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.


  1. ... on the lighter side, "Blazing Saddles" was fun. No?

  2. Or, "The Producers" (1968) Mel Brooks

  3. coming up - probably on Monday, will be a comment by a reader that jews control 25% of the wealth in the U.S. That's more than a bit misleading.

    They are 25% of the 400 wealthiest families. That's a high proportion. But we're still talking of just a hundred wealthy people. That leaves us with at least 99% of Jews who do NOT belong to the 400 wealthiest.

    As well, There are cultural reasons that explain whatever Jewish prosperity there is.

    In The Bible, there's a seen in which Jesus, as a child, was arguing with religious scholars in the temple. That was not accident. Judaism has a strong tradition of respect for learning, for open discussion.
    Compare that to gentile New Brunsick where a high proportion is illiterate, and where open dicussion is avoided like the plague.
    When I got to grades 10 and 11, I was in a class of the school's top students. (though I would flunk out.) My class was at least half Jewish, and almost all came from poor families in the old, Montreal Jewish ghetto. They worked hard. And they were raised to belief that they should plan for high levels of intellectual training.

    As a Christian kid from a poor district, my community had no expectation of me - and none of my Christian friends had given a thought to what they would do for living. Most of them could barely read. When I flunked out of grade eleven, I was already a success story for getting that far.
    One day, I asked a Jewish friend what he was going to do after grade 11. "Well, I'll start with a BA at McGill, then go on to a PhD at Princeton." And he did, while I went off to be a mail boy in an office.
    Years later, I would speak to hundreds of audiences in synagogues and churches. I soon learned that the church-goers wanted something light an amusing. But at the synagogues, I was expected to have something pretty serious to discuss.
    Judaism encourages study, thought, ambition to a degree that Christianity falls far short of.