Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jan. 26: Mostly foreign news.

I'll touch just briefly on the Irving press because there isn't much to touch on.

A6 has a story that New Brunswick's history curriculum in its schools scores a B- (which is actually quite decent.) But t's a story that doesn't seem to know what history is – except for trite phrases like “It is the country's rearview mirror.”

If it is, it's a lousy mirror because most of the history taught in elementary and high school is pure bunk. It has to be. Parents would raise hell if teachers told the truth. In the U.S., it's so bad that Americans have almost no sense of the real history of their country. Kids actually believe that the U.S. is good, has never attacked anybody, has spread democracy all over the world, and Americans are God's chosen people. And it's reinforced by film and TV.

Anyway, history is not about memorizing centuries or events. It's about learning how people behave, and how to make judgements about the validity of stories about our past. It's about learning how to think. (But many parents don't like that, either.)

Oh, and T4 has a big story about the Trans-Pacific Trade partnership. Too bad it says nothing.

Though the Irving press doesn't seem to be interested in it, the city of Flint, Michigan has suffered years of poisoning from its toxic drinking water. Just recently, ten people have died from it and an uncountable number will suffer lifetime brain damage and other ailments. Too bad the Irving press hasn't had room for it. The story is important because it signals a complete failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – and profound racism.

The racism is there because Flint, Michigan is majority African-American. Communities which suffer poisoned water or air or other forms of contamination in the U.S. are almost invariably African, latino… And, if you don't care because all this is happening in another country, consider what we would do with fracking waste.

And consider this. If we decide to go ahead on fracking, and if we decide to go along with the Pacific and European trade partnership, we will have no choice but to accept the toxic results of fracking. Your children probably won't thank you for that.

The British government has dropped all charges against British soldiers for war crimes in the Iraq war. Some hundred soldiers had been charged with rape, murder and torture. The prime minister dismisses all this as just lawyers being greedy for fees. At Nuremberg, we hanged Nazi war criminals in short order. But Prime Minister Cameron is evidently of the view that British soldiers never do nasty things. And I guess Americans think they have a similar record.

For that matter, Canadian soldiers (like any soldiers that have existed) have been known to rape and murder and torture. If you ask Canadian military historians, they'll get angry and they'll deny it. But the murder of prisoners happened in both world wars. (It was a Canadian general who told me about a mass murder of prisoners by Canadian troops.) And there was a case some twenty years ago of Canadian soldiers torturing a prisoner to death. As a result, a whole regiment was disbanded.
Of course. We send over thousands of young men, many of them still boys. Of course, some of them will rape and torture and murder – especially in the macho experience of war. It's a very natural and human reaction to war. (And, again, that's something our children ain't going to learn in our schools.) Nor will they learn about the full cooperation of Canada and Britain (and others) in the massive torture programme carried out by the U.S.

The CBC, but not the Irving press, has noticed that there is one billionaire running for U.S. president, with another billionaire (Bloomberg) threatening to run. All the rest of the candidates (except Sanders) are multi-millionaires with many, like Clinton, having been made multi-millionaires by gifts from billionaires. That's sort of a tradition in the U.S., starting with George Washington who was the wealthiest American of his time.

Wealth alone does not make people intelligent. George Bush was born wealthy. But to listen to him mangling the English language is a painful experience. And it's difficult to think of any occasion when he said anything intelligent. And. true, he had a Master's degree in business administration. But there are questions. How did he get into the programme when his undergraduate grades were so far below the requirements? And how could he pass an MBA when he spent so much of his time either drunk or drugged? And how come his first and only try at business was a dreadful failure even with the help his daddy and assorted Arab oil billionaires gave him?

The answer is almost certainly a common one. He got into the MBA programme and passed it because daddy made substantial contributions to the university. Yes, my little one. That can happen. Universities can be very kind to the rich.

Relying on the wealthy for presidents may explain why the U.S. lags so badly in social programmes.

Also noticeable has been the failure of the American and most of the Canadian press to mention what happened to the homeless in the U.S. in the recent U.S. storm – you know, the ones who had to survive outside and hungry throughout the storm.

A pretty good source talks about the peace talks in Syria, and what a farce they are. The reality is that the US wants Assad out, and it wants Assad out because American oil billionaires want control of Syrian oil. For that reason, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the emirates have been supporting ISIS in Syria. That's why ISIS can get its oil out on the market to help finance its invasion of Syria. The U.S. could not care less about democracy or freedom or the Syrian people. People who think it does are the sort of people who attended schools that taught unquestioning patriotism – and called it history.

