Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 12: Enough!

One can get fed up writing every day about the trivia, blunders, lies, propaganda, sloppiness and general incompetence of the Irving press. For today, I'll talk about just one column. It's a good column. It's "Security rules", and it was written by Louise Gilbert, who always does a good job. She speaks of a need for people to communicate with each other, and speaks of a seniors chat group she is organizing; and she gives the time and address for those interested. Good idea. Maybe I should go. So I checked the date of the meeting.

May 6 - almost a week ago.

Obviously, the editor simply picked an old column out of the pile. Worse. A real newspaper has copy readers, supervised by the page editor (Rod Allen), who look for typos, excessive length, and general accuracy. They would have drawn attention to that date. Is it possible that the Irving press is too cheap to hire such readers? That's quite possible. The Irving press isn't really a news service. It's a business. So it puts profits way above providing news. Good luck if the Irvings get their hands (even more) on public education and health care.
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But let's get away from the dreariness of the Irving press. Let's talk about how we often understand the news based on what we think happened in history.  And much of what we think happened comes from newspapers, movies, TV shows.

For example, our newspapers have told us we fought World War Two to bring democracy and equality to the world.  That's what Churchill and Roosevelt said in their Atlantic Charter. And that's pure rubbish. The British, French, Dutch and Americans were notable for their imperial possessions of that time. But at the end of the war, only one of those imperial possessions got freedom and democracy - India. And it got freedom and democracy only because Britain couldn't possibly hold on to it any more.

Other possessions that tried to get freedom (throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, the middle east) got stomped on. The US was particularly firm on that. When France sent a destroyer to "liberate" French Indo-China, the US warned it not to do so. That was because the US intended to take over the western empires in Asia for itself. When the French sent the destroyer to Hanoi, anyway, American aircraft bombed and machine-gunned it.

(The French did manage to get back to French Indo-China, anyway. So the US edged it aside in what became the Vietnam War.)

The US warned the British not to "liberate" Hong Kong. It wanted Hong Kong to make China a part of the American empire. Churchill ordered a British fleet in, anyway. reclaimed Hong Kong - and set up a dictatorship in the form of a British governor. By then, the British fleet in the Pacific had become a sizable one; so the US backed off.

The US also supported the world's biggest drug baron (well, the second biggest after his boss, One-Eared Chang) - It supported Chiang Kai Shek, mass murdering war lord with no interest whatever in democracy in his fight to become dictator of China. (On the good side, he was a born-again Christian.) "It's me. It's me. It's me, O Lord, standin' in the need of prayer..."

So much for the Atlantic Charter.

If you ask an American or Canadian who won the war against Japan, the answer is almost sure to be the US. I mean, that's the story in all the movies and TV shows. In fact, the US could move quickly through the Pacific war mainly because so much of the Japanese army was tied up in China or in fighting a million British and Indian troops on the mainland (who were blocking Japan's supply of oil.)

And who won  the war in Europe? Hey, I saw that movie, too. It was US general Patton. (who, by the way, despised Jews, and had nothing but contempt for those in the death camps.)

In fact, Britain, America and Canada were minor players in the war against Hitler. Some 90% of the German forces (including an air force badly needed at home) were tied up fighting the Russians. It was Russia that inflicted 90% of German casualties. It was also Russia that had the greatest human loss - close to thirty million.  If Patton had invaded Russia (as he wanted to), his troops would be been annihilated. As well, his tanks (like the one in a Moncton park) were far inferior to Russian tanks.

As well, Britain had lost the war in 1940 with the disaster of Dunkirk. Some troops got out. But equipment was left behind. The war was lost, and Churchill knew it. He even considered peace by giving Hitler some of the British Empire. What saved Britain was not the US entry into the war almost two years later. It was Hitler's decision to invade Russia. Without that, D day would never have happened. Nor would the bombing campaign have worked since German fighter planes would not have been off on the Russian front.

And, incidentally, the US did NOT join the war out of friendship for Britain. There is no such thing as friendship between countries. They all work out of self-interest. The US entered the war to get control of a dying British Empire. It would be good for American big business.

