Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nov. 8: Catching up on the news.

Sometimes, even a good news medium runs a really silly story. This time, it's today's CBC. This is about a university prof in the U.S. who says there is always a moral cost in deciding to fight a war, and in  deciding not to fight one.

If we fight them to destroy an evil government, then we must avoid killing innocent people. If we don't fight them, then we are abandoning those who need our help.

Come on. If we were going to stop evil governments which ignore human rights of their people, then we should have invaded the U.S. when it murdered Vietnamese, Guatemalans, Yemenis, Iraqis, Syrian, Afghans, Guatemalans, Libyans by the millions. We should now be invading our good friend, Saudi Arabia.

And it is not possible to fight a war without massive killing of civilians. Modern weapons have made that impossible for at least a hundred years.

And who are we to decide what constitutes the ignoring of human rights? Canada and the U.S. have a long, long history of racism and abuse - and that's not even counting what we have done - and are doing - to our native peoples.

Offhand, in fact, I cannot think of a war in the last century (or in any other) that was fought to protect human rights. The western countries, certainly, have never been nations of tinkerbelles flying over the world to clobber evil people with our magic wands.

The story is in CBC news for today. And it's on the web.

An odd story of the week has been about statements from British PM Cameron about the Russian airliner downed in Sinai. He said, within hours of the crash, that it was a bomb that did it. and the bomb was placed by ISIS.

But Cameron wasn't there. Only the Russian investigators were there; and they didn't know. They're still not sure it was a bomb. And they don't pretend to know who did it. There are a lot of terrorist groups in the middle east, almost all of them financed and supplied by the U.S.

Why did Cameron feel compelled to make a statement at all? It wasn't a British plane. It didn't crash on British territory. Under these circumstances it's extremely odd that he should have made a statement at all.

Was it just foolishness on Cameron's part? Was it a way to put the blame on ISIS for an act done by some other group? And was it a way to deflect attention from the real purpose of the bombing?

Either Cameron is very foolish. Or there's a game being played here.
The Guardian has a story about the rising suicide rate of middle-aged white Americans. For over fifteen years, it has been rising so quickly that it is a factor in the decline of life spans in the US as compared to other, rich countries.

The study relates much of  this to low levels of education, poverty (with no sign of hope for a better future), drugs and alcohol. Toward the end, it suggests that poor education and poverty may be the root causes, with drugs and alcohol more a result than a cause.

And the U.S. is not the only country where this is happening. A report by the CBC says its happening in Canada, too.

Hopelessness, poverty, poor education. What a coincidence that these causes and deaths should happen through the same years as we have seen a massive shift of wealth from most of us to a very few, the same years in which the U.S. cannot afford social programmes for that same reason, and because it spends so much on the military - spending which exists to make the rich even richer. And it's combined with the years the very wealthy have been evading taxes. And it's now combined with years in which the poor and the middle classes face more cuts (as in education) and more taxes to make up for those lost taxes of the very wealthy.

A reader sent me a news site I had not seen before.  It's quite sophisticated, and it had some  useful material in it that we don't get. But beware of the obvious bias. It does carry some very good stuff. But the bias can be annoying.
When the US bombed and strafed a hospital in Afghanistan, a hospital run by Doctors Without Frontiers, the Irving press gave it only quick mention, and has never offered any opinion or analysis of it. So here's catch-up on the story.
The following story on the US use of drones was written by a very credible source. Check her credentials at the bottom.

Remember how are western news media thought it was just wonderful when a 'satirical' magazine called Charlie Hebdo ran grotesque cartoons of Muhammed and of Muslims in general? We congratulated it for its sense of humour, and bought Charlie Hebdo T Shirts.

Well, they've now drawn hilarious cartoons of a Russian airliner crashing and killing all aboard. What a scream!

The following reaction is from a Russian publication. I've yet to see anything at all in the Irving press - though it was an admirer of Charlie Hebdo last time.

Guessing time. What is the US/British strategy for the middle east?

Well, for a start, they want more dictators. Recently,  when Erdogan won a very dishonest and illegal election to gain the presidency in Turkey, his first act was to announce he was going to change the constitution to make himself an "exective president". Translation - dictator. He was immediately drawn to the bosoms of leaders in Britain and the U.S.

It is likely they will also attempt to give parts of Syria to Turkey and Israel. Another part may be given to the Kurds. The strategy is to destroy the state of  Syria by dividing it into several tiny nations. That is almost certainly what is behind the stepping up of US attacks on ISIS in Syria.

We may not hear as much news about Ukraine as we've been hearing. At the start, the U.S. was eager for a war with Russia. That eagerness has faded as the Russian performance in Syria shows armed forces that have improved hugely in the last fifteen to twenty years. As well, Putin has proven to be a leader who is not easily bluffed.

The US may also try to seek a friendly solution to the South China Sea issue because it may need China as a friend in 'dealing' with Russia.

And, yes, all of this will affect even Moncton, and affect it even more than a new hockey rink.

Through it all is the unguessable future for a Europe flooded with refugees it cannot handle - and there are many times more of them to come. Probably many more, even, than are forecast.

This is a crisis created by the U.S., Britain, and with the usually quiet, sometimes active, support of Canada. None of those three will do anything significant to help. I don't know what will happen. The best (and cheapest) answer would be to end the fighting in the middle east, and spend heavily on rebuilding it. But we won't do that because our oil billionaires don't want to re-establish life with hope in that region.

And watch the Trans-Pacific Trade deal. This was designed by big business meeting with politicians owned by big business - and it wasn't designed for us.

It is also a treaty that seems to be intended to establish a new set of national alliances in the world - also creating new enemies for us to be taught to hate. (It's good for business.)

And passed as it is, it certainly means the end of democracy, and the final victory of the very wealthy - the re-creation of the world of kings (dictators), aristocrats, and peasantry.

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