Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sticking my neck out.

The is just a short one. I've finished my packing with my computer the last item to be unplugged. But first - a thought that's been on my mind for a long time. It's a little dangerous as thoughts go. It's critical about how we recognize Nov. 11 Armistice Day, the rememberance of those who have served in the military. It's also critical of the Canadian Legion, Canada's organization  for veterans.
Some years ago, I appeared before a very, very political Canadian government committee.  It had been assembled in response to complaints from veterans about a film series from the National Film Board - "The Valour and the Horror".  Veterans were furious about it. The film showed the bombing of Germany, for example, when allied bombers deliberately targetted civilians in what can only be called terror bombing. They were also angry at the suggestion that Canadian troops murdered prisoners.
So they put the heat on the Harper government to conduct hearings. The hearings would show, of course, that Canadians never, ever did anything wrong; and they were as good as choir boys in church. So I volunteered to give testimony.
Murdering prisoners? EVERY army in world war 2 murdered prisoners on a grand scale, often by the millions. I spoke to a Canadian general who had seen German prisoners being marched over a bridge. He later saw their bodies floating down the river.
As for the deliberate, terror bombing of civilians, Every air force in World War 2 did at as a standard practice. Perhaps the leading pioneers of this were the British who conducted raids on defenceless Kurd villages in 1920. The Germans used it  in the Spanish Civil war of the 1930s. Everybody did it in World War 2. And the leading exponent of it was the RAF. Since the war, the U.S. has become far the biggest killer by such terror bombing in history.
None of this should be taken as a criticism of the veterans. It's a criticism of all us humans. But the Legion sees it as its role to proclaim that all Canadian military were and are without fault.  And it becomes much worse than that.
Every Nov. 11, we read and talk of nothing but how we owe it to our military to remember them and their sacrifices. So we should. But that is not all we remember. And the legion, of all organizations, owes it to those who served to remember WHY they died.
In World War 2, we were constantly told that this was a war aimed at bringing a permanent peace, equality, democracy  to the world. That was why the UN was formed. But the peace never happened.
The worst offender, by far, in creating wars has been the United States. Officially, it has invaded some 70 countries since 1945. In reality, counting drones, assassination squads, the number is higher. We have not criticized one of them. In fact, we have sent troops, at the request of the U.S., to wars that had nothing to do with us.
That's why Canadian died in Afghanistan. It had nothing to do with serving Canada. In fact, there is no evidence that AFghanistan had any connection with 9/11. (Almost all the known villains were from   those good friends of the U.S. in Saudi Arabia.)  We bombed and killed people in Libya who had nothing to do with us. For a time, we committed troops to Syria and now to Iraq. We have them on what could well be a suicide mission to Eastern Europe at the request of the U.S. None of this has anything to do with defending Canada. We have become an obedient colony doing what our imperial masters tell us to do.
On Nov. 11, we should hear about - and the Legion ( not to mention the clergy) -  should be eager to tell us about what we told of soldiers of World War Two they were dying for. I'm quite sure it was not so their grandchildren could fight wars for American oil billionaires.
We are now in an extremely dangerous situation. We have allowed ourselves to become a colony of the U.S. We have abandoned everything we said we fought for in World War Two. We have betrayed those who died for us. We are now going to be under increasing pressure to follow the U.S. with its extremely dangerous and murderous policies.
By all means, remember those who died. But while doing it, remember why they died. It was surely not to follow a nation that has come to bear a strong resemblance to all those things we fought against in World War Two.
It is particularly dangerous to do this for a mentally disturbed president.
And to the Legion, you owe that to those who went before you.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Jan.28: Our ignoring of the United Nations

This will probably be a little short as I face the horror of packing for a move.

We are into preparations for the last, possible stage of imperialism. In recent history (the last few hundred years), the world was ruled by European powers - notably Britain, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United States. All of them were murderous and exploitive of their colonies. Most of those empires ended after World War 2.

The British empire, in particular, was brought down by the U.S. It used World War Two, for example, to put Britain deep into debt, refusing to extend to it the aid it extended to other countries that had suffered in the war. And so it was that Britain, like Canada, Australia and New Zealand became a colony of the U.S.   And now, Britain, as an American colony, obediently fights American wars. (That's why it was in Iraq.) Already in control of South America and The Phillipines, and soon adding most of the middle east, the U.S. used new institutions like NATO to create American colonies all over Europe. (Supposedly, NATO is a defensive organization for Europe and North America. It isn't, and it never was. It's part of the American empire.)

We were not told about any of that in 1945. We were told there would be a new  world order dedicated to peace and international cooperation. It's central institution would be the United Nations.  But American corporation bosses were never fond of it. It could get in their way of making the whole world a collection of U.S. colonies. It could get in the way of the U.S. ruling the world. So the U.S., from 1950 or so on, increasingly was hostile to the UN, and disdainful of it. And now, Donald Trump has announced he will cut 40% off its financial support for the UN.

This comes very close to killing the organization and the kind of world that we were told we had fought for in World War Two. (Remember that next Remembrance Day.) And that's why scientists have moved the nuclear clock to within two and half minutes of midnight.

We needed the opposite of all this. In wars of the last few hundred years, capitalists have used them to advance their wealth. We are patriotic. We kill, and we die. And the nation-state is a wonderful  tool for that. Capitalists use their money to buy governments on the understanding that governments will go to war to benefit capitalists, and ordinary people will fight and die- to benefit the capitalists. That's why scientists have moved the nuclear clock to within 2 and a half minutes of midnight.

There's a lesson here. The lesson is that the nation-state has reached the end of its usefulness. The world needs cooperation - not threats from the Trumps of this world.

I  can't pretend to know how best to do that. Certainly, the nation-state as it is, controlled by the wealthiest 1 percent, is making the 1% richer, the rest of us poorer, and driving us into the final war. To create a one-nation world under a sort of UN is a nice thought but, oh, it's a very long-term one. (We've been working at it for some seventy years without getting anywhere.) So, for now, we need massive change to our democracies to end ownership of them by the very wealthy. We also need to reconsider our access to news.

The private news media, most of them,  have NEVER been honest. They have ALWAYS spread propaganda. We need to address that. We'll never have a democracy until we have honest information and an informed public.
And we have to address the weakest link of all in our political system - us. It was an educated Germany that produced Adolph Hitler. It was an educated United States that produced two, hopelessly unfitted people for the presidential nomination. There is very little reasoned or intelligent or open discussion of politics in any society. New Brunswick is by no means the only one like that.
The result is that political thinking, for most people, is simply an expression of anger and/or of prejudice.

And we can't afford that at two and half minutes to midnight.
Canadians beware. Trump will be putting the heat on to get colonies like Canada to play a bigger role in his imperial wars.
We get almost no news of Latin America. But after a century of domination by the U.S., South America is changing itself.
So far, most of the Canadian press has treated the US/Mexico wall as simply a political issue. It's actually much bigger than that.
Here's a story that hasn't made most of our news services. (take time, take lots of time to look at the picture.)
I don't entirely agree with this next one - but I certainly agree with part of it. We don't get much criticism of Canada. We should.
Haaretz has this opinon on Trump's refusal to accept Muslim refugees. I  have only one quarrel with it. It asks what would have happened if  countries had refused to accept European Jews in the Hitler years. We know what happened. Both Canada and the U.S. refused to accept them, a refusal that was not removed until well after the war. And what happened is that they were murdered by the millions.

Many Canadians might well have voted for a Trump - or a Hitler - in that period.
And now the horror of moving.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Three cheers for the irving press!

