Wednesday, August 23, 2017

With apologies, I am going to try something different today. To understand current events, it's important to understand them in a very broad context of years and places. It's not possible to fully understand, say, the American invasions we read of today without starting way back to at least 1871 and the unification of Germany. So  - I'll take a stab at creating that bigger picture. each day as I start the daily blog.

It's, in some ways, a personal story that begins with my birthday at age 12 when I was given the mutivolume set of Winston Churchill's History of the English-speaking Peoples. I was enchanted by it.

It was filled with an oratory that bellowed from the pages. An oration to the magnificence of the English people, the glory, of the need for all the English-speaking people of the world to unite. Churchill was, himself, hugely admired as the saviour of Britain and the Empire and his vision of the continuance of it through Uniting all the English-speaking people of the world. I was transported to a world of ecstasy.

In fact, his book, as I would later learn, was highly romanticized crap. Nor was he the prophet of a new world. He was, in fact, the last defender of a brutal England that had mudered and plundered all over the world - and for the satisfaction only of the very wealthy English. He was the last defender of an ugly past.

Churchill was born into a family of the highest British nobility, His grandfather was the Duke of Marlborough. Alas! his father (since he was not a first son) was only a Lord (a title he could not pass on to his son), and did not inherit money. So, in the fashion of the time, he married a very wealthy American woman with both living it up in a world of palaces, the highest society, gala dinners - and endless sexual encounters.  Winston rarely saw them or spoke to them, being raised by a servant in his grandfather's magnificent palace.

He grew up, like others of his class, with a monstrous arrogance toward everyone, including even the aristocracy. The working class simply didn't exist in  his mind. No, he was not a prophet of the world of the 20th and 21st. centuries.
For that, we have to go back to the mid-nineteenth century and a Prussian nobleman named Otto von Bismark. Prussia was then the largest and most powerful of many German states.

There was no Germany at the time. By force and political skill, Bismarck united them as an empire under his rule in 1871, naming  Wilhelm 1 as the Kaiser. (Caesar)

And that sent a shockwave through the European powers, especially Britain.  A united Germany could outclass the industrial power of Britain and France, for example, and severely cut into their profits. And it might look for its own empire in Africa and Asia, further cutting into British and French profits.  It might even build a navy to challenge the British navy.

(As an aside, the British had been moving toward getting rid of Canada. It feared an American invasion of Canada  (which was certainly possible).  Such a war would be expsensive and unwinnable.

No. Britain had to be friends with the U.S. in face of a rising Germany. That's why, by late 1870s, the British were speaking of how nice the Americans were and how Britain and the U.S. should start getting together as a friends to rule the world.  (You'll find it mentioned in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Noble Bachelor". )  That was the real beginning of Churchill's reason for writing "History of the English-speaking Peoples".

Yes, it seemed clear that Canada was just a burden on the empire.
To be continued..unless there is a reader rebellion against it.....
I couldn't resist this one- it's such a wild idea that I laughed at first. But this IS the future. How will we be prepared for it? Will we vote for governments maintain our standards of living? Or will we let big business do what it has always done -  make huge profits by firing people and cutting the salaries of those left?

Will Mr.  Irving tell us he plans to cut working hours to two hours a day - while raising salaries?

How come our politicians aren't talking about this? How come we aren't make plans. This is not the distant future. Comic as it may seem, this is one hell of a serious matter, and it's happening now.

Note at the bottom that a robot priest has been created, too. And here I've been thinking that many of our clergy have been robots for a century and more.
It is almost unheard of for the UN to issue a warning to the U.S. It is absolutely unheard of for it to warn any country in the western world for its racism.

This is a sign of concern of  general U.S. behaviour - and not just related to Trump.
A warning for those who think the generals will bring down Trump. In fact, there's no use in  having generals or Republicans or Democrats take him down. The U.S. is way past the point of cosmetic surgery. It needs massive change - and only the American people can do that.  But, oh, they don't have much time.
The story below is British - but it applies to Canada and the U.S. And it's one I feel strongly about because I began my working life with a heavy debt for university education. The record of Canada, Britain, and the U.S. for this is shameful. In many countries poorer than us, universitty education is free.
Part of the problem is that our universities have come to be dominated by the wealthiest businessmen on their boards.   They run them as if they were businesses. And the effect of the wealthy has been make universities extremely overburdened with support staff, puppets of the very wealthy, and even propagandists for them.  (Most profs aren't propagandists,but a very few are sell-outs.)

And, symbolic of the destruction of the university as a free and thinking place are the huge salaries of their executives.

I was once offered the presidency of a large university. The terms were stunning - a hugely oversized salary that I would get for life even if I got fired second day on the job. Huge gifts on the side. I was hammered at by a team of lawyers. It seemed too good.

And it was. I realized I was being bought by one of the Irvings of this world. So I turned it down. A disgusting sample of what can happen did happen in New Brunswick almost ten years ago.

The Irving of the time announced that he was (illegally) going to become a member of the government and plan our economy. And he named the usual boot-lickers to serve under him, starting with the univesity presidents, chambers of commerce, etc. And the university presidents were the first ones to ask him which cheek (behind him) they should kiss.
Our university system is a disgrace when it has all the potential to be one of the best in the world.
ALL of information Clearing House for the last two days is a good read.
Just google Information Clearing House.

In particular, note the the clips on Afghanistan. The Afghani government (the one on our side) is made up of unspeakably corrupt warlords who long ago destroyed the significant progress Afghanistan was making to democracy, and who are now the biggest drug lords in the world. Funny how that never made the Irving press.

Be warned that sending 3000 or so American troops is most unlikely to work. And it will certainly not make more Muslims love Americans. Be warned, too, that Trump is very likely to ask for Canada to 'do its share'. And watch for all the kissups in Ottawa - and the irving press -  to support it.
This could be the final act of the terrible war that U.S. oil barons  have inflicted on Syria.

I hope it is the final act. The problem is it shuts out the U.S. oil barons, and it weakens their hold on the rest of the middle east. It is possible the U.S. will look for extensions of this war, perhaps helping other middle east states to join in against Assad.

But don't worry. If you stick to the irving press you'll never know what happened, anyway. Its sense of news stops at 'man arrested for spitting'.
There was a racist riot in Quebec City. The Irving press didn't pay much attention to it. It should have.

The province of Quebec, like all provinces,, has quite a history of racism. (Toronto was famous for its anti-Jewish demonstrations in the 1930s). I've been at more than a few anti-English riots in Montreal - and other violence like the torching of the offices of the english-rights group. Racism is a powerful force in the history of both English and French Montreal.

At my last visit to my  home town, I was suprised at the hugely growing racial mix of Montreal. I was happy to see it. But I very much fear a violent reaction.
Below are letters to an editor of a blog. It's about the Dieppe raid.

I don't entirely agree with the first writer. And it think his responder is hopelessly out of touch with reality.

One of my students wrote a book about the raid in which he claimed it was a success because it made possible the success of a small group that had piggy-backed on the raid. (I don't agree that made the raid worth all those Canadian lives.)

And there's the old story that we learned valuable lessons from the raid. Yeah. We learned you shouln't continue a raid when you've been spotted by an enemy ship while still a long way from your target. You shouldn't continue after the enemy has been wirelessed in time to set their defences to shell and machine gun your toops before they even land.      
The truth is that the Dieppe Raid was one of the worst planned military raids in history.  Field-Marshal Montgomery saw the plan - and advised that it was a terrible one. (and the story that we learned valuable lessons for D Day is a crock.)

We should, indeed, remember those who were killed or imprisoned in their hopeless attack. But we should not kid ourselves it was a triumph of any sort - except for those who had to have the courage to face it.
Disaster - my favourite newspaper, Haaretz, is going to charge me for future copies. - And I'll probably do it.

For today, it has broken the big story that Israel has recently built 3,000 Jewish-only homes on land stolen from Palestine.

Does that mean Jews are evil?

