Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oct. 7: Canadian values and prinicples - hypocrisy is number one.

It's Monday. I've been watching Harper and his crowd preaching to the House of Commons on TV. It reminded me of graduate school days.

One of my teachers was Arthur Lower, then the author of the standard text for Canadian history. It arose from his experience in World War One and then the increasing independence of Canada. So he called it Colony to Nation. Even as we took the course, though, most of us felt that we had ceased to be a colony of Britain only to become a colony of the United States - so we used to call his book Colony to Nation to Colony. It's now much worse.

In recent years, I have felt that Harper, if he got another term, would destroy Canada. Well,  he doesn't need another term. Everything is in place now to destroy Canada as a nation. One is our commitment to take part in the war in Iraq and Syria (Yes. Both of them.)  The other is the EU free trade deal. We know enough about both to expect editorial and op ed comment. But I haven't see any yet.

Instead, the editorial writers, as always, seem incapable of talking about anything but village affairs. The only person in that whole paper who has the wit to realize something important is happening is de Adder, the cartoonist. He has a cartoon of Harper, holding up his free trade deal while standing on the coat tails of slimeball Mulroney holding up his NAFTA free trade deal. This is important because it's very, very bad news for everybody except billionaires.

Now, I shall lay me down to sleep, and hope somebody finds some intelligent form of life at Irving press who can say something about it.
It's Wednesday. Canada will be at war, and we will be under a destructive free trade deal - and there is no intelligent form of life at the Irving press.

There is one news story on the debate in the House of Commons in which Harper says we have to  defend Canadian rights and principles in Iraq and Syria.
1. This claims a right for us to impose Canadian rights and principles on all countries. So we join the American crusade which killed millions in trying to impose American rights and principles on Vietnam, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan - all at a dead loss - and all  at the price of creating chaotic conditions that have created a worse situation than there was before all these wars.
2. We're all gung-ho on upholding Canadian values? We weren't in 1981 when the CIA, the Guatemalan army. and Israeli special ops murdered 200,000 to 300,000 innocent Guatemalans, making no distinction in killing them all, men, women, and children.
Next time you're in Bouctouche to join the Lord at the Irving Chapel with special music and coffee in the barn, drop by the Catholic cemetery  to visit the grave of  Raoul Joseph Leger. He was killed in Guatemala by the CIA, the Guatemalan army, and Israel special ops. A New Brunswicker, Leger was a lay missionary who had devoted his life to helping the poor. He was murdered at the age of 30.
However, that didn't offend Canadian values and principles. Canada didn't lift a finger to ask for a report on why he died, or even to bring his body home. (That was done by the Quebec Foreign Missionary Society). The Irving press and other Canadian news media never bothered to mention Leger or anything that was going on in Guatemala. In fact, the Irving media were silent even when the NFB released a film about Leger's death, and even when the film appeared on Canadian and US TV.
3. I presume beheading is not a Canadian principle or value. Okay. So how come one of our major allies in this crusade is Saudi Arabia, the world leader in beheading, using it to execute those found guilty of even minor crimes? How come we're not bombing the Saudis?
4. It must be that mass murder of millions of innocent people, and the starvation of hundreds of thousands of children, and the torture of thousands of prisoners are not offensive to Canadian values and principles. If they were, we would long ago have bombed the US - with six jets for six months.
5. In fact, this war has nothing to do with ISIS. In fact, ISIS was created, armed, trained and paid for by the US and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is meant to be the excuse for a war - a war to destroy what is left of the Iraqi nation and, more important, to destroy Syria.
6. The simplest, common sense should tell us that if this were really a war about the future security of the world, and a war that could last for many years, and is vital to our survival, then only a damn fool would commit six aircraft for six months. Check out the European Union commitments. Most of them are just as timid as Harper's.

That's because they all know that the beheadings are the American excuse for war. After the disasters of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, the American people are fed up with war. Obama needed something to get popular support for another war - or series of wars. ISIS is that something.
The governments of Canada and the European Union all know that, and they know where this war will take us. That's why most are making small commitments, with time limits. But it won't help them - or us.
7. What is this war about? It's about staking out the whole middle east as an American colony. It's about closing out Russia, China, possibly India from trade with it. It's about destroying Syria and killing Assad because Assad encourages Russian trade. The war will almost certainly come to include Iran for the same reason. As a bonus for Israel, it will so weaken the Arab states as to allow Israel to take over all of Palestine and, perhaps, a part of Lebanon.
American oil ownership will be safe with American oil companies paying the lowest possible price for the oil they take.