On Jan. 26, it included a column on the editorial page by Gwynne Dyer. I met Gwynne many, many years ago when we were both commentators on a CBC  radio show. It was obvious that he was one of the best in the business of analyzing military and foreign affairs. And based on the column I just read, he still is. And  he's recognized all over the world for the quality of his journalism.
Naturally, that means most Canadian newspapers have dropped him - and the irving press dropped him over a year ago. But there he was on yesterday's editorial page. And I hope this is a sign of a permanent return.
Yesterday, I (briefly) watched Trump on television. In a long speech, his statements were  mostly one-liners. There were no broad pictures, no statements of social values. Muslims have to be killed because they cut off people's hands. Well, for centuries, Christians have cut off heads, hanged people, murdered, crippled and starved millions of innocent people - the latter just in the past 70 years. Our closest Muslim ally, Saudi Arabia, cuts off hands every day.

Therefore, we should kill all Muslims overseas, and deport the ones who are in the U.S.

At the end, he called on God's blessing for his intentions. (The is no record to indicate that Trump has the slightest interest in Christianity or any other religion.)

What struck me the most was the brevity of his policy statements, and the lack of any general, philosophy of what a society should be. And that's when the obvious hit me.

Donald Trump is playing the only role he knows. He's back in his TV show, The Apprentice. And he's over and over reliving the scene in which he stormed into a contestant's presence to say, "You're fired."

His speeches are really a series of tweets. They reflect no general sense of values and, commonly, make no sense at all. For example, he talks much of what he'll do for the working class. But one of his first moves will be to cut off their health care. Nor will his taxing of Mexican-built cars so much to help American employment. The job losses of recent years have more to do with automation in factories than with Mexican-built cars.

Our news media have had little say about automation. But it has drastically cut employment- and will cut it much more in the next generation.  So far, corporations have had a free hand to deal with what is a major social problem. We urgently need to get the bloodsuckers out of the way, and deal with this in a humane and intelligent manner.

But Trump doesn't even recognize it's happening. He deals in the crisp, one-liners that are the popular image of the business executive. Results to look for?  - severe trade dislocations, a drift of many nations,  especially in Asia, to China, serious dislocation of economies and politics in Europe, a  strong possibility of violence in South America, severe damage to education and to access to education in the U.S. For Canada, it will mean openly becoming a colony again. It will also mean an insistence that Canada send more of its troops to die for the American Empire as their great-great-grandfathers died for the British Empire in South Africa. And depend on Justin Trudeau for nothing.

Leading a government is not at all the same as running a business. And it is nothing at all like delivering one-liners on TV. The whole world is in real trouble.
Nor is there anything to look for in the Democrats. Of all the developed nations in the world, the U.S. is the one with the worst record of social services - and one of the worst of regulating business. We have to get used to the idea that it was the failures of Bush and Obama that gave the stage to Trump.
Here's rather an important story that I didn't see in my irving newspaper. Strange.

This is even worse than it appears. We have, increasingly in recent years, been drifting into government interference with our basic freedoms. We  don't call it that - but the west is drifting steadily into naziism. In the U.S., the position of Muslims is dangerously close to that of Naziis toward Jews in the 1930s.
American governments, which happily kill innocent people by the millions, take a stern view of abortion because, you know, it's terribly unChristian. In fact, their view is so stern, they are enforcing it on much of the world.
New Brunswickers stopped worrying about pesticides like glyphosate (which kill people).  The government silenced a complaining doctor. Problem solved.
Canada sent troops over a century ago to fight for the British in South Africa, and 270 of them died there. Why? South Africa was no threat to Canada or Britain. But the Canadian newspapers (the anglo ones) loudly beat the drums for war.

That's because the war was fought so wealthy British could loot the gold of South Africa. And wealthy Canadians - who owned the newspapers -  depended on the support of wealthy British for much of their market.

Australia's history is much the same as Canada's. The only change since the Boer War is that both Australia and Canada depend on American markets so, of course, the U.S. expects them to fight its wars for its billionaires.
Climate change? Not to worry. Mr. Trump says it isn't happening. And if we don't believe Mr. Trump (and all our oil barons), who can we believe?
I could sympathize with those 'Christians' who oppose abortion if it were really because they oppose killing. But they don't. They cheer for our starvation, slaughter, abuse of millions all over the world. They even say  "God bless our bombers." "God bless our soldiers who killed over a million Iraqis - including babies."

They are prime examples of the hypocrisy that showed itself in Christianity almost from the start. You can get samples of that hypocrisy's most wimpy form every Saturday on the Faith Page of the irving press.

The reality is that whether doctors do them or not has no effect on the rate of abortions. Canadian newspapers of a century ago carried plenty of ads for "female weakness" medicines that were designed to encourage abortions. Even worse were those carried out by terrified women on themselves. But the anti-abortion crowd, like Trump, prefer one-liner solutions

Hint to the self-righteous. Think of something to deal with this that does not  involve simply pointing a self-righteous finger.
Here's a detailed look at what's been happening with the anti-pipeline protest at Standing Rock. This is the leading reality of American political life. The legal authorities automatically take the side of the wealthy.
The American news media are not noted for being critical of the wealthy and powerful in the U.S. The certainly weren't critical of Clinton. That doesn't mean that they were honest about her. It just means she represented the kind of power they were used to praising. The private news media have happily published lies and propaganda for over a century without breaking a sweat. It may well come to terms with Trump
And here's a story you won't find in most Canadian newspapers.

So, we readers in New Brunswick can expect some of our tax money to go to the irving press so we can get breaking news on who got fined for drunk driving and .
The real problem - or problems - are two.
1. Newsprint no longer makes sense for most news. We can get more of it, and more quickly, on radio, TV and by the internet. What a newspaper could do is to supply us with commentary so we can understand what the news means. (But that has not been a strong point of the irving press.)

2. It could provide us with important local news based on investigative reporting. But the irving press has never done that, either.
One of the outstanding concepts for the brave, new world that our soldiers had died to create after World War Two (so we were told) was an institution to prevent conflicts and to work together for peace. They called it The United Nations. But  American governments worked to destroy it almost from the start. Trump is just the latest to do so.

The current excuse is that the UN wants to recognize Palestine as a state.  But the Israeli lobby in the U.S.  won't allow that. Since 1948, Palestine has been a prison camp more than a state. The warden is Israel. it controls Palestine's (limited) economy. It keeps Palestine poor. It routinely invades Palestine, stealing its land, kicking its people out of their homes and destroying them, and annexing the land to Israel. And it intends to keep doing that.

The U.S. has always supported Israel no matter what. And why? It's not out of sympathy for Judaism. In fact, the U.S., like Canada, has a long record of fervent anti-semitism. No. It's because U.S. oil billionaires need to control the middle east. But almost every nation in the region hates the U.S. That's why it needs Israel as a friend - a very expensive friend.
I seldom quote Los Angeles Times editorials. But this one makes a lot of sense.
The western news media, almost all of them and almost always, refer to many of Syria's rebels as "moderate rebels". This means the ones who get funding and supplies from the U.S. In fact, those rebels are not moderate in any sense. And most are not even Syrians - so they can't be called rebels.
I long ago decided  that al jazeera (despite some bias) is one of the most underrated newspapers in the world. Here is a warning from it to be taken very, very seriously. Note, particularly, its comment on Jerusalem as a Jewish city.
I have mixed feelings about the following statement. It is true that the American 'left' has deserted the working class, just as it is true the Canadian 'left' has largely abandoned it. But I could wish the writer had given some indication of an alternative to this.
Oh, I know. This is from the Russia Insider. So we can't trust it like our own, dear irving press. But, well, it's been known for years (except to western news media) that the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government had nothing to do with Russia. It was planned, organized and financed by the U.S.)

