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.
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There isn't much in The Guardian. The opinion below is the only piece I could find worth mentioning.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/trumponomics-trump-reaganism-authoritarian-wall-street-main-street
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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.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45828.htm

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.
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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.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45833.htm

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.
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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.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/11/12/where-to-turn/
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Here's a story I haven't seen in the Canadian press.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/11/12/the-tpp-is-dead-the-people-defeat-transnational-corporate-power/

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

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/11/12/vets-day-postmortem/

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.
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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.

https://off-guardian.org/2016/11/11/no-more-deal-with-the-devil-obama-directs-pentagon-to-target-al-qaeda-forces-fighting-assad/
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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.)

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