Friday, March 18, 2016

March 17: The Irving Press....

....required reading for those who don't know, and don't want to know.

John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State has really made it big in the news with his statement that ISIS has been committing genocide. You can almost feel the shock waves circling the globe. I've watched solemn commentators on TV nod their heads and say, "Yes. This is evil. It must be stopped."  And one can imagine followers of the news shaking their heads, and asking what this world is coming to.

Too bad so few people understand what genocide is. Too bad so many journalists don't know what it is. The Irving press carried a big story on this. But, apparently, there was no staffer in the whole Irving press competent to explain the story.

Oh, genocide is certainly wrong - and evil - and despicable. But so is John Kerry. So why did he accuse ISIS?

In the leadup to the invasion of Iraq, the word was that Saddam had to go because he was 'bad'. He was bad, of course. So are most world leaders. So are lots of us. But we don't see ourselves as bad. And if you ask most people what a 'bad' leader means, they'll just say, "well, he's bad."

Bad has come to have an emotional meaning without any logical meaning. The same has happened to genocide. As soon as people hear the word, they think 'bad'. This makes it a very useful word for press conferences to stir up hatred.
Originally, genocide had a very clear meaning. It meant to classify people according to their imagined genetic qualities, and then to define them as inferior or evil because of their genes, and then to kill them to remove these inferior genetic types from the earth. A century ago and, in many cases much less than that, this sort of thinking was common in the best circles all over the world - including Canada and the U.S. Thus Hitler's genocide of the Jews.

(Earlier, of course, we  had the genocide of native peoples all over the Americas, a genocide carried out by the 'heroes' of our history.) All imperialism has its moral basis in the belief in the genetic inferiority of certain nations which make it acceptable to kill them and abuse them in order to steal their resources. Churchill, raised in imperialism and racial superiority was furious when an inferior person like Ghandi appeared before his English superiors wearing rags.
After World War Two, genocide was made illegal - and also given a broader definition. Genes no longer have anything to do with the new meaning. It has to do with the mass murder or abuse or impoverishment or any treatment that harms any groups identified by skin colour, nationality, religion, income.... It includes the abuse of Central Americans by exploiting them to work for mines and factory farms owned by foreign capitalists.

And genocide, surely, is what John Kerry was doing  many years ago in Vietnam. Any Vietnamese person was eligible for killing - soldiers, civilians, men, women, elderly, children... It was the same in Iraq...

It's quite possible that the treatment of Blacks and Mexicans in many parts of the U.S. qualifies as genocide. The exploitation of the poor by the rich is under the modern definition of genocide.

Of course, genocide is wrong. Of course, it's criminal. And, of course, that's true no matter who does it. But it's useful at press conferences because so few know what it means that the only part listeners understand is that it's bad. And no journalist is likely to say, "But Mr. Kerry, aren't you Secretary of State for the most genocidal nation on earth?"
While I'm on this note, I recommend a book about the Iraq war. It's by a Canadian journalist who was in Iraq before, during, and after the war. It can be a frustrating book because the author, a man of very wide knowledge, can suddently move into long stretches of the history of the ancient world, the evolution of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (by no accident, very closely related). Then there are long passages about meeting American soldiers - usually of poor backgrounds and of little education, and dehumanized by their experience, the horror of living under a rain of bombs and watching old friends around  you die.Then there's a final chapter on the total evil of war, the profound hatred it produced of Americans by Iraqis and the whole arab world, of the US making of Iraq into a puppet state diguised as a democracy - and of the Iraq War having been one of the greatest foreign policy disasters of history.

This is a much better description of genocide that John Kerry offers.

The book is A War Against Truth by Paul William Roberts. Some people will find parts of the book tiresome. I would still recommend looking at it if only for the first and last chapters.
What's to say about the Irving press? It stinks. The news, local, Canadian and foreign, seems to have been chosen at random.

The editorial is reasonable enough.

Norbert tells us that the province's economy is in bad shape. I think most of us knew that.  Isn't it time we began to discuss the failings of both the Liberal and Conservative parties? Isn't it time we began to discuss what to do about the economic dominance of this province by a few people?

Cole Hobson's "commentary" is, gawd help us, a hockey story.

Then there's a guest column from an Alberta politician who tells us we have to work hard at developing our fossil fuel resources. This is pretty tiresome propaganda that keeps popping up on what is supposed to be a commentary page.

Alec Bruce is the only part of the paper worth reading as he makes the point we should encourage small businesses more than we do.
Just as a hint, here are some topics the Irving press could usefully pursue.

1. What taxes do Irving industries pay? How much of the money they make here gets re-invested in New Brunswick? How much simply buys stock in abusive mining companies in South America and Africa? What is the real wage gap in New Brunswick? It is getting wider? (yes) What are the salaries of corporate bosses in comparison to ordinary workers?  How much money do Irving and others get out of the government every year, in cash and in give-away forests? Irving gives lots of money to Liberals and Conservatives. What to they give back? Why don't we hear more about the Irving plan to take over all of our crown lands?

Throughout the world we are watching a tremendous shift in wealth from everybody else to the very rich. And Canada is a leader. Why? How? This is a wild rampage that will come to a head with the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership - on which the Irving press is remarkably silent.

And can't you even do the simple job of finding out why Moncton High was not worth repairing a few years ago, but is now?

2. Could we please get some real world news. Brazil is in severe disorder, and could be heading for a revolution. Can't you at least get something from a news service?

3. Where are the stories about the impoverishment of European countries at the hands of international banks? Greece, Spain, Ireland, Ukraine and others have been hit hard. Ukraine, in particular, has been heavily plundered by the government that the West put into power. Indeed, Europe could be close to financial collapse. One indicator of that is a seeming rise of Naziism. Watch for the refugee crisis to make that much, much worse.

