Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jan. 17: re Trump - a promise

I shall try to avoid mentioning Donald Trump as much as I can.

It's going to be tough. The news media all over the world are obsessed with him. But the reality is that Donald Trump is not the issue.

Yes, he's an egoist. Yes, he makes big promises, then changes his mind. Yes, what he stands for is vague. Yes, much of what he says will not work. And, yes, he has a funny wig. But he doesn't matter.

Donald Trump doesn't matter. The problems of the U.S. are profound. There is high unemployment - and taxing cars from Mexico will not make much of a dent in that. There is a high rate of poverty. We are in great danger of a nuclear war. The U.S. government is owned and controlled by a handful of billionaires. Military spending is highly corrupt. Police are killing citizens at the highest rate of any country in the world. The prison system is the biggest in the world, is ineffective, and privatization has made it far, far worse. The country is dangerously divided by 'race' and religion. Public education is a disaster scene. University education is out of reach economically for most. The U.S. is the most aggressive and murderous nation in the world. Health care, even with an overpriced Obamacare system, is still out of reach of millions. Trump has no policies to deal with most of this - just one-liners.

Nor did Clinton give any sign of policies to deal with these problems. In fact, she was a leading member in government who played a major role in bringing the U.S. so low. With Clinton or with Trump, the U.S. is a social and political disaster area.

The head of the U.S. spy service (and secret war organizer), the CIA, has recently publicly criticized Trump for not having an understanding of the "Russian threat". Well, for openers, there's something seriously wrong when a when a public employee of the government can get away with publicly criticizing the president. If he gets away with that, the U.S. system of government begins (or, rather, continues) to collapse.

(Not to worry, though. If the head of the CIA gets fired for this, I'm sure he'll be looked after by the billionaires who put him up to it.)

And it gets worse. Parayzed by a lack of any serious political thought or awareness, the American people are unaware of any alternative to the whirlpool of corruption and of rule by oligarchy that they live in   - and further handicapped by an excessive and wildly exaggerated sense of patriotism - they have almost no sense of what the options are.

We are watching the collapse of the political and social system of the  United States - and we have been watching it for many years under every government since the 1970s, at least. For all his ego and bluster, Trump is just one more of a long series of disasters.

Will it lead to violence? It already has for some time with high levels of violence in the U.S., and very high ones indeed in places like Vietnam, AFghanistan, Iraq... And, at present, it is impossible to see that getting anything but worse.
In a bizarre story, Obama is moving troops  (perhaps four thousand) to Ukraine to contain Russian aggression.

What Russian aggression? Against whom?

Ukraine had a legally elected government. It was overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup. Russia got involved because the new Ukraine cut Russia off from its only major naval base. And because that part of Ukraine had a largely Russian population that did not support the coup. Otherwise, Russia has not threatened or intervened in Ukraine at all.

The Russian government is not made up of angels. But it's not the Russian government that has been building nuclear bases around Russia and China. And the Russian government is not patrolling American coasts as the U.S. is doing to  Russia and China. And when it comes to aggression, the world champ for over seventy years has been the U.S.

And the U.S. is going to "deter" Russia from aggression by sending in four thousand troops?

That would not deter anything. Hitler invaded Russia with the biggest invasion force in history  - some three million troops -   and got creamed. By the end, they had lost five million, just counting those Germans who were made prisoners. No. I don't think a few thousand troops would be a deterrent. And Obama must know that.

As well, the U.S. public would never accept the massive casualties of a conventional war with Russia. No. Those troops are not a deterrent. They're an irritant. Like the Canadian troops in the region, they are lambs for the slaughter.
Any such war would have to be nuclear.

In this case, certainly, Trump is showing more intelligence than Obama - or the chief of the CIA.
This one is about Canada.


These are the kind of people who now run the U.S. They are the oligarchy that rule - and that own almost all the news media. It's time for Canadians, too, to do some thinking about who really governs this country.
A reader sent me the following item.  It's a very moderate statement to the effect that capitalism as it is now practiced is leading us  into a world crisis.

This next one, from the same reader, takes a broad look at the Davos Economic Forum - planning for the economic future. The members who speak in this are often highly biased, and some are not people who I would think of as authorities. But what is interesting is their views of the economic directions are are (or might be) going in.

And the next two are from the same reader. (My, some people make life easy for me.)

Canada is not the only country in which a couple of people have most of the wealth. It's a pattern we're seeing all over the world. Nor should it be a surprise. This is a natural product of the greed that capitalism is based on. And, in this, we are living through one of the great changes of history - and one with terrifying consequences if we don't get control of it.


(While there is no doubt The Guardian is weakening. It still has some of the best opinion columnists in commercial journalism.)
This next item is true about Obama - but too kind. To an important degree, the rise of Trump was a reaction to sixteen years of Bush - and Obama.


But don't worry.  Our oil billionaires say that none of this is happening. And, I mean, they would know.
I don't usually agree with articles by Marxists because they see marxism as a political system - and that's not quite what it's about. Nor has there ever been a marxist country - no, not even Russia or China. But this writer's focus is on the failures of Obama - and I think those are far, far too often ignored.

More on those U.S. troops being sent up to the Russian border. The story is that they are there to deter Russian aggression in Crimea. In fact - and as this article says - there has been no Russian aggression in Crimea.  All this began with blatant American interference in Ukraine.

Some thousands of U.S. troops are not going to deter anything. What they can do is act as a provocation that would trigger a nuclear war. And that's why they're there - along with Canadians.

Heroes serving their countries.  Right.

When it comes to brutality, exploitation and destruction, Canadian companies, especially mining companies, take a back seat to nobody. Funny how it never makes Canadian news media.

