Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nov. 30: The self-blessed sinners of America

Big story on the front page of the irving press. Moncton city councillors voted themselves a pay increase of thousands of dollars.  Isn't it honest and brave of the irving press to speak out like t hat? Of course...... would be braver still if it ever spoke out about the much bigger raises billionaires give to themselves without bothering with a vote. But we have no idea how much money the wealthy of this province give themselves. And, though we've known for years about tax havens wear the wealthy can hide their money from taxes, we have yet to see the slightest interest from our press about exactly who those wealthy are, and how much they hide.

If you're starving an homeless, and  you shoplift a chocolate bar, that's a big story in the irving press. But if hide millions or even billions in tax money - not a word.

Next to it is the story about how the auditor general of the province says the provincial government has to cut down on spending. As usual, the auditor general makes no mention of what the human needs of the province are. Just cut the spending. And she certainly doesn't not call for making the rich pay taxes.
That was the standard approach in the great depression of the  1930's, too.  As the poor got poorer and hungrier, and as the rich got richer and didn't pay taxes, the demand was to cut spending on the poor. Gotta balance the budget.

World news? One of the big stories is that Trump's former  campaign manager will be visiting Alberta to give a speech to rich people. Wow!

The only real story in the whole paper is that Justin Trudeau has just approved some nice, new oil pipeliness over the mass objections of people who live along the routes. The approval also means that expanded fossil fuel production will continue for at least the forty years it will take to pay the cost of those pipelines. So forget about dealing with climate change.

And that takes us to a bone-headed commentary on CBC news. it criticizes Trudeau for making a statement of regret for Castro's death. And then praises him for refusing to attend Castro's funeral, saying this shows he has the stuff to be a world leader.

By the writer's logic, one could say that Trudeau should publicly refuse to express regret or to attend the funeral for the death of George Bush. After all, George Bush was one of the great mass murderers of history. Castro did enormous good for the people of Cuba.      Bush did no good at all for anybody except himself.

Castro was a dictator? So is the buddy we cuddle up to to and sell weapons to - the king of Saudi Arabia. - not to mention all the American-controlled dictatorships of Latin America.

Castro is a villain only because our propaganda news media make him a villain.
The writer then says that by refusing to attend Castro's funeral, Trudeau has reformed himself to become worthy of a being a leader in the western world.

1. There is not the slightest chance Trudeau will be a leader of the western world. He will always be what he is now, a puppet for the president of the U.S. (and for oil companies.)

2. And the refusal to attend the funeral of a man who attended his father's funeral just shows him to be gutless.

There is something we have to learn about Trudeau. He is his father's son only in a biological sense. Beyond that, the resemblance ends.

Pierre Trudeau admired Castro for the good he had done. And Pierre Trudeau didn't give a damn  what the U.S. thought about it. Pierre Trudeau was a man of principle.

His son is not. To him, the political life has only one purpose. It has nothing to do with the needs of the people or the nation.  The point of politics, the only point, is to please the powerful and so to win the next election.

He's the irving press' kind of guy.

Incidentally, if it is so terrible that Castro was a dictator, then how come nobody every criticizes the US for having created the dictator he displaced? In fact, very few news accounts mention that Cuba was a dictatorship imposed by the U.S. since before Castro was born. Latin America is full of dictatorships - all of them imposed by the U.S. And, unlike Castro, none of those dictators has ever done a damn thing for  anybody except American billionaires.
Nelson Mandella was one of the great leaders in world history. He admired Castro for his accomplishments. Justin Trudeau (not one of the great leaders in world history) has renounced his admiration for Castro. Case closed.
Justin Trudeau is expanding our use of dirty fuels - just like his good friends in the U.S. oil industry. And I'll bet he'd make it a point to mourn at all of their funerals.
Here's a story about how American 'democracy' can be worse than any dictatorship. It's about Standing Rock in North Dakota - and it's a story that may well be played out near you very soon, Canadian readers, as Trudeau shows he can be as backward as any other western leader.
The U.S. military has a Joint Special Operations Command which it uses to murder people all over the world, including in countries the U.S. is not at war with. The purpose is, generally, to take out anyone who might be opposed to  what American corporations want. Nobody knows who or how many they have killed because the American government won't say, and the American news media don't care.

Isn't it just terrible what that Castro did? I mean - all that money wasted on schools and hospitals?
The U.S. congress has just passed a no-fly resolution for Syria. In effect, this would mean only U.S. planes would be allowed to fly. Now, the U.S. has no right  under international law to fly over Syria. Russia does have a right. So - will the president give the U.S. airforce permision to fly over Syria - and to shoot down Russian planes?

If he does, that means a world war with Russia.
Here's an item I know is true because it has been investigated and condemned in Britain by many inquiries. While prime minister of Britain, Tony Blair lied in order to justify the US/British invasion of Iraq that murdered   one and a  half million people. Subsequently, he became an extremely wealthy man for favours to various middle east thugs like Saudi Arabia. That much is known - but, seemingly - not known to most of the North American news media.

Now, the British are taking a much more serious look at this man who was such a good buddy to Bush.
The Washington Post doesn't like Paul Craig Roberts. It listed  him as one of a huge group of bloggers and independent journalists who conspired with Putin to get Trump elected. I'm familiar with a large number of the sites the Washington Post names. It's charges are absurd. In fact, one of the most lying news services I have come across is The Washington Post. Roberts  (below) didn't take its report very seriously.
One of the most bizarre candidates Trump has pondered for his government team is General Petraeus, a man whose military career has staggered from incompetent,  to pandering, to giving away classified information, to low comedy. It really is quite noticeable how Trump leans to people of this sort.
Here is a new item that doesn't say as much as it should. It's about the (strong) possibility that the people that Trump is apppointing to his government want an all-out American war on Syria. But any such move would be almost certain to provoke a world war. That's the kind of people - whatever Trump may say about his aims -  that Trump is appointing.
Here's a story about the climate change that isn't happening. I haven't seen anything in the irving press to suggest that either the press or the irvings give a damn about it. We know that oil companies hire expensive lobbyists to make sure that people like Trudeau go on building lots and lots of oil pipelines But I'm sure the Irvings of New Brunswick would never, never do that. I mean, these are the people who maintain a family chapel (with special music) just for us. And the Chamber of Commerce speaks very highly of them.
The next item has some truth in it - but it may be too harsh in its treatment of American military leadership. It has been, as the article says, pretty ineffective in the past 16 years. But the reality is that it's been pretty ineffective for the past 70 years.

The American military performance over a tiny North Korea - and with lots of help -  was not brilliant. Vietnam was a disaster. So was Afghanistan, though we're still pretending. Ditto Libya and Iraq and, probably, Syria. But that may not be due to the generals as much as it is to the almost world hatred that the U.S. has created for itself - as well as to the the natural development of military leaders in countries fed up with American aggression, and adjusting themselves to how to fight against a modern enemy.
I attach the following site not because of any particular story in it, but because it looks like one worth following.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nov. 28: Castro and our contemptible news media.

Today's irvinig press has a striking example of propaganda presented as news.  ( That's actually quite common in our news services.) This one is a story about Cuban exiles in Miami celebrating the death of Castro.   It's about  how the exiles long for a return to a Cuba that is free and democratic, etc.

That seems natural? Well, it would. but....

The Cuban exiles in Miami are people who lived  happily in a Cuba that was ruled by a dictator who murdered and tortured. How come they didn't leave then?
Answer - they had no quarrel with a dictator who murdered and tortured. Many of them were his murderers and torturers. In fact, one of them is well known as the man who blew up a  Cuban civilian airliner killing all on board.

Remember, these 'exiles' were people who happily stayed in Cuba under a murderous dictator. It was the defeat of the dictator that sent them scurrying. Any reporter should have been able to figure that out. But not one reflected it in the reporting.

This looks like a news story about people longing for freedom. But it's really propaganda for people who fought against freedom.

