Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sept. 2: A bad day at the Irving press.

For an opener, this warning. The report that Russia is intervening in the Syria war has been denied by Russia – and has not been supported by any other news source. It appeared on an Israeli site, Ynet News. But Russia has denied it, and there is no sign of any confirmation coming.


Back in 1867, newsprint was expensive. The price of printing was expensive. And most people didn't have much money. So the only market for newspapers was the relatively well off. That meant the big news had to do with ship arrivals and investments, with only bits of news about the world. Then there were a few newspapers subsidized by political parties to spread their propaganda. A notable leader in this was the Toronto Globe, subsidized by the Liberal party. Another category, but a small one, was that of newspapers subsidized by churches. Altogether, their circulation was small, and their news very limited.

The technology of the late nineteenth century changed all that, making it possible to print the paper far more cheaply so that it could be sold for as little as one cent. Even in the 1940s, many Canadian newspapers still cost as little as three or four cents a copy. Just about anybody could afford a copy. And that added hugely to the value of the newspaper as an advertising device.

Quite suddenly, the newspaper became very, very profitable and, with their huge readership, very influential. But there were problems with all this.

To draw the readers, the papers had to come up with news that was exciting, often because of its propaganda appeal. At the end of the nineteenth century, the big news was about a brave English army officer, a colonel, who was valiantly and brilliantly holding off a massive force of Boers in a town in South Africa called Mafeking. His name was Colonel Baden Powell.

It went on for months with a public that couldn't read enough about this gallant Englishman, this living proof of British racial superiority.

When British troops relieved Mafeking, the army wanted to fire Baden Powell. It had taken a large party of the army months to get to Mafeking, a place Baden Powell wasn't supposed to be defending in the first place. In fact, he had been an incompetent ass in his defence of the town. But they couldn't fire him. He was a world hero. So they had to promote him to general. Baden Powell got their message, though, and invented a new career as founder of the Boy Scouts.

The newspapers won by playing this for sheer sensationalism. There was no attempt to find out the truth. Sensationalism sold papers. The truth didn't.

In the U.S. William Randolph Hearst took it a step further with his newspaper that spread propaganda favouring a war with Spain. It worked, as the U.S. began its overseas empire-building with the brutal conquest of The Philippines, and then its early interventions in China.

Newspapers became a big business, and so, necessarily owned by wealthy men. And they used it to make money out of sensationalism, and to make even more by using the propaganda power of the newspaper so they could get control of political decisions. The same thing happened in radio and TV with, for example, Fox News. Sensationalism and lying propaganda – those became the staples of almost all major news media in the world. (In Canada, CBC was an exception to the rule. But Harper will change that as soon as he can.)

The Irving press has carried on the tradition of sensationalism and propaganda, and added a third tradition of its own. It's boring.

The news in section A concentrates on boring.__________________________________________

The editorial is better than usual, if still short of smarts. It raises the issue of the decline of the village of Cape Tormentine, suggesting it should be an issue in the federal election because it is linked to the whole future of rural life in this province.

Sure, a Canada racked by concern about recession would certainly change the whole election as it realized the towering importance of rural New Brunswick to this whole nation.

The idea we should address this problem is a good one. But there is no way we can made this a federal issue. To say we can is just dumb. It's a provincial problem. And I have never read any provincial politician say anything about it – and I have never seen the Irving press offer an intelligent suggestion.

The future of rural New Brunswick is an important problem. It raises issues of transportation, medical care, education for both children and adults. And I don't see how closing schools and firing teachers is going to help in solving the problem. Of course, it does solve the problem of saving money so that the premier can give more welfare to the rich. That may be why the Irving press hasn't said much about it.

Why not? Well, it's safe bet that the owner of the Irving press has not the slightest interest in rural News Brunswick except cutting down its trees with cheap labour, and exploiting its minerals for as much profit as possible for him.

The first rule of our form of capitalism is that people don't matter. Only profits matter. (Oh, and they should be hidden to avoid paying taxes on them.)

Norbert treats us to the greatest issue of the day facing this province. He says we should be allowed to bring in beer from Quebec. In a way, making that a big issue manages to be both irrelevant and low-level sensationalism.

Hump Cormier doesn't have commentary. He has cute little story about how he doesn't like dark rooms. And he gets paid for this crap. When will this newspaper learn what a commentary is?

The guest editorial is, we are told, by the vice-president of Canada's leading Christian think tank. It's called Cardus. I've never heard of it. But here's a hint – if the byline has to tell you it's our leading Christian think tank, it almost certainly isn't.

I am sympathetic to its declared goal of bringing religious (but, apparently, only Christian) values into social planning. But I would like to know much more about its funding, and the qualifications of its researchers. As for this commentary, few will read it because it's confusingly written, has hints of political bias, and, in the end, really doesn't say anything. Nor do I see any hint of religious roots in his concern for the way we elect people.

The headline for the story, by the way (a headline usually written by the editor) has no link that I can see to the message (if any) of the commentary.

Alec Bruce saves the day for the whole paper with an excellent column on renewable energy. However, I don't think the boss will like that column. There's no money for the boss in renewable energy.

Section B is a disaster area with big stories on “Accused in Pokemon competition threat case denied bail (Boston); “Kentucky clerk still refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses”. This is just sensationalism, if at a very low level. I suppose it might thrill people who have a sexual climax when they see dogs sniffing each other.

The only interesting story is on B4. The RCMP has laid a charge about a former Syrian intelligence officer for torturing a Syrian-born Canadian named Maher Arar. Now, get this.

In 2002, Arar was detained in New York, and deported to Syria where he was immediately jailed. Obviously, this was arranged between Syria and U.S. intelligence – and it seems to have been based on false information from the RCMP.

There, he was tortured. (How awful. Americans and Canadians would never do that.)

The charge will never lead to arrest, of course. The torturer is still in Syria and in the middle of a war. But there's an even more intriguing element. Somebody, presumably in the RCMP, is quoted as saying this will send a strong message to people who commit terrible abuses in faraway prisons.

What an absurd statement!

An unenforceable charge is going to send a strong message?

Okay. So when does Canada send a strong message for the illegal detention and prolonged torture of Omar Khadr? Why didn't Harper lead the way in standing up for a Canadian citizen? When do we or any other country plan to send arrest warrants to Bush and Obama for the thousands they imprisoned and tortured – and almost certainly are still torturing? - not to mention the torturing of Americans that still goes on in American prisons.

In fact, in all these years, not a single person involved in decades of massive U.S. torture has been accused of anything Nor has any accusation been made against Canadian officials who cooperated with it.

The only people who now face prison or, quite likely, death are the few who had the honesty and courage to release the truth of what was going on.

Tell me how Canada and the U.S. are any different from Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy.

Just to read that dreadful statement….”….will send a strong message...” is enough to make one feel ill at our hypocrisy and sanctimony. For an historian, it's dismaying to see what we have done to what was once one of the most highly respected police forces in the world. I thought of that when I saw the camouflage gang with combat rifles at an anti-fracking demonstration here in New Brunswick. Now we have this story of a further decay created by Harper's kissing up to the U.S. and its fascist ways.

