Friday, March 25, 2016

March 25: Let's get rid of our illusions.

For today's opener, a history question. What was the origin of the Nazi salute, with arm raised and extended at an angle?

Answer - The United States. People taking the oath of allegiance (as happened in the schools every day), started' with the right hand on the heart. "I pledge allegiance..." then the arm was raised to point at the stars and stripes.."to   this flag...."

Early Italian fascists thought this a neat idea for a salute. And so it was picked up by Mussolini who was almost certainly the souce of it for Hitler. (I believe the U.S. dropped that pointing part of the oath of Allegiance about 1940).
The first page of today's Irving press is quite a decent one, though it's dominated by a large photo of a floral designer watering flowers, presumably to edify people who have never seen anyone watering flowers. The headline for the photo is 'Metro Moncton ready for Easter'.

Well, it's cheaper than  have having a real story there.

Page A3 has a story about something that hasn't yet happened at the courthouse. So it's headed with the same, old photo of the courthouse. Below it is a photo that is almost solid black. It seems to be a photo of some cars parked at a pizza place. It adds nothing to the story. but it does fill space. And so it goes with most of the pictures telling us nothing at all.

The editorial is both vague and bland. The final line has the usual pitch for more 'energy' projects for New Brunswick. Norbert Cunningham writes on much the same topic, and says much the same thing.

The guest column is written like a very boring university lecture by the sort of professor who can put people to sleep in minutes. It deals with the towering issue of the future of French's Ketchup at Loblaw's, and suggests how consumer demand for it shows that the customer really runs the food industry. The evidence he offers is pretty slim for that statement.  I can't understand why an editor would run this. It must come very, very cheaply.

Alec Bruce has a useful column about the federal budget for the coming year. But read the headline carefully. It says "Sunny ways are here again", not "Sunny days". There's a difference.

Then there's a very fine commentary by Sue Calhoun of  It's about the YWCA of Moncton returned to its roots in providing safe housing and learning experiences for women. The paper could use more columns like this.
Section B, Canada&World, will be real thrill for people who care about the Gomeshi saga. It takes up over a page. And it has a big photo of him for anyone who thinks that adds to our understanding.

There's really nothing about what is becoming the biggest refugee crisis in history, nothing about the Saudis in Yemen, nothing about the very provocative military and naval exercises that the U.S. is carrying out in South Korea, and off the China coast. There's nothing about Turkey which seems to be active on both of the leading sides in the middle  east.

 But there is a quite pointless story about how Elizabeth May of the Greens spent more on her reelection than did any other party leader. Well, of course she did. She was the most important person for the party to get elected; so they concentrated their limited funds on her. Stephen Harper didn't spend much in his riding because he knew he had the seat almost as a gift.

This is a story that tells us nothing about anything. The real questions are - 1.    How much did each party spend on the election? 2. Who gave them that money? But we're not likely to learn that from the Irving press.
Let's start with an important story the Irving press missed.  The following item is emotional; and these are times for us to combine emotion and reason. And I am quite confident that all this post says is true - first, because of the well-proven record of the author. and secondly because I have seen this confirmed by excellent sources.

This is what we are doing. This is what our taxes our paying for. It is being done in the middle east, in Africa, in South America. It is being done on a smaller scale in the U.S., Canada, Europe....

If it becomes convenient - and it will become convenient - the same will be done to almost all of us. We are going through a period of change that is  greater, more widespread, than the fall of Rome.

The cause of this one is capitalism allowed to run wild. This could as well happen under communism. In fact, it has happened under communism. We should have seen this coming. We had a  stunning example of this animal behaviour after the U.S. civil war.

Slavery by then operated within a capitalist framework. It was important to the capitalists of the south because it gave them a cheap labour force. (The U.S. also, by the way, had   white slaves  - nope, no racism there.) The American revolution was fought to enable big, American capitalists to expand their holdings across the continent. (Britain was opposed to such an expansion.)

But here's another odd point. The Confederate army in the civil war had tens of thousands of Black slaves in its ranks. They were armed, and they fought willingly. Why?

1. They knew the North was at least as racist as the south. (Tens of thousands in the North's army were blacks, too. But they were paid half what white soldiers were paid. And the U.S. army was segregated for almost a century after the civil war.)

2. Black slaves in the south were actually well fed, had housing, and, yes, even got days off. And they knew that those who fled to work under capitalism in the north were less fed, had worse housing, and had to work longer hours - and died younger. In fairness, those who made it all the way to Canada were treated only slightly (if at all) better than in the northern U.S.