I think Trudeau is going to drag us into this American foreign policy disaster which began with the invasion of Iraq. He'll make it look low-key. But the reality is that once you're in, you're in for wherever it goes. He has already made the terrible and illegal mistake of supplying armoured cars to a Saudi Arabia which has a human rights record so bad that we are legally pledged not to supply it with weapons.

In fact, we now supply weapons to lots of unpleasant people as Canadian exports of weapons rose by 89% under Harper. Funny how most of our private news agencies didn't notice that.

_____________________________________________________________________________ Did Putin order the killing one of his own agents? It's certainly possible. After all, Obama orders the killings of many people, including American citizens, every day – and killing by illegal methods like drone attacks, special ops killers…. In fact, I suspect the same could be said for any leader of any major country in the world.

The British government says Putin did. (And we'll pass lightly over the fact that Britain often admires hired killers. That's why it has loved the James Bond series – the man licensed to kill.)

However, a close associate of the victim says Putin didn't do it. She said it on a news show in Britain – so she didn't have to lie. The host of the show, a former mayor of London, has long believed that Putin did it. But he was shaken by what he heard in the interview.

Paul Craig Roberts is not only a top journalist. He's also a person with a history of being inside American government for many years.

The article below is very long one – and one I did not expect to agree with. (In comparison with Clinton, Bush, and Obama, he has praise for Nixon and Reagan – and his reasons are pretty convincing. And, I must add, I never thought I would ever say that.)

He outlines the presidency as essentially a tool of the arms industry and the military who want war, constant war, because it's profitable. And this is made more intense by the “Christian” belief that God wants America to rule the world – thus, American Exceptionalism..

I would only add that the trade partnerships and involvement of any sort in the middle east on the part of Canada would make us a part of the disaster that is the U.S. The leaders of our Liberal party must know that. But they also know that Canadian big business will insist on Canada being a lapdog to the U.S., just as it long insisted on Canada being a lapdog to Britain. In foreign affairs, SoI don't expect Trudeau to be any different from Harper.

The next one is also long. It's a film with a transcript It's particularly interesting because it shows what can happen when people are taught to believe in the only kind of history we will allow our schools to teach. It creates a powerful image that is almost entirely untrue, and is used to manipulate us.

I'm not familiar with the people who made this. But it's good.

Oh, note that when you open information clearing house, there's a movement on the left of the screen. That's a message being erased by the American government. It's the list of how many Americans have been killed by police so far this year.
Then there's a story about how the Christian churches are destroying themselves. The situation is probably worse in the U.S. than in Canada. In the U.S., many churches are allying themselves with national hatreds and greed and bigotry – just a so many British churches did in the age of Empire, and so many German churches did under Hitler. In Canada, they're more likely to be just wimpy. (check out the Faith Page in the Irving press.)

Al Jazeera has a Canada/US story that seems to have been missed by the Irving press. Oil billionaires, including some who holdings are in Alberta, are suing the U.S. government to force it to accept the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. south coast. Under the terms of NAFTA, billionaires can sue the governments of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico for any decision made that they claim affect their profits – no matter what the physical and environmental damage to the rest of us might be. And the cases can be tried in courts that are owned and controlled by the wealthy. It must be possible, then, that Canadian oil billionaires could go the same route to sue us for billions over the proposed East coast pipeline.

Of course, the Irvings would never to that to us. Why they even have their own chapel, modestly named after themselves where us common people can go to reflect and listen to special music.

But this sort of behaviour is going to be coming our way in spades with the Pacific and European trade partnerships.

And will Trudeau block this? I doubt it. I doubt it very much.

Neither the Green Party nor the NDP have policies strong enough to fight this. And both are much too tame to deal with the enemies we all face. They need to unite. They need to realize that they should not be talking just about ways to make life better. We're well past that point. We need a united party that will recognize that we have powerful enemies, right here, that have to be dealt with, and soon. We can no longer afford to play to the popular belief that the system just needs tinkering. The existing system has killed millions just in the last 15 years, and it has impoverished hundreds of millions. It's murderous. It's corrupt. And it's creating a disaster for our children. We need to wake people up from the stupor induced by the trash that appears in news media like the Irving press. And we don't have much time.

And so to bed.


  1. The link to the number of people killed by police works for me. It's called the counted.