Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sept. 17: the real meaning of evil

Let's deal quickly with the irving press.

The only news item worth reading in section A is that the Irving family has given thirty million dollars to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire for the Irving Institute of Energy and Society.

Note the third paragraph in which it says "...the Irving Institute will advance the understanding of a resource that powers modern life and is directly related to society's standard of living and success."

Gee, I wonder what resource that is. And according to this blurb, it does wonderful things. Yes, it does. And, later on, it tells us Arthur L. Irving has been a visionary leader, and Irving oil has been an early adopter of prcesses that improve the environmental performance of their...products.

This news item consists largely of quotations which have the smell of being written by a PR agent. Still, it's worth reading - as a reminder that professors and universities can be bought.

The editorial is an extremely shallow one about the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and a similar European deal that are coming up. This editorial - like other rare mentions of these deals - tells us nothing about them.

de Adder has a silly cartoon of the Liberals crushing the demand for an Atlantic justice on the Supreme  court.  Generals are not chosen with guarantees of a spot for candidates from any region. Nor are prime ministers.  Nor are airline pilots. They represent ability, not regions. There is no reason whatever why the Atlantic provinces should have a right to a judge on the Supreme Court. The justices represent the law, not regions.

There is an interesting guest column on a topic the irving press has not covered, and probably knows nothing about.  It points out that the European Union is essentially an anti-democratic institution which has deliberately imipoverished countries like Greece. The writer blames German domination for this. There's good deal of truth in that, though it still leaves out the American role in setting up this anti-democratic institution.

The only news worth reading in Canada and World is that the head of Statistics Canada has quit because of interference from the Trudeau government. (A previous one quit because of interference from the Harper government. Coincidence.)

And, for a change, the Faith Page has a column worth reading.
But there's something else we need to think about. It is not possible to understand the news by following the news media. That's true even of the few, honest ones. The news, at best, gives us a two or three minute bite which, by itself, usually tells us nothing at all. We may, for example, be told that ISIS has attacked a city killing hundreds of people. Or that the U.S. has bombed Libya - killing hundreds of people. But what that means depends on who's listening to it or reading it. If you're a westerner, it's probably  because ISIS is evil, while the U.S. is doing what it has to do. If you're a Muslim, the meanings may reversed.

We cannot understand the news all by itself. We can only understand it with some reading of history. So let's start with the age that began in 1492. Let's start with the event that took our world into the age of modern empires.

Earlier empires had always been limited by communications. Even Rome could manage only a relatively small empire. There was a hint what could come with the Vikings. But they were too few to make much of a difference. The change came with a  Columbus who lived in an age when ships could reach the more lucrative parts of the Americas, and who could count on the backing of a large and wealthy nation. This began the modern age of empires, unlimited in its reach.

And Columbus set the tone for what was to follow. He looted his new discoveries to satisfy the greed of his national employers. Indigenous peoples were murdered (often by attack dogs).  Established societies - some amounting to civilizations - were destroyed.   Other countries, notably Britain and France, joined the destruction and plundering. They also, as Spain had, flooded the new  countries with their own settlers, either killing the indigenous peoples or forcing them off their lands. So those people lost not only lives but their lands, their economies, their societies (with all the relationships, order, and development that the word society means). They existed only to - somehow - survive.

And their condition has not changed.

The same pattern was repeated, notably by Britain, France, the Netherlands, the U.S. in Asia. The method and purpose never varied - kill, control, degrade and destroy existing social structures and values, enslave, impoverish,  loot.

Then send missionaires to tell them that the Jesus of their conquerors loves them.

It's important to understand that this invariably meant the impossibility of the conquered people to retain their sense of social structure and order, or even of personal relationships. They existed only to serve their conquerors.

Traditional forms of government, like the emperors of China, simply disappeared. They were replaced by civil servants and company officials from Europe and the U.S. These were, almost without exception, profoundly racist. I guess one has to be racist in order to justify humiliating and impoverishing people by the millions.

(While in Hong Kong to teach history, I also helped to teach a course in journalism. All but one of my students was Chinese. That one was from England.  All of them were working journalists.  The one from England had a high opinion of his abilities, was arrogant - and was the highest paid journalist in the class. He would later advance rapidly in the British-owned South China Morning Post. That's the way things worked under British rule. He was also the least intelligent of that class of students.)

When it was under British rule, I routinely saw whole families including babies living in plywood shelters under staircases, or lining the streets to sleep on flattened cardboard or under overpasses. This was after more than a century of British rule. Friends tell me that has, since the British left, ended.
Empires exist to exploit. Nothing else. They do not bring civilizaton. They destroy it.

The empires of western Europe dominated the world until World War 2.  Today's United States, always an empire builder, is now the world's greatest imperial power - and it's just like the others - but with greater killing power.
That's what the news is about. But you would never guess that from most news sources.

The victims of  imperialism struggled to find a way out. Perhaps the longest struggle was in China. Eventually, the Chinese turned to communism as an answer in the 20th century. Our news media reported it - but always with the suggestion their solution was evil.

