Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31: Angels in bombers
I found story above just recently, though I've known of the murder it describes for some  time, some 34 years.

Canadian and American big business have a brutal and murderous record all over the world. Canadian mining companies, for example, are  notoriously destructive of lives and environments. They and others have a long history of juvenile labour, extremely low pay, environmental damage, beatings, assassinations and, when useful, mass murder.

Canada is THE major player in mining all over the world. And here's what we are doing...

Funny how that never made our news media.

American billionaires are heavier on the field of agriculture, with such sweethearts as the Doles who have been known to play a role in overthrowing governments by force. These, too, keep people poor, in fear and, sometimes, dead.

And that's where, sometimes, agencies like the American CIA step in. And that's why the democratically elected government of Guatemala was overthrown by CIA leaders and American money and weapons to bring in a dictator from another country. What followed was the deliberate massacre of the Maya people of Guatemala, over 200,000 of them. Whole villages and small towns were wiped out - men, women, and children, and buried in the great pits where their homes had stood.

They had to be killed because they were demanding minimum wages, decent working conditions, a protected environment....

But none of our news media noticed.

The Christian churches of Guatemala did notice. And their sympathies were all with the Guatemalan people. So it was necessary to murder the priests, too, the missionaires, the nuns. (A friend of mine visited an office where a priest had been murdered. Traces of his blood were still on the wall.)

A young man from Buctouche, New Brunswick, not far from where I am now sitting, decided in the late 1970s to devote his life to being a lay missionary.  (Buctouche is a very holy site, indeed. It is where the chapel financed by the philanthropy of the Irving family is located. Commoners can even gather for coffee and discussion in the barn. of the chapel.)

The lay missionary from Buctouche was a Roman Catholic, though, so he was probably never exposed to the  sanctity of the Irving Chapel which probably has the most expensive clergy money can buy. And they are in no danger or being shot for their principles.

Anyway Raoul  Leger went to Guatemala.  And there, in 1981, he was murdered by the hired killers of the CIA.

Surprisingly, the nearest newspaper, the Moncton Times and Transcript, never reported this tragic death. Indeed, none of the New Brunswick newspapers have ever mentioned the war in Guatemala at all. And that is almost universally true of all the privately-owned news media in North America.

Too bad that Leger was just an ordinary guy with decency and charity. If he had been an Irving, the chamber of commerce would have held a dinner for him.

Oh, just recenly, on Memorial Day in the U.S., Donald Trump thanked those Americans who have died in battle "to defend the U.S.'  So true. Without them, Iraqis and Afghanis and Yemenis and Libyans and Vietnamese would be storming ashore at New York and Florida and Los Angeles Not to mention all those Sioux and Hurons who invaded the U.S. and Canada, and the Cubans, Mexicans, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Panamanians, Libyans, Haitians, and Canadians who had to be killed to keep America safe from their warrior hordes.
And I have no doubt there were clergy who applauded his words when Trump said (on U.S. Memorial Day, "Those soldiers who died were all angels sent to us by God." (He meant only the ones our our side, of course.)

Watch for that latter piece of pious cowdroppings in the next Brunswick News Faith Page.
Read this one carefully. It's a declaration that the U.S. has th right to enter any country in the world without its consent in order to inspect its imports and exports. Canada, of course, will comply right away. Other countries will have more integrity.
American military power has not been - to put it kindly - distinguished in the last  70 years. It has certainly been brutal, but weak on production. It has murdered millions. But it has one very, very little. At best, what it has done is to  drive much of the world into chaos.

And Trump, on Monday, announced that the American military are 'angels sent by God".    (I can't think of anything disgusting enough to top that statement.)

Read this, and think over what Trump's "angels from God" have done to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria. We are seeing evil as bad as any evil that Hitler did.

I selected this because it seems to me The Canadian Legion should be devoting itself to helping our veterans, not to glorifying war. It should be reminding us that we have not done a damn thing that they were told they were fighting for. It should be asking why we  have a small military force sitting on near the Russian border as bait. It should be asking why we bombed Libya and, more recently, Iraq. It should be asking why we sent troops to fight an die in an illegal war in Afghanistan.  It should be asking why Canadian peacekeepers were sent on a mission to Haiti with the purprose of restoring the dictatorship.
This is a good example of the U.S. 'commitment' to democracy.
American naziism

Must have been some of them there angels from God.
British Columbia looks like a win for the NDP and Greens. But maybe not.
Over the last fifty years, the NDP has backed a long way from its founding principles. And the Greens have never developed a full, political philosophy. It's nice to hear they want to do something to save the enviroment. But to do so will be one hell of a struggle against some very wealthy, powerful, and well-connected people - many of whom also own most of the news media and most of the Liberal and Conservative politicians.

And have the people of British Columbia understood the war they are taking on? I rather doubt it because neither the NDP nor the Greens have shown all that much savvy in recent years. What they propose is revolutionary because it has to be in world dominated by ruthless billionaires  (and a wimpy federal
government.) I doubt very much that the people of British Columbia understand that.
Beware of Trudeau. He could made Sephen Harper look like a sweetheart.
Trumps angels of God are back at work.
As I read the above, I wondered about our respect for patriotism. Hitler's soldiers were being patriotic when they took Jews to death camps. I like Canada. I'm happy when it does well. But I certainly would not agree with everything it does. And to fight for one's country? Sounds good. But what does it mean?

