Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dec. 8: I have so much material today that....

...I can't possibly get it all in.

So, first let's deal with the Irving press because that won't take long.

On B1 we find the story that the New Brunswick government lied to us. It didn't put Dr. Cleary on leave; it fired her. And, despite the high level of trust and respect she enjoys among the population of this province, the government won't tell us why it fired her. And if they told us, I wouldn't believe them because the Gallant government - like Conservative government that preceded it and the Graham government that preceded the Conservatives - is now a pack of proven liars.

It assures us Dr. Cleary's research on herbicides will continue. Sure. But it will continue under a quieter hand, and without any mention of the name Irving, not ever.

What a collection of mewling bastards!

The only other item worth reading in the section B is that the far-right National Front Party is soaring in popularity. Far-right is a polite way to say Nazi. Naziism has never left. Now, under the spur of racism (just as it was under Hitler) it's showing some real muscle. Big business will be delighted - just as it was delighted with the rise of Hitler.
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The only commentary worth reading is by Sue Calhoun on the problerm of homelessness in New Brunswick.

Alan Cochrane has a 'feel good' column about how New Brunswick has long been a haven for refugees. Obviously, he doesn't know about the history of African-Canadians in this province as seen by Fred Cogswell.

Ode To Fredericton


White are your housetops, white too your vaulted elms
That make your stately streets long aisles of prayer,
And white your thirteen spires that point your God
Who reigns afar in pure and whiter air,
And white the dome of your democracy-
The snow has pitied you and made you fair,
O snow-washed city of cold, white Christians,
So white you will not cut a black man's hair.

We've gone a step beyond that with our native peoples, making them unwanted refugees in their own land.

Norbert has his standard column.  He talks about our economic problems, getting tough with everybody except the rich. Of schools, he says class sizes can be increased without harm to education.

This comes from a man who has never taught, and has never studied education.
In fact, class sizes across Canada are already too high, and were too high in all the years I taught. And they still are. And New Brunswick is only very, very slightly below the national average in class size.

Worse, this province has a desperate need for adult education. Of course, if people were better educated, they wouldn't read Norbert's columns.

Then, he says that all the fuss about Dr. Cleary is just innuendo and rumour, and we know nothing about the facts. (Wasn't that a nice kiss, Mr. Irving?)

CBC had the facts several days ago, Norbert. It wasn't just innuendo and rumour.

Norbert, we know these are uncertain economic times for most of us. So could you please sit down, wipe your lips, and explain how, as we have to cut back, the wealthy are still getting wealthier. This is exactly what happened in the 1930s.
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C3 has an interesting column by Jana Giles on whether school grades give an accurate sense of a students' ability. My own experience is that they often don't.
I often think of a student I taught who went through his undergrad years with straight As, then went on to a Ph.D. at Oxford. It made him pretty arrogant.  But what surprised me in reading an article he had written was to discover the low quality of his thinking.
I also worked with a graduate of Cambridge. He was so inarticulate that he became the only professor I ever knew of to be fired for utter incompetence as a teacher.

I think that much of the problem with grades originates because both public schools and universities rely far too heavily on memorization rather than thinking. Memorizing is stressful and, intellectually, mostly useless. On balance, universities are probably worse that the public schools in this respect.

And if you want to see really good teaching, sit in on a kindergarten class. Kindergarten teachers are the class act of the teaching world.
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This takes me to the idea of thinking - which I earlier said I would talk about. I was reminded of it as I watched a wartime, propaganda film on TV. It was about what Americans were fighting for in World War Two.  Apparently, they were fighting for truth, justice, equality, freedom, democracy for themselves and all the world.
Now, let's think about that.

Hitler came to power in 1934. It was obvious from the start he was a threat to truth, justice, equality, freedom, democracy. But the U.S. didn't go to war against him until days before 1942. In the meantime, the wealthy of America happily did business with Germany; and they gave Hitler substantial donations.

