Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7: Much of what we believe in the news is based on what we believe in history.

We believe that we are good people. We believe that from the versions of our history we get in education, on TV, and in movies. Ever read a history book about our soldiers murdering prisoners? Well. They did. Most militarys do that. Most militarys also rape, loot and murder. How many history books have you read that said that?

England's great Richard the Lion Heart went on crusades party to slaughter Jews on the way. Ever read about that? (And he never had a chat with Robin Hood like the movies say. He couldn't speak English, only French - and he preferred to live in France.)

Read newspapers of World War One. The Germans were evil because they started the war. Of course. Except that the Germans didn't start World War One. Everyone knew that war was coming long before it started. Britain didn't go to war because Germany was evil. It went to war because Germany was becoming an industrial giant. And that bothered British and French industrialists who, despite their babble about free competition, never practiced it. Any one who thinks the Irvings compete is living in a dream world. Small business competes. Big business doesn't. It never has.

We gave Palestine to Jews for their homeland because, historically, they had lived there. And we have allowed Israel to kick out the Palestinians, and take more land from them. I mean, after the holocaust, it was the Christian thing to do. (How many history books tell you that Canada, the US, Britain and others were just as anti-semitic as Hitler was, and wouldn't lift a finger to help Jews before, during or after the war?) Yep. Them Germans were evil. And all that gives me a great idea.

We've recently had a report of our mistreatment of native peoples. And actually, it's much worse than the report says. We killed them by the tens of millions all over the Americas. That's even worse than the holocaust. And we stole their homelands. Do you see where this is going?

All us righteous people should do what we did for Jews. Canada was the homeland for native peoples, not only for those who live here now, but for most of those in the US and South America who lived in Canada first, then moved south. So, just as we did with Palestine, and for exactly the same reasons - We give Canada back to our native peoples, their Zion. The rest of us Canadians could be given, perhaps a piece of the Labrador coast. We could call it the Canada Strip.

You may laugh at that. You may get indignant. But the reality is that such is exactly what we did to Palestine. But we don't see the reality of what happened in history. Instead, we see a history as put forward by school boards, movies and TV and, worse, we make judgements of the news based on a history that never happened.

(Of course, it can get even worse. Israel is NOT the Jewish homeland. At least, not according to The Bible. Jews were wandering desert tribes who stole what we now call Israel from its original settlers. England is not the homeland of the English. It was  many times conquered and reconquered with the people of the time killed or pushed into remote regions. The people we call the English come from Scandinavia, Italy, France - and nobody knows how many places. And for that matter, the native peoples of Canada are not from Canada. Most, so far as we know, are from Siberia - and who knows where before that? The idea of a homeland has no basis in history.)

Canadian armies were very effective in both world wars, and were very ably commanded in World War 1, and in the second half of World War 2. Their victory at Vimy Ridge was brilliant. But that, despite all the blather of Nov. 11, had nothing to do with making Canada free and independent. The fact is that Britain had been anxious to get rid of Canada since the War of 1812.

The British were very worried that their Canadian connection might draw them into another war with the US. That became a very serious concern in the early twentieth century. Britain wanted us to fight its wars, so we did. The Boer War, for example, had nothing to do with Canada. It was a war of aggression so wealthy British could loot the gold fields of South Africa. We were also needed there to show Germany that in any future war, the empire would go to war whenever the millionaires of Britain told it to.  It was a war we would call evil if anyone else did it. We could believe it was good because it was for gush gush the king and the royal family.

Robert Service wrote a poem about the Canadians who died in that war. It's called "The March of the Dead"

"They were coming; they were coming, gaunt and ghastly, sad and slow.
They were coming, all the crimson wrecks of pride
With faces seared and cheeks red smeared,
And clotted holes the khaki couldn't hide".

But don't rely on the little bit I've memorized. Google Robert Service The March of the Dead. There are also some video readings of it.

We fought for Britain. But Britain had no intention of fighting wars for us. That's why Canada became independent.

The wealthy of Canada werethe  same breed as the wealthy of Britain. That's why we have a Senate. Democracy could get in the way of making profits. So the purpose of a Senate is to keep us at a distance from power. It can delay and even block legislation the rich don't like. We might learn that soon because Harper has filled the Senate with a rare flock of neanderthal turkeys (and thieves).

Similarly, the American Revolution was NOT a revolution for democracy and freedom and equality and all those good things. (I'll include an article one this at the end of this post.)

It was a revolution by the rich to keep themselves rich. Its leading figures were very wealthy landowners (the big business of the time) and slave owners. "No taxation without representation"  really meant no taxation for the rich at all. As for freedom and equality, there was no freedom for slaves, no equality for women, and (this is often forgotten) no equality for the poor. In fact, the poor commonly were not allowed to vote. The idea of freedom related largely to the freedom to own property.

