Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15: The news is bad, really bad...

I'm doing it again. I'm starting this late on a Saturday night when I should be doing something recreational like washing pigeon poo off my balcony. The trouble is that so many things are happening - and almost all of them ignored  by our news media.

It all got ne to thinking of the meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt on a warship anchored at Newfoundland in 1941, just months before the US would enter World War Two. That's when they drafted a statement of our purpose in the war. It was very noble. We were fighting to bring peace to the world so that all peoples could live in freedom and democracy, and all people would be fed.

We had to memorize it in school. And on Sunday, our minister preached about the sublime Christianity of it all.

But Churchill and Roosevelt were lying. That's not just calling names. They actually lied. Both them were leaders of imperial powers, Britain ruling over a fifth of the world, and the US over much of Central America through dictators. They used that imperial power to enforce cheap labour and strip the resources of their victims. And neither had any intention of freeing any of them.

Britain slowly gave up its empire - but only after years of fighting and getting kicked out. It's still trying to get a foot back in the door in the Middle East and Africa. That's why it joined the war on Iraq. The US extended freedom and democracy to not a single one of its puppet dictatorships. In fact, it even created new dictators - as in Guatemala. Like Britain, its motive was to rip off resources without regard for the consequences, and to virtually enslave the people. And any country that acts as if it's free, like Venezuela, gets hit with artificially generated riots, violence, and assassination squads.

The sin of Castro is that he stood up against the US, booted out the dictator, and held out through American sanctions, assassination attempts, and terror bombs. He brought medicare, public education, decent housing to Cuba. That's why he is hated in the US.

In fact, we have had nothing but wars, both public and secret since 1945. There are more refugees in the world now than at any time since World War Two. Of all the major powers, not one has made any significant attempt to spread freedom, to feed the hungry, or to bring international law and order to the world.

The Atlantic Charter was an arrogant and cynical lie. The world is in a far worse situation than it has ever been. And it can't be blamed on communism any more because very major country in the world is under capitalism.

We hanged people (on the other side) for war crimes at the end of World War Two. Today, we make war criminals like Bush and Blair into extremely wealthy men.

Harper is now making his own, small contribution to the chaos and lawlessness. He is fighting against a recommendation to send Omar Khadr to a provincial jail to ease his confinement.

Oh, I know, I know. Khadr is a terrible man. He's the Moslem who killed an American soldier (maybe). He deserved to be beaten, imprisoned and tortured by the American government. He deserved to get a military tribunal rather than a real court of law. And it found him guilty of throwing a grenade even though he was a civilian.

But there is no law national or international against a civilian fighting against a soldier. It's perfectly legal. If the Taliban invaded the US, started shooting people, and an American civilian shot back, can you imagine an American court finding that American guilty of a crime?

In fact, the law breaker  was the US which broke international law by invading Afghanistan for no clear reason. If anyone should be arrested for killing and breaking the law, it's Bush and Obama.

Even worse, it was illegal even to imprison Khadr because under international law he was too young to be charged.

Harper's imprisonment of Khadr is almost certainly illegal and even unconstitutional. But Harper is Washington's toady. So he's going to be tough on Khadr.

And I have seen almost nothing in our news media about it. Maybe Rod Allen could spare us his latest, amusing story about wife no. 1, find out about the case (there's lots of info on the web), and write a grown-up column about it.

Millions have been killed since World War Two. Millions brutalized and countries poisoned by mining companies, many of them Canadian. "We" have done it. "They:" have done it. You need two fingers to point at the bad guys, one for them and one for us.

And this vile stage of it began with that cynical and lying promise known as The Atlantic Charter.

Talk about pigeon poo!

(I'm resuming on Monday after reading the T andT)

Section A is mostly pictures of people looking at old cars, and others eating lobsters at a big, big table. Very exciting, I suppose, for those who have never seen people looking at old cars or eating lobsters.

The "big" story in NewsToday is that someone was killed in a bus crash in Ohio. Then, on p. 3 there's a really big story about a rocket carrying stink-free gym outfits to the space station.

Not until you come to p. 4 do you get a couple of stories that matter. One is about Palestine which doesn't really explain much. But, just below, is one, superb story on children fleeing Honduras to get into the US. This is an important story to read. It's just a little kind to the US, though. It says the American "war on drugs" has raised levels of violence in parts of Latin America. Actually,  it's worse that that.

The 'war on drugs" is largely a fraud, an excuse to maintain American power in those countries which get silly ideas, like having a democracy or governing themselves, or making American and Canadian mining companies less destructive and brutal in the quest for profits.

Alec Bruce has a decent column on the growth industry of spying.. Steve Malloy has a column that really spoke to me. It was about his recent meeting with one of the schoolteacher, one of those who just about all students admire. I had a teacher just like that, and met him late in his life. I later, like Steve, wrote an article about him. It was published and was read to him shortly before he died.