Priests celebrating the mass prayed for an end to communism because it causes suffering.  (I skip lightly over the fact that they don't seem to know what the word 'communist' means.)  In any case, Castro brought equal opportunity for education, and he created a  health care system that is one of the best in the world.   Capitalism all over the world  has resisted those. For that matter, Cubans suffered poverty under Castro, but not because of either Castro or communism. It suffered poverty  because the capitalist U.S. forcibly cut off its markets.

Capitalism takes a back seat to nobody when it comes to causing suffering.
This is a news story that is entirely fiction. Strong on propaganda, though.

Note, too, that New Brunswick is about  to privatize the non-health-care services in its hospitals. Will this provide greater efficiency and eonomies? Of course not. The services will now have to provide a service PLUS a profit.    So it will cost us more. So why do this?

Because big business wants to privatize hospitals in general. This is a first step  to change hospitals from serving people to serving profits.

And, of course, we have the usual reminders that the US is great defender of human rights. Yes, it is - in speeches.  It's also the U.S. that had and still operates the biggest torture system in the world - with full cooperation from Canada.
The story below is just one example of the horror of climate change combined with western interference with social patterns all over the world. We cannot deal with this and fight wars at the same time. But there's more profit in fighting wars. We will soon pay one hell of a price for the profit that will never, in any case, reach most of us.
On a related point, there are several articles on people like Castro who, love them or hate them, made real changes in the world, changes that had to be made. I can think of a great many billionaires we'll never be able to say that about.
Particularly the oil ones.
The Guardian, despite several tries, has nothing intelligent to say about Castro. One columnist sneers at the poverty of Cuba in the 1990s. Obviously, she doesn't know that poverty was forced on Cuba by the rich United States. She sneers at him because he was a dictator - nicely ignoring the fact one of her country's greatest friends is the dictator of Saudi Arabia who has never done any good for his friends or anybody else.
This next article is not uncritical of Castro - but it's more intelligent than anything I saw in The Guardian. This one does what others do not - it looks at the only alternatives to Castro - the extremely rapacious and brutal American capitalists of the sort who had set up Batista.

In a century of dominance and aggression by American business, Castro was the only person who ever tried to make life better in Cuba. And if you know of American business leaders who would have done better, please make your insight known to the world.
Here's a very serious look at the direction this world is taking. Capitalism never worked as it was supposed to. And now it has moved into a highly destructive phase.
Our local paper still hasn't noticed Standing Rock.
Canada's Conservative party has denounced Castro because he was a dictator. But they adore the Saudi royal family who are, presumably, in the tiny and confused heads of Conservatives, great democrats.
With climate change we are facing the biggest crisis in history. We cannot deal with it and, at the same time, fight wars to make billionaires richer.

I'm quiting a little early today because I'm not feeling well. But before I stop, I want to add a few words about the death of Castro.

Most press coverage that i've seen of his death has been self-righteous, arrogant, and hopelessly out of touch with any reality. It was The Guardian that first ticked me off - but I also saw lots of others.

Much of the criticism is indignant because Castro did not make Cuba a democracy. Well,  no he didn't. How could he? He was a short distance from a U.S. that was 30 times the size of Cuba, was hostile, that attempted an invasion, that flooded the country with mafia killers and special ops killers, that sought to destabilize it in every way through, for example, setting off bombs in its hotels. It also condemned Cuba to poverty by cutting off its trade. His chances of rebuilding the nation while at the same time fending off American aggression in the midst of the chaos were pretty slim. And I  couldn't help noticing that the journalists who criticized Castro had never had a problem with the brutal dictators  who, with the blessing of Washington, preceded him. Or with our good friend dictators in Saudi Arabia.

Nor did they note his triumph in building a health care system and an education system infinitely  superior to those of the U.S. and, indeed, those in most of the world.

He did his good work without stuffing his own pockets - unlike the media billionaires who do stuff their own pockets without doing any good work.
And the leaders who don't praise Castro for his work will have no trouble praising the mass murderers and thieves like George Bush and Tony Blair when their time comes.

And I can't help noticing that the journalists at irving press had nothing whatever to say about a man of accomplishment like Castro while they heap praise and kisses on their owners who have never done anything for the province except to pollute its land and poison the air  over its refineries.  (And to sponsor each other for halls of fame.)

Castro was a better and more honest person than all our billionaires and their political hacks put together. That made him almost unique among national leaders. but you won't learn that by reading most of our news media.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nov. 26: Castros' death - and our dead newspapers

Fidel Castro has died at the age of  90. Castro was the one who ended decades of rule in Cuba by some of the most murderous regimes in history, all of them approved and supported by the U.S.  Murder, robbery, rape and torture were all part of the dictators' work days, and all with the blessing of the U.S. government And all ignored by the U.S. news media.

Cuba was a playground for the mafia  who forced Cuban women into prostitution to meet the tastes of American tourists.

Thoough it happened so long ago, I well remember the day that the news of Castro's defeat of the dictator came on TV. There was a shot of President Eisenhower, so furious he was almost foaming at the mouth. Some years later, I was flying over Cuba. I could still see the craters left by valiant American bombers on the country that had no anti-aircraft guns.

Castro immediately began the work of setting up schools that every child could attend. And, unlike wealthy Canada and the U.S., Cubans got free education all the way through university. He established a medicare system so that, unlike Americans, Cubans could get medical care. To this day, Cuban doctors are still major suppliers of health care throughout Latin America.

But, oh, the U.S. was displeased. It sponsored a failed invasion of Cuba.  It set bombs in resort hotels. It used American government and mafia hitmen in attempts to kill Castro. It blew up a civilian Cuban airliner killing all aboard.  (The bomber is, to the best of my knowledge, still living as an honoured citizen in Florida.) For over sixty years, the U.S. government has tried to impoverish Cuba by forbidding other nations to trade with it. But the world's richest nation with 325 million people was  held off by one of the world's poorest nations with only 11 million.

And for all of those sixty years, most of our news meda have kept us ignorant  of what was going on. (Most of it still is keeping us ignorant. I can't wait to see the irving press coverage of Castro's death in its Monday edition - if it does cover it. If it does, expect a story on how evil Castro was - not at all like those nice murderers and torturers the U.S. had put in power.

From most of our news media, we have no idea of the suffering and destruction that the U.S. has imposed on Latin America for over a century. And after the story of Castro's death appears in the Moncton Times and Transcript, we still won't have any idea.
Today's Moncton Times has its usual nothing - except - this great headline in Section A. "Man smashes car with tire iron, then helps him fix damage."  (If you can't see what's wrong with that headline, apply for a job at the Times. They would probably hire you as an editor or proofreader.)

On the comments page, I read Brian Murphy, expecting another 'nothing' column. To my pleasure, I was quite wrong. This one is interesting. (I had, though, a little problem with his conclusion that New Brunswick has an 'unhappy' vote of 20% that is comparable to the Trump support. He leaves the impression that the 'unhappy' are, by definition, wrong. My experience of politics has been quite the opposite.

In world news, the big  story is that a local, wooden bridge has to be repaired.
In this world of greed and mass murder and looting, the sermonette on the Faith Page sets a new record for saying nothing. Its message is we should enjoy the snow.
The Guardian's coverage of Castro's death is pretty feeble stuff. It diddles about trying to please everybody by not having any opinion of its own.  I know the death was recent. But Castro was old and in bad health. A big paper like The Guardian must have had that obituary written some years ago. It's one thing to give everybody's opinion - but that's not news. The Guardian must, by now, have come to an opinion of its own.

