and-heating-to-afford-prescription-drugs-report
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Before the NDP, there was a political party called the CCF ( Cooperative Commonwealth Federation). It's roots were in what was called the 'social gospel', the belief that our politics should reflect our religious values. (No, not the self-righteous ones like fighting abortion while murdering foreign babies. No, the idea was to apply our religious principles to the needs of the poor, the disposable.....that we needed a political party which would be based on our love for all humans.

And that's where medicare came from. Without medicare, Canadians would still be dying in their own homes with virtually no care at all - and preventive medicine would be beyond the reach of most of us.

But, in our political system, a party needed money to win elections.  And those who had money weren't interested in giving it to a party that wanted to help all Canadians. (The rich attend church and clap hands for Jesus.  But few of them have any interest in following the Christian message.) So the desperate CCF turned to the union movement. But, in return, the unions insisted in making it into another Liberal party.  Thus the birth of the NDP.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/divided-ndp-has-decide-what-it-stands
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Who is the world's biggest killer of children? It's not a crazy kid in Florida. It's the U.S. government.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/16/lets-remember-schoolchildren-us-russian-bombs-are-killing-too
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Billionaires all over the world are causing suffering, illness, despair by hiding their money from taxes. The loss, for the American and Canadian people alone, is over a trillion dollars a year. But the world cost is much, much larger. And it never,  ever makes the irving press news.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/17/mauritius-connection-big-businessesgovernments-illicit-finance/

Eventually, this will crash. But don't worry. The very rich will still be okay, just like they were in the big crash of the 1930s.
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This next item is a long one. But it wakes us up to a stage we are going through, one that has been repeated many times in history.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/17/mauritius-connection-big-businessesgovernments-illicit-finance/
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One of the world biggest users of  poison chemicals in war - perhaps THE biggest - has been the U.S. It's heavy use of agent orange, alone, in Vietnam where it is still killing people and producing horribly deformed babies, may make it the biggest in the world.

(Many years ago, visiting an American friend who had served in the Pacific, he showed me a photo of what looked like an oil truck - but with nozzled pipes in the front of it. My friend told me that there were used to spray poison gas on Japanese hiding in caves.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48806.htm
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I'm not entirely in agreement with the following article. But there is a good deal of truth in it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48807.htm
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I'm not sure I entirely agree with this one - but it's worth considering. All countries experience some violence. But it's commonly connected to organized crime (as in Mexico) or to small scale violence. In the U.S., such violence seems to be more related to social patterns.

https://steemit.com/news/@emmafiala/mass-shootings-are-a-symptom-of-a-problem-that-gun-control-won-t-solve
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Alas! I can show only a small part of this story. But it's an important variant on the shootings in the U.S. Much of the violence in Israel arises from utter contempt for Palestinians. As an Israeli prime minister once said, "They are just donkeys."

I have know many Israelis who share that view. Abusing them, killing them, stealing their land and their homes means nothing. And that, like the contempt some Christians for human life, is not what Judaism is about.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-palestinian-schoolteacher-mauled-by-idf-dog-as-soldiers-watch-1.5824682
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For at least a  year now, the U.S. has been accusing Syria of using chemical weapons. That led to the rise of western news praise for the "White Helmets" who were with great courage saving the innocent victims of these terrible poison gas attacks.

All the western press joined in the praise - and this led to a movie about the "White Berets" and their courage, a movie that won an Academy Award.

Alas! It was all propaganda and a fake. But most people don't know that because their press never told them it was a fake. Now, a member of the Trump cabinet has said it was all a fake. There was no poison gas attack by Syria.  But the same western news media who swarmed all over the original story haven't yet told us the true one. (And they won't. Not ever).

http://www.voltairenet.org/article199727.html
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Finally,  there is a story I should have commented on when it appeared in our New Brunswick press some days ago. This province routinely scores low on national tests of reading, language and other school tests.  The news article suggested this should call for a sprucing up of our public education system.

Well, no, actually. That isn't what it calls for. The schools are almost certainly not the problem. New Brunswick school teachers have the same training as teachers across Canada. And the school programmes are much the same as the rest of Canada.

I learned, as a teacher at every level in the education system from elementary school to university that prime factors in learning performance are family income, and family attitudes.

The poor usually have high levels of illiteracy. It's not because they're stupid. It's because poverty is a sort of stamp of hopelessness. I grew up in a society in which we all knew we weren't going to amount to anything.  So there was no point in trying. Our parents, caught in that same trap, had no expectations for us. That's why many of my childhood friends were illiterate. We were born losers, and we accepted it.

Of the 20 or so students in my grade one class, only one finished high school. I, alas, was not the one. I failed grade 10, and was kicked out while failing grade 11. My parents were not upset. None of the parents in our district expected us to complete high school. And, getting as far as grade 11 made me the success story of our social circle.

Somehow, after four years in a dead end job, I became a teacher in elementary school, then finished a BA (admittedly a terrible one), then an MA and a PhD, and a job teaching in universities.

What saved me, I think, was that my father was a reader. Every Saturday, he would go to a used book store to get books for himself, for my sister and for me. I read pirate stories, cowboy stories; I memorized poetry like The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert Service, and Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling. And from the age of six or seven I was shaken out of bed to recite for visitors in my squeaky voice, "You may talk of gin and beer when you're quartered safe out here and you're sent to penny fights and Aldershot it; but when it comes to slaughter, you will do your work on water, and you'll lick the bloomin' boots of  'im that's got it."

That grounding is what made the rest of my life possible.

But that's rare for the families of the poor. Rich kids can be morons. But rich daddies can afford expensive schools for them. Then, sometimes for a special gift to a university, daddy can get them into a  programme that they might or might not complete. But it doesn't matter because, in any case, they will become executives. (George Bush Jr. got a master's degree at a prestigious university. But there's no possibility he earned it. He was not only a drunk and a druggy throughout his programme. He was (and is) a person of severe literacy handicaps.

When you have a province in which there are severe learning problems, it is almost certainly not the fault of the school system. It is the fault of the social atmosphere of the province.

The cause is that New Brunswick is an intellectual wasteland. The thinking of most adults is, to put it kindly, severely conformist and unquestioning. And this low level of thinking and curiosity and thought is very much encouraged by the irving press. It's as though the people of this province have put their minds into a deep freeze.

Is it fear that does this? That's certainly a factor. This is a province in which, historically, people have been prisoners of their governments, afraid to offer serious challenge to them. And their governments have been branch offices to serve the very wealthy who dominate the province.

The people of New Brunswick have long been scared into not having any opinions of their own. It's the norm of provincial life.

If our schools produce results below the national standard, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of a society that is too scared to think.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Feb. 15: Where are we going? Where are you going?


From its earliest days,  the modern newspaper has been a propaganda sheet for its owners. Of course. Pioneer William Randolph Hearst used his newspapers to start a war that killed lots of innocent people - but made Mr. Hearst even more wealthy. Canadian and British newspapers of the late 1890s roused hatred against Dutch settlers in South Africa to kill innocent people on both sides - so that wealthy Brits could steal South African gold.

