Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21: Not a pretty world

I knew I shouldn't have. But last night I watched a little more of the Republican convention. It was a look into the insanity of hell. There was the raving of a man with a mental age of a 12 year old with severe personality disorders. There was a racism so thick it could be tasted. There was the very dangerous cry of declaring the U.S. a Christian state.

Yes, the country that kills more people (including its own) than any other country - the country whose economic policies are based on greed and exploitation - the country with an uncontrollable rate of murder by its citizens and by its police - the country with the biggest prison population in the world is going to declare itself officially Christian.

Actually, that has nothing to do with religion. Like Hitler's Christianity, it's all about racism. If either party in the U.S. gave a damn about Christianity, the U.S. would not now be the world's leading murderer; and oil billionaires wouldn 't be running around saying that climate change isn't happening.

The Republican party, like Hitler's Naziis, isn't really about religion at all. It's about conformity. Be white. Be straight. If you're male, drink beer and look for easy scores. Call yourself Christian.  (And don't kid yourself that New Brunswickers would never dream of such a society. This is such a society.)
Trump is appealing to the lowest of human instincts. And Hillary? She is pure greed. In her own way, she is worse than Trump.

And we are sending Canadian troops, at the request  (demand) of the U.S. on a military mission that makes no sense, that could, in fact, spark the final war for no reason but to give American billionaires control of the world economy - which would mean control of something that no longer existed.

The pressures for Canada to conform are strong. Canadians, like most people, love to conform.  (That's why we get those Mickey Mouse sermonettes on the faith page. That's why so many robots vote either liberal or conservative. That's why some 'Christians' demonstrate against abortion while saying not a word about the millions of babies killed by bombs, napalm, agent orange, exposure, refugee flights, and deliberate starvation.)

Jesus was not a conformist. That's why he got crucified by the religiously self-righteous. There is, however, no danger that a Trump or a Clinton will ever be crucified.

However impossible it may sound, Canada is going to have to break its support of U.S. policy. There will be a price for it. There will be trade sanctions, at least. And the Irvings of this Canada would never support such a move. (They're very Christian. They even have their own church with all the Christian trimmings - like coffee in the barn.)

All this sounds extreme? It is. Now, think hard. If this were 1937, and we shared a border and trade with Hitler's Germany......what side would you choose?
Or, if you don't want to think, settle down with a copy of today's irving press.
The big, front page headline is the the provincial Liberals'  plan to reform jobs training - and they called for meetings to discuss it. Translation? Nothing has happened. But they're thinking of thinking about it. And that's irving press idea of a big story.

And that's it for section A news unless you really, really care that an old fire station is for sale. Oh, and there's a Moncton cook who makes great doughnuts. Man, it's a full life.

The editorial tells us that nothing has happened with the N.B. registry of lobbyists. That's interesting. But I have a great idea to kickstart this. The editorial writer could write one suggesting that the owner of the newspaper voluntarily register himself as a lobbyist. There. That would set an example.

Norbert Cunningham praises a letter to the editor from a retired teacher on how young people cannot really participate in a democracy because of a failure of schools to teach history, civics, etc.

Quite so. There are just two points I would raise with Norbert.

1. I taught history at all levels from elementary school to university. In elementary and high school, I  could never tell the truth without being criticized by school board officials and assorted busybodies. The school boards wanted propaganda. The busybodies were ignorant of history but wanted conformity to the accepted version.

So I was expected to teach that the British Empire, one of the most murderous and rapacious in history was just, oh, glorious. To this day, any elementary or high school teacher who told the whole truth would be fired. The newest history curriculum in Quebec schools actually teaches that the native peoples and the French settlers got along just great - which is a complete reversal of what actually happened.

2. Then there are the news media who are even worse. We all need changing and broadening information about history, civics and politics all our lives. Our young people don't know history and politics? Does anybody seriously think our older population does?

That's where news media are supposed to come in with the information we need to make democracy work. But most of our news media, notably the Irving press, feed us propaganda (as from think tanks), lies and, most of all, irrelevant and ignorant 'news' stories about fire stations for sale and somebody who makes great doughnuts.