Alas!  No. It means like the Jews, Africans, Muslims, Chinese, Russians we're all human.

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21: Damn!

"If Rural NB Wants Better Public Services, It has to Pay More"

That's the headline on Norbert Cunningham's column  today. Yeah. They want bread? Let them eat cake. It's smug, arrogant - and servile.

In this case,  the service referred to is a community centre.

Norbert. We, all of us, spend $10 million dollars a year so that the ownder of that wretched newspaper you write for can get free spraying for the forests we gave him at a bargain basement price. This is also the owner who has received many, many millions of tax forgivenous.  (But how wonderful him to give to charities.)

The gift of forest has given him such a stranglehold on forestry, that small woodlot owners have to sell at a far, far lower  price. That is what is called jobs lost. Billionaires do not, despite the half-wit views of   your newspaper, create jobs and wealth for us. They create jobs at the lowest possible salaries and as few as possible. But they give themselves magnificent paycheques, and they avoid many of those nasty taxes that us peasants have to pay.

Moreover, we are paying 10 million a year for spraying that may have disastrous effects on our forests, their wildlife, and us. And when our chief medical officer pointed that out, she got fired. And nobody at your paper had the guts or integrity to find out who ordered that firing.

"If Rural NB Wants Better Public Services, It Has to Pay More."

Norbert, Grow some.

P.S. Explain to commentator Steve Malloy (on the next page) what 'social media' means. (It ain't just arguing with people on Facebook.
Some reliable studies place the rate of Illiteracy in New Brunswick at 53%. There's a good deal of truth in that - but literacy studies vary a great deal in their standards. Some require evidence not only of being able to read - but to actually do reading, and to do it with pretty serious literature. That's why some studies rate Canada at 100% literacy. Those studies are absurd of course. It's not a hundred percent, not even if you include those adults who still read the Dick and Jane Reader of grade 1.  "See Dick. See Dick run. Run Dick run."

I researched dozens of studies to get a sense of reading by people who can read, who do read, and who do serious reading.

And guess who leads for the world?

Nope. It isn't Canada. We're well down the list. The U.S. is even lower. And BRITAIN is within  sight of the toilet.

The winners? Get ready.
North Korea and South Korea. The older people of those countries do suffer illiteracy. Of course. They grew up in a dreadful war and then, especially the South, in total rebuilding of the whole country. That's an amazing

accomplishment. Gee. Funny that story never made our papers. The only stories I ever see about the North feature a fat little man with a wacky haircut. And millions of citizens who spend all their time clapping hands for him.

Take a look at North Korea, in particular. It suffered the most intense bombing in history. It had to rebuild the whole country from scratch. It's a very poor country.  But its accomplishment in education - and rebuilding - is amazing.

But all our news media have taught us about North Korea is it's evil.

And why is our literacy rate so terrible?  It's not because of the schools.

When I was an elementary school child, I read heavily from the start. That was because my father read - so I read Kipling and Service from age 6. By high school, I was deep in cowboy novels. That put me way ahead of my friends, most of whom were functionally illiterate.

Then I moved on to a new school - and a class that was half Jewish. One of my new, Jewish friends looked at my book, picked it up, threw it in the garbage, and gave me books of plays by Sean O' Casey, G.B.Shaw - and Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And that changed my life.

Kids in poor communities are much slower in learning how to read. They aren't stupid. It's that the atmosphere of poverty discourages reading.  The very poor become resigned to poverty.  They know the dice are loaded against them. So they, like their parents, give up. There is no room for expectations. Thus my illiterate friends. But This is not for all poor communities.

My Jewish friends were as poor as I was. But Judaism encourages learning. It runs through the whole society. (It's no accident that so many of the apostles of 2,000 years ago, most of them poor, could read and right. Judaism requires discussion and debate in the synagogue. And to do that, you have to read the Talmuhd and the Torah.   (Lucky for them they weren't living as Christians in New Brunswick.)

I had a similar experience with Chinese students. I found a profound respect for learning among them. Indeed, I had to threaten one of them that I would put him in hospital if he didn't stop studying at dangerously late hours (sometime all night with no sleep.)

That may be the reason for the success of North Korea and South Korea. So, rather look down on other groups, we should be learning from them.
The following item appeared on CBC News.

Yes, we have nukes by the thousand.. Now we have rocket satellites in space to kill with. That means we'll soon have nukes in space, too.

This is insane.

We knew, in 1945, that a war with nuclear bombs would destroy the planet. That's  a big reason why we needed a UN, and the gradual creation of a world government. And we didn't do it. So we now have bombs - more of them, and far more powerful.

(Okay. That's a problem because the other side is evil. Right. We aren't evil. The U.S. has fought at least seventy wars since 1945, and killed millions. But that was to spread democracy and basketball.)

The UN was effectively destroyed by the major powers, especially the U.S., from the start. Instead, NATO became a device for American dominance of Europe. And the U.S. embarked on its quest for world dominance. (google Project for the New American Century, a more recent American plan to rule the world - and the reason for the wars in Afghanistan and the middle east.)

There will be no winning of anything as a result of this. Whatever excuse you may think of for carrying on as we are, the reality is it CANNOT happen. As in the case of dealing with climate change, there is no room for choice.
This article deals with British universities, but much of it would apply to Canadian ones. I find my own university for most of my career has gone wild with more and more bureaucrats wasting time and money by copying business methods. That, I guess, is the result of the dominance of major businesspeople on thier boards.

One of the sillier offshoots of this is the struggle to look good in the Annual MacLean's issue on ranking Canadian universities. It's a crock.
The U.S. problem is not Trump.  Yes, Trump is ego-driven and fundamentally incompetent. But he's not the problem For years, American democracy has been crumbling. The major cause the big money that owns the government, and that has been driving for years to make the American people incapable of standing against them. The big money has pressed from change that take the U.S. back to the nineteenth century, that impoverish millions, that want to conquer the world, and that don't give a damn for the American people.

(That's something to think about as they also spread poverty by not paying taxes and as we are busying negotiating a new NAFTA deal that will almost certainly make it impossible to enforce urgent controls on big business.)

Trump did not cause all that, though he's no sweetheart. And Clinton would have been worse. The U.S. is now big business running wild all over the world without respect for any nation or its laws.

But the problem is  not Trump. The problem is that a fearful and angry public voted him into office. The American people, both Democrat and Republican have an intense dislike of what is being done to them. They are against the government, any government. But they have no idea of what an alternative should be - largely because their news mediahas never even told them there are alternatives. (see the irving press for an example.)

That means big trouble. And it almost certainly means very big and very thoughtless violence.
There are Muslim terrorists who hate the U.S. That's because the U.S.  (and Britain and others)  has spent close to 70 years murdering them.

More killing is not going to make them love us. The "war against terrorism" is a dead end for all sides.

In fact, the origins of Muslim anger go way back to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Afghan fighters who fought off the Russians were trained, eqipped, and financed by the CIA. Yes. It was not Osama bin Laden who created All of bin Laden's ideas were copied from that American intervention. And we are  now paying the price.
And here's  a reminder of why North Koreans dislike the  U.S
Cimate change? Nah, says Mr. irving. Ain't happenin'
Here's another sample of President Truman's plan to use nuclear weapons against North Korea in the Korean War.
And there's a lot of truth in this one. A lot.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18: What a terrible day!

The lead story in Canada&World News for August 16 was 'N.B. cabinet minister condemns U.S, violence'.

Actually,  racist hatred was what I first noticed about the maritimes when I came here as a student at Acadia University. In that whole, Baptist school, there was only one person who was not white. And he was the first non white in the history of the school. And I well remember the day I turned off into a country road near Halifax. Isolated in that wilderness, I saw a brick building that had the stench of Dickensian England about it. The sign said Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children. It might as well have read Abandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here.
Nova Scotia was (and in   some respects still is) a racist province.  So were all the others. I grew up in a Montreal in which African Canadians could not get work except at the most menial level, and were forced to live in a run-down district. So were Chinese.  In fact, even Irish-Catholics were regarded with suspicion and disapproval and, until the 1950s, and many of them had to live in their own run-down ghetto.

