Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dec. 28: forgive me for getting annoyed.

This isn't the usual blog. I hate writing this. I've been staring at my computer to decide how to tackle it. It's about the greatest crisis of our time. It's partly what Trump is about - though it predates him in western economies. It's about the destructiveness of unlimited greed. It's about the compulsive mass murder that arises from that greed. It's about indifference to human suffering and human need. And it's all done by the very best sort of people.
It's about the website that appears above this. It's a book review by a man who is, I think, the best writer The Guardian has. That makes him one of the best commentators in the world.

Let's start with a human frailty.
The Dieppe Raid of World War 2 was a disaster that killed, wounded or imprisoned some 60% of the Canadian troops who took part in it. Much of the reason it was a disaster was that it was planned by a man who had no competence to lead such an attack. So why was he chosen to lead?
Because he was an aristocrat. Lord Mountbatten was of the class born to lead. His rise in the navy had been spectacular, and his later rise to supreme British commander in Asia even more so. This rise was not because of any noticeable qualities in him. It wasn't due to education. It wasn't due to successes of any sort. He was a lord, and a lord well-connected to Buckingham Palace. (Prince Phillip is his nephew.) That's all it took for him to be able to claim the highest positions in the land.
The British had, for centuries, been conditioned to regard their aristocracy as being superior in intellect and in rights to ordinary people. They had a right to govern without getting elected. They still do - in the House of Lords. They regarded all other people as being beneath them.
Aside from birth, they had no qualification whatever for doing anything. (A few had brains - but no more so than in the general population.) And, since the common people were beneath them, they felt little interest in seeing to whatever needs they had. But this aristocracy was the class that exercised enormous power in Britain. British armies fought wars around the world for the aristocracy which returned their work with dismissal and contempt. "I've got sixpence.' went the song. In fact, with fines and with fees for the colonel (many were expected to buy their muskets and other equipment from the colonel), the soldier was often lucky to see any pence. And soldiers and sailors, crippled, aged, sick, were simply discarded.
Such was contempt for the common people that women of the poor often served in the ships of the Royal Navy and general cleaners and prostitutes. They usually lived, mixed with the crew, just below the main deck on what was called a gun deck. Inevitably, babies were born, usually to unknown fathers. And so the Captain would write, "Male child born. Father unknown. Son of a gun."
We have an aristocracy today. We  have people born into wealth, who believe that they are superior because of that, and see the rest of us simply as existing  to serve them.
How brutal are they? How contemptuous of us lesser breeds? Think back to the Iraq war. American and British forces murdered one and a half million, mostly civilians. They created ten million refugees.
There was no legal reason for that war. Iraq did not threaten the U.S. Who benefitted from that war? Only one group - those 'aristocrats' in the American oil industry. They killed one and a half million people to get richer. There was no other reason.
Some 4300 American military died, too. They get remembered every remembrance day as official "Heroes" for helping to kill one and a half million Iraqis.
As I write this, I wonder how the hell we can accept this butchery all for the benefit of our aristocracy. These are the same people have pushed us into war and increasing chaos in Syria, with the dead in at least the hundreds of thousands. And we kill for their mining and factory-farm brethren who need killing done all over Latin America, Pakistan, Africa...
As I read our local newspapers, I see these killers described as wise, efficient, generous. They are none of those. They are greedy, malicious, murderous, callous.... They sum up all that is worst of the human species.
Forgive this writing of what must seem like childish rage. It is enormously frustrating to watch 99% or our population either applauding these human disasters - or just hiding.
Recently, they have introduced a new term to justify their vileness. It's called neo-liberalism. It's a belief that the wealthy need to be free from any government regulation or restraint, that humans are by nature competitive, and that by giving complete freedom to that competitiveness we will all become rich.
That is pure nonsense. There's nothing new about neo-liberalism. It was neo-liberalism that was used by the old aristocracy to plunder the world. Neo-liberalism made possible the slaughter of native peoples in the U.S. and Latin America - and in Canada. The only people it ever made rich were the neo-liberals. Even now, as neoliberalism gathers speed in the west, the very wealthy are getting richer while the rest of us get poorer. It can end only in a general crash. But our new aristocrats are too stupid with greed to think that far ahead.
(For samples of neoliberal thought, check out columns by Atlantic Institute of Market Studies or The Fraser Institute. - or any other corporation-funded "think-tank".
As if that weren't a big enough crisis, we have an added one. Those who tried to deal with the great depression of the 1930s used the theories of Keynes who advised government spending when private spending slowed down.
But that may not work this time. It may not work because we're already making demands on our resources - like oil, mines, food - that cannot be sustained. Somehow, we need less growth, not more - but we still have to meet human needs.
But, with the present power of the corporation world there is no chance of concentrating on human needs. The starvation of millions means nothing to them. The evidence of climate change means nothing to them. Like the old aristocrats, these believe themselves to be born superior beings to the rest of us. And, like the old aristocrats, they are self-absorbed - and not very bright.
Sorry. This is a long and confused rant. It also falls far, far short of describing what a threat our corporate leaders are to human survival. How can one describe the killing, the suffering, the economic and social disaster they are taking us to?
And how can we just sit here and watch?
Oh. And where does Trump stand on this? The same as Clinton would stand. The same as Obama, pretty much, did. The same as Bush did. And do not trust Trudeau on this one.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Nov. 23. Merry Christmas. Anyway.

It was a cold day about noon, and the snow was driving hard as I walked, head down against the wind, along the sidewalk. Then I noticed a man. He was sitting in the snow, his back against a wall, and his head drooping. Beside him was a sack, probably full of everything he owned.  He was, I think, about seventy. And he was asleep.

On the other side of me, I could see the construction of a huge events centre the province is building at cost of over a hundred million dollars.  It will, we are assured, make piles of money. But we can be certain that none of that hundred million will be available to provide a warm room and a bed for an elderly man.
The drive of New Brunswick politics is to swing big deals that will make the rich ever richer. Then, we are told, the prosperity will trickle down to the rest of us. It never has worked. It never will work. The rich don't make piles of money to  hand on to us. The make it to  put it in tax havens so that we will never get a penny. They use it to invest in cheap labour in countries that have more of it than Canada does.

The rich don't create jobs. They create cities where the poor and elderly sit in the driving snow  to sleep at noon.

A human society (not even humane, just human) begins with politicians who see their role as helping citizens. But I have known few, very few, politicians like that. Most of ours exist to be in power. And they do that by pleasing the rich who pay for their elections. That's why they will spend a hundred million on an events centre. But none on people.

And that's why our private news media will publish nonsense about how our very wealthy will make us all rich by leaving an elderly man to die in his sleep.
At the end of World War Two, we were going to build a better world. We were going set minimum standards for living conditions. We were going to provide services which, like health, were essential but out of the reach of most people. We were going to provide equality of opportunity.

That's why Winston Churchill lost the last election of the war. The British knew that, however valuable his wartime leadership had been, he would never support a society of equality and opportunity. No. Churchill was very much an aristocrat of the nineteenth century.  So they elected a Labour Party government that would, for the first time, provide health care for all, and would take action about dreadful housing conditions. Canada, too, took steps, though more slowly and on a lesser scale.

In recent decades, all of this has been unwinding as politicians financed by the wealthy have been selling the idea that making the rich richer will benefit all - and they do this even as the 'all' are getting poorer and the rich richer.
Our local paper, the irving press is constantly selling this make the rich richer scheme. That's why we're drifting back to the dirty thirties.

The story above was not important enough to make the pages of our irving press. It needed the space for a story about a gorilla that just turned 60.

Let's see. If we have a nuclear weapons race, then the world will come to its senses and stop developing nuclear weapons. Right.

We have had a nuclear arms race going since 1945. Since then, nuclear weapons have spread and so have the nations who have them.  In fact, we already have enough to destroy the world many times over. So, if we keep doing that, well, obviously everybody will stop it.

And the wacky thing is that Trump voters will nod their heads and say, " He's got it right."

Well, gee whillikers Mr. Trump, if the world has not come to its senses in over 70 years of that approach, what makes you think it will change now?

The other bon mot of the day came from Senator McCain. He gave a furious speech about the Russian interference in the American election.  (You know, the interference the news has been full of without telling what the intereference was and without giving any evidence.)