We hear a lot of talk about which Candian universities are the best as teachinig institutions. In fact, there is no best. Most university professors have no training whatever in teaching - and it shows in the courses and programmes they design. Now, the business world is moving in to make it worse. They want universities to be run as if they were commercial corporations.

And now, a kind word for Donald Trump. And a big reason why the warhawks hate him.

The U.S. official figure for deaths in Yemen is 10,000. Considering the thousands of American bombs dropped on that country, the blockade of all food and medicine, the starvation that existed before the war began, I'm quite sure that figure is a lie. - like the lies we get for the numbers killed by drones.

Israeli government leader, Netanyahu is in serious trouble - though most of our news media haven't bothered to mention it.

And a side of Jewish life in Israel we don't normally see.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jan. 15:: facing reality.

Sorry for missing  yesterday. I've been up to my ears in packing for a move.
I'm also puzzled about comments. I haven't had any for almost a month. I think my computer has problems - but doesn't talk much about them.
First, a quick summary of what's happening in the world.

Despite what our news media tell us, the U.S. wants a war. That's true of both the Democrats and the Republicans. They want a big war to c onquer the world. There's nothing surprising about that.

The U.S. is a true child of Britain. From the start, it saw the rest of the world as a place to exploited for big business, and it's people as inferior. So, just as Britain had invaded and enslaved India, China and others, American big business invaded and enslaved South America, The Phillipines, the Carribean Islands,
The first half of the twentieth century was devoted to knocking out Britain as a imperial competitor. That's why Truman told the British NOT to 'liberate' Hong Kong in 1945. That's why the Marshall Plan, which was created after the war to help Europe rebuild, did not include Britain. That's why the U.S. was so eager to take on the Vietnamese when the French gave up on their old colony of French Indo-China.

Imperialism has been the dominant theme of U.S. history from its  earliest days. That's why, since 1776, the U.S. has been the world's most warlike country. (Most counts put American wars since 1776 at about 200. But many, many  of the American wars did not officially happen. Wars in South America, for example, were often fought by hired thugs. As well, the U.S. commonly goes to war without bothering to declare war. The drone bombing in Africa, Pakistan, and other places is not war in the eyes of U.S. politicians. Nor is Yemen. And the ones that are called wars, like Libya and Iraq, are not legal wars because they were lied about.)

Commonly what we hear is the U.S. 'had' to invade certain countries because their leaders were "bad men." In fact, that doesn't given anybody a legal right to invade. And you would have to visit many a country to find leaders as "bad" as Bush and Obama. Killing or making refugees of over ten million people in Iraq and Syria because they had 'bad men' leading them is absurd.

Added to that, the U.S. has fought only one war in which it was first attacked. That was World War Two. Isn't that amazing? It invaded Canada once, and supported attacks on it once. Canada had never attacked the US. The U.S. invaded Mexico, and stole about a third of it. It has invaded Latin American countries many times. It recently has invaded Iran, Aghanistan, Iraq, supported invasions in Syria and Yemen. None of them had attacked the U.S. It has army and navy special ops carrying out murders and other attacks in some 80 countries. And none of those places has - or could - attack the U.S.

Both Democrats and Republicans are now pushing for wars against Russia and China, though neither of those countries has ever attacked the U.S. The reason is the same as all the others. U.S. governments want to conquer the whole world. It demands the right to run the whole world. They call it 'American exceptionalism', and it was publicly embraced by both Bush and Obama.
Why do so many fundamentalist Christians support Trump in all this? Many of them believe that he represents 'end times', when all life will end and they will line up for heaven, and the rest of us for hell. And the more moderate, American Christians? They have spent  generations simmering in a stew made of faith blended with American patriotism so they no longer see the difference. For a Canadian version of this, read the Faith Page in Saturday's irving press.
American exceptionalism means that America should rule the world. And America itself is ruled by the multi-billionaires. And their strength is boosted by a belief in something called neoliberalism. Roughly, that means they are allowed to make as much money as they like with no regard for the poverty and suffering that inflicts on billions.

How do the churches adapt themselves to this philosophy?  No problem. They supported the British Empire, the destruction of native peoples, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire,  the rule of Hitler and Mussolini....

The difference between Republicans and democrats? Basically - none. However, I suspect Trump would prefer to attack China first and by itself.
Like I said above....

Here's a  sample of the thinking of neo-liberals. Money - all money - is for the rich. Yes. Because the rich will shower it down on us in investment and make us rich. That, in fact, is pure nonsense. The U.S. has run Haiti in that way. I don't see a whole lot of wealth in Haiti. or Congo. There was none in the China controlled by British billionaires. Or India.

In fact, in the U.S. people are steadily getting poorer under such a system. But our local irving press is very big on this - and other - absurd ideas.

Never all it has prided itself on being, the U.S. has been going downhill as a democracy  under a series of presidents - including Obama. Today, its domestic spying beats anything Hitler had.

Here are two items by Paul Craig Roberts. One is about the U.S. moving 2,700 troops up to the Russian border. That makes sense only if the U.S. is looking for an excuse for a nuclear war.

The other points out that leading members of Trump's government want war with Russia.

The current web issue of Alternet has lots of hate of Trump. But we already have that - most of us. So I chose its item of Trump's plans to extend the privatization of education - the so-called "charter schools".

It's a bad idea because - first - they aren't as good as the public schools - and, second, they destroy equal opportunity for education since most families can't afford them. But the pressure on parents to send their children to private schools is very great. I just  had a letter from a relative who is caught in that pressure.
Watch for wealthy investors to use their influence for more privatization of education in Canada. In fact, it's already happening. Public education was one of the greatest achievements in human history. Now, it's going to be under pressure from the very greedy.

(And the irving press will applaud.)
Here's one about how much we overrate Obama.


His foreign policy was the same as Bush's.  Just as murderous, just as designed to please big business.
I have a strong sense that this is what Trump's Russian 'friendship' is really all about.

