Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feb. 27: "Any kind of military intervention that would violate the. territorial integrity of the Ukraine....

would be a huge, a grave mistake." US policy was aimed at helping people realize aspirations for freedom......"  So says John Kerry, US Secretary of State.

Donne-moi un break.

This is the TandT's story from The Associated Press. It does not mention the public statement of a month or so ago that the the US had spent 5 billion to start a rebel movement in Ukraine. Well, why would it? The American people don't know about the statement. Associated Press never told them.

That's what happens when you have a lying press that is devoted to propaganda rather than news.

John Kerry also says no-one should interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state . In fact, he has done  nothing but interfere from the start.

Then he says to help the people of the Ukraine in their aspirations for freedom.

Sure. The US is big on freedom. That's why it has secret police all over the country spying on American citizens. It's so big on freedom, one of its closest allies is Saudi Arabia, the severest dictatorship in the world. That's why it supported dictator after dictator in Latin America, and slaughtered people who wanted freedom.

In fact, we don't even know that the rebels want freedom. We don't know anything about them. There is a cozy assumption that they want freedom and that they represent the majority - but not the slightest evidence.

We know that large sections of Ukraine are pro-Russian. So why this assumption that the rebels represent a majority?

Hell, if Kerry really had a love for bringing freedom to a people, he night start with those the US has taken it away from over the years - like Guatemala and Haiti.

This "news report" is pure propaganda  You cannot read it without coming to the conclusion that the people of Ukraine are living in chains and slavery, and they have risen out of a thirst for freedom. In fact, we have no information on that. The only solid information we have is that the US spent 5 billion. So why did the news editor choose to present it as news?

Well, let's be kind. Let's presume the news editor at the TandT didn't know any better.

And note that a newspaper chain the size of Irving press doesn't have a staffer competent to write a column on this.

Kerry is forever saying we must never interfere in the affairs of a foreign state. In fact, he has done nothing but interfere in this one from the start- and he represents a nation that routinely interferes with other countries - stirring up rebellions, invading, sending with assassination squads. bombing with drones, imposing sanctions (which is an act of war), etc.

The country which is deliberately risking a war here is the US. Can the US win such a war?

Not with conventional weapons. The US has not beaten a country it's own size in a conventional war since the revolution. (Actually, many American school books cite the War of 1812 as a victory - something that never got mentioned in our festival 2012.).  In the last fifty years, it has not even been able to defeat tiny, third world countries,- - not even using chemical weapons it so much disapproves of other countries using.

Russia is not only big, and a modern, industrial power. But there is also China which is kind of large, too, and cannot afford to see Russia, it's only possible ally of any size, humbled.

And that takes us into a war that nobody could win without nuclear weapons - which really means a war that nobody could win.

By the way, where is Obama in all of this? The excitable Mr. Kerry seems to be carrying all the baggage of his one. It seems a little odd to hear nothing from the president.

There's really nothing to talk about in the rest of the paper - except at a comment on Alec Bruce's column on cheating among university students/ It should be detectable to a teacher. When I had a student with a high grade on a paper (B or better), that meant, among other things, it was well written. And if that student turned in poor writing on the final exam - then I knew something was rotten.  One doesn't expect perfection in the pressure of writing an exam. But good writers, even in exams, don't don't suddenly burst out in terrible grammar and bad spelling.

But proving that to an appeals committee is quite another matter. Committees take a highly legalistic approach. That's why I would suspect the rates of cheating in universities are a good deal higher than official figures show.

There really isn't much to say about the rest of the paper that I haven't said before. So let's try some history. Ukraine made me think of it; but Ukraine isn't the centre of it.

I was stuck one day in Ottawa, chairing a conference for MBA students is a programme designed for promising executives. The awful thing about being a chariman is you really can't say much. And I was astonished to hear the propaganda that was spewed out the speakers - who came from an eminent "think tank".

