Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3: The fat's in the fire....

Two days ago, Zbignew Zbrzenski wrote an open letter which didn't make the Irving press (perhaps it had nobody who was sure how to spell his name.). He demanded war with Russia over the Ukraine. He also said the west would be helped by it's "good friends" in China.

Now, this is not just your man off the street. This man has been a major policy advisor to presidents of the US since Jimmy Carter. Obama now listens to him. His general view? The US needs to defeat all regional powers to make itself the world's dominant power.  Sound familiar?

It should. It's the policy of Project for the New American Century. And not many years ago, he was calling for a war against our "good friends" in China.  (After that would come India, etc.)

But our "good friends" in China are not nearly so thick as Zbigniew seems to think. They know that they're next on  his list. So, today, China declared full and active cooperation with the Russians in the Ukraine affair. In other words, if the US goes to war against Russia, China will be at Russia's side - and the two countries are now planning joint military exercises.

What does this all mean? It means that the corporate bosses in the US want a war with Russia and, in fact, almost certainly were setting this one up from the start.

Add a footnote to that. The performance of the American military in conventional warfare has been dismal, even against much smaller and poorer opponents. I don't know why that is. Until 1945, western powers routinely beat the pants off such opponents, the British taking India with only a few thousand men, for example. The only great victory of the US in over fifty years has been the conquest of Grenada, a tiny nation of cocktail waiters. That's why the US has been switching from conventional wars to the use of assassination squads and drones.

Based on the record, it is hard to see how the US could beat Russia and China in a conventional war. It would have to go nuclear.

This is where greed and the stupidity bred by greed have taken us.

Where does this take us? Well, quite possibly to an exchange of nuclear bombs But even if that doesn't happen, the strain on American society will be unbearable. Most Americans don't want any more wars. Most American are suffering a tremendous strain just with the recession.

Can Americans be propagandized into supporting a war? Maybe, with news media supported by skilled propagandists and with a police state to create fear, it's possible. It would also create a society so ridden by fear and hatred that no-one can predict what it would do.

Harper has sent a half dozen jets, and is sending some 50 soldiers. No, it's not much. But it's enough to commit us to an insane war. And to make us a target.

Why did he do it? 1. Because the corporate leaders who support Harper are as greedy and foolish as those in the US.  2. Because corporate leaders hope to get a share of the spoils of war - and they can't if they don't join.

So prepare yourself fpr patriotic speeches by our leaders about how our service men and women are giving their lives to save democracy.

There is only one story in section A. It's on A12 "Anti-shale gas spokesman 'validated' by report". Of course, it's a reference to the Council of Canadian Academics, and how they have shown that additional research must be done on the effects of shale gas.

But I'm not at all sure this is a victory for the anti-shale gas forces. Why would the Irving press which has specialized in suppressing news about shale gas, and in boosting it and in lying, suddenly permit a series of honest, well-written, and  unbiased reports on the subject?

I'm afraid this really is a soft sell. The shale gas companies are not ready to start operating in NB. They won't be for at least two years, maybe more. So let the antis have their little victory. Let them feel good. And for the two years or more, publish little stories about how well the research is going. Then, with no real research having been done, premier Gallant will announce that the government has now studied the most up to date reports, and has prepared the toughest regulations in the world. So we can go ahead.
NewsToday has a story on Ukraine. But it's already old news. Ukraine has launched a military offensive against the eastern part of the country. Well, that should certainly calm things down.

At no point has the west proposed any workable solution to the problem. It has allowed the situation to drift out of control so that a major war is now almost inevitable.

Was there ever a solution? I think there was. It would have called for the will on both sides to settle this quietly. But that will does not exist on our side.

On the same page is a story about Harper publicly rebuking the judges of the Supreme Court for making a decision against his wishes in a case he had an interest in. To the best of my knowledge, that has never before happened in Canada. And it shows an astonishing lack of respect by the prime minister, of all people, for our highest court.

Steve, baby, the vote by the seven best legal minds in the judiciary of this country went against you by 6 to  1. You have publicly focused on just one judge, a woman. And you are, God help us, the leader of this country publicly denouncing an institution which needs (and merits) respect. And there  you are, foaming at the mouth and spitting contempt, and perhaps waving your lousy  Economics degree.