Anyway, McCain is mad. He says that an election is the basic right of a democracy, and interfering with it is an act of  war.

Well, I don't know where it is written that interfering with an election is an act of war. But I do know that sending drones to bomb countries at peace is an act of war. I know that murdering hundreds of thousands in   Guatemala was an act of war. I know it was an act of war to invade Iraq and kill a million and a half people and to do it on the basis of lies. I know it was an act of war to put Saddam Hussein on trial by an American military court, and then to excecute him.

(They used a military court because the accused has no rights in such a court. It also enabled them to hang him right after the trial before any questions could be asked.)

The U.S. also routinely interferes with elections, kicking out elected leaders and imposing dictatorships. Again, Guatemala is a an example of that.

The amazing thing is that American voters, listening to a McCain, will nod their heads as if they were a gentleme's club that would never dream of interfering with another country. The reality is that there is no government in South American they have not interfered with - normally with murderous methods - and few few in  middle east, Africa - and Asia.

But American voters seem blithely unconcious about that, and still live with a grudge that the whole world is picking on them. Some day, if we survive,  this will be the subject of a scientific study. How could the world's richest country with the biggest military in the world, and one which constantly invades and bullies smaller countries, live constantly in fear that everybody is attacking it?
Here's The Guardian comment about Trump and nuclear weapons.
Here is one of the few, intelligent articles I could find on Trump's threat to increase U.S. nuclear weaponry. It is almost certainly true that Trump is shifting his main target to China. He wants Russia onside for this as an American ally.  It's not peace he's talking. It's China first, then Russia.

That's why Putin, alrealy surrounded by American nuclear missiles, has threatened to upgrade his nuclear stock.
So far, and despite the continuing popularity of the federal liberal party in Canada, it is difficult to point to anything essential it has done. That is particularly true of climate.
A natural death for a troublesome oil pipeline?
For a touch of amusement, here's a film about Russia made at the order of the U.S. government back in the days when the official line was that Russians were highly democratic and Stalin a sweetheart.

So what's the truth? What we are seeing now? or What we were seeing then?
The answer is neither is true. Both are propaganda. Our governments and our news media have no interest in the truth.
And here's a hymn of praise to your neighbourhood capitalist (the one supposedly making us rich to help that man sleeping in the snow.

We - all of us - pay for those monster tax breaks. They do not make us richer. (Why do I think now of our Chamber of Commerce and it's absurd big ticket dinner in honour of a billionaire for his donation to a charity? In a real society, we wouldn't need the donation. That money, and a lot more,  would go to the needy in the first place, as taxes going back to the ones whose sacrifices made that billionaire into a billionaire.
Here's a story about the poisonous world the U.S. has created in the middle east. Its major allies there are pretty much the same lot who attacked the World Trade Center in 1991, and who are hated throughout the U.S. Funny how Americans don't seem to know that.
And here's pretty much the same story which you can find anywhere except in the North American private news media.
And here's an interesting thought.

Luckily, there is no chance of any of our churches taking this seriously.
As the U.S. loses in Syria, it may well step up the pressure in Ukraine.This could be a bargaining point when Trump meets Putin - or it could be one hell of a bad idea that will go out of control.
Privatize schools? Yeah. Great idea. Just check out the American experience. Big business exists to make money. That is all it exists for. And if making big money means destroying our children - so be it.
As for the next, what can I say? Except - leave it to the religious leadership of a nation to make a big issue out of no big deal while ignoring the theft, brutality and murder that goes on all around them.
plus que ca change.......

the more it's the same.

I am going to take a bit of a break for the holidays. But there will, I fear, be lots of news during them.

Has the U.S. lost its position in the middle east? Or will it try to reassert itself with new wars? Will it try to open a new front in Ukraine? Is Trump (as he appears) really looking for a hostile relationship with China? Will Trump try to involve Canada militarily in  Ukraine and possibly in the middle east? How quickly will Trump move to dump climate control legislation? And how quickly will Trudeau jump up and salute?

How will the American economy do? Ninety percent of all jobs created last year in the U.S. were contract or short term. In an  economy that has steadily been getting poorer for all but the very rich, that could create a very trouble environment.

Trump likes to make snap decisions on major issues. (Because that's the way it's done on reality TV.) He has already done it before his term begins. And I suspect we're going to see a lot more of it. The strength of snap decisions is they give an impression of a leader who's well in control. The weakness of them is that impression is usually wrong.

The U.S. is in very unhealthy condition. It has been for quite a while. Trump will make that a lot more obvious. And that will be very, very dangerous.

Just in.... from CBC news.

Hey! Chamber of Commerce! Will you hold a dinner honouring the people who did that?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dec. 22: Wow! a big change in the irving press!

For some time now, the irving press commentary page has featured the opinions of the propagandists who write for The Fraser Institute. But lately, it has been featuring the propagandists who write for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

Now, this is a big improvement in propaganda because the AIMS is a propaganda house created by the owners of the irving press. So we know we can depend on it for honest and insightful analysis. And we can also be sure we'll never see any silly and malicious criticism of anything the irvings want.

For example, today offers a criticism of those incompetent civil servants who run our health system. They're not at all like the efficient and intelligent businessmen who used to run it when it was private.

This is sure to be a soothing column with never a harsh word about anything the irvings want. It will be something to read and be soothed by, secure in the knowledge it is sponsored by the better people of our society. (see the end of this column for the latest development in this breaking story.)
As they read the AIMS column, people will fall into that gentle sleep that the rest of irving news produces. In fact, it's a characteristic of almost all private news media.

Think back to the day Castro died. The news media were full of stories about what a terrible man he had been - a dictator - yuckie-poo. We read and heard of American politicians deploring this rise of a dictatorship in the freedom-loving western world. There were pages and pages of hope that democracy would now come to Cuba. And the listeners and readers bought it.

Apparently, they had forgotten that Cuba was a dictatorship BEFORE Castro. It was an extraordinarily brutal dictatorship imposed by - the United States of America. In fact, the U.S. imposed muurderous dictatorship on Cuba going way back to the turn of the century when it conquered that island. And why did the U.S. conquer it? Was there some danger it would invade the U.S. Did American children in Indiana go to bed in terror of a Cuba attack?

No. The U.S. conquered Cuba as it conquered a dozen or so countries in South America, sprinkling a dozen or so dictatorships like roses at a wedding.

Hundreds of thousands were killed in this process; and they are still dying today. They were and are killed to give American (and Canadian) business leaders control of the resources and the cheap labour of all those lands.

Fidel Castro was the only one to beat them, and to bring secure life back to the people. Funny how that part never made the news.

No, the news was all about the joy of the Cuban 'exiles' in Florida when Castro died. These were portrayed as the freedom-lovers who had escaped Castro. In fact, they were (and are) largely made up of the thugs, torturers and killers that the American dictators had employed to keep Cuba poor and ignorant.

When the people of Haiti democratically elected a president and ended some seventy years of rule by murderous dictators, the U.S. sent troops - supposedly to protect Haiti against an uprising - but actually to send the elected president into exile.

Similarly, Saddam Hussein has been a dictator of Iraq supported by the U.S. with an army trained and equipped by the U.S. to fight Iran (for the benefit of U.S. oil billionaires). The U.S. disposed of Saddam when he began to act too independently.

Offhand, I don't know of any country in the world that has created and supported so many dictatorships as the U.S. has. Or that has subjected so many people to hunger, fear and brutality. But in our news media, it's all 'sweet land of liberty'. And people buy this nonsense.

Earlier European empires were the same. Brits sang proudly that "Britons never never never shall be slaves" even as no-one was making them slaves but as they were enslaving millions.

We need news media that would make us take a hard look at ourselves, and the suffering and misery we have spread all over the world.
But don't expect to find that in  a commentary by the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.
Canada and the U.S., by the way, have recently agreed there will be a ban on future drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Watch for Trump to abandon that early in his presidency. And watch Trudeau squirm.

Also on the pollution front, we have this word from China.

This can be fixed. Believe it or not, London's smog after World War 2 was much, much worse - so bad that visibility was commonly just an arm's length - and also due to the use of coal and inefficient gas engines.