Does your country ask you to fight? How does a whole country ask that? What about the role of politicians and news media who sell you on the idea? And who do they represent?

Canadians were killed  (and murdered thousands of civilians) in the Boer War. What did that have to do with being patriotic or fighting for  their country? The U.S. killed a million and a half Iraqis who were no threat whatever to the U.S.  The war was based on lies about Iraqi weapons that didn't exist.  It was really a war to steal control over Iraqi oil.

Where was the patriotism in that? What did it possibly have to do with "fighting for ones country"?

And how does murdering a million and a  half people square with what Americans call their 'American set of Christian values"?

Anyway, it's one thing to kill for your country. It's quite another to kill for your capitalists.

And why haven't our clergy had the guts to point that out?
And here is required reading for dimwits of the chambers of commerce who hold expensive dinners to clap, clap, clap for 'Philanthropists."

Hint to philanthropists -   stuff your charity. Pay your taxes.
We don't hear much that's nice about Trump. So here's an item worth reading.
This is what often happens when we send people (angels of God) to fight for their country.
I am, very slowly, reading Gwynn Dyer's book, "Climate Wars" Ii begins with a chapter of very high level, US government studies on climate change and its impact for the future. These high level groups are no tree-huggers. They include leaders of the military, government advisors like Henry Kissinger  and many others. What they conclude is stunning. Yes. climate change is happening. Yes, it's measurable now. Yes, it's going to get much, much worse.  (Typically, they're doing this study not to help any of us, but to prepare for the years when wars will be fought under more difficult conditions. One of their concerns is that the US is due to suffer such severe climage damage that agriculture throughout the southwest and the plains will be destroyed. So, logically, it will be necessary to kill people in some countries to steal their food.

Remember, these are not, for the most part fuddy-duddy scientists who don't know nearly as much as oil barons. Nor are they nature lovers. These are very cold, calculating people who have spent their lives killing.

I'm finding it a slow read, partly because I do so much checking as I go. But it's also slow because it's a terrifying read. I read it at night. (And it's not ideal bedtime reading.)

As I read, I'm writing a blog summary of it. So I'll be sending it out.

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29: Their evil. Our wimpiness.

Just a few opening lines about my local Burnswick News. Saturday's issue is a column by a lawyer/politician who appears each week  to say nothing. This seems a man of no particular political values except getting back into the game, possibly, and making contacts. This time, he heaps praise on the province's current premier as though this were the second coming. (In fact, he has so far been a person of no distinction whatever.

Above this inane column is a huge photo of the premier - which adds nothing to a column that already had nothing. Why add the big picture? Because it fills a lot of space and it's cheap. No editor of a decent paper would ever have accepted that column.

On the good side, the Faith Page had an interesting column by a member of Moncton's mosque. That's a nice break from a long, long line of Protestant clergy. Now - I    wonder if the    paper will remember there is also a synagogue in Moncton.

I mention this as a sample of the disaster that U.S. foreign policy has been since 1945. It failed it's real purpose in the Korean War (to create an American base next to China). And, in failing, it killed a third of the population of North Korea by the most intensive bombing campaign in history.

Result? it solidified the rule of the dictators of South Korea -who used the war to murder tens of thousands of political prisoners.

Then there was Vietnam. This was a humiliating defeat for the U.S. And it killed  - well, that's anybody's guess. Official American figures are that some hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were killed. Vietnam puts it at over  four million. Given the high use of  intensive bombing, of napalm, of destroying people and vegetation with mass poisonings, the Vietnamese figure is more likely.

There was Guatemala where the CIA directed the murders of over 200,000 Mayas. And our news media still haven't told us.

There is Afghanistan which has been going on for 16 years - despite the fact that there is no evidence that Afghanistan did anything to the U.S. Then there were a million and a half killed in Iraq. Again, this was a war that had no evidence of any threatening behaviour by Iraq. As in the case of Afghanistan, American and British governments simply lied about reasons for the war.    And it has produced thousands of refugees from a society broken both economically and socially. There is still fighting in Iraq, some by jihadists taking advantage of the chaos, some as a result of the social breakdown.

Syria - again, no reasons for the war. But the damage is so great that Syria is not likely to recover as a society. The same is true of Yemen.

In short, we have seen seventy years of disastrous wars, disastrous for the U.S. as well as for its victims. The worlds most expensive military has been unable to defeat or to stabilize or to reconstruct the countries it has ravaged. Much of the world has been so destabilized that it will remain chaotic for generations to come.

In summary, the American drive to rule the world has failed. It has failed at enormous cost, so enormous that selling weapons all over the world has become one of the most important industries in the U.S. And that is increasingly turning loose the recipients of those weapons - Saudi Arabia, for example, and the Muslim jihadists who are now fighting Americans in a good deal of the middle east.

This has been 70 years of terrible failure for U.S. foreign policy and the U.S. military. And it's going to get worse, much worse.