That's why western leaders and journalists are ignoring the Russian victory celebrations of the last few days.
That's why very few readers think anything of it. And Russians and Chinese are getting the message. The message is that there is no friendship between Russia and the West. There never was. And the message is also that the US, by ignoring the victory celebrations, is isolating Russia in an attempt to make it, like Canada, a part of the American Empire - and by war, if necessary.

That's why China is at the victory celebrations. China has no history of love for Russia. But it knows that if the US gets control of Russia, China is next on the list. So now, the message of the victory celebrations is, in street language, "You fight me. You fight my friends."

In our history learned from news media and movies, we are the good guys. So we accept, without regret, the news of the shambles we have made of Africa and the Middle East, and the enormous danger of a nuclear war.

For Americans, these "lessons" of history are even more dangerous. They are the best of the good guys. They don't know that they have an empire, and one as brutal as any empire that has ever existed. They don't think of the native people they have slaughtered (it was all the fault of the native people); they don't think of the tens of millions (more, actually) of Latin Americans who live lives of two dollars a day poverty, brutal work, little education, no health care to make American (and Canadian billionaires) richer; they don't think of the misery that they (and the British and French) have caused in Africa; they don't think of the millions of Vietnamese and Muslims slaughtered (mostly civilians) to build the American Asian and African and middle east  empires.

They're good guys. They have fought wars only when threatened by savage and powerful countries like Haiti and Cuba and Guatemala. (And the devil's power of Grenada, a resort island which was a threat to the US until subdued by Clint Eastwood.) And they fight to spread freedom which was held down by bad men like Saddam Hussein (who, in fact, the US put into power in the first place.)

With the second world war, and then the collapse of the Soviet Union, an old belief became obvious to everyone. The movies and news media made it clear. Americans were the chosen people of God. Many American churches had long supported the notion that God intended the US to rule the world. They called it Manifest Destiny. It has now morphed into something even greater - American Exceptionalism - the God-given right of Americans to ignore international law and treaties, to invade, to kill, to torture, to impoverish And, again, with many of the churches shouting, "Praise God."
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The news does nothing to correct this, partly because it doesn't know any better, partly because a news story can (sort of) tell us what's happening. But it can show only a tiny part of a big picture. And that's made even more useless by the bias of the news. We know, for example, that ISIS beheads people. But we aren't told that ISIS was funded and supplied by Saudi Arabia in its beginnings - and by the US. Nor have we seen a news story about how the Saudis and the US aided in the creation of Al Quaeda - and how they are now helping Al Quaeda again.

The news pages in a newspaper not only lie. They also don't saying anything useful in the first place. What a newspaper really needs is intelligent, informed, and honest comment - something that is rare in the Irving press. We need something to give us a context for those bits of news. We need the bigger picture.

We aren't getting it from most newspapers. Result? When we see those bits of news we think of them in a context that never really existed - that context is a sense of what happened in history as presented to us by movies and news media.


What we get is propagandists and self-promoters like Oskar Levant, who writes for National Post and others. In a recent comment on the Alberta election, he says, "Alberta needs a broom, not a hammer and sickle." Obviously, he's equating the NDP with Stalin's communism. Even Levant cannot be stupid enough to believe that. (But people who read the National Post are.)

The NDP is not communist, never has been, is not even close to it. And, clearly, Levant doesn't know what communism means - because Stalin was not a communist, either. As for dictatorship, you won't find much of it in the NDP.  If you want to see dictatorship, look at Harper and the Conservatives. Of look at the dictatorship of big business in New Brunswick. (Actually, it's really fascism to be correct about it.)

I would call Levant an idiot. But I don't think he is. He's simply a self-promoter on the make who knows what most of our news media want.

Below, is a sample of what a column can do to make the news understandable. You can't do it on TV because TV is just for people who like to look at moving pictures, or even just moving colours. (Seriously)
But the column below has two, serious faults for a newspaper column. It's much too long. And the language is too sophisticated for a general audience. But it does give the big picture.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41811.htm






























5 comments:

  1. Hi Graeme. I'm curious. You've said before that the soviet Union was not communist. what was it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was just your standard dictatorship - like Saudi Arabia, like many countries today that are controlled by the US (Guatemala and Haiti spring to mind.) And it was controlled through a police state apparatus, much along the lines that Canada and the US and others are adopting. The only difference was that Stalin had full control of the economy. Here, it's not a dictator who controls the economy; it's big business. The difference is really not very great except that big business does not yet have full ownership of things like schools and health care - but it's working on it.