This next one is long. But, oh, I couldn't leave out a column by a clergyman who actually has the courage and the brains - and the Christian belief - to be honest. There is nothing Christian about killing or about living to pile up money. Capitalism is actually a negation of Christianity. For confirmation of that, check out the kind of people your chambers of commerce honour.

Luckily, I live in New Brunswick,  so I'm quite sure the nice people who spray our forests would never use a spray harmful to people.

Most of the news I found today was about Trump. Well, he does deserve attention, and he is someone to worry about. But let's keep reality in mind.
It would make very little difference if Clinton had won. American democracy is gone. It's been over for some time. The U.S. is now ruled by corporation bosses whose only interest  is in being bigger bosses - and who don't care how many suffer and die for that to happen.

And we have some of the same type here in Canada. We've been here before - The British Empire, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire......  The U.S. one is just bigger and more dangerous.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Jan.12: A long one. Sorry.

Get used to it.

Last night, I watched interviews with U.S. senators and other notables. The (unintentional) message was clear. Get used to it. American democracy is over; and it's not likely to come back. Trump is a part of this collapse. But he isn't the cause of it.  The cause happened decades ago. Trump (and Clinton) are products of a collapsed democracy. But neither of them is the cause of it. This final stage of collapse began with George Bush jr., though he was really no more than a puppet for American big business. Obama, for all his image, followed the Bush path. So will Trump.

The U.S. congress is terminally corrupt. The country is really ruled by an oligarchy of billionaires, among whom Trump is a minor player. Rest assured that he will do what he is told to do - or he will end up a bankrupt.

Nor is there any sign that the American public has any useful way to deal with this. There seem to be two reasons for this.

First, most politicians encourage Americans to take out their anger in hatred - hatred of Russia, hatred of Muslims. I listened to a good deal of that last night.
And why do they hate Russians? Well, said a senator, they invaded Ukraine, and they killed civilians in bombing Aleppo. Whoops!

1. Ukraine had a elected government that was on good terms with Russia. The U.S. fixed that by staging riots that overthrew the government. (This is according to a woman named Nuland who testified to Congress that she had been assigned and supplied by the American government to achieve this.)

In doing so, the U.S. cut off Russia from its only, major naval base, and installed a hostile government in Ukraine.

As for the bombing of Aleppo, I know of no country that would not bomb civilians in a war. The U.S. was a pioneer in the bombing of civilians. In the Korean war, it killed a full third of the whole population.  We don't know the civilian kill in Laos and Cambodia; but General Curtis  Lemay of the U.S. air force said, "We'll bomb them back into the stone age."

Civilian deaths in Iraq, mostly by bombing, were a million or more. And that was an illegal war in the first place.  The U.S. has been supplying and directing bombing in Yemen - which our news media don't bother to report.  Obama dropped 26,000 bombs just in his last year in office.

Nobody can even guess how many millions of Vietnamese were killed by American bombing - including chemical bombing to destroy vegetation - and anything else that was in the way. In fact, the U.S. is the world's leading killer of civilians by bombing. Nor do they recognize that Americans were killing Muslims long before the appearance of Jihadists. In 1948, for example, they overthrew (with British help)  the elected government Iran, and imposed a dictator to rule for the benefit of the oil companies.

The reality is that the U.S. has been attacking others since 1776 (and earlier). Just like the Britain it rebelled against, the U.S. has always been an agressor, the centre of empire and now, like the Britain it rebelled against, ruled by an aristocracy.

But that makes not a dent on American thinking. It's them there Russians and Muslims whut's evil. That was the position of one of the senators who accused Russia or war crimes. Oh, please... Torture is a war crime. The invasion of Iraq was a car crime excused by lies. The mass murder in Guatemala was a war crime. The overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine was a war crime. The American role in Yemen is a war crime. The use of agent orange in Vietnam was a war crime. The use of drones is a war crime. But, somehow, none of that sinks in to the American consciousness.

The final damper is that  there is no room in American thinking for alternatives. Anyone who thinks differently from the propaganda line is almost certain to be labelled 'unAmerican'. That's why the U.S. is one of the most backward countries in the developed world in its social legislation. There is very little concern for the average person. Everything is for the wealthy - in the belief that their wealth will trickle down - though that trickling has never happened. (You can find the same sort of nonsense in the irving press.)

This lack of any alternative in American thinking means that any reaction to the way things are is more likely to produce violence than to produce a useful response.

And this means trouble for Canada as it is just one more nation to be looted by the rulers of the American empire.
U.S. big business wants a war with China. Trump wants a war with China. They want a war because they want to rule the world - and, China, within a short time, will be an obstacle to that. So U.S. politicians are getting all indignant that China is building bases outside waters the U.S. says are not Chinese. (Apparently, though, it was okay for the U.S. to take over Hawaii though it is nowhere close to American waters.)

And why do they want to rule the world? Money. Big profits can be made by looting other countries - but guess where looting the whole world takes you and me. Hint. We are part of the world that's being looted..

And here is an example of VERY bad reporting.


The only news the reporter had is that we do not have evidence that Russia interfered in the American election. But the reporter adds this lack of evidence puts us in great danger because we are ignoring this Russian threat. Think about that. We have no evidence that there was hacking, and no evidence it influenced the election. So we are ignoring a Russian threat that, by definition, is not there.
About twenty years ago, a student came to my office to say goodbye. He was  graduating, and would have to return to Palestine. There, he could expect nothing by poverty, and a high risk of death. The story below explains that, and how we in the west have created a dreadful mess from the start.

Especially, note the maps that show how Israel has been taking Palestinian land.


I have known many Israelis. All had utter contempt for Palestinians as an inferior, sub-human species.  Indeed, it has become a Jewish equivalent of Naziism.  (These are originally European and North American Jews. (I have also known a few Israelis whose families have lived among the Palestinians in friendship for centuries.)