You really are not fit to be the leader of anything.

The Business page has a good third of it devoted to the publication of an anthology of poets, to somebody getting an award for community stuff at Crandall U, changes to bus routes, and a new scholarship fund  at Ude Moncton. The closest thing to business news is an announcement of a Royal LePage garage sale.
Maybe that was all supposed to be on the Faith Page.
The editorial confirms my opinion that we're getting a soft sell on shale gas.

Bill Belliveau and Norbert write columns on the same topic, a recent book by a UdeMoncton professor on New Brunswick's wobbly financial condition. And they and the author have at least one thing in common. None of them mentions the role of giant corporations and wealthy individuals in this.

Nor does either of them mention a report that appeared in the Regina Leader Post that wealthy Canadians have AT LEAST 170 untaxed and now untaxable billion dollars stowed away in tax havens. And that's in addition to the the tax breaks and the gifts and favours they get.

How can anybody write a book or even a column on the economy and never mention that sort of thing?

The reality is that the rich in New Brunswick have for generations robbed this place blind and avoided taxes. And, as happened in Ukraine, Greece, Ireland, etc. the rich have decided the poor have to pay for the cost of the gluttony of the rich. Yeah, cut back on those medical services  (the rich all have private plans, anyway). Cut back on education.

When a society develops a class that is rich, and has power because it is rich - an aristocracy - the rich come to think of themselves as superior to the common people. Thus the absurd pretensions of the aristocrats of Britain, many of whom were and are brain dead.

They are not only superior to common folk; they have contempt, even hatred for them. After all, if the poor had any gumption they'd be rich, too. I have seen those attitudes taught in the private schools. I have heard the conversations on the rare occasions when I move among my social betters.

They don't like us. They even hate us. Do we have a recession because banks and corporations broke all sorts of laws in their operatons? It's the fault of the poor. So in the US, they gave law-breaking billionaires more billions in taxpayers money - and cut food stamps to the poor.

Never kid yourself about the "better sort".

Once again, Brent Mazerolle writes a trivial little story, and calls it an opinion column.

Gwynne Dyer is back in form with an excellent piece on the behaviour and attitudes of Israel. Zionism long ago became a destructive force, and, most sadly,  destructive of Judaism, itself. I first encountered Judaism in Montreal,  and was enchanted by it sense of social responsibility, love for others, commitment to community. I was so enchanted by it, I moved largely in Jewish circles for the better part of my life. But Jews like that have become a minority. The rest are caught up in the worldliness, violence, and disrespect for others created by Zionism.

Today's sermonette is about how the writings of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky kept Christian faith alive throughout the rule of the brutal and atheistic Stalin. That's nice.

When do the Moncton churches plan to do something like that?


  1. Two things, first, the US quickly discovered that for the most part it didn't NEED to invade countries, it simply used the CIA and propped up dictators who did the dirty work for them. The vietnam was ended because it got too costly, not because it was unwinnable (nobody knows the answer to that).

    The US can certainly win wars, you don't have a military that size with those capabilities and then think 'yah, but they really can't win'. In the last two gulf wars they pretty much made jokes of their rival armies.

    I'm not so sure about 'corporate masters', thats a bit of a stretch. The US ran the world LONG before George Bush the second and the Project for whatever. They ran the world in the fifties. IF they go to war then it won't be because of 'corporate masters' but because they think that domestically the society is on its last legs. Even for Iraq Bush had to lie to americans and tell them that a mushroom cloud was coming if Hussein stayed, and then in the next breath basically assure them that they would be done by christmas.

    This is far different. Most in the US have never heard of Ukraine apart from the mobsters that own Jersey strip. Most know nothing about NATO, and couldn't care less. What they DO know is that Russia has always been the 'big' enemy, and they are not powerless.

    More importantly, at least for now there is a democratic president, and it'll be virtually impossible for a democratic president to get congress onside.

    A lot of this is just bluster to keep americans minds of Obamacare and the President's numerous mistakes. War with Russia would not only be a disaster, but it would kiss goodbye virtually all of those 'corporate masters' customers.