And the editor who wrote that headline should have had the brains to know that the headline is NOT what this story is about. It is NOT about a charge being laid because it will never be enforced. It's about the moral decay of Canada, the U.S. ( and more than a few others) who welcome the fascist states we have become. Fascism and capitalism are close friends. A major feature of Mussolini's fascism is that it made big business automatically a part of any government

In sum, we really need much commentary, informed commentary (and not about somebody who doesn't like dark rooms).

The news story, as rule, tells us very little. We need to know the background to the news if we're going to understand it. That's why I wrote so much about Chinese history in yesterday's blog. Reading the news is just not a very good way to learn the meaning of the news. We need informed (and honest) commentary. The best media for that are newspapers and radio. People are involved in radio and media. With TV, they just look at the changing shapes and colours.

But most commentary in the Irving press is trash. And most radio is just a modern equivalent of the old Juke-box.

For a look at what is happening in the middle east, see the site below.

The next site below deals with a ruling from the World Trade Organization that India must give up a massive plan for renewable energy. The reason? It discriminates against foreign capitalists by cutting into their oil profits, and not giving them a piece of the action. We're in for this sort of thing – and much more – if Harper gets his Trans-Pacific trade deal through.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1: The importance of fiction.

Damn. I spent hours on a long blog - and lost  it all. So this will deal with the same themes, but be much shorter.

Norbert Cunningham's column today deserves a careful read and some serious thinking. It's about what he calls national 'fictions'. We live in a world of reality - hills, trees, sun. But we also, as societies, depend on things which depend on fiction. A piece of paper money, even of a thousand dollars - has no value in reality.  It's just a piece of paper. But we make it into something important to us. National boundaries have no reality. They hadn't existed for millions of years until they were created in our minds Religion is not a reality (unless it's yours). It's a construct that we have all reconstructed many times. The royal family is royal only because we say it is.

These 'fictions' and many more, including patriotism,  are made up by us. And they're important because they are part of a large package called national culture that tells us how we should live and behave.

Norbert goes off to some very false conclusions in his final paragraph in which he repeats silly ideas he has been pushing for years. But his main point is a valid one, and worth thinking about.  No society can survive or be stable without its fictions.

And that takes us to China's recession.

China is a nation thousands of years in the making. In those years, 'fictions' of religion and governance and changing boundaries, 'fictions' of behaviour and social roles created a Chinese nation of peoples who, millenia ago, had little resemblance to each other.

With the development of reliable sea transport in the western world of 500 years ago, it became possible for western countries to reach almost every part of the world and, with superior weapons, to defeat them.

That's what happened to our native peoples. The attraction of the Americas was land and gold. The attraction of China was, at first, tea. Europeans, led by the British, couldn't get enough of it. And the huge population of China suggested even greater possibilities in trade

That's when British capitalists used their control of the British government to send soldiers (cheap at pennies a day, but fired by talk of patriotism and glory) to conquer India and to give large areas of fertile land to British capitalists who then used dirt cheap Indian labour to grow and process opium.

The big market, obviously, would be China. The Chinese government, though, made opium illegal. So, the capitalists went back to the British government which then sent ships and soldiers to fight the "opium wars" with China. Again - lots of waving flags, cheers for the British heroes, glory, God bless the king...  With their superior weaponry, the British beat the Chinese, and forced them to sign what, to this day, is remembered as 'The Great Humiliation'. China was forced to accept the importation and sale of opium. Worse. The British set a minimum, yearly quota for payment. It's hard to make a comparison with today, but in today's money, it would probably be billions. China had to pay whether all the opium was sold or not sold.

Thus began over a century of decay, of the collapse of governments, the impoverishing of the people, of civil wars, of starvation, collapse of traditional religion. All those fictions that sustained a Chinese society collapsed.

(I might add that the bulk of the British people got nothing out of this "job creation". Most lived in vile conditions. Only the capitalists got richer.)

Wei Yuan, a Chinese scholar, was the first to understand what was happening. He had realized, even before 1840, that the fictions of Chinese society were being destroyed and, with them, the nation of China, itself. He was the first to realize that China had to redevelop itself by adopting some of the ways of the west while not becoming simply an extension of the west.  That's why he started with a revision of Confucianism so that the fiction of Confucionism and, with it, China, could survive. Otherwise, China would cease to exist. (It was a brilliant insight. You should read about him Norbert. He was brilliant. He set the stage for the transformation of the biggest nation on earth. And he wasn't a businessman. He was - get this, Norbert - a civil servant.)

There followed years of struggle, of civil war, of even more intrusion by British, Portuguese, Americans, all of whom increased the damage. It got much worse in the 1920s with the rise of Chiang Ki Sheck, a henchman of the biggest drug dealer in the world, a dependent on U.S. capitalism and, of course, a convert to Christianity.

But it was Mao Zedong who emerged as the winner. He was certainly brutal (as the leaders of most major powers, espcially the Christian ones, always have been); and he was dealing with towering economic and social problems after the years of chaos. But he did bring order back to China, and saved it for the selective choices China has made since to be able to defend itself (as it proved as early as the Korean War), to adapt to western economics. In short, without Mao, for all his brutality and murder, there probably would not be a Chinese nation today, just a sinkhole of poverty and misery created by western capitalists over the last, several centuries.

China has reinvented its 'fictions'. It still has a way to go. But there is a Chinese nation, and there are a Chinese people again.

Understanding this is fundamental to understanding what is happening in the world today. Western capitalism, unregulated capitalism, is still breaking down the 'fictions' of societies all over the world. And the loss of those fictions has meant chaos death, starvation, refugees, horror, espcially in the Middle East and Africa.

Its not because of Islam. It's not even because of extremist Islamics. They are not the cause. They are the result of what capitalism has done in destroying the fictions and cultures of societies.

Capitalism has only one reason for existence - to make profit for its owners. It has no moral code, no concern for people, no sense of what a society is. It does not even exist to create jobs. It creates jobs unwillingly, and at the cheapest possible price. That's why children are working (sometimes for Canadian companies) as early as age 5 for pennies a day in places like Central America, Congo, Haiti...

That's why the greatest challenge facing our world is to bring capitalism under control. I'm afraid, though, the U.S. is a lost cause. Capitalism has, since 1775, stifled American thought with its own fiction of a history that never really happened, and a society that never has been one society. That's what has taken us to Donald Trump and Sarah Pailin.

Having a fiction is necessary for any society. But having a fiction with no reality at all  almost certainly leads to a breakdown - as we may be watching even now in the U.S.

I thought of China today, because it's in a recession. Since it is now a major trade partner, that's bad news for us. And it could be dangerous news for China. Is its fiction now strong enough  to carry it through a recession? Or is it in for more breakdown and disorder?

Before you cheer for the latter, consider that China has a huge nuclear arsenal.
The lesson of all this is also why I choose the party I vote for in Canada. Unregulated capitalism is and always has been a destructive force in society. That's because it doesn't give a damn for society. It lives only for its own profit. It keeps Central America in poverty, hunger and misery while stealing its resources. (The Cuban revolution didn't happen just because Castro was an evil, cigar-smoking man.)

I look for the party whose first priority is the needs of a society. Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives are in that category. Nor has either of them shown any interest in regulating capitalism in the last 60 years.
The Irving press didn't have much in it today. Almost all the stories were trivial and of no importance.