Donald Trump is quoted as saying that now Cuba can get democracy. Yeah. Well, if the U.S. was so  hot on Cuba getting democracy, it could  have given it to Cuba at any time. Instead, the U.S. supported the dictator Batista - just as in other Latin American countries it supported the dictators Trujillo, Duvalier, Pinochet.  (I well remember the story of an old friend, a film maker on assignment to Chile, who got out just ahead of Pinochet's death squads.) The U.S. has established dictatorships at one time or another in just about every Latin American country. In Haiti, it overthrew the elected government to set up a phony democracy, calling it a 'peace-keeping' action which Canada, to its shame, joined.

For all its talk, the U.S. has almost never brought freedom to anybody. It established a dictatorship when it conquered The Phillipines, and it supported the dictatorship of The Phillipines long after World War Two. It murdered hundreds of thousands in Guatemala who wanted democracy.

It is not a coincidence that its best Arab friend is the dictator of Saudi Arabia.

But thanks to lying news media owned by our billionaires, there is a general sense that the U.S. goes about like a good fairy bringing peace and prosperity to all. As I write this, Brazil is in a crisis as the U.S. engineered the overthrow of its elected president; and now the scheme is turning into disaster as the U.S.-chosen government is steeped in corruption.  (But don't worry. You'll never see it in the irving press.)
The Standing Rock protest might be coming to a crisis as pressure rises for military intervention. (The reason for intervention, we are told, is that the protesters might use violence. Gee! That would be unAmerican. I mean, so far, only the police have used violence. But that's okay.)
Here's a salute to Castro that will not appear in the irving press.

As I read this, I felt the jar any western Christian would feel at the use of the word 'communism'    in this article. I mean, it's so terible. Such a failure.
That's because we think what our news media condition us to think. But communism, like socialism, like capitalism is a very human sort of thing. And, like all things human, sometimes it works and sometime it doesn't. We are now watching a collapsing capitalism in the U.S. (and Canada). It has failed to bring us the levels of social care we need. It has failed, by a huge margin, to bring us equal opportunity. It is creating rising levels of poverty, especially in the U.S. It is diverting higher proportions of our wealth to the rich.  It has pressed us into constant wars that now have us on othe edge of nuclear war.  It has caused massive poverty and suffering in Africa, the middle east, Latin America, in countries like Greece, in much of Asia....

Actually, Cuba is not a communist country, anyway. And whatever it is, this tiny country has far surpassed the richest country in the world in things that are kind of important - like health care and education.

I will admit, though, that capitalism has done a far better job than communism or socialism of providing tax havens for billionaires.
And here is a reminder. Donald Trump is very much a product of the policies of governments that came before him. That includes Obama. One of Obama's contributions was to make America a police state with the power to override all invidual rights. This will be a big help to Trump.
This next item is really a quite important issue. And one that Trump cannot be trusted on.
Here's an important story that hasn't made the irving press.  (It hasn't made the irving press press because it is important.) It's hard to see where this one is going - but I suspect that this one has the potential to become much, much bigger - and one with implications for a Canada whose capitalists are just as greedy as American ones, and  for a Canadian government that is as much a servant to greedy captialists as the American government is.
Canada uses torture. It  has used it for a long time. it has been used by our prisons, by our governments, by our secret police - and in cooperation with U.S. torture. (You don't think prison torture can be all that bad? I have seen it. I have seen a prisoner in solitary for a couple of weeks sitting naked on the floor of his cell, and eating his own excrement.)

None of the above is secret. Our government's involvement with torture in its own right and in cooperation with the U.S. should be well known. The information is available.

But I'll bet you haven't seen it in your local newspaper.
Fake news is not a new phenomenon. (Fake news is a form of propaganda disguised to look like real news. )  We've always had fake news. But it is spreading. Here's a sample that ran wild at Washington Post.  (And, almost certainly, with the knowledge of the Post editors.)
The site above tipped me off to a real news site that I thought interesting.

and, for a Canadian, here's an interesting account of what it's like to live under the Canadian empire. (Yes. There really is such a thing. And you sure won't read about it in the irving press.)

And there's Black Agenda - a largely American site. And a very intelligent one.
True Publica is a British site. This article tells us something about global warming and the laid-back attitude to ward it off on the part of oil billionaires. Ever notice how our oil billionaires never have much to say about global warming? Here's why. And it's a good example of the mentalities, morality, and intellectual bankrupticies of those we are dealing with.
And a final thought for Canadians.

Canada has seldom had its own policies, either domestic or foreign. It has usually been a tagalong for a big brother - either Britain or, since 1945,  the U.S.    Canada has never really been an independent country.

That sort of dependence has never been a good idea for Canada. And, as the U.S. enters its self-desructive years, it promises to be become an even worse idea. We already have troops overseas that should not be there. We are already committed to as yet unnamed wars that cannot be won.

I see no sign that Canadians are rethinking the implications of that. And we don't have a whole, hell of a lot of time to think about them.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Nov. 25: Enough talk. Time to do.

It's a pity most readers  (who live in the U.S., China, etc.) don't get my local paper, The Moncton Times&Transcript. Part of a chain (Brunswick News) owned by the richest man in the province,  it tells us all whatever he wants us to know - which isn't much. The headline story today - the big one, the news YOU need to know - is that the provincial hospitals will be changing their food menus. And it has almost a half-page of photos of food for those who are unclear on what peas and carrots and potatoes look like.

Then there's the commentary page which, as usual, doesn't have a single commentary on it.  Commentary is supposed to be analysis of the news, a  process that gives it meaning to us. The paper once had two, excellent commentators - Gwynne Dyer on foreign affairs, and David Suzuki on environment - so it dropped both.

Today, the page has a pitch by the premier. That's not a commentary. That's a free ad. Or, at best, it's a news item. A real newspaper should then have a commentator with the skill to analyze that statement. The editorial writer is incapable of writing on any major issue. And Norbert Cunningham? He just beats the drum of the day.  Lately, it's been the education system of which he appears to know nothing at all - which fits in with the pattern of most of his topics.

Even worse, he thinks the answer to the problem is for the New Democratic Party                                                                                                              (which originated as a party focussed on the needs of the people) to combine with the Conservatives  (who originated, like the Liberals, as servants of the rich) to run as a coalition in the next election.

Even worse, the provincial NDP in New Brunswick is so far out to lunch, it's quite possible it would take up the idea.

And as for foreign news, well - the aging 'Bluenose' (a fishing ship of sailing days) is getting its rudder fixed in next-door Nova Scotia.
The news YOU need to know.

Yemen? Syria? Russia? China? Latin America? Never  heard of them.
And, speaking of the absence of decent commentary in the irving press, I'm reminded of an excellent commentator that it fired - because, I suppose, he's excellent. The commentator is Gwynne Dyer. Long ago, when he and I and the world were young, we would occasionally meet and kill time at the CBC Montreal studios where we were both on the same show. So I was pleased to come across one of his books "With Every Mistake".  The mistakes are mostly those committed by journalists (including Gwynne) as reflected in samples of his own columns. The book is also excellent on the role of newspaper and other media owners in Canada in blocking any commentators they disapprove of - which is why Dyer, though highly regarded in most of the world, now rarely appears in Canadian newspapers.

It's an excellent book.
_________________________________________________________________The west press has been attacking Russia Today as propaganda, and is attempting to drive it out of business. I've read quite a few editions of it. I don't see the fuss. It's at least as honest as any western site I've seen  Probably more so. Take a          look at this edition. What's the fuss?
Just as I was losing faith in The Guardian, a reader sent me the items below by a Guardian commentator. Good stuff.
I found this item interestinig because no British governor in all the years of British rule in Hong Kong ever gave a damn for democracy. So why is this former British governor speaking in favour of democracy and against  those who want separation of Hong Kong from China? Almost certainly, it's because he's more concerned about the ability of British capitalists to continue their profitable role in China.

And note that it's not Chinese communists who are blocking democracy. China isn't communist any more. No. It's a capitalist country. And capitalists don't love democracy any more than communists did.
Here's a story about climate change that we'll never see in the irving press. In just over 10 years, over a hundred million people will be starving because of it. Well, that's if it doesn't accelerate - which it probable will. We're looking at levels of starvation and turmoil the world has not seen in  hundreds of thousands of years. And just wait until it hits Europe.