Yes, climate change is happening. It's already profoundly affecting large areas. Africa, for example, is being swept by starvation as crops die due to lack of rain. It's also happening in parts of  South America.  In, it will create vast areas of flooding, destroying  (among other things) much of China's agriculture, thus driving it to war over with Russia over Siberian lands.. And this permanent drought is happening in the U.S. southwest as well as in large areas of Latin America. Think of the possibilities from that.

The world food supply is shrinking while while the world population is growing. You think 80,000,000 refugees is a lot? Just wait till it's 800 million and more.  Look at the chaos Europe is in now in dealing with refugees. Imagine the chaos in Europe and the U.S. and Canada when the real wave of refugees hits.

Here, where Trudeau, like Trump, has pretty much abandoned the climate change issue, we have done virtually no planning for dealing with the biggest crisis the world has ever seen. Instead, we're pouring money and lives into wars to make it possible to pump out and burn even more oil. And it's just not the danger of oil we have to worry about. It's the collapse of any world order in the face of enormous waves of refugees.  As well, the U.S. has not, in 70 years shown the ability to bring peace and order to any part of the world.

This is insane. So why are we doing it?

We're doing it because oil barons effectively control our governments. We're doing it because we're scared of the very wealthy and powerful in our society.
This is not a small matter to be handled with town hall meetings. We have to show some courage, and take control of our own nations and our own lives.   We have to reset the role of government so that it serves us and not our financial masters.

Or we can sit back, and let the geniuses of our financial world make all the decisions, the same ones who have, in the last seventy years, fought endless wars and, with every day. have created greater chaos.

For an insight into this, read Gwynne Dyer, "Climate Wars". I came to know Gwynne many, many years ago when we were both 'regulars' on the same CBC radio show in Montreal. And I came to have a great deal of respect for his insights - far more than I have ever  found in meetings with oil executives. Dyer is now a major world authority on the catastrophes we face. I have never met a businessmen of any sort who is. ( His column, good enough to appear in major news media all over the world, isn't good enough for Brunswick News. It needs the space for a local lawyer/ politician of unspeakable triviality.

Here, in New Brunswick, our leading business family seems to have remarkably little education for the power it wields. Even a dolt like George Bush Jr. had more.
Haaretz is a little narrow in its coverage. But it is available in English, and it is the most honest newspaper I know in the English world. In this report, Angela Merkel is doing what Justin Trudeau should be doing - but won't. Canada is going to pay, and pay heavily, for being a puppy to the U.S.
And Israel's respect for human rights is a lot like that of the U.S.
Israel's behaviour toward Palestine (and toward those Israelis who are arabs) has been shameful and criminal.
al Jazeera began under the guidance of excellent Canadian journalists as a very fine newspaper. I has, alas, slipped since then. But it still has good moments.
And this one is all too true. We have been looting Africa in trillions of dollars worth of minerals for well over a century. We have looted it of millions of people for the slave trade. We haven't even paid decent wages to the people we forced to dig up and hand over their own resources. This has been accompanied by 'heroic' wars of empire by Britain, France, the U.S., Italy. This has gone on for centuries, and we're still doinig it.

The old empires murdered, starved their victims by the millions. In more recent years, it has included western heroes like Winston Churchill who deliberately starved millions to death in India, And it still goes on. (Churchill blamed his mass murder on the people of India. We still do that -  as in our treatment of the refugees we create.
The Guardian says the Great Barrier Reef off Australia is beyond saving, and it's collapse is due to climate change. But they're just asking scientists. So what do they know. Let's be calm and wait for a more professional opinion from oil executives. They know everything.
In the middle east, the U.S. is not fighting to destroy ISIS or terrorists of any sort. To look at the purpose of U.S. involvement, one needs only to look at the region. Any sense of membership in the nation is being destroyed. Countries are breaking up into factions. Borders are ceasing to exist. Any government role in serving the people has been destroyed. Everywhere the U.S. has attacked, national and social structures have been destroyed. That that's the purpose - to make all of those nations so shattered as to give oil companies a free hand in looting them.

Our Brunswick News constantly tells us that our big business leaders know exactly what they're doing. And so they do. Too bad Brunswick News never tells us exactly what they're doing.
_________________________________________________________________________________ -
This should be common knowledge. It's isn't because our news media lie to us.
On of the most vicious killers of this world is Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May. Of course, it's hard to think of a British PM in all of British history who has not been a vicious killer. (Yes, even THAT one. If you get all indignant and say I'm wrong, try me.)
This makes more sense out of the Kennedy assassination than anything else I have seen.
The whole world is waiting for the sunshine.
Trillions for weapons. Nothing for the hungry. Not for the hungry in Africa and the middle east and South American. Not even any for the hungry in Canada, the U.S. and Britain. And there never has been.
This is about war, about war itself. It was written to make people think on Memorial Day. And Canadians should do some of that on Nov. 11. Exactly why have we fought our wars? What did we tell ourselves we were fighting them for? (I have long wondered what Canadians were thinking when they sent young men off to die while killing Dutch farmers in South Africa.)

What is it we said they were dying for? Have we honoured what we said? Were Americans in World War Two told they were dying so U.S. big business could launch endless, new wars? Heck, they didn't even get free speech out of it in their nation where domestic spies monitor their phone calls, and where big business hires mercenary thugs to beat up people who complain about oil pipeliness. (And I shall always remember New Brunswick's days of men wearing camouflage and carrying   combat rifles threatened a crowd of men, women, and children who didn't want oil company polluters destroying their land.)

