Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19: A drifting world

I'm beginning this on Thursday evening because I have been watching news on a variety of channels. All of them carried the story of a little boy in Aleppo who had been wounded by a bomb. There are some obvious problems with this.

1. The boys' rescuers immediately carried him to a brightly lit room, and placed him in a very dramatic-looking chair.

2. There were at least two cameramen there to film him. Now, if you found a boy injured by a bomb, would your first instinct be to put him in dramatic chair with bright lights and two cameramen?

3. The story told us that the camermen were from a news medium hostile the Syrian government.

The story also strongly implied (without evidence) that he was bombed by Syrian aircraft. Quite possibly, he was, of course. Or, equally possibly, it was somebody else's bomb. Or maybe it was not a bomb at all.

But the gist of all the stories was that this boy had been bombed by the evil Anwar Sadat.

This whole thing was designed as propaganda. And all the media I have seen bought into it - including the CBC.

Now, think hard. In recent years, the U.S. has killed, crippled, orphaned nobody knows how many children, probably 2 million or so. How many newscasts have you seen in which their victims were rushed into a TV setup by camermen from a hostile nation, and with a text full of implications that the U.S. is evil?
News is commonly propaganda. And that's not it's only problem. It gives us information in small bites, even in newspapers - just incident after incident. Because of that, we never get a general sense of what is happening or why.
So here's a try at what the big picture is.

1. Big business, always influential in government, now virtually owns it. Canada is now negotiating the TPP terms, for example. All indications are that the agreement aims at making big business free of any government controls. All legislation which has any effect on business, including legislation to maintain environmental safety, will become virtually forbidden. Corporations will have the right to do whatever they wish in any country that is a part of the deal. Canada Post and Medicare are on the table for privatization. So is education.
In effect, democracy will be dead. In many respects, it already is dead.

Corporations are free to hide their money from taxation all over the world so that social progammes become impossible. The distribution of wealth has been moving heavily to the very rich for a good 30 years.

Already, it does not matter whether New Brunswick elects Liberals or Conservatives. Nor does it matter who is elected next president of the U.S. Corporations will make all the decisions. They have been blatantly doing so for generations.

The wealthy are organizing themselves into the new aristocracy, with wealth and power  handed down by parentage at birth. With that goes all the characteristics of the old aristocracy - indifference to the needs of society, an arrogant belief in their superiority to us peasants and in the righteousoness of their rule. And, just as with the old aristocracy by inheritance, a growing incompetence - partly the result of inbreeding. (Check British history for examples.)

2. Within that context, American corporate leaders have decided they will control the world. No, that's not an extreme view. American corporate leaders and their political hacks have said so, very publicly.

Bush, Obama, Clinton and many others have said they believe in American exceptionalism. indeed, they have made a point of saying it. And what they mean is no secret. American exceptionalism means that the rules which apply to all the rest of the world do not apply to the U.S. It is free to invade without cause and in defiance of the law and the UN.

And, since U.S. governments are owned by corporation bosses, that means the corporation bosses are free to use Americans - and British and French and Canadians and anybody else they like to use - to conquer countries in order to make corporation bosses richer. That's why millions have died, and millions more live in misery as refugees.

This is also information that has been available on the web for twenty years - Project for the New American Century - a blue print for world conquest. The points about American exceptionalism and Project for the New American Century have been approved publicly many times by Bush and Obama and Clinton.

It has strong echoes of an older belief, Manifest Destiny - which entitled the U.S. to murder and enslave people in Latin America and The Phillipines - and blame it all on God.
3. The trouble is that Russia and China are in the way, both militarily and economically. Militarily, Russia and China took far the greatest casualties in World War 2 - and still held on to win. In contrast, the U.S. military has not perfomed well in generations.

Economically, the speed of China's rise has never been duplicated in history. And Russia looks as though it might be getting ready to abandon western style capitalism in favour of a better brand.

Finally, and this may be the biggest obstacle the U.S. faces, the American people will not tolerate heavy casualties. That first showed up in Vietnam. And the feeling has not changed. That's why the U.S. is desperate to get out of Afghanistan. That's why it never completed the conquest of Iraq. That's why it is hiring mercenaries and Jihadists to fight Syria.