(Thanks to a reader for forwarding this to me.)
And here is a model of commitment to medical care that no U.S. government  (not even Obama) has ever followed. The U.S. medical system is run on greed - greed of drug companies, of hospital owners..... And Canada has the usual suspects who want to do the same to us.)
And I always have something from Haaretz because it's the most honest and intelligent newspaper in the world. This one is on Jewish American support for Muslim immigration.
Life is chaos right now because I am moving on Jan. 30. I don't know whether I will have time to write something before then. Nor can I know how long it will take me to get organized in my new home. So please be patient.
There's a small, New Brunswick news sheet that appears monthly called The Brief. It has stories like how our forests are being destroyed by the people who own our newspapers  (which may explain why this story does not appear in our newspapers), how our police are being militarized with armoured cars, and an account of students rallying to demand free education. I know the feeling. I graduated with eight years of debt that it cost half of my teaching career to pay for.

You can get a brief look at it below...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Jan. 25: Thank Justin for tax havens for the rich.

This could not have been done without the connivance of Canadian governments.

Guess what this tells us about who really controls our governments.
A recent CBC broadcast featured a panei which discussed how Russia was an aggressive nation with a long history of invading other countries. I didn't know that. The only aggression I know of came in the Stalin regime, and then in the invasion of Afghanistan.  (The Russian intervention in Crimea was in reponse to the American overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine. That's hardly 'Russian aggression'.) The tone of the discussion was that Russia was danger to the world because of its aggressions. The panelists avoided the topic of American aggression.

The official list of American invasions since 1945 is 70. Almost all of these were illegal under international law. Uncounted millions have been killed. Tens of millions are refugees, and more are starving.  (The term invasion, apparently unknown to the panelists, includes drone bombings, assassination squads.... When the U.S. 'freed' Haiti, it was actually invading it to depose and elected leader that U.S. business didn't like.)

In fact, Canada has more aggressions since 1945 than Russia has. Canada has troops taking part in the war against the Syrian government. Theoretically, they are just training Syrian rebels. That's not quite true - but it doesn't matter. Canada has no legal right to have troops in Syria. And, anyway, they have been exchanging fire. Canada, illegally, had fighter bombers in Libya.  Canada's 'peacekeepers' in Cuba were a fraud. In reality, they were there to make the American overthrow of the elected president look like peacekeeping. Canada had troops in Afghanistan.  Canada sold armoured cars to Saudi Arabia even though that was against Canadian law. And we're going to see much more of this.
Why do we do this? Because the U.S. tells us to. And Canada is a colony of the American empire just as, in the Boer War, Canada was a colony of the British Empire. We fought in the Boer War to make British wealthy wealthier. Now we fight to make the American wealthy wealthier.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson saw this coming back in the 1950s. He saw Canada would be fighting wars, and dying, for an aggressive U.S. That's why he tried to rebuild the Canadian military as a peacekeeping force. But the prime ministers since him have been increasingly weak. And the weakest is Justin Trudeau. Note how he is now clapping hands for Trump's dumping of the environment to build a pipeline. He's Trump's parrot. Squawk - ' a pipeline will create jobs.'

Canada has allowed itself to become tied to the most aggressive nation in history. O Canada, we shall not be standing on guard for thee. The last time we did that was when the U.S. sponsored attacks on Canada (the Fenian raids) just after the American civil war.
Trump is also going to crack down on the fake news that appears in places like Facebook and Youtube. Good idea - except that most of the fake news appears in government handouts and in our private news media. We're in trouble when governments decide what news is real and what news fake.
Democracy is broken - and not just in the U.S. It's broken almost  everywhere.
Trump is the man who was going to serve the American working class. Remember?
Seymour Hersh is an oustanding journalist with a long record of honesty and courage - in a field that commonly has neither. And he knows where the real fake news comes from.
Where is Trump leading the U.S.? Almost certainly to violence.
Here's an idea that sounds far-fetched. But it may be essential to our survival.
In New Brunswick, as in most of the world, a forest is just something to be destroyed for quick profit. And there is a quick profit. But that is not the only consequence.
Almost all the news I found today is about Trump. There's no doubt that Trump is a living symbol of the horrors George Orwell forecast would come. But it's not just Trump. Much the same sort of thing was happening under Bush and Obama and even earlier - and it would have happened under Clinton. Much the same sort of thing is happening all over the western world - including Canada.

Replacing Trump would not be any great improvement. He is just the latest, diseased face of a decaying society. We need to learn that making money is not the highest aim of human life. And making it so will destroy human life.
The U.S. and Canada have been sending troops to Eastern Europe - a move that makes no sense to me,  It is highly provocative, and has no use whatever for any defence of anything. Here's an article about it.
Here's an intelligent look at what 'fake' news is - and who uses it.
Oh, the singer, Madonna, has been banned from a Texas radio station because she's 'unAmerican'. (She was publicly critical of Trump.) The station manager said it was a 'matter of patriotism' to ban her.  (That's not unusual. Managers of private radio stations are not among the great thinkers of this world.)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Jan. 23: I couldn't escape Trump today.

The Guardian had much of little to say about Trump. This difficulty may continue for a time because Trump has no  political philosophy. EVen before he got elected, he was backing off from some of this promises.  Will he move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Don't bet on it. He's already changing his mind. What does he think the average American needs? Well, it could be whatever the average American wants at the time Trump is speaking.

He'll give people a reality TV show - because that's what he knows how to do.  The only human need he understands is getting a job. The U.S. has had a long series of presidents with no sense whatever of what human needs had to be met. Trump takes it a step further with, in effect, throwing candy to the mob.

There is no other theme to Trump's victory, no objective to his presidency - except to make most people notice him and like  him. And the only way he knows how to do is to entertain them.
Meanwhile, half a million Syrians are dead - to benefit whom? Eleven million are refugees with little or no access to housing, jobs, food or schooling. This was caused by U.S. interference in a local uprising, and U.S. supplies of money and weapons to terrorists (who the U.S. refers to as 'rebels'.)
The U.S. started and encouraged that civil war. The best news now is that it is closed out of the peace negotiations.
I include the following only because it is so naive. The U.S. has given no sign of moving to the left - or even understanding of what 'the left' means. If anything, it understands that the left is 'unamerican' - whatever that means. Unamerican is anything the wealthy who control the country dislike. Taxing the rich is unamerican. Murdering, refugeeing, starving  people by the millions is not.
Here's a story about Trump's inauguration that did not appear in most news media. And I doubt whether it was so accidental as this story suggests.
The following item is long - but worth every minute of the time it takes to read it. And it may sound overdone. But it's not overdone. Trump says that Americans defend other countries, but don't defend their own borders. That is stunningly silly.

Far from defending other countries,  the U.S. has done nothing but invade them for the last seventy years. And in that time, nobody has attacked American borders.

Trump's statement might sound good on reality TV. It has no connection with reality life.

And calling on God to bless the United States? What possible reason would God have to bless the United States over other countries? Trump is the sort who might believe that God is white, male, and has a wig.
But the worst part is that for millions of Americans, Trump was talking common sense.
I was not impressed by the various women's marches. They really added nothing to the debate over political purpose in the U.S. - and they argued on much the same level that Trump did.