Today's New Brunswick papers have at least two of its commentary columns coming from what it is pleased to call think tanks. (Or from writers who also write for think tanks.)

One is David Campbell - who also writes for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. The other is by Jason Clemens, Milagros Palacios and Neils Velhuis who write for the Fraser Institute.

Such columns invariably attack governments for overspending. But they are never, never critical of big business. The wealthy are left to flutter softly over our heads like angels waving their wands. So the columns never point out, for example, that many of those angels don't pay taxes, and the amount lost to us every year is so far into the billions that it would easily balance our budgets. Nor do they ever point out that in addition to a free pass on paying taxes,  the very wealthy also get huge chunks of OUR taxes as gifts in the form forgivable loans, 'incentives', etc. (The irving press never mentions this, either.)

So who finances these 'think tanks'? According to the think tanks, they are financed by gifts from concerned citizens. And they insist they do that to keep themselves independent and honest. Yep. Yep. It's all those kiddies in school collecting pennies for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies; and it's widows and all us common folks.

Well, no -- actually it isn't.

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Atlantic_Institute_for_Market_Studies

The whole of the western world is covered with these propaganda outfits, many of them linked to so-called 'economics and business research' companies.

With this sort of misinformation ((lies) being peddled, the world is quite likely headed into a financial crisis. Indeed, for many millions in the U.S. and Canada, the crisis is here, and has been getting worse. But the 'think tanks' don't think about that.
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Here is the news story of the day. Police have recommended that Netanyahu, the leader of Israel, be charged with accepting bribes. Coming at a time when Israel has been drifting into wars with Iran and Syria, this is by far the story of the day.
But, as I write this on Feb. 14, I wonder whether this will make the news in the irving press on Feb. 15.

www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-set-to-publish-recommendations-in-netanyahu-corruption-probes-1.5812016

As well, Israel is losing credibility among American Jews, especially the younger ones. This has shown up strikingly in a survey conducted in California.
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And here's another story not likely to be featured in the irving press.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cra-panama-papers-raids-vancouver-toronto-calgary-1.4535565

The story is a little misleading since it refers only to illegal offshore accounts. But most of them are quite legal - and it would be interesting to know how some people got legal permission to avoid not millions but billions in taxes.
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As I write this, a day after the above, it's Feb. 15. And guess what?

The irving press"up-to-the-minute breaking news" doesn't have the story about the charges against Netanyahu, and it doesn't have the story about police raids on big time tax dodgers.

In fairness, it needed the space in "Canada and World" for a really big story about an Alberta town that dresses it's councillors in Star Trek uniforms. It also needed the space for another big story you need to know, "A rose by any other name is a lot more common than you think".
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Here's another story that you will never see in the irving press. It's all about the wealthy of Canada avoiding taxes. Of course, nobody at irving press reads The Guardian. It's words are too big.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/canada-corruption-snow-washing-investigation-private-companies.
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We, all of us, have played a part in inflicting horror on the middle east. And it's about to get much, much worse. (Somehow, the irving press has managed to ignore all of this.)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/15/war-protests-iraq-libya-syria-iran-peace-jeremy-corbyn
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Thanks to the National Rifle Association, Americans can - and do - kill each other at the rate of a thousand a month. (I shall never forget my visit to a gun shop in Arizona which offered me a submachine gun for fifty dollars, a water-cooled, heavy machine-gun for three hundred, and an anti-tank gun for 3,000.)

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/15/behind-many-thoughtsandprayers-gun-massacre-victims-millions-nra-cash

Be sure to read this one down through the list of comments to see who the NRA pays off so it can sell guns. Top of the list (though not listed here) is Donald Trump at over 20 million, then Senator McCain at over 7 million.
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One thing almost all of our news media have not noticed is that the western world is in decline. The obvious examples after 1945 were the collapse of such European imperial powers as Britain and France. Britain, in particular, has been forced to become an errand boy for the U.S.

The U.S., itself, and despite almost constant wars since 1945, has seen a steady decline in respect and, despite immense military spending, a steady decline in international standing. It's going to be a messy process. But it's happening as it happens to every empire.

This could be handled with respect, with consideration for all, with a revised idea of the shape of the world so all benefit and none suffer. But the very greedy will not allow that to happen.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48791.htm
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Despite Trump's confident words, the future is not about making America great again. America's "greatness" began to fade in 1950. In any case, maintaining "greatness" can no longer be a matter of military power, and can lead only to complete destruction.

But we have tied ourselves to an economic system that is supposedly based on "competition" as though competition is, by definition,  good. But competition is NOT good for everyone. Inevitably, what competition produces is losers, great masses of losers. And any society made up of losers will crash.

And, in any case, the big 'competitors' in our society never lose. They go on, generation after generation, while everybody else loses.

Yes, it is possible, I think, to produce a workable capitalism. But it can't be allowed to run wild. It has to be  controlled. That's why we need a democracy in which political parties stand for principles and for the general good. We don't have that. The big parties are bought. The smaller ones are too narrow in their set of principles.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48791.htm
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Here's an interesting example of how 'diplomacy' works. The U.S. is illegally in Syria. It has not declared war - and it would be illegal to do so since it has no right to declare war. But by staying there (and bombing there), it is encouraging a war that could go global , a war that nobody would win.

As a part of this 'diplomacy', watch out for the U.S. to ask Canada to send troops.  ( I can imagine nothing more foolish for Canada to do.)

Oh, and the U.S. is planning to send some 49,000 troops to Ukraine. But they may not be aimed at Russia. When the U.S. overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, it established a new one on more capitalist lines - one that has plundered the Ukrainian people - and many are not happy.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43093.htm
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Our news media endlessly carry stories about the idiocy of Donald Trump. It's true enough. But it has little to do with the real world. The sad thing is the lack of attention to the one politician in the U.S. who has intelligent things to say.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48798.htm
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Not long ago, in an interview with  his newspapers, Mr. Irving of Irving Oil pointed out the importance of continuing to sell Canadian oil to buyers outside Canada. That seems an odd statement seeing that exported oil pollutes just as much as other sorts - and worse if its from Alberta. Here's an explanation that the irving press didn't give us.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/naftas-mandatory-energy-exporting-rule-must-go
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It's nice to see North and South Korea getting to be friends again. But I'm not sure I have much confidence in the process.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/15/korean-olympic-diplomacy-moves-forward-despite-u-s-intransigence/

I'm not sure neither North Korea or the U.S. is ready for what it required. The U.S. and South Korea will insist that the north abandon its nuclear weapons. But that's not as easy as it might sound. The U.S. has made it clear for seventy years that it wants control of North Korea. And the only deterrence North Korea has is its nuclear weapons.