The rest of the editorial and op ed pages is just ranting and trivia.

The bigger news is that it's time to get scared, very scared of what's happening in Ukraine, in Palestine and Israel, in Iraq, and in Iran.

So far the reaction is like one of those corny old western in which the good guys wore white hats, and the back guys wore black ones. Harper has put on his white hat. He blames Palestine entirely for the killing in Palestine. And, as is  his normal style, he talks big but but does nothing. Worse, in all of his statements on foreign affairs, I have never once seen him take an initiative in any positive step to settle conflicts peacefully.In fact, the only reason he makes statements is to win over voting blocs. (Remember his expensive trip to Israel with a couple of  hundred Canadian-Jewish leaders. Not all Canadian-Jewish leaders agree with Israel; but you can bet this bunch was. We paid millions to fly those people over, give them a free holiday, just to hear Harper give a couple of speeches in which he had nothing to say but "I'm on your side." But it's going to win  him votes.)

It's all good guys and bad guys, and the shootout at high noon. He (and most of us) have learned nothing over the years.

In 1914, we went to war against Germany because it invaded Belgium. The common term in the papers was 'poor' little Belgium, poor, a victim, a nation that never hurt anybody. In  fact, Belgium was (and still is) murdering people by the millions in Congo, and enslaving the survivors to steal their own resources to give to Belgian millionaires. It was so vile that Joseph Conrad wrote a novel about it, "Heart of Darkness".

And who were the good guys who rushed to the defence of poor, little Belgium? Notably, they were Britain and France (who had far the largest empires in the world, empires that, like Belgium, they brutalized and robbed. Oh, and there was Russia, ruled by a Tsar who was both stupid and brutal. He had a white hat, too.

 Sixty thousand Canadians died fighting for the good guys.

In 1939, Britain and France went to war to protect Poland. Again, the two countries that were the most aggressive, abusive and thieving nations in the world put on their white hats to stop Hitler. Why, Hitler killed people. He had a black hat.

This world's disputes are really not so simple as that. The Israeli dispute with Palestine did not begin with rockets fired at Israel. It didn't even begin with Israel's more than sixty years of murder and abuse of Palestinians. It actually began with self-righteous politicians in Britain and the US and Canada who founded Israel to get Jews out of their own countries. Then the US made it worse by  deciding to support Israel as a base for spreading American influence and power in the middle east.

The people who cause wars almost never wear black hats.  They all wear white ones in the eyes of their own news media.. That's why our news media call some Moslems extremists - but never use that language for the Christians who killed millions in Vietnam and Iraq.

Our guys in white hats have created the hatred and bloodshed of the middle east. They are also setting tougher and tougher conditions for Iran to stop a nuclear weapons programme which almost certainly doesn't exist. (What they really want is an Iran back under the American thumb.) And they are staging and funding a "civil" war in Syria to break it up, and another in Iraq for the same reason.

Any one of those has the potential to blow into a world war, perhaps a nuclear one.

Now, we're at a dangerous stage in Ukraine. Putin made it clear from the start he didn't want to be involved in this. Today, he announced he might have to intervene. Indeed, he might well have to. The west, backed by a propaganda news media, has been constantly pushing, trying to force him to take a stand. Well, he has.

If the west keeps pushing and Putin does intervene in Ukraine, then we have a world war on our hands, and with an almost certainty of it becoming a nuclear one.

I'll finish  this one when I see Tuesday's news.

And so to bed.

Thursday morning.

Relax, folks. Nothing to see in the Times and Transcript. Just keep moving.

Here in Moncton, it's front page news that a police officer lost her wedding ring. I can't imagine another newspaper in the world that would carry that story - and certainly not on its front page. And from there, section A goes downhill. This is trivia with a vengeance.

In NewsToday, page 1, is the story of how Omar Khadr appealed the decision of the US military court to imprison him. His grounds are that there is no such crime as the one he was convicted of. But the military appeals court decided he was guilty - even though it never even bothered to hear his appeal.

Luckily for Khadr, he is a Canadian citizen and has a right to assistance from the Canadian government. Unluckily for him, the Canadian prime minister is a toady to Washington.

There is no sign the fighting between Israel and Palestine will end soon. Every day it continues raises the possibility of a much wider war with unpredictable consequences. Our own Foreign Minister, John Baird, has expressed sympathy for the civilian deaths in Palestine. But he adds that Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket attacks.

Good point.

Mr. Baird, by the same logic, doesn't Palestine have the right to defend itself when Israeli troops annex Palestinian land, kick out the Palestinians, and then claim that land for Israel?

Nah. Of course not.

Mr. Baird also said it is very difficult (meaning he isn't going to do it) to get a Canadian citizen out of an Egyptian prison. (The Canadian is a reporter who was arrested for - well - for being a reporter.) Here's a hint to make your job easier, Mr. Baird.