    The "communism" of Cuba is a dictatorship, too. But it's one that does work for help the people of the country. In that respect, it's far more benevolent than the US.

    But neither of these is what Karl Marx had in mind. Marx was a convert to Christianity whose thinking was founded on Judaeo/Christian principles.- love thy neighbour and that sort of thing. He didn't have in mind either a dictatorship or a police state.

    He had in mind a society based on "love thy neighbour", in which all people would share ownership, and would cooperate for the common good to such a degree that government would just about disappear.

    It's pretty idealistic, and quite impossible to achieve now. Maybe some day. But that some day is far off.

    Asians were attracted to communism because of centuries of suffering western brutality. But China and all of the world's major powers now are essentially capitalist -sort of. But it's very sort of. An essential element of capitalism is the idea of risk. Small capitalists do take risks. The big ones don't.

    Oh - big mistake in my blog. I referred to columnist Ezra Levant as Oskar Levant. I guess I got Ezra mixes up to the pianist, Oscar Levant.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Why then do we define types of dictatorships like fascism,communism or nazism. Is this just defining the difference in how dictatorships function and if that is true wouldn't comunism describe how the Soviet Dictatorship functioned.? Thx for taking the time to answer me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We define these words as we do because we have to be taught to hate the people our business and political leaders want us to hate.

    Any economic system can be a dictatorship. Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most severe dictatorship in the world is capitalist. Haiti and Guatemala and Egypt, all capitalist are dictatorship. China is capitalist. It's effectively a dictatorship.

    Canada, the US, and the west in general are capitalist - but they are democratic only in the most charitable sense of that world. They all feature control by secret police - and political control by big business.

    Fascism, though always taking the form of dictatorship, is not necessarily so. It's a system in which special interest groups - usually big business - are a part of the government. New Brunswick is really a fascist state.

    Naziism is not really a system of any sort. It's usually a
    far right wing dictatorship (despite its name of national socialism), and its usually capitalist.

    Communism would be a system with all control in the hands of the people, working together in cooperation. That never happened in Russia. Cuba is closer - but still well short of the mark.

    Democracy means the right of the people to decide who will govern them. It has nothing to do with any economic system. Certainly, the people of the US do not, in any practical sense, have the right to decide who will govern them. Government is by very big business. And many Americans realize. That's why election turnout in US election is so small. (That's also why it poor in the recent British election.)
    The definitions that are floated in our news media are almost always propaganda ones. It's like the word terrorist. Our politicians and news media use it all the time as a product of Islam. In fact, all wars are terrorism, and quite deliberately so - especially since 1914. And the US currently leads the world in the deliberate killing of civilians. That's terrorism.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We define these words as we do because we have to be taught to hate the people our business and political leaders want us to hate.

    Any economic system can be a dictatorship. Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most severe dictatorship in the world is capitalist. Haiti and Guatemala and Egypt, all capitalist are dictatorship. China is capitalist. It's effectively a dictatorship.

    Canada, the US, and the west in general are capitalist - but they are democratic only in the most charitable sense of that world. They all feature control by secret police - and political control by big business.

    Fascism, though always taking the form of dictatorship, is not necessarily so. It's a system in which special interest groups - usually big business - are a part of the government. New Brunswick is really a fascist state.

    Naziism is not really a system of any sort. It's usually a
    far right wing dictatorship (despite its name of national socialism), and its usually capitalist.

    Communism would be a system with all control in the hands of the people, working together in cooperation. That never happened in Russia. Cuba is closer - but still well short of the mark.

    Democracy means the right of the people to decide who will govern them. It has nothing to do with any economic system. Certainly, the people of the US do not, in any practical sense, have the right to decide who will govern them. Government is by very big business. And many Americans realize. That's why election turnout in US election is so small. (That's also why it poor in the recent British election.)
    The definitions that are floated in our news media are almost always propaganda ones. It's like the word terrorist. Our politicians and news media use it all the time as a product of Islam. In fact, all wars are terrorism, and quite deliberately so - especially since 1914. And the US currently leads the world in the deliberate killing of civilians. That's terrorism.

    ReplyDelete