As well, a united Korea might very likely become allied to Russia and China. And that would be a devastating blow to U.S. capitalists who have wanted control of this entrance to China since 1945 least - and probably much earlier.
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Despite lots of talk and vague promises, Canada has still done very little to help its native population. The news item below is just a small reflection of it. There's been virtually nothing done about daily problems of living conditions, water, education.

It's not a simple issue, I know. You cannot destroy the social patterns of whole societies, then fix it all  up with band-aids. Nor do I have any easy answers. But Canadians, so far, haven't even thought about it.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43531-quebec-s-legacy-of-racism-continues-in-its-medical-airlift-policy-for-indigenous-children-in-the-far-north

Oh, and let's not blame all the racism on Quebec. Every part of this country has a strong history of racism - and a strong present day of it.
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We aren't getting anywhere. In more than seventy years of non-stop fighting, we are nowhere close to peace. And seventy years, just on our side, of killing over ten million people has not brought peace closer. And, far from dealing with massive problems of poverty and starvation we have actually hugely increased those problems in the last seventy years.

And all the things we are doing for whatever reason (call it patriotism if you're dumb enough to believe that) are taking us, all of us, closer to disaster. Want something else for a cheer-up? Saudi Arabia is looking at a nuclear arsenal. Of course. It's on the edge of decline - and it's military record in conventional war has not been impressive.

What should we do?

For a start, we should being seriously thinking and discussing what a political platform is. And this kiddie stuff we get in New Brunswick are not platforms, not any of them.

What the Liberal and Conservatives offer are simplistic and even childish promises. But programmes? No. The only programme in either of them is kissing up to the rich and letting them run out of control.

The NDP? No. Since it's founding on the bones of the old CCF, the NDP has settled for being honest - which is nice. But it's not a policy for the building of a society.

The Greens? No. Environment is not the whole problem. We need to establish some fundamental principles of the treatment of ALL the people of this province, and in more than environmental matters.

We need a party that stands for reasonable controls on the romp of the wealthy. We need a party that believes in real equality of opportunity for all people of this province. (Medicare was a giant step in that direction. But, hey, kids,  that was sixty years ago.) We need some pretty serious progress on equal opportunity in, say, education.) No. We don't have it now. We need to think about decent housing for everybody. How come most kids born into poverty will only get lousy jobs? How come rich kids, even the brainless ones, get to go to university even without finishing it, and get high-paying jobs?

Can we afford this? Of course we can. For a start, we can do it by making the very wealthy pay their taxes. (Maybe we could even make the wealthy pay for their own, damn wars instead of taking the costs out of us. And we could stop handing out charity to billionaire corporations.)

And let's stop justifying the killing of people by calling it patriotism.  (I suppose I should add that the Christians among us should act like Christians - but that would be pushing my luck.)


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Feb. 13: Being good is not normal - not for any major power.

Back to the reason for our great war from 1914 to today.

World War 1 was created by all the major, industrial powers involved. The demand to go to war came from their capitalists who feared the competition of capitalists on the other side. Of course, they couldn't say that was the reason. So they got the newspapers they owned to call people on the other side nasty names to make us hate them.

And that is what led to world war one that killed some 20 million people - just over half of them civilians.

The winners then imposed a heavy financial penalty on Germany, to keep its industries from offering serious competition to the British, French and American industrial bosses.

But that imposition is what brought Hitler to power. Early in his rise, he won the support of German capitalists (though this was not mentioned in  his speeches).
Indeed, when he was still seen largely as an anti-semite, he attracted a good deal of support from capitalists in Britain, the U.S. and Canada.

This is what led directly to the continuation of World War 1 that we call World War 2.  Again, the news media owned by capitalists on both sides boosted the war, once started, by calling the other side names - something that Hitler made easy for our side.

Yes, once again, Germans were portrayed as murderous racists - which they were. But our news media made no mention of the British, French and American history of mass murder all over the world, routine torture (as the U.S. did in the Philippines), slavery and massive abuse. Nor did they mention that Britain, the U.S. and Canada did not accept escaped Jews, but sent them back to die. I guess it makes it easier to hate clearly that way.

The capitalists on our side were also fighting each other.  U.S. capitalists wanted to steal imperial colonies from their British and French allies. (The news media never mentioned that, either.)   The Vietnam war was the American attempt to steal the former French colony of French Indo-China. The Korean war was the attempt of U.S. capitalists to get control of a base to conquer China. The U.S. failed. But it's still trying.

Things went better in  the middle east where U.S. capitalists were able to muscle in on the British ones - as in Saudi Arabia and Iran. The British capitalists could only pretend to smile and be happy as their economic empire collapsed and the U.S.capitalists moved in. The British capitalists have no choice now but to kiss up to the U.S. empire and help fight its wars (Afghanistan, Iraq...) to keep at least a bit of the action.

The only big change in this third period of the more than a century-old great war is that Russia and China are now both capitalist, too, and so are determined to get a piece of the imperial action. (Actually, though our news media loved to label them as communists, they never were communist. Our news media use words for the emotional sound of them,  but rarely know what they mean.)

We have been through over a hundred years of what can be called the wars between capitalists - though the capitalists usually let the rest of us pay for and fight these wars. (Very, very few big-time capitalists ever see military service.)

The bad news is that it isn't going well. The middle east is in chaos from years of mindless killing - mostly by us. That chaos now includes the middle east where British, Americans, Chinese, Russians face each other in lands in which all law and order have been destroyed for profits. And that means a nuclear war is possible.

The U.S, in particular, also seems to be determined that the Korean conflict will not be settled, but that we are in for more name calling and obstruction and propaganda news to justify a war that Russia and China could not possibly just watch.

Somebody should explain to the irving press that capitalism does NOT bring peace and prosperity, not when it's allowed to run loose. Like everything human, it has to be controlled. But we have allowed it to run wild for centuries. And, since 1914, our capitalist wars have killed well over 200 million people.  (Alas! Very few capitalists were among the dead.)

This orgy of greed could well kill billions in the not too distant future.  In the process, capitalism is also killing itself. It has been building a world in which the leading capitalists pay no taxes and yearly suck up a greater share of international wealth as the rest of us humans get poorer. (If the rich constantly get richer and the poor poorer, who is going to buy all their products?) Common sense should tell them that this system, along with wild spending of borrowed money on wildly corrupt weapons industries is bound to crash. And soon.

Meanwhile, it would help if our news media were to learn what words like capitalist, communist, socialist, liberal, conservative really mean. And they should learn to give us information, not just emotional buzzwords. They should also open their eyes to the horrors that capitalism has unleashed in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and even within countries like the U.S. - and Canada__________________________________________________________

Sorry, now. Readers outside New Brunswick can skip this next insert. But I can't skip how far the irving press of this province has sunk into the mire.

Big story on the front page? 44 years ago, a woman in this province was murdered. Nobody has ever been caught. Yes, we should feel sorry for the family. But why on earth is this a front page story? Oh, there's a reason.