I also agree that the women's support for Hillary Clinton was absurd. She has done nothinig for anyone's rights.
This next one is a book review. It's important because it's a dose of reality about war, and emprires, and  racism, and cruelty - and Winston Churchill. And the U.S. is, of course,  simply the last of centuries of western empires to inflict dreadful suffering on billions of people. And Winston Churchill, who first made me fascinated with history with his "History of the English-Speaking Peoples", was a prime example of racism, brutality, and indifference even to the suffering of the British people.
And if you think it's only British and American empires that are destructive, take this look at the Canadian empire.
What I have not found so far is any analysis of why Trump wants good relations with Russia. Like most of his promises, this comes as barely a tweet with no explanation. But the explanation is surely obvious.

American corporations want a war with China. Within a generation, China could be the world's dominant economy. American corporations don't want that to happen. China is now on good terms with Russia - and the U.S., even with allies, probably cannot beat both China and Russia. Remember, it was Russia that won world war 2 in Europe. Germany could not beat back Britain, the U.S., Canada, the Free French because 90% of its military was tied up by Russia. And Germany had lots of European help in fighting Russia. Germany lost at least 5 million dead, and killed over 20 millions Soviet soldiers and civilians. No American government could possibly survive losses on that scale.

And to fight China at the same time? Out of the question. The China/Russia alliance has to be broken. That, I'm quite sure, is why Trump wants good relations with Russia - though I'm not at all sure it's a sane choice.
The U.S. would suffer prohibitive losses in a war with China. And the war would almost certainly  go nuclear - with results that would be nothing like the relatively mild one of Hiroshima.

We're playing, here, with the most severe insanity of greed.
The following item is about propaganda that is dished out by the BBC. It's true enough. But tame stuff compared  to the propaganda and outright lies of almost all North American news media.
Relax, patriots. Torture is coming back into style.  When Naziis and Japanese did it, they were hanged as criminals. When Americans do it, they're patriots and heroes, just like those air crews that kill civilians by the millions.
Oh, a small story, largely unkown in this part of the woods because the irving press has not reported it. In Israel, the police have been questioning Netanyahu for weeks on suspicion of high corruption. And now, it's more than a suspicion. But the irving press still hasn't mentioned it.  In fairness, they needed the space for some really big story - llke how a fast food oulet in Moncton has moved, And big headline story on how the leader of the provincial opposition is learning French.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Jan. 21: No. I didn't watch Trump's inauguration.

There was no need to. Some years ago, I saw a video of Hitler's inauguration. Why repeat myself?

Is it an exaggeration to compare Trump to Hitler? No. Hitler rose to power on fear and anger, and he focussed it on Jews, Gypsies, gays. There's nothing new in Trump except for his willingness to talk to Russia. But I suspect the kind of talk he has in mind won't help in the long run. American business has very little time to establish the world dominance it has been seeking for over a century. But fighting both Russia and China at the same time is not really a very practical idea. Enter Trump.

Russia and China share a long border. And they are not, historically friends. So - Trump   makes nice with Russia (for now) to defeat China. And there's only one, weak link in that chain of logic. Putin is nobody's fool.

Clinton's behaviour and policy would have been only superficially different. Like Trump, she is devoted to American conquest of the world. But she probably wants a direct and shorter approach to it - the policy that both Bush and Obama represented.

The mistake that is Trump is one that began a long, long time ago with the destruction of the native peoples, the invasions of South America, then The Phillipines and, after 1945, the growing hunger for world power and dominance by American corporations.

As for the killing of civilians, especially by bombing, that is something that began with all countries from the earliest airplanes. Our news media highlight the dreadful bombing of Aleeppo civilians by Russians. In fact, it's pretty pale stuff compared to the bombing of the civilians of Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and to drone bombing - all by the U.S.  That nice Mr. Obama has been one of the great killer-bombers of history.
I came across an item on youtube that, unintentionally, tells us a lot about the image Americans have of themselves and their past. It's about the wild west, where men were men, and carried a pair of six-guns, and wore vest chaps as they roamed the plains.

Actually, none of that ever happened.

Cowboying was a lousy, low-paying job. So cowboys seldom wore fancy outfits. They wore anything they could find among other people's castaways.
As for the showdown at nigh noon and the quick draw, they never happened. The quick-draw duel was invented for the movies, (and the first actor to use it was a Canadian from Quebec.) In fact, shooting of any kind was rare. It was forbidden to wear a gun in any town - and that rule was enforced. Contrary to the stories, gunfights were almost unheard of - and shootings were far less common than they are in most of the U.S. today.

A  large number of cowboys were Mexican. Of course. The lived on their traditional land, the land that the U.S. had stolen when it invaded Mexico. In fact, it was Mexicans who had to teach American cowboys how to raise cows.
And a great many of the cowboys were African-American. (They seldom show that in the movies.) Texas had been a slave state, so when it lost in the civil war, its slaves were freed. And, like freed slaves in the rest of the U.S., they could get only  the worst-paid and most miserable jobs.

In fact, relatively few   cowboys were Americans of any sort. Large numbers of them were immigrants from Europe who, like the freed slaves had to accept low paying jobs.

It was nothing like the John Wayne movies. But those movies have been used to project the qualities that have 'made American great'. Trump is reaching out to those people who believe in movie images, and imagine themselves strollin' down the dusty street, a gun on each hip.
Many nations, probably most, have images of themselves that are based on false notions of their history. The British Empire was not glorious. It was theft and murder on a scale unseen before in the world. To get from "Sea to shining sea", Americans had to murder (starve, infect) hundreds of thousands of native peoples. (I have trouble imagining any god blessing that.)

This gives us nationalisms that are based on myths. And we seem to be heading into an age of pronounced nationalism.
And, as we know, climate change isn't happening.

Thank your local oil baron and most of your news media for not bothering with this nonsense about climate change.
It's important to remember that the Democrats of the U.S. are not (if at all) very different from the Republicans. It all comes down to two parties owned by billionaires.
I don't exaggerate when I talk about the corruption and propaganda in most of our news media. I must give credit where credit is due, though. The irving press often avoids lying by saying nothing at all worth reading.
Here is a useful corrective for anyone who still thinks that the Obama regime was one of good intentions, and honest and open dealing.  (And if you think, as our news media say, that Russia invaded Ukraine, note John Kerry's one-liner on that subject.)
Most of our news media have praised Obama. In fact, Obama was another eight years of Bushism.  Trump was a terrible choice - but the reality is that the U.S. has had nothing but terrible choices to make for many years.
Most of the news I can find is heavily on Trump, and is critical of him. I don't think the fault is entirely Trump's. American politics have been corrupt and tightly controlled by the wealthy all my life. The U.S. has NO alternative parties.
I hope it  has another election some day, a real, democratic one. But I am not confident it will.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Jan 19: lots and lots of stuff that wasn't in your news

Readers outside New Brunswick won't understand the pain of this. In today's Irving press, among the front page stories are 1. a man driving his truck through the ice crashed into shallow water. 2. A local man who gave teen age girls gifts and cash for sex served 20 months. That page is continued on page 2. On page 3, a man got jail time for assaulting a girl in her early teens. And a man has been arrested for alleged threats to our premier. then there's even more stories from the court. Then there's a whole page of pictures of young men on a curling rink. I have no idea why.

This is followed by an editorial on one of the great questions of our time. Do we need laws on our roads? No, says the editorial writer. We need to pay more attention to our road safety. Who needs traffic laws? Right? Aristotle couldn't have said it better. Norbert Cunningham's column says much the same.
On the commentary page, we have a commentary about health care in a province some 800 miles away - in case, I suppose, we want to drive 800 miles and back for a medical appointment.