In 1939, Hitler attacked democracy and all those good things in Britain and France. The U.S. did nothing. In 1940, France was defeated, and Britain as good as defeated. But no complaints from the U.S. The American ambassador to Britain, an ex-bootlegger and the father of the man who would be  President Kennedy, used his position (as did many American capitalists and politicians) to milk the British economy.

Then, early in December of 1941, Japan, an ally of Germany, attacked Pearl Harbour. But still the U.S. did not not declare war on Germany. That declaration did not come  until very late in December - and it did not come from the U.S. It came from Germany.

Think of the implications of that. Then think about the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Japan was much smaller than the U.S. It was up to its ears in wars with China and much of the Far East. There was no possibility it could attack the U.S. mainland and its equality and freedom and good things. Why on earth would Japan ever think of taking on a military and industrial giant it could not hope to defeat?

So let's do our own thinking.

The U.S. didn't care what happened to Britain or France. In fact, the defeat of Britain and France played right into the hands of American capitalists because they would be able to pick up the pieces of the collapsing European empires.

And why did the Japanese do such a stupid thing as to bomb Pearl Harbour? Japan needed oil for its wars in Asia. But the U.S. had wanted control of China (and of Asia) for a very long time. Britain had built vast treasures out of its control of the China trade. Now, Britain was in collapse. At last, US capitalism could get China - but those Japanese were in the way.

The problem was that you have to sell such a war to the public - which didn't want war. You need to set up a convincing proof that you were the one being attacked by a treacherous and evil people.

So the U.S. cut off the supply of oil to Japan. The message to Japan was clear. The U.S. wanted Japan to get out of China so that the U.S. puppet, Chiang-kai shek, could take over. The Japanese realized they needed time to get China, and decided to buy time by crippling the U.S. fleet.

That's what Pearl Harbour was about. I don't think the U.S. was expecting that response - but it was expecting something that would give it an excuse to declare war. So it did.

It still didn't give a damn what  happened to Europe. But Hitler settled that some weeks later by declaring war on the U.S. (He was bound to do so by a treaty with Japan.)

Near the end of the war, the U.S. warned Britain and France not to 'liberate' Hong Kong or Vietnam. The French disobeyed, and paid a heavy price when their small fleet entered Saigon harbour. They were bombed by the U.S.

The British disobeyed, too, and entered Hong Kong (led by a Canadian ship). But the British navy in the Pacific was too large for the U.S. to attack it without causing negative reactions.

But in the end, Chiang lost China and the U.S. lost China - though it still hasn't given up.

Millions of people believed that propaganda film I watched, and they believed in the talk about freedom, equality, democracy. In fact, the American people didn't have freedom. The real decision to go to war was made for them. American children were never taught the reason for that decision, and they still aren't.  The U.S didn't have equality - it has never had it, and it still doesn't. As for democracy, before during and after the war, it supported brutal dictators all over Latin America.

If you memorize, then you're an easy target for propaganda. It's important to learn to think. And thinking, by the way, is incompatible with conforming to your neighbours. Educating young people to be just like their parents is akin to cutting off half their brains.

(Mind you, cutting off half their brains could get them good jobs as editors for the Irving press.)
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In other news, our good friends and comrades in freedom, equality and democracy - I refer here to Saudi Arabia - are preparing to stone a woman to death. They put her in a hole with just her head sticking out. Then the men throw rocks at her head, using small ones so she dies slowly.

The Protestant fundamentalists who write the sermonettes on our Faith Page, can be assured this is all quite Christian. Check Deuteronomy 22:21.
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There is sad news for our billionaires who hide from taxes with secret accounts in Jersey (UK). Jersey became a tax haven for the rich in the depression years of the 1930s. (Think about that. As poverty, illness, homelessness soared, the rich of Canada and the US were hiding their taxable income in places like Jersey, and demanding that government cut services to the population to reduce expenses.
Think about it. Then take another look at Norbert Cunningham's column for today.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/08/fall-of-jersey-how-tax-haven-goes-bust

In fact, this issue of The Guardian is magnificent. Read it on the site below. Read about Trump's Nazi speech. Read the whole site, especially the opinion columns on the hysteria we're being driven into, about how our side murdered Muslims by the million, destroyed their countries, drove millions our of their homes, and now want to blame them for what we did.

