Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19: A short one...

....I hope.

There are two sites I use a good deal for news. Neither is perfectly reliable. I've never even heard of a news source that is perfectly reliable. If  you think there are some, then read a book on war reporting from the early days of mass media in the 1890s to today. It's called "The First Casualty".

I worked for a time with a journalist who had served in the Canadian army in World War Two. His job was to make sure that in photos the press sent home, any photo that showed a Canadian soldier looking tired or discouraged was scrapped. Later, teaching military history to an advanced class made up largely of military officers, I assigned World War 2 newspaper readings to them. They were astounded at the obvious slanting of the news, and the outright lying. Our news media in WW1 and WW2  and in every war since are no different from those of Hitler's Dr. Goebbels.

It hasn't changed - though it's become more subtle with the use of loaded and misleading words. That's why I rely more  on the very few news media I know to be honest and intelligent - and also on 'rogue' news outlets put out by people fed up with the lying.

One of these is Information Clearing House, easily found on google. I use it with caution because it can be biased. But, at its worst, it is far better and more honest than the regular, mainstream news media.

So go to informationclearinghouse, scroll down to April 17 for "US Murdered First Elected Prime Minister of Pakistan." This goes back some 65 years; but it's tied to events in Iran today.

After World War One, Britain took control of the Iranian oilfields and their profits. They also forced Iran to provide oil fuel for the whole, Royal Navy absolutely free.

But as soon as World War Two ended, Iranians elected a government that took control of its own oilfields.
Britain, with its whole empire turning against it, didn't have to muscle to deal this, so it invited the US to join in for a share of the loot.

The US first attempted to get the newly elected prime minister of Pakistan to intervene, and convince Iran to hand over control of its oil fields to US companies. He refused. So the US hired a contract killer from Afghanistan to shoot him.

Shortly after, the US organized the overthrow of the government of Iran, and took over the oilfields, placing the country under the rule of a dictator who handed over the oilfields to American capitalists. When, after many years, Iranians got rid of the dictator and re-established a democracy, the US was furious, and sponsored Saddam Hussein to wage a bloody war against Iran. But it didn't work; and the people of Iran kept control of their oil fields.

That's why the US imposed sanctions on Iran. That's why Obama recently set up talks to get Iran to close a nuclear bomb programme that doesn't exist. That's why Congress wants a war with Iran; it wants that oil turned over to American capitalists on their terms. Now.

And we have to look at sources like informationclearinghouse and, in this case, Pakistan Today, because in some 65 years, our mainstream newsmedia have never told us about it. And they never will.
There's also an interesting story in The Huffington Post. The URL is so long, I couldn't even get the whole thing into my search box. So, just google Huffington Us Post April 17. Scroll past the opening paragraph, and you'll find a column by Ralph Nader (which actually appeared on April 15 - go figure).  It's "Stop Corporate Welfare Kings and Tax Escapees from Strip-Mining America."

It lists several individuals and companies that make billions in profits, take billions in gifts from government, and pay no taxes at all. I understand there are some people like this in New Brunswick, too. But they don't make the pages of the TandT - except when it tells us how talented they are and how they create jobs.

That's why we have to close schools, fire teachers, make young children spend hours on a school bus every day. and forget about going to university. Tell you what.

The Irving press tells us that the .Irvings are wonderfully talented. Okay. I'll buy that. And that means we  have to develop their talent by giving them greater challenges. So....

Let their children ride on a bus for a couple of hours a day so they can sit in an overstuffed classrooms in a school lacking facilities they have in those nice, private schools. Then, make them borrow money on their own, putting themselves through university. Than, ban them   from being employed by  one of daddy's companies. Put them in starting jobs in small companies so that they can show their god-given talent in working up, and making those small companies into big, rich ones.

And, like the rest of us, make them pay taxes every damn step of the way.

Incidentally, it might also be inspiring for us peasants to know what the academic qualifications of these talented people are. I know I was at Acadia shortly after two of the Irvings were students there. However, there seems to be no record of them graduating.

Maybe some of the Irving press' hard-digging journalists could find the answer to this while they're searching for figures on how much the various Irvings made in the 2014 tax year, and how much is hidden in offshore banks, and how much they paid in taxes.