And the churches were silent, as always.

In seventy years of war with millions of dead and tens of millions starving to death, is this a better world?
Poverty is rising in Europe. And when that happens, people usually don't look for a cure for it. They look for someone to blame. And they seldom blame the billionaires who cause it. They find some group they've been conditioned to hate and fear. That is what gave rise to Hitler. It's happening in the U.S., too - and it has given rise to a Hitler there who, like Hitler, takes the national anger out on Muslims - and on some groups of native Americans.

And it's happening in Canada.

And everybody ignores the real reasons. You cannot operate a national economy while letting the wealthy hide their money, and by giving the wealthy bloated contracts  (as is often the case in the defence industry).

And, for something to remember on Nov. 11, Canadians surely did not die so that the wealthy could avoid taxes.
This is an incomplete blog, today. But, oh, it's long. And I'm tired.So again, I'm  going without a spell check. (It's good training for you.)

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26: ----- just disgust.

Don't waste your time on Brunswick News. It will never carry this story - though it has been an issue in this province.

Norbert Cunningham has a Churchillian column on the Manchester bombing. He dwells on the evils of bombing innocent people, and talks of how we shall overcome. Norbert, where were your words when the U.S. and its friends  (like us) were killing innocent people - and children - by the millions? And we still are.

And how can a columnist pour out this mindless crap when the U.S. is deliberately starving millions of innocent people to death? Norbert calls the bomber 'inhuman'. Quite so. But what are we?

Nor has this newspaper ever said a word about why our side is killing so many people. Most of the killing is because our billionaires want to loot the resources of other countries. That's been the history of the western powers since Columbus.  But Brunswick News would never say that. Instead, it gives us mindless and self-righteous blather.

The editorial cartoon is just as bad, and another sample of kissing up to the wealthy. A steam engine labelled employer is valiantly pulling two passenger cars labelled jobs. But those nice employers are being held back by a huge anchor that represents worker safety.

Damn right. If workders want jobs, they should accept risks. Risks are good for profits. The Brunswick News NEVER criticizes business.

Nor will it ever examine  what appears to be a coverup at the highest levels regarding our beaches. They have been polluted for ten years - without notice of pollution ever being given. At a minimum we  should be examining that for 1.gross government neglect and 2.criminal conspiracy. But that's not going to happen. And the people of New Brunswick are just going to sit there with their faces hanging out.

We cannot have a democracy as long as our people are kept in ignorance by propaganda news media. Worse, we are facing an era in which the very wealthy are progressively increasying their share of national wealth while the rest of us get poorer. We are also in for dramatic increases in  'defence' spending which will further enrich the wealthy but destroy fundamental services like education and health.

Common sense should tell us we cannot survive such a gross shifting of all the wealth to the already wealthy. We can't survive it. And, for that matter, the wealthy can't , either. They need us. But they're very, very greedy and, despite the slobbering worship of the chamber of commerce, they aren't very bright. We are heading for a major crash.

But don't worry. The  Brunswick News will blame it all on Muslims and unions.
And New Brunswick will go back to sleep.
I recommend this article strongly. Justin Trudeau is quite possibly the shallowest prime minister Canada has ever had.  And no other has been able to match his success in making the news while, for the most part, doing nothing.
Trump is, of course, an ass. But it's a mistake to blame him for everything. To a large degree, he fits into a pattern of presidential and big business thinking in the U.S. Yes, it's terrible he ignores the dangers of climate change. But he is scarcely the inventor of ignoring climate change. That's been a characteristic of the wealthy in almost every country - particularly those connected to the industry. (It's as though they think climate change won't affect them because they are, after all, upper class.)

Canadians might note that Justin Trudeau has been much like Bush and Trump on this issue.
In the midst of mourning Manchester, we forget.....

And this is only a small part of the tens of millions killed by the U.S. since 1945. On Nov.  11, as we remember World War 2, we should also remember why  (we were told) it was fought.  One reason was to create a UN that would enforce international law on war. The U.S. has broken that law every year since 1945 with invasions, drones, Seals (assassins). And not a peep out of our news media or the U.N.
American foreign policy has been a disaster, particularly in the last 17 years. There is nothing to be gained in AFghanistan to justify the cost of that war. (And no sign it will ever be won.) the middle east is a hopeless mess which Trump now plans to make worse with a war on Iran. In Syria,  the 'rebels' are, for the most part, not Syrians. And the Syrian government has withstood years of attacks on it despite the massive supply of the U.S. to the 'rebels' and to jihadists. There seems no possibility of an American victory there and, certainly, no victory that would not risk a confrontation with Russia.