In Canada&World, the lead story is that prime minister Trudeau made secret stops when he visited this province. For example - this is serious,  now - he once went to the washroom. (The news YOU need to know.)  The section also has word of the court cases for prison leave and for murder that are happening two thousand and more miles from here, and have nothing to do with us.

The irving press runs on the cheap and trivial. And it runs on a sort of reverse propaganda by NOT  telling us much of importance about the province and the city we live in.  It's a newspaper designed to keep us in ignorance of what's happening by avoiding real news and serving up cheap thrills. It reminds me of a scandal sheet headline I once saw in a supermarket scandal rag- "Dope-crazed preacher attacks six-year-old boy"
Essentially, its purpose is to keep us ignorant of what's happening in the world and, often, to do it with the cheapest sort of sensationalism. And that is true, to varying degrees, of all major North American newspapers. In that respect, it's similar those awful hollywood scandal mags and that dreadful one that gushes about the Royal family and how terribly cute Prince George is.

There are crises facing us - the impact of tax havens on our lives, for example, the increasing power of corporations over whole nations and national governments, the dreadful slowness of action on climate change, the increase in poverty  (which is worsening),  the endless string of wars, the assumed right of the U.S. to attack countries with no reason (except, sometimes, racial and religious bigotry), the determined effort to make democracy irrelevant by privatizing everything.

Most notable is the lack of information about human needs. The Liberals, Conservative, Democrats, Repulicans all concentrate on economics, usually for the benefit of business. But a society is made up not of money but of people. The major role of a political party should be to determine and serve the needs of people, all of us. Yes, you need money for that. But it's the people who should come first in the planning. Instead, and one sees this all the time in the irving press, the emphasis is the money - often on the absurd idea that if you make the rich even richer, then the money will trickle down to all of us. (as in using tax money to build an entertainment centre.)

It won't trickle down. It never has. We are following the path of Rome in its declining years, as the wealthy got all the money, and as the poor (the mob) were left to beg and to starve, to die, and to be buried in their thousands in great pits around the city - pits that a researcher described as being full of some thick and malodorous fluid.
The following is included just for laughs. As our oil billionaires assure us, there is no such thing as climate change. And, like, I mean, people like oil billionaires know things. I mean, if those scientists are so smart, how come they aren't billionaires? Right?
And one that needs no comment. But you'll never see it in the irving press.
In Latin America, it a dangerous business to be an environmentalist. They are murdered by illegal exploiters of the land - and by major corporations owned by the most respectable people, including, probably, Canadian companies.
I don't want to harp on the subject. But it's rather an important one - though not important enough to make the pages of the irving press.

Our oil billionaires don't accept this. And that takes quite a combination of greed and stupidity.
In the U.S., possibly in Canada, patriotism is the highest form of virtue. That makes it dangerous. Patriotism is what drove Americans to believe it was okay to kill Vietnamese, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, in fact many, many more than that over the last centuries and now even none of those people were any threat to the U.S. And the soldiers who went to murder people they knew nothing about were heroes. Yes, they were. Patriotism makes killers and international thieves out of us.

It trumps religious beliefs, moral ones.... Nothing scares me more than a patriot talking with hand on heart.
This one is a gem. Trump's choice as Pentagon Chief in his government is a general who thinks Russia and China and Iran are dangerous aggressors. In fact, Iran has not attacked anybody (except, with the approval of the Syria government) Jihadists. China has taken over Tibet - that's it for some hundreds of years in which the U.S. has been constantly aggressive. Russia has attacked Afghanistan.  And, with the approval of the Syrian government, Jihadists.
In that time, the U.S. has attacked almost everybody -  including Iran which did not in any way threaten it. The attack was to let American and British oil barons take over Iran and destroy its democracy.

(I guess the general is a patriot.)
Countercurrents is not a site for news. It's for analysis of the news, for commentary that helps us to  understand the news. And it's the best source I have found.
This is the thinking of the wealthy of what it is we need - and deserve. By her reasoning, we should not have public schools They should all be privatized.  This is not at all unusual thinking in her social class - which is also the class that most avoids paying taxes.
Seal Team Six is a part of the American military that specialized in assassinations - usually under illegal conditions. They are killers. They are trained to enjoy killing. That makes them heroes. And patriots.
Despite a long wait, the U.S. government has yet to produce proof of Russian hacking or interference in the election. Funny the irving press hasn't mentioned that.
Here's an issue I had not understood until I read this article. (It hasn't even been noticed by our provincial press.) Very large numbers of people in India are facing starvation and death because of demonitization of their money. (In short, their money, regular issue paper money for India, has been declared worthless by the government that issued it. And this may well extend to other countries.
Once more, as I read this story, i thought of the Palestinian student who sat in my office crushed by the thought he had to return to a Palestine where there was no hope, where Israel routinely stole land and bulldozed houses.
It doesn't make our news media much, though.
Here's more - which also has not appeared in our provincial press.

The news we get of Israel in our news media is heavily influenced by the "Israeli lobby" a group of prominent Jews in the U.S. and Canada who consider any criticism of Israel to be anti-semitic. That's why we don't get much news about Netanyahu's corruption and cruelty toward Palestinians. If you want the full story on Israel, you have to go to the Israeli newspaper, el Haaretz.

In fact, a great many western Jews are very much in disagreement with what Israel has become, and how it has largely betrayed The Talmud and The Torah. (The writings of the law and the prophets.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jan. 17: re Trump - a promise

I shall try to avoid mentioning Donald Trump as much as I can.

It's going to be tough. The news media all over the world are obsessed with him. But the reality is that Donald Trump is not the issue.

Yes, he's an egoist. Yes, he makes big promises, then changes his mind. Yes, what he stands for is vague. Yes, much of what he says will not work. And, yes, he has a funny wig. But he doesn't matter.

Donald Trump doesn't matter. The problems of the U.S. are profound. There is high unemployment - and taxing cars from Mexico will not make much of a dent in that. There is a high rate of poverty. We are in great danger of a nuclear war. The U.S. government is owned and controlled by a handful of billionaires. Military spending is highly corrupt. Police are killing citizens at the highest rate of any country in the world. The prison system is the biggest in the world, is ineffective, and privatization has made it far, far worse. The country is dangerously divided by 'race' and religion. Public education is a disaster scene. University education is out of reach economically for most. The U.S. is the most aggressive and murderous nation in the world. Health care, even with an overpriced Obamacare system, is still out of reach of millions. Trump has no policies to deal with most of this - just one-liners.

Nor did Clinton give any sign of policies to deal with these problems. In fact, she was a leading member in government who played a major role in bringing the U.S. so low. With Clinton or with Trump, the U.S. is a social and political disaster area.

The head of the U.S. spy service (and secret war organizer), the CIA, has recently publicly criticized Trump for not having an understanding of the "Russian threat". Well, for openers, there's something seriously wrong when a when a public employee of the government can get away with publicly criticizing the president. If he gets away with that, the U.S. system of government begins (or, rather, continues) to collapse.

(Not to worry, though. If the head of the CIA gets fired for this, I'm sure he'll be looked after by the billionaires who put him up to it.)

And it gets worse. Parayzed by a lack of any serious political thought or awareness, the American people are unaware of any alternative to the whirlpool of corruption and of rule by oligarchy that they live in   - and further handicapped by an excessive and wildly exaggerated sense of patriotism - they have almost no sense of what the options are.

We are watching the collapse of the political and social system of the  United States - and we have been watching it for many years under every government since the 1970s, at least. For all his ego and bluster, Trump is just one more of a long series of disasters.

