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.

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