Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4: The mad season is on us.

Last night, I flicked through the TV channels to watch the news. I generally dislike TV news because TV does not lend itself to serious discussion. There are too many distractions in the form of changing camera angles, the visual appearance of faces that take up much of our attention but tell us little, the artificial excitement and breathless speaking which gets in the way of understanding....

As well, the control of owners over the content of news and analysis has become increasingly obvious. I sat, listening to news in hyper-excited voices, and analysis that was shallow and even lying.

Terms like left wing and right wing are thrown about without any understanding of what they mean. In fact, there is no left wing or right wing in the U.S. There is only the very wealthy and what they want - now. The Democrats have no platform of any significance. Clinton will do what she's told to do, and become personally even richer as a result. Trump won't do what he's told to do - but his political thinking is very, very similar to that of the farthest right of the Republican party. But, again, it's really not fair to call it right wing. It's just greed.

The big story of this election is  the disappearance of political parties. A party is supposed to be an organization based on a set of moral and economic principles. The Republicans, Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives are not such organizations. In fact, they never have been. It's just become increasingly obvious. Indeed, our whole political system is moving back to the middle ages - with just one difference.

In the middle ages, us peasants were ruled by aristocracies. (Knights were simply the hired thugs for the aristocrats.)  It was a society designed solely to benefit the aristocrats. And that aristocracy was inherited by birth - much as our present day one is.  The difference between that and our present-day aristocracy of billionaires is that the old, aristocracy was under a king. The new one has no king. The aristocracy simply runs wild.

We'll see much more of that running wild as recent trade deals that our news media are telling us nothing about go through.

The Green Party, by the way, is a real party - but far too narrow in its platform. The NDP used to be a real party, back when it was called the CCF. But it needed money to win elections - and it didn't get money from the only source of the big money - the wealthy. That's why it adopted policies much closer to the those of the established parties, and changed its name to the NDP - a strategy that has proven disastrous.

Our election funding system is guaranteed to keep the wealthy in control. Even Trump is now reduced to campaign funcing that is less than one percent of what Clinton has.

Any party that hopes to make real change has to change the thinking of people who have only the irving press for information. That's going to be tough when Liberals and Conservatives across Canada and the U.S. have the advantage of billions in payoffs and in corporate ownership of news media that are really propaganda agencies for the new aristocracy.

Thus endeth the reading.
The tough, inquiring reporters and the shrewd editors of the irving press have produced a front page that tells it like it is. Let the chips fall where they may. The front page tells us there are a lot of cranes at work in Moncton. (Gee. I hadn't noticed. Thanks.)  And construction of a new food store might begin on Monday.
Building on that, there's a story that the mayor is eating a dog biscuit for charity. A bank sign fell down. A new Tweens fashion store will soon open. And Moncton has a new take-out food stand that has hot dogs and chili sauce and everything.

One article could have been a useful one. The universities, like universities across Canada, are in financial trouble. Unfortunately, the research on the story is so shallow that we get no sense of what the cause of the trouble is. Nor, alas, do the universities know. This needs government action. It also needs universities to take a break and figure out what it is they are supposed to be doing - and the wasteful sloppiness of their approach to education.

Gee - sorta makes ya wonder, don't it? How could a tiny and poor country like Cuba offer free university education? Many other countries do, too. And how come we have such piles of money we can let irving skip taxes on some of his large holdings in St. John?

The opinion page is okay. Commentary page is not. Rod Allen is Rod Allen. Alec Bruce continues his pointless, holiday column series.
In Section B, the big news for Canada and the World is that irving wants to buy a  refinery in Ireland. Then there's the flash that Air Canada is going to make it easier for the visually-impaired to see its in-flight TV shows.  In even more shattering world news, a man in PEI is campaigning door-to-door to get a seat in the senate.

And North Korea has fired a missile  (a dummy) that came down close to Japanese territorial waters. The U.S. is indignant. I guess the U.S. has forgotten that it not only fired loaded missiles at Japan, killing hundreds of thousands, it also tested them in the Pacific, loaded ones, in the Solomon Islands as tests. The result, to this day, is a not very healthy Solomon Islands.

Look, let me suggest some stories for the irving press....
1. City council is said to be planning the future pattern of development in Moncton. Good idea. But they seem to be planning it on the assumption that the future will be just like now. It won't.

The city of now was designed for the fossil fuel age. That's why it is so sprawling. This is a dreadfully expensive sort of plan for services - like fresh water and sewage and snow clearing. And the end of the fossil fuel age is in sight, like it or not.

What does this mean for city planning? I've seen no mention of this, and have no reason to believe that council has even thought of a different sort of future. The city as we know it is based on a concept that is seventy years old. It's been a horrendously expensive concept. And it's one whose time has passed.

