Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Oct. 12: An angry day

A couple of nights ago, I caught the last scene of the film "A Tale of Two Cities". This is Dickens' view of the French revolution  , a view in which the dignified members of the French aristocracy are led to public execution by beheading - while the ignorant poor watch in laughter and jeers.

The last man to die in the film is Sydney Carton, a young Englishman who had devoted himself to saving those dignified aristocrats from the ignorant mob.  "I go to a far, far better place than I have ever been...."

The story is more than a little one-sided.

The French aristocracy had long been devoted only to their own lives of mindless pleasure. The kings, beginning with   Louis XIV, insisted on their presence at the Versaille Court where they were required to  live high, to constantly party , to spend.... It was his way of ensuring they would always be under his control.

The peasantry had to support that high living with constant labour to earn foul housing, little food, extreme punishment, no education,  and short lives.

So why are they the peasants and working class the  bad guys in A Tale of Two Cities?

It's because that tale, quite unconciously, was written as a piece of propaganda. And propaganda is easy because it's often based on what people want to believe.
The French revolution was a threat to the British aristocracy because it might encourage a similar (and well-deserved) rising in Britain. It was also a threat to the business leaders of Britain who were closely associated with the aristocracy. The French peasantry and working class, then, were evil. Yes, they were. And the aristocracy were dignified. Yes, they were.

All this was mixed together by a British writer, Charles Dickens, who had not been born into wealth, and had usually been critical of the wealthy. But there was another factor at play.

The French were, well, French, and therefore inferior to the English. That made the French peasantry and working class inferior to the English one and, by easy transfer, made the French aristocracy more like the fine model of the English aristocracy.

Here was a propaganda that caught on because it was what people wanted to believe. Here was a model for the American election campaign of 2016.
Here was a model for modern news media owned by billionaires.
I have also been watching a similar case in TV news of Haiti in its storm damage and deaths. Over a thousand have died - and there will be many, many more as cholera spreads. Of course, so many have died. Look at those fragile,  tin sheds they live in. Look at those crowded "residential" areas where there are no fresh water systems. And the cholera? Well, most of those places have no sewage, either. These are ghettos of filth and poverty.  They have been for centuries of western looting that deprived Haiti of living salaries, of education, of health services - and it has been particularly dreadful since the U.S. took over control about a century ago, allowing American, Canadian, European business aristocrats to exploit the poverty of Haiti.

All of this was controlled by U.S. appointed dictators who tortured and murdered anyone who objected to living in filth and hunger and hopelessnes. And who often tortured, murdered, raped for the fun of it.

Then Haitians held an election, and overthrew the the dictators, and democratically elected their own president. American politicans and business leaders were furious. They denounced the new president as evil, evil, evil....
The propaganda was easy  to spread in the U.S. because Haitians were black. It was an interpretation that, like all good propaganda, the average American wanted to believe. So it was easy for the U.S. government, with Canadian help, to overthrow the president while pretending to help Haiti, and to reinstall a just pretend democracy.

In the earthquake that coincided with the American overthrow of the president of Haiti, The U.S. sent lots of aid - very little of which ever reached Haiti because it got stuck in the pockets of American contractors. The same thing seems to be starting to happen this time, too.

The same was done for the same reason to Cuba. When Castro overthrew the dictator, he was instantly evil, evil, evil.... He was so evil, he made free schooling freely available to everyone all the way through university. He established the health care that Cubans had never had before.

 But there was still severe suffering because the U.S. virtually killed Cuban trade with  sanctions. (Sanctions, by the way are an act of war. The U.S. did not declare war. Nor did it have a legal reason to declare war. That means the sanctions were war crimes. But the U.S. and Canadian media never mentioned that.)

Now, check out the death toll on the American seaboard. It's not a thousand. No. It's 33. And that's odd. After all, the American population in that region is twice that of Haiti. So why the more than 35 times as high death toll in Haiti?

Look at those tin shacks in Haiti built by centuries of exploitation by the wealthy, and made worse by American business interference Think of what lack of drinking water and of sewage mean. Surrounded by big talk, the relief will be very limited and slow.

And it's not going to change. And we aren't going to do much about it. Our private news media will make sure of that, feeding us the propaganda version we want to believe.

The US has no trouble raising trillions to kill Syrians and Libyans and Iraqis and Afghanis. But not enough to be of much use to help an island just off its coast.
And if the CBC investigages too noisily, the Trudeau government will punish it.
The irvinig press? Today's burning issue for the editorial is whether the public should share in choosing a name for the events centre. Then there's the usual propanda piece from the Fraser institute. The rest is worse than trivia.

Oh, and there's nothing about the CBC news story of yesterday that further studies of the Bahama papers reveal that thousands of Canada's wealthy hide their profits there - with the close help of leading Canadian banks.  Every year, we are robbed of tens of billions of dollars (at least), not to mention the gifts our  governments hand out to the wealthy. That's one reason we can't house the homeless or feed the hungry. That's why we offer an unlivable minimum wage. That's why the Liberals in Ottawa plan to cut health services.  But not a word about it in most of our news media.

We aren't going to get much more news about it. Dominic will be called in to his real master for a chat to get  his marching orders on this. And that will be it.

Oh, and the chambers of commerce will hold more, expensive dinners honouring 'philanthropists', and going 'Clap, clap, clap...'
Now, here's an interesting article about wealthy 'philanthropists'. "Clap, clap, clap", say the the chambers of commerce.
Here's a British story that looks like news. But is it?

The Americans and the British created the war in Syria. They have been supplying ISIS and other "terrorists' who have been murdering Syrians. Russia has been concentrating on bombing the  ' terrorists'.

So why is Russia the evil one - and the US and Britain the great humanitarian states? Shouldn't that question be part of the story?
Where have the virtuous Obama and Hillary been in all these years that Bill Clinton has been groping women? News should be the whole news.
Here's another example of a Guardian news story which is really a propaganda story. All of its sources are unreliable - and it ignores the killing by the U.S. funded and supplied Jihadists.

Americans don't deliberately kill civilians. No. Never. The carpet bombing of cities, the use of Agent Orange and napalm, the cutting off of almost all food and medical aid to all Syrians - no. That's all aimed at the military only.
And here's one of a former Canadian P.M. who bravely speaks out about the sins of Donald Trump, but who served happily under one of Canada's most provenly corrupt prime ministers - and neither she nor her party (nor Liberals) have ever mentioned it.

A prominent Montreal news commentator actually built his career on being a booster for Brian Mulroney - and was very careful to dance around the corruption issue.
I would suggest reading all of Information clearing house for today. It leans, of course, to criticism of the U.S. What else can it do? It's not the whole news. It's filling in the news our regular media don't carry - and to the lies they tell.
It also had this light one on Obama the Pure and lewdness. It's a video of him displaying an erection to entertain female jounalists.
Karl Nerenberg is one of the best journalists in the business. Here, he criticizes Trump for his ignorant attacks on Canadian medicare.

Too bad Canada has a prime minister, a Conservative opposition (and many news media) whose views resemble those of Trump.
I should think Hillary Clinton, Justin Trudeau, and Stephen Harper would make a happy combo.

And their commentator could be Norbert Cunningham who probably believes the nonsense he writes about how billionaires create wealth for all of us.
The creation of death.
There's lots more but this is enough for a day. Bin thinkin' about Saturday. Maybe a good day to discuss the Faith Page, and the role the churches have played in all this. Can you think of a commandment that says "Thou shalt be patriotic"? Why isn't there one?

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