(Generally, there's not much in today's The Guardian.)
There are no limits to greed. But you won't see this one in the irving press, either - or in the AIMS commentary.
I was a    kid in the Korean War, just old enough to know some of the kids who went to die in it. What intriqued me about this article is a history background to that war that I never knew - and the use of lanuage as propaganda that I was never aware of when I read it.

The one bit of propaganda languange i did notice was that, in the press, all veterans of  Korea (on our side) were "Korean war heroes". That was standard in all new stories. By contrast, the word hero in the Second World War was normally reserved for those how had received medals for heroism. But after Korea, everybody was a hero as in,

"Korean war hero gets parking ticket." Seriously.
And, speaking of dictators and the U.S. connection with them, here's one I was sorry to see.
Here's a story about a 'war' fought to kill innocent civilians. It killed some 300,000 of them - but never made the news, even though some of the victims were Canadians and Americans. It was a war that produced a candidate for sainthood - and should probably have produced more because many lives were willingly surrendered in defence of the innocent.

Note that the war was instigated by that nice Mr. Reagan, and that the killers were to be found in the ranks of the dictatorship - a type of government that the land of the free is happy to impose on others.
I enclose the next site not because of any particular story but because of its emphasis on American content. (And this blog has a lot of American readers.)
Here's news of the climate change that Mr. Trump tells us isn't happening.
And here's a cheery note.
I wrote all the above yesterday, on Dec. 21. Then I just got too depressed to finish it.  Almost every news story has some connection with big money and the very wealthy of our society. Virtually all wars are fought because of them - and for their benefit. That's  come to be all the patriotism that lies behind O Canada! and God Bless America.

The rise of Trump has just emphasized something that happened a long time ago. We are ruled by  the greediest, least moral and, commonly, least intelligent people in our society. It's been disguised   (sort of) up to now with the likes of Obama and Clinton. But Trump has brought it all into the open. And it's not just the leader  now. If you look at Trump's government team what you find is that it's full of people just like him - without morality, without social aims, without thought for the ordinary person, and with a greed that makes intelligent thought impossible.  It is very likely that millions will die for Trump as millions died for Obama and Bush.

In the election campaign, neither Trump nor Clinton had much to say about the horror we have created in the middle east.  Their only interest was in winning it, whatever IT might be. The it in this case is largely middle east oil. There was no need to fight over this in the first place except  to ensure that all the profits flowed to wealthy business leaders of the western world. For that, millions have died or been refugeed, tens of millions will never have a chance at a normal life.
And don't kid yourselves that we, all of us, are not on the table. In the eyes of these people we are all here to be exploited, abused, and thrown away when no longer useful.

On Nov. 11, we're supposed to remember what our veterans fought and died for. But we never do. There were promises made in world war two, promises to a world that had experienced little but hunger, uncertainy, deprivation in the years before the war. The billionaires existed then, too. And they had brutally exploited Canadians, Americans and, even more, the victims of their empires.

For a little while, we got some action on the promises - but not much. We got government pensions. We got....well, that was about it. We did, later, get medicare. But that was more because of a Baptist preacher from Saskatchewan than it was because of our usual politicians.

And ever since, the billionaires have been working to take that from us.
Unregulated or underregulated capitalism does not work. That's has been proven many times but has never made the news media that our major capitalists own. (For that matter, privately-owned news media don't work, either.)

The result of the election of Trump almost certainly means domestic violence in the U.S. But it is likely to be a violence with no tradition to build on and no philiosophy that fits into the American myth.

And it almost certainly means massive suffering because the billionaires have always brought that trailing behind them.
On a light note, today's editorial page    column by Norbert Cunningham was a raging attack on a think tank of the wealthy, the Fraser Institute. This is an institution funded by the wealthy, and devoted to their praise. For some time, it appeared two or three times a week in the irving press - and always to hymns of praise from the likes of Cunningham.

But suddenly, just a few days ago, it stopped appearing in the irving press. It was replaced  by an even   worse propaganda column, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies - bu this one dominated by the owners of the irving press.

And now, today, Norbert Cunningham, who never saw a far right wing billionaire owned propaganda think thank that he didn't like, has  a flaming attack on the Fraser Insitute. What can it be? Have the billionaires fallen out? Obviously, Cunningham's attack must be approved by the newspaper ownership because Cunninghman has never  had an independent opinion in his life.

What can this be? A battle of titans? Follow this spot for the breaking story

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dec.19: the end of patience.

Two readers sent me the items above - and I thank them because I would certainly never have found these in our mainline news media.

We'll start with the second one.

As the Syrian army closed in on Aleppo, it took large numbers of prisoners who were American, British, French, israeli, Saudi.... They had been working on the side of the jihadist occupiers of the city, the ones our news media usually call terrorists. They had been training, supplying, carrying out special missions for  -     what the hell- let's call them what our news media usually calls them when it suits them - Muslim terrorists.

This is a story I have been following for some time, all the way back to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1990s. US special services immediately moved in. The U.S. supplied the weapons, training and money  for a Muslim 'terrorist' group that the U.S. supported.

The U.S. (or its hired thugs) was not fighting terrorism in Syria. It never was. It was fightiing Assad - and not because Assad was undemocratic. The U.S. supports dictatorships all over the world. It likes dictators. Ask anybody in Guatemala or Cuba - or any country in South America. Ask the king of Saudi Arabia...

Through all of this, the Trumps of this world and their predecessors have been preaching fear and hatred of Muslims. That's been reflected in American policies for years. That's why the U.S. accepts very, very few Muslims. That's why it spies intensely on the few it lets in.

But, meanwhile, It is really  the U.S. that has created, trained, equipped the Muslim 'terrorist' movement. The destruction of the World Trade Center in New York happened not because of implacable Muslim hatred. It happened because western of brutality in the Muslim world for a century. There was no rebellion in Syria. That was the product of thugs trained, armed and financed by the U.S.
There must be a fascinating story behind the capture of those American, British, Israeli, Saudi 'advisors'. It is quite likely that the delays in the freeing of Aleppo were due to the need for frantic bargaining for special treatment for the captured 'advisors'.

But it is most unlikely this story will ever appear in the mainstream news media. No. They will harp on how cruel the Russians were to bomb Aleppo, neatly forgetting that the U.S. has long been the world leader in mass murder from the air.

And so Trump could fight a campaign on hatred for Muslims. And, in the western press, the lesson of Aleppo will be that Syrians are cruel.

Oh - and another lesson missing will be that American foreign policy in the middle east has been a disaster that intelligent leaders would have foreseen fifteen years ago  when Bush was strutting proudly in his bomber jacket on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Will American policy change? Not likely. The U.S. is controlled by a sort of nineteenth century aristocracy made up of billionaires in fields like bankiing and oil. And they want to conquer the world.  Trump - Clinton - rhyme off the names - they don't matter. The U.S. is not ruled by politicians. It's ruled by an aristocracy of wealth - and most of it an aristocracy born into that wealth. These are not geniuses who struggled to rise in the world. For the most part, they are just the ordinary children of rich mommies and daddies who inherited the right to rule.

New Brunswickers should be familiar with the type.
The coverage given to the big, American story that Putin hacked into American computers to spread lies  that would help Bush get elected is obviously 'fake news'. But don't expect our news media ever to say so.
Haaretz has an opinion column with a very realistic view of what has been happening in Syria. hint - there ain't no good guys, not on any side.

I really like Haaretz.
And here's a very hard-nosed look at Obama's performance in Sytia.
Interfering with elections in other countries is a very old game. Even the U.S. has been known to do it.
And this is what lies behind it all.
I found it  unsatisfying to read the news today. There are several problems with it.

1. Our major news outlets lie. They are simply propaganda machines for the way things are.

2.  War and violence are not the major problem we face. But these are the bulk of what the news covers - regardless of whether it is lying or not. The deeper issue is what creates all this dynamic of war and violence? Why are we killing people all over the world?

Is it really because so many of them are bad people? or that they just hate us?
We need news that gets at the cause of war. I suspect that cause has to do primarily with capialism and material greed. (That is not to say that war   would not be caused by socialists or communists. I'm sure it can be.) But the cause in this world we live in overwhelmingly seems to be capitalism. We need news about capitalism.