B1 leads with the story that premier Gallant is all excited at the need for a natural gas pipeline through New Brunswick. That's an odd thing to get excited about when we're already experiencing climate change, and experiencing it so obviously that even billionaires don't lie about it any more. Got any thrills of excitement to share on that, Mr. Gallant?

B4 has a story about a grenade exploded by protesters outside the Ukraine parliament in Kyev. It has all you need to know except the identities of the protesters. No, they weren't russo rebels from the east. They seem to have been mostly from western Ukraine, and from a sizable group in that land of freedom. They're called Naziis. The real thing.

The editorial is trivial and brainless. The City View commentary claims to be about taking the bus to work. In fact, it's all useless chatter about AC/DC coming to Moncton. I can get more interesting reading in a tabloid that has headlines like "Darling Prince George does first piddle in toily-woily."

The guest column is, again, from a propaganda house financed by billionaires. (Simon Fraser Institute). Simon would have been so embarassed!

And I have just one  quibble with Alec Bruce. The New Brunswick law that bans the importation of beer from Quebec is not really the result of prohibition. It became a law because of prohibition. But it was kept a law for reason that had nothing to do with prohibition, and everything to do with liquor profits. Prohibition is much misunderstood. I'm a bit sensitive about that because long ago, I did an article on  it for a book called, I think, "Oliver Mowat's Ontario."

I also have seen a story that I cannot confirm. It is that Russia is sending troops and aircraft to defend Syria against ISIS. If so, the U.S. (and Harper) will be wildly indignant. But Russia has as much right to be there as we do - more, actually. It has a longstanding treaty with Assad's Syria, and Syria is important to the Russian economy.

However, if the story is true, this could be very dangerous.

The official policy of the U.S., stated by Obama and others, is American Exceptionalism which means the U.S. has the right to do whatever it wants anywhere in the world, regardless of the law. In short, it means the U.S. rules the world. And Putin, for all his faults, is not a man to be bluffed. And the U.S. is in election mode.

I'll try to check this story out.

And so to bed.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31: "The Canadians are coming. The Canadians are coming."

And so governor Scott of Wisconsin is galloping through the night streets of the U.S., sounding the alarm.

The Irving press did notice the story that governor Scott  has  warned of the need for a wall between Canada and the U.S. to protect the U.S. from ---whatever. Good for the Irving press.

This would all be very funny if some U.S. leaders and a great many U.S. citizens weren't buying it. But they are buying it.

It began with Trump's stunning rise in the polls after he proposed building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. has enormous problems, few of which have been addressed by any of the Democrat and Republican candidates. The worst problems are both social and economic. The federal debt is too great ever to be repaid. Poverty is rising because American big business is an equal opportunity looter, quite as happy to loot and impoverish Americans as it is too loot and impoverish Iraq and Congo and Ukraine and Guatemala and Haiti. ( And, along with Canadian big business, to loot and impoverish Canada.)

The social part is the racism and hysteria that is unravelling American society. As a small example of this, there is the question of why U.S. police kill Americans at the rate of 700 and more a year. Police aren't born evil. Certainly, police killings are pretty rare in Canada, rarer still in Britain, and in most European countries. Why aren't the news media asking why this is so?

Then there's the problem of a generation of war which has murdered at least three million people, and created as many as forty million refugees, maybe more.

Education in the U.S. is a shambles, largely due to privatization because only the rich can afford private schooling. And it gets worse at university level.

And the leading candidates really have nothing to say about all this – except to do more of the same. And the American people are flocking to the man who says the most pressing issue is to wall out Mexico. Oh, and maybe Canada, too.

This isn't stupidity. It's insanity. Not surprisingly, Trump seems to be eying Sarah Pailin as his running mate.

The Republicans will almost certainly lose the election. But it doesn't matter. The Democrats are just as intellectually vapid, and just as insane.

It reminds me of the day many, many years ago when I read Gibbon's “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” In those falling years, the imperial guards would sell the emperorship to the highest bidder then, in due time, murder him to sell the title to another taker.

The whole mess is compounded by a teaching of American history which is mostly false. The American revolution was not fought to make people equal. The settlers who spread to the west did not have to defend themselves against native peoples. They were invaders who murdered native peoples, and stole their land. The U.S. did not go to war only when it was attacked. It has gone to war at least 200 times, and in every case at the wish of big money. (Yes. That includes World Wars One and Two.) It has never, and never even attempted, to spread democracy to the world. It is an empire, as foul and murderous as all empires, and not at all different from the British Empire it rebelled against.

Teaching history with the purpose of making students patriotic is a big mistake. They have to grow up to react to a real world, not a fairy tale.

And iour only knowledge of the world comes from news services that are pure propaganda. Put them all together, and you get leadership campaigns like the disgraceful (and very dangerous) one we're now watching in the U.S..

And Canada is not as different as it should be. Harper and Trudeau have political philosophies much like those of Trump – but without Trump's talent as a clown. In general, the Liberals and Conservatives suffer from the same faults as the Republicans and Democrats; and all four are controlled by big money. (That's why Harper arranged for such a long campaign. He has buckets of billionaire money. The Liberals have much less because the billionaires know the Trudeau Liberals are losers. The NDP has a much, much smaller budget because it's honest. Ditto for the Green Party.)
The headline on page A1 tells us more than it was intended to. “Gallant zooms in on LNG project”.
Yes, he'll be meeting with leaders of New England and Eastern Canada to discuss a Liquid Natural Gas terminal in St. John.

Oh, of course – he's also going to discuss climate change. However, that latter statement makes up less than one half of a sentence in this long story. So don't expect our premier to spend a hell of a lot of time on climate change. That half a sentence is in to “just pretend”.

Let's see. The discussion is really going to be aabout big natural gas terminal, big and expensive. That means we expect this world to be using fossil fuels for a long, long time. And that means we'll have a pipeline, probably several, to carry it. And it will be going through our province for a long, long time. And that will turn up the pressure to develop natural gas in New Brunswick. And that too will have to be a long term investment.

Most of the world, despite the best efforts of oil billionaires, surely now understands that climate change is for real, that it could destroy us all, and that we may already have passed the point of no return. But the oil billionaires are still getting permission to drill for oil in the fragile soils of the Arctic, and in the Bay of Fundy. Duh – it creates jobs.

That's not stupidity. It's insanity.

If there's more news worth reading in section A, let me know.
The editorial is about cutting teachers. It's so illogical, I have no idea what the point of it is. And it's quite evident the writer doesn't have a clue about education. I haven't seen such editorials as the Irving press ones since I stopped reading gossip magazines.

Norbert has read another book. Again, it's by professor Don Savoie. I think he reads only Savoie and Saillant. Norbert, you can't believe everything professors say.

What the professor says is we need a national debate about how, ever since Pierre Trudeau, power has been centralized in the Prime Minister's Office, and how we need a national debate to decentralize it.

In fact, power has almost always been centralized in the PMO since 1867. He also says the Senate has become a shambles. Again, it has always been a shambles. We don't need a debate. We need a prime minister who's honest, intelligent, and accepts the importance of dissent within a government. If we don't elect such a person and such a party, then constitutional change will do nothing. We need an honest and intelligent Prime Minister – and we have the power to elect that kind of person.