And an African-Canadian playing in the NHL? Forget about it. A friend of mine in Montreal was a pro quality  player but who knew he was the wrong colour to hope for the NHL. So he tried, instead, to get accepted to play at a Canadian university. He couldn't. Like Acadia, most of them accepted white folks only. Finally, it was an American university, Princeton, that accepted him. Yes,  An African-Canadian had to go to the U.S. to escape Canadian racism.

And New Brunswick? A superb poet said it well.

So it's nice to hear a New Brunswick cabinet minister speaking out fearlessly against racism -(though he was careful to refer to it somewhere else). But I don't believe he knows what he is talking about.

The recent Swastika-waving and racial violence in the U.S. is not simply the result of Trump's bizarre behaviour and his recent interviews. It has been standard behaviour for every imperial power I have ever heard of. Britain did it. All the major European powers did it. The U.S. was founded as a racist society. The only recent change is the addition of the Swastika. But even that isn't really a change.

Hitler's Naziism used racial hatred to sell his party to the German people. (After all, he couldn't tell people to vote for him because he was going to create massive profits for capitalist business.) And he used racial hatreds to get support for many of his invasions. (Most of the occupied countries provided troops for Hitler's armies.)

And racial hatred is what the U.S. has always played on.  So has Canada. The enemies we fight against are always evil. All of them. The Boer farmers of South Africa were evil. The North Koreans were evil.  The Afghanistanis were evil. The Libyans were evil. To brand a whole society as having such a quality is a racist statement.  Well, if they're all like that, it must be racial.) And so the native peoples of North America were all evil.   (But they're over it now, so long as they keep quiet.)

The native peoples of Latin America are genetically evil, too.  That's why we have to kill them as we did in Guatemala and so many other countries. Evil can even affect Christian countries - like Germany and Italy. But they're better now.
Really, Naziism and Fascism have been standard forms of government forever. Both distracted people by directing their frustrations at a disliked group. It sill works to distract people from their real problems.

Capitalism can work. Of course it can. It's not working now, though. We are seeing a decline in living standards, and a massive concentration of wealth in the hands of the already wealthy. Almost all of our wars are dictated by the wants of the very wealthy (though they carefully avoid service themselves - and also leave it up to us to pay for those wars because most of them refuse to pay taxes. )
Capitalism, like any system, will work. But it has to work under controls that we set. Instead, we are sitting with our thumbs in our mouths as major capitalists own most of our governments. We don't control them. They control us. That's a system that can only lead to disaster.

The world of 2050 - and maybe much earlier - will be very different from today's. By then, climate change will be forcing millions of refugees in our direction. It will certainly cause more wars. Automation will have replaced most jobs. (Will that automation be used to give us shorter work hours while keeping a decent wage? Not if Mr. irving has anything to say about it.  And he will have something to say - to whichever Liberal or Conservative leader that people are foolish enough to elect. And if automation results in massive unemployment, what are our plans to deal with that? Do you seriously think the major capitalists will give a damn?)

There is every possibility that the greed of the wealthy may create another Great Depression. And what was notable about the depression of the 1930s is that the wealthy really didn't give much of a damn. Despite the tales of them jumping from windows, they did not suffer. Of course not. The depression gave them a chance to reduce wages, increase work hours, cut staff, cancel holidays with pay, cancel pension plans...... The rich did well in the depression. And almost all Canadian governments did nothing whatever to help. Of course not, almost all were bought by the wealthy.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King used 'work camps' to 'help' the unemployed and homeless. Actually, they were prison camps in remote areas. And their purpose was to prevent the unemployed from demonstrating where the rich people lived.
Government did nothing to help because the rich had no intention of paying taxes to help the poor. But, surprise, when war was declared, it suddenly found the money to create war industries and military forces.

I was a very young child in the depression. But I can remember my father walking many, many blocks every day to get free milk for me. His pay was cut to three or four dollars a week. But our rent was eleven dollars. So I remember him putting on pair of battered boots, and going out to shovel snow for the city in the late afternoon to earn fifty cents in a couple of hours. Breakfast was chunks of stale  bread with milk in a bowl. As a child, I watched people die because they couldn't afford food or medical care.

But big business did well in those years. Very few millionaires, I suspect, had stale bread chunks for breakfast. Very few watched friends and relatives dying of malnutrition or curable disease.

The Canadian people were as thick then as they still are. Most voted Liberal or Conservative, just like New Brunswickers today. That gave us nothing in the past. Expect nothing in the future.

Naziism, fascism, uncontrolled capitalism, Trump, swastikas, bought politicians - they're all part of the same bundle, with the racism used so we won't think of what should be done.

We're so lucky to have a cabinet minister who can spot it when it happens in a different country. Now, if he would only look around him and into a mirror....

Notice the language of this story. Notice 'terrorist', 'atrocity'. Those words are quite true. The killers were using terror, and their act was an atrocity.

Now, try to think of a news story which has referred to American mass murder of civilians right down to babies, deliberate starvation of millions as in Yemen, saturation bombing, agent orange bombing,  cluster bombing which goes on killing for years, saturation bombing as in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Can you think of any news report that referred to those as 'terrorist' or 'atrocity'? I can't.
Again, it's not Trump who's the problem.  For example, every American government for the last century and more has interfered in Latin America to destroy governments and install dictatorships. It's hard to think of any country that has been better off as a result of American intervention.
Here's a story about the climate change that the irving press doesn't talk much about.

Hey! build more pipelines. It'll create jobs.
I was very sorry to read the following story. I worked in Hong Kong for some time. It was an exciting city, and I liked its people. What is now happening in Hong Kong is terrible, and I agree we should help all we can.

But how come we never read stories about dictatorship in Hong Kong when the British were the dictators?

In a century of rule, the British permitted a limited democracy only in the closing days of their rule. For almost the whole history of British rule in Hong Kong, it was a dictatorship by a British governor  (with wide powers to his arrogant and racist secretary.) Most Hong Kongers lived in dreadful housing. Social services were few. I can remember seeing people who lived in wire dog cages that were stacked three deep. And they had NO weather protection. But it never made our news.

If Hong Kongers were to come  here, I would be delighted to see them. They're good people who have been terribly abused by both Britain and China.
Here's something that is quite true - which is why it never made it into most of our news media.

Trump is certainly a wretched and vile person. But he is not the cause of the 'American' problem. That problem goes back a long, long way.
Writing history - and hiding it. Onward Christian torturers.....
Here's one that may come as a surprise. Funny how our news media missed this.
No. We never learn.

When the National Film Board made a film that mentioned the Canadian airforce bombing of Dresden in World War Two -a bombing deliberately aimed at civilians - The Canadian Legion was furious. But the film was quite right. Everybody in that war deliberately killed large numbers of civilians. Since the war, reliance on massive bombing of civilians has become the American normalcy in war.

And Americans wonder why some countries don't like them. But not to worry about it. Our news media will prevent us ever from hearing about it.
As I was writing all the above, a memory came back to me. I was runninig a camp for the Young Men's Hebrew Association. One of my counsellors was a man who, in 1945 at age 8 or so, survived a Nazi death camp. He was discovered by his sister who took him to Italy, then to a kibbutz in Israel in its early days. He was a very, very lucky guy. I came to know him well. But there was an oddity I have just remembered.

He had no bitterness toward Germans. All his bitterness and  hatreds were spent on arabs. And that has reflected the general tendency of Israeli thinking. That's why a normally compassionate and caring people are now treating Palestinians as they had been treated by the Naziis. We're all vulnerable to irrational and murderous hatreds. It seems to be a part of being human. And leading politicians of this world know how to capitalize on that.
Here's story you're not like to see in your daily paper.
Is the U.S. deliberately (and with cooperation from other countries) encouraging climate change as a means of genocide? That, quite likely, is true. You think Hitler was bad? We're heading into worse. We're  heading into unprecedented numbers of refugees, wars..... The oil companies encourage this out of sheer greed. But there are others who see it as a good way to reduce this world's overpopulation.

