Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Feb. 22: The American Empire: Decline and Fall.

Several days ago, the irving press ran a big story that a report from Amnesty International had accused Syria of the torture and murder of 13,000 Syrians. it was a story, given the small number and the bias of people who testified, seemed unlikely. And, since then,  Amnesty International has announced it was fake news produced by British intelligence.

But the irving press has never printed the correction.

And it won't.

Yesterday, a more reliable newspaper, Haaretz, announced an Amnesty International report that  Israel has been torturing  Palestinian children.
This one is real news. But the irving press doesn't have it.

And it won't.
 Often, the only commentary  worth reading in the irving press is the one by Alec Bruce. Today's is a painful exception. It deplores the current criticism of 'elites' in politics, business,  and universities for their leadership that some ,presumably misguided)  people say creates poverty, avoids taxes, and generally betrays the rest of us.

I'm sure the owner of the paper will pin that one on his wall.

Bruce uses this to attack  Trump for his encouraging of people to distrust the elites. Well, yes. It is wrong of Trump to encourage a simple hatred of elitism. But as Trump, himself, is a member of the financial elite, he is a member of the group Bruce says we should trust.

Alec Bruce can't have it both ways. He can't say the the elite are a superior group we should treasure - and then attack a member of that superior group for his poor leadership.

Yes, Trump exploits hatred and fear. But the business elite  (like him) and the news media and politicians and, yes, some people in the univesities, have been creating racial fears and hatreds for thousands of years. They have abused their power for their own gain. They have abused the people over whom they have power.  It's happened with kings and aristocracies and politicians and, yes, with business leaders. And it's not unknown for prominent academics to kiss asses. I've know more than a few of them.

Businessman Henry Ford was a cheerleader for Adolph Hitler. And there were lots of 'elites' on that side. Elites have encouraged hatreds so they could murder and abuse and loot people all over the world. And they still do it - with the help of the news media they own. That's why our news media are full of stories about how evil Muslims are. That justified the slavery and the murder of at least a hundred million Africans.

Donald Trump certainly encourages racism and hatred. He attacks a vague thing that he calls 'the establishment. But you'll notice he does not attack the wealthy. On the contrary, he wants to reduce the taxes that they aren't paying, anyway. And his cabinet is packed with the 'elite'.

Hitler was the same. He, too, attacked a very vague elite. But I notice that wealthy Germans were as Nazi as any others. The same was true of wealthy Italians under Mussolini.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing 'elites'. They do and always have done lots of damage. And they have always, like Trump, diverted anger by directing it to people of a different race or religion.

And it works.  Trump's daughter won the praise of Christians for reciting the Lord's Prayer at a political meeting. It's hard to imagine a greater hypocrisy. - unless, of course,you read the Faith Page of the  irving press on a Saturday.
The U.S. record in war since 1945 has been pretty dismal. It could, with help, tie but not defeat North Korea. It lost in humiliating fashion after a long war against Vietnam. After sixteen years  (the longest war in American history), it has not been able to defeat its opposition in Afghanistan. After   fourteen years, it is still bogged down in Iraq. It was unable to defeat Libya. The war against small, poor and starving Yemen goes on. The U.S. cannot seem to win in Syria.
All of these countries are relatively small and poor. The idea, then, of an all-powerful U.S. defeating Russia and/or China is absurd, short of a nuclear war. Trump's seeming willingness to get along with Russia while attacking China is really no more realistic than American wars of the last 70 years have been.

But commercial greed beats logic every time.
O-o-o -o.... The American government says China is being provocative in building missile sites on Islands that it claims are Chinese in the South China Sea. Isn't it terrible what China is doing?

I mean, yes, the U.S. is installing missile sites all around China and Russia. But China and Russia are evil - and the U.S. is good. So that's okay.
We are facing a crisis all over the world that has been largely ignored. Changes in manufacturing have made the wages and working hours of seventy years ago impossible. Automation is drastically cutting away at jobs.

Papers like the irving press are not likely to give much of a damn about this. They're happy to see the corporation bosses saving money. And the labour unions have been pretty limp. But, as always, Scandinavians are showing some intelligence on the issue.

Unlike Moncton, there are cities in this world looking at what the future of urban development might be - and, perhaps, of what it has to be.
Our wars, almost always to satisfy greed, have quite horrible side-effects that rarely make the news.