The Egyptian government, a sort of military dictatorship with democratic touches,is heavily dependent on the US for money and weapons. We are close allies of the US.

Can you put those pieces together, Mr. Baird?

Russia, which has so far been trying to keep its distance from Ukraine fighting, has now moved up troops to the Ukraine border. Of course. It is not possible for Putin to sit and watch while the Ukrainian army kills Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

And the American and Ukraine government want a war. Neither has shown much interest in peace talks. NATO forces, including Canadians, are moving into eastern Europe in a showing of support for Ukraine. But any intervention by them would force Putin to intervene. We are inches from a war that would almost certainly go nuclear.
de Adder's cartoon is about the wars and disorders in the middle east  - which some readers will take in an "oh, those crazy middle easters - always at war." sort of way.

In fact, most of the disorders and wars of the region originate from European invasion, plundering, destruction of traditional governments, deliberate creation of hatreds, destruction of all those things like local economies, religions, all the glue that holds societies together.

It's the same thing we did to native peoples. The results are almost always quite tragic, and almost impossible to mend. In many countries, like Iraq and Syria, we create civil wars. And we do it deliberately to destroy the countries. By our constant peddling of abuse in our news media, by our constant interference, we have created an extreme and militant form of Islam that we now self-righteously point to as a threat to us.

Yes, the middle east has a lot of war and social chaos. So has all of Africa, of Latin American, much of Asia and, increasingly, Europe.

Those people didn't do it to themselves. We did it. We did it because some people want unlimited wealth - and they really don't care what damage they do to get it. And they own our news media.

Our turn is coming. Democracy is pretty much a dead letter in the US; and it's dying fast in Canada. In the US, at least, police forces are rapidly being converted into combat troops for the domestic war that is coming.
But Alan Cochrane is on the case with an important column about old car collectors going to visit an old car scrapyard in Cape Hopewell. I h ave no idea what Norbert's column is about. And I note that the newest column on op ed comes from a propaganda "think tank". Today's is on the Ontario government which, according to the author is anti-business, anti-wealth, way  too Green, and has "anti-competitive" tax rates.

Well, no-one will ever accuse the Alward government of those things.


  1. Good, LENGTHY blog dude. I feel bad though, I just have to say again because I know you were saying that it takes you a lot of time to write the blog, that a lot of the stuff is repetition. I hope you at least just cut and paste it, because that would save you a lot of time. Thats not criticism, it was a really good blog and I like a lengthy read (more stuff to criticize:), but I worry also that such long blogs may turn off a lot of potential readers. More, shorter blogs would probably have more people paying attention. Just my thoughts for what they're worth.

    1. It's a thought that has often bothered me.

      The trouble with shorter blogs is that they do not take into consideration the impact of established ideas.

      For example, we have an idea reinforced every Nov. 11 that our service people fought to defend democracy. And I'm sure than many of those in the services thought of it that way.

      But our democracy was never threatened in either war. So, to give some idea of how we are manipulated to believe, for generations, things that aren't true, I had to use the Atlantic Charter, and I had to explain why Churchill and Roosevelt were lying.

      Short pieces work for cheerleading. They don't work in getting rid of misconceptions and myths.

      But, as you say, there's a price. It means a much smaller audience.

      I've often tried to think of some way around all that. But without luck.

  2. I keep forgetting to mention, there IS an independant news source online in canada, I don't know if I mentioned it before, but check out Thetyee.ca especially today, they have a front page article thats right up your street.

  3. Thank you. I learn more about this sad world reading this blog than I would if I spent hundreds of dollars a month on bought and paid for media subscriptions.

    I think I first saw this at 'The Canadian Progressive'....


  4. Continued from the previous post:

    I did see this video awhile back, as I appreciate examining all criticism from both sides of the aisle.

    Just to reiterate, I'm neither left, nor right in any political leanings.

    Years ago, I realized one has to be willing to step outside officially-sanctioned parameters to get as much as an unbiased macro view as possible.

    However, individuals who do this, and begin to espouse views contrary to the establishment's closely held beliefs, are considered untouchables, and shunned by our corporate media.

    Noam Chomsky however, is an interesting case study to say the least, and his history is also very interesting.

    He has a following among the left because he's been promoted as the intellectual dissident, while being very articulate in describing the inhumanity of state crimes which he has in the past blamed not only on private corporate profits, but the government as a whole be they Republicans or Democrats.

    Chomsky disarms his audience by engageing his subjects with a perceived, grandfatherly warmth as he reflects on the west's capitalistic greed and travails.

    Even among Hollywood celebrities, which is another story, Chomsky has rock-star celebrity fame.

    But, this does not change the fact which many people simply refuse to believe: he is also a revisionist gatekeeper.