It's not the form of government that has to change. It's us. We have consistently elected puppets of big business with, to say the least, a limited respect for democracy. Harper is probably the worst. But he's certainly not the only one in a tradition that goes all the way back to 1867.

Prof. Savoie tries to make his point as a solution to our economic problems. Tell me, prof, how do you find it possible to discuss New Brunswick's economy without ever, ever mentioning the name Irving? Irvings own the province. And you, as an observant kind of prof, must have noticed that, at the beginning of the Alward term, Mr. J. Irving announced that he was a member of the government (without the bother of getting elected.) He then set up an absurd meeting of flunkies to plan the provincial economy. And he told Alward who to appoint as advisors to the Minister of Finance who, as I recall it, was a former Irving employee.

But neither Norbert nor the prof has, to the best of my knowledge, ever said anything about Mr. Irving – and certainly nothing more critical than “Happy Birthday”.

And Norbert, by all means read books. But you should also think about them. Don't just believe them.

And prof, as a keener on governance, how about a book on the impact of big business on political parties in New Brunswick?

Craig Babstock has nothing much to say about a nothing topic – (parking for the new hockey rink).

Steve Malloy, like the editor, writes on education. Like the editor, he has no training in education that I know of. But, unlike the editor, he's observant and he's logical. This is an excellent commentary.

Alec Bruce, too, does a solid job on coping with change in this province. As I started reading, I feared this was going to be pretty light stuff. But it gets tougher and tougher with each paragraph right to the end.

Read it to the last sentence, “Let the clear-headed, cold-eyed wisdom in this province be, for once, about imagination.”

Read that, then think about it. Think hard. The problem with this province is not the elected governments – despite their puppet behaviour. The problem is us.

Oh, the big news on the last page of A is that free Wi-Fi is becoming popular in bars. Who could possibly care?
There's also another story that I wrote off at first, “Acadian filmmaker to attend film festival in France”. And I was wrong. The story turned out to be quite fascinating about a three-minute film that has made this Dieppe filmmaker a finalist in major competition. This sounds like a film I really want to see.

On Canada&World, B1, is the story of a Canadian journalist for al Jazeera who has been sentenced to three years of prison in Egypt. And what terrible thing did he do? He told the truth in a news report. Journalists and human rights advocates all over the world are calling for Harper to intervene in the case. Will Harper do so?

Not likely. He did, and still has done nothing for Omar Khadr who was, contrary to international laws, put into prison, tortured for years, illegally and farcically tried by a military court and sentenced to life. All of that was illegal under international and American law. Now, a Canadian reporter is in an Egyptian prison and, though he's a Canadian, is not likely to get much help from Stephen Harper. He was an arab-sounding name. And there's no votes in helping a Canadian with an arab-sounding name.

That's the story that is, as it should be, on page 1 of B section. But why did they then do it all over again on B3?

B4 has two, big stories on the dangers of fracking. Unfortunately, both lack adequate research, and both tiptoe around the subject.

There's one long but narrow story on Middle East and Africa refugees who are being denied entry by Hungary. Surprisingly, it doesn't have the much bigger story that both Germany and France have agreed to accept much larger numbers, Germany perhaps as many as a million. That's important news, and it's good news – particularly in light of Britain, Canada and the U.S. declining to be any help at all in this disaster they had a big hand in creating. And remember, the total number of refugees is probably in excess of 25 million. And nobody knows how many are dying of hunger, drowning, exposure, fear…..

And the wars in the Middle East go on, though it's hard to tell who's on which side or why. Al Quaeda has frequently had help from the U.S. - though it's listed as 'terrorist'. There's more than a little evidence that ISIS has had American help.

What these wars are about is control of the Middle East for its oil – the same oil that can destroy us and everybody else because it's the oil the oil industry is determined to continue no matter how many it kills and how much suffering it causes. It makes a good profit for the industry. And it's paid for by our taxes - which is great for corrupt arms billionaires.

****it was at this point that I stopped for some hours. What could I say? How can we understand what it being done in our names?

25 MILLION refugees have been created by us to hold up oil profits, even though those profits put us in grave danger from climate change. Helping some of those refugees is the right thing for Germany and France to do– though I greatly fear this will lead to another hysteria of quasi-racist violence in those countries.

Then there's over 20 million people in Yemen, starving and dying under a rain of American bombs dropped by the Saudi air force with a little help from American drones. And Canada has done its bit in Libya and Afghanistan, and is now doing a bit more in Iraq and Ukraine. We're doing our bit because we've allowed ourselves to become puppets in the American empire.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson over 50 years ago, for all his faults, saw this coming. That's why he worked so hard to develop a peace-keeping role for Canada – an attempt to develop an independent foreign policy, and to break the cycle of wars. But we gave that up a long time ago. Now, our armed forces are just the Hicksville branch of the U.S. military. And Harper is getting by as a blustering warrior for Ukraine and Israel when, in fact, he has done nothing for either of them.

Almost none of this makes the news.

What we are doing is insane. It's not just stupid. It's insane.

And now, we're playing games with threats of nuclear war. You won't find this in the Irving press, but this world has over 17,000 nuclear missiles. Firing even a tiny fraction of them would mean the end of the world. Nor would it help to shoot them down. In being shot down, they would still explode and bless us under intense radiation.

And even if there is no more war, the immense cost of military weaponry, just buying it, is creating a severe crisis in providing for social needs, especially in the U.S. That means more civic unrest, more destruction of democratic rights, more secret police, more jailing without charge or trial, more militarization of the police.

And we have done nothing whatever to deal with any of these issues. That's why I stopped writing for a time. In a world in which a big news story is the shooting of a Texas policeman or, perhaps, the front page story about how our vineyards are attracting more tourists, there's no interest in dealing with reality.

And that refusal to deal with reality is a definition of insanity.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 30:betcha never heard of Garda World

It's the world's biggest, privately owned "security" service. It does the usual security service stuff like providing guards for malls.  It also provides more advanced security for ventures like invading countries, killing people on whichever side isn't the one that's paying it - in short, it trains and supplies mercenaries.

Haven't heard of it? Gee, it's a big, Canadian company with its head offices in Montreal.  It creates jobs. It creates so many I'm surprised Moncton City Council hasn't offered it money to come here.

Harper generously sent them to Libya at the same time as Canada invaded Libya by bombing. (He also sent special forces as 'boots on the ground'.) Funny all that got mentioned in our news only on CBC and CTV.

Oh, and in sending these Canadian troops and aircraft and mercenaries, Canada was acting in violation of rulings by the UN security council. We were forbidden by the United Nations to invade Libya with any of our military, and forbidden to supply mercenaries.  Harper did it, anway. But none of this ever made the Irving press.

Harper spent almost a million dollars in celebrating the valour of our troops which did so much to make Libya a land of peace and security.  Well, actually, it's been a horror of chaos ever since then. But some day, I'm sure, things will get  better.

Then we'll have to invade again.

In the above story, the U.S. government asked the Scandinavian countries, especially Norway, to arrest Snowdon immediately and deport him to the U.S. for trial if he should get into one of their countries. Snowden is an evil man because he told the world how the nice, U.S. government was torturing and killing all over the world.

Actually, it would have been illegal to deport him because it would deprive him of a right to make his case to a Scandinavian court, first. So the Scandinavian courts never replied to the U.S. request. And the Irving press never mentioned it, anyway.