After more than seventy years of aggression, the U.S. position in the world is weaker than it was at the start. That's what happens when governments are controlled by big business.
Another story missed by Brunswick News. The  Philippine president has been stunningly murderous in his own country. But he's still a good friend of the U.S.
Wikileaks is a site loaded with information. And it's all from American government sources - and if you can't trust information from the American government, whose information can you trust?
Remember that news video of the jihadist 'white helmets' supposedly rescuting a child from Syrian government forces? The is the one that got a special Oscar in Hollywood. (That video had a good deal of fakery in it - but we'll skip that part.) Here are those same 'white helmets' making themselves useful at terrorist executions. And it's all paid for by the U.S.
When Trump announced a more than $300 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, he said it was good because it would create jobs in the U.S. Well, yes. So would feeding the starving peoples of the world. So would providing housing and education for the millions of middle east refugees.
And, of course, the U.S. is still arming and financing jihadists it claims to be fighting.
Well, it's getting late, and it's been a hard day. So I haven't proofread this blog. So sue me.

Americans recognize memorial day, and Canada Armistice Day in memory of the people we sent to fight and, often, to die. I was wildly jubilant street in Montreal on the day World War 2 ended. I remember the exulting crowds. I remember thinking my father would be coming home at last. I remember a poster, a new one, that said "We're won the war. Now we've got to win the peace." It puzzled me. Of course, why had won the war. Didn't that mean we now had won the peace, too?

No. It didn't. We had the chance, but we threw it away. The only ones who  have   achieved peace are those many who have closed their minds to what we are doing to the world and,  ultimately, to ourselves.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 24: The greatest murderers in world history.

In yesterday's copy of Brunswick News, there was a standard feature on the Commentary page. It was a column written by a 'scholar' writing for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. And exactly what is this institute? It's a propaganda house founded largely by the owners of Brunswick News.

But it never tells readers that. And there's worse, much worse, in today's paper.
 In Manchester, England, 22 people were killed in an attack on a concert audience. One of them, as all the stories tell us, was a little, eight-year old girl. Brunswick News was so upset by this, it devoted almost all of its Canada and world news section to it. (about 80% of the section.) All of it was loaded with sympathetic, heart-wrenching stories about the victims.

That would be quite understandable if all victims of such killings were treated with such sympathy. But how many sympathetic stories have you read about the murders of children and women and civilians in general. How many pictures have you seen of the people we are starving to death in Yemen? It happened in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, in Guatemala, in Iraq, in Syria, all over Africa, in drownings in the Mediterranean, in Yemen, in drone attacks.

The people of the western world, all of us (and mostly Christian) are probably the most murderous in the history of the world. And it all has to do with the pure greed of the billionaires who own us. (Though it is rarely mentioned, the Hitler of the 1930s had the support of money, big money from Germany, of course, and from the U.S.)

Below, I've listed samples of some of the big time slaughters we've been guilty of. (I have not included our mass murder of native peoples in the Americas because it's impossible to get reliable figures on this. But it certainly happened, and it's still going on. The largely unreported slaughter of Guatemala Mayas happened in the 1970 and 80s under American guidance - and murdered at least 200,000.) And, though some historians say the transmission of fatal disease to native peoples was accidental, it fact it was often quite deliberate.  Canada has apologized for its treatment of native peoples but, under Trudeau, has not done a damn thing for them. (Oil bosses are more important.)

Here's a mild sampling for our record for a western world that weeps for the death of an eight year old girl in Manchester - but doesn't give a damn for the thousands it kills every day.  (Hey. Gotta protect those oil profits.)

Pay special attention to the last entry which is photos of children we are starving in Yemen.

We still know very little about 'extra-curricular' killing in world war 2.
Russian POWs killed by millions.

below (with overdone language)

France was the same in places like French indo-China. algeria... I well remember a French soldier  (he left the army to become a teacher in Canada) who treasured  photos of himself torturing prisoners.

Hitler was not an unusual figure in history.  He committed genocide. He was a believer in racism and in racial superiorities. He used torture. He ordered mass murder of civilians. He built his power on long-existing hatreds. There have been a great many Hitlers going back thousands of years.

Donald Trump is a Hitler. So was Obama. So was Bush, Johnson, Reagan, etc. - and more before them.

We fought Hitler. Then we abandoned all the things we said we were fighting to defend.
Meanwhile, children are dying in Somaliland and, with climate change, it's getting much, much worse. Expect starvation like this across Africa, South America, much of the U.S. and China.

But the important thing is to keep oil sales strong.
The one needs a lot of thought and action. Our policies on climate control are almost non-existant because that's the way the fossil fuel industry wants it. It is one of several industries that control our governments. That control has to be overthrown if we are to survive. I would never vote for any party that gets ANY  funding from the fossil fuel industry.
Here's a columnist the Brunswick News doesn't carry any more because he doesn't meet its standards for lying and trivia.
Donald Trump make it clear to his dictator friends in the middle east that he wants to overthrow the democratcially elected government of Iran in a repeat of what another American president did in the 1950s. Is it because Iran is a nuclear threat? No. Is it because Iran might attack the U.S.? No. Is it to bring democracy? No. Iran already has that.  And the  previous American intervention was to destroy Iranian democracy and install a dictator.

So why attack Iran?

It interferes with a control of oil that God has entrusted only to American oil billionaires.

Onward Christian soldiers....
Donald Trump, the man who won election by spreading hatred for Muslims, gave a speech to Saudi leaders that won their hearts. That surely is odd. Here's the view of a CIA analyst.