Any conventional war with Russia and China would produce a horrible casualty list and , quite possibly, a defeat. No. Conventional war is out.

4. That leaves nuclear war.
The U.S. is certainly looking for some kind of war with Russia and China. Its navy is particularly designed for a war on China. That's why it has prepared the ground by setting up nuclear launch sites close to Russia and China. (setting up missile sites on the Russian border is not to avert a war. It's to create one. We went through the same game in reverse with the Cuban missile crisis. And the U.S. immediately, with a deadline, threatened Russia with a nuclear war.)
This is what all  those little stories in the news are really all about. Does this sound remarkably stupid on the part of our corporation bosses?

Well, it is. But remember the last aristocracies by inheritance that the western world suffered from. They were arrogant, indifferent to the suffering they caused, greedy without end.

And, oh, they were stupid.
We'll skip the irving press today. It's the same as yesterday and every day.
Coverage of the U.S. election campaign consists almost entirely of Trump's odd behaviour. There is virtually no scrutiny of Clinton at all. And it's all a waste of time. it doesn't matter which of them gets elected because neither of them will have any real power. The news media are ignoring reality - the collapse of American democracy.

The outstanding feature of this election is that both presidential candidates have no great appeal. Clinton is doing better only because Trump seems so wacky.  Otherwise, she is one of the weakest candidates in American history.

The issue is not either of these clowns. The issue is that American democracy has crashed. The issue is that the American people are dangerously confused, angry, scared.... And they have no functioning system to turn to.

But the press, including The Guardian, insists on treating this as though Trump and Clinton matter a damn. They aren't the issue. Neither of them really matters.
The story of the injured boy in Aleppo continues as one of the greatest propaganda stunts in history. It's still front page news. it's certainly terrible. But how come the press has never noticed the millions killed by U.S. bombers?

The world is angry? So it should be. But where was its anger over the massacres in Guatemala? Vietnam? Afghanistan? Iraq? Libya?
This next one is a long read, but an important one. It's about the coverup of a brutal period in the history of the British Empire- and it's only one of many that were even worse. Coverups of history - by historians - are quite common. We are trained all our lives by news media, films, fiction and, regrettably, historians, to see our history as glorious. We are raised to believe that we are good - and others are bad. Thus, Bush and Obama (and Clinton) who killed millions are seen as good. But Putin is bad.
I found  this one fascinating because most of what we read about war is propaganda. We  have very little sense of the how war really works. The writer makes several important points. The most important is that wars almost never work out as they were supposed to. The writer lists many, solid examples of this. Another point is that we never really know  how our weapons will work in any given war. Both the German and the British started World War II with tanks that were close to useless. The Germans learned that when they came up against Russian tanks. But the British never had a decent tank until the last days of the war. (The main American tank, the Sherman. was already outdated before it even saw action.)

He also makes a good point about Trump and Putin. Trump has sinned in the eyes of almost all news media because he wants peace with Russia. (You'll find examples in today's The Guardian.) The logic runs something like - Russia evil therefore Putin evil. America not evil, therefore must fight Russia.

That shows no understanding of either politics or war.

The reading of this is light and even amusing. But when it discusses war, it makes more sense than anything I have seen - including writing by noted war historians.
And here's one that might make a lot of sense for Canadian farmers (and for city planners in cities like Moncton)
And here's a reminder that under Obama as under Bush  (and soon under Clinton) has been at war constantly for some sixteen years with many wars in places most Americans have never heard of. Commonly, they are fought by drones and other forms of bombing, indisciminately killing many thousands, probably hundreds of thousands or more of children on the ground.  (Isn't it just terrible, say our news media, what those awful Syrians did to that little boy in Aleppo?)
______________________________________________________________________________ is a site staffed largely by Canadian journalists. I was drawn to it because of the quality of the journalism of its chief figure, Karl Nerenberg. It's a site well worth following.
And a reader sent these, chilling notes. The opening story comes from Russia - but most of its sources are American.

And here's a whole list of sources.

And Bill Moyers is not - last time I looked - a Russian propagandist.

And isn't it just terrible what those awful Syrians did to that little boy in Aleppo?

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