Friday, June 3, 2016

June 3: A long one, I'm afraid.

I have stopped following the U.S. leadership races. I have no desire to watch a nation in steep decay. Both Trump and Clinton almost entirely ignore the real problems facing the U.S. such as the sharp rise of poverty, a medical care system based on profit rather than healing with the result that the rich live ten years and more longer than the poor. Medical costs are also the leading cause of bankruptcy among the elderly. There's also the massive corruption that has effectively destroyed the political parties.

Trump appears to be a thorough scoundrel with a long record of cheating on taxes, of questionable business practices - and he gives every sign of being a man in need of intense pyschological counselling to overcome his extreme need for attention and respect.

Clinton and her husband have made many, many millions of dollars out of politics. Most of it is from bribes from the very wealthy to serve their interests. As well, Clinton faces charges of leaking state secrets. Another young woman who did that is in the early stages of a long prison sentence. Nothing has yet happened to Clinton - though there are very strong indications that charges are on the way. The charges are serious enough so that the  party bosses are looking for an alternate candidate. (There's no   way they will accept Sanders as their candidate.)

Both Trump and Clinton buy into the idea of ruling the world through U.S. military power. How's that for spreading democracy and freedom?
But, despite massive spending, the military power is not there. The only American military victory since 1945 has been a small, tourist island in the Caribbean. It lost in Vietnam. In fifteen years and over a trillion dollars, it hasn't been able to beat guerilla forces in Afghanistan. In a particularly brutal war, it has to accept the consolation prize of pretending to beat Iraq. The reality is that American plans for that country had to be abandoned, a 'just pretend' democracy was set up, and that country is still unstable - and probably will remain so for a long time to come.

The 'victory' over Libya simply created a mess which ISIS has taken advantage of. And now that war is being fought all over again. South America can be held down only at enormous expense.

Even the Korean war, usually hailed as a victory for the U.S. and the west, was a loss. Commentators forget that it ended, not with a surrender of North Korea, but with both sides back at the starting line. That happened because the western powers, most notably the U.S., could not handle the Chinese army - which at that time was the peasant army of a very backward and poorly equipped country.

The reality is that the U.S. military, for all its size and cost, cannot win wars even against minor powers. And nobody can win a nuclear war.

To follow the American leadership races is to follow the video record of a society in advanced rot.

Then there are the millions who cheer Trump and Clinton. They cheer because of a profound ignorance imposed on them by their news media, by a heavily mythologized history imposed on them by schools and Hollywood, by a mix of racism with a shallow religiosity  that allows them to see themselves as superior to others in all respects, with all others subhuman and, frequently, evil.
This is a madness even worse than that of Hitler's Germany. It is corrupt. It is in a profound moral decay.

 And it's next door to us.

Despite its revolution, the United States has become simply  a projection of the old, British empire - a profoundly racist society that loots the world for the benefit of a handful of billionaires while ingnoring the needs of its own people.
All of this makes the leadership races, with their ignorance, coarseness, racial hatreds dismaying to watch. And it really doesn't matter who wins.
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The biggest news in Section A of today's irving press is that Home Hardware is selling buckets at 50% off. Well, there is a story on A1 that the living accomodations assigned to Syrians in St. John are infested with bedbugs.
Of course they are. These are homes in a poor disctrict, and they  are operated under the tender mercies of the Department of Social Development. For the Syrians this is an introduction to being poor in Canada. It's non discriminating. All people who live in houses under the Department of Social Development get bedbugs.

(But oh it can be unforgettably frightening. I still remember the night many, many years ago when my bed was a couch, and I woke up to see what looked like an army of them marching down the wall to my couch.)
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Today's editorial is a three-in-one. It begins as a tribute to Support to Single Parents. Then, without telling us much about it, switches to a gush about how Moncton is a leader city thanks to its business and political leaders. (But no thanks, apparently, to those ordinary people who do the work.) Then we drift to a tribute to the founder of Support. (And deservedly so). But before we learn anything about her, we're off to a tribute to Dominic Leblanc who is sure to be a good fisheries minister because his father was a good fisheries minister.

Norbert has a reasonable commentary. Essentially, it argues we should protest more when our rights are eroded. Great. But I'd like to see more leadership on this from the irving press. Where have been its denunciations of the spraying of our forests? It's defence of native lands from frackers?

Jon Lister has a good column about the advantages of hiring the intellectually disabled. And there's a heart-warming commentary by a Syrian refugee now living in Moncton. It's by Amar Al Asmi. I grew up by Montreal's district of Syrian refugees of the pre-World War 2 period. I went to school with them. And as I look back over their lives, they did Canada good.

Alec Bruce has an interesting column about a committee formed by the New Brunswick government tp deal with climate change. It's probably too late to escape a marked impact of such change. But time to, perhaps, put a limit on othe damage.

Watch out, though. Neither Liberals nor Conservatives in this province have shown much interest in dealing with climate change. Nor have I noticed much leadership on this issue from what's-his-name who pretty much is the oil industry in this province.

Putting it all together, is it possible that this committee is an attempt to lull public concerns for the day when our government can joyfully announce it has found a perfectly safe way to open the province for fracking?
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Canada and World has only 2  items of world news. One of them is about a study on the origins of dogs. The other is about a speech Obama gave to U.S. air force academy grads not to become isolationist. Translated, that means the U.S. has to exercise its 'right' to interfere in other countries.

Yes. That's been a brilliant success so far.

