Friday, October 12, 2012

Oct. 12: Read Alec Bruce...

...take it seriously,very seriously, especially the last sentence. For all his gentle tone, Mr. Bruce is reminding us of the central fact of our time. The American empire is collapsing just as those of the British and French and Dutch and Spanish and Portuguese did before. It's the last of the western empires that began with Columbus.

It's military record has not, to put in kindly, been impressive for the last sixty years and more. Despite size and wealth and technology, it cannot beat backward and poor countries with only primitive weaponry. It has tried to make up for its weakness by draughting NATO as a sort of private pet version of the UN. It has abandoned any pretence of observing human rights  - resorting to torture, indiscriminate killing of civilians, using drones as assassination and terror weapons - usually used on countries it is not even at war with.

Americans aren't like that. Not normally. But they've been driven into a frenzy of paranoia and fear by manipulative politicians and the news media owned by some of their wealthy friends. The paranoia and fear are so great, they have almost torn up the constitution their founders bequeathed to them. A president can now attack countries without declaring war (Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan), and without the permission of Congress. A president can now imprison any American for an indefinite period with no charge and no trial. Or , to save time, a president can now even order the assassination of an American citizen. No reason required.

Five million Americans are now on government lists to be watched as suspects of...who knows? Many more will be added as surveillance drones fill the skies over the US. The US, once the model of freedom for the world, is now a police state. And a dreadfully corrupt one at that, a nation owned and ruled by the very, very  rich.

With a national debt so huge that even government computers cannot keep track of it, the US is kept afloat to spend yet more money on wars only by printing more paper. There is nothing behind that paper. And someday it will collapse.

Private capitalism was allowed to run wild, with almost no regulation. And where there was any regulation remaining, the law was ignored. That's what caused the banking collapse and the bailouts. In Iceland, bankers who did that went to jail. In the US, not a single banker was even charged with anything. And not only did they avoid legal charges, they got paid for all their crooked losses by the American people, - and they got billions in bonuses for their cleverness. Similar bubbles are bursting all over Europe.

Meanwhile, wars have to be fought to preserve the empire that America lives off, wars in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East, maybe in the Far East. The rules of war, such as they ever were, have long since disappeared. And the US has not been doing well.

What will it do when it finds it cannot establish the military dominance it needs to survive?

Nobody is in a position to use nuclear weapons without suffering with everyone else in world-wide destruction. Well, Israel might. It has some 200 nuclear weapons; and its enemies have none to shoot back with. The US is not in such a favourable position. But it does have far the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. What happens on the day they realize they cannot win all those conventional wars? That only a heavy strike against some powerful enemy will work? that they can make deals with other nuclear powers to stay out?

What happens if on that day the president is a George Bush or a Sarah Palin or a Mitt Romney? - or an Obama (whose policies are not so far from those of Romney as they both like to pretend.)?

Americans wouldn't do such a thing?

     No. Most of them wouldn't. Most of them wouldn't torture, either. Or kill civilians with drones. Or drive the world economy and billions of people into desperation by illegal actions, put most other Americans into generations of hopeless debt, and so thoroughly corrupt a government it would pay them for what they had done.

There is nothing anti-American in this. We all know Americans. We all know most of them behave pretty much like us. The problem is that American capitalism and American politics have been perverted into thoroughly anti-American forces And the American news media have turned anti-American along with them.

Sorry to take so long on this one topic. It's just that Bruce's column is the first thing I have seen in that paper to give any hint of what is going on.

David Suzuki is excellent about what needs to be done NOW about climate damage. In NB, expect neither the liberals nor the conservatives to do any of it.

Norbert uses a whole column to give the meaning of a word, something which could have been done in a paragraph. Of course, he needed more space to fume and rant and call people names. I have no idea why. Sometimes he's right. Professors are,as he says, so wrapped up in their own tree that they've not a clue how to deal with the forest. Well, yeah. Journalists are like that, too. So are corporation bosses. I've worked closely with all three. And all three are overrun with horse's asses.

And your point is, Norbert?

Speaking of a person who doesn't know what he's talking about, the editor knows nothing about education.

The only real news in the paper is disappointing. A provincial court declined to hear the case dealing with the provincial government's choice of a site for the  new high school. Now, nothing further can be done until the written decision is handed down. And that could take a very long time, indeed.

Other observations
1. the big "news" story on A. a blatant, free ad for a bar and grill. At that, it ranks as one of the more important stories I've seen in Section A.
2.The lead story in sports is "Wildtown Catfight".
Really, that's the kind of juvenilia that even Don Cherry is above. Wildtown, wow, pant, pant. Catfight. Yowie!  In a middle school newspaper, that might show promise in the writer. In an adult, it suggest a serious need for growing up. Or it suggests the writer thinks people who read the sports section are morons. I don't that's true. And it I don't it's a good idea to give that impresion.
To add to it, The whole layout, including the pictures and the colour are obviously to provide hype for the game. Let the team do its own advertising, fellas. You're there to report, not to be cheerleaders. (I hope.)

I have written to the Minister of the Environment asking for further information about the contamination of Highfield Square.- and for the location of some 885 officially reported sites around the province. We shall see.

Sorry for the lateness on this one. My electricity went as dead as a Times and Transcript editorial.

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