As a matter worth noting, the U.S. government has been chasing down people like Snowden to punish them for telling the truth.  But not a single person involved in torture or murder for the American government has ever been arrested - or ever will be. In the same way, George Bush walks freely, and gets hundreds of thousands of dollars for giving a 20 minute speech. This is the same George Bush who should be charged  with war crimes even greater than those of Saddam Hussein - who got hanged for his.

Not only has the Irving press had no mention of all this, but it doesn't even have a staff writer capable of writing on this for a commentary.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has asked Saudi Arabia to stop using cluster bombs in Yemen. Bombs of this sort will be killing people, especially children,  for years after the war ends. The Saudis get the cluster bombs from the peace-loving U.S.

Have you ever read this in the Irving press?
The International Physicians for prevention of Nuclear War has completed a study of the number of people killed by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and in its good friend, Pakistan. The U.S. official number is about 160,000. Not so, say the physicians.

Their findings show the dead to be at least 1.3 million with a likelihood the real number is at least double that. Good friend Pakistan has suffered at least 80,000 dead by the U.S. Can't say I've read a word about that in the Irving press.

And we've heard very little about what is happening in the middle east - and Europe.

Half of the Syrian population has fled its homes. Twelve million are now refugees. There is no figure for how many have died from hunger, lack of medical care, drowning. Whole families, many with children barely old enough to walk, have to walk hundreds of kilometres to try to escape the horror - and there is no escape. And you can add to their millions the people of Lebanon, of Libya, Yemen, Iraq, and the Palestinians who live in a country that is really a prison. But there is no escape for any of them.

Nobody in the middle east will accept them. At best, they can get away with sleeping in parks. More commonly they're shut up in makeshift, insanitary prison camps where many of them die. Of those who get to a coast, thousands die in unsafe and overloaded boats, their bodies washing ashore every day as reminders.

Those who do land in Europe find themselves greeted by armed troops, prison camps, razor-barbed wire. Any help they get is commonly voluntary. But any help is unlikely. British troops guard the British coast so that only 1% of those who get there are ever permitted to land. There is no significant help from Canada or the U.S. And no hope of it.

The pressure in Europe is breeding hatred that we got a hint of when an French tabloid published hateful (and childish) cartoons of Muhammed - and we Christians hailed that gutter rag for its courage in exercising freedom of speech.

There is an explosion of hatred and abuse building in Europe. But don't worry. Read the Irving press, and you won't even know about it.

The hysteria has spread here to the U.S. and Canada where we spend billions to destroy our own democracy. (Oh, I know, I know. 9/11. terrible. So it was. The U.S., in retaliation, has killed millions, destroyed whole nations, and left more millions in hunger, poverty, and despair.) Donald Trump has built on that hysteria to demand a wall between Mexico and the U.S. But he's thinking small.

Governor Scott of Wisconsin yesterday proposed a wall between the U.S. and Canada. That would be
over 8,000 kilometres, and a new record for human construction, far longer than the Great Wall of China.

Will the Irving press have that story tomorrow? I doubt it. If it does, will it have a commentary or editorial on it? Not a chance.
In the midst of this chaos, the whole world has changed. As a child in school, I saluted a British flag, and swore allegiance to the  king.  Now, classes stand in silence to "O Canada" played on a scratchy PA system. But it doesn't matter because Canada has effectively vanished. And the Queen is queen of a British nation that is now a puppet state for the U.S.  Canada and all of western Europe are in the same position, though with Germany maintaining top status as a U.S. satellite in Europe.

If we have any allegiance now, it's to international bankers who have become so powerful, they are effectively the governments of impoverished states like Greece and Ukraine. And they are free to ignore the law even in the U.S. where, when they went broke because of their own dodgy and illegal practices, were able to make the taxpayers pay their bills. And they faced no prosecution or even charges for their behaviour. That's quite a contrast to what they did to Greece and Ukraine when they broke.

The story was that the banks and trust companies were too big to go broke.  In fact, Iceland let them go broke, and even pressed charges against some. And Iceland is doing fine. No company is too big to allow it to go broke. But the reality is that they are so big they can corrupt our governments --- and most of our political leaders and all of our news media won't tell us that.
American foreign policy, which we follow like trained dogs, is one of the great disasters of human history. And American foreign policy is designed to meet the wishes of the very wealthy. That's why millions are refugees, or starving, or living in fear, or being killed by us.

A twisted and mindlessly greedy form of capitalism which has no moral standards whatever has been allowed to run wild with virtually no legal controls, and no need to pay any attention to what controls do exist. That's why there is so much poverty and misery  and violence in Africa, the Middle East, South America, so much of the same threatening in Europe and Asia, and so much hysteria in Canada and the U.S.

It is not 'terrorists' who are the greatest threat to us. It is the determination of the American wealthy to rule the world - what they call 'American Exceptionalism'.  It's really a far greater terrorism than any other we face.  At the root of it is the lack of any sense of morality in the very rich all over the world. And without some morality, we destroy everyone, including us.

And only we, if we have the moral courage, can put a stop to it.

Think about that next time you're enjoying the special music and the coffee and fellowship in the barn at the Irving Chapel.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29:Be patient. The major part of this comes...

....after a brief bit about how ghastly the local newspaper is.

If you really, really care that the New Brunswick legislature will be offering a new beer to visiting dignataries, that plastic surgery is popular in N.B., or that the town of Sackvile has cancelled its big hat party in celebration of the Queen, then section A news will be your cup of tea.

The only time I've come across such limp news was yesterday, listening to Moncton radio station 94.5. The news consisted, as I remember, of two items – somebody got sent to jail for something, and somebody didn't go to jail. Private radio in general has become pretty awful in the last ten or fifteen years. But 94.5 is so bad, I wondered whether it might be an Irving station.

Canada&World has only 8 pages, with four of them ads. Of the remaining four, two pages are still about Moncton - with the exception of one story that's about a girl in Alberta. (She takes marijuana to treat epilepsy. The news YOU need to know.)

The three stories on B3 tell us nothing whatever. The biggest one is about a rumour that Canadian jet fighter-bombers killed some civilians in Iraq. But the Irving press has no idea whether it's true.
Well, it's nice, at least, that our news is at last mentioning we're at war in Iraq. As for killing civilians, it would be amazing if they weren't killed. Every war since at least 1914 gas killed masses of civilians. That's the nature of modern war. With modern weapons, it can't be avoided. And, in any case, it's routinely done on purpose by every modern military I've ever heard of.

Another “must-know” story is on B6. A poll in the U.S. shows that the millenial generation ( the one that is currently the annoying one) gets angry at spelling and grammar mistakes – the women more so than the men. Beside it is the fast-breaking news that an 'elite' grad of an 'elite' school in New Hampshire is guilty of molesting an 'elite' girl. (The “elite” school has yearly fees of over $50,000. New Hampshire is in the U.S. which, I'm informed, is the land of equal opportunity for fall.)

So much for Canada&World. No news editor could possibly be dumb enough to think the news in this paper is any news at all. This is deliberate. The purpose of news selections in the Irving press is to keep us ignorant of what is happening. It's quite deliberate. It's obviously deliberate.