Wait till it get worse in American states like California.  And guess what millions of Americans will see as their solution as they run out of water.
The Guardian doesn't mention it; but Trump yesterday said he was willing  to reconsider his disbelief in climate change. But it probably doesn't matter. in the first place, no matter what he might say, he is unlikely to do anything serious about climate change. And if he did something about it?

That would be a betrayal of much of his vote base which voted for him to bring back coal mining and industrial jobs which are creating the mining problem. And dropping that would create a very, very large group of very, very angry people who could make the U.S. a very dangerous and unstable place to live.

The real problem of the U.S. is neither Trump nor Clinton. The real problem is a society in collapse, a society ultimately controlled by a small, capitalist elite which is too greedy to allow any interruption in its profits, and too greedy to allow the examination of all the forces that have to come together to control climate change.
The irving press hasn't mentioned it. But the protesters at Standing Rock in North Dakota, not the Democrats and the Conservatives and the billionaires, are the key to real change in the U.S. (How could the irving press miss this story?)
The irving press never carries stories about the brutalities and destructiveness of mining companies all over the world. These are notorious for dreadful working conditions, abysmally low pay , dreadful environmental damage, beatings and, when necessary, assassinations. And Canadian companies are leading players in mining all over the world.

Some months ago, an angry, Canadian mining engineer sent me an angry note about my opinions of him and his brethren. i've been trying hard to feel sorry, but can't manage it.
This next one is more of a cry of despair than I like to see. But it is true that the problem is there - and in even a broader way that the author suggests. He skips rather lightly over Russian and Chinese capitalists, not seeing that these are much the same breed as western ones.

The answer, if any, is not likely to come from a major power. It  has to come from a grouping of lesser powers,  like Canada. (Though it certainly won't come from the politicians we now have.)

Certainly, the political games we're now playing are running us into a crash - a thousand crashes. All the principles on which we base our behaviour are, many times proven, destructive.
Lying about the news is now the rule rather than the exception.

It's very common, and exposed in this case only because the reporters did a bit of digging on their own. Most don't. And that's particularly noticeable with our very own irving press.

And Canada's government knew about this all the time.

Hitler was not a step back into the dark past. On the contrary, he set the pattern for our governments today.
And a story from al Jazeera about Canada - also missed by the irving press.
And another story missed by the irving press.
But enough of the moaning. In the last fifteen years of war against Muslims the Middle East has not become a better place. In fact, it's been over a hundred years of heavy interference and killing -and the Middle East has not become a happier place or more stable. It has only become worse. And there is not the slightest reason to believe that another century of killing will make it better.

And if the U.S. were to invade Russia or China, can anyone seriously believe it would make them into happier or more stable places?

These wars aren't guided by people trying to establish peace or stability. These are wars for greed. Nothing else. And the problem is not simply that these wars are murderous and thieving and destabilizing. The problem is that they put us on a permanent treadmill of murder and thieving and destabilizing.

And if we do invade them and defeat them, will China, the victim of more than a century of our imperialism  in that country, greet us with joy? Will Russia?
There is no possible future in what we are doing. Not for them. Not for us. So what do we do? There is no world body to turn to. The U.S., with the help of Britain and others, destroyed that a long time ago.

No. It has to start with individuals and with individual countries.

At the individual level, one might expect it to begin with the churches. But that's a slim chance. The Christian churches have not taken a significant stand against the mass murder we call war in 2,000 years. Every Saturday, I read the Faith Page of our irving press. I've now read hundreds of them. I have yet to read one on the subject of war, except to praise it at memorial times

. The churches are gutless.

The only starting point we have is people who have the courage to gather together, to speak openly about what is going on, to interest their neighbours in speaking openly....  We are in a crisis. And there are no angels to wave their wands. There is only us.

We have to break the pattern of what is going on. We have to remove our neighbours from it. We have to remove Canada from it. We have to set an example for other countries.

Yes. That's a modest start. But the reality is there is no other start. We don't own the news media that  smother the earth in lies and propaganda. We don't own the politicians who claim to speak for us. They are owned by the people who own the news media.

What we have is us. And we can start only with what we have.

And, yes. It can be done.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nov. 23 A worse, worse day.

I'll try to keep this first bit short; but it might help us to understand what the world is going through. We think of World War One and World Two as quite separate, and we talk of the danger of World War Three. I'm not sure that's accurate. But there's another way of looking at it.

From 1848 to 1871, the German states were united into a German nation. And that challenged the whole, western world - most particularly the leading industrial and/or imperial states like Britain, France, The Netherlands, Portugal... With reason, they feared that Germany would overtake them as an industrial and military power.

That fear was the reason why Britain began to look for ways to get rid of Canada, a colony which could pull Britain into war with the U.S. The British realized early that they needed to unite the English-speaking world behind them to protect more important parts of the empire. This even found its way into a Sherlock Holmes novel as early as 1880. Winston Churchill was still pushing that theme in the middle of the twentieth century with his highly romanticized "History of the English-speaking Peoples". (Americans saw things a different way. They saw the British Empire riding for a fall; and they saw their chance to replace it fell.)

As early as the 1870s, the fear of a German industrial and military rise had all of Europe picking sides and preparing for war. That war broke out in 1914. It was a war of competing capitalist nations, fearful of each other. It had no other cause.
The U.S., which already had its own imperial ambitions, joined the war very late, hoping to pick up some imperial crumbs. It was particularly interested in grabbing a share of China which had been so profitable for Britain. (Ever wonder why the U.S. has its major naval base way out in the Pacific and far from the U.S. mainland? That's because Pearl Harbour is not intended to be defensive. It's intended to be an American dagger aimed at China to produce profits for American capitalists.)

The so-called World War Two was simply a coninuation of World War One. But it came out badly for Britain which was exhausted and impoverished by the war. And this time, the U.S. was more ready to leap on the old, European empires. It moved into the middle east in a big way, taking control of its oil. It tried (and failed) to prevent the British from retaking Hong Kong, and the French from retaking French Indo-China. Most disappointingly for U.S. capitalists, the U.S. failed to take China, losing out to Mao. It also failed in its attempt to conquer Indo-China (Vietnam) for itself. However, it succeeded in holding on to South Korea as an American base to attack China. (Yes. That's what the Korean War was all about.)

By the end of World War Two  (or, really, World War One, part two) the European empires were done for. But the war that began with German unification in 1871 went on as a war to build the American world empire.

It is still, as it began, a hundred and fifty years ago, a war for economic dominance - though our leaders and news media happpily invent other reasons. And so the dance goes on but with changing partners on the floor. It has been one, long war. It has been advertised as separate wars. It is not. It has been advertised as separate wars against tyranny and for freedom.  It is not. The European/U.S. 150 year world war is one, very long war for greed, for the capitalism that has come to dominate our lives.

Always be ready to doubt the official version of history. It is commonly designed to be used against us.
Trump is setting up the U.S. for violence. He's doing it by giving people  no choice but violence. In his policies on, say, climate change, he's not that different from Bush and Obama and, for that matter, Trudeau. Where he is different is in  his bluntness - and that's a guarantee of violence.

Trump has adopted an additude to climate change and the environment which is not very different from that of recent New Brunswick governments and of the Irving press. But it's bluntness is going to make it even more dangerous.

Get used to it. There are very wealthy people in this world of unimaginablle greed and stupidity and arrogance and indifference to others. (But we're polite. We call them 'philanthropists'.
Just a reminder for Canadians. Justin ain't Pierre.
I include the item below largely for Canadian readers. It's about Tony Blair, former leader of the labout party, suppposedly a left-wing leader but one with no principles whatever, and one who is no  further left than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton put together.