2.The Panama Papers revealed that the nations of the world are being robbed by the wealthy who hide their money in tax havens. We're talking here of money so big that whole nations are falling into hopeless debt. So where's the follow-up? Where are the intrepid editors and reporters of the irving press. Really - they could probably find out just by asking the boss.

We have seen a massive redistribution of money from everybody else to the very rich. And there is no sign of any end to it. We are being robbed by tax havens. A grain of sense should tell us this can end only in disaster for everyone. This is really far more important. This is, i'm sure, more important than the opening of a new fast-food outlet.

3. We are on the edge of nuclear war with both Russia and China. The slightest misjudgement could set it off even as I write this. That's probably more important foreign news than Irving Oil planning to buy an Irish oil refinery.

4. We are spending $105 million on an events centre - based on the theory this will attract business and population to develop around it. If so, it must be possible to get a list of cities where events centres have had that effect. I have seen many such centres in various parts of the world. But I never saw one  notable as a big draw for stores and residents.
The lead story in The Guardian is that 12 tourists (British, American, German) took a tour operated by a company that specialized in tours to countries at war. This one was in Afghanistan. They were attacked, and five of them were wounded.

This is the most important story of the day? The Guardian is starting to look like the irving press.

More space is wasted with a story that Trump's hands are, indeed, smaller than the average for a man.
Information Clearing House is a blank today, as it was yesterday. This might be associated with Tom Feeley's recent stroke - but, in such a case,  there would normally be a posted explanation. This has none. One has to consider something that has happened before. An American government agency has blocked the transmission. It's not unusual. That's the kind of world we have created since the great war for freedom.
Here's an interesting item dealing with the gospel of efficiency, and how it has affected the people and the environment of British Colunbia. Maybe editor Rod Allen could do some similar research  on the situation in New Brunswick.
This is a story that I missed when it first appeared in The Guardian a year ago. But it still has plenty of meaning.

The U.S. is a police state, just as Hitler's Germany  was. It uses torture, even for civilian prisoners. But I've never seen any of this in our newspapers.
So it's come to this in the American election - a choice between an egomaniac and a hired mass killer.
The American war against affordable health care.
Sometimes, nobody is in the right. Our news media went all ga-ga when Dr. Khan, a Muslim, used the death of his son while serving in the American army in Iraq as the basis for an attack on Trump. Now, what Trump said was, without question, loutish.

But not everyone sees Dr. Khan as a hero. People who are victims of American mass murder may see it quite differently. I see no merit in a man who would participate in the illegal slaugher that was carried out in Iraq. Certainly,  the word hero does not spring to mind. Being patriotic is not necessarily a good quality. The Germans who slaughtered Jews were being patriotic. The Japanese who massacred Chinese civilians were being patriotic. The Americans who carpet bombed cities in Laos and Cambodia. who covered Vietnam in Agent Orange, who supply weapons to the Saudis and help them to keep the people of Yemen starving to death are patriots.  I don't admire them for that. I thought Dr. Khan showed ignorance of his own religion as much as most Americans show ignorance of Christianity.

If we hope to survive, we'll have to learn the difference between faith and patriotism - and decide which to follow.
Also consider this. The U.S. is looking for wars. Just like the empires that preceded it, the U.S. wealthy need wars to get wealthier. And they need wars particularly against Russia and China. And they need them soon, before China gets too powerful. That raises several problems.

1. Any conventional war with Russia and China would be a long one with heavy casualties on both sides. The U.S. public has shown  (in the Vietnam war) that it will not support a war with heavy casualties on the U.S. side. Killing foreigners is okay. But deaths on the American side are not acceptable.

2. The U.S. military, though the most expensive in the world, has performed dismally for over fifty years. In fifteen years, it has not been able to conquer Afghanistan - though it is fighting only a part of the population, and has the support of the Afghan army - and has spent over a trillion dollars.

3. A conventional war against Russia and China is, because of the above, probably unwinnable. But the U.S. is still surrounding Russia and China with missiles and troops. It is looking for a war.

And any such war would go nuclear within minutes no matter what the plan would be. American military planners certainly can figure that out as easily as I can.

ergo - the U.S. is looking for a nuclear war.


  1. The Democratic and Republican parties in the US just like the Liberal and conservative parties in Canada are not political parties. None of them hold any political ideas. Their support of the military corporate
    elite and not the people makes them simply Criminal Cabals.Donald Trump is a disaster, but Hillary Clinton is definitely capable of starting a Nuclear war with Russia and China. My understanding is that the military elite, not the president now have the power to set off a nuclear missile. Clinton will do what she is told.