Before you dump all the blame on the schools, Norbert, look in a mirror.

Rod Allen gives us another piece of adolescent humour about something nobody cares about. How's that for his responsibility to keep people informed so they can function in a democracy?

There is a superb, intelligent and readable commentary on the relationship between children's health and their family incomes. This is the kind of commentary we need to vote intelligently.

Alec Bruce has a column on developing the tidal power of Fundy to supply electricity. This is based on thoughts expressed by Rick Doucet, NB's minister of energy and resources. I don't doubt Mr. Doucet's sincerity. But this is scarcely a new idea. It's been kicking around for at least 50 years that I know of.
So why no action? Hint - how long do you think it would take a government to do something if Mr. Irving wanted it? Our provincial governments have been bending themselves like pretzels to sell us on fracking and pipelines and forest spray. That's because Mr. Irving wants all of those. But tidal evergy......?
Section B really has almost nothing.   Brazil has been in  political chaos for months as groups which seem to be backed by U.S. business have taken over the government. And the big story in the irving press?  A dog in Rio that was shot has recovered, and is now up for adoption.

A drug dealer in Virginia has been given 41 years for murder.

An 84 year old woman in Virginia is getting a new trial on a charge of poisoning her son's girlfriend.

This is how how the irving press keep you up to date on the things you need to know for our democracy to work. (But it's really all the fault of the schools. Right, Norbert?)  
As I look at some real, world news, I'm reminded that way back I was a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Movement. But the news media of the time painted us as wackos. That attitude spread to police. I remember, after a demonstration, having a beer with a friend who was a policeman. He confided that he couldn't  wait to wade into a demonstration, wacking the the  freaks wearing beards and sandals with his baton.

Apart from sending police to watch us, governments did nothing but build more nuclear weapons, sell lthem to more, they refine them into different types with some small and handy for small groups like the soldiers we're sending to Latvia. From two nuclear weapons in 1945, we've gone to nobody knows how many - perhaps 20,000.

And we are seriously planning to use them.  Nuclear disarmament talks could have begun with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  But the U.S., in particular, kept building them. And, with so many of them, and with massive launches now possible from submarines, it's difficult to see how  they could all be intercepted.
And the U.S. media, the big backers of U.S. nuclear weapons, were shocked when North Korea had the nerve to develop one. (Though they said nothing when Israel got 200 of them.)

Now, the U.S. is setting them up on the Russian border. Well, I'm sure that will make the world a safer place.
The world 'libertarian' sounds nice because it sounds as if it means more freedom for everyone. In fact, that's not what it means. It means all power for the very wealthiest. it means virtually no government at all to get in their way. New Brunswick is close to that. But some capitalists  feel it's necessary to completely destroy democratic politics - not just to buy them off, but to actually destroy them.

Big business has always disliked democracy.  (And don't tell me that George Washington,  a big businessman of his time, was a pioneer of democracy. Democracy in the American constitution's early days  (and later ones) was severely restricted.)

Here's an interesting column on the subject about a man who is supporting Trump. He's very wealthy, a libertarian, and he wants to utterly destroy democracy.)

You're not likely to learn this from the editorial or commentary pages of the irving press.

As a footnote to the above, I'll repeat what i started with. Canada has to detach itself from the U.S. I know that's difficult. I know the dangers. But to stay attached to it is fatal.
The next item is from a source I would normally be wary of. But note that it originally appeared in another source  - which I would also normally be wary of, but for quite different reasons. Briefly, there's good reason to believe this story is true.
The following piece is one I  have often though of, but have never had the courage to write.
I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. But I take Paul Craig Roberts very seriously, indeed. And this one makes sense. American democracy is dead. The U.S., itself, is unravelling. Expect the unexpected.

Are there people in positions of power in the U.S. who would kill Donald Trump for cutting off arms to Ukraine? You can bet on it.
The world has been in trouble for seventy years. We're now in trouble as deep as it gets. The tripping point was, above all, the invasion of Iraq. That is what created a powerful, anti-west Muslim movement. More killing by us will make it wider and stronger.