No, I don't mean the stock market. We need to know the whole story about how capitalism operates, and about its role in each war. Otherwise, to report on wars without looking at the role of capitalism is like reporting on car accidents without reporting on which driver was drunk or speeding.

Why was their a war in Iraq? Why is there one in Syria? To report on the war without reporting on the cause (and on the people behind that cause)  is a waste of time.

3. We need such reporting in its relation to the country we live in. As it is, Canada is coasting along with wars or potential wars as we are expected to by American capitalists. Why? There's nothing in that for most of us. Recognizing that, we can begin to recognize useful responses.

I stopped reading today's news several paragraphs above because - well, because it depressed me, and becuase there is no point to following anything unless we are to consider some way of dealing with it.

There are two choices. We work to understand and deal with the problem or - we go extinct with decades or less. Quite apart from the danger of nuclear war, it is quite possible we are going, soon, very soon, to face deadly confrontations over the environment and resource extraction.  Reporting on the confrontations is  not enough. We need full coverage of motives on both sides.

For a start, we need to get some understanding of the capitalists in our own province, state or country. What role do they play in advancing wars? Do the bigger capitalists tell them what the plan is? How do they gain from wars, either directly or indirectly? How can we bring them back under control?
I look forward to a series on this in the irving press.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dec. 17: Escape the trials of the world - read a Faith Page.

On this Saturday, I get relief from the empty pages of the irving press by turning to its Faith Page.  The is a page dominated by columnists who are Christian fundamentalists, ones who believe in the most literal translation of The Bible. They are also part of the bedrock of those who voted for Trump, and so, therefore an inspiration to us all. They also sooth the mind. In fact, the put it right to sleep.
On this Sunday, when our leaders are, as always, busy at killing and looting people, especially the poor ones, all over the globe, when they are planning for nuclear war, when Trump is opening the gates for those billionaires who want to destroy all human and animal life by destroying the environment, who want to bring God's blessing to earth by destroying medical care and education for the general population, we - well - we know this is good because this  is what American fundamentalists voted for (though in fairness, it was also what Americans on the Democrat side voted for.)

The value of today's Faith Page is that, as always, it gets away from this yucky stuff, and deals with the real issues of faith. Focus on the needs of children. For example, invite an international student to dinner, perhaps one of those whose families we are dropping bombs on. Don't feel lonely. And the writer tells us, by ommission, not to even think about the destruction and horror we are inflicting on most of the world. (With the exception of those districts where the better sort of people live).

And it just sparkles with insights I have never heard  before - "focus on the true meaning of Christmas" - "Jesus loves us" - and other original insights.

In contrast, on the same page, there are two articles about the Pope wasting his time when he could be inviting an international student for dinner. He's trying to mediate an end to the civil war in Colombia. Worse, he's denouncing the treatment of hospitals as if they were businesses.. But any good Christian, like Trump, understands that  they are businesses. And, anyway, churches shouldn't be talking about such things.

No.  Keep it safe this Christmas. Forget about all those people we're killing and looting. It's their own fault for not being Christians like our side. To keep it safe, to keep out silly ideas   (and any ideas), there will be a Christimas service at the Irving Chapel with a guaranteed, high class  rent-a-rev guaranteed to say nothing at all - something along the lines of today's Faith Page.
Here's a CBC item that draws attention to  something the world news media should have noticed (but didn't) from the start of the whole fuss over whether Putin interfered with the U.S. leadership race.
A submarine drone, capable of identifying all ships and submarines in its region,  popped to the surface in "international" waters.   (They are claimed to be international by the U.S, but Chinese waters by China). The submarine was American and the general area is populated by most of the American fleet. But when the submarine popped up, the Chinese were closest to it, and they took it.
Now, before you read this, think of how the US would react if the Chinese had a massive fleet patrolling just outside American waters, and if a Chinese drone torpedo had popped up within reach of an American ship.

Another question. Why did Trump, who is not yet president, make such an aggressive response to China? It's still Obama's time to do that. Are Trump's plans already in place?
I attend no church. But I have long been an admirer of Pope Francis. And I see I am not the only one.
The buzzing of lies in the world's media.
This is an important one to understand. Never understimate the lying of our news media, subtly through propaganda,  not so subtly through outright lies. It has always been so. But it has become noticeably worse in the last thirty years.
"Protecting you".  maybe.
I'm waiting for the summaries of the presidency of Obama. I can recall the day of his first election. I was on a radio panel discussing it. Everyone looked forward to it after the years of Bush - everybody except me. I saw nothing of substance in any of Obama's plans or policies.

And so it proved. His only plan of worth was Obamacare. But it was obvious from the start that big money in the U.S. would never allow a real medicare plan. It didn't; and now what is left of Obamacare is almost certain to be destroyed.
His foreign policy has been, essentially, Bush's foreign policy. And it's been the disaster that Bush's was. Worse, it has failed more openly and obviously than even Bush's did. As he leaves office, Obama has lost Syria to Russia, at least, and possibly to Iran. The only policy that has worked from Obama to Bush (to Trump?) has been to redistribute wealth from the poor and the middle class to the rich. And that is going to bring its own price in the next four years, though how much of a price depends on the holding power of American news media propaganda.
Here's an interesting one from Haaretz that raises a big question about how American's poor will react as they learn what Trump really has in mind for them. It's also interesting for its look at the richwhite/poorwhite racism that has marked the history of the English-speaking world - including Canada - even New Brunswick.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dec. 16: Trump - Same Old Same Old.

Today's irving press has an inspiring 'Commentary' from a propaganda house - Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. Just two days ago it had a major news story on the same topic (cutting back government spending - largely on that part of the spending that goes to filling social needs.) It was not only the same topic - it came from the same propaganda house.

This is an old game. Whenever economic times get tough, the rich are the ones who decide that the poor have to suffer. That's what the rich did in the depression of the 1930s. Everybody suffered - except the rich who hit new heights of wealth. Looks like we might be in for another round.

There was no mention in the news story or the commentary of taxing the rich. No mention of cutting back spending on the rich. No, just two stories in three days on nailing the poor and the middle class, and both of those stories from the same 'institute'.

Oh, I forgot to mention. The owners of the newspaper are the same people who were leading founders of - the Atlantic  Institute of Market Studies. Kiss, kiss.
The Chamber of Commerce will have to hold another big dinner to honour those few wealthy who devote their lives by founding institutions such as the irving press and the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies out of sheer love and concern for the rest of us ungrateful slobs.
Often, too often, we look at a war, itself, to make judgement about it. But there's a large and lasting part of that war that is largely ignored. In this case, it's what is done to the children. And when we undertake wars, we also create the horrors below which we seldom read of except as side issues. This is not side issue. This is a world of the future we are creating.

Read the article - then keep going to the section 'Related issues". They're all good.
I include the following story partly because it's not common for a Canadian prime minister to make the front page of The Guardian. But it's interesting to hear a speech from a person whose political career so far has done remarkably little (and often the reverse) about what he claims are major problems. It's also unusual to see a covering story that hints strongly at criticism of the speaker.  The headline suggests Trudeau has something to say. The covering story does not.

(I have never before seen a statement about a politicians which cites one of his major qualifications is several years as a snowboard instructor.)
Here's a story that would appear in North American news media, if at all, as a criticism of China. It's about the Chinese capture of an American drone in international waters off China. This story begins as though it's  going to go in the direction of China -    but soon shows a more mature (and more intelligent) sense of what this is all about.
While our private press has been happy to leap all over the death toll from Russian bombing of Aleppo, it has largely ignored the toll in Mosul where the west is doing the bombing. My purpose is not to advocate the bombing of either city. My purpose is to illustrate how our news media largely ignore the horror of the bombing of the city our side is bombing, while playing up the bombing of the other.
This is short, and not really a news item. But it sums up a point I have often made about the Christians churches in these times of desperate suffering - much of it imposed by Christians.

(The author refers to his church as the UCC. I presume that means United Church of Canada, a large, Protestant denomination.)
The next article is useful in making sense out of Trump. In short, the author says that whatever Trump's campaign might have said, his policies are essentially the same as those of Obama and Bush and many presidents before them. One only has to look at his administration choices to see that.

If anything, he's even more extreme than others of the past.