I insert this for Canadian readers because Canada's left-wing party,  the NDP, is like Blair in one way. It is more interested in getting elected than in doing what needs to be done. There is no future for the NDP in that. It has a huge job to do in telling this propagandized country what needs to be done. And you can't do that by pretending to be a puppy. We don't need an NDP that's just like the liberals and conservatives.
Here's a story the irving press has ignored. And it's going to get much, much uglier.

This blog has a large number of readers in New Brunswick, of course. But it also has very large numbers in the U.S., China, Germany, France...  It's too bad those in other countries can't get our Brunswick News. You haven't see a real stinker until you've seen Brunswick news.
Here's the story we aren't getting in the irving press. Guess whose side it's on. Guess whose side it will be on if something like this comes to New Brunswick again.
Russia Today has a story about tensions on the Russian border which should be of concern to Canadians because we have troops there.  But you won't find much in Canadian papers.

However, it is in Russia Today - and I don't detect any propaganda in this story.
For a break with ordinary craziness, here's a fascinating article from Haaretz about the real Winston Churchill. He was idolized during the war. He still is. As a fifteen year old, I was enchanted by his 'History of the English speaking Peoples". Later, as I learned more about history, I developed serious doubts about him.

His history of the English-speaking peoples is mostly myth. Worse, by the time of Dunkirk, he had lost the war - and, despite his inspiring speeches, he knew it. All that saved him was Hitler's idiocy in attacking the Soviet Union.

Churchill fancied himself a brilliant military leader. The British army knew better, and kept their best general in Britain thoughout the war to keep a lid on Churchill. And, though he courted American favour after the war, he lost again as the U.S. government used the post war period to finish Britain as a world power.

Churchill, though undoubtedly brave, had no military competence at all. He was remarkably casual as a war leader - and never far from a cigar and a bottle. He was also a pioneer of the military bombing of civilians way back in 1920 - long before Hitler did it at Guernica. The British knew what he was - and they wisely voted him and the Conservatives out of power as the war ended.

He was very much a product of the old, English aristocracy - born to privilege, self-centred, an economic sponge - the sort of    character featured in the comic novels of author P.G.Wodehouse. Someday we'll be getting comic novels like that about our capitalist aristocracy of today.

This is a good read.
I included the story above because the news today is so bad and we're getting so little of the full story. Trump's appointees so far go beyond being people one disagress with. They are so extreme they would be dangerous even if one could agree with them. Several prominent ones are arguably mentally ill. At least one of othem is an enthusiastic cheerleader for torture. At least two, so far, are  determined to launch a war against Russia and China. This is shaping up as a bizarre cabinet. And the U.S. appears to be heading for guaranteed violence.
It's not because of Trump. It's not because of an equally bad Clinton. Neither of them is the cause of anything. Both of them are products of a collapsed society. And Canadians live next door. And Canadians have a premier who will do whatever an American president tells him to do.

The is going to be very, very ugly.

Monday, November 21, 2016

July 21: A bad, bad day.

A reader sent the following item to me - and depressed the hell out of me. - Because I think what it say is true. It doesn't mean that Hillary Clinton would have been a better choice. It means there was no choice. The U.S. election of Trump is simply the last step in a development in the U.S. that has been going on since 1776.
With Bush and Obama, the U.S. has had two disastrous presidents in a row. Now, this is the last step to rule by an aristocracy of corporate bosses. Like the old aristocracy of Europe, they are arrogant, dismissive of lesser people, see themselves as having a right to rule. Also like the old aristocracy of Europe, they occupy their lofty positions not by any talent, but usually by grace of inheritance. Like the old aristocracy of Europe, inbreeding has reduced their intelligence - but they rule anyway by right of birth. For the few born with the right names, high positions and power are guaranteed - as are dinners in their honour hosted by the kiss-ups of the chamber of commerce.

If one of us was a bank teller and made even a small error, he or she might well be fired. American banking executives, through incompetence and greed destroyed the U.S. banking system. But they didn't get fired. No. They got bailed out by the taxpayers, and then gave themselves multi-million dollar bonusses for their good work.

The result of all this is a U.S. with rising poverty even as the small  incomes of the average American get swallowed by the greedy maws of the rich. Nor is Canada so different as we would like to think. We are going down the same path with the same sort of slack-jawed and arrogant leadership that one sees in  the U.S. business world.

What is happening  is obvious. But none of those high-paid talking heads of TV who covered the election noticed it.

Forget Trump. Forget Clinton. (And forget Trudeau.)  it's going to get much, much worse. In fact, it already is. Check out CBC news for the story of what's happening at Standing Rock, the story that none of the irvings appear to have noticed though they are likely preparing for a New Brunwick version of it.
Or, if  you'd rather not thinkg at all,  you can read the irving press for a more than full-page story about how local artists have just produced a comic book. it's the biggest story in today's issue.
Earlier, I spoke of how the brainless sons of the wealthy could get ahead in the world without needing brains. Here's the story of Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in -law of no great talent who was able to get into Harvard without anything close to the usual qualifications. (And he is now officially Trump's closest adviser on world affairs.)

Generally, The Guardian hasn't been a whole lot better than the irving press on the issue of the U.S. election.
During the election, the only intelligent policy (and almost the only real policy that Trump mentioned) was to seek more peaceful relations with Russia. That makes his cabinet choices odd since they are heavily  loaded with warhawks and Russia-haters.
Obama was one of the great failures in the history of the U.S. presidency. In fact, he is a major reason why Trump won, and why Clinton was all the Democrat party had to offer. He achieved almost none of his promises. And even his wildly expensive Obamacare was a farce designed to make the health industry even richer.

So what will happen to Edward Snowden, the man who did the ultimate unAmerican thing? He told the truth.

Here's a strong possibility of what will happen.

The new head of the CIA wants him executed.
American politicians are fond of referring to Muslims as murderously evil. They play up the brutal executions by ISIS. Americans eats that up as Trump demonstrated. But Americans and their politicians and their news media never look in a mirror.

Christians, too, have a long record of murderous and greedy behaviour.
One of the outstanding features of the post-world war two period has been the remarkable failure of rhe U.S. military  to accomplish anything -   even with its massive power which it has used against millions of the most helpless people in the world. Obama has spent more years  at war than any president in American history - and he has virtually nothing to show for it.

The U.S. has been able to kill millions, to cripple millions more, to create generations of orphans, and to create the most terrible hardship for tens of millions. Bit it can't win. And Trump has learned nothing from all that. (Nor has Clinton.)
I'm aware this blog today is short ofgood news. That's because there isn't any. We are now openly dominated by a new aristocracy that has the same arrogance, greed and  stupidity of the old one. Again, it's not Trump and it's not Clinton.

 Those two are just part of the sewage bobbing about on the surface. Watch for domestic violence in the U.S. as Trump fails to deliver on his promises. Watch for initernational violence as Trump uses that  to distract Americans from the domestic violence.
And note the close connections of politicians (and news media) with the new aristocrats. The new aristocrats are the product of a capitalism let free to run wild. That's what most of t he free trade deals are about- to free capitalists from following any rules -  to let them destroy plant and animal life with spraying, to let them increase the use of fossil fuels even as the politicians and the wealthy know the price of that, to help them rob the general population, to avoid paying taxes, to let them sign up  the young to fight wars for them - and call it patriotism. And notice that the Norbert Cunninghams of this world will never criticze them.

He will rail at teachers. But he would never write a word critical of  the people who own - and abuse - this province.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nov.19: Trump is inescapable - and seemingly inconsistent.

I'm not a Catholic. But, sometimes, especially when I read the Faith Page of the irving press, I'd swap most of the the Protestant clergy I've ever met for one with the courage and common sense of the Pope.
For those unfortunates outside New Brunswick who don't get to read the irving press, Norbert Cunningham continues his (ignorant) rant against New Brunswick schools. This time, he's all agush because somebody sent him a letter from an 'expert' on education.