The constant theme was that capitalism creates wealth. And I suppose it could if it were properly regulated and if it were honest. Alas, it has only rarely been of those qualities.

Perhaps the major foundation stone of capitalism in the US was slavery - particularly in the cotton business. But that didn't create wealth except for the George Washingtons with huge estates and armies of slaves. Those slaves were worked to death, paid nothing, and fed on whatever was cheap. And they were the lucky ones.

Some sixty million died just on the voyage from their homes in Africa. Canada had slavery, too, of course, though no such super industry as cotton growing to help it to become as prominent. We also enslaved native peoples -    something that you won't see in most high school texts. But they died too young, with the average in the very early twenties. Anyway, it was too easy for them to escape and survive in the American wilderness.

African slaves lived longer -sometimes to thirty or more - and Africa was too far to escape to.

In short, the earliest form of big capitalism in North America rested on slavery, abuse, and poverty.

Slaves were common in Europe, too. But there was no adequate base for the institution in European farming. So the poverty had to be found (or created )somewhere else.

The European capitalists found their targets in the much weaker homelands of Africa and Asia. There, for example, British armies that we had been taught in school to admire for their work in spreading Christian values, really acted as what they really were - thugs acting for big business.

Vast mineral wealth was stolen in perhaps the greatest theft which still goes on today in Africa and Central America. Local people were forced to work in conditions that sometimes (as in Congo) were worse than slavery. Our heroes were, on a massive scale, torturers, rapists, and murderers. And, yes, I am thinking of all those heroes like Sir Cecil Rhodes, and all those generals. They impoverished much of the world.

Nor did that wealth ever reach most of the European and north American people. They, too, were beaten into submission,, paid next to nothing, thrust into dangerous and unhealthy slums. Everywhere it went, capitalism left a trail of poverty, suffering and death.

By the 1870s, the British were beginning to realize they could not sustain control of their huge empire. That is what led to the idea of forming a partnership with the US to share the task of ruling so may of the world's people.

But the US wasn't interested. It was too busy building its own empire in Latin America, then reaching across the Pacific to Hawaii, The Phillipines (where they murdered a third of the population and, as usual, established a dictatorship). The poet Rudyard Kipling cheered on this conquest in his poem "Take up the White man's burden" He was looking to use this to encourage British/American cooperation. But the US wasn't interested. It's eyes were fixed, as they still are,on the greatest gem of all - China.

(Notice the reference to the "White man's burden". It's a hint  of the racism that was common at the time. The west was robbing those countries. But it kidded itself it was taking up a burden to civilize them. The US still does that with the pretence it only wants to bring freedom to the world. That's why it has to kill so many people.)

Unable to win American attention, the British then turned to the white part of the empire (and India) to bolster their dwindling power. That's why Canadians died in the Boer War - to help British billionaires steal South African gold and diamonds.

But by 1950 or so, the western powers had lost control over the empires. The US lost, even in South America, when Cuba became the first Latin American country to overthrow its American-imposed dictatorship. Thus the campaign that still goes on to teach Americans to hate Cubans.

But the west could not be prosperous without its colonies to steal from. The US had hoped to take over from the Europeans. But it failed miserably.  It's hold on South America was weakening, China was too strong to subdue, and the American military proved miserably ineffective in small wars like Vietnam.

That was when the west took another look at NATO, which had been intended to defend Western Europe. Why not convert NATO into something like the British commonwealth, an association of failed imperial powers who would now act as one in world affairs, and combine their energies to dominate the world?

And so we have a NATO which is actually a grouping of over-the-hill European powers under the control of a US that, itself, shows over-the-hill signs.

And the average Europeans and North Americans? They are no better off at all. That was never the point of the game.

Oh, yes, note how closely western Europe is following American leadership in the case of Ukraine. They're all just a happy bunch of freedom lovers.

Sorry to be so late with this one. I've joined an exercise class so I can be beautiful again. (it might take a while). And it really ate into my day.

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