Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1: No forecast - just fear.

Usually, any criticism of news media that I have is directed against the privately owned news media. I have no apology for that. They are far, far the worst offenders in lying, distorting, propagandizing and, in the case of the irving press, giving no useful news at all. But the CBC has, occasionally, been known to sin. And the opinion piece recorded above is a gem of an example.

The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 may well have been the most foolish (and racist) act of diplomacy ever forced on a battered world.

It was not done out of any sympathy for European Jews.  After the horror of the holocaust, European Jews needed a land to provide them with security. No major nation was prepared to provide that. Anti-semitism still prevailed in Europe - and also in places like Britain, the U.S. - and Canada. Few people in those countries would accept Jews.

So the western leaders gave them somebody else's country. (They were and still are very generous with the land of others.) And so Israel was created out of the Arab-Jewish land of Palestine, with the native  Palestinians confined to a fraction of their former land - and with virtually no control over even that.
What Israel needed to do then was to come to terms with the Muslim Palestinians. That should not have been difficult. For centuries, Jews and Muslims had lived together in peace in the land called Palestine. But the European Jews soon destroyed that.

They put the land of Palestine under such tight control that it could not even import food without Israeli permission. Israel, quite freely, has been taking over Palestinian land, expelling its people, and populating it with Jews. Any Palestinians remaining in Israel were severely discriminated against, were commonly forced to move out of Jewish districts - and their homes destroyed. They could even be forbidden to ride public transportation or to  walk the sidewalks in some, Jewish districts.

I'm not suggesting any judgement of that. After the experience of the holocaust and the shameful failure of the west to help Jews, it's not suprising to find an extreme reaction among Jews. I  have known Jews who were in the death camps. Yes. They were cynical about the motives of the west in establishing Israel. And they were right to be cynical.

Our mistake was to make Palestinians who, unlike us, had nothing to do with the horrors Judaism suffered - from us, from the Naziis, from the British, from the Americans, from the Canadians - our mistake was to make the Palestinians pay for what Hitler had done - and for the aid we had not given.

It's rather important to know all that in an opinion column about Jewish and Palestinian behaviour today. But this CBC commentary mentions none of this.  Instead, it's a one-sided rant about how the U.S. has been picking on poor little Israel.

That "picking on" has included, for example, giving more foreign aid (mostly military) to Israel than has been given to any country in all of history. (Yes. I know the Americans have their own reasons for it. It remains true that such aid has been given.) It has also heavily funded Israel for industrial development. That's some 'Picking on'.

Whenever Israel has been (deservedly) criticized in the UN, the U.S. has routinely supported it. It has also worked for decades to bring peace to that region - with negotiations that have been routinely wrecked by Israel.
But none of this is  even mentioned in the opinion column.

Instead, we get an attack on a quite reasonable speech that Kerry gave to the israeli state department - and which raised an issue israel has blocked with danger to its own peace as well as to the rest of the world. For decades, Israel has been forcibly taking Palestinian lands, kicking the Palestinians off, and effectively making their land part of Israel. It is an explosive issue that has to be settled - for the sake of all of us.

But not according to this CBC reporter. He quotes people who call Obama obssessive and maniacal on this problem. (I wonder how he'd react if Palestinians were stealing Israeli land?)

Israeli president Netanyahu is presented as a decent and reasonable sort of chap. He is, in fact, the most extreme leader that Israel has ever had. And Kerry is dismissed as simply a finger-waving, self-righteous fool.

At  no point does the reporter suggest why this has been a major issue for all these decades, or how it guarantees instability in that region for as far can be seen. The reporter's tone is, in fact, racist - with Palestinians dismissed as sub-humans - just as Hitler dismissed the Jews.
With that off my chest, here's a much worse situation to deal with. Why is Trump making nice with Russia?

It would be pleasant to think it is because he's lover of peace. But he's not. If he were, he'd scarcely be using first day after the election to phone Taiwan as if it represented China. No. It's not likely his kisses blown to Putin have much to do with peace.

American corporations are worried about going under before an immense Chinese expansion over the next 20 years or so. They would like the U.S. to go war against China before that. The American military brass feels the same way as it contemplates the rapid development of the Chinese military. In fact, the U.S. now has most of its navy stationed to confront China. But---,

...any conflict with China as things are now would mean war against China and Russia. Combined, they would be a formidable opponent for the west in any conventional war. And any conventional war would almost certainly become nuclear - with both sides heavily equipped.