This expert says low levels of education in our schools are the fault of the schools. And Norbert says this expert knows because he has a couple of degrees, and he's taught elementary and high school. Wow!

Norbert, I have more degrees than that. And I've taught more than that. How come you never quote me?

Anyway, this expert provided powerful evidence for his point. Yes, he did. He said he saw a school motto on the wall. And it was too vague to base an education system on.  So there.

Norbert, almost any motto I have seen hanging on any wall is either vague or lying. Take the motto of the irving press. "Up-to-the-minute breaking news every day".  Now, close your eyes and think hard, Norbert. How can you have up to the minute news in a paper that doesn't even go to press until hours after you get that news? And, anyway, can  you seriously believe that fully describes what a newspaper should be?

No. The problem with New Brunswick schools was not caused by a motto somebody saw hanging on the wall. And it wasn't caused by teachers. it was caused by the intellectual and social atmosphere of this province. And those are profoundly affected by the propaganda of the irving press.
Trump has announced his first appointments for his administration. They are, if that is possible, even worse than those of Bush and Obama. However, it is not likely they are worse than anything Clinton would have appointed. Neither Clinton nor Trump was ever a believable saviour for the U.S.
Here's an interesting article about a situation of the 1930's in the Scandinavian world that led to those countries becoming world leaders in really  effective and progressive government. And it came about because the far right and the far left had polarized against each other - and the left won.

I don't know whether that will happen in the U.S. because both the Democrats and the Republicans are parties of the far right - and of greed and corruption.
The story below is one we don't get much news on. It helps to understand that the western powers created Israel - not out of any love for Jews. On the contrary, Israel was created because after World War Two, European Jews  wanted to move to Britain, Canada and the U.S.  But Britain, Canada and the U.S., being as anti-semitic as Nazi Germany was, didn't want them. That's why they gave somebody else's land to the Jews.

It was bound to be a source of trouble for generations to come. And so it has been. But the fault lies with neither Jews nor Palestinians. It lies with us.
I added the followiing item mostly because of the last paragraph. The article is about Neo-Cons, those Americans who want wars against Russia and China but who, for some reason, Trump is inviting into his cabinet (even through Trump has been talking of a peace deal with Russia.)

The last paragraph mentions a point I have been aware of for many years, but had forgotten. Evangelical Christians  (including some Catholics) almost dance with glee at the thought of a nuclear war. They believe that this would signal the second coming of Christ, and the sorting out of all us humans for heaven or for hell. So, if you have a choice, opt for hell. Otherwise, you get stuck for eternity with with only Neo-Cons to talk with.

These are also the people (again this is never mentioned in the private news media) who believe that God wants the U.S. to conquer the world. Talk about a society driven by religious hysteria!
And here's a story about working class salaries in Canada that you won't ever find in the irving press.  The outstanding feature of the last thirty to forty years in Canada and  the U.S. has been the relative decline of working class salaries as the wealthy take an ever-bigger bite of national wealth. In the U.S. that was a big factor  in Trump's winning of the working class vote - though they were suckers to think Trump would help them. However, they were quite right to think Hillary would not help them, either.)
And will corruption end under a Trump government?

No. In fact, there is every sign it will get worse.
Here's a short item. Britain will take over the training of those Syrian rebels it pleases the American government to call 'moderates'. In fact, most of them are al quaeda terrorists.

God save our gracious queen. long live our noble etc.
Jews in the U.S. and Canada have seen enormous changes in their leadership over the past fifty years. Once a broad-minded and socially concerned community, the pro-israel faction has abandoned that stance to become a simply an 'Israel is always right" lobby group.
Haaretz so far seems to have the best commentaries I've seen on Trump's staff appointments. I've long admired the courage and honesty of Haaretz.
Radio Free Europe is the American propaganda equivalent of Russia Today. It has been improving - though its propaganda roots are still pretty obvious. In this case  (and without actually quite saying so) it admits there is a powerful Nazi movement in Ukraine. And that it's on our side.
So far, Trump's apppointments are a pretty frightening lot of racists, muslim-haters, and cold warriors. It's hard to see thow they are compatible with his promises to seek peace with Russia and in the middle east.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nov. 15: The great American debate - without cause or effect.

One of the characteristics of North American privately owned news media is that they are almost never critical of big business. Of course not. The people who own big business also own them. That's why media commentators will attack anybody who isn't rich and influential. In fact, they just love to do it.  (The case of Trump has been exceptional - but I suspect that will change so long as he does nothing to  annoy big business.) In my local papers, this is obvious when a commentator deals with something like education.

Teachers are easy meat for commentators. They don't have much power. I thought of t hat as I read Norbert Cunningham's commentary on the problems of our schools. Mr. Cunningham knows nothing about education - but he just loves to rant at teachers.  (And he is also a man who never met a billionaire he didn't like.)

Mr. Cunningham  would never, ever think of criticizing anyone who is wealthy and influential. Indeed, that's true of everybody at the newspaper he writes for. If some kid gets arrested for spitting on the street, and faces trial, that's big story. If a wealthy person avoids taxes by putting his fortune into a tax haven, that's not a story at all. In fact, it never gets mentioned.

In the case of education, there is little difference in teaching methods across Canada - or North America - or beyond. I have taught in several provinces of Canada, in The Netherlands and in China. There are differences. But not in teaching methods. The differences are in social classes and in cultural values of the communities.

Working class students commonly grow up in communities which cannot afford the expense of education, and which have no social tradition of it. This has  nothing to do with the teachers, but everything to do with the community - and the parents. Jewish children, however, even those of working class background, grow up in communities that have a tradition of respect for learning. And it shows in the classroom. (As a child, I was fed the Christian word that Jews were naturally smarter than others.  That is pure racism. They aren't smarter but, oh, their attitude is way superior to that of Christians.)

The Chinese have a long history of respect for education. Sometimes it's excessive,  and puts a tremendous burden on the children. In the Netherlands, the whole society has a respect for education - and makes its schools as accessible as possible for everyone. The same is true in a society like Cuba's.

But these values are much, much less common in New Brunswick. What has to be reformed in New Brunswick is not the schools - it's the society. And that reform is going to be difficult in a society which is mired in conformity, and which reads the irving press.
Much of the commentary on the American election has been to boost one of the candidates over the other. But that's not the issue at all. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have long since abandoned any principle except serviing the rich and greedy. That's all that Clinton stood for and, as we shall soon see, that's all that Trump stands for.

There was no winner in this election.  What we watched was the collapse of American society, and the loss, even, of any sense there is one. Both Trump and Clinton were candidates of the collapse.  The road back to democracy is going to be a long and hard one for the U.S.
Would Trudeau approve a pipeline that would wipe out a marine species? You can bet that he would  But don't worry. You'll never read about it in the irving press.
What was notable about Obama's first election for the presidency was that he really had no policy on anything. And, in eight years, that never changed. He may be remembered as the most overestimated president.
It happens not just in New Brunswick. There's a pesticide industry that's choking the world. but don't worry about it. Just read the irving press, and you won't even know it's happening.
I include the piece below because I think it's right. But there has been no reason to believe that Clinton is any better. It's not Trump. It's not Clinton. It's the whole, corrupt and murderous U.S. political system.
Countercurrents is Asian. I haven't used it as much as a I should because I  have a much lesser understanding of Asian affairs than I should have; so I lean heavily to those articles which deal with affairs in the western world. However, the quality of countercurrents often seems to me to be the best of the alternate sources I have found. (So I'm going to work on my understanding of Asia.)
And here's a touch of reality. The 'moderate' rebels fighing in Aleppo, Syria, are the ones the U.S. has been supporting from the start. However,for so-called modrates, they have a strong streak of terrorism in them. However, the U.S., which has long been supporting and arming ISIS is now attacking it. So who knows? Maybe they'll soon be calling the moderate rebels   'immoderate'. And attacking them.
Is anything else happening in the world besides the the U.S election? Actually, yes.
Generally, both the commercial and the alternate news sources are yet to come to grips with the meaning and likely outcome of the American election. If Trump, for example, is going to seek peace with the rest of the world, It is difficult (impossible) to see why he has been courting hawks like Bolton and McCain for his cabinet.

