Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sorry for yesterday.

My apologies for yesterday. Very foolishly, I wrote the thing on my blog site instead of doing it in Word, first. Then, at the end of several hours of writing, I accidentally hit delete and lost the whole thing.
Then I went to my room to cry.

So today, we'll look at the Irving press just briefly – then on to broader topics.

Yesterday's Irving press, by the way, had only one item worth reading – it was by Alec Bruce, and it was superb. You can read about the same topic (the province's economic benefits from its universities) on today's A10.

Today, there are excellent commentaries by Norbert Cunningham, Alec Bruce, and the guest columnist. The editorial is the usual ga-ga stuff about how events centres and such will make us all rich. As usual, it has no evidence to support its point; it's entirely about making money and with no mention of the needs of people. It's just local boosterism, and shallow even at that.


For those who enjoy reading the same story twice, check out B4 “Ontario jury selection...” And B5 “Witchcraft pretenders, Liars...”

B2 has a story about how people in the Middle East just love Putin. There's even a photo of a woman kissing a picture of Putin. That tells us more about Middle East hatred for the U.S. than it does about the virtues of Putin. Russia is in the middle east for exactly the same reason the U.S. is – for its oil and its geographic position. It wants to keep Assad in power because he allows it to maintain a naval base there; because it's a strategic site for a Russian oil pipeline; and because this makes possible a permanent Russian presence in the oil-rich region.

His capitalists, like the U.S. capitalists, also want this settled soon so they can start rapidly increasing oil prices.

Putin is just doing a better job of it than Bush and Obama have done. That's why Iraq has recently been making nice to Russia. Iraqis remember the horrors of the U.S invasion.

B1 has a strange story about how famine is disappearing all over the world. The story doesn't give a definition of the word famine. However, we do have a UN study which is much, much less cheerful.

The world has over 800 million people living in severe hunger and malnutrition. A great many of these starve to death. Many, many more die from illnesses that result from severe hunger and malnutrition. And those many, many more are far more than this study in the news counts.

What's the difference between a person who dies from hunger and one who dies from an illness caused by hunger / After all, even the person who dies from what statisticians call starvation is dying from defects in the internal organs (illnesses) caused by hunger.

I also distrusted this article for it's political correctness. The researchers say rates of starvation declined due to the “..end of colonialism, total war, and leaders responsible for gargantuan amounts of deaths like Russia's Stalin and China's Mao.”
1, Nobody knows the number of deaths ordered by Stalin and Mao. I'm sure they weren't sweethearts and they killed millions. But our only sources for the number are our own governments. And the deaths they caused by starvation were commonly due more to bad planning than to deadly intent. That was particularly true for Mao.

2. It says much starvation was caused by colonialism. So it was. And for death tolls Stalin and Mao might have been jealous of. So how come the countries and people who starved and slaughtered millions in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Africa aren't named? Is it because their names are us?

3. The starvation and malnutrition are still deliberate results of our policies. Check out the Middle East where starvation is a weapon deliberately used by our good friends in Saudi Arabia.

4. And colonialism is ending? Please. All that has happened is that the old western empires have collapsed, and the American empire has replaced them

No. I don't trust this study.

B4 has the story of Julian Assange who has been taking shelter in the Equador embassy in London. Assange has been there, confined to a room, since 2012. British police have spent some 16 million American dollars to stand around outside so they can arrest him to send him to Sweden to face a rape charge – no – not to face a charge because that was dropped. They want to question him. Sweden also wanted him to face other sex charges – but it has abandoned them.

So why has Britain spent over sixteen million dollars to arrest a man so that Sweden can ask him questions? Please. What's the real reason?

The real reason is that Assange is the man behind Wikkileaks which has released stacks of documents about the U.S government committing war crimes, and lying to the American people about nasty things like torture. It wants Sweden to get him so it can deport him to the U.S. which can then try him before a fixed court, and put him in solitary for life. The British spent all that money because their American bosses told them to try to arrest him to send him to Sweden.

And all those war crimes – the assassinations, the mass murder, the torture? The people who did those got medals.