I would guess that this province is poor because of the greed of these people. I would guess this province is kept ignorant of what is happening because of the press these people own. I would guess many new Brunswickers go hungry and homeless (or live in substandard and dangerous housing) because of these people. I would guess the provincial failure to discuss issues openly is because of the fear of these people.

We could use a Ralph Nader in the Irving press.

Finally - and this is really a world-level story, there's the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court that governmental bodies cannot open meetings with prayer - that the state and church must be separate.
My first reaction was not to care because I have known many politicians, but very, very few whose political work had anything to do with any religions.

It wasn't always that way. In Quebec, up into the 1960s, the Roman Catholic church WAS the government. No government would dream of passing a law without first submitting it to the RC church for approval. The church insisted that all schools had to be either Catholic or  Protestant (Jews were forced to accept Protestant schools.) Catholic schools were run directly by the church, with nuns and brothers assigned to much of the teaching. Their salaries were paid to the church - with the teachers getting very little of it. The care of orphans, delinquents and the mentally ill worked in much the same way. It was a system that was corrupt, debasing, physically and mentally harmful, and an utter failure. Like the Irving press, it was a system designed to keep people ignorant and obedient.

As for the people we elect, the idea of them praying is close to obscene. In most of the politicians I have known, having high moral principles meant not peeking into the urinal of the man beside you..

Then I thought of Warren Allmand, solicitor-general under Pierre Trudeau and a Roman Catholic who lives his life based on his obligations as a Christian.

We need that in our political circles. I don't mean we need just Roman Catholicism or just Christianity. And I certainly don't mean we need formal religious intervention in the decision making of government.

But we do need a sense of the principles that are to be found in any religion I can think of. And that is very rare. We, like the US and Russia and China and Britain and many other countries have an economic system based on pure greed, and on no moral or social principles whatever.

To make matters worse, we have replaced churches interfering with government, only to give great prominence to the very, very wealthy interfering with government. In fact, in places like New Brunswick, they go beyond interfering to become the real government. They use their power to abuse others, run away with their money, then make relatively small gifts and put up their pictures in philanthropic halls of fame for us all to admire.

Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples should not be in government. But they should certainly be helping us to understand the role that religions should play in ensuring that society does not become simply a means for the very rich to abuse everyone else.

Now, look at that gawdawful, simple-minded and irrelevant sermonette on Saturday's faith page in the Times and Transcript. Someday I should certainly like to see one that is not just about how to cover  your own rear end so as to get into heaven. And I also would love to see such columns by Jews, Muslims and others to remind us that when it comes to social principles based on religion, we have a lot in common. And, oh, we need to share that in the world we're facing. Never kid yourself. We all stand to be victims now matter what our religion or lack of it.

A system based on greed means endless war - and that in a world of increasingly powerful and indiscriminate    weapons. Even without the weapons, economies based only on greed are self-destructive, even if we remain alive.. The weapons mean we won't remain even alive.

Your choice. If you're scared to talk because the Irvings and their kind might get you, bear in mind that they'll destroy you whether you talk or not.


  1. That report about America killing the Pakistan prime minister was previously on Press TV. Unfortunately the documents they claim confirm this are made up whole-cloth; they don't identify them and they don't have a single quote. No such release exists from the State Department. The standards of Iranian and Pakistani journalism, unfortunately, are akin to conspiracy pamphleteering. Information Clearinghouse, in turn, routinely falls for such methodology and reprints stories of this ilk with no editorial vetting because it touts the narrative of the grand anti-western-imperialist conspiracy.

  2. You may well be right. That's why I"m usually careful about infomation clearing house. However, it is still more reliable than the mainstream news media.

    And, surely, you are not suggesting there is no such thing as a western, imperialist conspiracy. This has been going on for five centuries. Anyone who suggests that it doesn't exist is surely still reading nursery rhymes.

    In any case, that's why I went beyond that story to trace the history relations between Iran and the US. The exploitation by the British did happen. The overthrow of the elected Iran government and the takeover of Iranian oil did happen. The war with Hussein did happen. The imposition of the shah as a dictator did happen. And the story that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon has been proven false. And the US does routinely murder people all over the world. That's what drones and special ops are for.

