Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21: the news that isn't in the Irving press.

The account below, from aljazeera, is the first news story I have seen that makes Black discontent in the U.S. fully understandable. Racism, despite superficial changes, is as powerful in the U.S. as it always has been - and it has been a very powerful force since the earliest days of settlement.

Even in Canada it is far  more common than we like to think it is. Canada  has its own and largely untold story of savage racism and slavery toward Blacks and native peoples. And the racism in Canada still exists - though Canadians have always preferred to ignore it. I learned a great deal about racism in Montreal while advisor for an National Film Board offering called "Showgirls".

The aljazeera account (below) suggests American racism is as powerful as it was in 1865. And the U.S. may well be suffering a social breakdown. Nor has Obama made it any better with foreign and domestic policies that are no different from his white predecessors.

In fact, for world news, I would strongly suggest reading all of the current edition of aljazeera. It not only presents far, far better coverage than the Irving press; it's infinitely more clearly written and explained. That's because the Irving press relies entirely North American news services - and almost all North American news services are both sloppy and lying.

In fact, most of the "news" in Canada&World is the stuff of belly-button gazing. For example, the lead story is that St. John, just down the road from Moncton, is dancing in its streets because there are going to be new jobs (for sixty days only) as Irving does maintenance work on its oil refineries.
There are even estimates of how this  will perk up sales for coffee shops. That story is the lead in world news,, is also the banner headline on the front page - and was the banner headline yesterday.

God bless the Irvings.

But something is seriously wrong in an economy iin which a newspaper wets its pants because some people are going to get 60 days of work. I also wonder if there are any special treats of tax dollars to Irving for its wonderful, humanitarian gesture.

Sausdi Arabia is bombing the major port in  Yemen for the supply of food and medical supplies. People are dying of starvation and illness - and the Saudis are targeting their only good source - with bombs supplied by America which, we are told, is blessed by God. The U.S. is also carrying out massive and indiscriminate drone bombing of that wredtchedly poor country. Oh, and the Saudis are using illegal cluster bombs which, like their other bombs are cominig from the U.S. These are bombs that go on exploding and killing for years - with children frequently the victims.

The Irving press has nothing of this in world news. But it does have a fast-breaking story that Winnipeg doesn't have enough inspectors for its slaughterhouses.

There is a World News story about the Greek crisis but, like most World News stories it's pretty superficial. Roughly, the Irving press story is that the government is calling an election, and times are tough in Greece.

The reality is that international bankers helped by their governments are destroying Greece. It's debt, caused largely by corruption -   to which international bankers are closely tied - has given the bankers the power to take over the country. They have insisted that almost everything that is owned by the Greek state must be privatized, and at bargain basement prices - now. That means energy, medical services, water, sewage, highways, perhaps education,  just about everything - must be privatized. And that means the Greeks will be paying much, much more for those services as the international bankers and their buddies cash in.

And the Greeks (whose real unemployment rate is over 25%) and whose salaries are already low will be crushed under heavy taxes for generations to come - all of it, profits and taxes - going straight to the international bankers. Indeed, the probability is that Greece will never recover from this.

This is extraordinarily brutal treatment by capitalists of a whole nation. Misery is the least it will suffer from. There will also be hunger, early death, loss of any hope for a better future.... But, hey, we don't don't want billionaire bankers to make any provision for humanity and decency. If they did, they wouldn't be good capitalists, would they? In the words of Jesus, "...make em pay."

Not a word of any of this has appeared in the Irving press.  Perhaps this would be a good topic for discussion and coffee in the barn at the Irving Chapel after a spiritual cleansing by the special music of Reverends Maxwell and Maxwell. ( Sounds like a tap-dancing act.)

But perhaps the Faith page will deal with this in one of its famous sermonettes - perhaps one advising Greeks to cut their toenails before they go walking on the golden  streets of the New Jerusalem. (Long toenails made such a clatter on gold.)

Nor are we hearing much about the millions of refugees caused - mostly  - by us. We hear a little bit about the ones who drown or who barely make it to Greece. What we don't hear about is the help we are giving them. That's because there isn't much help to talk about.