At the same time, American democracy, never very democratic, has completely collapsed.  Added to that, the U.S. is committed to world conquest to benefit its billionaires. Any leader who threatens to dull that drive is likely to be assassinated. As well, the  real rulers of the U.S. have demonstrated in 70 years of wars that they don't care how many people they kill or starve. Anything to boost profits.

At the same time, they are robbing the American people.  (And, with local help, the Canadian people.) We are heading into very unstable times. And they are not happening somewhere in the future. They have begun now. And expect no help from the private news media. They have been used for over a century to keep us in a stupor.
Here is an excellent item on terrorism, and how the insatiable greed (and low intelligence)  of our big business leadership has created it.

This is the kind of article we need to understand what's happening. And it's also what chains like irving press make sure we never even hear of. Why are young people and older ones hopelessly uninformed on local and world affairs? It's not the schools, Norbert. It's journalists like you.
Enough for a day.

There is no possibility that any American government will change its aggressive and murderous policies in support of the very wealthy. There is no possibility those policies will result in anything but more death and destruction - and fear on both sides. At this time, the world's best hope is a social melt-down in the U.S. And that is quite possible.

The world cannot be run like a business, controlled by dictatorial bosses, and run solely for profits. It can be run only if it is for the people who live in it - and by people they want to run it. But the greedy will never understand that.


  1. Quebeckers and Acadians have always had a strong belief in the myth that french settlers and Natives got along just great. It's nothing new. Its Quebec trying to perpetuate the myth that it was a victim of colonialism and not guilty of its crimes. (We all know that nothing is black or white)

  2. We are all raised in myths, essentially racist, about what we and our ancestors were like - and how we and our ancestors are superior to other groups that live around us.

    The French and Belgian empires were as horrible as the British Empire. But both groups think of their own empires as being more glorious than all others. The American empire is one of the most murderous in history. But Americans aren't even taught that they have an empire.
    Some years ago, I was seated at a head table because I was to give a speech. My partner at the table was a premier of Quebec whose name I have, blessedly, forgotten. He was to give a speech, too.
    He glared at me, then began talking about how poor his family had been. Why, when his father had died he left an estate of only some 250,000. I didn't waste my time telling him that my father left a much smaller estate.
    I also knew the premier, like almost all leading separatists, were graduates of the French private schools. (Even Levesque attended one, but didn't graduate.) In French Quebec, those schools were the essential road to the middle class and better. And they were very, very expensive. So the premier's father cannot have been a poor man.
    Almost all of French Quebec's political leaders throughout history have come from the private schools. Parizeau was typical. And most had no interest in their working class brethren except to get their votes.
    In fact, the separatist leaders, being mostly middle and upper class didn't really give much of a damn about the rest of the French Catholics. Their public schools were terribly underfunded and hopelessly inferior.
    The English upper class had a similar attitude to their working class. And the English working class in Montreal was very, very large. It dominated in some of the worst slums of the city like Griffintown and the pointe.
    French and English societies in Montreal, even at the height of separatism, were more alike than they were different. The only edge anglos had was the strength of the Scottish influence in Protestant education. It's what gave all us Protestants a chance. It wasn't the English who kept so many French down. It was their own wealthy class.
    And it still does.

  3. Thats really interesting. I've noticed that a number of the new recruits hired by Radio-Canada (yeah I mean the french CBC) in NB have also studied in private schools and/or come from upper class neighborhoods (its pretty easy to find out, most have profiles on LinkedIn). I find that this is a worrisome trend. I wonder how many are out there to tackle the issues and how many accepted a job at the CBC for the social standing that comes with it.

  4. I should've wrote this in the first response, but I notice that most of these recruits that come from private schools are usually fervent nationalists. I live in northern NB, use french daily and am obviously strongly in favour of bilingualism, but I do think that some of those english language activists from southern NB sometimes have a point. A lot of the pro-french movements that have received media coverage over the past few years have been pushed by Quebeckers who have moved to NB or Acadians who've been strongly influenced by Quebec (maybe finished a masters or PHD at Laval).