    For shale gas, SWN has said that it IS going to be drilling this coming year, but claims its for 'research' purposes. Mind you thats what they said about phase 1. As for the 'media angle', a more likely situation is that they are building up credibility-"look at all the articles we've posted", so that when the actual work and protests begin, THEN they will start with the propaganda, and refer people to the previous claims.

    They even let Leonard get away with his line claiming that NB has the toughest regulations, when they don't have hardly any regulations at all-they have 'rules for industry' which are permit conditions, NOT legislation which can be regulated.

  2. It's not just the US that has lost military clout. From 1492, the Europeans routinely beat countries with much bigger armies. Britain could put down rebellions in China with just 15,000 or so. France easily took French Indo-China (now Vietnam) with very few forces. And the Dutch, with their small population, walked over the Dutch east indies almost casually.

    Then, quite suddenly it ended in 1945. The French and British, in particular, fought on for some years in now-forgotten wars. But they lost

    Then the US, with massive power and some of the most ruthless bombing the world has ever seen, could not win in Vietnam. It took 10,000 US troops and almost a hundred aircraft to take Grenada, which had no significant army at all, and no air force.

    The change is sudden, dramatic, and consistent. Nor am I convinced the US could just walk over Russia in a conventional war.

    As for Iraq, the US seemed to win quickly in the Gulf wars. but then it bogged down into a longer and very expensive fight - even though the US had no opposition whatever n the air. Ditto in Afghanistan.

    There's change. It's sudden and it's consistent; and it has applied to all the western powers. I don't think that can all be explained away simply by saying that the Vietnam war was ended simply because it was too expensive.

    As to big money, American foreign policy and war have ALWAYS served it. It wasn't great corporations at first because there were none. At first, it was mostly bit time land speculators.

    George Washington was probably the wealthiest man in the US in 1776, His money came from land and the cheap labour of slaves. The war of 1812 was at the demand of land speculators.

    Corporations begin to be the big bosses from the mid-nineteenth century. They are the ones who pushed for the Spanish-American war, the establishing of dictatorships all over central America, the invasion of the Phillipines, and the war with Japan.,

    It doesn't matter whether the president is Democrat or Republican. Obama is acting just like Bush. The corporations own both parties.

    The current mess would be one hell of an awkward and dangerous way to make people forget Obama's mistakes. I don't think for a minute that's what this is about. It is serious And it is setting up a pretext for war.
    Yes, that's stupid, irresponsible and incredibly dangerous. But that's what is going on.

    On the shale gas situation, I think you're bang on.

  3. Graeme,

    You are one of few bloggers on Progressive Bloggers addressing the issue of a pending civil war in Ukraine and our involvement in support of a largely powerless, unable to govern fascist government installed by a western backed fascist coup, complicit in crimes against its own people.

    Key ministries such as Defense, Public Security and Justice are held by Ministers affiliated with the fascist mob in the Maidan and with extreme right and neo-fascist parties such as Svoboda and Right Sector, who preach extermination of cultural minorities.

    As to the fascist character of the provisional regime, it has been confirmed by its response to the latest atrocity in Odessa, carried out by its own Right Sector supporters against ethnic Russians and left wing anti-government protesters in Odessa, in which Svoboda ministers responsible for Justice and Public Security seek to lay the blame on everyone and anyone, the Odessa Police force, alleged Russian paratroopers from neighbouring states financed by Russian oligarchs, the anti-Kiev protesters themselves who allegedly set fire to the building in which they sought refuge while trapped by an armed fascist mob, anyone but the Right Sector hooligans who carried out this atrocity with the complicit sanction of the acting provisional government.

    Such atrocities notwithstanding, the Government of Canada not only supports such fascist regime, but promises it military and financial support. And the western media is complicit in beating the propaganda war drum against Russia and burying the truth of such atrocities.

    In the meantime the survivors of the fascist assault on the Trade Union House in Odessa are recuperating in Odessa hospitals, being treated for gunshot wounds and severe beating, yet their own declarations as to what transpired and who is responsible are being ignored by the western media and the Ukrainian government in search of "perpetrators" other than the armed Right Sector mob identified by the surviving victims.

    Many of the anti-Kiev militants trapped in the burning Trade Union House besieged and set afire by extreme right and fascist hooligans belonged to the left wing, anti-fascist Borotba group, hardly pro-Putin annexationist footsoldiers but rather affiliated to the oppositionist Left Front in Russia. Their public declarations on their own website, many translated into English, give a completely different version of the Odessa events from the official declarations of the Ukrainian government which is being propagated by much of the western media....

