Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 17:

Friday, like today (Thursday) will be a busy day for me. So I'm starting this blog this evening - and will finish tomorrow. So the part about what's in Irving press will come last.

I spent part of today watching news on U.S. TV channels. It's a very frightening thing to watch. First, there was the general who warned that Iran came third on the list of threats to the U.S. Then there was the panel discussion which warned us that Iran was America's most dangerous enemy.  I don't know whether the general or the panelists believed what they said. But I know it's absurd. The idea that Iran would be serious threat in conventional war should be laughable. There's no way it could raise the forces even to reach American shores. And even if Iran had a nuclear weapon to fire, the whole of Iran would be obliterated in one salvo from the world's biggest nuclear arsenal - the one in the U.S.

But people take that seriously. All the major news sources in the U.S. are propaganda agencies - and their purpose - which they have well achieved - is to create hysteria and fear and hatred.

Who is the greatest threat to the U.S.? Big money is. Big money is what has created the recession that has impoverished millions in the U.S. Big money is what sends Americans (and British and Canadians) to get killed so it can become bigger money.

The hysteria has created a nation which will believe anything it's told to believe; and those people in hysteria are about to choose their next leader from politicians who are owned by big money.

They believe all they are told about how Greece  has to be punished for being so far in debt. They aren't told that all this turmoil is not about a debt. It's about ideology. And it's the ideology of greed.

The U.S. national debt will never be paid - but no bankers are making moves against it. They like American ideology because it teaches that uncontrolled capitalism is the greatest economic system ever designed. They still believe that even as they watch the spread of poverty, the growing wealth of the very rich, and the social breakdown of  nations. And it's not likely they'll ever hear much about the mass murder, pollution, and profound poverty in much of the world that is a direct result of of uncontolled capitalism.

The purpose of bankers in acting against Greece is not to solve any economic problem. It's to spread privatization - to every corner and every thing. The Greeks are being forced to end some government  services, and to sell most of the others cheap to capitalists. The capitalists will control energy, medical care, schools, everything. Government pensions for all will simply cease to exist. That's what this is all about. Greeks will suffer terribly, and many will die - but the rich will do well. No wonder Greeks are rioting. You don't get a sense from our news of what brutality this is to inflict on people. When I say many will die, that's not an exaggeration. This is all a part of what we (mistakenly) call capitalism. It's the deliberate destruction of people to make bigger profits for the very rich.

And that's coming to Canada, too.  Just follow the "studies" of the Fraser Institute or the C.D..Howe or Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. Just read professor Saillant's book on New Brunswick's debt.  Who caused this problem? Well, it's obvious in the book. You did and I did. It was all our fault. Any way people don't count. Only personal profit for the already wealthy counts.

Yes, it's all our fault. Funny. If we were living that high, you'd think we'd have noticed it.

At no point does Saillant even glance at the wage spread in this province, at the hidden money, at corporate welfare, at the tax dodges of the rich. Nope. Gotta cut them there social services. And nobody at Irving press is going to challenge that view. Gotta fire teachers. Gotta privatize medical care.

After all, it's private ownership that creates jobs and prosperity. At least, that's what we're told by our privately-owned news media. And it's a lie.

Private ownership has a 500 year history of spreading death and poverty all over the world. Take a serious look at what happened to our native peoples, to Latin America, Africa---take a look at Cuba and Haiti in the days of American control through dictators. And how did Mao rise to power in China? He rose because the Chinese people, their society, and their government had collapsed in over a century of destruction by western capitalism.

(I also listened to another panel talk about how the U.S. wanted to bring democracy and prosperity to Cuba.  Like hell. It had 60 years to bring democracy and prosperity to Cuba. And all it ever brought was brutal dictators and poverty and ignorance. There's a big story to be told about the devastation that uncontrolled capitalism has brought to the world. But you're never going to hear it from our commercial news media.)

Nor did capitalism bring prosperity to either the U.S. or Canada. Both countries had savage levels of poverty through most of their history under capitalism.  The good years, luckily for the baby boomers, began in 1939. It was in the period after that we got pensions, decent pay, medicare, expanded education.....  Those came because the governments were under pressure from socialists, and from unions. to give thought to human needs.

But, since Mulroney and Reagan and Thatcher, big money has been working to destroy that. And Greece is a case study of how it's done.

But we don't get that in the news. Instead, we get a hysteria that other countries hate us. And for no reason at all! And we believe that. So we agree to give up our constitutional rights so that billions can be spent on spies to hunt down terrorists.  And  notice how few reports we get of them finding any?

For all the terrorists we supposedly have running around in this country and making Mr.Harper hide in a closet, the only "terrorists" they've nabbed are a couple who were set  up by the spies. As for the U.S., in most years, Americans are likely to be shot to death not by terrorists, but by their own police.

But, of course, all those spies aren't for terrorists. They're to spy on us. And they report on us to government and to business leaders.

What's frightening about this world is not Russia or China or even Iran. It's big money, hysteria and fear created by news media - and the millions of us who have been brainwashed. We are the biggest threat to the world - and to ourselves.

