Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4: Reading 'alternate' news media.

The Irving press is not an all  unusual in our news world. It lies, it propagandizes, and it's so obvious you wonder how they get away with it. "ISIS cuts off head"s. Big story. U.S. invades Iraq, kills well over a million, destroys economy, Bush lies about reason for war (there was no legal reason), U.S. uses chemical weapons, depleted uranium shells that go on killing decades after the war...but precious little of this stirs any interest in our news media. Ditto with Canada sending troops to Afghanistan. Why? Nobody asks and nobody tells. Canada has aircraft killing Syrians. Why? We don't even get reports on what they're doing. Canada participated (and still does) in U.S. torture programmes.

I once made a list of countries which the U.S. invaded after 1945. Even without counting the killer squads and the agents that were sent to destabilize countries  (like  Ukraine, like  Guatemala, like Equador), it comes to at least a dozen counting Guatemala (twice), Haiti, Cuba, Libya, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Libya, Iran, Afghanistan - all of them just terrible, terrible threats to the U.S. Yeah..

Nobody knows how many millions of  people were murdered, how many died of impoverishment and starvation or illness. The U.S., with Canadian support, is far the worst terrorist and mass murderer in the world today.

How can it be that we can watch this, and still see us an Americans as 'good guys'?

Part of it, of course, is news media that don't tell the truth. But I think there's another part - maybe even more important - the teaching of history in the high schools ( and sometimes the universities) and on TV and in movies.

What is taught isn't history  at all. It's lies used to develop patriotism. The American revolution, for example, was NOT fought to make all people equal.. A majority of Americans, by far, were not made equal. -  women, blacks, many of the poor. The War of  1812 was Not the "second war of independence as American history books say". It was an invasion to kill Canadians and steal their land. The US did not declare war on Germany to help Britain or to bring democracy and equality to the world.  (In fact, it never declared war on German at all.) The Korean war was NOT fought to keep South Korea free. South Korea had never been free in the first place. It was a dictatorship, and it remained a dictatorship long after the war. South Vietnam has an elected president when the U.S. moved in. But the U.S. and the Vietnamese generals killed him to set up a series of dictators.

The reality is that the U.S. is an empire, and it is even more thieving and murderous than its predecessors like Britain and France. And the reality is that the Canada which once fought under the British Empire to protect British profits now fights under the American Empire to protect American profits.

But that's not the image that most Canadians and American have. What they have is the phony history image which, for those who never listened in history class, is reinforced by movies and TV. Commonly, that's not the fault of the history teachers in the public schools. They's get fired if they told the truth.

We can see other people, especially of a different colour or religion, as quite brutal. But we are blind to the thoroughly brutal bastards that we are.

I took a long time to say that. But the idea came to me as I was reading a book on the development of tanks. On one page was a picture of a German tank of World War Two. It was being blessed by a Nazi clergyman. (There might be an opening for him at the Irving Chapel, or on the Faith Page of the Irving Press.)

For a break, here's an intelligent article on the idea of a guaranteed annual income.  It didn't appear in the Irving press, of course. The Irvings might want a guaranteed annual income - but only for themselves..


There are a couple of news stories worth reading in Section A news. But must of it is trivial crap.

The editorial, as always, is very local. These editorials are written by a man whose world is bounded by the Petitcodiac River, Mountain Road, and Vaughan Harvey Blvd. Today's editorial is about better training for motorcylists.  Way to speak out on the big issues, baby. Tell it like it is.

Norbert writes about Bill Cosby which is a) unpleasant but trivial and b) says nothing we don't already know.

Alan Cochrane's commentary is much the same as the editorial.

The guest columnist writes about Greece. (She's a professor of Economics at  UNB). Unfortunately, she really has nothing useful to say. Most of it is a boring recital of what we already know. Her only advice is in the final paragraph. It's vague and, to be kind, conventional. She might consider the human element here.  When you create a nation of high unemployment, destroyed public services, then you kill a great many of them. Average life expectancy drops to 50 and even much less. Even today, check the life expectancies of rich and poor districts. There's quite a gap. Funny how none of the news I have seen on Greece mentions that. Nor has austerity ever led to prosperity.

Alec Bruce has a column on frauds on the internet. His advice is good. But what we really need to know more about are frauds in our economic system, our governments, and business leaders.

Luckily, there are three, very good letters to the editor.
Canada&World - sigh...  Page B1 has story that's a lesson in slanting the news. "Iran's Ahmadinejad aims for political comeback". The reporter makes the point that, when Ahnadinejad was president, his term was marked by confrontation with the U.S. (My goodness. He must be evil.) There is no mention that the U.S. overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran way back in 1950, and installed a dictator who ruled to please American oil billionaires. A revolt overthrew the dictator, so the U.S. immediately labelled the new, elected Iranian government as "terrorists". Yes, relations between Iran and the U.S. were certainly bad in Ahmnadinejad's time. But it was scarcely he who caused that.