The reason is that it fills space while telling us nothing useful. And that's the way the irving press likes it.

Then there's a full page story about how people like to eat chocolate. Who woulda guessed? And another gushy, gushy story about how an old desk in New Brunswick was returned to the descendants of an American hero of the War of 1812. The story doesn't mention who it was that American heroes were killing that year. (It was Canadians.)

Then, on  the comments page, is one by a writer who also contributes to Canadians for Affordable Energy. It's an attack on the greens for putting charges on polluters.

And what is 'Canadians for Affordable Energy'?

It's a propaganda think tank to write nice things about rich people. William Lau (who has, at best, a very ordinary training in the subject he writes about) also writes for "think tanks" (propaganda fronts) like Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and Fraser Institute.

The National Director of Canadians for Affordable Energy is John Williamson, a former MP from New Brunswick. He, too, has kissed up big time for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, Fraser Institute, Manning Institute for Democracy. Oh, and also director of another kiss up for big money - Canadian Taxpayers Federation. To cap it he was an editorial writer for the National Post, a newspaper far out on the propaganda, ultra-greedy right since it was founded by an owner who had to do prison time for his dishonesty.

We have to pay to read this propaganda crap.

Editors at the irving press know what they're doing. They know they're printing propaganda.

The Canada and World section has a total of six stories from, wow, all over Canada and the whole world - sort of. One of them is that a woman in Gatineau gave birth to twins in less that 23 seconds ---last April. New Brunswickers don't get a clue of what's going on in the world.

For Tuesday, page 1 has a big story about donating one's body to science. It's a long one, continued on page A 5. Okay. But it also appears as a separate and shorter story on A2. I've never seen such sloppiness in a newspaper before.

Then,  A7 has a commentary on the 'thugs' in Beijing. It seems they have brutally  imprisoned and perhaps tortured a Chinese who is a Swedish citizen. Yes, they did. And they're thugs. The writer isn't afraid to say that.

(The U.S. has murdered well over ten million people since 1945. It has tortured thousands, at least. It is starving people to death in Yemen. But the U.S. leaders are not thugs. No. They're nice people.)

This is what fake news is.

Then there's a commentary by Patrick Webber who attacks China and Russia for being totalitarian - unlike the U.S. which has far the largest prison population in the world. And exactly who is Patrick Webber?

Well, they don't say so, but he writes for The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. Funny the irving press didn't mention that.

Then Norbert Cunningham has a column "Tories much rediscover traditional philosophy"? It is based on a column by Andrew Coyne which said that conservatives originally believed in free trade, protested apartheid in South Africa, appointed the first woman to the cabinet, etc.

Like hell.

In fact, it was the Liberals who believed in Free Trade at confederation and for decades after. John A as Conservatives had nothing to do with it. And respect for women is part of Conservative ideology? So how come it took them almost a hundred years to appoint a woman to the Canadian cabinet? And how come it took them over fifty years even to give women the right to vote?

The Liberal and Conservative parties in Canada don't have any ideology except serving the rich.  ( Oh, and Brian Mulroney pushed free trade because he believed in freedom of all sorts? Donne-moi un break. He did it because his billionaire bosses told him to do it.)
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https://www.rt.com/news/418389-kim-moon-invitation-sister/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome
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Is there a drug company in this world that doesn't bribe hospitals and doctors?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/12/greek-pm-calls-for-inquiry-into-bribery-claims-against-two-predecessors
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Our news media told us little about the Haiti earthquake of 2010. Here's an account of horror that we got no sense of.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/feb/13/aid-worker-haiti-quake-debauchery-shocking

I really don't understand this story. I fear it must tell us something about human behaviour. Is this a typical human reaction to horror? And note the role played by some evangelical Christians.
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Here's a big story that the irving press hasn't noticed yet. It's a story that has profoundly divided Jews all over the world.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/palestinian-teenager-ahed-tamimis-trial-begins-behind-closed-doors
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Don't let this news item affect your judgement. As Mr. Irving told us in a recent interview, the important thing is to let him get on with the business of selling oil.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/13/game-changer-confirming-fears-satellites-show-fast-rising-seas
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The writers at irving press would admire Mr. Trump's efforts to balance the budget.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/12/morally-bankrupt-budget-after-15-trillion-gift-rich-trump-demands-17-trillion-safety

Somebody should tell deAdder, the irving press cartoonist, that there are two ways to balance a budget. One is to cut spending on on the general population - which is, seemingly,  the method de Adder prefers.

The other is to cut gift-giving to the very wealthy, and to make them pay their taxes.
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Oligarchy, rule by a tiny group of the very wealthy for their own benefit only, seems to be a natural human state. And it's invariably a destructive force.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48789.htm
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It's hard to find out what the Korean mess is about. Forget our news media. They live on lies and propaganda. You can also forget most google sites. They, too, are loaded with propaganda and lies. Wikkipedia told me that South Korea in 1950 was a democratic republic. But Wikkipedia is full of it.  In 1950, South Korea was a dictatorship  that had never, never in its history known  democracy. And it remained a dictatorship long after the Korean War.

Wikkipedia will also tell you that Chiang kai-shek was the legitimate ruler of China. Oh? Who decided that? He certainly was never elected - and much of China even in his time was controlled by Mao's communists.

And don't waste your time looking for good guys and bad guys, not on any side.

Korea used to be one country. It was conquered and ruled for 35 years by a Japan that was imitating the European powers and the U.S. by invading, killing, and plundering other countries.

In the closing months of World War 2, the U.S. 'liberated' the south while Russia led local communists in 'liberating' the north. The U.S. and the U.N. then drew a line separating the two Koreas. China, when it dumped Chiang, also supported North Korea.

Nobody brought democracy to anybody. The south became dominated by those who had collaborated with the Japanese during their rule. And they continued as a dictatorship. The North became dominated by a dictatorship that called itself communist like the Russians and Chinese but, also like Russia and China, it wasn't really communist. (State ownership is not the same thing as communism.)

The Russians and Chinese held on to influence in North Korea because it touched on their borders, and could be a natural launching point for an invasion of Russia and China.

The U.S. hold on to even greater influence in the south, and stationed troops there, for much the same reason. It wanted to invade China and, possibly, Russia.  The objective of Russia and China now and for many years has seemed to be to quiet the region down. And that seems now to be the objective of both Koreas.

The objective of the U.S. seems, still, to be the invasion of China.

