Wednesday, August 8, 2012
August 8: toe nails and the news...
But first, read p. A3, "Headstart needs school supplies". Read it! And hang your head in shame. All credit to Headstart for putting itself up front to help buy school supplies for children whose parents can't afford it. All credit to Headstart.
But we give tax breaks in ten and hundreds of millions, and we give sweetheart contracts, to billionaires. We kiss up to a billionaire's private newspapers. We give honours and banquets to people who have spent their lives ripping us off. And we give so little of a damn about our own children that we won't bother to spend the small sums it would take to give all of them an equal chance.
Our conservatives and liberals, our corporate leaders, and their kiss-ass newspapers are beneath contempt. Read the op-ed page. That's the page where this sort of arrogant, selfish, and cruel (yes, cruel) behaviour should be discussed. Read it. What you'll see are two, tivial columns - one, of them, admittedly decently written. But they have nothing to do with the corruption, greed and lying of this province that sometimes makes Quebec look like a Sunday School.
Why was Moncton High moved so far and at such great cost? Why won't the Ward Two councillors, (Henderson and Leger or the mayor or anybody in that sinkhole of ignorance and sleaze we call city hall) tellwhat what the pollutants are under Highfield Square? Why such a drastic measure of shutting out bus drivers when they just want a living wage? And when, without a question, we'll hand over millions of acres of timber to the rich; and we'll run expensive, government campaigns to do a favour for shale gas companies that poison us in return?
These are not just political questions. They are moral ones. We're talking about lying, about cheating, about abuse on a massive scale. But have you ever heard your preachers talk about his on a Sunday? Not bloody likely. Some of them may point a finger at gays. But very few gays are billionaires (So far as we know.) No wonder so many people stay home on Sunday.
Oh, yes. The toenail stuff.
You cannot understand the news by reading it or listening to it. You can't do that any more than you can tell what a dead man looked like and what his favourite necktie was simply by examining his toenail clippings.
The daily news, of necessity, is a collection of toenail clippings. Opinion columns can help to broaden your understanding. But only a little, and often with heavy bias. If you want to understand the news - what's going on in Syria? Why is Africa in such poverty and disorder? Why is the US government so in a tizzy over an Iranian nuclear bomb programme that almost certainly doesn't exist? Why isn't there more democracy in Africa and the middle east?Why are we standing on the edge of World War Three?
Is it because Moslems are evil? Is it because dictators have forced their way into power and obstructed democracy? Is it because Israel is terribly, terribly threatened? Is it because people in Africa and the Middle East are all stupid? Because they aren't Christians?
Wrong on all connts. (Christians, in fact, have been among the worst mass murderers in history. You think all those chaplains in Hitler's armed forces didn't know what was going on?)
First, most countries in Africa and the Middle East aren't real countries at all. At the end of World
War One, western leaders, notably Bitain, the US and France, drew lines on a map and said, this is now Saudi Arabia; this is now Palestine. The people were often a jumble of various tribes and religions. It didn't matter. They were handed over to Britain and France (mostly) to run. That had already happened to Congo, where millions were murdered, tortured and enslaved to dig for minerals for western billinaires. (And, no, the Belgians were not real big on buiding schools, either.)
Congo was made free: and it elected a president after World War Two. But the mining companies soon arranged it to have him killed, and a more friendly government installed. The corruption, murder and abuse still go on, with Candian mining companies prominent.
After World War One, major control of Saudi Arabia was handed over to British oil companies. They found the head of a tribe of bandits, told him he was king, and if he'd be nice to them, they'd be nice to him. It's worked out well for both sides. And that's what Lawrence of Arabia was all about.
Same thing with Iran which got a shah (who was also a dictator). Both Saudi Arabia and Iran were bled dry. But Iran was nasty. It decided to be a democracy, and to negotiate the price of oil and working conditions.
Britain, France and the US (for a 35% share of the oil) overthrew the elected leader, and re-installed a dictator, the shah. That's when Iran revolted against the west, turned to Islam and got rid of the shah.
These are all artificial countries designed, essentially, to produce huge profits for western corporations. And, because they aren't real countries but just groups of disparate people, you get lots of civil wars. In the same way, South Africa was a region divided into countries to benefit Dutch settlers, then conquered and combined by the British into a country to get control of the gold. Nor were the British in any hurry to develop schools or democracy.
Civil wars are okay with the western powers - so long as the wars don't interfere with the flow of oil or gold, etc. In fact, civil wars are good because they create a market for the western defence industries. (and the sale of weapons is a very big factor, indeed. President Eisenhower was dead right when he warned the US about the military-industrial complex. Almost all of the weapons in the hands of drug lords in Mexico were bought in the US. And their billions of dollars every year have been laundered in western banks.)
In fact, civil wars are often stirred up by the west- as to get rid of a dictator that they put in power in the first place, but might now, for example, be flirting with China or something else that western corporations don't like. The cases of Libya and Iraq spring to mind.
Generally, the west does not like democracies. Democracies have a terrible habit of wanting something back for their oil and minerals. It's much cheaper just to pay off a dictator. (Ever notice the TandT has not mentioned the demonstrations in Saudi Arabia? Or how the king has ordered his troops to fire on demonstrators?)
Anyway, as long as people are divided and fighting each other, then they won't be getting together to deal with the real problem - western corporations. Africa and the Middle East are in a confused mess because corporations like it that way.
The US wants control of Iran. Syria is Iran's major ally. Now do you understand why Syrians are killing each other? Don't worry if you miss this war. There are lots more to come.
Wars are seldom between good and evil. they're between people. And people, most people, are prone to greed and ruthlessness. If you want understand wars, don't look for good guys and bad guys. Just look for people, all of them doing things for people reasons. Then the news will make sense.
And greed and ruthlessness are awhy Headstart has to raise money for our own children.
My, this was a long one. I wanted to do one on Norbert's column. It's a good column. But there's another story involved in the Mars mission. Maybe tomorrow.
Meanwhile, spare some money for Headstart; and apologize to it for electing the miserable wretches we did.
And, hey, give the rich another tax break. They hurt, too, you know. I mean, it's not as if they would dream of sending their own children to underfunded and exploited schools like our chldren have to go to.