The reacion of Euopean background Jews toward Palestinans, given what the Jews suffered in Europe, is understandable. But we should not be encouraging it.
Warning! This next one is very long. But it's worth the time.

Essentially, it comes to the point that capitalism does not work - and it's going to get much, much worse as it inflicts terminal damage on the planet's environment and resources. One would think that is obvious. But the word is slow in getting around. We need to do much, much more in changing the whole pattern of our lives. But there is not the slightest chance capialism will help in that. The capitalist understands only two words - profit - now.

Obama may not go down in history as a great or even good president. Here's a view of him we have not seen in most news media. A lot more could have been added.

Here's a side of Obama we haven't seen in our press. It was my impression of him when he first ran for president - and nothing I saw of him as president ever changed my mind.

I chose this one because it's one of the few interviews with Syria's Assad that I  have seen. I was a little suprised at it.

One of the greatest accomplishment of western history was the creation of the public school. There were public schools in Britain as earlyas  Shakespeare's time. These were subsidized by donors, a system that broke down  as costs rose. So those 'public' schools became private and for the children of the rich - But the British still refer to them as public schools - like Eton and Harrow.

There were also church schools, though these confined themselves largely to the scriptures.

The modern public school, free for every child, is generally credited to Scotland - and to the principles of the Presbyterian church. For most children, these schools would end at grade 6 or so. But they did produce a population whose education produced an explosion of invention, innovation, and writing. Indeed, a study of some 30 years ago cited Scotland as the leading producer of influential thinkers and innovators. (A point that many Scots will raise as early as the first drink.)

As recently as my school days in Montreal where school boards were either Protestant or Catholic, my Protestant board was dominated by Scottish names.
Equal access to education is important to eveyone - except to the wealthy who want to privatize everything and, in education, take us back to the 12th century or so. The U.S. has already gone back a long way - and is about to go further.

Lest we forget.

How do the rich get rich? I have seen, in this province at least, no sign that it's due to brains or high academic achievement.

Here's the difference between Haaretz and our news media. Can you even imagine any of  our major news media  being critical of the lies and propaganda in all the others?

For New Brunswickers - you desperate need for a political party different from any you have.

1. You need a party that understands capitalism cannot work except under very tight regulation.

2. You need a party whose first concern is the needs of the people - not getting slaps on the back from billionaires. I might add that lawyers have not proven to be very good at serving the needs of the people. That explains a lot about New Brunswick.

3. You need a party that will take action on money hidden in tax havens. And if the wealthy leave the province, so be it. The wealth of this province does not need brilliant minds to be developed. (Certainly, it has been developed so far with a sign of brilliant minds.) It can be done by us, by all of us. And if that makes the wealthy move away, good. Getting rid of them would save the rest of us a bundle.

4. We desperately need a party committed to take action on the environment, and to make long term plans for a future that is going to have to be different. For example, we have to drastically cut down on consumption. In effect, we have to make fundamental changes in the way we live.

5. And we need a law to prevent the wealthy from buying our politicians.
There is, at present, no party that meets all these requirements.  The Liberals and Conservatives certainly don't - and won't. The NDP has become too close to the Liberals and Conservatives. The Green Party, while doing excellent work on raising awareness of environmental issues, has not thought at all sufficiently about about the measures necessary to save the environment. One of them, is a tight control on the wealthy. And it's the wealthy who are doing much of the destruction of the environment.

6. New Brunswickers have no access  (except CBC - usually) to honest and accurate news. It needs to address that.

7.  It's not enough to win an election. You have to convince people first to break away from their traditional thinking. It was a big mistake for the NDP to abandon its principles in order to win because, if it had won, it would not have been able to do anything.  So what's the point?

Politics is not just about winning elections. It's about making people aware of what is wrong and what is needed. That, not an election, is the starting point.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jan. 11: Credit Where Credit is Due...

The commentary pages are for informed discussion of important issues. But this is rarely the case in the irving press. What we more commonly get is uninformed rant, propaganda, pointless little stories on topics like how the columnist enjoyed ice cream as a child. courthouse trivia, the pretentious, pointless and trivial wit of Rod Allen....

Even the good ones - like the seniors' column - should not be on the commentary page. The senior's column is advice, not commentary.

The commentary should deal with something in the news, and should express an opinion  (an intelligent one) about it. We don't need to agree with it.  But it should be well-informed, about an important development, and should stimulate our thinking. And that is rare in the irving press.

But on January 10, the irving press had a real commentary. It was written by Susie Proulx-Daigle; and it's about blood donorship.  She attacks, with strong reasons, the intention of New Brunswick's government to privatize blood donorship. It would raise the cost of blood, pose dangerous health risks, and seriously handicap Canadian Blood Services which is now responsible for blood collection. And privatization almost always costs more.

But to a New Brunswick government, "Thou shalt privatize" is the 11th commandment that Moses lost on the way down the mountain.

Agree or disagree with it, this is an intelligent column and a real commentary in the irving press. Read it now. You may never see its like again.
Funny.  The U.S.  had no problem invading and bombing the middle east - spending billions and creating millions of refugees. But it just can't afford to help those refugees. That's left up to poor countries like Greece.

Of course, this could never happen in New Brunswick.

Obama came to power on a wave of hope that was never justified. The reality was that he could never break the power of big money in the U.S. And he never really tried.

I include the next item because there may be readers who understand the demonetization that is going on in India.  (I don't, but hope to make that up when I have some time.)


The above story is obviously untrue. The leaders of our oil industry are intelligent and caring people who are in business only for our welfare. If you read the irving press, you will understand that when Jesus comes back, it will be as an oil executive.
The U.S. has teams like the navy Seals who kill all over the world. Estimates place them in 80 countries or more, carrying out assassinations. Luckily for them, this hasn't been noticed by our Christian clergy and their followers.