In local stories, there are two I would be very interested to see – but I know that I never shall.

1. Why did Irving Ltd. pay a huge settlement in the Lac Megantic disaster case, the one in which almost 50 people were killed, and a town largely destroyed? Nobody pays a big settlement like that unless there is a strong possibility of a serious charge of responsibility for the deaths and destruction.

If I were a drunk driver, and killed people on the road, I'm quite sure I wouldn't get the option of paying a settlement. Why does big business have that option?

Irving oil trains go through this province routinely. If it poses risks, shouldn't we know what they are or how they happened?

This case smells. And the biggest smell comes from the Irving press.

2. A young man carrying combat-style rifles (semi-automatic with large magazines) killed three police officers in Moncton.
Where did he get those rifles?
Why are such rifles allowed to be sold? They're inferior for target shooting. They're a poor choice for hunting unless you have too kill a whole herd of a hundred of moose, and have only ten minutes to do it
Why did Harper destroy the gun registry, depriving the police of knowledge of who owns such weapons?

In Moncton stores today, such guns are very available. You can also, quite easily, buy a Glock semi-automatic pistol in Moncton, a gun useful only for killing people at short range. I'm astonished at the number of guns for sale in this city that are essentially designed to kill people, or that are designed to look military so they can attract those gun-buyers who are 25 going on 10.

Why didn't the Irving press do a full report on this? Why didn't the municipal and provincial governments demand a full report? Why do the people and the newspaper of Moncton put up signs saying they love their police, and build monuments to them when they won't lift a finger to give them the help that could have saved three lives?

Get ready for more of this killing. Harper has really encouraged the gun market in Canada. Given time, he'll catch us up to the U.S. A very serious change is happening in Canada.

Moncton! Will you please wake up?
The editorial says nothing.

Norbert Cunningham has an interesting column on maritime union. It's an old issue – but it really should be looked at again.

Brent Mazerolle has his usual, pointless column, this time about how he likes some animals and insects, but finds other yuckie-poo.

There's an excellent column by the President of the New Brunswick Medical Society, and the Minister of Health. It deals with the coming crisis of health care for seniors. It's important; but few will realize that because the column is much too long. Relatively few people will read a long column unless it has long breaks and is trivial – like Anne Landers. That's too bad, because this is important.

And Gwynne Dyer drops a bombshell. It's about the Chinese recession, and the effect it's going to have on all of us. I don't doubt that he's right. Capitalism never produces a stable economy. It never has. The history of capitalism is a history of prosperity, frequent recessions, and, less often, depressions.

And that's in the lucky countries like Canada and the U.S. In other countries, like Guatemala and Congo, the history of capitalism is marked by eternal brutality, hunger, lack of education or medical care, poverty, and short lives. (–-though the capitalists, themselves, normally remain prosperous even in the most severe times.)

Dyer's column is blunt; it's important; and it's well-written. Luckily, a recession won't affect Moncton because we'll have a new hockey rink.
And now a kind word for the Faith Page, C4. The sermonette is by Brett Annington, Chaplain at UNB – and the only columnist on the Faith Page I have ever found to be worth reading. His style is light, conversational, journalistically effective, and intelligent.

This time, it's about how much the world has changed since his childhood. And, oh, it has. And Canada has changed. The government has used the RCMP as domestic spies for at least a century. But Canadians, until now, have never tolerated the breadth and depth of government spying that we now see. Canadians, as well, have never been so propagandized into quasi-racial hatreds and fears since World Wars One and Two. We've never before seen such trivialization of news media. I've never before seen a generation of teen-agers so lacking in interest in anything intellecual, so accustomed to passive “hanging-out”.

And there's the huge change in communications so that so many on earth can be in touch instantly for email – or for nuclear bombs. Distance has almost ceased to have meaning. Separate countries no long separate people. What happens in China has a profound effect on our lives, and has it immediately.

We really can no longer be a world of separate countries.

Nor did we begin as one. The first civilizations were developed in cities (though usually much smaller than cities of today). Living so close to each other and so dependent on each other, they had to form some sort of government. And so developed the city-state like Athens or Sparta. With the cities so powerful, they attacked smaller settlement and rural regions, tying them together, often out of greed, but in the process making all dependent on each other, and therefore needing a common government. So developed the nation-state.

The nation -states were ruled, usually, by dictators that we called kings who with their aristocracies, wanted more wealth to be gained by conquering empires which, necessarily, involved fighting others who were playing the same game. World Wars One and Two had a lot more to do with empires than with democracy and freedom. But the increasing destruction as we learned how to get closer to each other by such things as ocean-going ships, and aircraft, raised fears that wars were becoming impossible. The two world wars became, in their way, the guide to the next stage – the world-state.

That was noticed as early as 1919 with the founding of the League of Nations, and again in 1945 with the United Nations. But both have failed. And both were intended to fail.

They failed because the major powers had no intention of accepting a power greater than theirs. The major reason they wouldn't was because the major powers depended on their, individual, power in order to become more powerful. They needed it because of their competitive economic systems (capitalism and communism). And they continued to need power after the fall of communism because all the major powers now became based on oligarchies of the wealthy who needed the station-state to exist under their control to serve the ambitions of the very wealthy.

That accounts for the rise of American Exceptionalism, a title that really means rule of the whole world by the United States. That's why Vietnam and Iraq and Guatemala and Libya and Panama and Syria and Yemen have been under attack. That's why some in the U.S. want a war with Russia. That's why the U.S. maintains the largest fleet in history in the Pacific off the China coast. That's why the U.S. satellite, Japan, is being encouraged by the U.S. to rearm. That's why Canada is showing its satellite status in Iraq today. That's why Canadian sent troops to Afghanistan. It takes a huge military force to conquer the world.

Can it be done? Almost certainly not. At best, it would lead to constant revolt and warfare all over the world. More likely, it would mean a scale of murder and destruction so great that no country could continue to function even as a nation-state.

And, even if it did work, the individual greed of the oligarchs (who prefer to be called capitalists, even entrepreneurs) would create a wage gap (as they are doing now) which destroy their own markets, and make capitalism (by whatever name you call it) impossible.

Individualism can be a very good quality. But the direction of the world for the last several thousand years, at least, has been toward community. Communication of goods and money has created the city-state, then the nation-state, and now the world-state as a necessity

It's made even more so by the world-wide ease of war and destruction demanded by oligarchs. ( Okay, call them capitalists if you want, but their brand of capitalism is very, very twisted.)

And this brings me back to what started me – Brett Addington's sermonette.

The world has changed. It has changed a great deal since we were kids. We're now at the stage of the world-state. What we do, how people live, what standards we have affect everybody. Nobody in the world can escape our interdependence. And that interdependence needs a world government. But the oligarchs of our nation states won't allow that. Their only solution is imperialism and war. We have to decide. 

However, I fear there's been another big change in our world, a loss of something we needed.

There's been a wide collapse of religion – except in extreme and unhelpful forms. In fact, it has long become a partner of the oligarchs and a justifier of the killing and exploitation.

If you read most of the faith page, religion is all about pancake breakfasts or special music or getting yourself into heaven (the hell with the rest.) But that's not what religion is about.