  4. Graeme, did you notice the photoshop quality of the photograph of deers on Page C3.

  5. The US bombed northern Vietnam into the stone ages, which resulted in a cease fire. The US pulled out their military and watergate happened. The north quickly conquered the south, which meant the US would then have to resend all the troops and start again. Then the energy crisis hit.

    In Grenada it didn't 'take' that many men, that was simply how many men were sent. Same with Panama. Its FAR cheaper to use the CIA rather than militarily conquer countries, and the CIA was pretty successful in most cases.

    The US has been pretty successful with its military aims for over half a century-they've been running the world. However, they always avoided aggression with Russia and anybody who could essentially destroy the US way of life. That's why I'm not quite so pessimistic as you. Just the other day on the radio they talked about vials of small pox-one held in the US, one held in Russia. Forget conventional warfare, if the US actually started a war with Russia, how hard would it be to propagate small pox and unleash it on the american population. It would be dirt easy.

    As for 'who is in charge', theres a difference between owning the government, and having more power than other people. When you say 'corporations', thats sort of like saying 'people' . Virtually ANYBODY can incorporate. Veterinarians in the US (and Canada) usually are incorporated, but its ludicrous to think that veterinarians run the US government.

    One thing corporations are NOT, is stupid. A war with Iraq has zero consequences for the wealthy in the US, and is a good means to funnel more money into military corporations. A war with Russia is something else entirely. So far as we know these guys could still have nuclear missiles aimed at american cities. All for Ukraine?

    You may be right, and I certainly don't dispute that its a bad scenario, but whether the US and its allies are ready to scrap western civilization for a basket case country who really wants nothing to do with the west is something I'm not so sure of.

  6. My point was that the west has military history from 1492 to 1945 in which tiny western armies routinely beat large, eastern, african and south american countries. And they could then use them to make themselves richer.

    That streak stops abruptly in 1945. Since then, the west has consistently lost. That's a remarkable change in a very short time.

    The US can, as you say,bomb them into the stone age. It can destroy them as it did Libya and Iraq (and now Syria). But it has not been able to seize countries as it once did, then to use them for it's own purposes.

    (By corporations, I meant, of course, the very big ones, not local veterinarians.)

    They are doing this for Ukraine. They don't give a damn about Ukraine. They need to destroy Russia as a power to deal with China. If they don't get China - and very, very soon - it's game over for the very wealthy in the US.

    Corporations are NOT stupid? In fact, they commonly are. By their destruction of regulations and their insistence on taking profits that can not long be afforded, they are destroying their own markets. That's greed - and greed is stupidity. They're very smart at making money for themselves. That is really all they are smart at.

    These are are the new aristocracy (like the House of Lords in Britain) and they're no brighter than the old one.

    The US and its allies are willing to risk scrapping western civilization. But it has nothing to do with saving Ukraine.

    The US, by the way, has not been successful with its military aims for the last fifty years. It lost in Vietnam and Afghanistan - two David and Goliath wars. It won but only in the most technical sense in Iraq. It exercises very, very little of the control of a conqueror.

    A crucial loss was Cuba. It was the first Latin American state to challenge American control. And it succeeded. As a result, American control has been challenged and weakened in other Latin American countries.

    There ARE very influential people in the US who want a war with Russia. They want it as a major step to world domination. And it cannot be delayed.

    That's not me saying that. It's Brezezinski - and he's a very heavy hitter indeed ad faithful employee of the very, very rich. check the website for Project for the New American Century. Check the names. This is not a bunch of yokels (or even veterinarians).

    They said almost twenty years ago that they want world domination. Obviously that includes domination of Russia.

    It's crazy to say it. Yes. And it was just as crazy to say it twenty years ago. But they said it. I'm not telling you this. They've already told you.

  7. I disagree pretty strongly about your history of colonialism. I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell you that many african nations are heavy resource extractors, and also the most impoverished. Those resources are leaving those countries, they aren't being used by their dictators. If the colonial powers had 'lost' their wars, then that would not be the case.