Oh, and those who thought the 9/11 terrorists were just awful think the Seals are inspirational.
It was the photo at the top that started me shaking my head over this opinion piece. It's not entirely Trump's fault. American democracy has been dying for a long time. Trump has just added the last touches.

The name - Victoria Nuland - is worth remembering. She is the one who set up the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.

Here in New Brunswick, our puppet government has concluded a deal with Ottawa on Health care. Watch for problems to come out of it. And look for Trudeau to edge us toward privatization of health care.

One of the major casuaties of neoliberalism in the U.S. has been public education. I mean, it's such a waste to design it around the needs of children when we can design it around the wants of billionaires.  It makes sense. The U.S. private  health care system is the lowest ranked in the developed world. And the wealthy can do the same with public schools.

A Russian alliance with Turkey would put the U.S. in serious trouble in the middle east. And such an alliance is quite possible. That is the result of the hare-brained wars begun by Bush and continued by Obama.

I have never been fond of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. That goes back to the day about a dozen years ago when I watched a vicious riot that he had engineered. He has also blocked any settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue, all the while stealing land from Palestinians. Now, he may be the one in real trouble. It's called corruption.

Here's more on the climate change that isn't happening.


Is it possible that oil executives don't know about this? Possible, I suppose, if they're very, very stupid.
So are we all. A grain of sense should tell us it's happening and, even more to the point, that this cannot be changed by simply carbon taxing or electrifying cars and trucks. It demands a sweeping change in the way we live. We have created a world that we cannot survive. It's as simple as that - something we all should have learned in childhood - there are things we cannot have.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Jan. 9: The One-Liner as political programme.

Just a brief look at New Brunswick's propaganda sheet. The commentary page has a column to tell us that we don't have a climate problem. The writer says it's not possible to have a problem because it would cost too much to fix. So there.
And who is this expert on the matter? A world-famed scientist?  No. Even better. He's a retired executive for five international corporations. Boy! The irving press sure knows how to pick the real authorities.

Among the many things this twit has not considered is the fact that climate change is happening. And it will destroy us. He is offering us a choice we don't have. There are things we cannot have. And it doesn't matter what the financial costs are. Read my lips. There are things we cannot have.

And in big, world news? Well, one of the big, world stories is that exercise and sunlight will help to cure the winter blues.

Then there a piece of bad, headline writing.  "Study debunks myth that  U.S. college grads are strangled by debt." In fact, the study doesn't debunk anything. The study CLAIMS to debunk - and the people who conducted it should have known that. The "proof" is that students with  high debts often graduate to live  on their own, while students will lower debts often return to live with their parents.

That's interesting. but it doesn't prove anything. The headline should have been, "Researchers claim that study debunks...."  Nor does this have a thought for the very many who cannot possibly afford to go to university on any terms because of its expense.

I went into debt to go to university - 10 years of it. I had to pay fees, lodging and food. It took me at least twenty years to pay the debt.  Tell me all about how all that was a 'myth'.
An election should be a time when  a party lays out its basic philosophy on the role of government, the powers it needs to play that role, and the needs of the public it serves. But that seldom happens. More often, the election is affected by trivial issues. In the last federal election in Canada, for example, the critical issue turned out to be whether Muslim women in the civil service  (of whom there are almost none) should be required to dispose of their Muslim headgear while at work.

Here in New Brunswick, so far as I can tell, the only philosophy of the Liberal and Conservative parties is to get elected, and to do so by doing what the wealthy tell them to do.

But the U.S. presidential race surely brought democracy to new lows. If either party had a political and social philosophy of any sort, I missed it. Nobody even mentioned the hundreds of  billions of dollars sucked out of the U.S. every year in the tax havens of the wealthy.   At best, there was a series of one-liners, and Trump had zippier one-liners than Clinton did.

Poverty? Trump would create jobs. End of policy. Actually, the number of jobs he has created  (or has in the works) is negligible. As well, it's not just the unemployed who are suffering poverty and insecurity. It's a very high proportion of  the employed.

And even the one-liners rarely said anything at all. What does it mean to "make America great again"?  When was this magical age?  Was it the slaughter of American native peoples to steal their land? Was it the invasion of Canada in 1812? And the threats of invasion up to the early 19th century? Was it the invasion of Mexico to steal what is now the southwestern U.S.?

Was it the invasions of Latin America  to set up dictatorships so that American business could loot those countries - as it still does? And then the conquest of The Phillipines in 1900, complete with an American dictatorship as a base for future attacks on China?

Then there have been all the American wars of aggression in the middle east.
Yes. Trump must have meant those were what made America  great. It certainly wasn't social programmes or equal access to education or alleviating poverty or spreading the wealth.

And one of his twitter planks to make the U.S. military the most powerful in the world. Well, it's already far the most expensive military in the world. And on paper it's the most powerful - though its performance has not been impressive for a good seventy years. His theory is that this would make the U.S. unattackable.
But geography already does that. A large land mass, a large population, two wide oceans and two relatively weak neighbours make the U.S. unattackable.

No. The world's largest and most powerful army has only one practical use - to invade. And that probably suggests a very large opponent in mind. And that takes us to two other brief moments in the Trump platform - his phone call to Taiwan on his first day as winner, which was a deliberate insult to China and had no other purpose but to be an insult;  and his making nice to Putin.

Trump wants too attack China before it becomes more powerful, and the U.S. weaker. At present, the alliance between Russia and China makes that virtually impossible. The solution? To bring Russia to the U.S. side, perhaps with both to attack China, and share the spoils.  Will that work?