Europe doesn't want them - and it's drifting to a response of intense racial hatred. I did not admire those who thought it a courageous act for freedom to applaud hack cartoonists in France and other places  who made a living of drawing obscene sketches of Muhammed. If you think that is funny or freedom-loving, then I have some sketches of Jesus as a cross-dresser but without panties. You could hang it in your church to show how free and broad-minded you are.

North America doesn't want the the refugees, either. The U.S. lets few in, and puts them under the thumb of its secret police. Canada will let some in, but commonly puts them (whole families) into prison for the months or years it takes to get around to studying their applications.

Then there's a bizarre headline on B7. "Amazon's corporate culture could happen in Canada"
The story is that Amazon is quite ruthless in firing or downgading employees It has no concern whatever for their welfare. All that matters is the bottom line in the quarterly reports.

This COULD happen in Canada? Come off it. It happens all the time in Canada, and it has happened routinely in Canada for centuries. I've worked in places like that as a teenager. It's something called unregulated capitalism. It's why capitalists don't like unions. Until the 1960s, it was quite common, almost the rule, to treat teachers like that. I remember many of my own teachers, including senior ones, who were below the poverty line. That was normal. For many, many Canadians, it still is. How could an editor choose to print that story with that headline?

In other, front-page news is that minors who have the tobacco addiction will find that Bathhurst is the easiest city in Canada to get illegal ciggies. That's probably the most exciting news in section A.
The editorial is about hotel advertising. It held me spellbound.

Norbert wrote about how pet snakes (like Boa Constrictors) can be quite safe. Not true. I have  known several people who were quite sensible, and who owned them. In ever case, the snake got free at least once. Anyway, all you can do is look at the things sleeping, then there's the once a month thrill of buying a live, white mouse, and putting it in the cage. People who want to own Boa Constrictors are 'special' people.

Cole Hobson has a column on Acadian National Day. He spent the day opening beer bottles for the festival. He found it exciting. Oh! I've told you too much, and given away his whole story.

Alec Bruce has a light, but generally accurate column about Harper.

Lita Cameron is a medical student in Hamilton who has been working with low-iincome families. Her commentary is well worth reading as a reminder that how much money you are born into has a powerful effect on your chances in life, including your health chances.

We don't really get news. 90% of all news services in North America are owned by some four or five conglomerates. And news overlaps with their control of radio, newspapers, TV and film studios. And they create the world we think we live in.

So there are  no movies about North American billionaires who keep millions of people in Central America and Africa in a poverty and lack of education they can never escape. Meanwhile, the mines are so destructive that the land and water will never recover.

Ever see an American movie about WW2 in the Pacific? Ever see any soldier in it but an American one? In fact, the U.S. fought only a small part of the Japanese Army. Britain and India had close to a million troops tying down the Japanese on the Asian mainland. And China had both its nationalist and communist armies fighting Japan.

Japan doesn't want another war. But the U.S. is forcing rearmament on it to use it in an attack on China.

How many movies have you seen about Russia in World War Two? I've never seen one. We all know about the heroism of Churchill and Roosevelt and Patton and Montgomery. But it was Russia (as the Soviet Union) that was decisive in defeating Hitler. In fact, our side had lost the war in 1940. Churchill later admitted it. The U.S. didn't enter because it didn't care who won in Europe. It was China it had its eye on.

Even our image of the cowboy west is largely a myth.  Up to 1865, a high proportion of cowboys was Black. Remember - Texas was a slave state. After the war,  both Blacks and Whites were cowboys because it was a cheap labour job, and they couldn't get anything else.

All of these images together create our sense of what the world is, and was, about. In the 1920s, mulsim arabs were portrayed in film as romantic and exciting - just as they are now portrayed as vicious and evil.

We are the products of a vast, propaganda industry that touches almost every hour of our lives.And this propaganda focusses on making us hate and fear - hate and fear so we will kill millions, including children and babies, without a qualm.

And it's working.

The Irving press is worse only because it combines propaganda with such a mass of triviality.

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