Rising temperatures and drought will produce starvation and death. It's happening now.

Will capitalism prevent this? Not a chance. It exists only to make money. That's why we have to bring capitalism under control. Certainly, capitalists will never bring themselves under control.
Here's a reminder that you won't learn nuthin' if you just read commercial media.
Christian churches have some thinking to do. They, especially the evangelical ones,  have always been willing to support some very questionable leaders. Hitler had strong support from German Christians. Billy Graham touted for Richard Nixon. Now Trump has a religious following.

Most churches prefer to stay away from political issues, and to tip-toe through the tulips. I guess that's why most of our churches prefer to be boring and irrelevant.
1. We are living in a time when most power is in the hands of a very small group of capitalists in the U.S., Canada, China, Russia, Britain. And they exercise that power with no sense of responibility to the rest of humanity.

2. They play on our racist attitudes. Thus the rise of a Trump - and a Bush and an Obama.

3. They have no sense of long term goals.

4. In the long term, we face spreading droughts, crop losses - and we are  using these to kill off the poorest people on this earth.

5. We are facing many wars as a result of this process. We are also facing the high possibility of our own destruction.

6. Our leading political parties are part of the problem. Indeed, I don't know of any party that is prepared to deal with the whole problem. The Charlottesville riot is just a taste of what's coming - and not just for the U.S. There's a worldwide rage of frustration with our leaders.

7. To add to the load, we are facing an employment crisis as automation spreads.
It's really time, more than time, to wake up and do some serious thinking and discussion about what is happening, and what is likely to happen.

Luckily, we have the Irving Chapel to encourage our thoughts with special music,  and the offer of fellowship in  the barn. That'll fix everything.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Words, Words, Words...

We use them every day without understanding them. Take the words Nazi and Fascist. We all agree they're bad. But I've never met anyone who understands what they mean. That's why I've known journalaists who, with straight faces, say that Hitler was a socialist. That's nonsense. The word socialist was in the name of his party - National Socialist Party. But Hitler was fiercely anti-socialist and procapitalist. Hitler was the leader of a fervently pro-capitalist party. Funny how our news media miss that. And western capitalists just loved him until 1939 - and some for several years after.
And Facism? Even scholars can't give that word a clear meaning. Mussolini and HItler were both capitalist dictators. Both served the interests of the leading capitalists of their countries. Both gave high status to the wealthy.
Oh, but Hitler's Naziism was the first to attempt to destroy a whole, social group in the Nazi holocaust of Jews......
Uh, no, actually. In that category, you will find France, Britain, Spain, Portugal  (and the United States) in their days of racist slaughter. (That are still going on). What do you think happened to the native peoples of Canada, the U.S. and Latin America? A major reason why George Washington led Americans in revolution was so he could expand the annihilation of native peoples in order to steal their land. Washington had a big stake in it. He was the largest slave owner in the U.S. He wanted more land. And he was also a land speculator - big time.
The killing of native people in Latin America, usually by  the U.S. or its allies, goes on to this day. (Our news media just don't pay much attention.)
Other western powers, notably Britain, did the same to  Africa, the middle east, and Asia. Actually, those western holocausts killed more people, far more, than Hitler's death camps.
In fact, if you look at the behaviours of Britain, the U.S., Spain, Canada, Portugal, The Netherlands, you will find everyone of them guilty of racist holocausts.  How would we react to a story of a Hitler or a Mussolini  starving a whole nation to death?
That's what the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are doing now in Yemen. And that one, alone, could exceed the Nazi Holocaust. Forty years ago, 200,000 of the Maya people of Guatemela, men,  women and children,   were murdered by the Guatemalan and American governments. It never even made the news. One of the dead was a lay missionary from New Brunswick. The Canadian government knew - and never said a word. Nor did the irving press, not even on the obituary page. That should tell you something about the integrity of the irving press.
This is the result of uncontrolled capitalism. We talk about fighting wars on the racist claim those 'other' people are evil. I'm sure some are. So are we. Now, count the dead, and tell me who's the most evil.
We are duplicating all the empires of the past. A key to justifying all those empires was racial contempt for the colonials. That contempt was carried on to a massive contempt for the British and American and other people by their own leaders. It was most notable, perhaps, in the attitudes of the British upper classes. The British people understood that. That's why, in the final election of the war, they voted Churchill out.
Our dukes and earls and lords are our major capitalists. (Not surprisingly, the old-time dukes and earls and lords weren't very bright, either. Just greedy.) They have interfered in every election in the western world for centuries. Now, they demand freedom from government controls. That's it. But not freedom for us peasantry.
They want freedom to pollute - and to demand billions of us if we ask them please to stop it. They want freedom to skip taxes - and to demand that we pay them That's what's payihg for American wars. Billionaires get richer. But the wars maket rest of us poorer because we have to pay for them. They demand the right to take over public services like health and education. And, in the U.S., the billionaires are winning.
It's not surprising that the U.S. is seeing far-right, even Nazi rallies. We're going to see them in Canada. Americans are lost because they're afraid to see the truth about who their enemies are. It's not the Jews, Muslims, Africans or Mexicans. But those are the targets. Of course.
The behaviour of Hitler and Mussolini was not unusual in history. it's been duplicated many times for centuries all over the world. Britain did it. Spain did it. France did it. And now the U.S. is doing it - both Democrats and Republicans.
So, in its feeble way, is that wimpy collection in New Brunswick that we call Liberals and Conservatives.
And they are are courtiers to the wealthy exactly as their spiritual fathers were to Hitler and Mussolini.
(In fact, not all that long ago, we had a brief period of fascist rule in New Brunswick. But that's another story.)
Hitler and Mussolini are still with us. They just changed their names to - well - Trump, Clinton, Bush, and others.
The Korea crisis is stilll very real. The big question is - why has the U.S. maintained such a powerful presence in South Korea, and in the air and on the seas of North Korea? In anybody's language those are provocative acts.  Why has China shown so much interest? (Because it's a 'friend' of North Korea? No. There are no friends between nations.)
No. The American interest is because South Korea would be a great launching pad for a nuclear war or a conventional one against China. And China knows that.
And why didn't the U.S. come to terms with a badly battered North Korea 60 years ago? Because it was still obsessed with conquering China.
With their agendas set by the very wealthy, governments are paying no attention to the major problems that face us. This planet is trunning out of food. Not in the distant future - now. And, yes, this world means us, too. But governments' only answer so far is to poison what productive land we have left with pesticides.
Nor do I see any significant progress on other climate problems. We haven't because the big money is in oil and other forms of destroying the planet. Look at what we are allowing big business to do all over the world. We have allowed the greediest and least public spirited people in the world dictate to our governments. And we repeatedly elect politicians who are, at best,  pimps for the wealthy.
Still happy you voted for Justin Trudeau?
I include this one because it will be getting a lot of attention - Trump as the racist. And I do this as a warning. Trump is not the problem. Let's not get hooked on that miserable wretch. He is not the problem. The Problem is a U.S. that is raised in admiration of the myth of what a wonderful people Americans are.
They aren't worse that others. But they certainly aren't better. They're a nation that abuses the world - and abuses itself quite dreadfully.
Its behaviour in the world is exactly like that of Hitler and Mussolini. And for the same greedy reasons as Hitler and Mussolini - to enrich the already rich.
Trump did not create that United States. It's a U.S. that has existed to serve the rich from its earliest days - mass murder, theft, and greed. And that makes it a lot like other countries. Trump did create that. He's a product of it. And voting for somebody else is not likely to help. There is, I think, much, much worse to come.
And keep an eye out for the same disease in Canada.
This is the reality of why the U.S. supports Europe.
The problem is not Trump. It's the American people. It's a capitalism (like ours) that thinks always of the greed it must have satisfied, and nothing of the population it must serve.
The irving press thought the reaction of Trump to Charlottesville was worth only a short glance. Here's what a more intelligent news service thought.
And here's a list of countries invaded by the U.S. since 1945  in its efforts to bring peace to the world.
Wake up and smell the roses.
Canada has, very foolishly and unthinkingly taken part in some of these wars. Canadians have died so that American billionaires could plunder. Watch for more, and possibly for many more.
And here are a couple of stories that tell a lot about our lying news media.
Well, this is a story I never knew about. The U.S. was prepared to nuke North Korea during the Korean war. North Korea had already lost a third of its population. And there was a Chinese army in it, so the bombing would have triggered a war with China. Indeed, it's hard to see how nukes could have been used without harming the South Koreans we were supposedly there to protect - and our own troops.
Even for his time, Truman was an enhusiastic killer of civilians. He was/is also the most popular president since Roosevelt.,
We are  in very, very dangerous times. Trump is a new Hitler, yes. But so was Reagan and both Bushes and others. And Canada has its own Hitlers and Mussolinis and their wealthy friends to worry about.