The U.S. could not defeat Vietnam because the American people will not accept high casualties. That was the great lesson of Vietnam - and it's the reason the U.S. has been paying ISIS to fight for it in Syria.  And a conventional war with China, even with Russian help, would produce very, very high casualties.

Anyway, a conventional war would soon turn nuclear - and the results of that are unpredictable.

But this, quite possibly, is what all those one-liners mean.

The U.S. is a nation that probably has more news media than any other country in the world. And still the American people  had to vote largely in ignorance of what political and social philosophy either party had. All they had was one-liners of no clear meaning at all.

N.B.: Note what nobody said in the elections campaign. It's something that  began as poliicy just before Bush with a statement on the web (Project for the New American Century) that the U.S. has the right to ignore international law, and to impose its rule on all the rest of the world. (Just imagine what that would mean to American billionaires - a   licence to loot the whole world.)

Both Bush and Obama openly endorsed that policy. But I guess that's such a minor issue that neither Clinton nor Trump bothered to mention it - though either would certainly follow it.
Everybody has the story that Trump has accepted the charge that Russia hacked American computers to interfere with the election. But it doesn't mean much. 1.We have still not seen any evidence of the hacking. 2. Trump may well have been forced to make his statement. 3. The U.S. routinely interferes in democracies - often with violence. it's no secret  (except in U.S. news media), that it was the U.S. that organized the overthrow   of an elected government in Ukraine to create the present crisis there.
The story next might interest a person of average intelligence. But it would probably go over the head of a man who was an executive of 5 global corporations.

Obama was not a great president - or even a good one. Despite the hopes he raised eight years ago, most of his time was spent in serving the usual masters - the corporations. In that, he followed a line that has been a steady one since Bush and even long before - seeking world dominance with military force. That's why Obama dropped almost 30,000 bombs - many of them against  countries he wasn't even at war with. Even his highest accomplishment, Obamacare, was framed to benefit the blllionaires of phamacare and health insurance companies.

The following item is long, but worth the read for anyone who wants to understand how foreign affairs really work. Hint - it ain't good guys against bad guys.

Trump has chosen a general to be in charge of the Pentagon. Wise choice? Almost certainly not.

And who's afraid of a little thing like climate change? Not our oil billionaires.

And it's not just a matter of switching to solar energy. We need fundamental changes to the way we live - and nobody is even talking about that.
Speaking of interfering with foreign governments, it's being carried out by some of Trump's best friends.


Funny how this story hasn't made the mainstream North American private news media.
Our news media have been brimming over with stories about Putin's alleged hacking into the U.S. election campaign - though there is still no evidence he did. But most of them haven't even mentioned this story - though it has lots of evidence.

Nor have many of us heard this story.


All this is part of the reason for a serious split developing between North American Jews and Israelis.
News Canadians should watch for - but won't hear about until it's all over.

1. Trump will demand deployment of Canadian troops in his wars. He will say that Canada should be 'doing its share'.

2. Trump and his cabinet have no interest in climate change or environmental controls. Major cities in the U.S., then,  will continue to need water  (especially clean water, but sometimes any water). For many, the only source is water from Canada.   Some substantial transfers are already planned. And that will mean trouble for Canada.

3. And, for non-believers, just pretend that climate change is happening. In parts of Africa and Asia, 100 million or so are on the move now to escape such things as drought. Now, substantial droughts and other changes are already happening in the U.S. Gee. I wonder if a Donald Trump would annex parts of Canada for displaced Americans.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Jan. 7: A bad day for the world.


The story above is rather an important one. Climate change is happening; and the results will be quite terrible for all life on earth. But the above story was not important enough to make the pages of the newspapers in this province.

Those papers are all owned by an oil billionaire. Coincidence.
This one was sent by a reader. It raises serious doubts about the official story that Putin interfered with the U.S. election.


Funny how Americans routinely interfere in elections in other countries - including overthrowing the elected government, and installing their own dictators.
Then, this very disturbing one - also from a reader. The language in this item shows more bias than I care to see. But its major points are not affected by that.


The reality, I'm afraid, is that Hitler has  had a major effect on how we (the major western powers, at least) operate. Trump's Jews have been Mexicans and Muslims. Trump's gestapo is and will be his country's massive domestic spy system ( one emulated by Canada). And his twitters will build the mystique of personality.
And now, an apology. I had been feeling sorry for myself for months because I had stopped receiving comments on my blog. Now, I have discovered that I have been getting them - but they are now separate from the rest of the blog - and I  haven't figured out how to get them onto the blog so I can answer them - except one at a time. So here's the first one.

A reader said, "Not at all looking to defend the Iraq war, but I'm wondering how you came up with 1.5 million? This website mentions 264 000 (which is still 264 000 too many). "

This one refers to my figure for the death toll of Iraqis in the Iraq war. American figures, especially if from the U.S. government run much lower. The figure of 1.6 million, much denounced in the American press, comes from a British journal of very, very high standards, The Lancet. I trust it far more than I trust the American press or the American government.

A friend who is currently doing research on death rates in modern war recently told me that he has found American official figures to be absurdly low. Indeed, the killing in Vietnam was so great we may never know how many million Vietnamese were killed. And the official statements of death by drones have been rare and provenly lying.

American warfare, particularly in the use of bombing, unavoidably runs up big scores. And the U.S. uses bombing, including of civilians, very, very heavily. It does so because Americans at home get very nervous if American casualties are too heavy. In fact, that is why the U.S. had to call it quits in the Vietnam war. And that is why it has been relying mostly on those people it officially calls terrorists to do the fighting in Syria.

And that is why it cannot fight a conventional war against Russia and China. It would have to go nuclear.

Bombers are particularly useful for mass killing of civilians to destroy productivity and morale of the enemy. And, in countries that don't have air forces of any significance to defend themselves, bombers don't take many casualties.
Here's another story on climate change that didn't make the irving press.