The site, has several columns on this topic. All are worth reading. But beware - there are two countercurrents sites. One  (not recommended) features publication. Look for the one with the words educate, organize after its title.
There are still lots of people all over the world who don't believe that climate change is happening. Most of them aren't scientists of any sort. Many are news media people employed by media owners - and who would lose their jobs if they openly believed in climate change. And some of them are scum of the earth news media people and academics who find it profitable to say the change doesn't exist. Such people can be found even in the Canadian press. (Yes, they can.)
Here's a fascinating story.
Trump has made it clear he intends the greatest assault yet on the environment. And his position as president guarantees the police and the army will be on his side. But it might not work this time. The openess of his assault is quite likely to provoke popular uprisings against any further such damage. He has not won people over to destroying the environment. And it's quite possible he won't - and that his pushing of his agenda may provoke a response that cannot be controlled.
Take note, members of the New Brunswick assembly. Watch. And learn. If you give people no choice, they will make a choice of their own.
And this one.
How can we sum all this up?

Trump will follow essentially the same policies as Bush and Obama - and as many other presidents of recent years have. True, he will try to build a relationship with Russia. But the purpose of that will be to detach Russia from China. And  that's not likely to work because Putin is smarter than the average American voter.

He will be much more forceful in his approach to exploiting what is left of the environment. And he will be more violent about it than past presidents have been. That will leave his critics with no choice but to respond with violence. I have no doubt that Trump has plans for that, particularly in the lavish use of police and the army.

The catch is that the U.S. is a large place with a population large enough to spread violence over a huge area. As well, Trump could find himself fighting Americans while, at the same time, trying to fight foreign 'enemies'.

He has shown no signs in  his  appointments that he intends to do anything about the social and economic problems of those who made up his voting base. He will try to contain that by raising their fears of blacks or latinos or whoever is useful. It might work, but at the price of making the U.S. an even more dangerous society. It would also be the end of individual rights for Americans - something which has been disappearing for years, anyway.

His aggressive attitude to China will, inevitably, lead to a nuclear war. The US which, in fifteen years, cannot defeat  a minor power like Afghanistan would find itself in a very long, conventional war against China. And the US population has shown that it will not accept a large butcher's bill. No, it would have to be short and nuclear.

Watch for social unrest, probably severe violence, in the U.S. Watch for rising poverty. Watch for increasing instability.
Would it have been better to vote for Clinton?

 No. The problem does not begin with the politicians.  It begins with the enormous power of a small number of billionaires, and with their control of information and propaganda through their ownership of news media. And that is a problem Trump (or Clinton) would be most unlikely to deal with.

This has not been simply an election. It has been the end of an era. American democracy has been largely destroyed. This has been a process going back almost to its founding in 1776. It's over. It has been destroyed by a capitalism which is incompatible with democracy. (Notice who it is that Trump has been meeting with? See many poor people there?)

Or, to spread the blame more widely, think back to all those wonderful things we talked of as the reasons we fought World War Two - an end to wars, international cooperation, a shared prosperity...... And we broke every damn one of them.
And, no, it wasn't the communists who did that. It was us. All of us.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dec. 14: A very ugly day.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian, freelance (independent) journalist who has served many years in the middle east. I don't know much about her career. I don't know what her biases may be.   But I do know that much of what she says is true. The Syrian Observatory of Human  Rights, almost    daily quoted in our news media, is a non-organization. It's fake. It's one man, a Syrian haberdasher living in  England who  favours ISIS and its friends.

The so-called 'white helmets' who act as good samaritans rushing to the aid of those injured, notably in Aleppo, are actually propagandists who specialize in photos of themselves with children they have 'saved' -  some of them several times, and always taking lots of pictures for the press. They are drawn from the so-called 'rebels' - which means anybody who is opposed to Assad - and that means they are largely drawn from the ranks of the Jihadists.

Eva Bartlett has actually been in Aleppo many times, a  thrill most journalists prefer to avoid.

I do not suggest there is anything nice about the fighting and the bombing in Aleppo.  It is the nature of modern warfare that its greatest slaughter is carried out against civilians. The pioneers of this kind of warfare were not Syrians or Iraqis or Jihadists. The pioneers of it - and the most ruthless users of it - have been the western, Christian nations. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both chosen, quite deliberately, because they had no significant military presence. The world record for such massive and deliberate killing of civilians has the U.S. way aheard of the rest of the world. - except in our news media.

We have read and heard very little of the killing we  have done - especially with bombs that go on killing children years after they have been dropped.  And that, too, is deliberate.    

Offhand, I cannot remember a single article in the popular press that has ever been critical of our behaviour. But when the other side does it - oh - it's so unChristian.  

And in every war this has happened since 1939, the purpose of the war has been economic - to grab resources and economic control of the world for those wealthy enough to buy power in their own countries. We have reached levels of greed and exploitation that the Hitlers of this world could only admire from a distance.  

Whole nations have been effectively destroyed; millions have been murdered; tens of millions have been been refugeed, uncounted millions are starving even as we read this.

Of all the evil greed and slaughter of the past, none has ever matched us. And the airmen we send to do it are called 'heroes".    It gives a whole new meaning to "Onward Christian Soldiers".
And we remain impossibly oblivious to the horror we have created. Partly, that's because of our lying news media. Partly it's because we lack the courage to speak openly (or to see) what we have become.

The western powers have become nations of murderous robots whose only virtue is that we don't get the rewards of our killing. The rewards go to meet the stunning  greed of our very wealthiest citizens who, in their spare time, also loot us. And who, no doubt, go to church every Sunday.

And our news media lie. Get used to it. The news media are owned by the same people whose greed drove them to destroy Iraq and Libya and Yemen and Syria.... Nor would I excuse Russia from having some of the same faults.  The virtue of Russia in this case, though, is that it tells some of the truth of what is going on.
In it's earthquake crisis of some years ago, Haiti never received much of the foreign aid that had been promised to it. In fact, much of that aid money went in to the pockets of wealthy contractors, especially U.S. ones, who were supposed to be providing aid. Almost all of Latin America has lived in poverty and dictatorship for close to a century, mostly due to U.S. interference. But Haiti has been one of the worst.

Now, it's facing starvation after a hurricane - and nobody is even showing much interest in helping. (And those who aren't showing much interest are prominent among those who recently were chanting, "Wasn't Castro a terrible man?"
And here's a very suspicious one that gives no hint of what the White Helmets are about or who it is that supports them. It is at least possible  that the ones they want to get out of Aleppo are themelves and their 'rebel', jihadist friends.

The Guardian should at least have given us a hint about the role source of the White Helmets.
Meanwhile, those nice people in the U.S. are still supply the cluster bombs that will destroy Yemen children today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.
From the start, it's been obvious that we have not seen any proof that Russian hackers interfered in the American election race, or that Clinton was the target. But just about every news medium in the western world gives the impression they did.
The Trudeau government is showing interest in banning asbestos. I was astonished to read that. I didn't know that workers still had to handle a material long ago known to be a major cause of cancer. I   don't know how far back that knowledge goes; but it must be as early as sixty years at least.

So can you guess how long it will take Trudeau to act on climate change?
When Castro died, few news media in the western world praised him. Quite the contrary. They lied constantly. giving an absurd version of the aims of a very tiny country fighting off the power of the the most powerful nation in the world. And succeeeding for fifty years.

That tells you something about our news media.
The Donald Trump who pledged to be the voice of the poor and neglected will, of course, be nothing of the sort. The U.S., already one of the most backward countries in the world in providing for the basic needs of its people, is going to step way, way further back.

Will that rouse his followers to take action against him? It's possible. But American voters have been well hypnotized for over a century. They should be be furious now at the people he is choosing for his government. But, so far, there's not a whimper.

He also made it abundantly clear he intends to show no concern for the environment, to destroy the very feeble, public health care the U.S. has and, almost certainly to seriously weaken public education in favour of some privatzed schools for profit scheme to further enrich the obscenely rich. How that is going to help the poor and the middle class isn't clear - and never will be. And you can be sure the US news media will be not be any help to anybody in clarifying that.