    The point with corporations is that they are NOT nation states. They could care less about going into a country and conquering it. IF what you said was true then the US certainly wouldn't have outsourced all its manufacturing to China. You don' t need a crystal ball to see where that would be headed. They would have isolated China much like Cuba.

    So while the US quite easily could have stormed virtually any country in the world and laid it waste, there was simply no need. You just install a dictator and then let them do the dirty work.

    Vietnam was the only real 'loss' for the US. Afghanistan was of no real interest to them, whether it stays a basket case and resorts back to the Taliban they could care less. In Iraq, just go look at its oil exports to the US since the war.

    As for smarts, I don't agree with that at all. They may be 'short sighted', but that doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing.

    As for the 'Project', again, thats just a revision of what the State Department has held for years. The US has pretty much run the world since 1945, its not that they are trying to conquer it NOW, they OWN it. There are of course war planners who talk about virtually every contingency. They have war plans for dealing with Canada you may be interested to know, and virtually every other country in the world.

    Cuba is kind of an anomaly. Its not like their military couldn't just roll into the country and take it over in half a day, heck, they could do it by just providing boats to those who now live in Miami. Cuba is much more valuable to them showing any other countries their resolve-four decades of embargo. And while there have been important successes in latin america and south america, its not like they are all communists, the market is alive and well in virtually all of them.

    And actually the old aristocracy wasn't exactly stupid. Its been about 2000 years since a guy from Bethlehem made waves about living together in peace and harmony and sharing everything in common. In 2000 years that hasn't even become a remote possibility in most places on the globe, the aristocracy has done pretty well for themselves and in most cases continues to do so. In virtually EVERY country of the world there is now a healthy and getting healthier aristocracy. And they've been doing it even though the masses of the population are fully aware that its being done, and even have more political tools at their disposal than virtually anytime before. That sounds pretty smart to me, I wish I were that intelligent!

    As for brzezinski, theres a reason why his letter is in the New York Times and made public-people who REALLY have the presidents ear don't talk publicly. However, I read his latest letter and it talks at most about sending weapons to the people of Ukraine and continuing to negotiate with russia, so thats hardly talking about pushing the red button, his letter is downright pacifist compared to how Fox sold the Iraq war.

    1. The US didn't care about AFghanistan? It's the longest war in US history, and it's cost over a trillion dollars. They don't care.

      The biggest resource country is the Congo. It didn't have to be reconquered because it never got free in the first place. Ditto for those in Latin America.

      You quote Iraq oil sales as though this is the sign of triumph. In fact, what the war did is to so destabilize Iraq that it will never recover. And that oil is worth less than the cost of the war fought to get it.

      As to Brezezinski, read more carefully. and not just the NY Times letter. of course, he does not say let's invade.

      He says let's arm the Ukrainians (and do you seriously think that even an armed Ukraine could defeat Russia?) Then he says lets have NATO forces handy and ready to intervene if necessary.
      Well, of course it will be necessary. And that's called a war with Russia.

  8. PS Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with your view, and I think this needs to be pointed out far more often to the general public. The 'worst case scenario' could well be the outcome, and Harper once again is pretty much acting the dictator in maybe dragging us to war.

    1. Oh - and the US once did try to invade Cuba by giving boats to Cubans in Miami. Remember?

      The survival of Cuba is a major threat to US power in Central America. It's failure to act has nothing to do with being calm.

  9. Might as well get this all out now, this is from the Forbes list of American billionaires and what occupations they hold:

    Top 10 Industries Producing U.S. Billionaires

    1. Investments: 100 billionaires
    2. Technology: 51 billionaires
    3. Media: 37
    4. Energy: 35
    5. Food and Beverage*: 31
    5. Service*: 31
    7. Fashion and Retail: 28
    8. Real Estate: 27
    9. Manufacturing: 18
    10. Sports: 15

    Very few of those industries see a direct benefit from outright war. Weapons technology does great when there is a 'threat' of war, but as we see now, the US doesn't even need much of a credible threat to funnel money into weapons technology. And with the US about to be an energy exporter, there is little demand on that quarter.