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14: Retardation as a product of wealth...

I have often seen letters in the irving press suggesting that we should elect more private business leaders to run out governments. The argument is that they have more understanding that politicians because they are accustomed to run large corporations.

Well, their dream has come true with the election of Donald Trump.

The reality, of course, is that it doesn't take brains to run a large corporation. What it takes is being born into families that own large corporations, or into a social milieu which is obsessive about piling up wealth.  Offhand, it is hard to think of any billionaire who has shown a superior intellect. (They are not notable for their writing of great books or for their thoughts on the world and its people. In fact, they tend to have educations below the level one would expect from people who have all academic doors open to them.)
It also helps to be devoid of any caring about the needs of  the general public - and to be willing to murder innocent people in the millions.

Africa has been  under the control of western corporation bosses for well over a  hundred years. And in that time, Africa has been a hell of starvation, mass murder, torture, slavery. Corporations destroyed whole societies, redrew the maps to create new countries which had nothing to so with native needs, but only a savage looting of those new countries. Today, Africa is a chaos - and there is not the slightest reason to believe it's going to get better. Greed rules. And millions die.

The same hell is being visited on Latin America, with enthusiastic support of the Canadian and American governments - all to keep up the profits of the very, very wealthy. And it's going to get much worse.

Both Africa and Latin America are starting to suffer from climate change. Tens of millions will have to flee - only to be blocked by our navies, or held in death camps like the ones we don't get much news about in France and Greece.

Yes, climate change is happening. Just about every scientist of any stature recognizes it's happening. But, to the best of my knowledge, all the oil barons are playing it down. That does not suggest to me that they are highly intelligent. And it's not an accident that a billionaire U.S. president should be encouraging more and worse climate change. Can you name for me any oil billionaire anywhere in the world who has become a leader in dealing with climate change?

No? Of course not. They are, all too commonly, marked by low intelligence and insatiable greed. And are all served by those politicians with no sense whatever of what humanity requires. (Yes, that includes both federal and provincial levels.)
And that takes us to nuclear weapons and North Korea.

I still remember that day when I was a very young child, and saw the newspaper headline with a photo of a mushroom-shaped cloud. It was Hiroshima. And we were all assured that this terrible power would be a deterrent to war.

Well, it hasn't been. If it were a deterrent, then everybody should have it - and we'd never have a war. In fact, we've  had nothing but war since Hiroshima. And every one of those wars has been caused by commercial ambition, almost all of them caused by American  (and Canadian and British) commercial ambition. In fact, when North Korea just recently used it as a deterrent, the U.S. promptly jumped to a threat of nuclear war. Apparently, you are allowed to used it as a deterrent, but only if you're an American government.

We are close to that final war. And the most aggressive people on his earth are billionaires of the U.S., Canada, Britain, Russia, China...

We cannot afford to allow that aggression to run loose. For the same reason, we cannot allow capitalism to run loose. Uncontrolled, capitalism is a terminally destructive force which will destroy us as it has Africa, the middle east, and Latin America. And climate change is the final force that will destroy us - as well as it will the capitalists.

Even now, the tragedy of the U.S. is not due to Trump. He is a product of a society that has lost all sense of direction, and is now fracturing itelf. Capitalism has effectively overrun American democracy and overrun any sense of social order.

We are watching the crash of American society, a crash induced by greed and corruption, and lack of consideration for the needs of the American people. Replacing Trump won't change anything. This is a process that has been going on for many, many years under both Republicans and Democrats.

The root of it is a capitalism that controls us instead of us controlling it. And New Brunswick is well down the same road. Such a capitalism will destroy us. The fact that it will also destroy the capitalists is pretty slim consolation.

In World War Two, we told our armed forces that we were fighting to create a more secure and peaceful world. With the United Nations, we seemed on the way to that. But the major powers, all of them, have crippled the UN so they can carry on war and plunder as usual. And we have done nothing about that.

In short, we have betrayed all that our veterans were told they were fighting for.
It's decision time. And well past decision time.
Even a good paper could be carrying propaganda. Here's an example of a blatant case in The Guardian.

The "White helmets" of Syria are essentially a propaganda organization for the Syrian rebels (most of them from ISIS and many not Syrian at all) who pretend to be rescuers for the wounded. From the start, their only function has been as anti-Assad propagandists. The American government also helped them with a very unusual and questionable academy award.

Here, The Guardian treats them as honest rescuers, and  hints at the reality only late in the story.

Americans, of course, would never, never kill rescue workers. Americans are famous for bombs that kill only enemy soldiers..
And climate change, as we know from our oil bosses, isn't happening. So there's no need to read this next story.

Trump has said me might use the military to "restore democracy" in Venezuela. Yes, the U.S. is famous for spreading democracy all over the world, especially in Latin America.

Come off it! The U.S. has supported and created dictatorships all over Latin America.
And here's a chilling reminder of the past.
I'm an historian who specializes in the history of Canada. And I can assure you that much (most) of what Canadians think they know about our history is bunk. It happens all over the world, not just in dictatorships. Perhaps the most spectacular offender is the United States which has lied to itself about its history from the start. That ignorance of their own history is an important factor in building support for Trump. (He was also hugely helped by evangelical Christians. His cabinet now meets for prayer every week with an evangelical preacher - though I see no sign of Christian impulse in anything its has done.)
This article gives a pretty balanced view of what is causing fear of a nuclear war in the Koreas. It's proposed solution, however (supplying the south with nuclear weapons), does not seem to be a very useful one.
I am finding contradictory statements about China's stance on the Tump-Kim Jong-un confrontation. The one that I hope is true is that China has notified North Korea that it will intervene if the U.S. attack North Korea first. It will not intervene if the North Korea. attacks  first.

This is an intelligent and helpful position in a world which doesn't see many intelligent and helpful positions. It puts a lid on any foolish war started by North Korea. Alas! it will not stop foolish war started by Trump.
And a sobering reminder that the rise of a small number to great wealth in hands of people who keep it all for themselves has been a great destroyer of societies in the past. And we're now in the late stages of it.

The wealthy accumulate (and hide) their wealth. That progressively impoverishes everyone else. And the society collapses. That's the history and future of, for example, New Brunswick.
This comment is about the Canadian government's habit of throwing billions of dollars as gifts to the wealthy - no matter how incompetent they are - while withholding money from people who need it.