Forget the good guys and bad guys. This isn't an old cowboy movie.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/13/fearing-peace-olympic-diplomacy-action/
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This is a l-o-n-g account of l-o-n-g and illegal wars fought by the U.S. in Latin America so American capitalists could plunder and abuse those countries.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cias-dirty-war-in-nicaragua/5629008
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Here's a story that has received no attention in the irving press, either in the sports pages or in real news.

https://www.motherjones.com/media/2018/02/california-is-the-fourth-state-in-a-month-to-propose-banning-youth-tackle-football/

Football, like boxing, is a dangerous sport for both children and adults because of the brain damage it causes. But our news media don't seem to care.
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Good news! The U.S. is now the world's second largest tax haven for the very, very wealthy. Somebody should tell the cartoonist, de Adder, at the irving press.
That might help to explain why New Brunswick governments can't balance taxes - not without closing the schools and privatizing health care.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyvQK-_U13U&feature=youtu.be
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See? Russians are nice. They're just like us.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2018/02/russia-pre-election-media-manipulations-180203065551669.html
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Africa is poor because we've made it poor. There's lots and lots of wealth in Africa. But it all goes into the pockets of foreign capitalists. Think of that next time you see a movie about the glories of empire.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/05/africa-poor-stealing-wealth-170524063731884.html
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Another aspect of the war we have helped to create.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/taiz-leprosy-colony-offers-yemeni-outcasts-home-180205150554348.html
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You would think that a big story about a foreign chief of state being charged by his own police with bribery would be a story for every newspaper in the world. But, no, not in  the irving press.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-set-to-publish-recommendations-in-netanyahu-corruption-probes-1.5812016
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I notice a lot of the talking this time was by me. Sorry about that.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Feb. 10: A bad day for humans

On Feb.9, the world was (and still is) in the greatest crisis in history. The U.S. is (illegally) behaving in such a dangerous way in Syria that the whole world is in danger of a global war. Not only has Russia been alarmed at American behaviour in reheating the Syrian  war, the president of France (a NATO member and U.S. ally) has actually asked Putin to take a stand against the U.S. So has another NATO member, Turkey.

And Trump is talking of dropping the "mother of all bombs" on North Korea, one that would kill everybody in that country.

And we are still starving children to death in Yemen.

And this day, the irving press has (count them) FIVE stories on Canada and the whole world. There's a big story about a dog in British Columbia that knows how to use a snowblower. And another big one about a raffle in Saskatoon that might be illegal.

Then there's another big story about a dog in Toronto whose ears were cut off. But it's getting better. And a never to be forgotten story about a man in BC who got a ticket for driving with a mannequin in the passenger seat. And another big one that scientists are working to save the California giant redwood trees from extinction due to climate change. (You know - all that silly stuff that the irving press routinely tells us isn't happening.) Anyway, it seems they are nowhere close to solving the problem.

The only story of any importance -maybe - is that a member of the Trump staff will resign about accusations he abused his ex-wives.

That's it. That's all you are to be allowed to know about Canada and The whole World that is in chaos.

This is mindless crap that deserves to be titled "The Daily Insult to New Brunswick Intelligence". And it's deliberately designed to keep people dumbed down so they can more easily be ripped off.
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The following was sent to me by a reader.

https://www.rt.com/usa/418357-rubio-calls-military-coup-venezuela/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

As I read this I knew I had to talk about it because we are on the edge of disaster. I know I had promised to talk this time about our current wars around us as being the same war that began in 1914. But this - and some more recent news I'll talk about later - is so disturbing, I felt I had to talk about it now.

Ever hear of American exceptionalism? It's a belief that Americans are unique in having the right to do whatever they like to any other people in the world. Unlike others, they don't have to obey international law or any moral principles whatever. That's why the U.S. feels free to invade and murder nations with no regard whatever for whether this is legal, to impose trade sanctions on them and impoverish them. It doesn't even bother to declare war. It's invaded over 70 countries since 1945. In no case did it declare war. In no case did it have a legal reason for going to war.  (No, not even in Afghanistan. There was and is no evidence that Afghanistan had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. Additionally, it freely sends assassination squads all over the world, and  has killed thousands with drones and even more with starvation.

Exceptionalism even applies God's blessing to what the U.S. does. In a sort of American version of the Judaic belief that Jews are the chosen of God, Exceptionalism touts the idea that Americans are the chosen of God. And older version of this was manifest destiny.

None of this fantasy and arrogance is new. It was a feature of the European empires for centuries. The British used it to justify their brutality, slavery, murder of millions and exploitation of lands and people. (In a very American nationalist sort of song which is actually British, are the words,  "...God who made thee mighty make thee mightier yet..."   Personally, I suspect God has better taste than that.)

I got to know the type in the days of the British raj in Hong Kong. A family relative of mine was an arrogant Englishman, and secretary to the British governor of Hong Kong. Like all the Brits throughout the empire, he had a racist contempt for the people of Hong Kong - and daily treated them to it.

God's blessing on America runs throughout American history. It is the chosen land and it's people, by definition, superior to all others. And, like the British model, one that breeds an American fascism and arrogance toward foreigners. Thus Trumps attacks on immigrants.

Under international law, the U.S. had no right to invade Vietnam or Afghanistan, or Iraq or Syria, or Guatemala, to help with an invasion of Cuba, to call for a military coup in Venezuela, to overthrow governments in Iran and to impose killing trade sanctions on North Korea, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela....  These, like drone bombing and starving Yemen children, are acts of war. But under international law, one can declare war only if clearly threatened. And the last people who threatened America were the Pilgrim Fathers of long ago who began the slaughter of the real Americans.

Syria does not threaten the U.S. It has not asked the U.S. to come to it. The killings the U.S. have done there are war crimes. So was all the American training and equipping of jihadist fighters pretending them to be Syrian 'rebels'. One may of may not like Assad. But that has nothing to do with it.

Now, the whole Middle East is a chaos close to the final explosion. Russia is there, legally, because it was invited to be there. Today, American aircraft - who have NO right to be there - bombed Russian troops,  killing a hundred. Luckily, Putin appears to have the brain that Trump never got. But we are still inches from a U.S./Russia war in Syria. And the U.S. has repeatedly shown from 1945 on that despite its massive military spending, it does really, really badly in conventional war. Any confrontation in Syria now would be almost certain to go nuclear. And that wouldn't stop until the end for all of us.

I couldn't write on my promised theme for the day because this one scares the hell out of me.

And please don't waste your time writing to tell me Saddam is evil. He's nowhere close to as evil as the oil barons and other pampered capitalists who rule us.
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http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43471-the-growing-danger-of-ecosystem-collapse-and-trump-s-war-on-nature
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Large corporations have a long, long history of murder and general abuse which is rarely reported. And many are far, far worse than the one below.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/feb/07/landmark-case-against-british-mining-firm-sierra-leone-tonkolili-iron-ore-ltd-police-brutality
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The Middle East is spinning out of control. We did that. For over a century we have been overturning societies, abusing the people of those regions. It was our  'generosity' that planted Israel in such a dangerous region for it. It was our interference that created the murderous Saudi Arabia of today. It was our western corporations that created the local hatreds of us.