The closest North America came to democracy was the Iroquois confederacy of several hundred years ago. It encouraged free speech, participation in  public affairs, equality of women..... In fact, the Iroquois confederacy was often, if wrongly, seen as the inspiration for the American constitution. By force of numbers and weaponry we conquered civilizations here that were quite advanced, and often superior to ours.

A good book on that is James W. Loewen, "Lies My Teacher Told Me".

What follows that period is a heroic history of "real Americans" like Davey Crockett (who was a slave owner and a land speculator who murdered native peoples to get their land.) Then there's the whole movie mythology of the "injun fighters" who were really more like the executioners in Hitler's death camps as they killed native people in their millions. This was a  holocaust.

Then there's the whole myth about the civil war to free the slaves. That was not about slaves at all. It was about the wealthy landowners of the south who wanted to separate from the industrial north because the south needed free trade for its cotton market; but the north wanted tariffs to protect it from competition. Lincoln is often quoted for his fine speeches about freeing slaves. In fact, he more often said, and on record, that he didn't care about freeing the slaves. He was quite willing to let slavery continue. But he had to protect the the taxes on imports because real political power was in the industrial north. ( So much for the idea of our capitalism being based on the incentive of competition. It never has been.)

The great hero of movies was John Wayne with his, "a man's gotta do whut a man's gotta do." A real man shoots up injuns. A real man kills people (when necessary.) A real man is one who serves his country when billionaires tell him to. (though Wayne managed never to serve.) The people who loved the John Wayne movies are probably the same ones who just loved American Sniper. (Notice it's not just Sniper. It's American Sniper because it repeats the John Wayne model of what a real American is.)

Now, if he had been a Vietnamese sniper or a Muslim sniper, he would have been a cowardly murderer. But he was an American Sniper. Standing ovation. A man's gotta do whut a man's gotta do.

Remember the War of 1812 celebrations? Remember how cutesy they were? Imagine what they would have been like if it had been not our good friends invading and killing and burning and looting and raping. Imagine if, for example, it had been a Muslim army invading Canada.

Next thing you know, we'll have a cutesy celebration of the deliberate starvation of plains Indians or of the child abuse of the residential schools.

The message of the 1812 celebrations was that we have been friends ever since. In fact, we haven't. The US sponsored the Fenian raids in the late 1860s. It objected to us having any army in our own west. That's why we had to call it the Northwest Mounted Police. It threatened to invade in 1903. It has defied our government for years in using the Northwest passage without Canadian permission. It will invade us tomorrow if there's a dollar to be made out of it.

There are no such things as friends between nations. The US is now making serious efforts to be buddies with Cuba and Vietnam. Do you seriously think that, on any side, this has anything to do with being buddies?

Harper has made a claim that even the US hasn't - that Israel is NEVER wrong. He has sent Canadian troops and police into Ukraine  where we could soon find we are committed to a major war. Do you seriously think he's doing that out of concern for Ukrainians? Have Canadians been lying awake at night wondering how to help Ukraine?

Of course not. He's doing it to get Jewish and Ukrainian votes in the next election. And if Canadians get killed as a result -tough. We'll say nice things about them on Nov. 11. It'll be just like all those who died in Afghanistan, who died to......what? We've never been told. I certainly don't recall mobs in the streets demanding a war against Pakistan. No. We did it because a US president wanted to pretend this was a war of good against evil.

Whenever we read the news, we see what our understanding of history tells us to see. Our history books tell us we are good. They tell us that those we fight are evil. (Except in the case of the War of 1812.) We, all of us and without realizing it, carry a burden of false history with us when we read the news and that shapes how we understand the news.
There are many American historians who have written myth-busting books about American history. But Alas! I can think of few Canadian historians who have challenged whatever the current version might be. One of the few is a Quebec separatist of the sixties and seventies who wrote "Petit Manuel d'Histoire de Quebec". It was, and still is, used in some university courses in Quebec. The problem is it's entirely false.

Bergeron was never an historian. He knows nothing of history of Quebec or anywhere else. This book is pure propaganda with, as I discovered, at least one major error of fact in virtually every paragraph. But it has enjoyed huge sales, and is still in print.

Student columnnist Agnew wrote in a recent column for the TandT and courses like English are worth taking This was in response to those who think of universities as being essentially for job training.  She's right.

But universities are leaning more to training - as in business programmes.  There's nothing really wrong with business programmes so long as the universities also offer programmes that teach people how to think, and how to think independently - because most business programmes don't do that.

English, History, Psychology, Mathematics, Chemistry can teach people to think. The problem, especially at the introductory level, is they don't. That's because universities know very little about teaching - and they don't want to know. They think universities exist simply for prestige and status which can be won (along with raves from MacLean's magazine) only by research.  The result is courses based on memorizing information - a waste of time for everybody.

And we need, very badly, to learn how to think.