Here was a loving speech from an American president to a royal family that treats democracy as a crime , that has no respect whatever for human rights, that has long supported terrorists like the ones who set the bomb in Manchester.....
And almost none of our media thought this odd.
I have just one, small disagreement with the Iranian reporter cited below. The socialism of Iran is, as he says, rooted in religion - the Muslim faith. But the socialism of the western world, too, was rooted in religion - Christianity. This is notably true in Canada where a  Methodist named J.S.Woodsworth was largely resposible for the creation of the CCF. And, over the years, the CCF and then the NDP have had a strong connection with the churches and their clergy.

Of course, none of those clergy ever were the ones who write faith columns for Brunswick News.
Thanks to a reader for this next piece. Greed and stupidity really do go together.
For a change, here is a hopeful, if optimistic, view of Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia.
And here is some very plain language.
In repect to the Manchester bombing, our news media tell us everything except WHY it happened.
Plain talk - and quite true.
Our news media have said remarkably little about the more than 300 billion dollar arms deal that Trump made with Saudi Arabia. Why? Who is going to attack Saudi Arabia? The only country in a position to do so is Israel with its nuclear arsenal. And, no, I don't think Trump is doing this to provoke a Saudi war on Israel. So what is this all about?

It's about a stunningly corrupt American arms industry that stands to make huge profits out of this. And that industry, you can be sure, doesn't pay taxes. So arms billionaires will make billions more while the government cuts back even more on essential services like health and education.

New Brunswickers should understand that game very well.

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22: Confessions

There are, we are told, some eighty million  refugees in  the world. The response of Christians all over the world has been almost unanimous. Kick them out of the country.  Force them to live year round in miserable and unhealthy camps, poorly fed, and raising families in tents. Leave them to die in the wilderness.

And there are a lot more refugees on the way. There are, for example, the refugees of         Yemen and Somalia that we are deliberately allowing to starve to death. There are those whose countries have been looted by international bankers and other capitalists - Greece, Puerto Rico and,  unmentioned in our press, Ukraine. (Gee! isn't that weird? Puerto Rico, Greece and Ukraine are capitalist countries, and we all know that capitalism creates wealth for all.  Don't we?) And we have yet to see the biggest wave of refugees.

Climate change is already creating refugees. That's what's causing the starvation in Somalia and other parts of Africa. And forecasts for China, Africa, South America, Mexico and the southwest U.S. and the American plains over the next 20 years or so are pretty grim. And, gee, do you think hungry Americans will just sit and watch all that Canadian land producing crops? Remember that the U.S. invaded us once before to get our land. (There's a good book on climate change and war, by the way. It's "Climate Wars" by Gwynne Dyer.)

I thought of all this as I read the headline in today's local newspaper. "Road money demand outstrips what's available". Yep. Our brilliantly capitalist society can't produce enough revenue for the most basic maintenence of its roads. Gee! How can that be possible? I mean, columnist Norbert Cunningham has told us often enough that capitalism produces competition, and competition produces wealth from which we all benefit.

(Actually, that's not what competition does. What it does is to produce, usually, one winner and a whole lot of losers.)

In the case of New Brunswick - as was the case in Puerto Rico and Greece - the major capitalists usually don't pay any taxes. They also demand hundred of millions in tax rebates, and hundreds of millions more in forgiveable loans-our money that they can then courageously 'risk' to make more money.

And, just to reduce the risks, they also look for trade deals which would free them from any responsibility to any country. For example, there have been several trade treaties that allow corporations to sue countries for massive payment if those countries pass legislation that might hurt their profits. Say, for example, a law were passed to ban a certain chemical that has been proven to harm land and people, from being sprayed on land. (Perfectly theoretical, of course. No capitalist would deliberately harm land or people.)  Capitalists would  (and do) demand payment from that country for all the future profits it had expected. The case would also be tried by a foreign court made up of judges appointed by major corporations.

Funny we haven't read much about this in the media outlets owned by our most beloved capitalists.

Capitalist countries also send their soldiers overseas to 'fight for their countries', a technical term that means killing people (mostly civilians) and creating refugees by the millions in order to get control of, say, oil fields for billionaires (who, of course, don't pay any taxes for the wars.)

And that's not competition of any sort. That's called murderous greed.

The next   forty or fifty years are shaping up as the most vicious and destructive - and greedy - in human history
News of the present - and future.
The people of Congo have been beaten, starved, murdered and looted for over a century - beginning with those nice Belgians, and now by other capitalist countries - including Canada. The early days of this can be read about in "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad.

The destruction of people and societies was carried out by capitalists who have effectively destroyed the people and their societies. The whole region lives now in fear and hunger and hopelessness. So much for capitalism as the creator of wealth.

Even that nice president George Washington had a hand in it. He helped in the looting of Africa for its people, to make him the largest slave-owner in the land of hope and glory.