Why don't we hear more about how our gallant sailors are picking up refugees off the coast of Greece to force them back into the hell they were escaping from?

4. The U.S. is aiming for world conquest. That's not a rumour. It's been openly stated by, among others, Obama, under the label of "American Exceptionalism". This, among other things, is what has created movements like ISIS. But the U.S. can no longer win conventional wars - not even against much smaller countries. It has to rely on indiscriminate mass murder delivered by high technology. It is now threatening China and Russia, neither of which it can beat in a conventional war. It can only go nuclear.

Could you take a break from hockey trivia on the Commentary page to look at that?

Oh, and please drop that corny headline you have for every day of a hockey game. "Wildtown Catfight". It's childish.

5. In all these years that we've known of climate change, very little has been done to react to it. And the only reaction I've seen in the Irving press is, "Duh, we need jobs". Exactly what is Canada doing about it? What is New Brunswick doing about it? What is Mr. Irving doing about it? And is he still in coalition with the government?

6. When is the Irving press going to stimulate thought? When is it going to stimulate open discussion in this province that is so fearful of open discussion and honest opinion?

7. Oh, and the next time a Frank McKenna attends a Bildersberg Conference, would you do the readers the favour of explaining what that fascist group is all about?

8. Finally, I have no   doubt that ISIS is genocidal and that's 'bad'.  Now could we have some news about the much greater Western genocide? In that context, you could point out that our good friends in Saudi Arabia are at least as genocidal as ISIS? And that they have been supplying ISIS? And that they are carrying out a brutal and genocidal war in Yemen?

You might even find space for a little story about how the terrorists of 9/11 were mostly from Saudi Arabia. (15 of them out of 1919). There are no such things as friends between nations. And, certainly, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not friends in any sense that means anything.

So how come the U.S. didn't attack Saudi Araba, but attacked Afghanistan and Iraq that had nothing to do with 9/11?_______________________________________________________________________________
This interview with Noam Chomsky is not a cheerful one. What's interesting about it is that he shows some sympathy for North Korea. We are trained to see evil but only on the other side. We are trained to see good, but only on our side. We see North Korea's leader as both comical and vicious - which he is. We think it bad that he has nuclear weapons - which it is.

However, he's nowhere near as comical and vicious as George Bush was, nowhere near as vicious as Obama has been, nowhere near as insane as the current U.S. leadership candidates - and all of the latter have access to the largest nuclear  arsenal in the world. And at no point since 1945 has any U.S. leader shown any interest in reducing nuclear stockpiles.

As well, the U.S. has constantly been provocative in its dealing with North Korea. Right now, it is conducting large scale military exercises near the border with North Korea, training for an invasion of North Korea. As well, North Korea well remembers the Korean war in terms we do not. The U.S. bombed just about every inch of every city and town in North Korea, carpet bombing to deliberately kill massive nunbers of civilians.

The U.S. leadership candidates really scare me. Trump has loudly pronounced that if he is denied the Republican leadership there will be rioting in the streets. I can't imagine a better way to ensure there will be rioting in the streets.

Hillary Clinton is so callous and murderous that many observers think she is a sociopath. I suspect they're right. The U.S. has deliberately kept itself capable of destroying the whole world. It's not a deterrent. It's a threat. South Korea's can only be a deterrent - and there's reason for it to need a deterrent.
I'm not the only person worried about the threat to the whole world if a Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump should win. We are actually down to people who are more brutal and murderous than George Bush was and Obama is. We are also watching an America so consumed by hatreds and fears and anger that it could well dissolve into rioting - or worse.
Here's a sane look at the refugee crisis. And it's quite right. The history of the world is a history of refugees and migration. The number of refugees now in Europe and in the middle east is now estimated at 4,000,000. And we are, all of us, the descendents of refugees. And many of the most outstanding and productive Canadians have been the immigrants of the last century and more. No country, despite the howls of patriots, is made up entirely of one 'nation'. Canada, in particular, has been a blend of nations. And making that blend has proved to be a pretty good idea.

Canada's acceptance of 15,000 is nice, but meager. We can handle more. And I suspect it would be economically wise for us to do so.

For any desendants of my family (Decarie) still living in France, we're all actually Spanish. The name Decarie (in a couple of hundred spellings) is still common in Spain. (This blog has a large audience in France.)
This next site had a special appeal for me. I've long felt that public  (and private) schools all over the world teach propaganda as history. Students are not encouraged to think about it, or to come to conclusions about its meaning.

This isn't the fault of the schools. It's the fault of parents who really don't want their children to think, and it's the fault of school boards for not supporting the teachers. So here's an example of what's wrong for our general knowledge of St. Patrick's day.

Ireland lost 4,000,000 to starvation in the mid-nineteenth century. In that time, its English landlords (that means capitalists) exported large quantities of food that was grown without problems. The disaster was that the potato crops were devastated by disease - and the potatos were the bulk of what the Irish peasantry were allowed to eat.

There was plenty of food in Ireland. But it was all exported to make profits for the landlords. And so four million were allowed to starve to death. Some were lucky enough to escape to Canada or the U.S. But many thousands of these died on the ships, and were tossed overboard. Others landed here - only to die of diseases provoked by starvation.

There's a very good (if very big) book on this called The Social History of the Potato.

This comes from the Zinn Project, named in honour of an American historian, Howard Zinn, who wrote a history of the U.S. that you won't find in schools or movies or on TV. It's a superb book called A People's History of the U.S.

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