Or - the Middle East will collapse into permanent chaos - and Russia and China will feel they have to step in to prevent an American takeover of the whole region.
This war is being fought for one reason, and one reason only - because the oil industry wants it, and the oil industry owns the US government and the media. So watch for an orgy of hatred from the news media. Oh, and be sure not to miss the Nov. 11 speeches about how Canadians are risking their lives to preserve democracy   in the Middle East.

de Adder's cartoon of Monday had free trade Harper standing on free trade Mulroney's coat tails. Quite so - but worse.

Free trade has done nothing for most of us in Canada and the US -and nothing for poor countries, either. Mulroney spent his whole life as a lickspittle for the very rich. He didn't introduce free trade to help anybody except his very rich friends. (Mila, born rich, played her role as an aristocratic wife - holding lavish dinner parties for the rich to raise money for the poor so Mila could get her name in the news, and hear compliments about the stunningly expensive clothes and jewelry she had bought just for this occasion - and, of  course, to accept praise for her generous commitment to help the poor.)

Free trade so far has done what it was designed to do. It has allowed big business to close North American factories where greedy workers expected to be paid enough to live on for their work -and move to poor countries with no requirement that they pay decent salaries or give a damn about what they pollute.

Free trade is what made Detroit into a wasteland and a battle zone. And it is not a coincidence that the growth of the wage gap between the very, very rich and the rest of us began with free trade. In fact, around the world, the wage gap is now greater than it has been since 1870. (Some authorities say it's the worst since 1820).

Watch for Harper's new trade deal to make it worse because it is almost certain to include new penalties - for us. The trend is for free trade deals to allow companies to evade environmental rules - and to sue countries that impose such rules after the deal is signed - even if the rules are necessary to save human lives.
In the case of Canada, Harper has been quietly removing such rules since he came to office. So we start from a weak position.

To make it weaker, the new trend for such law suits is to send then- not to those fussy, old fashioned courts. No. The new trend is to send cases to a court appointed and paid by the company for hearings held in secret.. And there is no appeal to real courts.

Such free trade deals mean a permanent lowering of incomes for us which is combined with increased opportunity for the very rich to hide their money from taxation. That, of course, means we need to cut government services to balance the budget. (The very rich want to cut them anyway because they think everything should be for private profit.)

The world is changing very, very quickly. The age of democracy is close to being history. Free trade, deregulation, and sheer corruption have taken care of that. And, while it is more obvious in New Brunswick than in other places, the world is increasingly governed by an aristocracy of wealth. We don't control our fates any more. That's why the state requires news media owned by the wealthy to propagandize us. That's why most advanced countries now have secret, domestic police to spy on us and keep us in line.

Of course, the various aristocracies will sometimes confront each other, with each determined to get even more power. That's why we're having tensions with Russia and China. And those aristocracies too small to afford such confrontations will line up under the orders of a big aristocracy - which is what Canada and the European Union are doing for Obama.
As for the Irving press for Monday and Tuesday - well, it's the Irving press. The local news is trivial. The little bit of foreign news comes from the usual sources - The Canadian Press, The Associated Press,----  It has to because most newspapers can't afford to maintain foreign correspondents. The trouble is the sources the Irving Press buys these stories from are owned  by the same sort of propagandizers who own the rest of the news media in North America.

There are other sources to get news and opinion from, sources like El Haaretz in Israel, Al Jazeera (far better than it gets credit for), The Guardian (Britain)... But I guess our editors don't read them. To make it worse, they don't seem to know much about foreign affairs because the stories they use seem to be picked out at random. And much of the opinion we get from other sources seems to come from propaganda "think tanks". The only good ones we get are ones that seem to be coming less frequently - like David Suzuki and Gwynne Dyer.

Among regulars, Alec Bruce is, as usual, worth reading. Steve Malloy is good with, I suspect, a lot more potential.

As for Norbert, once you've looked his moustache, there's nothing else of substance in his columns.

Tuesday's editorial is the best (and only good one) I have ever seen in the TandT. It's an editorial of praise for Dr. Cleary, our chief medical officer, who has voluntarily gone to Africa to help with the struggle against ebola. The editorial praises her courage and her commitment. And rightly so.

To bad they smothered and derided her report on shale gas.


  1. This past weekend I tuned in to CBC's Cross Country Checkup and listened to Rex Murphy deliver a transparently, superficial response to a caller's comment.

    The caller mentioned African nations are wondering if the ebola outbreak isn't in some way a coordinated, or manufactured bio-weapon, and effort carried out by westerners (to wreak havoc, and ultimately steal their resources).