Am I a socialist? Well, I'm really not crazy about any ideology. I can see a good reason for business so long as it operates under legal limitations, and quite separate from government. But we have created a danger by accepting the brainwashing techniques that plant the dangerous idea that business is a partner of government. I know that in most of Canada and the U.S., it is, with governments as the junior partners, - the gofers. But in a healthy system, business has no role in government at all but to obey the law, and pay taxes.

I think some socialism is essential to distribute wealth, provide essential services - in short, to look after the needs of the whole society. Business exists for only one reason - to make a profit for itself. It has no other purpose. To put something like that in control of a society is like making a tiger a waiter in a restaurant.

I also think we need public ownership of news media. (Yes. I know governments might interfere with it. But we can always vote against a government,)  The reality is that our CBC is far the best and most honest news service in North America, despite Harper's interference. The other reality is that all the privately owned news media in North America are simply propaganda agencies for their wealthy owners. (The Irving press is just one of many.)

But socialists have too often made the mistake of moving to the centre in order to get elected. The results of that have meant they get votes, but don't really get a mandate from the people to do what needs to be done. The disaster of Tony Blair who did nothing for the British people, but made himself rich (and a war criminal) by serving only the rich is an example of that.

That's all a bit rambling. But news is useless without some sense of a broad and general picture.
There was nothing in today's paper but the usual trivia and propagandizing. We'll see what joys tomorrow (Friday) will hold.

It's late Friday night now, and I'm back from a day at the beach, much of it spent splashing through a falling tide in search of something, anything, that's living. There was nothing - and I saw no shore birds or gulls where I should have seen them - scouting the sandbars for food as the tide fell.

So I guess it's okay to dump waste water full of toxic chemicals used in fracking shale gas. What the hell. The oceans are already dying.

There was a very big story that broke yesterday in Canada. CBC had it in the afternoon in plenty of time for the Irving press to carry the story. I was quite sure it wouldn't be in the Irving press today, though. And it wasn't.

For many months now, the Irving newspapers have been pimping for the Energy East Pipeline to the Irving refineries in New Brunswick. Alec Bruce has been particularly active (and insulting) in defending the pipeline against its environmentalist detractors. He has assured us many times it is all well-regulated and perfectly safe. And anybody who thinks differently is just a  nervous Nellie. Besides, he and his buddies tell us, we need the pipeline to create jobs.

Yesterday, a   well regulated and perfectly safe oil pipeline in Alberta spilled five million litres of the world's dirtiest oil. Luckily, it was spilled on land and in waterways already lost to a pollution that we will never see cleaned up.

But the Energy East Pipeline will come from that heavily polluted environment in  Alberta all the way across or through uncountable fresh water streams and lakes.

I look forward to Alec Bruce's next column on this issue. But this is the Irving press. If we see any report in it about this massive spill or if we read any commentary about it, it will be a cover-up and/or a lie.

In the whole paper, I could find only one item worth reading. It's a book review on C4 . The book is "War at Sea: Canada and the Battle of the Atlantic" by Ken Smith of Bathurst. I haven't yet read the book - but it's a subject that Canadians don't know enough about.  The North Atlantic was the only theatre in any war Canada ever fought  in which Canada was in supreme command of the whole theatre. And it was done brilliantly. It was crucial to defeating Hitler.

(My father would be less enthusiastic than I am. Living all his life inland, he had a love of the sea he had never seen. I can remember, as a very, very young child, the picture of. "Bluenose" on the wall - and other ships. Then he joined the navy ---and discovered he got seasick even in harbour, and stayed that way every moment at sea. The day he arrived back home, all the pictures were taken down.)

The editorial is piece of small-town boosterism. The commentaries are mostly trivial. The best column( by Alec Bruce) is about how the growing use of computers and other forms of automation has been cutting away at our work force - and doing it in rapid style. He suggests, and correctly, that this means less employment, and less personal income. I think he's right. But he stops short of the obvious conclusion.

The reason why people are being replaced by these machines, and the reason we are getting poorer as a result is because the only concern of major capitalists is to make profit. There is nothing else. Without government control of the major capitalists and with a union movement that has lost much of its ability to force business to respond to social needs, we have no power to ensure that these improvements benefit us as they do billionaires. Indeed, we simply become ever-cheaper labour. Nor do the big business profits help us. Most of the them simply go into the pockets of the already rich or get hidden in offshore banks. (Well, a tiny fraction gets donated to worthy causes so that the donor can create another philanthropy hall of fame for himself.

We need to rethink myths we have been taught, especially in our news media, about what capitalism and soclalism are - and what government should be.

But Alec Bruce stops short of the obvious conclusion. He has to. Otherwise, he wouldn't have a job.

I think that there will be a reaction against the behaviour of big money. My fear is that it will be the reaction of nationalist fascisms - happily financed, as they were in Germany and Italy in the 1930s, by Very rich Americans, and Canadians - and now by Chinese and Russians.

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