    You'll notice, Chomsky doesn't actually address the question posed to him with any supporting, historical corrections. Instead, he redirects the focus elsewhere.

    And of course, the audience members, mesmerized by their high priest in their midst, and many who probably have not done any, or enough research of their own, are willing to believe almost anything he says.

    For anyone else who may be interested in learning a section of history they've never been taught in school, or university, I suggest looking here for this video titled:

    'Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve' video.


    Thank you for your great writing skills as usual Graeme.

  5. That sure was a lot of 'opinion', however, its also quite wrong. Who in 'hollywood' knows squat about Chomsky? Bono doesn't live in Hollywood. And Chomsky CONSTANTLY berates the american left, in fact he does it more often than he does the right, which as he says 'is too easy'.

    If you knew ANYTHING about chomsky you'd know that, when doing media studies he NEVER talks about Fox, he talks about what are commonly called 'left wing media'. In fact he's often pointed out that he's been on Fox more often than he's been on NPR, where he is essentially banned. If you've ever seen chomsky, you'd know that most of his talks are either at colleges or campuses. In the recent documentary about him they have a long section where he is talking to students at McMaster university in Hamilton, and there are about eight people there. He has FAR more support amongst those who would be called 'right', than left.

    And you are also wrong, if you actually watched the video you would know that, he DOES address the issue, he says quite clearly that it was the federal reserve's policies which saved the US economy from going into a WORSE depression. He also says that we are living in the real world, and dumping a central bank is just an insane policy aim, something I also pointed out. So the speaker might as well have said "when we follow the yellow brick road to Oz..."

    But I don't always follow Chomsky, in that talk he talks about closing down the federal reserve as being impractical, but then goes on to talk about what could be called his pet issues, and then goes on to explain why THEY are impractical. However, he is at least consistent because his main thesis has always been that IF americans get organized, they can change the structure of their government. But like he said when he ADDRESSED the speakers issue, the problem is NOT the federal reserve, under clinton the country was doing fine. But he even addressed it when he said that as always, his ultimate aim would be to dismantle the capitalist system, since as he constantly says, 'those who work in the factories ought to own them'. But that's just not a realistic goal right now, perhaps you disagree, but it still makes perfect sense.

    Interesting your link is called 'enslavement', as Chomsky constantly refers back to classical writers who point out that workers today are essentially 'wage slaves' and this was recognized over a century ago. However, if you think that its the federal reserve cracking the whip, take a look at who signs your paycheque. You may want to watch the documentary on youtube called "the one percent".

  6. I missed the comment above, sorry. I didn't mean to 'write less', even though some of the main points could be posted on the right hand column. There is a reason advertising is so effective, and that works for political ideas as well. In the 1800's it was all about pamphleting, and some of the most difficult political ideas were put on pamphlets (albeit often long ones). There are lots of pretty cool political cartoons and signs on the net that align with your themes that could be added on the side.

    However, as I said before, you essentially run TWO blogs. One is the usual shorter one about how little is in the Irving paper, so those could easily be two separate blogs.

    The irving ones you divide up pretty well and there is no point in making shorter blogs of that. But for the longer ones, for example, this one long blog is divided into different days, so its really, I think, three different blogs. I'm a fast reader but even I scrolled down and thought this was a bit long. I'm speaking from experience, I've run blogs and been around blogs since when they were called 'mailing lists'.

    I reread the blog here, and there's no doubt, the first section is an essay and can't, even shouldn't, be divided, its long, but like (I think) you mean, big issues need context, and that requires length. To tie that into Chomsky, there's a reason he says that he is not invited on panel shows, because these are complex ideas which people haven't been 'trained' to hear. A recent analogy is the Harper attacks on Trudeau, 'how dare he talk about the boston bomber as being a complex case'. You can give americans (or canadians for that matter) a line saying 'terrorists are evil', and they will nod and move on. If you say 'there is a historical and cultural reason for why terrorists attack', then you need to take twenty minutes to explain what you mean because people aren't culturally attenuated to the idea.

    So its not really the 'form' of the blog that is the problem but the layout. Just as a New Brunswick example, if you look at Charles Leblanc's blog, he has his main issues on the right hand panel with links to the relevant blog. You have a whole right hand panel which is pretty much empty. That would save you a WHOLE lot of time in preparing the blog.

    Even, dare I say, more headings. For example, the tyee has an article on fracking, which is EXTREMELY long, so it is subdivided into numbered sections. In your case, a heading like "The Context", or "The History", or even "The Lie" are headings which could subdivide your thoughts, and I don't think they'd even take up any time. For example, the first section of this blog could be "The British Precedent" or something like that (although the paragraph on Cuba throws it off a bit). The next could be "Canada and Kadr", etc.

    That would make your life so much easier and get your main points across much more effectively. Yeah, I know, thats the marketing man in me, but salespeople know how to move product!:)