    Rex in his usual prostituted stance to protect the rich at all costs, as well as the Anglo/American 21st Century Neo-Empire dream of attaining world dominion, deemed that was simply the product of unsophisticated thinking.

    Of course, we understand from sociology-anthropological studies, the exact opposite is true.

    A society displays its sophistication when it is able to, and willing to engage in critical thinking skills. To be cognizant of the possibility of staged attacks is one sign of psychological sophistication.

    It's a necessity if a democracy or freedom is to exist.

    But, since we no longer engage in any critical thinking activities here in the west, as exemplified by truth gatekeepers such as CBC's Rex Murphy, and most, if not all newspaper owners, it's the reason we've lost our democracy, and potentially, our future freedoms.

    Great column btw Graeme.

  2. Its unsophisticated because its unsubstanciated, like most conspiracy theories. You can go online and find that it was done by the west, or russia, or ISIS, or china, or coca cola, or aliens, or environmentalists, or Congo. Its not 'critical thinking' to jump to any conclusion.

    So lets do some ACTUAL 'critical thinking'. Take a look at Sierra Leone, one of the hardest hit countries. It is a major world diamond exporter, the third largest port in the world is located there. Mining is a major industry, gold, bauxite, titanium and one of the few locations for rutile.

    And as mentioned here and elsewhere, like lots of african countries, although there is lots of mineral wealth, over 70% of the country lives in poverty. So 'the west' is ALREADY getting everything it needs from the country, so no weapon is needed.

    It should be noted, that there is LOTS of evidence that 'the west', namely the US, but also Canada and NATO, got involved in Serbia for reasons like that. Of all the post russian states, they were the only ones not playing ball with the neoliberal agenda.

    We KNOW those things now because they were ADMITTED by the people who did it. They said it, and their actions conformed the evidence.

    That's how critical thinking is done. Conspiracists like to think that making conclusions based on coincidences and half truths is 'critical thinking', when its exactly the opposite. Critical thinking ISN"T 'opening your mind to any theory', it is the process of criticizing a theory with the available evidence.

    If the 'west' were going to try something like that, it would make far more sense to do it in a place like China, India, or Brazil, countries which are leading the way to being the biggest economies. African countries are largely still colonies, so it simply serves no purpose on the outset, even BEFORE the idea of evidence is brought into it (none of which is actual 'evidence', but are just practices which have been twisted around to fit a theory).

    Like any theory, anything is 'possible'-heck it could have been the chinese, or Coca Cola behind use of a bioweapon, or it wasn't a bioweapon at all. But again, if you look at the region hardest hit, they are the most 'westernized' of the african nations, well used to havoc and having their resources stolen. So it really makes no sense.

    And what is really bizarre is that those conspiracy theories simply mask the economic reality. What 'the west' has done and is doing to Sierra Leone is no secret. They are being robbed plain and simple, yet that is virtually never even discussed. The complicity of the west runs all through the health systems, which ought to be the focus of criticism, not endless arguements about conspiracy theories-which are endless simply the same way all conspiracy theories are, because they are based on ideas, not evidence.

  3. PS, African nations are NOT suggesting this, a few bloggers and one bad online newspaper suggested it.

  4. You know what Africans are suggesting?

  5. I know about the conspiracy theories and who has been pushing them. I didn't say they weren't 'african', I said its not the african nations, meaning nobody legitimate. There are african conspiracy theorists just like anywhere else.

  6. But don't take my word for it. Of course Pravda is saying this, and some credit goes to western media that nobody is saying Russia is behind it, and even though we are 'at war' with ISIS, its only that crazy Alex Jones that is saying that ISIS is behind it.

    A Rense.com article points to a Hong Kong journalist here:

    which is where a lot of western bloggers have picked it up, even though the 'journalist' isn't actually in Africa, and if you read the article, no actual evidence is mentioned and it even uses the dreaded word 'coincidence'.

    One newspaper, the liberian observer, had an article making this claim, ironically that is a right wing paper based in Monrovia, not Liberia. It posted a letter from a 'doctor'- of plant physiology and 'farmer', who also provided no actual evidence, but lots of conjecture.

    A vaccine, of course, is a small piece of the actual virus, so when you read 'injecting people with the virus', thats a detail they miss.


    As for what africans are suggesting, their media is typically far superior to ours, within reason, I highly recommend people check out the numerous podcasts and online media from specific countries in question, rather than listening to OUR media usually talking about things they have no idea of.