In the face of this, the oil industry keeps pushing for more oil, more pipelines. You have to wonder about people like that. Their's is not rational behaviour. It's the obsessive greed of child with a pile of chocolate bars. During his time as president, Obama dropped thousands of tons of bombs, mostly on civilians, and mostly to meet the greed of the oil industry.

(Dealing with the oil industry is not just  matter of switching to high-mileage cars or sinking electricity producing turbines into tidal waters. It's a matter of fundamental change to the way we live. But I don't know of any political party or business group that is even thinking of that.)

"Burp", says the Chamber of Commerce.
Great illustration on this one.

And this one, surprisingly (amazingly) is by a Canadian oil executive.


For those who have never seen or heard Senator McCarthy , enter his name at  youtube. He had the U.S. paralyzed by  his witchunt for Americans he accused (without evidence) of being communists.
Well. What can I say?  This next item is different from any other I have seen. I don't agree with it at all. There are hints of what it says in Trump's statements. But just hints. There's not enough in this article to convince the reader of anything. But - let's  give the other side a chance.

Oh, those terrible Russians hacked U.S. computers you say? Well, Americans would never do that.

Not very well written - but a  topic we need more information on.

This is quite a shocking item about Taiwan - which Trump has been courting, thereby creating a quarrel between the U.S. and China. The people of Taiwan are the remainder of those pro-U.S. Chinese led by Chiang-kai shek in the 1930s and 40s. Interestingly, Taiwan now compares miserably to China in education - and just about everything else.

We often ignore the extraordinary violence imposed  by the U.S. on most of the world. It has      certainly stretched the anger of 9/11 a long way.

The next is a video. I don't vouch for its statement that Yemen is winning. But I include this video because we hear so little about the war.

Here's a story that's common in Latin America. But we almost never hear about it. It's about the murder of an environmentalist - a common story in Latin America where Canadian and American capitalists and the U.S. and Peruvian governments find it a quick way to deal with unrest by the common people.

Republicans in the U.S. are determined to destroy Obamacare. For a start, that will deprive 20 million Americans of health care, victims of a private health system that has a long record price-gouging. (Remember the Canadian woman who was charged a million dollars  for having her baby in a U.S. hospital?)

Capitalism is -a very hungry beast with no morality whatever. That's why it has to be controlled.

Canadians should be watching for similar moves in this country. (we're already seeing them.) And I can guarantee the irving press will support those moves. The world is watching a feeding frenzy it has never seen before.
In this case, the change in the U.S. will also cost trillions of dollars. But don't worry. The rich won't have to pay it.

And it could happen in Canada. There was recently a big conference in Ottawa with leading figures in Canadian medicine on the future of health care in Canada. It was paid for by big pharma, the pharmaceutical industry's tigers in the U.S. for promoting privatization.

It's a long story. But the Conference Board of Canada has been holding conferences on the future of health care with rather high participation from private industry and American sources.

It's hard to get much information about it. One source, that I cannot confirm, says that big Pharma in the U.S. is a major sponsor. How thoughtful of it. Certainly, Trudeau seems to be dumping responsibility for health care on the provinces.

Still no word on the great Canadian government and press hunt for  who is avoiding taxes by using tax havens - and how much it costs the rest of us.