Sorta reminds me of New Brunswick.
When New Brunswick's chief medical officer raised concerns about the use of pesticides in the province, she was fired on the spot. No reason was given. And the people of this province said not a damn word. Chemical sprayers are now free to poison us and our children and our grandchildren as long as they like. This is not a province marked by people of intellectual and moral courage.
I should write a column about how the wealthy really suffer from being overtaxed. I could probably sell it to the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Or, alternately, I could start a philanthropic society for starving billionaires, and so win a lifetime of free, honorary dinners at the chamber of commerce.
This is an interesting site. Essentially about medical issues, it puts them into a context with social issues.
Now, here's an interesting story from New York Times via Russia insider.
Here, I include a whole issue of Haarretz because it has far more coverage of the Charlottesville riot Than any other paper I have seen. In particular, Haaretz    picks ups on the role of neo-Naziis in the affair.

And open, Nazi role in this was prominent, so much so that Jews in Charlottesville hired private security firms to  protect their homes. Chalottesville was largely a product of the rise of Naziism in the U.S. - and notably so among supporters of Trump. Our press largely missed that. The Israeli press, understandably saw that immediately.
The purpose of government is to serve the people. It is almost unheard of for a government in Canada to do that. Almost of them, since 1867, have been in the service of the wealthy. Even confederation was accomplished to serve the interests of the wealthy in Canada and Britain. The concept of serving the people is quite absent in both the Liberal and Conservative parties. It still survives with the Greens and the NDP, but in both in quite inadequate form.

The wealthy have only one interest -making money for themselves. They have no interest whatever in the spread of poverty, the decreasing value of salaries, the looming chaos of climate change  - and no interest whatever in human life except, perhaps, in their own social circle.

For the rest of us, one reaction is to blame foreigners and to approve of killing them - a reaction which suits the wealthy just fine since it can be used to knock off their foreign competitors. That reaction includes "foreigners" who are treated as if they were foreigners though they have been in North Ameica for centuries. Thus the recent violence, largely against African-Americans, in the U.S. Watch for much more of this as American society melts down.

There is no industrial country that has treated its poor as shabbily as the United States has - though there are Canadians who would like to do so.  Watch for more from them, too, as they chip away at health care and education.

The Christian churches are no longer of much relevance in this world. Surveys in the U.S. show that observant Christians, especially the evangelical ones who support Trump, blame the poor for being poor. (They have no understanding, Christian or otherwise, of the impact of physical or mental illness or simply of childhood social environment in the creation of poverty.) And, certainly, they have shown almost no interest the issue of mass murder all over the world.

Christianity has become pretty much a dead letter except for those who think that getting dunked into a pool will guarantee them a spot in heaven.

Those political leaders who make a show of their Christian devotion (Trump and Bush spring to mind) are not heartening examples.

But Trump is not the cause of it all. We've been going in this direction long before Trump was even born. He is not the cause of social rot in the U.S. He's the product of it.

There are things we cannot do - and still survive. We cannot fight more wars That will inevitably lead to total destruction. We cannot create even more poverty without creating massive violence. We have to deal with climate change (and these isn't much time to deal with it.) We have to deal with world overpopulation - not to mention its companions - masses of refugees, and severe food shortage.

We are ignoring the things we must do. We are embracing the things we cannot do without destroying the world.

The answer should be obvious. But we don't look for the answer. We follow the lead of our billionaires who have never shown much intelligence.
Norbert Cunningham's commentary for today puts all the blame for the current crisis on the 'deranged' Trump and Jong-un. Nonsense. It would make far more sense to the put the blame 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Sermonette

A friend of my high school days was very, very religious. He belonged to the Pentecostal church and, after getting a degree he entered the Penecostal clergy to become a missionary in Congo where he would bring the savages to God.
Congo. That's the subject of a novel by Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness. It's not considered one of the hundred best novels in the English language.

Conrad spent some time there in the late 19th century after the European powers that had been conquering Africa generously gave Congo to the King of Belgium. And Conrad wrote of what he saw.

Congo was and is a land of magnificent resources. Many a billionaire was created by Congo. But none of them was ever a native of Congo. The Belgians proved to be perhaps the most vicious imperialists in the age of vicious imperialists that we still live in.

Conrad writes of the millions who were killed, tortured, or enslaved while digging up their own resources as gifts for the Europeans who, in return, sent them Bible stories. Heart of Darkness is the story of one of the most brutal periods of history.

And nothing has changed.

Though the Belgian influence has lessened, the brutality still goes on, and not just in Congo. I've been reading a sort of up to date version of Heart of Darkness. Conrad's novel was about Congo.  The new book is about mining in Latin America. It's by Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber; and it's titled "The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America". And it's all about Canadian big capitalism on that continent, companies like HudBay, Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, Nevsun,  and Tahoe Resources. All of them are owned, I'm sure, by respectable church goers.

And the Canadian governments have not been innocent onlookers. They have worked hard to discredit local protest against dreadfully low wages, highly destructive environmental damages, violence against protestors - and a discreet silence about the killing of protesters. No Canadian government has lifted a finger in the case of the murder of Raoul Leger - though they have all known about it. Indeed, the Canadian government has been a very active player in destroying democracies, and being a full partner of the mining companies. (That's why it never announced the murder of Raoul Leger of New Brunswick.
This book would a great gift to the special preachers at the Irving Chapel, and a fascinating topic for coffee and fellowship in 'the barn'.

And these Canadian mining companies operate all over the world. We are a major player in creating "Hearts of Darkness".

Makes ya wonder, don't it? Wouldn't it make more sense to send missionaries to the people who really need them?  You know,  the mining company executives. I think that's what Jesus would have done.

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11: Thinking....

Nobert Cunningham, in his daily commentary for the irving press, says on Thursday that our schools should be teaching children to think. That was a brave thing to suggest because, if they did think, nobody would buy his paper. (One of Thursday's big, world news stories in his paper is that a truck in Arkansas spilled it's load of frozen pizzas all over the road. Wow! Gotta think about that.)

In all my life in  education as student and teacher, I cannot think of any level at which I was taught to think.  To memorize, yes. But think - very rarely. And, when I tried to teach students to think, I could expect fireworks from angry parents and educational authorities. Many parents - most - wanted their children to think as they did - which was not thinking at all.

As a university professor, I tried to build learning to think into my courses. But it's not as easy as it might seem. Inevitably, I was often teaching students to think as I thought - but, like other people, what I thought was affected by my social outlook and values. It was by no means the truth carved in stone.)

We are not computers. What we think is shaped profoundly by our religious, political, economic views - and by our natural  wish to fit in with everybody else.
All of us are shaped by daily propaganda from our news media, by hatreds of other peoples for various reasons, and by a forgetfulness about our own, thoroughly unChristian greed and brutality in Canada and all over the world. And what comes out of reading and hearing all this is not thinking, but reaction.  The result is that we react with fears and hatreds. (Wasn't it terrible how those Muslims killed 3,000 Americans on 911. But when the Americans killed millions of innocent Muslims and refugeed tens of millions? Dum de dum.)

Some Christians will line up in front of hospitals to denounce abortion. Those same Christians really don't care our modern warfare deliberately targets civilians, including babies and pregnant mothers. (Certainly, I've never seen them protest about it.)  Today, for example, the U.S. is deliberately starving millions of civilians, including babies - especially babies - to death in Yemen. So how come the anti-abortion crowd doesn't protest that? How come Norbert Cunningham doesn't write a column on how Canadians should send food for the starving in Yemen?

I  taught high school history early in my career. One thing I taught was World War 2. Let's see now, suppose I had taught what I know to be true. 1. The U.S. did not join the war until 2 1/2 years after it started. Want to know why the delay?  2. The U.S., especially big business, supported Hitler in the 1930s and later, supplied him with money and equipment. Why? Two reasons. 1. It didn't give a damn about Britain or Canada. 2. It WANTED HITLER TO DEFEAT RUSSIA. It was afraid of Russian communism (or any form of socialism) spreading. 3.

The real interest of the U.S. in World War 2 was to add China to the American empire. This was a long-cherished dream of billionaires - the China market. It's interest in Europe didn't develop until the Soviets started beating the Naziis. Then the concern of the U.S. because limiting the Soviet expansion.