The preferred solution for the west was the leadership of Chiang -kai Shek, a drug dealer become general (and a Christian) and man of choice by the western powers. When he was chased out of China by Mao, our news media concentrated on stories of how evil Mao was. There was a good deal of truth to the stories.
Mao arose out of more than a century of western looting, abuse, and social destruction in China.      He was by no means a nice guy. More than a century of looting, abuse and social destruction does not create nice guys. The western rulers were not nice guys, either. They were murderers on a grand scale. They were the biggest drug dealers in history. They were looters. Chiang was a mass murderer, drug dealer...but our news media told us only that he was a Christian.
We created Mao. And, for all the horrors in his reign, Mao is the one who made modern China possible.

In the same way, we created the Stalin and his horrors. The communist revolution in China didn't happen because the Russians suddenly had a fit of evil. It happened as a result of many years of rule by greedy Tsars and aristocracy - assisted by western capitalism. In fact, we sent troops to Russia after World War 1 to fight for the aristocrats and capitalists.

And our news media never mentioned the horrors that we had subjected the Russian people to. And, when Russia eventually became capitalist and, like the U.S., more or less democratic, our news media still see it as evil. Of course. It has nothing to do with communism. It never did. It has to do with Russia becoming an economic competitor.

For several centuries, we have suffered no attack from Islam. So why now? Could it possibly have anything to do with what we have been doing to the Muslim world?

For a century, we gave created countries in the middle east that were created simply by drawing lines on a map These were entirely artificial countries, so artificial they could be managed only by dictators - like the king of Saudi Arabia or like Saddam Hussein (whom we happily supported as a dictator.) There was no definable social structure to any of these countries.  We did it so we could loot the oil of the region, taking all and giving nothing. It was the old greed and arrogance and racism of empire.

This is what the Irving Institute calls understanding the resource that is directlly related to the prosperity of modern society.

Impoverished, their traditional society destroyed, ,many Muslims, just as the Chinese and Russians did, just as our own native peoples are trying to do, are lookiing for some form of social order to escape the treatment they are being subjected to.

(Perhaps it could have been done by incorporating the native peoples into the operaton and benefits of their own resources. But greed and imperialism don't work that way.)

Some Muslims have chosen an extreme form of their religion as their answer. It's most unlikely to be a solution. But it probably seems reasonable to people who have watched others of their faith being not only robbed by the western powers, but murdered in their millions. And this has been made hugely worse by the decision the U.S. made to launch wars against Muslim countries for no clear reason. That began with the continuing disaster of Afghanistan.  It, like other countries, needed help to adjust to change. We sent bombs.

Technological advance and greed since 1492 have taken the world to a state of final crisis.

That's what the news is about. But we'll never understand that from news stories, not even honest ones. We have to know history to understand what's happening today.
A touch of the news.

As you read this one, just think - Most Canadians and Americans. don't even know what this transatlantic trade deal is. Or the Trans-Pacific one. But they point the way to a fundamental, and very ugly, change in the nature of our society.

Here's a story about a population that is more alert than ours.

And here are photos of it. It's nice to see a society that can gather a large crowd even without free beer and fireworks.
I'm as sceptical as the next person about conspiracy theories. But the reality is that conspiracies do happen. They are not unusual. And this time, the source is a pretty good one. So when do we  get an independent, open, and official examination of the World Trade Towers?

Oh, yes. I know. An American government would never deliberately kill 3,000 Americans. But shortly after this, it did. It sent Americans and Canadians and British to die in a war in Afghanistan. Supposedly, it was to punish Afghanistan for sponsoring the 9/11 attacks. But no such connection has ever been shown.
I may have run this one before. But it's worth thinking about. Former British pm David Cameron botched the war on Libya. He's a prime reason the result has been such a disaster. But Canada was there, too. Where was the deep thinking in Canada about what we were doing and why? Where was it in the U.S.?

This has turned into one of the great disasters of foreign policy, and a major reason for the rise of jihadism. This is a part of what we have done by destroying societies in the name of greed. Canadians were deeply involved in it. Have you seen any Canadian news medium asking questons about this?
Canada is nearing the point of signing enormous trade deals. I have seen nothing in our news media to tell us what these are about or what effect they will have on us. In fact, our news media haven't even told us what's in them.

And here's worse news....
Lots of readers will disagree with this one. But I think it makes sense. (Oh, I know. North Korea is evil. And we aren't.)
In one of the most brutal wars this world has known, a nation of poor people are being bombed and starved to death by Saudi Arabia, with enthusiastic help from the U.S., Britain, - and Canada.

The irving press has ignored it. So have most others. This one has a photo of a baby starving to death. But it won't match the one from Syria of a little boy who got dirty in a bombed building. You won't see it on TV or in newspapers, and certainly not in the irving press.
Here are some pretty authoritative voices on the scandal of our news media.
There's more. But it's been a long day.

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