It's about setting moral standards of behaviour – setting them our survival and the survival of our children. I'm by no means a Bible thumper. But read the Christian gospels, the Jewish Talmud and the Torah. Read the teaching of Muhammed or Confucius or almost any other religion.

Almost all are practical guides to the way a society has to behave in order to live. They aren't just about dying and going to heaven. They're about how we must live if we are to survive.

I don't know much about the others. But the Christian world has certainly paid no attention to that. It's gone over to babbling about miracles or walking on golden streets, or giggling at the thought that those people you don't like will burn in hell.

In short, to survive, we need morality. We don't have a hell of a lot of that. We have an economic system based on greed, and conquest and killing. The only significant political party in Canada that has its origins in morality is the NDP. It was begun by religious leaders who formed a party based on moral standards like love thy neighbour. It was called the CCF, and is now the NDP. And the NDP still retains many of the motives of its youth as the CCF. (Though I could wish for more.)

Admittedly, the churches were getting pretty wobbly on morality even when I was a kid. But it's become worse – except in emphasizing a few things that will get you – personally – onto a good cloud in heaven where you can, for the rest of eternity, get a good view of God and clap hands for Jesus..

What the world desperately needs in the move from city-state to nation-state to world-state is a conciousness that we all have this life in common – just as such a realization was necessary at the city and nation stage.

But that needs a sense of morality. We aren't getting it from our oligarchs. And we aren't getting it from most of our religions.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27: And not too late to send me an expensive birthday gift.

Forgive me for I have sinned. Friends told me (how wise they were) to write my column in Word or something similar so I could finish it, then copy it to the blog site - rather than losing it by writing it on the blog site.

Which I just did. And lost it after three hours of writing. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

The day began badly. I was changing for a swim when a stranger in the locker room glared at me, and burst into a tirade about a fired reporter who had murdered another reporter and a camerman - on camera. He seem so upset and so angry at me that I wondered if the story had said I was the killer.

As news this is cheap and worthless, in a class those awful tabs in the supermarket that have headlines like "Royal baby is pregnant! Prince Phillip flees country!" I can only assume people buy that rubbish so they won't have to think. Anyway, it made me eager finish my swim, get home, and read the real news in the Irving press.

Their big story was the lead headline on B1 of the Canada&World News section.  It was  "Fired reporter films himself killing 2 ex-colleagues on television."

Let's get real. 1. a great many people died all over the world yesterday. Some were killed by American bombs. Some starved to death because of a Saudi blockade on food. But they didn't make the news.   2. This happened in Virginia . So what are we supposed to do about it? Refuse to appear on TV if there's an insane gunman on the set?

It's a sad story. But it's utterly of no value to us. There's nothing we can do about it. This isn't "World News".  It's tabloid sensationalism of no use whatever. But it's the big World News story in the Irving press.

If anything, this suggests an editor who has nothing but contempt for the readers. And you can see the same sort of thing on A3. " Guitar and amp repairs are a growing business in Moncton."  "Man jailed for breaking into and trashing home."  "Judge releases man arrested after gun call."

There are a few things worth reading. On A1 is "Job cuts fly in face of recommendations, Provincial Teacher's Association say." This is worth knowing - and it could have used a bit of research by the reporter.  Education in New Brunswick has some bigger problems than other regions. One is the  size of the rural population, a setting that does not encourage intellectual curiosity - thus the high rate of illiteracy.

Then there's poverty because poverty and social class create huge difficulties for learning. A child can be a bozo and still graduate from an 'elite' private school, and then get a good job working for daddy. It's a lot tougher in public schools which don't have as much money as the 'elite' ones. New Brunswick should be spending more, not less, on  its public education and on adult education. It has good teachers - indeed, they're a hell of a lot better than the politicians and the very rich who take far more than they give.

But, oh, we have to cut education - so we can borrow a hundred million for a new hockey rink.

I'm late on this, so we'll start with what's good in the paper. Norbert is solid in a column on climate change, and the need to protect Moncton - something the city council doesn't seem to have thought of. He suggests improvements to drainage of the river, improvements which could avoid a billion and more of flood damage. And they would cost less than a hundred million.

Nah. Our city council thinks big - like over a hundred million for a hockey rink. If there's a flood, we could all go to stand in the rink - unless it floods, too.

There's a good commentary by Gerard Adams (CEO of Worksafe NB) about the dangers of speeding in construction areas

Alec Bruce has one "Our dwindling democracy" that I thought at the start was as distasteful and useless as Rod Allen's column. But I got quite a surprise just over half-way through. I had been fooled by the light, writing style. But that draws the reader in all the way to an important conclusion.
This is a must-read.
But it's getting late and, covered in remorse, I have to finish this. So I'll skip to a very broad summary of what, I think, is happening to the world.

For five hundred years, the western powers, largely at the command of capitalists, has been murdering and looting all over the world. In the process, it has destroyed social structures and cultures and sent whole nations, whole regions, into chaos.

Thus, the rise and fall of communism, the horrors of repeated civil wars (often assisted by the capitalists), the fears for the future. Thus a United States, suffering a poverty and disorder our news media rarely mention, which has to spend more money for 'defence' than all the rest of the world put together, which boasts the largest number of billionaires in the world, but which cannot feed or house millions of its own people. It also, like its victims, is suffering a severe and possibly terminal social breakdown as a result of the lack of interest of the very rich in what happens to it.

Historically, the rich have needed the poor largely to fight their wars that make the rich richer. Thus we sing of the Queen, "Make her victorious, happy and glorious," And we drag in God as in 'God bless America' as a sort of incentive.

Why do we accept this? Currently,   it's done by hatred and fear - as Hitler raised his following. That's the real purpose of our spy services and most of our news media, the latter using loaded language in words such as terrorist when what the terrorists are   doing is no different from what we are doing.

It works. When the bodies of Canadian dead came back from Afghanistan, they were carried along what the press called the 'highway of heroes', and otherwise sensible Canadians lined up to pay a tribute that was really a glorification of war.  Apparently, it never occured to them or to our news media to ask why they had to die. We have since sent more to risk death - and we shall probably risk many more in the near future without asking - "Why?"

Hatred, fear, and an excessive pride of nation has taken us through fifteen years of wars with much more to come. If we really remembered our dead - if we really cared - we would ask why, and ask it before more are killed.

In this process, the nation-state itself is a casualty. In the rush to uncontrolled capitalism, the nation-state is becoming irrelevant.   Free trade deals now are so very free that we are surrendering control of our own nations so that  uncontrolled capitalism can ignore legislation that should protect what is left of our environment, and what is left of our society.

And wen I write what is left of our society, I mean that our cultures - like those of old China, of the Middle East, of Latin America,like those of our native peoples - are being destroyed by an uncontrolled distortion of capitalism. In the U.S., democracy is gone, faith in both Republicans and Democrats is largely gone. and many, many Americans no longer even vote.

Canada is a very different place from the one I grew up in. I was born in depression, but grew up in a Canada that looked with confidence and enthusiasm to an ever better future.  Only a fool could have that confidence in a Harper future.

We now live in a Canada in which big money owns most of our governments, and owns almost all the news media that should be giving us the information we need.

The only reason big money needs the nation-state now is to pay for and to fight its wars. And even that is coming to an end as armies are privatized.