So much for the glories of patriotism and serving one's country.
And let's hear it again for the Lord's Prayer.

I  wonder how American courts would rule if the Mexican border patrol shot an American who was across the border in the U.S.
Here's one that sounds extreme - and is. It's also right.
We read a lot about war heroes. Here's a story about  one of their victims.
Canadians recently have made much of their broad-mindedness and lack of racism. And that's a crock. Canadians have always been anti-somebody based on race - Ukrainians, Jews, Italians, Irish, Syrians, Africans, native Canadians,....I grew up in a Montreal in which the English, in the most respectable circles, were taught to hate the French, and the French, even by their Catholic clergy, were taught to hate the English. I knew a Montreal policeman who was fired when the chief discovered his father was African-Canadian.

Toronto was just as bad. British Columbia was worse.  And Atlantic Canada was notorious even in racist circles for its bigotry.
You will note, by the way, that the item above appeared in Haaretz, which is a pretty good source.
And you can't tell who are our friends and who are our enemies without a programme.
The U.S. has been using poison gas and other forbidden weapons for many, many years. One result is the birth of children who lack eyes or, sometimes, a mouth.Most don't survive more than a year or two.The U.S., which falsely accused Iraq of having "weapons of mass destruction", is itself the world's leads purveyor of such weapons.
Unlike his father, Justin Trudeau is not a person who gives much of a damn for the average Canadian.  In fact, his thinking is closer to that of Harper.
The fight over oil pipelines is on the edge of getting very, very vicious. The American  government has made it clear it is prepared to push pipelines through, anyway. The Canadian government hasn't made it clear - but it will do the same.
As I write this, force is having its way, and the Standing Rock protestors are moving. But this is by no means the end.

The irving press has ignored it. That's because it has more important news like the development of pond hockey in New Brunswick.
Are you grateful to a wealthy person gives a tiny faction of his wealth to the poor - and then gets a "clap-clap-clap" high praise dinner from the chamber of commerce? Any money given to us by the wealthy comes from the money they took from us. And they take far, far more than they give.

For centuries, the wealthy have also used our tax money and our lives to support the wars that created - and still create - mass suffering in Africa, South America, and all over the world.  Now, they're taking even more.
Greed has always been with us. But the situation is worse now  than ever in history. Even the greedy, especially the greedy, are in absolute control - they think. But they aren't. The outstanding feature of the years since 1945 has been the failure of American power to conquer the world. And even drawing in the forces of the western world to help the U.S. has done nothing to change that.

For the killing of millions in Asia and Africa, the U.S. has created some astonishing messes and mass suffering. But it has consistently lost. In all those  years, the only decisive victory was the gallant American struggle against the mighty hordes of Grenada in 1983. That clear victory was so rare as to justify a movie with Clint Eastwood.  
The reality is that neither the U.S. nor the world can afford wars. Both the U.S. and the world need peace  But, historically, the greedy have never had the brains to recognize that.

And greed is the fundamental principal of capitalist economics.

(Except that in the irving press, it isn't called greed. It's called 'ambition').


  1. Could you please provide us with some sources to back this statement? :

    "And, since then, Amnesty International has announced it was fake news produced by British intelligence."

    Now, I don't want to defend the Irving Press, it is a terrible rag, but I haven't found anything written by Amnesty International, except for the initial report.

  2. You caught me. I remember reading that statement. But now I can't find it. However, the best source is to read the report.
    It offers little evidence, from very few people, and almost all of them with rebel connections. Quite apart from the obvious bias of those testifying is that such a small number of 'witnesses", almost all of them hostile to Assad, is not credible when looking that their claim of 13,000 killed. And that's very well covered in the source "Offguardian".

    I don't say it's not possible that Assad did such a thing. I have no idea what he did. But this is just not a credible report.
    Since 1945, the U.S. has killed 20 million or so. And that doesn't count the tens of millions it made refugees. It has invaded countries illegally. It has tortured on a massive scale. It has long ago cut off food to the starving people of Yemen. It has used napalm on human targets. It has destroyed crops and people with poison gas.
    Where are all the Amnesty International reports on that?
    I'll get back to you as soon as I find the statement of denial. I know I did have it.

    1. Yeah exactly, I found a number of blog posts etc poking holes in the reports findings, but nothing about Amnesty backing away from its own report.