The greed of the wealthy that is starving, killing, debasing human life all over the world will soon be very noticeable in the U.S. But there is not a sign that anybody  has learned any lessons from the savagery of the last  severnty years or so.
Here's a bombing story our news media haven't bothered to tell.
Capitalism is an economic system that is inherently self-destuctive. It's fundamental motive is greed. And once  greed takes hold, sanity disappears. Greed, in time, destroys most of any population, then turns on the greedy to destroy them.

What has happened in the U.S. is that capitalism very early in American history became defined a right for all, To say otherwise was to be anti-American. From the start, the weatlhy used their wealth  to buy control over governments. That was  the beginning of the end of American democracy. The politicians ceased to represent the people, and came to represent the wealthy who owned the politicians.

For years now, the American wealthy have worked hard NOT to be part of the American people. They use the American people. But they refuse to submit themselves to the discipline of the American state. Capitaliststs do not exist to serve the state. They exist only to serve themselves.

That's why the emergence of two hoplessly incompetent and unworthy people as  Democrat and Republican leaders happened. Don't blame either Trump or Clinton for what has happened. Their emergence was simply the collapse of any social structure  that could be called American society. It's gone. It's over.

The next stage, of greed turned loose, is going to be very, very ugly. Nor am I at all sure the U.S. will survive it.
And here, by any standard, is a stunning piece of news about American weapons sales to jihadists.
There's much more in the news - though not in the irving press. We are in for deeper trouble - and I have seen no sign that the Canadian government or the Canadian people will show enough responsibility to stop us from plunging after the U.S. into its bottomless pit of   service to the very rich.

And, frankly,  I became disgusted and discouraged by today's news - and cannot stir myself to write more about it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dec. 12: apologies for lateness

I pass lightly over an irving press story that announces a study showing that the provincial government spends too much money on us  worthless slobs  who are the citizens. There is no mention of how much it spends on rich slobs. Worse, the paper does not tell us anything about the organization that released this study.
It is the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. This is a propaganda house sponsored by the wealthiest people in the province. It's purpose is to tell us what the rich want us to think. That's why if never tells us about the taxes the rich (don't) pay, nor what they get in gifts from the government. This is propaganda directed against us, and they actually make us pay to read this crap.

Don't waste your time. If you want to read this sort of mindless blather, just read Norbert Cunninham's column. It's shorter.
Two crises hit today's blog.

The first is that I was feeling unwell as happens to the decrepit of my vintage.
The second was that I caught a TV clip of Obama looking very solemn and angry. He said the Russian's hacked into American computers, and thus interfered in the presidential election. He told the CIA to investigate.

It might possibly be true. Lots of governments hack into other countries' affairs. In fact, the U.S. is probably a world leader - except that the U.S. seldom lets it go at interfering. It frequently murders large parts of the population and installs dictators.

Question 1 - The CIA is probably the organization best equipped in the world to detect and fight such a problem. So how come it didn't notice this hacking?

Question 2 - Isn't it odd that, within hours, the CIA wa able to come up with full proof of Russian interference? I would be more confident if they had taken a little longer.

Question 3 - why are we not allowed to see the proof?

What game, I wondered, is really being played here?

Is Obama looking for a showdown with Russia? It's no secret that the other U.S. leaders want to conquer Russia. They have publicly said so. It's an essential part of conquering the world so that American business can rule supreme. This is an ambition that goes back to 1945. But it hasn't done well. It it's ever going to be done, it has to be done very soon.

And things are not looking good in the very soon. The U.S. has become bogged down - and outplayed by Putin - in the Middle East.  Every day, a war with Russia becomes less possible. Is Obama using this election incident to go now rather than later?

Another possibility is almost as bad. He wants to dispose of Trump. Very, very wealthy  backers of the of the Democrat Party find Trump in their way. And the money involved is far, far greater than the Trump fortune. And they want their girl, Clinton, in charge. We're talking many, many billions, and probably trillions.
Is Obama looking to make this into a constitutional crisis?

It has to happen soon. But the people who voted for Trump are already very, very angry people.Any such move against Trump would spark unpredictably strong violence.

As Obama spoke last night, I felt a terror. I was awake all night though in a sort of stupor, convinced I was writing about this on my computer - and actually seeing the pages on the ceiling.

It has not been a good day.
And here is an example of some VERY bad journalism by The Guardian.

This is a column made up entirely of lies. And, no. that's not just a disagreement. The use of bombing to kill large numbers of civilians is not, as the columnist says, contrary to western values. In fact, western countries pioneered in it. It began with Winston Churchills' bombing of the Kurds. It was picked up by Germany in Spain. In the Second world war it was highly developed by The British, Americans, Canadians, and Germans. From 1945 on, the U.S. has relied heavily on the mass bombing of civilians because killing civilians from the air cost them fewer casualities. That's why 30% of the whole population of North Korea was killed by aerial bombing.

And I don't know where he gets this trash about western values. But I do know know that western warriors have slaughtered, raped, starved and looted civilians for as long as we have recorded wars. This column is simply propaganda. And not very intelligent propaganda.

Yes. The bombing of Aleppo is terrible. Now tell us about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Cologne, London, Cambodia, Iraq.....and the list goes on.
The Washington Post is not a trustworthy newspaper - to put it mildly. But it is the one that has carried most of the story about Russia hacking American election sites.
And here's a useful suggestion on the same topic.
---a story the irving press didn't have room for. It needed the space for---. well,....empty space.  Because empty space is what the irving press does best.

You'd think the irving press should show more pride in a war that we supply with armoured cars to kill starving children.
The North American reportinig on Castro's death was contemptible. Here's something better.
This is a very bitter and angry  column. But, mostly, it's true. And  those true parts never made it into our news media.
And this is the story the irving press would have published if it were a)honest and b)intelligent.

So far there has been no evidence whatever of Russian intervention in the U.S. election. But that's not the impression given by most of the North American press.
__________________________________________________________________________________In effect, nothing is happening in regard to climate change. The oil industry has shown no desire whatever to give up the profits on a resource that could kill us all. Wouldn't it be reassuring if Mr. Irving were to make a nice, public statement about this? I know he can write one because he once did a column for his newspapers telling us that he was going to be generous enough to become a member of the government, and run the province without us even having to elect him.
An election race which produced a Donald Trump and a Hillary Clinton as the ultimate contenders is not something that should be blamed on either Trump or Clinton. The blame rests of the whole system and society that could produce only those two. No matter how this turns out, one feature is what what counts.

American political, social and economic life has collapsed. It's not cominig back.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 10: Fake News

We have to face it. Trump and his vicious band of billionaires are not the result of a freak election. This has been coming for a long time. This is a government that could not care less about the needs of the American people. It is a government of   pure self-interest and greed.

And there is no opposition to it.  The Democrats are essentially the same party with the same 'values'. There is no movement of any significance outside the old parties. At most we  have those who voted for Trump - all those people who voted for slogans that had no meaning. Make American great again? What does that mean? Destroy even more democracies? Plunder more countries for the American wealthy? Kill more people?

All that exists is greed and self-interest. There never was a whole lot of anything else. Now there is nothing else at all. Nor is it going to change. The North American news media are not going to suddenly become honest. The American government is not going to focus on the needs of the American people. Nor does it matter. The most the American people will wake up to is what we saw in the election, a people who are angry but who have no sense of what should be done about - and who accept slogans as if they meant something.

This is not the collapse of a party. This is the collapse of a nation.
So what can the rest of us do?

Some are already doing it. They are shifting their ties away from the U.S. and toward other powers. Others are looking to regional alliances.
And what will Canada do? I recognize the mostrous task of shifting our focus away from the U.S. But I also recognize the disaster in remaining attached to it. We've just gone through a similar switch.

In 1900, Canada was very much the servant of Britain. It was understood that we fought Britain's wars, that we took Britain's side in international matters.  That was underlined with the Boer War. It ended abruptly in 1945. We became the servants of the U.S. because that's where the power was. Britain was a back number.

And that is the kind of decision we have to take now. Will it be difficult? Oh. yes. Is there a choice? Sort of. We shall seek out new alliances - or we shall go down with the U.S.

It's not just Trump. The social and moral decline of the U.S. was happening before him. He has just made it obvious.
Here's a news story whose headline says one thing while the story suggests something quite different.