Will it lead to violence? It already has for some time with high levels of violence in the U.S., and very high ones indeed in places like Vietnam, AFghanistan, Iraq... And, at present, it is impossible to see that getting anything but worse.
In a bizarre story, Obama is moving troops  (perhaps four thousand) to Ukraine to contain Russian aggression.

What Russian aggression? Against whom?

Ukraine had a legally elected government. It was overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup. Russia got involved because the new Ukraine cut Russia off from its only major naval base. And because that part of Ukraine had a largely Russian population that did not support the coup. Otherwise, Russia has not threatened or intervened in Ukraine at all.

The Russian government is not made up of angels. But it's not the Russian government that has been building nuclear bases around Russia and China. And the Russian government is not patrolling American coasts as the U.S. is doing to  Russia and China. And when it comes to aggression, the world champ for over seventy years has been the U.S.

And the U.S. is going to "deter" Russia from aggression by sending in four thousand troops?

That would not deter anything. Hitler invaded Russia with the biggest invasion force in history  - some three million troops -   and got creamed. By the end, they had lost five million, just counting those Germans who were made prisoners. No. I don't think a few thousand troops would be a deterrent. And Obama must know that.

As well, the U.S. public would never accept the massive casualties of a conventional war with Russia. No. Those troops are not a deterrent. They're an irritant. Like the Canadian troops in the region, they are lambs for the slaughter.
Any such war would have to be nuclear.

In this case, certainly, Trump is showing more intelligence than Obama - or the chief of the CIA.
This one is about Canada.

These are the kind of people who now run the U.S. They are the oligarchy that rule - and that own almost all the news media. It's time for Canadians, too, to do some thinking about who really governs this country.
A reader sent me the following item.  It's a very moderate statement to the effect that capitalism as it is now practiced is leading us  into a world crisis.
This next one, from the same reader, takes a broad look at the Davos Economic Forum - planning for the economic future. The members who speak in this are often highly biased, and some are not people who I would think of as authorities. But what is interesting is their views of the economic directions are are (or might be) going in.
And the next two are from the same reader. (My, some people make life easy for me.)
Canada is not the only country in which a couple of people have most of the wealth. It's a pattern we're seeing all over the world. Nor should it be a surprise. This is a natural product of the greed that capitalism is based on. And, in this, we are living through one of the great changes of history - and one with terrifying consequences if we don't get control of it.

(While there is no doubt The Guardian is weakening. It still has some of the best opinion columnists in commercial journalism.)
This next item is true about Obama - but too kind. To an important degree, the rise of Trump was a reaction to sixteen years of Bush - and Obama.

But don't worry.  Our oil billionaires say that none of this is happening. And, I mean, they would know.
I don't usually agree with articles by Marxists because they see marxism as a political system - and that's not quite what it's about. Nor has there ever been a marxist country - no, not even Russia or China. But this writer's focus is on the failures of Obama - and I think those are far, far too often ignored.
More on those U.S. troops being sent up to the Russian border. The story is that they are there to deter Russian aggression in Crimea. In fact - and as this article says - there has been no Russian aggression in Crimea.  All this began with blatant American interference in Ukraine.

Some thousands of U.S. troops are not going to deter anything. What they can do is act as a provocation that would trigger a nuclear war. And that's why they're there - along with Canadians.

Heroes serving their countries.  Right.
When it comes to brutality, exploitation and destruction, Canadian companies, especially mining companies, take a back seat to nobody. Funny how it never makes Canadian news media.
We hear a lot of talk about which Candian universities are the best as teachinig institutions. In fact, there is no best. Most university professors have no training whatever in teaching - and it shows in the courses and programmes they design. Now, the business world is moving in to make it worse. They want universities to be run as if they were commercial corporations.
And now, a kind word for Donald Trump. And a big reason why the warhawks hate him.
The U.S. official figure for deaths in Yemen is 10,000. Considering the thousands of American bombs dropped on that country, the blockade of all food and medicine, the starvation that existed before the war began, I'm quite sure that figure is a lie. - like the lies we get for the numbers killed by drones.
Israeli government leader, Netanyahu is in serious trouble - though most of our news media haven't bothered to mention it.
And a side of Jewish life in Israel we don't normally see.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jan. 15:: facing reality.

Sorry for missing  yesterday. I've been up to my ears in packing for a move.
I'm also puzzled about comments. I haven't had any for almost a month. I think my computer has problems - but doesn't talk much about them.
First, a quick summary of what's happening in the world.

Despite what our news media tell us, the U.S. wants a war. That's true of both the Democrats and the Republicans. They want a big war to c onquer the world. There's nothing surprising about that.

The U.S. is a true child of Britain. From the start, it saw the rest of the world as a place to exploited for big business, and it's people as inferior. So, just as Britain had invaded and enslaved India, China and others, American big business invaded and enslaved South America, The Phillipines, the Carribean Islands,
The first half of the twentieth century was devoted to knocking out Britain as a imperial competitor. That's why Truman told the British NOT to 'liberate' Hong Kong in 1945. That's why the Marshall Plan, which was created after the war to help Europe rebuild, did not include Britain. That's why the U.S. was so eager to take on the Vietnamese when the French gave up on their old colony of French Indo-China.

Imperialism has been the dominant theme of U.S. history from its  earliest days. That's why, since 1776, the U.S. has been the world's most warlike country. (Most counts put American wars since 1776 at about 200. But many, many  of the American wars did not officially happen. Wars in South America, for example, were often fought by hired thugs. As well, the U.S. commonly goes to war without bothering to declare war. The drone bombing in Africa, Pakistan, and other places is not war in the eyes of U.S. politicians. Nor is Yemen. And the ones that are called wars, like Libya and Iraq, are not legal wars because they were lied about.)

Commonly what we hear is the U.S. 'had' to invade certain countries because their leaders were "bad men." In fact, that doesn't given anybody a legal right to invade. And you would have to visit many a country to find leaders as "bad" as Bush and Obama. Killing or making refugees of over ten million people in Iraq and Syria because they had 'bad men' leading them is absurd.

Added to that, the U.S. has fought only one war in which it was first attacked. That was World War Two. Isn't that amazing? It invaded Canada once, and supported attacks on it once. Canada had never attacked the US. The U.S. invaded Mexico, and stole about a third of it. It has invaded Latin American countries many times. It recently has invaded Iran, Aghanistan, Iraq, supported invasions in Syria and Yemen. None of them had attacked the U.S. It has army and navy special ops carrying out murders and other attacks in some 80 countries. And none of those places has - or could - attack the U.S.

Both Democrats and Republicans are now pushing for wars against Russia and China, though neither of those countries has ever attacked the U.S. The reason is the same as all the others. U.S. governments want to conquer the whole world. It demands the right to run the whole world. They call it 'American exceptionalism', and it was publicly embraced by both Bush and Obama.
Why do so many fundamentalist Christians support Trump in all this? Many of them believe that he represents 'end times', when all life will end and they will line up for heaven, and the rest of us for hell. And the more moderate, American Christians? They have spent  generations simmering in a stew made of faith blended with American patriotism so they no longer see the difference. For a Canadian version of this, read the Faith Page in Saturday's irving press.
American exceptionalism means that America should rule the world. And America itself is ruled by the multi-billionaires. And their strength is boosted by a belief in something called neoliberalism. Roughly, that means they are allowed to make as much money as they like with no regard for the poverty and suffering that inflicts on billions.