Western Europe will join the U.S. in its murderous crusade because western Europe now has negligible economic or military power. The crash of empires is still producing aftershocks. So western Europe has to cling to U.S. coattails.

Here, in Canada, the Conservatives are howling for Canada to follow western Europe so Canadians can be sent to die to make American oil companies rich. The hysteria is very reminiscent of Hitler's Germany. My own view is that we should have recalled our aircraft long ago. And sending troops over even to train others is going to suck us into a bloodbath that is more evil than what we claim we are fighting against.

Greed is pushing us into a war that only the greedy and the selfish and the murderous want. And they own almost all the news media, and they control most of the politicians. They have killed millions to steal their resources.  They have endangered more millions, including us. They have destroyed whole nations.

But they  have never received so much as a parking ticket. And if you complain about them,  you risk finding yourself facing a special RCMP squad in camouflage and carrying combat rifles. (In the end, these will not end internal violence. They will create it on a scale we have never seen.)

For many years now, the income gap has been widening, the numbers of poor growing all over the western world. And so New Brunswick talks of closing hospitals and schools - and the Irving press dutifully says this is necessary.

http://www.theguardian.com/us

The next site, also The Guardian, deals with the "black snow" of Greenland. Climate change deniers should not read this.  It will just, like everything else in their lives, confuse them.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2015/dec/08/greenlands-dark-snow-in-pictures

Yesterday, the New York Times did something highly unusual. In fact, it's happened only once before. It ran an editorial on the front page. As gun sales rise to record heights (and record profits), and as Americans become the most heavily armed country in the world), mass shootings have become routine. And, in the hysteria that's being generated, this is going to get far, far worse. U.S. police have shot over a thousand people this year. Yes, it's terrible. But imagine you are a policeman on a beat in which everybody owns guns up to and beyond machine guns, a beat on which racial hatreds and fears are soaring, and a nation that believes that gun toting is a sign of good Americanism.

(The belief, incidentally, exists largely because of the wild west as portrayed in movies and TV. A man was a man. And a man had a gun. And a man was fast on the draw.  In fact, that west came out of  Hollywood's invention. It never really existed. The death rate was not phenomenally high. And anybody who was shot was usually shot in the back. The quick draw is pure fiction. And one of the first American cowboy heroes was actually a Quebecois boy.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/07/insider/the-gun-epidemic-the-making-of-a-page-1-editorial.html?_r=0

I wonder when someone at the Irving press will have the integrity to talk about guns in New Brunswick.

The site below is about the beyond dangerous game the U.S. is playing in Syria. The writer is very highly qualified, and I've learned to have a lot of respect for him. The U.S. has become very dangerous - dangerous to the world, and dangerous to itself.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43644.htm

I was also impressed by the site below  which argues that the U.S. is sinking into fascism. I would disagree with just a little of this. I don't think the U.S. is sinking. It has sunk. And what it has sunk into is naziism. And we live next door.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43642.htm

Oh, I have much more. But this is already too long. I'll try again to catch up tomorrow.








3 comments:

  1. Thx for referring ICH sight Graeme. It's one of the best site I've seen. I'm on it daily.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had doubts about ICH for a long time. I was suspicious of its bias. Of course, it does have a bias. But I have never found it to lie or to trivialize as our mainstream press does.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had doubts about ICH for a long time. I was suspicious of its bias. Of course, it does have a bias. But I have never found it to lie or to trivialize as our mainstream press does.

    ReplyDelete