C3 has an excellent column by Jana Giles, a high school student. She discusses the obsession with grades in schools – how it creates terrible stress, and how it hinders learning. And I have bad news for Jana. It gets even worse in university.

But she's on the right track. Excessive concern for grades interferes with learning. And it's made worse by egomaniacs who work at making you feel your mind is inferior to theirs. Universities are rich in this breed.

When I got to high school, the obsession with grades got me so convinced of my utter stupidity that I did badly, failed grade ten, and was kicked out in grade eleven. I still remember the day the principal called me down and said, “Let's face it, Decarie, you have no brains at all. It's time to go get a job.”
Eventually, I talked my way into a university – but it got worse. One of my early courses was in Canadian history – a field in which I would later get a Ph.D. But my grade in that course, and my other history courses, was D. My BA certificate was full of Ds, did not write, repeat, absent from exam…. When I first approached a university to do an M.A., the response was “These grades are beneath contempt.”

What saved me was to learn how to avoid “panic studying” - set a regular daily time for study every day which included quick reviews as well as more recent work – and to set regular time that was mine.

Many people, probably most, have more brains than they think they have. And many egoists have fewer than they think. Don't let the egoists get to you.

Then there's the stuff that isn't in the Irving press.

The Guardian for yesterday, Oct. 12, has the story that the UN is investigating American treatment of native peoples in the U.S. The American government is not pleased.

It also sent a letter to the Canadian government asking to investigate the native situation in Canada. Understandable there was no answer. Harper has been busy defending us from a woman wearing a veil.

Then there's the story below about how the Taliban controls more of Afghanistan than ever. This is the major result of a huge nation with the biggest military spending in the world spending over a trillion dollars in a fourteen-year war fought against one of the poorest nations of the world which is, itself, split in what is also a civil war. The is the United States whose billionaires tell us is ready to conquer Russia and China, and fit to rule the world.

This is also the country in which the commander of the American troops was fixed up by his government with a mistress under the cover story that she was writing his biography. In the course of their relationship, he passed on military secrets to her. That's what Julian Assange did for the American people. If the U.S. ever gets him, he'll be jailed for life. And the general – nothing will ever happen to him.

Then there's a story out of Wikkileaks that should surprise no-one. The U.S. has been planning to assassinate the president of Bolivia. He wants to improve lives in Bolivia – and that would interfere with the profits of American capitalists. Old stuff. The U.S. has murdered a lot of presidents. That's what special ops are for.

The situation in Syria could soon get very dangerous, indeed. U.S. aircraft are now dropping tons of military supplies at 'rebel' bases. That means they're flying in the same areas Russian aircraft are flying in. So are Turkish aircraft as they fly over Syria to bomb Kurds. This is almost a certain situation for an 'accident'.

The only solution to Syria is for the U.S. and Russia to cooperate. But they won't. Both have their own objectives; and neither cares about the Syrian people.

There's also a story that should appear in tomorrow's paper that Dutch scientists have announced that the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine was caused by a Russian-made rocket. The only report I have seen of it does not not strike me as a useful one. We'll see if we learn more tomorrow.

Finally, I wrote a long piece yesterday about the violence in Israel. Mutual hatreds are rising to what could be a disaster for both sides. And we in Canada and the U.S. have a good deal to answer for in creating those hatreds. But it's a long one. I'll save it for tomorrow.
Oh, oh, a game on page A1 of today's Irving press. It's a headline written by one of their erudite editors.
Read it – and think. What is wrong with this headline?

“Young voters in Moncton eager to cast their ballot.”


  1. Re, Alec Bruce's article on Helping Universities Succeed.
    He writes, "These places are, after all, where we have learned to think critically, do courageously, and dream unabashedly."
    Perhaps that is the root of the action, to lessen the impact that institutes of higher learning have on our populations. Long I've listened to the supposed rantings of lunatics and doomsayers pontificating that 'they' are trying to ;dumb down' the masses. Have they known all along? If the math adds up, just what is the point of the cuts to those public accounts?