In fact, the whole American navy, from 1919 on, was designed for fighting in the Pacific. That's why it turned to aircraft carriers, to supply ships that could keep fighting ships at sea for longer periods, to fighting ships of very long  range.

After the war, the victorious powers did NOT spread democracy over the world. They all split up the nations of  Africa to loot them; and they usually established dictatorships. The U.S. also re-established dictatorship in The Phillipines.  And it maintained dictatorships in South America like Cuba and Haiti - and it also established them in what had been democracies like Guatemala.

Can you imagine the effect that would have on parents of high school children?
I did teach them that in university. But that wasn't teaching them to think. That was just teaching them what I thought. And I was always careful to make it clear that there was a difference between that and teaching them to think.

I tried to encourage them to think. I did it by getting them interested, and willing to look at issues with an open mind, by encouraging them to disagree with me. But even that falls short of teaching them how to think. I'm not at all sure there is any mechanism you can create to teach people to think.

We aren't computers. We can't be programmed to think. (We can programmed to react by, say, propaganda, or by our fear of thinking differently from everybody else.) We can only be encouraged to think by speaking about things openly, and by encouraging others to respond with their own ideas.

But to do that they need to be encouraged to think - encouraged by news media, encouraged by tolerance for their views, encouraged by teachers AND by parents.
And that will be tough in New Brunswick because this is a province dreadfully served by most of its news media,  and one in which people are afraid to have an opinion that is not exactly like everyone else's.

Tell you what Norbert, you wrote a fierce and angry column on how our provincial government is overspending on frills like education and health? How about writing one on how our governments HAVE to overspend because the very wealthy don't pay taxes. They hide their money in tax  havens. They also constantly whimper for tax forgiveness on things like millions of dollars worth land, and for handouts for various projects. They're allowed to buy crown land at bargain basement prices.

Who knows? That might start people thinking.

No. I guess not.  Much nicer to go the Irving Chapel where there is no danger one will ever have to think.
I'm not sure why the following story should be a story at all. Civilians have been the major targets in wars going back to World War Two, and rising spectacularly in the Korean War when 30% or North Korea's population was killed. That's the reality of modern war.
Most papers, but not the irving press, have noticed the sudden surge of Haitians crossing from the U.S. into Quebec. The federal government has had to create a    town to hold some 500 of them just inside the border. Similarly, Montreal's Olympic stadium has been turn into a huge camp for them.

Why are they fleeing the U.S.? Probably because of American racism. Why did they flee Haiti? Because it has been ruled by U.S. dictators most of the last hundred years. And the dictators have kept the Haitians in poverty, ignorance and wretchedness for the benefit of American capitalists. (Though I have not seen a news report that says that. Most of them blame the Haitian  earthquake of some years ago.

Reaching Quebec may not end their problems.  Quebec, like most of Canada, has an ugly record of racism.
The general response to the North Korean crisis is that the North Koreans are crazy.  Well, yeah, after all they're foreigners. But why are they crazy for wanting a nuclear bomb when the U.S. feels it quite proper to have the world's largest arsenal of them?

And consider another possibility. China cannot afford to allow the U.S. to conquer a country on the China border. How would Americans react if China sent an army of conquest to Mexico? This is no time to play power games.
And here's another story of the U.S. record

And why was all this killing done? It was for the usual reason - like the killing in the American revolution, the genocide of native peoples, the conquests in  Latin America, in The Philippines, even the U.S. civil war. These were all to benefit the wealthy of the time. (Yes. Even the civil war. It was NOT fought to free the slaves. Lincoln did not announce that until well after the war had started.)
Here's an interesting look at New Brunswick. (Sorry. I meant to say Borneo.)
The irving press is a big buddy to propaganda 'think-tanks" like Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. They also play a powerful role in U.S. politics spreading propaganda for their masters who pay them. I guess that's what Norbert Cunningham would call teaching people to think.
Unnoticed by most of our news media, the lavish apologies and promises of just a few years ago to our indigenous peoples have added up to ---nothing. What do the Liberal Party and Prime Minister Trudeau think about these issues? So far, they aren't thinking about them. It's more important to spread photos of Trudeau jogging.
Geegollywhiz. We should try to get this guy for pastor at the Irving Chapel.
The Duran is a  very, very extreme right-wing news site. It is often simply a propaganda house - something like the irving press, but much much higher in its range of coverage.   Anyway, this commentary in it makes a lot of sense.
The  western powers have been monstrously abusing Africa for centuries. That's what the slave trade was all about - and the British, French, Italian, Belgian, Spanish and German invasions killed many millions, enslaved millions, plundered the land, impovershed the people and that we hailed as glory of god's will, and the splendour of the European military who bravely murdered, tortured, and plundered Africa. "For Britons, never, never, never shall be slaves...."

No, indeed. The U.S. joined the parade early with the slave trade, and has now joined in the general plunder and killing. The benefits have all gone to the super-wealthy.  But be aware that they would just as happily kill, torture and rob you.
That's why today, Africa and the middle east are so unstable and in chaos. We created that. God bless America.
The greed of our upper business class has created a wildly unstable world that, if left under their control will destroy all of us - including the very wealthy.
If you want to learn what's going on in Israel, don't waste your time on any North American news medium. They are all very much under the thumb of the so-called "Israeli lobby", capable of putting enormous pressure to make sure that only the 'official' version of news comes out of Israel.

Though I was routinely a speaker for large, Jewish audiences in Montreal, I was singled out by the "Israeli lobby" to get cut off from speaking, and also fired from radio (to be replaced by an Ultra Israeli lobby supporter.)

No, if you want to know about Israel, read the Israeli "Haaretz".
When the arab country of Quatar wanted to found a newspaper that would move that country into the 21st century, it turned to a Canadian CBC journalist, Tony Burman. He led the building of a news system that was to be a model of intelligence, fairness, and honesty for the world.

And he succeeded. Of course, that automatically meant it would be looked down on by the western world.

All Jazeera has slipped somewhat since its founding. But, if not as strong as Haaretz, it's still far superior to the commercial press of most of the world.
And here's Al Jazeera's take on a film that has been praised all over the western world.

I haven't seen the film. But parts of this review sound reasonable to me. Dunkirk did not save Britain. Quite the contrary, it was at Dunkirk that Britain lost the war. Churchill's speech on carrying on the war from Canada or Australia was absurd. Dunkirk was the crash of Britain and of the British Empire.

It would be rescued by  no, not by the U.S. or Canada. It was rescued by Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. (No. It was not saved by the U.S. In fact, when the U.S. did enter the war, it did its best to help destroy the British Empire and to destroy Britain as a major power. That's why, in 1945, Britain effectively became a colony of the American Empire.)

Still, it might be a good film. We'll see. At the worst, it could be a reminder of how various parts of the world will see historical events quite differently.
Estimates are there are some 13,000 slaves in Britain. (Canadian and American jounalists haven't bothered to look in their own countries.) These are household slaves, sex slaves (many of themm children). Around the world there are uncounted millions of slaves, many of them kidnapped in the turmoil of our wars.
And here's some common sense that no western news medium would dare to deliver.

The world can look very different depending on where you are standing. That's why it can help to read Al Jazeera.
And then there's the CBC which Norbert Cunningham from his lofty  perch in irving press thinks is dreadfully inferior.        

Of course this can't be true. If it were, mr.  Irving would insist that his newspapers carry the story.
As a very unhappy footnote, it is quite possible that the U.S. is now making its final turn into fascism. And it's not just because of Trump. It's because capitalism requires fascism. Remember, the economic system that gave rise to Hitler and that supported him was capitalism. Ditto for Mussolini.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 9: If you want to be socially acceptable - don't think.

Here's a story that's a year old - one I missed at the time. In fact, It also connects with several stories at the bottom of the reading. It's a story of the absolute contempt the Irving family has for the people of this province - with a few examples of the Irving rip-offs which explain why New Brunswick government's can't balance their budgets.