Here are the posts to me. I'll try to answer a few at a time.
1-50 of 2712 
Not at all looking to defend the Iraq war, but I'm wondering how you came up with 1.5 million? This website mentions 264 000 (which is still 264 000 too many). https://www.iraqbodycount.org/ on Dec. 28: forgive me for getting annoyed.
on 12/28/16
Predictions: Trump will involve Canada in the Ukraine and other countries. Combined with Trudeau's Neoliberal policies and his complete subservience to US foreign policy, Canada will become a disaster. Happy Holidays Graeme. on Nov. 23. Merry Christmas. Anyway.
on 12/24/16
You make some very good points, Graeme. Keep up the good work! And, Merry Christmas! on Nov. 23. Merry Christmas. Anyway.
on 12/23/16
World Trade Center - 1991? I think maybe you mean 2001. Although there was the 1993 bombing. on Nov. 23. Merry Christmas. Anyway.
on 12/23/16
Romanian Hacker “Guccifer” Sentenced to 52 Months in Prison for Computer Hacking Crimes Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, of Arad, Romania, a hacker who used the online moniker “Guccifer,” was sentenced today to 52 months in prison for unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft. According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, from at least October 2012 to January 2014, Lazar intentionally gained unauthorized access to personal email and social media accounts belonging to approximately 100 Americans, and he did so to unlawfully obtain his victims’ personal information and email correspondence. Lazar’s victims included an immediate family member of two former U.S. presidents, a former member of the U.S. Cabinet, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former presidential advisor, he admitted. In many instances, Lazar publically released his victims’ private email correspondence, medical and financial information and personal on Dec. 9: Donald Trump - Hero!
on 12/20/16
I believe the author of the article http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/12/16/o-little-town-of-bethlehem/ is UCC - United Church of Christ [US] - similar to United Church of Canada - but, different. on Dec. 16: Trump - Same Old Same Old.
on 12/16/16
Yup, we were told about asbestos dust problems in our NS rural High School Science class, Grade 9, 1959/60. The book was called "Science in Action", and for some reason I can't find it to quote the relevant passage. That's because I've dragged it out before as reference and put it somewhere or other where I wouldn't forget it. Naturally. At work, the huge building I worked at for a provincial electrical utility had all its asbestos removed in 1986 - what an exercise that was. Two years later, we had removed all PCBs provincewide as well -I was involved in that exercise. Why it takes the numbskulls at Federal Public Works until 2017 to get around to examining their buildings for asbestos is beyond me. Of course Harper reaffirmed export of asbestos outside Canada, particularly to India during his imperatorship, looking for a few votes in the Scheffervill area. And Australia banned the stuff for brakes and clutches in cars back in 2003, so we're hardly bleeding edge here in Canada. As on Dec. 14: A very ugly day.
on 12/15/16
Imo, Canada long ago needed to realign with countries whose outlook mirrored our own. We were so proud of accomplishments such as our once coveted health care system and being on the right side of history during the war years. Had democratic socialism and a closely monitored capitalistic growth been the order of the day, our strengths would have been in our standard of living and our reputation as peace-keepers. Instead we've become weapon manufacturers and a global threat to indigenous peoples through our corporate resource extraction policies. Drawing a firmer line down the 49th is now a formidable task. on December 10: Fake News
on 12/11/16
"Up-to-the minute breaking news every day." That's just brainless. How can news be up-to-the minute when the paper goes into print hours before we see it?... They have a website dude. I'm guessing that they mean that they're "up to the minute" online (even though they aren't). on Dec. 5: The most contemptible, lying..........
on 12/8/16
Re: The Mafia State. Some may take solace in the view that such doom and gloom will be short lived if the earth shudders from the weight of it's current dominant inhabitants. on Dec. 5: The most contemptible, lying..........
on 12/7/16
If business elite threatens to remove jobs that's fine. We will continue to tax their properties. Without an income they will eventually lose their properties to pay the unpaid taxes. Patience is needed, but eventually the people can win back what was lost. on Dec 3: They said it! The U.S. runs dictatorships for mass murder
NB Coward
on 12/4/16
Graeme, I have been negligent in my reading of your Reports, I have been spending my time with the Strike talks by the Teachers. I realize that you were once a very good Teacher etc, however I think that the Time for Unions to be replaced has come. Do you have any Suggestions.The Teachers say that they are very concerned about the Safety of Children, if the Government Locks them out. I wonder who cares for the Children during July,August and all the other Teacher Time off? Your Comments would be appreciated. Thanks on Dec 3: They said it! The U.S. runs dictatorships for mass murder
on 12/4/16
Graeme, I have been negligent in my reading of your Reports, I have been spending my time with the Strike talks by the Teachers. I realize that you were once a very good Teacher etc, however I think that the Time for Unions to be replaced has come. Do you have any Suggestions.The Teachers say that they are very concerned about the Safety of Children, if the Government Locks them out. I wonder who cares for the Children during July,August and all the other Teacher Time off? Your Comments would be appreciated. Thanks on Dec 3: They said it! The U.S. runs dictatorships for mass murder
on 12/4/16
It has been your column which got me reading articles in the alternative press. Engrossed study has eventually led me to the conclusion that a lot of it is underdeveloped logical tripe, particularly the US stuff authored of course by Americans who cannot really exorcise the America-centric-ness of their opinions. The US is still the only place that counts to them and a world viewpoint is always missing, unless they are first generation citizens. PC Roberts has swung himself from branch to branch of the barking-mad tree in the last nine months, and the rest of the commentators are lightweights. I get bored putting on my US spectacles to read US opinion - they all still really think they are part of the "exceptional" nation and fulminate accordingly. Of the world commentators, Vlychek seems to be off in a socialist dreamworld somewhere or other that is so pure as to be both unattainable and unexplainable in normal words. I have come to really appreciate a mere three authors: T P on Dec.2: The world on the edge.
on 12/3/16
on 12/3/16
Fidel Castro is gone however l still believe it is relevant and unbelievably atrocious that a Castro is still in charge as a dictator who is suppressing free speech and journalistic freedom. There is no question that the Cuban revolution was necessary as the government that was replaced was totally corrupt. That being said nobody deserves to live under any type of dictatorship. In 2003 Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissident thinkers including 29 Journalists, Librarians, Human rights activists and democracy activists. Graeme Decarie would have been jailed too l think. This was done by the way on the day of the Iraq war invasion so that the rest of the world would not take as much notice of it. Arrests and imprisonments have continued and in 2011 a Juan Wilfredo Soto a Cuban dissident died 3 days after his arrest and beatings by the Cuban police and came 15 months after the death of an arrested human rights activist Orlando Zapata who died on a hunger strike protesting prison on Nov. 26: Castros' death - and our dead newspapers
on 11/29/16
I read your blog many times a week and I truly look forward to hearing your thoughts on different matters. I beg to disagree with yoir views on Castro. Throwing innocent people in jail is ok because the USA tried to assassinate him? I admire Castros (and Chavez's for that matter) willingness to stand up to the USA, but what is the point of having high literacy if it is to be arrested. I had the honor of spending a month in Cuba. While not an expert, I was able to make some observations. The health system is pretty good, but it is better for the cuban elite and foreigners. The local Hospital that I visited looked like a dump. Later on, a canadian friens of mine was injured and taken to the Hospital, with much better standards. on Nov. 28: Castro and our contemptible news media.
on 11/29/16
Fidel Castro is gone however l still believe it is relevant and unbelievably atrocious that a Castro is still in charge as a dictator who is suppressing free speech and journalistic freedom. There is no question that the Cuban revolution was necessary as the government that was replaced was totally corrupt. That being said nobody deserves to live under any type of dictatorship. In 2003 Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissident thinkers including 29 Journalists, Librarians, Human rights activists and democracy activists. Graeme Decarie would have been jailed too l think. This was done by the way on the day of the Iraq war invasion so that the rest of the world would not take as much notice of it. Arrests and imprisonments have continued and in 2011 a Juan Wilfredo Soto a Cuban dissident died 3 days after his arrest and beatings by the Cuban police and came 15 months after the death of an arrested human rights activist Orlando Zapata who died on a hunger strike protesting prison on Nov. 26: Castros' death - and our dead newspapers