And if he carries through  on his promise to forget about the environment and expand the U.S. use of fossil fuels, then the Earth has only a brief future left.
Nor is it possible to understand what Americans want. Large numbers are demonstrating to oppose Trump. But we  (and they) seem to have no idea of alternative goals.  Across the U.S., there are now neither answers nor even questions from any side.

This is not a matter of differences between candidates. It is the collapse of the American political system. Americans are angry. But they aren't entirely sure what they're angry at - and have no idea of how to explore what needs to be done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Nov. 16: It's still a little early to see where the world is going.

This blog began as a review of the newspapers of Brunswick News which, like almost all newspapers,  operate as propaganda sheets for its owner. The method for Brunswick News to do this is largely by keeping its readers in ignorance of what's happening at home and around the world.

Today, for example, one of its big, world stories is that a mother in Alabama has been mistreating her son. Wow! That's pure sensationalism of no news value whatever.  A big item in local news is that a coffee shop at the local airport will be delayed in its opening. One of the commentaries, by a staff writer, isn't a commentary at all. It's a  high school essay of the "what I did last summer" category.

The confusion that we're seeing in the world is largely the result of the dishonesty of the privately owned news media. In North America, this dishonesty begins at the level of the New York Times and slides all the way down into the bottomless swamp we call Brunswick News.
Justin Trudeau has been hinting that he will prod Raul Castro into releasing 'political' prisoners. How noble of him!

Before the Castros came on the scene, Cuba was run by a dictator as ugly and brual as they come. The dictator's police openly robbed and  murdered people on the street. Torture was daily routine. Education, medical care were  largely out of reach.  The dictator was murderous, corrupt, vicious......and he was selected and put into his position by the U.S. government.

Funny thing.

In all the time that dictator was in power, I never heard of a Canadian prime minister or any other Canadian official or any American official ever telling him to clean up his act.

Then Castro got rid of the dictator. He created a Cuba in which, for the first time, Cubans had full access to education. They had full access to medicare. The U.S. promptly denounced him for his cruelty. And, except for Pierre Trudeau, no Canadian prime minister ever showed approval of him.

But now, Justin has stepped in, resuming the traditional Canadian role of ass-kisser for the U.S. government. I notice that Justin has not criticized the U.S. for its illegal detention of  prisoners at Guantanamo, for its illegal invasions of Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq,  Syria and Yemen. For its illegal drone attacks. Nor has he or any Canadian P.M. ever criticized the U.S. for its massive torture programme. And, in fact, we actually sent troops to help kll Afghanis.

You tell, 'em, Justin baby.
So far this year, 4,500 people have drowned in the Mediterranean. And that doesn't count those who died of exposure and sickness and hunger in their flight. And who killed them? The U.S. did with its illegal wars on Iraq, Libya and Syria. Maybe Trudeau will mention that to Trump?

This next story could turn out to be unpleasant for Canada. The Canadian government was aware of U.S. torture in the Afghanistan war - and almost certainly played a role in it.

But cheer up. If Canada was involved, the irving press won't report it. So who cares?
And here's useful look at free trade - a look that you will never find in most of the privately owned media.

To that, we might add the story of how our governments have helped the rich to rob us blind by granting the right for them to use tax havens, and avoid paying taxes at all.  And I note that our private news media have shown remarkably little interest in this government assisted looting of us.
Here's a very alarming look at what's happening in the U.S. Just a few days ago, I would have thought this overstated. Now - I'm not at alll sure. In some ways, the author is too careful. For example, I don't think America's democracy is in trouble. I think it's gone. It's over. And I'm not as sure as this writer is that Canada is not going to the same way.
An  here's one you won't see in the irving press.
And another.

Despite warnings that go back 30 years and more, the government of New Brunswick has done almost nothing to limit climate change or to deal with it. And it's not likely to. And, notably, it's a subject rarely mentioned in the irving press.
While  the staff at irving press  hail the brilliant success of capitalism, it isn't like that in the U.S.
Here's a brief item critical of those Americans who are protesting the election. It has a lot of truth going for it. I see no sense of direction among followers of either Trump or Clinton.
Here's an area in which we should worry a great deal about Trump. But, mind you, Clinton has no great record in this area, either. Nor has Justin Trudeau.
Another one that won't make the irving press.
As this article, and others, indicate, American and Candian Jews are not unanimous in their views on Israel. And it is heartening to see American Jews and Muslims uniting in common cause.
There's a good deal more on the web about the election and what it all means. But it's too early to read much of it with confidence. In my own view, both Trump and Clinton are really side issues. The major lesson of this election, I think, is that American democracy has collapsed. I don't know where that will take us. But I think that is what has happened.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nov. 14: At the going down of the sun, we will remember them...


This story did not appear in the irving press, of course.  It appeared a day ago on CBC news. Canadian troops are in Mosul, the city  being attacked by Iraqis and Kurds and various others  (who are on our side.) In fact, the Canadian troops have exchanged fire.

And why are they there?

Well, they are there to watch for and to report war crimes to the UN.

Now, in the last 75 years in which war crimes have been offences, virtually all of those declared to be the criminals were on the losing side. Not a single allied military leader in all those  years has ever been charged of a war  crime. We hanged Germans and Japanese, but not a single allied leader, not even one of those who pioneered the deliberate bombing of civilians.

In Vietnam, an American officer ordered his soldiers to slaughter a whole village, including babies. The case was investigated only after a long fight by a reporter to get it into the news. And the officer, for killing some 800 people, got one night in jail.

After killing a million and a half Iraqis in a war that was illegal, not a single American was charged with war crimes. Sadam Hussein was, though. There was a very quick trial, and he was  hanged. And, though it is now known that Bush and Blair both lied bout the reasons for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have killed at least 2 million, neither of them has ever been charged.

And Canadian troops are now going to report war crimes by our American,  Iraqi and Kurd allies? (not to mention by Canadian pilots)?  Get real.

So why are Canadian troops there? It's obvious. They are there to report war crimes by the other side. In short, we have put the lives of our soldiers at risk for a cheap, propaganda exercise.

Gee! And it's just three days ago we were remembering.....
Gee - This year has been the hottest year on record. But don't worry. Our governments are looking for new ways to control that by burning more fossil fuels. Curiously, the news media rarely criticized Trump for his ignorant pronouncements on the subject of climate change. Certainly, the irving press never mentioned them at all.
The Guardian's every article about Trump has been, understandably, critical. Every one about Clinton, like the one below, has been laudatory. That's been typical of The Guardian and many other news media. That's not only unbalanced reporting. It also misses the point of what has happened.

This election has not been a battle between good and evil. Clinton's views are as vicious and dangerous as those of  Trump. There is far less difference between them than there might appear to be. What we have to understand is that this election has not been about a triumph of evil over good (or of good over evil). What this election was about was the collapse of American political and social systems. There was no good side. And there is no sign of a good side developing.
Here are stories from around the world about the climate change 'that isn't happening'.
Here's a frightening development on the issue of climate change. It's run as an anti-Trump article - but Trump is by no means the only villain in this.
Here is a very one-sided look at what is happening at Standing Rock. But that's not more one-sided than the irving press position of simply ignoring it.
The following is long. But it's a great anti-dote to the 'news' we've been getting from most of our news media over the last seventy years. The Korean War, for example, did not begin in the way we have been told. Nor did most other wars.