In 500 years of government at the service of a greedy and irresponsible capitalism, we have destroyed almost every culture on earth - including our own. We have created suffering and starvation and civil unrest everywhere in the world. We are about to see serious civil unrest in Europe. If allowed to go on, this will destroy us - and capitalism. But the capitalists who run loose are too greedy to understand that.

There is no point in voting Liberal or Conservative or Republican or Democrat. These parties are all stooges of big money. They have created the suffering and killing that has destablized the whole world.

We have to turn to political parties that really represent us, parties that have a sense of what a future can be for us. I don't know of any federal government in Canadian history that has been such a government. We need to reclaim our own country, and our own destinies.

I don't think the NDP goes far enough, not nearly far enough. But if it did go far enough, it wouldn't get any votes because we have never been encouraged to think of what Canada is and what its future can be, (and the billionaire-owned news media would turn with a vengeance on anyone who dared to question where we are going.

I'm going to vote for the NDP not because I entirely agree with it. I don't entirely agree with it. But it's the closest we can come to planning a future for us rather than for billionaires as the Conservatives and Liberals have been doing for 150 years.

And that's what's    really happening in the world.
And so to bed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26: Lies and damn lies

I am not familiar with the site I post below. It was sent to me by a reader - and I send it on because it shows a high degree of experience in military matters, and it is the only credible explanation I have ever seen of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 that was shot down over Ukraine, with the killing of all aboard.

This happened over a year ago. Scientific experts have been examining the wreckage for a year, and say that they have not yet determined the cause of the crash. I cannot believe that. There was a photo that appeared even in the Irving press. It showed lines of parallel rows of machine gun (or possibly 20mm) aircraft fire. There can be no  doubt whatever about that.

One also wonders why the airline would have directed a civilian flight to pass over a war zone - Ukraine. It was flying over territory held by Russo-rebels against the Kyev government. But it is not possible the aircraft was hit by ground fire. The bullet holes are on the upper part of the wing and the side of the fuselage. Bullets fired from the ground would have had to shoot higher than such guns have ever shot, would have had to pass the plane, then would have had to turn down to plunge into the wing. Not possible.

No. The shooting came from an aircraft.

Obama, as soon as it happened, announced the airliner had been shot down by Russian rebels on the ground. That's not possible. And, if, a year later, experts can't decide how it was shot down, how come Obama, on the other side of the world, could tell immediately how it was shot down, and who did it?

In fact, the American government has never presented any evidence for its accusation. The site below is the only credible explanation of that mass murder I have ever seen.

Would the American government do such a thing? Yes, it would, and without a second thought. It has already done such a thing at least twice, both little reported. Some years ago, an American warship in the Meditteranean shot down an Iranian civil airliner, killing all aboard. Not long after, it hired a Cuban exile to blow up a  Cuban civil airliner. That man was protected from any prosecution and, last I heard, was living in Florida.

Why would the U.S. government do such a thing? Well, in the case of the Malayasian airliner, we can start with Pearl Harbour. Why did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbour in 1941? The official explanation to this day is that the Japanese were evil and treacherous, and that Pearl Harbour would go down in history as an evil and treacherous act for no reason at all. And that is the way it has gone down in school history texts. And it's not true.

The Japanese were certainly cruel in war. However, I  have never heard of countries that were not cruel in war. Cruelty is sort of the general idea in war. But, the Japanese knew that attacking Pearl Harbour was a desparate throw of the dice. So why did they do it?

They did it because the U.S.  (illegally) placed an embargo on all shipments of oil to Japan, from any country. Japan could not possibly accept that. It had no oil resources of its own. And, without oil, it could not maintain its attack on China, or even maintain normal, civil life in Japan. Lack of oil was probably the biggest, single factor in the 1945 defeats of Germany and Japan.

So why did the U.S. put an embargo on Japanese oil? To  help China? Not likely. The U.S. was in bed with Chiang-kai Shek, a murderous dictator of China. It didn't want Japan to conquer China because US business wanted to conquer China for its own profit, and the collapse of the European powers was its big chance to get control of the Chinese market.

In short, President Roosevelt wanted Japan to give him an excuse to declare war on it, something the American people would accept.  That's standard practice all over the world. That's why national history books for the schools of just about every country will tell you they never started a war on anybody. No. It was the other side that attacked them. Every time. So it is that the U.S. has gone to war, often without declaring it, well over 200 times. But never once did the U.S. start it. In fact, Obama announced just yesterday that Venezuela is a threat to the U.S. Yep. Just another of those small and poor countries that are forever threatening the U.S. Just like Haiti and Costa Rica and Yemen and Vietnam and Iraq. They just won't leave the poor U.S. alone.  Bullies. That's what they are.

The other excuse, used by both Britain and U.S. - and many others - is God.

As Kipling wrote, it was God's will for Britain to bring Christianity to Africa and Asia, and God's will that justified it to murder and loot in both. And Kipling embraced the U.S. for its religious mission in invading the Philippines to murder and torture until the people of the Philippines would become as civilized as the U.S.  Check out Kipling's poem
"Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child
Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit
And work another’s gain
Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah slowly) to the light:
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
“Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the White Man’s burden-
Have done with childish days-
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!"

This philosophy has long been supported by the churches. In the U.S. it's very strong among funadmentalist Protestants who are great admirers of the concept of American Exceptionalim - meaning the destiny of the U.S. to rule the world.

So - it's quite possible, even likely, that the shooting down of that Malaysian airliner was engineered by the U.S. That's why it was told to fly over a war zone. That's why those people died. That's why Obama immediately announed Russian-Ukrainians had done it. This was the Pearl Harbour he needed to justify a war on Russia.

And why didn't the war happen?

It's possible that the American military (wisely) is not so enthusiastic about a war with Russia.
As you might guess from all the above, there's nothing much in the Irving press to talk about - or even to read.

There is one, excellent world news story on B4. It's starts with the much-reported ISIS destruction of ancient sites. What makes this story better than the others is that in the others it's presented as though this sort of behaviour was committed only by ISIS - or even just by Muslims. For a change, this one has some eye-openers about the destruction and/or looting of historic sites by all sorts of people - including prominent Christians.

There's another good story - but with a bad headline - at the top of B1. The headline is a hymn of praise to the Energy East Pipeline. But the story is different - though you have to read the whole thing to get that. In particular, the story says that the environmental problems are nowhere close to being settled - and that even if the deal goes through, it won't mean all that much to New Brunswick.

Headline writing is not really difficult. But it does require a modicum of intelligence - and honesty
There's really not much to talk about in Section A, and the opinion and  commentaries are severely local and bellty-button gazing. In that category, but still well worth reading, is a commentary on affordable housing in New Brunswick by Sue Calhoun who is with the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee.

Otherwise, both local and world news are hidden under piles of trivia. That's worrisome in both cases. Local news enables us to understand how our communities work (or don't work). Giving a huge amount of space to a story about people who buy their beer in Quebec isn't a big help.

As for the rest of the world, we have to realize that it's not far away any more. An airliner shot down a years ago could  have become a death sentence for Moncton. It still could. What is happening in the Middle East and Ukraine could mean a strong demand for more war memorials in Victoria Park.

More than ever, we need to know. More than ever we need to know the truth.

I have lots of other material. But I'll save it for tomorrow.