How do the churches adapt themselves to this philosophy?  No problem. They supported the British Empire, the destruction of native peoples, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire,  the rule of Hitler and Mussolini....

The difference between Republicans and democrats? Basically - none. However, I suspect Trump would prefer to attack China first and by itself.
Like I said above....
Here's a  sample of the thinking of neo-liberals. Money - all money - is for the rich. Yes. Because the rich will shower it down on us in investment and make us rich. That, in fact, is pure nonsense. The U.S. has run Haiti in that way. I don't see a whole lot of wealth in Haiti. or Congo. There was none in the China controlled by British billionaires. Or India.

In fact, in the U.S. people are steadily getting poorer under such a system. But our local irving press is very big on this - and other - absurd ideas.
Never all it has prided itself on being, the U.S. has been going downhill as a democracy  under a series of presidents - including Obama. Today, its domestic spying beats anything Hitler had.
Here are two items by Paul Craig Roberts. One is about the U.S. moving 2,700 troops up to the Russian border. That makes sense only if the U.S. is looking for an excuse for a nuclear war.

The other points out that leading members of Trump's government want war with Russia.
The current web issue of Alternet has lots of hate of Trump. But we already have that - most of us. So I chose its item of Trump's plans to extend the privatization of education - the so-called "charter schools".

It's a bad idea because - first - they aren't as good as the public schools - and, second, they destroy equal opportunity for education since most families can't afford them. But the pressure on parents to send their children to private schools is very great. I just  had a letter from a relative who is caught in that pressure.
Watch for wealthy investors to use their influence for more privatization of education in Canada. In fact, it's already happening. Public education was one of the greatest achievements in human history. Now, it's going to be under pressure from the very greedy.

(And the irving press will applaud.)
Here's one about how much we overrate Obama.

His foreign policy was the same as Bush's.  Just as murderous, just as designed to please big business.
I have a strong sense that this is what Trump's Russian 'friendship' is really all about.
This next one is long. But, oh, I couldn't leave out a column by a clergyman who actually has the courage and the brains - and the Christian belief - to be honest. There is nothing Christian about killing or about living to pile up money. Capitalism is actually a negation of Christianity. For confirmation of that, check out the kind of people your chambers of commerce honour.
Luckily, I live in New Brunswick,  so I'm quite sure the nice people who spray our forests would never use a spray harmful to people.
Most of the news I found today was about Trump. Well, he does deserve attention, and he is someone to worry about. But let's keep reality in mind.
It would make very little difference if Clinton had won. American democracy is gone. It's been over for some time. The U.S. is now ruled by corporation bosses whose only interest  is in being bigger bosses - and who don't care how many suffer and die for that to happen.

And we have some of the same type here in Canada. We've been here before - The British Empire, the French Empire, the Spanish Empire......  The U.S. one is just bigger and more dangerous.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Jan.12: A long one. Sorry.

Get used to it.

Last night, I watched interviews with U.S. senators and other notables. The (unintentional) message was clear. Get used to it. American democracy is over; and it's not likely to come back. Trump is a part of this collapse. But he isn't the cause of it.  The cause happened decades ago. Trump (and Clinton) are products of a collapsed democracy. But neither of them is the cause of it. This final stage of collapse began with George Bush jr., though he was really no more than a puppet for American big business. Obama, for all his image, followed the Bush path. So will Trump.

The U.S. congress is terminally corrupt. The country is really ruled by an oligarchy of billionaires, among whom Trump is a minor player. Rest assured that he will do what he is told to do - or he will end up a bankrupt.

Nor is there any sign that the American public has any useful way to deal with this. There seem to be two reasons for this.

First, most politicians encourage Americans to take out their anger in hatred - hatred of Russia, hatred of Muslims. I listened to a good deal of that last night.
And why do they hate Russians? Well, said a senator, they invaded Ukraine, and they killed civilians in bombing Aleppo. Whoops!

1. Ukraine had a elected government that was on good terms with Russia. The U.S. fixed that by staging riots that overthrew the government. (This is according to a woman named Nuland who testified to Congress that she had been assigned and supplied by the American government to achieve this.)

In doing so, the U.S. cut off Russia from its only, major naval base, and installed a hostile government in Ukraine.

As for the bombing of Aleppo, I know of no country that would not bomb civilians in a war. The U.S. was a pioneer in the bombing of civilians. In the Korean war, it killed a full third of the whole population.  We don't know the civilian kill in Laos and Cambodia; but General Curtis  Lemay of the U.S. air force said, "We'll bomb them back into the stone age."

Civilian deaths in Iraq, mostly by bombing, were a million or more. And that was an illegal war in the first place.  The U.S. has been supplying and directing bombing in Yemen - which our news media don't bother to report.  Obama dropped 26,000 bombs just in his last year in office.

Nobody can even guess how many millions of Vietnamese were killed by American bombing - including chemical bombing to destroy vegetation - and anything else that was in the way. In fact, the U.S. is the world's leading killer of civilians by bombing. Nor do they recognize that Americans were killing Muslims long before the appearance of Jihadists. In 1948, for example, they overthrew (with British help)  the elected government Iran, and imposed a dictator to rule for the benefit of the oil companies.

The reality is that the U.S. has been attacking others since 1776 (and earlier). Just like the Britain it rebelled against, the U.S. has always been an agressor, the centre of empire and now, like the Britain it rebelled against, ruled by an aristocracy.

But that makes not a dent on American thinking. It's them there Russians and Muslims whut's evil. That was the position of one of the senators who accused Russia or war crimes. Oh, please... Torture is a war crime. The invasion of Iraq was a car crime excused by lies. The mass murder in Guatemala was a war crime. The overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine was a war crime. The American role in Yemen is a war crime. The use of agent orange in Vietnam was a war crime. The use of drones is a war crime. But, somehow, none of that sinks in to the American consciousness.

The final damper is that  there is no room in American thinking for alternatives. Anyone who thinks differently from the propaganda line is almost certain to be labelled 'unAmerican'. That's why the U.S. is one of the most backward countries in the developed world in its social legislation. There is very little concern for the average person. Everything is for the wealthy - in the belief that their wealth will trickle down - though that trickling has never happened. (You can find the same sort of nonsense in the irving press.)

This lack of any alternative in American thinking means that any reaction to the way things are is more likely to produce violence than to produce a useful response.

And this means trouble for Canada as it is just one more nation to be looted by the rulers of the American empire.
U.S. big business wants a war with China. Trump wants a war with China. They want a war because they want to rule the world - and, China, within a short time, will be an obstacle to that. So U.S. politicians are getting all indignant that China is building bases outside waters the U.S. says are not Chinese. (Apparently, though, it was okay for the U.S. to take over Hawaii though it is nowhere close to American waters.)

And why do they want to rule the world? Money. Big profits can be made by looting other countries - but guess where looting the whole world takes you and me. Hint. We are part of the world that's being looted..
And here is an example of VERY bad reporting.

The only news the reporter had is that we do not have evidence that Russia interfered in the American election. But the reporter adds this lack of evidence puts us in great danger because we are ignoring this Russian threat. Think about that. We have no evidence that there was hacking, and no evidence it influenced the election. So we are ignoring a Russian threat that, by definition, is not there.
About twenty years ago, a student came to my office to say goodbye. He was  graduating, and would have to return to Palestine. There, he could expect nothing by poverty, and a high risk of death. The story below explains that, and how we in the west have created a dreadful mess from the start.

Especially, note the maps that show how Israel has been taking Palestinian land.

