Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22:"Province's job plan: Push marijuana"


That's the headline. Front page.  And your reaction?
Most people will think "That's their job plan? That's it? Push marijuana?" That's the only plan they have? Becoming the dope capital of North America? That seems clear. The word plan is singular. That means it's the only plan the government has.

 Now, headlines are written by editors. This one was obviously intended to be humorous. But headlines are not for telling jokes. It's obviously derogatory toward the government. But that's an opinion. And headlines are not for giving opinions, either. They're for telling what a story is about.

This one is crashingly bad journalism. And it was written by an editor.
The rest of section A news is trival. A chef, for example,  is going to shuck oysters.

The editorial is pretty trivial, too - though with a weird ending. It's about Pride parade being driven by our community's natural spirit of inclusiveness. Oh, come on. No community on this earth has a natural spirit of inclusiveness. New Brunswick, like Canada, like the U.S., like Britain, like everybody has a long tradition of racism, class snobbery, all sorts of exclusiveness. It's a tradition that has been used against various religious groups, blacks, orientals, native peoples and, until very, very recently, against gays.

By all means, let's get over these biases. But let's not kid ourselves we are just naturally broad-minded.

Norbert has a column on emergency room waiting times. The trouble is he makes not the slightest attempt to find out why they can be so long. The result is a column that is just a rant.

Craig Babstock tells us that a local runner in the Olympics made us proud simply by being in the Olympics. I'm sure he's right. But the column is, to put it bluntly, pretty bland stuff that really has nothing to say. Steve Malloy has a column praising our new mayor. The praise may one day be justified. But it's surely a little early to hand out the medals.

Alec Bruce has a column on the advantage of the HST over the PST. I am nowhere close to being qualified to criticize him on economic matters. but - holy mackerel, Mr. Rruce, no columnist shoud base his column on the opinions of a couple of hacks working for a propaganda outfit like The Fraser Institute. This, like AIMS and the C.D.Howe institute is financed by  big business to spread propaganda for the benefit of big business.

Section A is a write-off.

Almost all of Canada&World is either trivial or propaganda. For propaganda, check out "Brother of Syrian boy wounded in Aleppo dies". I'm sure the story is true, but - think hard. How often do you see headlines like "American bombs in Yemen klling children by the thousands. "American bombs in Iraq killed a million civilians". " American police lead world by killing over a thousand people every year." "weapons used by ISIS to kill thousands are supplied by U.S. and Saudi Arabia".

What we are getting is world news that really tells us nothing at all.
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American police, by the way, have killed 693 Americans so far this year. So it is still the world leader and heading for over a thousand for this year - perhaps even for a new record. However you slice it, and whether you support the police or the dead, this is a sign of a society in profound decay.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/series/counted-us-police-killings
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Here's a problem we don't hear much about in our news media. But it's a huge problem all over the world.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2016/aug/19/from-rural-romania-to-a-swiss-brothel-video
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"Yemen?" said the Irving press editor. "Never heard of it. What part of New Brunswick is it in?"

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/22/why-do-they-target-us-yemeni-civilians-pay-the-price-of-escalating-crisis
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And, gee, aren't those terrorists awful for the killiing they do?

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/aug/22/iraq-children-health-cost-war-induced-air-pollution-study-toxic-waste-birth-d
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And here is a thoughtul, if long, discourse on how our economies have worsened as a result of the neoliberal economics imposed by margaret Tatcher and Ronald Reagan (and the irving press).

We now live in a world of shaky economies, unlimited greed of the wealthy, almost constant and widespread war, collapsing societies, spreading poverty - none of which any of our leaders, including Trudeau, give any sign of even recognizing.It is also the only column I have seen in any news medium that has a kind word for Trump.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/21/death-of-neoliberalism-crisis-in-western-politics
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Yes, it is true that the U.S. organized and funded Jihadist movements. In fact, it's been doing so for thirty years. Funny how that never made the news.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/08/22/shifting-alliances-turkey-russia-and-the-kurds/
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Here's another one who is not a Trump admirer - but who  notices that the other side is  made up of liars and scoundrels, too.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/08/22/what-does-it-mean-when-war-hawks-say-never-trump/
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Here's an interesting look at a solution to improving production while at the same time improving life for the workers. Capitalism has always worked on the principle of making people work as long as possible for as little as possible. In fact, our trade agreements of the past thirty years have not improved our wealth or our lives. Nor were they intended to. They were intended to give capital cheaper sources of labour. Thus the destruction of Detroit as the car industry moved to places of dirt cheap labour.