I would not be surprised if Russia interfered in the election. - but that it would  be enough to decide the outcome sounds more than a stretch. (And Americans are scarcely virgins when it comes to interfering with elections.) In any case, the evidence in this report is, to say the least, pretty thin. This whole announcement looks very much like what has come to be called false news - and it now accounts  for much of the news we get.
The rich get richer by making the poor poorer. Of course. it's an old story. The wealth of the western world was - and is - built on impoverishing, looting and poisoning Africa, Latin America and, until recently, much of Asia. Here's a sample from Africa.
Our news media were mostly hot on Castro's death as a sign of how much Cuban hated him. That's why they focussed so much on the Cubans of Florida - rarely mentioning that they were the supporters of the brutal Batista, the dictator supported by the U.S. (In fact, the existence of Batista was rarely mentioned at all.)

Here'a more accurate account of how Cubans feel about Castro.
In this age of false news, it seems increasingly clear that the CIA statement that Russia interfered in the U.S. election is a classic piece of false news. This feeling was also clear in Guardian statement - though you had to read all of that one to get the story.( The irving press didn't even have the story. I guess it's cheaper that way.)
Gee, our news media buying their news from organizations funded by Syrian rebels (ISIS, etc.) Actually, it's been going on for a long time. One of those organizations is White Helmets,  the group that put out a staged photo of a Syrian child after a bombing attack in Alleppo. The photo was a sensation in the world press - and a fake. They also print stories regularly from 'The Syrian Human Rights Observatory', a rebel organization founded by a haberdasher in England. (White Helmets. essentially a propaganda group, easily makes its way through the western news media. It's a world of fake news.
In a world of violence, greed,  cruelty, the Christian churches have preferred to babble about anything by violence, greed and cruelty. If you are, for example, a wealthy person who makes his money out of cheap labour, you can relax at the Irving Chapel, knowing you wil hear nothing offense.
For a sample of the blah! of our churches, read the Faith Page of the irving press any Saturday.

But there are signs of life.
This is something we should all have known for some time. But I guess a reminder is always useful.
Much of the news is taken up with the terrible things Trump is likely to do. I'm sure he is. But that's not the whole news. There's much we aren't getting.
For example, we aren't told that most of the news we get from Syria comes from jihadist sources. The Jihadists realize quite well that western reporters are on their side. So they will publicize fake photos of a bombed out child. They will believe all stories about Russian cruelties. (I don't know when I've seen so many stories about the horrors of bombing civilians. Where were all those reporters when the U.S. bombing killed almost one-third of the population of North Korea? Where was it at the horror of the bombing of Fallujah by the the U.S?
Why do reporters not seem to be going to the scenes of drone attacks?

Much of our news in the 'free' world comes with a heavy bias. That shows in who's version     they prefer to print, what incidents they prefer to ignore, what stories they buy from fake news agencies  (like Syrian Observatory of human rights),  and it's polished from there in the loaded language of media writers.
Most of the news we get is either from dubious sources, or presented in a prejudicial way, or outright lies - pure invention. That's true of even the most distinguished of the private media - like New York Times.

News analysis is even worse. (The irving press doesn't have it -with a few exceptions. But, for the most part,  the 'analysis' is propaganda or bedtime stories.) The news media are also full of 'analysts' who simply rant and peddle hatred. There's an audience for that.

And the emphasis on Trump is wild. While an important one, he is not the only important leader in the world. And, in fact, we are getting almost nothing on the rest of the world. I listened to one pro-Trump analysit that Trump will save the world by seeking peace with Russia.

Well, that would be nice. But think hard. Russia, like the U.S., is dominated by capitalism.  I don't see where a merger between capitalists is going to do the rest of us any good.

We're living through a system that is a disaster in its itself. It will, of course, destroy itself. But if we wait that long, I don't think we'll get a second chance.
And, I'm late for the ballet. So I won't proofread this one. Enjoy the typos. They're free.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Dec. 9: Donald Trump - Hero!

And liar.

Donald Trump saved a 1100 jobs that were about to be moved by Carrier from Indianapolis and out of the U.S. And he's not even president yet. Isn't that wonderful?

Actually, it's not.

He announced to eleven hundred workers he had saved their jobs. In fact, he saved only 550. The other  550 will find that out the day they get their final pay cheques. And that's not all that's wrong with this deal.

Their employer will get a great tax break and other goodies out of this. And who will have to carry an extra tax load to make up for that? Not the Trumps of this world who don't pay any taxes. No.  All the people of Indiana. That's one hell of an expensive way to save jobs. If this is to become his standard method of dealing with unemployment and underemployment, there won't be a U.S. left to save.

What he has done makes no economic sense at all. Think of it. If the U.S. is to save jobs, it has to throw money at employers in order to get them to stay. And that money can come only from -    American tax payers.

But it's good show biz. It shows the president elect as a man of decision and action. Yes. Never mind that his decision and action are hopelessly destructive to the American economy. Lots people - suckers - will see Trump as the man of action, the one who will make America great again.

Oh course, he can't do that many more times without destroying the American economy altogether. But not to worry. All he has to do is to keep himself in the news doing things that seem like action. He probably won't have to look again as though he's saving jobs. So then he can do other brief but spectacular things. Change the jugglers. Change the lights. But keep the -show moving, always moving.

How come that an advanced nation produces voters who fall for this? Much of the reason is they cannot see any alternatives. They're smothered under heaps of the propaganda that they like to call American values, all of it reinforced with lying news media, and with myths spread by TV and film and history about the  goodness and world leadship and generosity that Americans, unlike all other people in this world, share as common values.

In this picture, freedom is easily contorted to mean power for the very wealthy, to mean greed. And murdering other nations and stealing their resources comes to be thought of as spreading American values. It isn't new. Most empires have been like that. The British kidded themselves they were doing good when they plundered China and india and South Africa.

Remember Rule Britannia. Britannia rules the waves?. For Britons, never, never, never shall be slaves. That nicely sums up the reasoning for the British Empire. Now, think hard. Who, in the last 500 years has tried to make Britons slaves?    Africans? Native peoples of the Americas? China? India? Dutch farmers in South Africa------? Did Iraqis try to enslave them?

Americans are not allowed to think of any other way to run a country. That would be unAmerican. Trump's job, like that of most U.S. presidents,  is to make sure they stay in la-la land. So watch for more spectacular (and worthless) gestures.
These are more pictures of lakes that are disappearing because of the climate change that oil bosses tell us isn't happening.
Here's opinion by a quite remarkable man. And it's something you're most unlikely to see in a North American newspaper.
When economic times get tough, nail the poor. That has been the capitalist response to every recession or depression I have ever heard of. It sticks out like a sore thumb in the Canada of the  1930s. Brazil today is suffering terrible economic times. It's goverment is - to say the least - capitalist and strongly supported by the U.S.

And look at where that has taken this miserable country.
And, amazingly, I don't think t his story  made the irving press here in New Brunswick.

Actually, let's  not play a game with this. Both Liberals and Conservatives in Canada have ALWAYS played the game of setting up friendly chats for the wealthy, chats that have a payoff for both sides. Funny how it never makes the news. The greatest weakness of our political system is the cost of getting elected. And neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have ever shown much interest in changing that.

I know what the irving press could do. It could run a list of bagmen for Canada. Who, for example, in New Brunswick is the one who chats with the newspaper owner and makes deals?
Here is a story I've not seen told in full in any private news  medium in North America - the Sioux protest at Standing Rock, and the extraordinary brutality of legal officers who faced them. This story is almost certainly not over. Expect Trump to make things even worse than Obama did in his handling of it.
And here's an item you won't find, ever, in the irving press.
We're in serious trouble with Trump. And we would have been with Clinton. There is no real difference between the two except that Trump is a better con-man. And Canada is next door.

What Canada should be doing, at any cost, is to break all ties to the U.S. Unless we do, we are  committed to all the fantasies that the U.S. is committed to. And to all the hells the U.S. is going to suffer.There are countries breaking those ties now, and with more to follow.

(Remember how so many Canadian  (and Americans) said, during the election campaign, that Trump was a self-seeking fraud? He was. He still is. And most of his American  opposition is as greedy and voracious as he is. There is no alternative to what is happening in the U.S. We should want to get as far away from that as possible. Good luck on explaining that to most of our politicians.
Every day there are news stories about deception and worse in the White House. In this one, Trump has appointed a prominent climate change denier to be in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. For Canada to  stay in connection with the U.S. as a part of this U.S. world order is insane.