3. They also knew that Abraham Lincoln was as racist as they come. The war was NOT being fought to free slaves. It was being fought to prevent the South from leaving the Union.  Lincoln left written records that admitted that.

Forget 'Gone With the Wind'.

Sure enough, when the war ended, capitalists went on a spree of brutality, forcing Blacks (and, in fact, almost all immigrants) to work long hours in vile and dangerous conditions for money they could barely survive on. If they lost an arm or a leg, they were simply fired. End of story. A great many died on the job, victims of unprotected machinery, or fires in factories they couldn't escape because they were locked in, murdered by employers for trying to organize other workers....forced to work for almost nothing from the age of five...

It was the same in Canada. Betcha didn't learn all that in school.

That's the sort of thing, including the murdering part, that built the Rockefeller fortune
Capitalism is now running wild in the middle east, in South America, in Africa and looking for war in Asia. And we're paying for it. We aren't fighting terrorism. The biggest terrorist by far is the United States.

Think of what Peter Koenig is writing. Whole generations in the middle east (and other places) have lost childhood as millions of children live in fear, live with no hope of education, and starve and die either in fleeing or in the filthy refugee camps of a Europe that won't accept them.

They are living through something even worse than the horror faced by immigrants to Canada and the U.S. in the industrialization of the late nineteenth century. Forget the crap about the 'American dream'. For the most part, it didn't begin until the period after World War Two. Until then, we were, most of us, simply an inferior race who deserved neglect and abuse.

Of course we were. Those who have enormous wealth can justify it only if they are genetically superior to the rest of us. That attititude flowered among the British aristocracy, and accounted for its indifference to how the rest lived. And it took root among the major capitalists from at least 1800 on.

And it's still there. That does much to explain the anger of those who are attracted to Trump. A person like him is no solution to their anger. In fact, he is the very model of what they should be angry at. But all they understand is that they're angry.

The world is going through the greatest change it has ever seen. But the anger is being diverted by racists like Trump so we are taught to see Muslims as the problem, by propaganda news agencies like the Irving press that simply don't tell us what's happening (and, in many instances news services don't themselves understand what's happening. That's why we don't hear how the bulk of U.S. aid, for example, never reaches the people who need it because it goes straight into the pockets of billionaires.)

Would the wealthy use nuclear weapons? You bet. In fact, smaller nuclear warheads are now being developed as a 'less dangerous' form of  nuclear war.
Time is short. The TransPacific Partnership could be the last tune up to turn loose the hungry wolves of capitalism. And they won't have to worry about governments because, for all practical purposes, governments won't exist.

Yes, capitalism, like socialism, like other isms can work. But no ism can be allowed to run loose.

I think Peter Koenig is worth a second read. (I have to confess I was really touched by it.)

We are doing the evil he talks about. We are paying for it. We cannot fix it because our political and economic leaders are submerged in greed and immorality. The best thing we can do for this world is to get us and our capitalists out of most of it.
I took the item below because, though it's about Britain, it also applies to Canada and the U.S. What's happening in Yemen  (though unnoticed by the Irving press) is an extraordinarily brutal war caused when one of the poorest nations in the world was attacked by one of the richest - and with countries like the U.S., Britain, and Canada supplying the butcher's tools.

It is illegal for us to sell weapons to a country like Saudi Arabia. Canada has actually signed treaties to that effect. This is a war illegal in every respect. It's an unprovoked invasion. The major casualties, quite deliberately, are civilians   Sixty percent of the victim country is in desperate need of food. We are supporting Saudi Arabia, a nation with one of the worst human rights records in the world. We are supplying it with weapons.

Can you seriously support a Canadian government that would allow that?
Sorry Justin. Take your cute smile and stuff it. And, Times and Transcript, you might rethink your worship of Dominic Leblanc. I see nothing to admire in a government that would  sell weapons to a country with the record of Saudi Arabia, and a governmment whose leaders would lie to us about the legality of its actions in Syria.
Here's a really well done piece on the U.S. and human rights. Obama just loves to preach to the world about human rights. In fact, the U.S. (including the years under Obama) has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
He can get away with it because Americans loll in a sort of hot tub filled the the lies of their history books and their movies - and their news media.

For Canadians, there's a touch of reality if you google Canada photos slums 1900. Such conditions were common all over Canada into the 1960s, at least. I remember it all too well. Prosperity was not normal in Canada until World War Two and for two or three decades later. Since then, we've been drifting back to 1900.
Here's a column on the death of Toronto ex-mayor Rob Ford. It's quite different (and more honest) than most that I've seen in Canadian media.
I don't think I have shown this one before. It's important.
And, to end on a happy note and to  give Trudeau credit where credit is due...

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