Meanwhile, AIPAC, the Israeli propaganda outfit in the U.S., has sent a huge contingent of Congressmen (money is no object) to Israel to encourage Israel in fighting the peace  agreement recently reached with Iran. There's an insanity going around. And it's catching.

The only big story is on B4.  Obama has just announced that he's taking climate change very, very seriously. He wants to end our reliance on fossil fuels. And he says we have to do it very soon. Congressmen and state governors who get their campaign money and other rewards from oil billionaires have announced they will defeat anything he puts forward. And they probably can. Energy companies have threatened to sue the American government. And they will.

Too bad nobody on staff at the Irving press understands any of this. But this give me a great idea. Why doesn't the paper send an  ace reporter to the most eminent and respected authority in this province? Ask him if he thinks climate change is a problem. You may not have heard of him because his name is seldom mentioned in the Irving press.

Is it just a fluke that parts of Iran are have the hottest weather on record recently? Yep. It feels, according to reports, like 70% Celsius. Also in the middle east, some 25 children in a refugee camp recently died of heat. That sorta suggests we have a problem here - a problem that will affect the food supply of billions, dry up water,  and make the large parts of the earth uninhabitable.

We need the opinion of an expert whose word we can depend on. He's shy, as many great men are. But he's a noted Christian and donor to good causes. So send a reporter to ask Mr. Irving if climate change is happening.

B5 has a headline "U.S. -led strikes against IS have killed at least 459 civilians." Well, it happens. But you have to recognize that  IS is an aggressor in a land that belongs to the U.S. I mean, it must belong to the US because the U.S. is bombing Syria, drone bombing all over the place, and sending bombs to the Saudis to drop on the Yemenis. So, you know. It just goes to show you.

There is,  below it, a story that the UN aims to eliminate poverty and hunger in the next 15 years. Well, it won't. First, we have no idea whether whether the Earth can be made to feed all its people even with the present climate, let alone if it's changing dramatically. Secondly, capitalists don't want poverty to end. They want it to go on and on as in Central America, Haiti, Africa because poverty gives them cheap labour. The reporter might ask Mr. Irving about that, too.  
Then their are the stories the paper had no room for because they needed a whole page for photos of volunteers holding up big cheques for things that shouldn't rely on voluntary donations.

Jewish settlers in "settlements" (land stolen from Palestinians) have been  terrorizing the remaining Palestinians for decades. (I know this from a friend who was such a "settler".)   The most recent case is reported because it's more sickening than usual. It's in Haaretz for August 4. A Palestinian house
was raided by Jewish settlers, spray painted with slogans in Hebrew meaning "Hail the Messiah", then firebombed. The parents and two children got out - though are suffering burns. In the terror and confusion, they couldn't  find the baby. So it was burned to death.

The Israeli government is, of course, very upset. But has rarely taken action in such cases. Well, that's at least consistent. The Israeli government has been spreading hatred of Palestinians as an excuse for its treatment of them. And the spread of such hatred has gone across the U.S. through the action and inaction of the U.S. government and its news media.

Puerto Rico didn't make the news, either. This American territory (kept at a distance because it's full of Puerto Ricans) is broke and in default. As in Greece, the bankers want their blood. The country, kept poor and with few social services is, at the demand of the bankers, being forced to close schools and fire teachers, plus higher taxes (though not for big business)..

Will it work? Of course not.  It didn't work in 1929. And it's never worked since then. So why do the rich always push for austerity to deal with a debt problem - as happened in Greece, in Puerto Rico, and as the Irving press in encouraging for New Brunswick?

Because it works for the very rich. They don't have to worry about feeding or educating their children, and they don't have to worry about taxes. In fact, austerity programmes make the rich richer because they help the rich to drive down salaries and benefits. That's what happened in the Great Depression, and the rich learned that lesson well.

You cannot rebuild an economy  by making most people poor, by spreading hunger, by cutting off medical help. All you can do that way is to make them miserable, and dead long before their time. But count on the Irving press to come down in favour of austerity every time. And if it comes to a time when the people of Moncton are weak and sick in the streets because of their poverty, the Irving press will still be campaigning for the new hockey rink.

Former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, a guest on a recent radio talk show, said that the U.S. is not a democracy. It's an oligarchy (government by a small group of wealthy people) with unlimited political bribery.

I think he's right. And I found a site naming other  prominent Americans (including some who surprised me) who have said that.


To see the others who have said this, go to the end of the article.

Canada is pretty much the same. If Harper wins again, it will be game over for democracy. New Brunswick is ruled by oligarchy, too, albeit a small one. That can still be changed. But we have proof that neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives will ever change it.



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