    For 500 years, the western powers have been conquering, killing, looting all over the world. And they have done it cooperatively with each other - especially, since 1945.

    It really is a bit much to suggest there is not a western imperialist conspiracy. In fact, we Europeans who now live in Canada are products of that conspiracy. how is it possible to suggest it isn't true?

    Yes, I'm sure you have never seen that said in a newspaper story. That's why it becomes necessary to take chances on other sources.

    There is, after all, nothing unusual in the US murdering a head of state. It has happened on several occasions in Latin America, for example. (Unless you believe that the US has never, ever interfered in the affairs of Latin America. And you believe that those terrible people in Haiti and Cuba and Venezuela and Guatemala have been picking on those poor, defenceless Americans.)

  3. Your assumptions about me are over the top. I'm not a Marxist, I'm not a Conservative, I'm not a Leftist and I don't subscribe to an absolutist philosophical position.

    Conspiracy is politics 101. Anyone who denies this is indeed singing nursery rhymes.

    The CIA is a secret society of Eastern Establishment elites - a creation of Wall Street bankers and lawyers who in turn funded both Hitler and the Bolsheviks (read the works of Antony Sutton for the undeniable specifics). However, Russia or the Soviets or China or the Maoists or the Khmer Rouge don't get a free pass in my book; they were financed by the same oligarchs and plutocrats that funded the other side. Overemphasis on the great western evil empire is a distortion of reality. The devil is in the details and the elites run the show - always have.

    Capitalism isn't the problem, anymore than the love of money being the root of all evil. It is the quest for power that is behind everything. Money is but one means to an end. Any "ism" is and always has been used by the elect in whatever way it sees fit.

    While the CIA was running rampant across the entire world during the Cold War, killing and subverting noncompliant governments, the KGB was the antithesis of its thesis. It's a contrived dialectic and the only synthesis is more power for the superclass. They are beyond quaint identifications such as the West and the East, and nationalism to them is but a joke. China has been selected to take the role of the US for the pre-eminent position in the global strategic chess game. If Russia can help expedite the process then that's what she shall do.

    Our Irvings have a petty empire, but I do appreciate all the light you shine on the topic. And petty or not, it is more real for New Brunswickers than the invisible geostrategic supranational shenanigans of the Rockefellers, Kissinger, the Neocons, the Rothschilds, and their behemoth global assemblage of think tanks, foundations, media and banking empires.

    I don't believe in a Utopian solution; every attempt along these lines has failed and always will - we aren't perfect. I do however fully subscribe to the greatest maxim ever uttered: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." To our shame, it's long overdue.


  4. well, we pretty much agree. Except that I think things have changed. Conquest, for example, is not the easy job it used to be. The US has proven that. Despite its size and wealth and technology, its military record since 1945 has been dismal. It can destroy nations - as it destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan. But it cannot conquer them.

    We are watching a general collapse of the Middle East and Africa - but not a conquest.

    It's not just nuclear bombs that are the problem. It starts with the ocean-crossing sailing ship that made it easy to move large forces. Now, the Russians have a jet transport which, they claim, can move an armoured brigade ( 5000 men) to any spot in the world in 7 hours (presumably using many of these aircraft.)

    We can create chaos in Africa. But we can't conquer it. The same thing is shaping up in Latin America. And that is even without the use of chemical or nuclear weapons.

    Nor am I convinced that revolution for liberty is the way to go. The US was born in just such a revolution (so they claim) but it lived by coercion and military subjugation from its earliest days. It took France a century to get its revolution functioning.

    I that that as we get increasingly dysfunctional we're going to see violence. But I'm not at all confident that would be a solution of any sort.

    It's quite true that the use of east and west as definitions of cultures is way outdated. As is the concept of nations. The holders of power no longer differ from each other in any respect.

    I certainly don't have an answer for the world, and can't pretend to. All I can do is to sit in my corner here in New Brunswick, and urge New Brunswickers to ask more questions and to demand that our government learn to serve the needs of the people of this province. It is, I think (and paraphrasing your last line, a time when it is shameful that more of us are not in prison.