In this context, it is worth reading "The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill". It's also a video on Netflix. This deals with American slaves who escaped to Canada during the American revolution. (Unfortunately, their treatement in Canada was often similar to their treatment in the U.S. And I don't mean just in the distant past.
Go to the bottom of this page for a video of Trump speaking to leaders of Saudi Arabia, telling them to unite against Muslim extremists. This is in Saudi Arabia whose leaders are probably the most extremist in the world and the most destructive of human rights, and who enjoy full support from the U.S. - including ysterday's three hundred and fifty billion dollar arms deal.  (Justin Trudeau, too, is an admirer of the Saudi kings, and a supplier of weapons to help them kill the starving families of Yemen.)
The nice thing about being a capitalist in Canada is that you never have to clean up your own mess.  (Yes. I know the story says the government is giving just a loan. I also know how little that really means.)
This is a useful summary.
Our news media have had almost nothing to say about Sweden dropping the sexual assault charges again Julian Assange, the creator of Wikkileaks. He's not out of trouble yet, as the British government seems to determined to prove that it can kiss up to the American government better than anybody.
Trump certainly seems to be beating the drums for war against Iran. But I haven't yet found a satisfactory analysis of this. However, I think it safe to say that this could open up a major confrontation with Russia.

Is there a reason for a war with Iran? Not according to international law. Iran is certainly not a military threat to the U.S.  (or to Israel). And would Iran be better off under an American conquest? You might ask the people of Vietnam, AFghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen about that.
Here is a long but initruging look at Trump's aims for Saudi Arabia.
Government FOR the people? That's been a myth for a long time. The cockroaches and lice of the western world have long been the wealthy.
There's a topic I haven't seen a story on - but I'd sure like to.

What is the biggest factor in a child's success in school? My experience as a teacher tells me it's social background. In my classes in Canada, the children of the poor often did badly in school. That wasn't because the poor were stupid. It was because the children and the parents seldom had any expectations of doing well. When I was kicked out of high school, it was no big deal because the neighborood I grew up in had no expectations.

As a high school student, I learned that Jewish students commonly did better than Christians. That was strange because they then came from a district as poor as mine. Now, I know of no rule that religion affects intelligence. The difference among Jewish children is that they were raised to have respect for learning, and encouraged to develop it.  (Remember the story of the child Jesus debating the rabbi in the temple?) That was typical of the history of Judaism.

Respect for learning is even higher among Chinese. I found students there eager to learn because a failure was a disgrace to the whole family - father, mother grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins - and even beyond.

My experience with the children of the wealthy is that the desire to learn is not, to put it kindly, abnormally great. And the fact that the children of the wealthy often depend on private schools and special attention to get them through is a suggestive sign.

Also noticeable is that that though a high proportion of the children of the wealthy go to university. relatively few go on to graduate studies - and quite a few don't even finish undergraduate studies.

Well, no. What counts in their social circle is money, not intellect.

In short, we are as intelligent -or as unintelligent - as our social circle requires us to be. The poor are not, by definition, retarded - or the wealthy intelligent. in fact, the latter seem to get worse, perhaps by inbreeding, with every generation. One can call Donald Trump many things, but intelligent does not appear to be one of them. Obviously, it doesn't take high intelligence to get rich.

Every year, Canada loses thousands of intelligent people that it can't afford to lose. It's even worse in the U.S. where public schools are downgraded to boost the profits of private schools.

And so, in both nations, we are, in practice, governed by billionaires with, at best, third rate minds.
Betcha none of our privately-owned news media will notice that Trump has been attacking one of the only democracies in the region -  Iran. (Yes it is a democracy. It was before the U.S. and Britain invaded to kick out its elected government and replace it with a dictator. And it's now a democracy since it kicked out the dictator.) And, while he attacks the elected government of Iran, he heaps praise on the dictators of the region.

Democracy and capitalism seldom go together very well.
Yesterday, Trump visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, sacred to Jews, Christian and Muslims. He went, I guess, as a Jewish visitor since he wore the yarmica (a skull cap).

A Haaretz reporter concluded he had no intention of bringing peace to the region. I think he's right - but I could with the reporter had said more.
Here's something most of our news media should have noticed right away. But didn't.
And a column that I fear is all too true.
Today, I was frequently critical of capitalism. I don't regret that. Capitalism is not a religion and, indeed, it bears no resemblance to any religion I ever heard of. (Perhaps a reader knows of some resemblance to share with us.)

It has never brought prosperity to anybody except the already prosperous. Of course not. Whereever it operated, it brought poverty and death for millions. The relative growth of properity in the U.S. was built on the murder of millions of native peoples, then on the exploitation of immigrants, especially of women.
The  prosperity of imperial Britain existed largely in the pockets of the very wealthy, and based on the cheap labour of the British people and, even more so, on the mass exploitation and murder of millions in the empire The same is true for capitalism in other empires like France and Spain.

It does not create prosperity for the rest of us. One might argue it did for a time, from 1939 to about 1970. But that was largely due to government controls - which capitalists have eagerly been getting rid of. For the last fifty years, the rich have been getting richer while the rest of us - all over the world - are getting poorer.

No. I'm not a wild-eyed communist. I just recognize the obvious. Capitalism is based on greed, nothing else. As long as it lasts, we will be expected to fight, kill and die for it while never having any significant share of it.

I'm not a communist. (I mention that because many people, including the whole staff of the Irving press, have no idea what a communist is.) In fact, Russia was never communist. Nor was China. What Karl Marx had in mind was a society of complete and equal sharing.  (Very Christian, actually.) But ours is not a very Christian world. So, for the time at least, it's quite impractical.