But Sweden sees the future in working shorter hours while still getting full pay at a weekly rate. (Hide this from the Chamber of Commerce).

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/08/22/labouring-hours-swedens-six-hour-working-day/

Countercurrents is the best source of comment I have seen. Some of it is hard to follow because it's about conditions in Asia that I know little about. But when it moves into areas I'm familiar with, I find its standard of  understanding and solid writing very high, indeed.
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I have been looking for column that,  in broad strokes, explains what is happening in the middle east and Africa - so far without luck. So here are some very broad strokes by me.

The middle east part begins with the collapse of the Ottoman empire in World War 1. That happened exactly as it became obvious that oil was essential to the future. So the British used people like Lawrence of Arabia to win over arab leaders on all sorts of big promises - almost all of which were ignored. Typically, they won over local arab leaders  to set up what were commonly new countries with oil under the control of British capitalists. France joined the game, as did the U.S.

The result was to get oil on the cheap, draw borders for countries that had not existed before, create local billionaires to keep the people quiet, and socially disorient the whole region. One of the sweetest deals was that Iran had to supply oil for  the whole British navy - free. That last until 1948 when Iran elected a government to drop it.

The British couldn't afford a war at that time. So it shared a war with the U.S. to dump the elected leader of Iran, put in a dictator, and split the oil between British and American capitalists.

Later, the Iranians would get rid of the dictator and elect their own government. The British and American news media promptly branded Iranians as evil. They still do.

The British also considered creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Hitler thought it was a good idea, too. So did Canada and the U.S. Because it would be good for Jews?


No.
It was because Britain and Germany and the U.S. and Canada and others wanted to dump their Jews; and this would be a good way to do it. After World War 2, they did do it - for two reasons. One was the old one of getting rid of their Jews. The other was to give the U.S. a reliable base in the middle east.

The result of all this was a demoralization and destabilization of the whole region. It hit a new high in 1948 with the creation of israel. But the trouble did not come because arabs hated Jews. in fact, Arabs and Jews had lived together in peace in Palestine since the origins of Islam. In fact, both the Jews and the arabs of Palestine were semitic in skin colour and in many customs.

The objection was to the intrusion of millions of European Jews who were NOT a semitic people. They were Europeans, not the Jews of The Bible at all. And the Palestinian Jews were no happier to see them than the Palestinian arabs were.
By the 1950s arabs were thoroughly demoralized by western dominance of their countries, and by the profits that flowed out to the west while they remained in poverty. That is when the concept of Jihadism developed.

But it was the CIA that made Jihadism a real force. It equipped and trained strict Muslim sects to fight against Russia when it invaded Afghanistan. They beat the Russians. And that's when they realized that Russia was not their only enemy. When the U.S. mounted its own invasion of Afghanistan it was the Jihadists who made that an unwinnable war.

Perhaps the greatest turning point was the very brutal invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and Britain for no other reason than to get control of its oil. With that, Jihadism became a major force in the middle east.

The US now found itself facing a series of wars throughout the region - notably with Syria and Yemen. But it had a problem with conventional  warfare. The American public would not accept high American casualty rates. That was the great lesson of Vietnam. So the U.S. used Jihadists to fight Syria. It was part of a general plan to make arabs defeat themselves by fighting each other.

And then Russia ruined that plan.

The middle east never was a region of all the countries we see on a map. Events since 1914 have disordered and demoralized the whole region. The U.S. needs it to be demoralized and disordered so its oil barons can continue to control it.
Africa? Similar in many respects, though going back to the fourteenth century. The west conquered regions for slaves and gold and other precious metals. It destroyed societies by drawing lines on the map and calling them nations. Africa has been thoroughly pillaged - and it still is going on. Western capitalism has made no attempt to modernize societies, to raise living conditions or to encourage democracy. It has been plundered to make billionaires richer - with not the slightest thought for the needs of the people.

The result is violence that we rarely read about in our news, dreadful disease, poverty....

Our God is greed. That's why the hired revs at the Irving Chapel and the sermonette writers of the irving press prefer to discuss other topics.
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As I mentioned in earlier post, I plan, starting now, to write blogs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. That will give me time to write the uninteresting story of my life for my children.

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