He claimed this is the opposite to Trump's policy. Trump speaks of imposing tariffs and doing less to ensure other countries' security, etc. In fact, there is no significant difference between Trump's policies and Obama's. The United States did not invade Vietnam, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq to protect anybody's security. It was done to increase the profits of U.S. billionaires. It did not organize the murders of a quarter million  Guatemalans to bring them 'security'. It did not invade Haiti to bring it security.

Obama served the interests of American billionaires. Trump will do the same.
This is a pretty awful Canada and World section, even by irving press standards.
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Student columnist Mhairi Agnew has a well-written column about in incident in which a child managed to get into a gorilla's cage - and how the gorilla had to be shot. The column is heavily critical - and reasonably so - about the neglect of the parents. But why do we focus only on certain deaths?

If a momentary lack of attention had made it possible to a child to get killed in traffic, would that provoke 300,000 Americans to petition for prosecution of the parents? The U.S. government closely supported a mass murder in Guatemala that killed, among others, thousands of children. It didn't even make the news. Saudi Arabia is deliberately starving millions to death in Yemen, including children. The irving press has yet to even notice it. How many children did the US and Britain kill in their staged war in Iraq? in Syria? How many children did the U.S. kill in Vietnam? Hundreds of thousands would be a conservative estimate.

Does a gorilla have to be involved to get our attention?

No. Charge Bush and Blair and Obama with mass murder of children. Maybe even charge the American people for approving it.

 Then we'll talk about inattentive mothers - and let him or her who is without sin cast the first stone.
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How on earth could an editor, even at irving press, miss this story? The flooding is also severe in Germany.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/03/paris-river-seine-floods

At the bottom of the story above, note the list of related stories.
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The U.S. conquered The Phillippines after a particuarly brutal war over a hundred years ago. For the next forty plus years, it had American military dictators. Since then, it has had home-grown dictators. So much for the U.S. as a spreader of democracy. It has also been, and remains, poor. So much for capitalism as a creator of prosperity.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/03/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-nofilter-president-no-joke-journalists-women
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And some very good news.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/jun/03/yamato-tanooka-boy-missing-six-days-forest-found-alive-video-report
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Here's a story for those get indignant that a mother should neglect her child. However, there's not gorilla involved so our news media won't pay this much attention. Will we see this story in the irving press?...................good luck.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44789.htm
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There was a book called (as well as I can remember) "Military Justice is to Justice as Military Music is to Music".  Military courts have been notorious all over the world for their biases and improper procedures. However, they are still in wide use in the United States because they routinely produce guilty verdicts. Here's one that has come to light.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/31/9-11-attacks-destroyed-evidence-khalid-sheikh-mohammed
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I have a personal interest in this one. As a teacher, I know it can be very dangerous to tell the truth or to allow students to tell it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44791.htm
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The news media haven't paid much attention to this next story. But it's the one that could destroy Clinton. That's why the democrat brass are scrambling to find a replacement for her - just in case.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44786.htm
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Glyphosate is widely used to spread on everything from lawns to forests. It's also related to cancer. More than nine out of ten American tested had traces of it in their bodies. Luckily, nobody in New Brunswick would ever think of using it.

http://www.alternet.org/food/nine-out-10-americans-tested-positive-glyphosate

When are we going to get an explanation of why Dr. Cleary was fired?

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The language of this one suggests a heavy bias. But I think its general points are correct.

1. The U.S. is looking for a war with Russia. It. Its surrounding of Russia with bases and ships indicates that pretty obviously.

2. Such a war would, effectively, obliterate both Russia and the U.S. and, quite possibly, the whole world.

On the face of it, this is insane. But such insanity in the rage for power and wealth has a long history among us humans. It is as possible for American multi-billionaires to be insane as it  has been for millenia of their ancestors.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/06/03/41522/

(Roberts is not the author of this one.)
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Quebec's English schools are adopting a new history book called "History of Quebec and Canada". now, that's what I call a loaded title. Can we look forward to "History of Shediac and New Brunswick"?

I can agree with the argument that native peoples and immigrant groups should get more attention in our histories. But any master plan for a history book laid down by politicians and school boards is bound to be  heavy on propaganda. I  have never seen a school history book that was not packed with propaganda.
Nor have I ever seen one that most students would ever remember. The very idea of teaching the whole  history of Canada in a course is a crock. History is not an exact science. It's profoundly biased, twisted, sometimes outright lying. As well, there is no point in learning it from a standardized text because any such text is bound to have a bias, and because, since the texts pretend to present the truth and only the truth, all you can do with it is memorize it. And anything memorized in that way is going to be quickly forgotten.

This is the sort of book that teaches you John A. Macdonald was a "great man" who had a vision. Like hell he was. He was a drunken and corrupt scoundrel who was a front for big investors. (That may exaggerate. But it's at least as true as the 'great man' stuff.)

The proper purpose of history is to teach students  how to think, how to make judgements, how to express ideas,   to develop a sense of how us humans behave and why. And even that will not produce a faultless result. Even professional historians will have remnants of arrogance, bias, opportunism that will lead them to questionable conclusions. But it's better than stuffing kids with soon to be forgotten propaganda.

And some parts stick in memory - usually the silly ones that lead people to foolish conclusions.

For example, American children are taught that their founding fathers believed that all people were created equal. Like  hell they did. Most of them were slave owners. And they certainly didn't believe that women were equal to men. And most of them didn't believe that the poor were equal.

Abraham Lincoln did NOT want to free the slaves.

History has nothing to do with memorizing or  getting patriotic. It's about making judgements - and remembering you, like all people, are human - and your judgement could be wrong. (Very few historians learn that last part.)

I don't suggest anyone read this news article about the news course. It's boring.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/emsb-quebec-history-curriculum-1.3614450
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