Monday's paper is a prime example Irving contempt. It has no news whatever. The lead story is about hospital overcrowding. It's a story that has little useful information, no sense of anything to be done, but is grandly labelled EXCLUSIVE - as if anybody else would want it.

Then there's a story in adoration of a wealthy father (and his son) who are buying an old high school for renovation. And so it goes for page after page of non-news. This isn't a newspaper; it's a sleeping pill. Where is the (intelligent and honest) story about mining development in this province? Where is the story about how Irving (and other) funding makes it impossible for any party but the Liberals and Conservatives to win an election in this province? Where is the big story that we cannoit properly operate our hospitals or schools or universities because the very wealthy skip paying taxes? Where is the story about the health hazards in St. John because of you-know-who's pollution?

Then there's a commentary that looks useful, but isn't. It calls for more education aimed at specific job training to meet the needs of business. There's nothing wrong with that. But we also need far more people with training to think and to understand. This world won't last long without that. But all the commentator can see is the needs of big business.  (The great lesson for me in some fifty years of teaching is that teaching people to think is discouraged at all levels. We prefer to train robots.)

The Canada and World section has no news worth reading about Canada or the world - unless you really, really care That the mayor of Nashville has returned to work after her son died. The whole paper is designed to put the province into a stupor. And, in that respect, it's a great success.

The U.S. is in very, very serious political and economic trouble. Some leaders are trying to solve that problem with a world war. Greece has been destroyed by international bankers. The government of Ukraine is an illegal one controlled by international bankers and die-hard Naziis who have pretty much destroyed that country's economy - and the U.S. created it - and Canada has sent troops to the neighbourhood to fend off an invasion by Russia which, almost certainly, Russia has never planned. The real purpose of the Canadians is to be a provocation in the service of the U.S.

Trump is seriously thinking of war with North Korea - and guess who will be expected to contribute troops.  (And how come it's only American wars we send troops for now?) Europe is getting quite frightened by American behaviour, and much of it is looking to get away from American "protection". American foreign policies have been disastrous  since 1945, and especially since 2000. The result is that most of the middle east and Africa is in a hopeless chaos. Noticed any wise words (or any words at all) in the irving press about that?

No. These are newspaper designed to keep New Brunswick in complete ignorance. And, what a coincidence, the editor-in-chief is an Irving.
New Brunswick makes China look like a land of free speech and lively discussion.
Thanks to a reader, here's a full story of fake news in our time.

The same reader also pointed out that my count of countries which offer free, university education was a little short. I should have added Russia (for the undergraduate years), Austria and Belgium. And, as I read his note I remember the year I taught at a Dutch university. ALL students received a living income for their university years.

But not Canada or the U.S. we have to feed our very wealthy, first.
The big story in the world today was the developing crisis between the U.S. and North Korea. (Any use of nuclear weapons by either nation could turn into a world, nuclear war.)

It was obvious in 1945 that the world could not survive more use of nuclear weapons. But there has been no attempt by any government to put an end to them. So long as they exist, someday they will be used.
I am still not finding any helpful news about the violence in Venezuela.  I'm finding lots of propaganda. But no news. So here's a rough possibility.

Venezuela, historically, has been run by a small but very wealthy upper class - much like New Brunswick. Most people were very poor, and were kept poor. However, in the years following the Cuban revolution, Venezuela voters turned to socialism.

Living conditions improved enormously as the people of Venezuela got the benefits of the nation's vast oil reserves. The wealthy of Venezuela were not pleased. Nor were American capitalists pleased at this intrusion of socialism. And when its capitalists are not pleased, the U.S. has a long record of interfering.
Then, the world price of oil dropped dramatically. (That world price is not affected by the market, but more commonly by the oil bosses who see an advantage in it.) In the case of Venezuela, it made the country poor in quick order. And the poverty turned quickly to anger against the government.

Has the socialist government handled the situation badly? Yes.

Did the U.S. and the wealthy capitalists of Venezuela fan the flames of that anger? Did they help to create the mobs?

Do butterflies have wings?

And that, I think, is what is happening in Venezuela.

What next? I don't know. A strong possibility is a US military intervention that will be called a "peacekeeping force" may invade Venezuela. Canada may be asked to play a role - as it did when it got suckered into sending 'peacekeepers' to Haiti whose real job was to destroy democracy in that country. And, if asked, Justin will trip all over himself in his wish to obey.

Venezuela needs help for its people, not just for its wealthy.
David Suzuki used to appear twice a month in the iving press. But that ended some years ago. After all, he's just one of those mouthy scientists who don't understand the world as well as, say, the Atlantic Insistute of Market Studies does.
Our news media don't seem to mention the fact that the NAFTA trade deal gives business the right to pollute to its heart's content. And if we try to pass laws to protect ourselves, It can sue us for millions of dollars on the claim that our laws will reduce its profits. And the case is heard not by a national court but by a court owned by business.
A libertarian is a person who believes in liberty for the very wealthy at the expense of everybody else. They use think tanks like the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and newspapers like the irving press.

Incidentally, today's irving press has a gem from the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. It claims that raising the minimum wage would hurt employment. That's close to the 'thinking' of Norbert Cunningham - if you make the rich even richer, then we'll all get rich. Yes.

Gee. That must mean than lowering the minimum wage would create more jobs, and make us all richer. We could try that out by cutting the wages of all staff at the irving press.
And yes, "think tanks" like the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies flourish all over the world.
And here's a look at what us loving Christians are doing for the suffering all over the world.

If you want a real show, just wait until the refugees from climate change and starvation start coming.
I don't think the great minds at the irving press have noticed this story yet.
Trump has almost been destroyed by the Washington establishment and big business. At this rate, he cannot possibly survive his term. There is only one person who would be a superior president - Bernie Sanders. But there is no way the Washington establishment or big business will accept Sanders. As for the American people, they have been so long soaked in a propaganda image of what they and America are all about that they are nowhere close to seeing the reality.
(And I can assure you that the American news media will never support a Bernie Sanders.)
Large corporations just love to pay off university professors who write phony reports about how safe their products are. In my experience, and luckily, there are very, very few professors that will sell themselves like this. But these, not suprisingly, are the ones who get media coverage. All the honest ones, like David Suzuki, are dropped from the pages of the irving press.

In my early teaching and broadcasting years, I was approached by oil company pimps to write nice things about them. (And if I had, I might be a rich man today. Damn!)
I won't vouch for this article's estimate of the numbers killed by capitalism in Congo in the last 20 years. But I do know of the record of over a hundred years of murder, torture and abuse of the people of Congo. And the figure of recent deaths in this article is not an impossible one.
Another article by Suzuki that the irving press protected us from.  (The Canada&World section needed the space  for a real, world shocker - a woman in Toronto hit a dog.)
British Columbia is under pressure from oil companies to give them subsidiies to develop more oil fields in Canada. Fascinating how fearless, enteriprising, independent, big money corporations always want subisidies from the rest of us. They hate social programmes for the poor. But they just love them for the rich.
This next is a long one. Please bear with it.

We commonly have a false understanding of wars and what we did and what causes them and why. That happens because news media give us a simplistic account, and sometimes a lying one. It also happens because we always assume that our side was a good one, and that it was forced into war - as was the case with the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria......

It also happens because us humans like to fit in with mainstream thinking. In fact, we're afraid NOT to fit into it. But the wars against Napoleon did not occur simply because of the aggression of France. They were also cause by the aggression of England.  World War 1 did NOT happen because an archduke was murdered. And World War Two was NOT caused simply because of a Hitler turning Germans evil.

In fact, Hitler had good friends - on our side.....

Of course, it would be difficult for a school teacher to tell the truth about these wars. A problem schools have to deal with is that parents don't want the schools to teach children how to think. They want the schools to teach them to conform.
I learned that in my first year of teaching grade 7. I had taught my class some history that was true, but....... the principal called me into his office.

"Now, Mr. Decarie, we don't want to cause any disturbance, do we?  Of course not."