It is spinning out of control - and with the Russians, China and the U.S. in the middle of it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/10/israeli-fighter-jet-shot-down-by-syrian-fire-says-military
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Venezuela is a horror. (The irving press has never even mentioned what is happening there.) Sadly, The Guardian is not a whole lot better. It must know, but doesn't mention that, the horror was created largely by American capitalists and American governments to destroy Venezuela. The Venezuelans had committed two sins. They had acted as if the country's vast oil deposits bclonged to them. And they were socialists - both sins in American eyes.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/08/venezuela-migrants-colombia-brazil-borders
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I had a Scottish grandfather who was born into wretched poverty in the highlands of Scotland. But he could go to school because it was free. (Scotland was the inventor of the modern, public school. an invention that made it a nation of great writers, thinkers, scientists. The public school of North America owes everything to the model of Scotland, and it has been the creator of opportunity for billions all over the world. Originally developed to open the children to an undetstanding of their Presbyterian faith, the public school, open to all, was and is the greatest creator of opportunity, human progress, and equality in history.)

That's why capitalism has been working so hard to destroy it with private schools. American leaders are now trying to destroy it by introducing private 'Charter' schools which only the well off can afford.   (And which are no better than the public ones.)

Now, Puerto Rico, always desperately poor and even more so after its hurricane and its neglect, is going to be treated to private schools which almost all of its people can't afford. (Following the American model, these 'charter' schools will also get tax payer's money - but with no responsibility to the tax payers.)

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/08/puerto-rico-braces-wave-school-privatization

(For all patriots of English descent, I know that the English created public schools earlier. But these were soon privatized so that only rich kids could attend them - though they were and are still called Public Schools.)
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This item explain why I have often said that the very wealthy do not seem to be very bright.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/views-expressed/2018/02/qui-bono-follow-money
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A glimpse of the future?

http://theantimedia.org/israel-launches-large-scale-attack-syria/

The one weakness of this article is that it quotes a report from the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. That group, in fact, is a propaganda agency based in Britain which favours the American-sponsored groups like ISIS that oppose the Syrian government.
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How the commercial news media work - and for whom.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/09/newsmedia-u-s-allied-countries-never-report/
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The U.S. has NO right under law to be in Syria at all. And it certainly has no right to be killing anybody. The UN was intended to take action against this sort of thing. But,of course, it's done nothing - as it has done nothing for the 70 or more countries where the U.S. has invaded and murdered millions over the last 70 years or so. This isn't only illegal. It's one hell of a dangerous situation for the whole world.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48770.htm
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Here is a history of the violence in Venezuela. It 's far the best one I've seen. - even better than the one the irving press will offer if it ever does notice it - which I doubt.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/the-big-picture/2018/02/battle-venezuela-180207041856271.html
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And here's another story, one of thousands I haven't seen in the irving press.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/mexico-dangerous-country-earth-180201103039551.html
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I like Haaretz. It's the gutsiest and most intelligent paper I know.

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/unfit-to-be-prime-minister-1.5805942
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Jews have a very long tradition of social activism and principled involvement. It's quite unmatched in the Christian world. That's why, when a Palestinian girl slapped an Israeli soldier for shooting her young cousin in the face and now is likely to be  jailed for years, many American and Israeli Jews supported her.

Here, in New Brunswick where the Jewish community is small and invisible, I miss that tradition.

www.haaretz.com/opinion/american-jews-ahed-tamimi-is-your-issue-too-1.5630079
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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Feb. 8: Day of Rage

The U.S. took its time about getting into both world wars. Of course. Nations don't go to war unless there's something in it for the economic leaders of those nations. The U.S. didn't declare war until 1917 in World War 1. Obviously, it felt no great concern for Britain and France. Similarly, it waited until the end of 1942 to declare war in world war 2. Why the delay?

The U.S. didn't care much about what Hitler did in Europe. (Indeed, major American companies like Ford were) selling war equipment to Hitler right up to the American declaration of war - and even after.) No. What brought the U.S. into the war wasn't Germany at all. It was Japan.

And no, it wasn't because Japan bombed Pearl Harbour. It was because Japan had earlier invaded China. China was then dominated by Britain and other European nations. And, oh, how U.S. capitalists envied them. They had wanted control of the China market for many, many years. That's why they supported a thuggish, opium boss named Chiang Kai-Shek to stop the Japanese.  But he couldn't.

So the U.S. cut off Japan's oil supply. (By the end of the war, Japan's supply was so low, it's greatest battleship, Yamato, was sent into battle with just enough fuel for a one-way trip.)

Cutting of the oil supply was why Japan bombed Pearl Harbour. The U.S. had NOT expected that. But it delivered what American capitalists had wanted when they cut the oil supply - war with Japan.

Late in the the war, as the British returned to China to take its key commercial centre, Hong Kong, Roosevelt told the British NOT to liberate Hong Kong. Their puppet, Chiang Kai-shek would do that. But the British ignored him to take the surrender of the Japanese at Hong Kong.

However, U.S. big business never lost its desire to control the China trade. That was the real purpose of the first Korean War. It's the reason why the U.S. has ever since kept troops in South Korea, and has deliberately, for almost sixty years, held North Korea down in poverty.

From 1945 to today U.S. capitalism became obsessed with controlling the China trade. It's empire, which had begun with native peoples, then of a try at Canada in 1812, then it's theft of what is now Texas, California, Arizona and other goodies from Mexico, it's conquest (and plunder) of most of Latin America had been accomplished. But World War Two (which was really a continuation of World War 1) opened doors for the U.S. to control of China and India. What opened those doors was the crash of the European empires; and U.S. capitalists wanted to take over from them. In the same period, it took advantage of the European collapse to muscle in on British holdings in Africa, notably in the middle east oil states.

Britain now could only tag along to save some scraps, to become the puppy running at its master's heels. The greatest examples of that were the overthrow of the elected government of Iran, and the shift of Saudi Arabian rulers from the British to the U.S. (The U.S. and Britain also replaced the democratically elected government of Iran with a brutal - and obedient - dictator, the Shah. That is why Iran later overthrew the shah, and became dominated by Islamic religious leaders.)

These were all results of World War Two which was a result of World War One. And so World War One was really the beginning of a whole century of war, the century that was going to bring peace and democracy and freedom to the world. Instead, it has brought us the deaths of tens of millions, the enforced poverty of regions like Latin America and Congo under the control of the American empire.
And the possibility of absolute destruction of the planet.


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The following two sites are obviously left wing. So don't expect them to be as intelligent and insightful as, say, the irving press or Fox News.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/02/trump-russia-nunes-constitutional-crisis

It's an interesting argument. And quite true. Most discussion about Trump is about his personal image, about personal dislike of what he is. Where is the discussion about what needs to be done in the U.S.? Instead of serious debate, we're getting neighbourhood gossip about Trump as a personality.

What is it the U.S. should be doing  about poverty, war, military spending, equality of opportunity, racial discrimination.....? Neither of the parties has any coherent policy on any of these. Both exist only to serve the wealthy.

