Monday, January 9, 2017

Jan. 9: The One-Liner as political programme.

Just a brief look at New Brunswick's propaganda sheet. The commentary page has a column to tell us that we don't have a climate problem. The writer says it's not possible to have a problem because it would cost too much to fix. So there.
And who is this expert on the matter? A world-famed scientist?  No. Even better. He's a retired executive for five international corporations. Boy! The irving press sure knows how to pick the real authorities.

Among the many things this twit has not considered is the fact that climate change is happening. And it will destroy us. He is offering us a choice we don't have. There are things we cannot have. And it doesn't matter what the financial costs are. Read my lips. There are things we cannot have.

And in big, world news? Well, one of the big, world stories is that exercise and sunlight will help to cure the winter blues.

Then there a piece of bad, headline writing.  "Study debunks myth that  U.S. college grads are strangled by debt." In fact, the study doesn't debunk anything. The study CLAIMS to debunk - and the people who conducted it should have known that. The "proof" is that students with  high debts often graduate to live  on their own, while students will lower debts often return to live with their parents.

That's interesting. but it doesn't prove anything. The headline should have been, "Researchers claim that study debunks...."  Nor does this have a thought for the very many who cannot possibly afford to go to university on any terms because of its expense.

I went into debt to go to university - 10 years of it. I had to pay fees, lodging and food. It took me at least twenty years to pay the debt.  Tell me all about how all that was a 'myth'.
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An election should be a time when  a party lays out its basic philosophy on the role of government, the powers it needs to play that role, and the needs of the public it serves. But that seldom happens. More often, the election is affected by trivial issues. In the last federal election in Canada, for example, the critical issue turned out to be whether Muslim women in the civil service  (of whom there are almost none) should be required to dispose of their Muslim headgear while at work.

Here in New Brunswick, so far as I can tell, the only philosophy of the Liberal and Conservative parties is to get elected, and to do so by doing what the wealthy tell them to do.

But the U.S. presidential race surely brought democracy to new lows. If either party had a political and social philosophy of any sort, I missed it. Nobody even mentioned the hundreds of  billions of dollars sucked out of the U.S. every year in the tax havens of the wealthy.   At best, there was a series of one-liners, and Trump had zippier one-liners than Clinton did.

Poverty? Trump would create jobs. End of policy. Actually, the number of jobs he has created  (or has in the works) is negligible. As well, it's not just the unemployed who are suffering poverty and insecurity. It's a very high proportion of  the employed.

And even the one-liners rarely said anything at all. What does it mean to "make America great again"?  When was this magical age?  Was it the slaughter of American native peoples to steal their land? Was it the invasion of Canada in 1812? And the threats of invasion up to the early 19th century? Was it the invasion of Mexico to steal what is now the southwestern U.S.?

Was it the invasions of Latin America  to set up dictatorships so that American business could loot those countries - as it still does? And then the conquest of The Phillipines in 1900, complete with an American dictatorship as a base for future attacks on China?

Then there have been all the American wars of aggression in the middle east.
Yes. Trump must have meant those were what made America  great. It certainly wasn't social programmes or equal access to education or alleviating poverty or spreading the wealth.

And one of his twitter planks to make the U.S. military the most powerful in the world. Well, it's already far the most expensive military in the world. And on paper it's the most powerful - though its performance has not been impressive for a good seventy years. His theory is that this would make the U.S. unattackable.
But geography already does that. A large land mass, a large population, two wide oceans and two relatively weak neighbours make the U.S. unattackable.

No. The world's largest and most powerful army has only one practical use - to invade. And that probably suggests a very large opponent in mind. And that takes us to two other brief moments in the Trump platform - his phone call to Taiwan on his first day as winner, which was a deliberate insult to China and had no other purpose but to be an insult;  and his making nice to Putin.

Trump wants too attack China before it becomes more powerful, and the U.S. weaker. At present, the alliance between Russia and China makes that virtually impossible. The solution? To bring Russia to the U.S. side, perhaps with both to attack China, and share the spoils.  Will that work?

No.