Until paper got cheap and printing got more sophisticated in the 1890s, newspapers were expensive, and out of the reach of most people. Those that existed were usually business news or were owned by political parties. But cheap paper and better printing brought a revolution. They could deliver the news for as little as one cent.  As late as 1945, a daily paper could be as little as three cents. Circulation boomed to create a new super-rich class of owners almost overnight.

And the owners learned from the start this gave them tremendous power - to create wars, as the Spanish-American war showed, and to create heroes out of incompetents as the idolization of Baden-Powell at Mafeking in the Boer War showed. It could manipulate people to make or destroy political parties. It could create hysteria. It could create a world of foreign affairs that really didn't exist. An excellent book on this is Phillip Knightley, "The First Casualty: the War Correspondent as Hero and Myth"  It goes up to the Vietnam war with a history of journalism's lying and manipulation. And the situation has become much, much worse in the years since Vietnam.

And it can create villains our of people like Castro. This is the man who saved his country from decades of slavery and horror inflicted by American-appointed dictators. Unlike Mulroney, he stole nothing. He brought Cubans access to health care and education for the first time in their history. The American government tried to kill him. set bombs in Cuba, impoverished the country by putting trade sanctions on it, blew up a civilian airliner killing all aboard.

Castro was a villain in most North American news media. The heroes were people like Kennedy and Nixon who tried to bring back the dictator. Today, mass murderers like Bush and Blair (who became multillionaires for killing millions of people for reasons we've never been told) have never suffered a word of criticism.

Our news media made a hero of Chiang kai-shek in China and a villain of Mao-tse-tung. Mao was certainly a killer on a grand scale - and we've been told all about it. So what about Chiang? Ever even heard of his killing record? It was in the tens of millions. (Chiang, incidentally, was also a massive drug-dealer, a front for a world drug boss,and a convert to Christianity.)

And what created the mess that so destroyed China that a Chiang and a Mao could rise to power? It was western capitalists who killed and starved millions, and who destroyed the whole social structure of China so they could get rich - and they intended to do so even more after 1945.

And who stopped them? Who saved China so it could become the prosperous country it is now? Well, it wasn't Chiang. It wasn't Britain (which had caused enormous damage to China). And it wasn't the US (which supported Chiang so its capitalists could go on looting the country.)

It was Mao. Like it or not, there would have been no modern China without Mao.

In the last 40 years, the news media have gone downhill. The National Post is disgusting. The Toronto Sun is vile. The New York Times is embarrassing. The Irving press, which was always downhill, is the worst.  It lies on the best of days. Commonly, it is also ignorant of the truth. And it's deliberately designed to discourage people from thinking. That's why it has so much trivia.

We're living in very, very dangerous times, both domestically and in foreign affairs. This is one hell of a time to have a whole province - and most of a country - that doesn't think.

Wake up, New Brunswick!


  1. Here is something that might interest you :


    1. thank you. that's a good, thoughtful piece, I'm going to include it in tomorrow's blog.

  2. The greatest resource human beings have is the human mind. Most people's minds function on automatic pilot. When's the last time you had a discussion of ideas with anyone. For me it is with people like yourself and other bloggers. With the exception of very few, other than that no one. Conceptual thinking, how we acquire knowledge is by nature volitional. It happens by choice.
    Most people could care less, thinking is not high on there priorities of things to do. I live in downtown Toronto,in walking distance to Princess Margaret Hospital, the place where 2 Canadian doctors discovered Stem Cell research. Some consider it as important a discovery as DNA. but achievements of the mind are not news worthy, apparently not what the public wants to read. The Canadian womans soccer team though has hired a new coach in the hopes of winning at the olympics is news worthy! What kind of a value is placed on acquiring and possessing knowledge. Nadda, zero, it's never talked about. If not for those who chose to think and who exercised the knowledge that comes from thinking, we would still be living in caves. Teaching people to think? Starting in grade schools we are taught to obey, not think. In fact up until and including present day the independent thinker is the enemy of those in power. You must be aware of all this though. You're one of the most independent thinkers I've come across.That's a compliment by the way. If a countries culture is not governed by knowledge, what stands in its place. Power and force and today fundamental faith. What better way to destroy the human mind. Also for any young person who attempts to think for themselves, they are ridiculed,isolated and ostricized. The message is very simple, fit in and conform, thinkers not allowed. In this conformist cultural waste land, the act of thinking itself has become an achievement. We have yet to have the governments thought police knocking on our door, but that will come. What do people think Harpers pursuit of power is all about. Harper a mindless, uncouth, mediocre tyrant is the new face of non-thinking and power. You're right "we need to very badly learn how to think." For the most part though we'll have to teach ourselves.

  3. I find the blog builds my anger, but decreases my frustration.

  4. I find the blog builds my anger, but decreases my frustration.