And they get away with it because the American people don't get any critical news about those topics. (Ditto here in New Brunswick with the irving press. (As I write this the irving press has just for stories about world news. One is about a lotto winner in the U.S. who is remaining nameless. Another is about how New Brunswick won't be hurt by the stock market. And the other two simply aren't worth reading at all.)

The reality is that we are living in a world of the power and money mad whose behaviour is worse that foolish. And this is true of this whole century of war.

No. It's not Trump. In fact, apart from his infantile behaviour, his policies are very much like those of Bush and Obama.

Next blog, I'll try to sum up what all this means to us.
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Warning. The following is not a news item. It is an opinion - and it is very long and complex. Essentially, it argues that the very idea of American values is an old and outdated one. The U.S. is a mixture of peoples who are, increasingly, held together only by demagogic leaders.

https://jacobitemag.com/2017/11/03/americas-demographic-deliberalization/
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I  don't believe the irving press has noticed this story yet.  But it's much more important than it may seem. It also needs a writer who can explain its implications  - and the irving press doesn't have any of those.

This is about how the U.S. has drifted under the control of demagogues and a murderous worship of the military.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/07/trump-military-parade-would-be-despot-strongman-tactics
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This next is the same story. But it's one that deserves repeating to catch all its meanings. The U.S. is, without admitting it, the centre of an empire - just as was Britain and France and Spain and Rome... Like them it plunders the resources of its colonies: it murders on a grand scale; it enslaves and debases its victims; and it exists not to serve its own people but to enrich its already wealthy. That's a reality. And it's killers it calls heroes and gives medals to them - even the ones who sit in cubicles in the U.S. and direct drones to murder civilians thousands of miles away.

And the Americans, like the citizens of Rome before them, will turn out en masse to praise the killers who do nothing for them, but everything for the masters of all of them. Ruthless power and exploitation become the religions of the state. And parades it's only form of worship.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/08/outing-us-empire-trumps-military-parade/

The people of Puerto Rico have never received anything close to help for the terrible damage of a hurricane to them. There's no money for that. But there's lots for a  glorious, giant parade of America the Great.

This is ancient Rome all over again, the land of the aristocracy and the mob.

And what do you think those troops will do as climate change makes parts of the U.S. uninhabitable - and parts of Canada more habitable?

Oh, in Puerto Rico, the U.S. government is encouraging the privatization of education. I'm sure the people of that impoverished colony will be grateful for that wonderful opportunity.
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The U.S. would never start a war? Get real. It has probably started more wars than any other country in history. It has done nothing BUT start wars since 1776.
Back in 1912, the Canadian government held a cutsie 'celebration' of the U.S. invasion of Canada in 1812. There was nothing cutesie about it. A great many Canadians and British died in that war.  And think hard. What was Canada's threat to the U.S.?

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/08/fear-driving-us-nuclear-strategy/
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Read this and think 'New Brunswick forests, New Brunswick wild life, New Brunswick humans'.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/02/tearing-facade-legitimacy-industrial-agriculture-agrochemical-industry/
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I can't quite bring myself to being an admirer of Russia's Putin. But he has shown a far greater restraint and intelligence than any U.S. president has. Even China has done that. And neither of them has planted nuclear weapons or troops on the U.S. border.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/08/demonization-president-vladimir-putin-must-stop/
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I guess the irving press editors don't have time to read Israeli news.

http://theantimedia.org/netanyahu-corruption-charges/

Of course, it needed the space for today's really big, world story for New Brunswickers. Montreal's biodome is getting renovations.
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And this one is a stunning blow to American presence and power at the international level.

http://theantimedia.org/japan-recognize-palestinian-state-jerusalem-capital/
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The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency takes the side of the oil industry by saying climate change is good for us. Virtually all the climate scientists in the world, the ones with advanced training in the field, say the opposite. But the head of the EPA says not to worry. And he has the support of oil CEO's, none of whom have any scientific training to speak of - or any training of any sort besides running a business - and often not even that much.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/07/earth-might-be-warming-pruitt-finally-admits-would-be-arrogant-humanity-act-stop-it

In the last few days, the irving press has had a blossoming of columns and editorials written by the feeble minded. (One refers to climate change as just a 'perceived' threat. Yeah. We imagined those storms. An editorial says the government spends too much and should cut back. It does not examine the possibility - certainty - that the wealthy cheat on taxes and also demand government handouts for themselves. To wade through the columnists from Postmedia, propaganda houses like the Frontier Institute or the The Fraser or the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies is a feast of lies, sell-outs and, perhaps in some cases, gibbering idiots.)
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Here's another and much more detailed look at Putin.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/06/understanding-russia-un-demonizing-putin/

Of course, most of our commercial media have never noticed this. That's why we can call them fake news.
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In South America, the U.S. has, for over a century, been a butcher of humans, a  creator of dictatorships, and an impoverisher of the people. What was Cuba's sin? It overthrew a murderous dictator. That's why Cuba suffers under American trade sanctions to this day. American (and Canadian) companies plunder the resources of South America while offering starvation wages. And none of this is any exaggeration.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48744.htm
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The U.S. lied about it's reason for invading Iraq, and killing one and a half million people - mostly civilians. The British Prime Minister lied, too. Yes, Saddam Hussein was a brutal person. But that's not a good excuse for the U.S. to murder a million and a half people who were not brutal.

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/06/lie-after-lie-what-colin-powell-knew-about-iraq-fifteen-years-ago-and-what-he-told-the-un/

The hanging of Hussein was a political act to hush up a man who had been a U.S. puppet in earlier years. It was also a war crime which should have led to the arrests, trials and executions of George Bush Jr. and Tony Blair.
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I guess the irving press didn't have room for this story from Syria.

https://thesaker.is/syrian-war-report-february-8-2018-us-led-coalition-struck-syrian-army-in-deir-ezzor/

What business does the U.S. have even being in Syria? None whatever. Syria has not attacked the U.S. On the contrary, it is the U.S. that has subsidized, equipped and trained those 'rebels' who were killing Syrians. Just being in Syria illegally, the U.S. is risking a war with Russia which DOES have a right to be there.
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And here's the story you aren't likely ever to see in the irving press.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/netanyahu-s-right-hand-man-israeli-police-trying-to-stage-coup-1.5805010
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You might detect a note of frustration in my blog today. We are actually planning nuclear wars - quite a few or them. Indeed, the U.S. is actually working on a bomb which, all by itself, would obliterate all life in North Korea. The U.S. director of environmental protection is from the oil industry. His deputy is a coal lobbyist. All the expertise in the world says we are facing a climate crash. And instead of listening to that, we are catering to the greed of industry leaders who understand nothing whatever of the science involved in this.

For a long time, I have thought all of these to be manifestations of greed and stupidity. But they're worse. They're insanity.






Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The War to End All Wars

That's the one in which the great, western powers turned on each other in 1914. But it didn't end all wars. We are still fighting that same war today in the greatest mass killing in world history.