The tasks that face us in the environmental   area alone are immense. We need major work all over the world - not just on setting targets for change but reorganizing whole nations. But we've yet to lift a finger on it.
I have a friend who, for many years, worked for the Canadian government in  tracking unemployment. He warned me never to believe government figures. Employment is always lower and often much lower than the government says it is. The U.S. is even worse.
Who would have guessed that Syria would have been able to hold out against jihadist wars waged on it by the U.S. But, with Russian help, that has happened.  And the U.S. plans for a monopoly on all power in the middle east are in ashes. Now, it's Russia that has a foothold.

American wars, for all their killing, have been failures for sixty years. No nation has ever had such military power and such failure. There is little love and even less confidence all over the world for the military actions of the U.S. It was fought wars almost non-stop since 1941. In all those years since 1941, nobody has attacked the U.S. But it goes on invading and killing. How long will it take some people to get the message?

This is truly insane. At a minimum, we cannot possibly remain a puppet colony in the American empire.
This should have been obvious to Canadian news a long time ago. But they're not used to telling the truth.

I keep thinking of all the promises of World War 2, promises that we celebrate every Nov. 11. "There'll be love and laughter and peace ever after..."
Not one of those damn promises has been kept. We have delivered our people to fight wars that benefit only billionaires. And we don't even whimper when the billionaires deliberately work at destroying the foundations of our world. In the U.S., they'll now settle down to destroying the few services left to a withering nation. We're seeing the same in Canada, and it will pick up steam.

The U.S., which can afford to kill people by the millions, can't afford health services for its own people. And we're seeing the early days of such a movement in Canada.

Cuba, a tiny nation made poorer by American economic embargoes, and daily faced with the threat of invasion by the U.S. was somehow able to afford a full education for all children who wanted it, and full medicare. And most of that brothel we call news media used the funeral of Castro to denounce a man whose only crime was to free his people from American gangsters, pimps, and exploiting American capitalists.

We have made one hell of a mess. The U.S. has led the way. And Canadian leaders have followed with whimpering and with tongues hanging out.
Our skies are full of pigeons coming home to roost  - climate, greed, exploitation, murder, impoverishment.

And we're trotting in circles like the master's dogs we have always been.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dec. 7: Hot News Flash!

A first for the irving press.

Like many newspapers, section A of the irving press is made up of local news - most of it of no importance whatever - such as minor stories from the court house. Section B moves to national and world news. But the irving press is not just another newspaper. No.

Section A is the usual simple-minded trash. But Section B has one, small story of international news. (back page). That's it. The rest is more local news. And more than  half of it is simply gossip from the court house.  Business break-in lands man in jail. A former employee will be sentenced for stealing from a local Subway shop. The section has six photos of the court house - all of them the same photo. Section B is almost all useless information. But it's cheap news to gather. Notice how almost all of it is done by staff reporters, not by news services.

I  have never seen a newspaper which treats its readers with such utter contempt. I read that that senior editor for the chain  (who just happens to be an irving) has a master's degree in journalism from Harvard. But I don't think Harvard teaches cheap and brainless crap like this.
American big business has wanted control over the China for well over a century. The American invasion of The Phillipines in 1900 and the establishment of an American dictatorship was supposed to be a step in that direction. But it failed then, and it has failed ever since.

In 1941, it seemed the great chance had come again. Britain and the other European powers were too busy in Europe to interfere in Asia. That only problem was that Japan was now raging through China. So the U.S. still needed an excuse for a war with Japan.  It had to appear that Japan was the cause of the war. (The American public has long been averse to wars that kill too many Americans. Vietnam has been a reminder of that. To launch into a war with Japan would have been political suicide.)

So President Roosevelt cut off Japan's oil supply, knowing this would force Japan to declare war on the U.S. And that is what Pearl Harbour was all about.
What has  long puzzled me was how 'it happened' major units of the Pacific fleet, including the aircraft carriers were at sea at the time. Most of the ships left for Japan to bomb were old ones. The other mystery is why so many defensive and communications systems failed.

Then I received this note from a reader.

2,400 Americans died at Pearl Harbour. And there's good reason to believe they died to feed corporate profits.
The lust for the wealth to be taken from the world's largest market has by no means ended. The U.S. is now sending the bulk of its navy to the Pacific. It  has surrounded China with bases, including nuclear weapons. (China has not surrounded the U.S.) That's why there has been so much fuss lately about the limits to Chinese territorial waters. There is every reason to believe the U.S. is now looking for its excuse to go to war with China - perhaps even before Russia.
Such a war could only be nuclear. Among other things, the U.S. public would never accept the butcher's bill for all the Americans who would be killed in a conventional war with China.
I have often mentioned the appalliing record of Canadian mining companies in Latin America. Such stories have never, of course, appeared in the Canadian   (or American) press. However, a monthly news sheet in New Brunswick (nbmediaco-op) is less shy. It reports a study from Osgoode Hall Law School on violence and criminality in 13 Latin American countries where Canadian mining companies are active -  levels of violence are extremely high - including 44 killings in the last two years, with most of the dead being 'troublesome' employees of the Canadian mining companies.

 Trudeau was contacted to take action on this issue. (Good luck on that.)
Last night's TV news featured an interview with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney. This is the only Canadian prime minister ever caught red-handed at accepting 'favours' (big ones)  while in office, and at tryinig to lie his way out of it. He is also the former P.M. who was allowed by Harper to get away with it. For pure sleaze, the only prime ministers who matched him were  (possibly) John A. Macdonald and Sir Charles Tupper.

He assures us that that Trump will be just a wonderful president, and that Trudeau should do whatever Trump tells him to do.  And that, I think, is a decision Trudeau has already made.
The article below appeared with the headline "World leaders attack Russia for bombing Aleppo". That headline is not repeated on the  page that appears here. - but the story carries the same message. This is really a piece of propaganda, and it's bad journalism to treat it as news.

The total number of 'world leaders' in this story is 13 - and it includes a Canada which only the most patriotic would call a world leader. As well, all of these 'world leaders' are all heavily committed to supporting the U.S.

And the U.S......would it ever, ever bomb cities and kill civilians? Hey. So far, it's the world champ. This isn't news of any sort. This is propaganda.
Laughing billionaires is something we'll see a lot of  during the Trump presidency. Indeed, his is slated to be the wealthiest administration in American history. This is the administration that will kill medicare, seriously damage public education, and destroy anything that doesn't make big money for the wealthy.

And this is the one that the poor and the frustrated voted for.

Watch for pressure on Canada to follow suit. Watch for Trudeau to be a good, little servant to the wealthy.

The American election was not just an election. It was a revolution. And that could mean another revolution to come.
This next opinion piece will be disputed. I think there's a great deal of truth in it.
Here is something that should be well-known, but which rarely, if ever, appears in western news media.
This is shorter than usual. I stopped writing early in this one because I found the news media, even the good ones, pretty uninspired today. It's as though there was suddenly a vacuum in the news, and a  vacuum in meaning. In fact, I had sensed this early when I referred to Trump (above) as a revolutionary. But revolutionary isn't the right word.

In thought and action, he's as greedy and vicious and evil as Clinton and her followers - even more so. What's different is the style in which he presents it - highly loaded language, emotional, grandiose - but with no sense of policy or meaning.

He's not revolutionary in what he would do. He will abandon all those working class and impoverished Americans who voted for him. He will make up for that with an emotional style and preying on myths and hatreds and fears - rather like Hitler.

His administration is shaping up as the richest and most reactionary in American history. Watch for a massive attack on public education, public health care, and public services in general. Watch for pressure on other countries (like Canada) to do the same. Watch for Trudeau to cave in.

And ask yourself why he has been making nice to Putin. How does that fit in to any policy Trump spoke on? Why is Trump doing this?

Think of the jewel in the crown that has evaded American  billionaires for well over a hundred years. Think of the reason why the major American naval base, Pearl Harbour, was built out in the Pacific so far from the U.S.

Think China - the largest market in the world, the pot of gold.

And, oh, I hope I'm in a better mood on Friday.