I have known many Israelis. All had utter contempt for Palestinians as an inferior, sub-human species.  Indeed, it has become a Jewish equivalent of Naziism.  (These are originally European and North American Jews. (I have also known a few Israelis whose families have lived among the Palestinians in friendship for centuries.)

The reacion of Euopean background Jews toward Palestinans, given what the Jews suffered in Europe, is understandable. But we should not be encouraging it.
Warning! This next one is very long. But it's worth the time.

Essentially, it comes to the point that capitalism does not work - and it's going to get much, much worse as it inflicts terminal damage on the planet's environment and resources. One would think that is obvious. But the word is slow in getting around. We need to do much, much more in changing the whole pattern of our lives. But there is not the slightest chance capialism will help in that. The capitalist understands only two words - profit - now.
Obama may not go down in history as a great or even good president. Here's a view of him we have not seen in most news media. A lot more could have been added.
Here's a side of Obama we haven't seen in our press. It was my impression of him when he first ran for president - and nothing I saw of him as president ever changed my mind.
I chose this one because it's one of the few interviews with Syria's Assad that I  have seen. I was a little suprised at it.
One of the greatest accomplishment of western history was the creation of the public school. There were public schools in Britain as earlyas  Shakespeare's time. These were subsidized by donors, a system that broke down  as costs rose. So those 'public' schools became private and for the children of the rich - But the British still refer to them as public schools - like Eton and Harrow.

There were also church schools, though these confined themselves largely to the scriptures.

The modern public school, free for every child, is generally credited to Scotland - and to the principles of the Presbyterian church. For most children, these schools would end at grade 6 or so. But they did produce a population whose education produced an explosion of invention, innovation, and writing. Indeed, a study of some 30 years ago cited Scotland as the leading producer of influential thinkers and innovators. (A point that many Scots will raise as early as the first drink.)

As recently as my school days in Montreal where school boards were either Protestant or Catholic, my Protestant board was dominated by Scottish names.
Equal access to education is important to eveyone - except to the wealthy who want to privatize everything and, in education, take us back to the 12th century or so. The U.S. has already gone back a long way - and is about to go further.
Lest we forget.
How do the rich get rich? I have seen, in this province at least, no sign that it's due to brains or high academic achievement.
Here's the difference between Haaretz and our news media. Can you even imagine any of  our major news media  being critical of the lies and propaganda in all the others?
For New Brunswickers - you desperate need for a political party different from any you have.

1. You need a party that understands capitalism cannot work except under very tight regulation.

2. You need a party whose first concern is the needs of the people - not getting slaps on the back from billionaires. I might add that lawyers have not proven to be very good at serving the needs of the people. That explains a lot about New Brunswick.

3. You need a party that will take action on money hidden in tax havens. And if the wealthy leave the province, so be it. The wealth of this province does not need brilliant minds to be developed. (Certainly, it has been developed so far with a sign of brilliant minds.) It can be done by us, by all of us. And if that makes the wealthy move away, good. Getting rid of them would save the rest of us a bundle.

4. We desperately need a party committed to take action on the environment, and to make long term plans for a future that is going to have to be different. For example, we have to drastically cut down on consumption. In effect, we have to make fundamental changes in the way we live.

5. And we need a law to prevent the wealthy from buying our politicians.
There is, at present, no party that meets all these requirements.  The Liberals and Conservatives certainly don't - and won't. The NDP has become too close to the Liberals and Conservatives. The Green Party, while doing excellent work on raising awareness of environmental issues, has not thought at all sufficiently about about the measures necessary to save the environment. One of them, is a tight control on the wealthy. And it's the wealthy who are doing much of the destruction of the environment.

6. New Brunswickers have no access  (except CBC - usually) to honest and accurate news. It needs to address that.

7.  It's not enough to win an election. You have to convince people first to break away from their traditional thinking. It was a big mistake for the NDP to abandon its principles in order to win because, if it had won, it would not have been able to do anything.  So what's the point?

Politics is not just about winning elections. It's about making people aware of what is wrong and what is needed. That, not an election, is the starting point.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jan. 11: Credit Where Credit is Due...

The commentary pages are for informed discussion of important issues. But this is rarely the case in the irving press. What we more commonly get is uninformed rant, propaganda, pointless little stories on topics like how the columnist enjoyed ice cream as a child. courthouse trivia, the pretentious, pointless and trivial wit of Rod Allen....

Even the good ones - like the seniors' column - should not be on the commentary page. The senior's column is advice, not commentary.

The commentary should deal with something in the news, and should express an opinion  (an intelligent one) about it. We don't need to agree with it.  But it should be well-informed, about an important development, and should stimulate our thinking. And that is rare in the irving press.

But on January 10, the irving press had a real commentary. It was written by Susie Proulx-Daigle; and it's about blood donorship.  She attacks, with strong reasons, the intention of New Brunswick's government to privatize blood donorship. It would raise the cost of blood, pose dangerous health risks, and seriously handicap Canadian Blood Services which is now responsible for blood collection. And privatization almost always costs more.

But to a New Brunswick government, "Thou shalt privatize" is the 11th commandment that Moses lost on the way down the mountain.

Agree or disagree with it, this is an intelligent column and a real commentary in the irving press. Read it now. You may never see its like again.
Funny.  The U.S.  had no problem invading and bombing the middle east - spending billions and creating millions of refugees. But it just can't afford to help those refugees. That's left up to poor countries like Greece.
Of course, this could never happen in New Brunswick.
Obama came to power on a wave of hope that was never justified. The reality was that he could never break the power of big money in the U.S. And he never really tried.
I include the next item because there may be readers who understand the demonetization that is going on in India.  (I don't, but hope to make that up when I have some time.)

The above story is obviously untrue. The leaders of our oil industry are intelligent and caring people who are in business only for our welfare. If you read the irving press, you will understand that when Jesus comes back, it will be as an oil executive.
The U.S. has teams like the navy Seals who kill all over the world. Estimates place them in 80 countries or more, carrying out assassinations. Luckily for them, this hasn't been noticed by our Christian clergy and their followers.

Oh, and those who thought the 9/11 terrorists were just awful think the Seals are inspirational.
It was the photo at the top that started me shaking my head over this opinion piece. It's not entirely Trump's fault. American democracy has been dying for a long time. Trump has just added the last touches.
The name - Victoria Nuland - is worth remembering. She is the one who set up the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.
Here in New Brunswick, our puppet government has concluded a deal with Ottawa on Health care. Watch for problems to come out of it. And look for Trudeau to edge us toward privatization of health care.
One of the major casuaties of neoliberalism in the U.S. has been public education. I mean, it's such a waste to design it around the needs of children when we can design it around the wants of billionaires.  It makes sense. The U.S. private  health care system is the lowest ranked in the developed world. And the wealthy can do the same with public schools.
A Russian alliance with Turkey would put the U.S. in serious trouble in the middle east. And such an alliance is quite possible. That is the result of the hare-brained wars begun by Bush and continued by Obama.
I have never been fond of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. That goes back to the day about a dozen years ago when I watched a vicious riot that he had engineered. He has also blocked any settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue, all the while stealing land from Palestinians. Now, he may be the one in real trouble. It's called corruption.
Here's more on the climate change that isn't happening.

Is it possible that oil executives don't know about this? Possible, I suppose, if they're very, very stupid.
So are we all. A grain of sense should tell us it's happening and, even more to the point, that this cannot be changed by simply carbon taxing or electrifying cars and trucks. It demands a sweeping change in the way we live. We have created a world that we cannot survive. It's as simple as that - something we all should have learned in childhood - there are things we cannot have.