The news media told us, when the war started, that it was all the fault of the Germans, that they were ruthless killers, huns, bosche...and they started it. Well,
to call the Germans ruthless killers was quite a stretch for countries like Britain, France, the U.S. which, for centuries, had been killing and plundering all over the world.

In fact, it wasn't just the Germans who started World War One. No. Everybody started it.

In the 1870s, Prussia created the German nation by uniting all its parts. And that was greeted with general alarm. A united Germany would be a powerful business competitor for other western powers. And that competition could not be tolerated. Indeed, the necessity to crush German competition before it could be a real force drove Britain for many years to consider getting rid of Canada. That country could well attract an American invasion - and Britain would have to tie up troops defending Canada when it might need all it could get to deal with German economic competition. Indeed, Britain changed its mind only late in the 1890s when it feared it would need the help of the whole empire to fight Germany. That's when it tried to set a precedent by asking Canada to send troops to the British war against the Boers in South Africa.  Legally, Canada did not have to send troops to a war that had nothing to do with it. But Canadian capitalists, heavily dependent on the British market, insisted on sending troops as an assurance they could continue to profit from Britain.

Germany did not start World War 1. Everybody started it at the same time. And it's a war that started because major capitalists on all sides wanted it to start.

The war ended with the Peace Treaty of Versailles. But that treaty was in itself a continuation of the war. Western politicians and capitalists insisted on imposing a punishing debt on Germany for 'starting' the war. And that led directly to World War 2 - which was really the second act of World War One.

At a stroke, Germany was made poor and saddled with a huge debt. And that created anger - and a hunt for those who had caused Germany to lose. And all of this anger was picked up by a young man who had a gift for playing that anger like a violin. Adolf Hitler poured blame on the Jews for Germany's defeat - rather like Donald Trump fuels American hatreds and racism by blaming Muslims.

In 1933, Hitler led his party, the National Socialist Party, to power. (Despite its name, there was nothing socialist about the party. In fact, it had close ties from the start with German big business.) With that, the world was back to 1914. But war did not happen right away.

It didn't happen because the world had changed. Russia had rebelled to form a communist state in 1917. Actually, it was never communist. But it was a country in which everything was state owned, and was a dictatorship. And that made Hitler an attractive fellow to many western capitalists. He would be their barrier against the spread of communist ideas. The most public of Hitler's admirers in the world of western business was Henry Ford. But that feeling was general.

Did they know what was  happening to Jews in Germany. Of course. It was no secret. But most western capitalists - and Christian populations - were profoundly anti-semitic. They couldn't care less what happened to Jews. And Hitler was useful to them.

That ended in  the late 1930s as it became apparent that Hitler was preparing for a war that would make industrial Germany into a powerful force again - to the detriment of western big business.

So it was that Germans became evil again and, once they invaded the Soviet Union, the Russians became 'good guys' again - until 1945 when they were  (more correctly) defined as evil.

Next, we'll see how World War Two blended into the Korean War, the Chinese revolution and all our recent wars, and why a Canada that had once fought British wars now fights American wars. But that will be in the next blog.
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One of the Fords (a brother to a former Toronto mayor) is running for leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. Why are they called PROGRESSIVE Conservatives? (I have known several Conservatives who loved to emphasize they were Progressive.) Actually, the term has nothing to do with being progressive. In the 1930s, the Conservatives were desperate to find a national leader. Their choice was an Albertan who belonged to a party called the Progressive Party - but which wasn't progressive in any sense. And he insisted the Conservatives change their name to Progressive Conservative. In other words, the word progressive in Progressive  Conservative doesn't mean a damn thing.
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The U.S. is indignant at China's creation of islands off China shores in the South China Sea - and it's militarization of them. Apparently, the U.S. hasn't noticed that it annexed islands well off its shore and in the middle of the Pacific. And it militarized them. That's Hawaii.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/06/photos-beijings-militarisation-south-china-sea-philippines
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Russia and Syria are bombing civilian targets. They have killed at least three children. It's wrong, of course. But that's what everybody does in modern war. How come most of our news media never mention the deliberate bombing of civilians by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Britain and Israel?

What Russia and Syria are doing is wrong. It doesn't become right when we do it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/05/russian-and-regime-jets-bomb-civilian-areas-in-north-west-syria-idlib
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The drought in South Africa's Capetown is almost certainly a product of climate change. And similar droughts are appearing over much of the world. But not to worry. In Saturday's paper, Mr. Irving assured us that the really important thing is to keep selling oil. I mean, if we don't make more money, what is life all about?

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2018/feb/03/day-zero-how-cape-town-running-out-water
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Here is the fascinating story of the discovery of an ancient and very large city in Guatemala. The Maya descendants of that region were the ones Guatemala and the U.S. massacred in the 1970s - the story that never got told in our news media.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/03/scientists-discover-ancient-mayan-city-hidden-under-guatemalan-jungle
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Remember that Academy Award winning, heart-wrenching film about those brave "white helmets" in Syria? That film was actually propaganda.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48737.htm
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The American (but not just American) stock  market plunge has just today made the news in the irving press - if only on the Business page, and only as the least important of the three stories of the day.  (The big story is that a local restaurant is expanding.)

http://theantimedia.org/trump-historic-stock-market-plunge/
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Here's a story that I don't think has ever made the irving press.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/04/teenager-ahed-tamimi-face-years-israeli-prison/

Oh, as a footnote, large numbers of young, American Jews have sent cards and flowers of sympathy to Ahed Tamimi. And that reflects a growing shift in Jewish thinking.
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And here's a news story that's been around for almost twenty years. But you won't find it in most North American news media.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/trumps-hypocritical-concern-on-heroin-addiction-sustained-by-us-led-war-on-afghanistan/5628138
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This one is long, very long. But it has answers to important questions.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/why-america-needs-war/5328631
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Ths U.S. has long been noted for having the world's largest prison population, and for having some of the worst prison conditions in the world. Many of them are now simply very cheap work-houses to pile up profits for corporations.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/06/citing-poor-care-mental-health-us-prisons-uk-court-refuses-extradition-request
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Mr. Irving was right. Oil and gas are good for  you. Yes, they are. I mean, how can you believe  thousands of crazy scientists over Mr. Irving?

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/02/05/news/canadas-man-washington-chides-anti-pipeline-activists-telling-falsehoods
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Apparently, Trump has patted Trudeau's bum, and given him a mission. And, once again, we are lining up to fight an American war.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hmcs-chicoutimi-submarine-canada-pacific-north-korea-1.4511238

I'm so proud. This will help to bring peace to the world, and save our American allies from an overwhelming attack by North Korean hordes.
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And today's good news.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/wong-sentence-hong-kong-1.4521925

As I read this, I had a powerful and warm remembrance of young people I had taught in Hong Kong.
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Now, think hard. How does threatening nuclear war, encouraging financial greed, killing people by the millions, and being in a state of constant war and hatreds relate to Christianity?

Or any other religion?