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.
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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.
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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.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/26/fidel-castro-cuba-revolutionary-icon-dies
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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.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/26/fidel-castro-cuba-revolutionary-icon-dies
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Here's a salute to Castro that will not appear in the irving press.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/11/26/fidel-dies-fight-will-not/

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.
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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.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/11/26/awakening-courage-in-the-era-of-trumpism/
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This next item is really a quite important issue. And one that Trump cannot be trusted on.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-conflicts-of-interest-electoral-college-impeachment-obama-bush-ethics-lawyers-norman-a7439516.html
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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.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45919.htm
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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.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/gerry-caplan/2016/11/canada-still-torturing-people-and-no-one-has-been-held-accountab
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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.)

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/
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The site above tipped me off to a real news site that I thought interesting.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/

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.)

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/38407-militarized-neoliberalism-and-the-canadian-state-in-latin-america

And there's Black Agenda - a largely American site. And a very intelligent one.

http://blackagendareport.com/
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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.

http://truepublica.org.uk/global/how-trump-knows-that-continued-global-warming-will-make-earth-uninhabitable-100-years-from-now/
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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.

2 comments:

  1. Fidel Castro is gone however l still believe it is relevant and unbelievably atrocious that a Castro is still in charge as a dictator who is suppressing free speech and journalistic freedom. There is no question that the Cuban revolution was necessary as the government that was replaced was totally corrupt. That being said nobody deserves to live under any type of dictatorship.

    In 2003 Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissident thinkers including 29 Journalists, Librarians, Human rights activists and democracy activists. Graeme Decarie would have been jailed too l think. This was done by the way on the day of the Iraq war invasion so that the rest of the world would not take as much notice of it. Arrests and imprisonments have continued and in 2011 a Juan Wilfredo Soto a Cuban dissident died 3 days after his arrest and beatings by the Cuban police and came 15 months after the death of an arrested human rights activist Orlando Zapata who died on a hunger strike protesting prison conditions and drawing an international outcry. All of these people and many more were imprisoned simply for expressing the right of everyone in their country to freedom of speech.
    Yes the Cuban health system is a good one and so was the one under Hitler and Stalin unless you were considered counter to their regimes. In a Castro system, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, George Orwell, Peter,Paul and Mary, John Lennon, Bob Dylan just to name a few would have been at the very least thrown in jail. No our society and country is far from perfect but we should still acknowledge and protest and make known those governments that are repressive and dictatorial in the treatment of their people that just happen to live within their boundaries. I personally will not go back to Cuba until its government changes and acknowledges what it has done.

    In 2003 Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissident thinkers including 29 Journalists, Librarians, Human rights activists and democracy activists. This was done on the day of the Iraq war invasion so that the rest of the world would not take as much notice of it. Arrests and imprisonments have continued and in 2011 a Juan Wilfredo Soto a Cuban dissident died 3 days after his arrest and beatings by the Cuban police and came 15 months after the death of an arrested human rights activist Orlando Zapata who died on a hunger strike protesting prison conditions drawing an international outcry. All of these people and many more were imprisoned simply for expressing the right of everyone in their country to freedom of speech.
    Yes the Cuban health system is a good one and so was the one under Hitler and Stalin unless you were considered counter to their regimes. In a Castro system, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, George Orwell, Peter,Paul and Mary, John Lennon, Bob Dylan just to name a few would have been at the very least thrown in jail. No our society and country is far from perfect but we should still acknowledge and protest and make known those governments that are repressive and dictatorial in the treatment of their people that just happen to live within their boundaries. I personally will not go back to Cuba until its government changes and acknowledges what it has done.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fidel Castro is gone however l still believe it is relevant and unbelievably atrocious that a Castro is still in charge as a dictator who is suppressing free speech and journalistic freedom. There is no question that the Cuban revolution was necessary as the government that was replaced was totally corrupt. That being said nobody deserves to live under any type of dictatorship.

    In 2003 Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissident thinkers including 29 Journalists, Librarians, Human rights activists and democracy activists. Graeme Decarie would have been jailed too l think. This was done by the way on the day of the Iraq war invasion so that the rest of the world would not take as much notice of it. Arrests and imprisonments have continued and in 2011 a Juan Wilfredo Soto a Cuban dissident died 3 days after his arrest and beatings by the Cuban police and came 15 months after the death of an arrested human rights activist Orlando Zapata who died on a hunger strike protesting prison conditions and drawing an international outcry. All of these people and many more were imprisoned simply for expressing the right of everyone in their country to freedom of speech.
    Yes the Cuban health system is a good one and so was the one under Hitler and Stalin unless you were considered counter to their regimes. In a Castro system, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, George Orwell, Peter,Paul and Mary, John Lennon, Bob Dylan just to name a few would have been at the very least thrown in jail. No our society and country is far from perfect but we should still acknowledge and protest and make known those governments that are repressive and dictatorial in the treatment of their people that just happen to live within their boundaries. I personally will not go back to Cuba until its government changes and acknowledges what it has done.

    In 2003 Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissident thinkers including 29 Journalists, Librarians, Human rights activists and democracy activists. This was done on the day of the Iraq war invasion so that the rest of the world would not take as much notice of it. Arrests and imprisonments have continued and in 2011 a Juan Wilfredo Soto a Cuban dissident died 3 days after his arrest and beatings by the Cuban police and came 15 months after the death of an arrested human rights activist Orlando Zapata who died on a hunger strike protesting prison conditions drawing an international outcry. All of these people and many more were imprisoned simply for expressing the right of everyone in their country to freedom of speech.
    Yes the Cuban health system is a good one and so was the one under Hitler and Stalin unless you were considered counter to their regimes. In a Castro system, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, George Orwell, Peter,Paul and Mary, John Lennon, Bob Dylan just to name a few would have been at the very least thrown in jail. No our society and country is far from perfect but we should still acknowledge and protest and make known those governments that are repressive and dictatorial in the treatment of their people that just happen to live within their boundaries. I personally will not go back to Cuba until its government changes and acknowledges what it has done.

    ReplyDelete