The following is quite possible - though I would not be at all confident about the results.
This is the the New York Times; so it's reporting strays into bias. But, if true, Trump is suggesting a very sensible move. And one that never would have come from Clinton.
And here's the same story as it appeared in  Russia Today. It certainly does not appear to be radically different from such a story as it would be in most western papers.
One of the items above discusses how the rise of poverty in the U.S. is laying the groundwork for a revolution in that country. Now there's evidence it could be happening in Canada, too.

So where does the U.S. go now under Trump?

Nowhere useful. He won on a national anger. But many of those who voted for him think their anger is because of Muslims and latinos in the U.S. Trump has no answer to their anger because the greed of people like him is the real cause of the anger.

Once some realization of that sinks into American thinking, Trump will do what Clinton would do in that situation - use the powers to ignore human rights and the American constitution (powers created by Bush and Obama), and use the surveillance of the secret police to establish a far more serious police state than the U.S. is even now.

If Clinton  had won, she's be doing exactly the same because in terms of what the American people are angry about, Trump and Clinton are twins. This election was not a failure of either candidate. It was a failure of the whole American system of values.
Neither candidate even mentioned the mass theft  that is the greatest problem facing the U.S. - the cornering of wealth by a very small number at the expense of 99,9 % of the population.

I'm afraid we haven't begun to see the the magnitude of this disastrous election.

The U.S. is quite possibly on the edge of extreme violence. It was coming whoever was elected in an atmosphere largely created by extremely greedy capitalists (like Trump) and the bought politicians (like Clinton.)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nov. 12: 'You'll get used to it'. (World War 2 army song)

"You'll get used to it.
You'll get used to it.
The first time is the worst time,
Then you'll get used to it."

The commentary and opinion    pages in the irving press are notable for having nothing to say. And Brian Murphy's column has fit right in to that tradition - say nothing, offending nobody. Today, it's the conventional stuff about how our military people died for freedom. Certainly, that's what we told them they were dying for.

But the Boer war had nothing to do with freedom. It was about stealing South African gold to please British millionaires. As for Flanders Fields, 'take up our quarrel with the foe'? Exactly what quarrel did we have? What freedom were we fighting for? The biggest threat to freedom all over the world in 1914 was the British Empire. Number two spot was held by the U.S. with its empire in South America and The Phillipines.

We fought for freedom in World War Two? So how come one of our big allies was Chiang kai-chek, the murderous dictator of China? How come countries like Malaya and Kenya had to fight Britain after the war to get their freedom? How come the British reinstalled Hong Kong as a dictatorship at the end of the war? How come throughout the war and after, the U.S. maintained extraordinarily brutish dictatorships in countries like Haiti and Cuba? And maintained dictatorships in much of the rest of South America? How come, in 1948, it overthrew the elected government of Iran, and installed a dictatorship? How come it now supports the dictator of Saudi Arabia in a war against Yemen?
Yes, we told our military we were fighting wars to bring freedom. And most of us believed it.

But it wasn't true. (In fact, shortly after World War 2, we saw the rise of an American senator whose fame was based on attacks against the right of Americans to think differently from him. He called it 'unAmerican'. Yes, freedom of thought was  (and is) unAmerican in the U.S. We  had and have bouts of that in Canada, too.

We most certainly should remember the sacrifices that were made in our wars. We should also remember how we have betrayed those who made the sacrifices.
But Mr. Murphy would never say that. it would offend voters. Anyway, I doubt whether he's given the subject much (any) thought.
There isn't much in The Guardian. The opinion below is the only piece I could find worth mentioning.
Much of the reporting on Trump, both for and against him, is more hysteria  than reason. This one has a touch of that hysteria - but also has more than the usual sense to it. My own feeling is that Trump is a disaster - but he has that in common  with most presidents in a nation that has a long history of control by the very wealthy.

In particular, take note of the writer's point about the meaning of protests breaking out at the same time in 25 cities. This is something all the news media should have wondered about, but didn't.
This one has a touch (okay, more than a touch) of being a rant by a precocious high school student. But there's a lot of truth in it.

Get used to it. The American political and social system has collapsed under years of severe abuse. Trump is not likely to solve the problem. But Clinton was guaranteed to make it even worse.
You find Trump a problem in this world? He's not the first or the worst. The nation that produced a two-term George dubya Bush  who fought two, illegal wars and killed at least a couple of million people scarcely has the right to complain about Trump.
Here's a story I haven't seen in the Canadian press.

NB - Canada's prime minister was a great supporter of this deal.
Here's Nov. 11 day comment that is far too harsh on veterans - but quite rigiht about the manipulation of Remembrance Day.

Countercurrents is one of the best sources of news commentary I have found. Part of that may be because its topics and its sources are world-wide.
It's surprisinig that our news media haven't made much mention of this item. Obama has ordered the Pentagon to target Jihadist groups in Syria. That's a 180 degree turn from its long policy of secretly supporting terrorists. And it's probably Obama's best move.
Most surprising about news and opinion for today is what isn't in it.

1. Trump's victory was a stunning defeat for the Obama record. The anger of so many Americans did not suddenly begin with Clinton. It concerned rising poverty, for example. That happened under Obama, the man who came to power with enthriastic support. Remember "We can do it"?  Followed by cheers?
The failure of Clinton is a failure that began with Obama. But I've seen virtually no media crtiicism - ever - of Obama. I don't think we can understand the Trump win without understanding the failures of Obama.

2. Trump, far from being a party rebel, is filling his administration with the old, far right Republicans. We're certainly not likely to see real change with that lot in power. Does this tell us what Trump is really about?

3. Trump won the vote of the downtrodden who have been suffering declining living standards, loss of homes, declines in  quality of education, severe drops in decent job opportunities.

And one of his first moves will be to cut the taxes of the rich?????

 The rich aren't paying taxes now. Trump isn't paying taxes. And even toothless legislation to cut the taxes of the rich is hardly going to warm the hearts of the poor. You think this election has been a wild one? Wait till you see the next one.
Given the quality of the whole of the American political class, the ignorance of the American people about the causes of their problems, their ignorance about alternatives  (an ignorance maintained by their news media), the next election is likely to go all the way to naziism.

4. Astonishingly, I found no reference to the confrontation at Standing Rock where American native peoples have been defending their land against an oil pipeline. The police facing the native peoples (who have so far been quite peaceful) are heavily militarized, including armoured cars and machine guns. And they have certainly not been reluctant to use force.  Yesterday, they arrested dozens.
The violence has begun. The police are the ones who began it. But, no doubt, the native people will get blamed. Then our news media will report it.

4. And to slide in a Canadian note, Canada sent troops  to fight in Afghanistan. Canadians killed and died in Afghanistan. Why? Was it to bring freedom to the world? Hardly so. If we wanted to bring freedom to the world, it would have made more sense to attack the U.S. for its interference and killing  and maintenance of dictatorships all over the globe.

Was it to defend Canada against attack from Afghanistan? Well, hardly. There was no such attack. Nor was it ever even remotely possible.

Was it in retaliation for 9/11? Hardly so. Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11. It was planned in Europe, and largely financed by Saudis.

If you ask Mr. Murphy of the irving press what it is about, he'll tell you its about saving democracy. Okay. But if it is about that, why did Canada suddenly pull out? Did we desert the freedom-loving people of Afghanistan? Did they cry when we left?

Let's get real. Afghanistan is a war of aggression by the U.S., largely for economic gains. It is a mass murder of the people of Afghanistan. Our soldiers fought and died there so Canada could be seen as kissing up to the aggressors. We told our soldiers they were fighting for freedom. We lied - just as the U.S. government is lying to its military in Afghanistan - and Iraq and Syria and Yemen, to its special ops who murder environmentalists in South America, and its drone pilots who fearlessly sit at their computer desks to kill civilians thousands of miles away.

American democracy is in advanced rot. And it's a rot that is leaking across our border.

"We're soldiers of the army
Earning our meas-e-ly pay.
Guarding over millionaires
Fer four lousy shillings a day."
(British army - Korea.)