The U.S. could not defeat Vietnam because the American people will not accept high casualties. That was the great lesson of Vietnam - and it's the reason the U.S. has been paying ISIS to fight for it in Syria.  And a conventional war with China, even with Russian help, would produce very, very high casualties.

Anyway, a conventional war would soon turn nuclear - and the results of that are unpredictable.

But this, quite possibly, is what all those one-liners mean.

The U.S. is a nation that probably has more news media than any other country in the world. And still the American people  had to vote largely in ignorance of what political and social philosophy either party had. All they had was one-liners of no clear meaning at all.

N.B.: Note what nobody said in the elections campaign. It's something that  began as poliicy just before Bush with a statement on the web (Project for the New American Century) that the U.S. has the right to ignore international law, and to impose its rule on all the rest of the world. (Just imagine what that would mean to American billionaires - a   licence to loot the whole world.)

Both Bush and Obama openly endorsed that policy. But I guess that's such a minor issue that neither Clinton nor Trump bothered to mention it - though either would certainly follow it.
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Everybody has the story that Trump has accepted the charge that Russia hacked American computers to interfere with the election. But it doesn't mean much. 1.We have still not seen any evidence of the hacking. 2. Trump may well have been forced to make his statement. 3. The U.S. routinely interferes in democracies - often with violence. it's no secret  (except in U.S. news media), that it was the U.S. that organized the overthrow   of an elected government in Ukraine to create the present crisis there.
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The story next might interest a person of average intelligence. But it would probably go over the head of a man who was an executive of 5 global corporations.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/09/desperate-exodus-of-the-climate-refugees
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Obama was not a great president - or even a good one. Despite the hopes he raised eight years ago, most of his time was spent in serving the usual masters - the corporations. In that, he followed a line that has been a steady one since Bush and even long before - seeking world dominance with military force. That's why Obama dropped almost 30,000 bombs - many of them against  countries he wasn't even at war with. Even his highest accomplishment, Obamacare, was framed to benefit the blllionaires of phamacare and health insurance companies.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency
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The following item is long, but worth the read for anyone who wants to understand how foreign affairs really work. Hint - it ain't good guys against bad guys.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/09/russiaenemy-of-western-democracy/
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Trump has chosen a general to be in charge of the Pentagon. Wise choice? Almost certainly not.

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/09/the-law-says-a-civilian-must-run-the-pentagon-does-gen-mattis-deserve-an-exception/
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And who's afraid of a little thing like climate change? Not our oil billionaires.
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39020-unprecedented-polar-melting-unfolds-as-climate-disruption-denial-goes-wild

And it's not just a matter of switching to solar energy. We need fundamental changes to the way we live - and nobody is even talking about that.
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Speaking of interfering with foreign governments, it's being carried out by some of Trump's best friends.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/us_media_outraged_russia_wont_notice_israel_plot_uk_parliament_20170108

Funny how this story hasn't made the mainstream North American private news media.
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Our news media have been brimming over with stories about Putin's alleged hacking into the U.S. election campaign - though there is still no evidence he did. But most of them haven't even mentioned this story - though it has lots of evidence.

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.763704?utm_content=%2Fisrael-news%2F.premium-1.763704&utm_medium=email&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_campaign=newsletter-daily&utm_term=20170108-18%3A01
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Nor have many of us heard this story.

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.763204?utm_content=%2Fisrael-news%2F1.763204&utm_medium=email&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_campaign=newsletter-breaking-news&utm_term=20170105-15%3A01

All this is part of the reason for a serious split developing between North American Jews and Israelis.
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News Canadians should watch for - but won't hear about until it's all over.

1. Trump will demand deployment of Canadian troops in his wars. He will say that Canada should be 'doing its share'.

2. Trump and his cabinet have no interest in climate change or environmental controls. Major cities in the U.S., then,  will continue to need water  (especially clean water, but sometimes any water). For many, the only source is water from Canada.   Some substantial transfers are already planned. And that will mean trouble for Canada.

3. And, for non-believers, just pretend that climate change is happening. In parts of Africa and Asia, 100 million or so are on the move now to escape such things as drought. Now, substantial droughts and other changes are already happening in the U.S. Gee. I wonder if a Donald Trump would annex parts of Canada for displaced Americans.

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