    There is certainly lots of media talk, and has been for years, about war with china, but I like best the one I found: "the coming US war with.. (insert your country here)". The US mostly needs its own population terrified and distracted, which it largely is with the 'socialist Obama'. Its true that the US isn't exactly stable, however, like I've said, for the most part you can hardly even find protests in the US, whereas in China just labour unrest is unsettling. All the US has to do is make laws demanding domestic manufacturing and China would be a basket case.

    But the big thing is the domestic population. There's a reason why Brzeninski is basically trying to get the US population to pay attention, but americans are notoriously self involved and Ukraine means nothing to them. China they don't like simply because they took all their jobs but even americans are dumb enough to blame low paid chinese for something their own corporations took advantage of. There is virtually NO desire for war with Russia OR China, and that goes equally for the 'billionaires' in the US.

    That the US runs the world is a given, and that US corporations WANT that is indisputable because it gives them leverage. However, there's a reason that up until a few years ago we knew nothing about the NSA, and even americans know little about the CIA, which has been caught operating within the US, something completely illegal.

    US billionaires don't want anything to occur that will affect their billions, thats pretty basic. But as for 'control', that has way too many conspiracy websites to be taken seriously. One guy says its the bilderbergs, another guy says its the freemasons, another guy says its the federal reserve board, another says its moneyed interests in europe which controll ALL of them.

  10. I don't quote (or read) conspiracy websites. The website I referred you to (but which you seem unwilling to read) includes Dick Cheney who was Bush's VP and who is a multi-billionaire.

    And direct benefits from war have nothing to do with it. I never said they did.

  11. I didn't see a website referenced, sorry, otherwise I'd check it out. But either way, you've explained it out, and its simply a difference of opinion. The US sells arms all over the world, that doesn't mean they are at war with those countries. If you think that selling arms to people (they don't actually NEED to sell arms, they already have arms, and what they'd do is give them money, arms are pretty easy to buy from just about anywhere, I'm pretty sure I read that Canada is one of the largest weapons exporters in the world).

    Anyway, if you think that all that 'means war', thats fine. I'd just rebut it by saying that various people in the US have said that about virtually every country in the world. Fox news regularly says to go to war with any place, heck, when Canada refused to go to Iraq there were high placed people saying Canada should be next.

    The US has tried to kill Castro, but hasn't actually ever invaded. A cuban invasion would last about as long as one with Grenada. Its not nearly the sore spot you think it is for a nation that pretty much runs the world.

    My point about Iraq oil sales is that the main aim of the war was accomplished-they got their oil. Its US taxpayers that paid for it, what do the wealthy care how much it cost? Many of them got a lot of their money from it. There has really been no 'war' in Afghanistan for over a decade-all the Taliban left to wait it out in Pakistan.

    And again, Dick Cheney says all kinds of crazy stuff, but he's no longer in power, and according to several websites, is worth $90 million, which is quite a bit shy of multi billions. For Ukraine, what he said was similar to Brzenski: "Cheney suggested restarting work on ICBM missle defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, which the U.S. shelved a few years ago in a concession to Russia, as well as joint military exercises in the region, and offering equipment and training to Ukrainian forces."

    Note the words 'stopped doing as a concession', which means they used to do it all the time, when there was no 'war'. I agree its not good, but it doesn't mean the same as war. And again, I do agree its serious, but these are not people in power.

    My point with the Congo is that I agree-it DIDN"T get free, so your claims that 'since 1945' european colonial powers have been suffering setbacks doesn't seem to be the case.

  12. I've been doing some investigating and while I see your point more and more, I'd probably fully agree with you if a republican President were in power right now. The best explanation of the US I heard years ago, maybe Noam Chomsky, but maybe Ralph Nader or even a lecture from the Council on Foreign Relations (whose talks are pretty funny usually and who have also been said to be secretely running the US).

    Anyway, basically its corporate run, not so much 'individual' run, although that can change, like with Iraq. However, while corporations control the two parties, DIFFERENT corporations control them. So the 'military industrial complex' so to speak, runs the republicans, which is why we usually see much more aggression.

    Financial corporations and technology corporations run the democrats, so you see less overt chest thumping with them than the republicans. Not that they are peaceniks by any means, but less inclined to go to full out war.

    But these two guys are both republicans, so are commenting from the outside and criticizing the government for what its NOT doing. If they were working IN the government then I'd maybe agree with you. So god help us if in three years Sarah Palin is the President!