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.

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