No. Better to make friends with Russia which has its own unfriendly history with China. (When the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan, it was largely a warning to Russia which was sending troops into China.) There is a possibility that Putin would welcome an alliance with the U.S. in order to slow China down. This would, essentially, be a union between capitalists in Russia and in the U.S.
It's a little hard to tell what Trump is thinking because he talks in slogans rather than principles. ("Make America great again" - which means what?). But his cabinet leans heavily to military people, war hawks and corporate bosses. So it's unlikely that "make America great again" has much connection with peace.
It's also noticeable that his cabinet has a remarkable absence of people with a record of concern for the well being of the average American. In fact most American politicians have the needs of the average American for almost seventy years. But that average American, neglected and abused by the 'establishment'  is who elected him. For a time, Trump will be able to get away with slogans and catchy twitters. And he can get away, for a time, with overlooking the taxes the wealthy don't pay, with starving the schools of the average American who can't afford a private school, with destroying Obamacare. But at some point, he's going to face criticism that he can disable only by building on fears and hatreds.
Will a viable opposition to Trump rise in the next four years? Not likely. The opposition democrats are the old establishment that voters rose against.  They are, for the most part, the same as the Republicans, except that Trump has a gift for sloganeering. The U.S. has a weak record of social thought in its politics.
It seems a small thing, but choice of words really is important in journalism. If a city is taken by our side, it's a liberation. If it's taken by the other side, then it has fallen. it may sound like a minor point. But it affects the whole way we see the story.
Here is a broad look at the confrontation between native peoples who objected to an oil pipeline passing through their territory - and police who represented capitalists in trying to force it through. (Yes. I did write capitalists. It's not a swear word. And it reflects the reality in this case. We are entering a severe time of conflict between capitalism and human needs. It's very evident in oil use, for example, but also in forestry, labour conditions, social services. Canadians don't think of that much because their news media rarely put it in those terms. As it is now, capitalism can win only by using severe repression, and relying on their news media never to mention any alternative.

Consequently, the Canadian people, almost as much as Americans, have ignored the need for alternatives. So much is this true that the once innovative NDP party has become simply a moderate alternative to the Liberals and Conservatives.
We are nearing the crunch with capitalism. Its control of governments means a lack of adapting to changing conditions. In the end, that will destroy capitalism,  but with a strong possibility of destroying us, too.  (I don't suggest that socialism is necessarily the answer, though I expect any workable answer will have to draw on the principles of socialism. But will we ever have a serious discussion of that? Not if our news media can prevent it.)
This item is about Canada; but it could apply to working class people all over the western world. It's the issue that got Trump elected (though  a waste of time to do so because he has no intention of doing anything useful about it.)
Capitalism is showing the pure greed that lies at the heart of it. Again, I do not here suggest an alternative to it. I suggest that we need to give serious thought and action to capitalism because, as practiced, it's leading us straight into chaos.
Declaring war is old-fashioned. U.S. special ops troops are routinely sent to kill people all over the world. Here's a story about them in Africa. That continent has been a special victim for us. Its introduction to us was terrorism to kidnap slaves. in the nineteenth century and later, it felt the intrusions of western armies, destruction of traditional life patterns, redrawing of boundaries to fit the ambitions of western captialists - and, of course, the collapse of traditional social structures.

Nothing has changed. We're still doing it.
Americans are still getting overexcited about the story that Russia used computer hacking to intervene in the U.S. election and bring Trump to power.  In fact, there's precious little evidence of that. And, as well, it ignores the far, far greater impact of the popular rejection of an Obama and a Clinton who were far too much like Bush in ignoring the hardships ordinary Americans face.

The leader in this hacking farce has been, not surprisingly, the Washington Post.

Did the Russian interfere in the US presidential race? I have no idea. But it is very, very hard to believe that any Russian intervention is what made so many millions vote for Trump.

The U.S. would never interfere in a foreign election by hacking. No. What it does is to send in troops to overthrow the elected government - as in Guatemala, Haiti, iran......
American news media and politicians are still raging about alleged Russian 'hacking' that interfered with the U.S. election - and we should expect dramatic moves on this before Obama steps down. Few seem to notice that we still have seen no evidence of this hacking. Nor, in all the self-rigihteous desk-thumping, have we been told that the U.S. has its own, substantial record of hacking.
It's nice to see a clergyman break ranks with most Christians, and to question the Christianity of their support for war.
And Orwell was right on about the world we have allowed to take shape.
This one, from Haaretz is a difficult read - partly because the writing is dense and partly because it really requires some understanding of Jewish religious groups.
Many years ago, a friend who was African-American told me he had never been allowed to vote in his home state of Maryland. It seems there was a rule that poll officials were allowed to question voters to see if they were well-informed enough to vote. The only voters questioned were African-American. And the questions were extremely complex ones about the constitution, so complex that even experts would not agree on them. So no matter what answer was given, the poll officials would declare it wrong. Apparently, it still goes on - and on a large scale./
It's surprising that our news media have not made more of the impact of Russia in Syria. The U.S. has spent a great deal of money to arm, train and supply 'rebels' (Islamic terrorists) to fight a war with Syria. The intention has been to dispose of a government that has not been obedient to its American oil corporation bosses.

And now it is ending in disaster for the U.S. as Putin has played it off the field. Russia has dominated the situation  (with Iran sharing in its victory.) The U.S. which, until recently, dominated the middle east has been seriously displaced by Russia and Turkey. That will have consequences in the shattered societies that western imperialism has created in the middle east and Africa for over a century. And those victims of western greed are not likely to turn to the western imperialists to help them.

The west has limited time to regain the power it once had. It's by no means clear that it can, or that it should. 2017 could well be a decisive year in that respect.
The other issue that may come to a head is the looting of the western world by our very own corporation bosses. All over the western world, prosperity is in decline - largely because the wealthy declare expensive wars which we all have to pay for, and because, with the cooperation of governments and news media,  they hide vast sums from taxation, leaving ever less for the rest of us. This, too, is speeding into a crisis.

It's going to be an interesting year.

1 comment:

  1. the Jewish Community account for 2% of the Population of the USA. They control 25% of the Wealth.Check the names of the American Billionaires on Google.