What we need is a society that is democratic. At present, we don't have one. Democracy, after all, requires firm education, a public that isn't afraid to be inquiring, and honest news sources. It also requires at least one, major party that respects the needs of society as a whole. We don't have that, either.

Oh, and we also need politicians not owned by billionaires.

I think huge corporations - as those in the oil industry - should be owned by government. otherwise, they own the government - and us. I think all essential services should be publicly owned to ensure that everone has access to them.  (Private ownership does a very bad job in this respect.) That which people must have should be publicly owned. Private business can have the rest - and that's considerable. (I wish organizations like the chamber of commerce could understand that. Instead, they like to kid themselves they're blood brothers to the billionaires when, in fact, they have nothing in common with them.)

To that degree, I'm a socialist. That is what attracted me to the old, CCF party. And that is what would draw me back to its successor, the NDP, if it should ever recover its principles.

Oh, a parting thought. I dimly remember a time when we looked at the history of our treatment of native peoples in Canada, published a long apology for it, and promised to make amends.

How come Justin, (like Stephen) has shown no interest in it.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20: Fomat?

Many years ago when the world and I were young, I was an elementary school teacher. I was with my school principal, who had devoted his life to looking dignified and holding his hands behind his back. (He was the son of a clergyman.)  We were listening to the daily news of bank-hold-ups, rapes, human trafficking, and mass murder by bombing. The principal sighed,

"Wouldn't this be a better world', he said, "if people were just nice to each other?"

This came back to me as I read the commentary page in today's Brunswick News. There was a column by a lawyer who is a master of saying nothing at all. His item on the royal family is pure gush, the sort one usually finds only in supermarket magazine racks. This is typical of the contempt that many New Brunswick politicians seem to have for the people of this province.

There is, however, some relief in the religion column on the Faith Page. It recognizes that religions have been a major cause of world hatreds - and he suggests churches should clean up their mess. That's a huge step ahead of "Wouldn't this be a better world if people were just nice to each other?"
And, in fairness, that would involve being nice to each other. But the news stories and news columns in Brunswick News - and other news media - rarely reflect that. Our news on surviving the world we have created rarely has anything to do with realities and human needs.

We are deliberately starving large parts of the world - especially in Afria and the Middle East. We have the food to save them. But we would rather spend the money on high priced weapons and multi-million dollar hand-outs to billionaires.  Thousands of Canadians live in wretchedness; millions live in hardship. But we rarely see that even discussed in our news media.

Instead, we get commentary columns like today's hack piece from the chamber of commerce. The remedy to all problems is to support business; and then wealth will come to all of us just as "...the rain falleth from Heaven upon the place beneath."

In fact, that is not true; and it never has been.

In the last couple of centuries, for example, the best periods of growth for average North Americans was from the outbreak of war in 1939, a growth which lived on for 25 years or so after the war. That period occured because governments needed their nations to experience relative prosperity during the war and, for many years after it, had to  respond to public expectations of continuance of that prosperity. That's where Canada's health care system came from. It certainly would not have happened without the expectations raised by the war.

The war also made government controls over business essential. Business, left to itself, has only one purpose - to make as much profit as possible. Whether that is destructive of people or environment couldn't matter less. Big business is also the force that decides who we will go to war with. No war since 1945 has had anything to do with protecting the U.S. or Canada. They have all been fought to  give American big business control of world markets - with Canadian big business trotting behind to pick up the scraps.

Most of us, Americans and Canadians, are getting poorer. The wealthy are getting much wealthier. That can lead only to disaster for all of us - including the wealthy.

But our news media, almost all of them owned by the wealthy, refuse to look at the damage that is being done - or at the results that are certain. Instead, they cheer for measures that increasingly allow big business to ignore government and people. That's why we are now governed, really, by an aristocracy of the wealthy who, like every dynasty shaped by inheritance, are increasinly arrogant with each generation, and increasingly indifferent to the needs of the society and, commonly, increasingly dim-witted.

That might be a good topic for discussion during coffee in the barn at the Irving Chapel.

Who is the first world leader for Trump to visit? The one with one of the world's worst records on human rights, who is also the one who wants to buy more American weapons,  and who almost certainly wants the U.S. to join him for a war against Iraq.

Saudi Arabia was created largely by a British agent of World War 1 who led the Saudis in an attacks on Turkish troops. He was also a major figure in making the current rulers members of a royal family. The British agent was commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia, and he became an outstanding hero of the war. This child  (in the days when he was a child) thrilled to reading "Lawrence of Arabia" (sometimes to a flashlight under the blankets amd past my bed time.)
The reality is that Lawrence was a thorough bastard. He set up a royal family that has an utter indifference to the needs of the people it rules, and  that is one of the most brutal regimes in history. The U.S. is now their handmaiden in starving the people of Yemen to death.

But, even at that, Lawrence did not do it for the royal family or for Saudis in general. He did it for British oil companies which wanted control of Saudia Arabia's major resource. Western oil companies are now behind the drive to steal Iran oil, too. That's why Britain and the U.S overthrew the elected government of Iran after World War 2 to establish their favourite type of ruler, a dictator who just loved torture and murder.

But those treacherous iranians overthrew the dictator, and elected their own government. Obviously, that was unAmerican - so the US has been hostile ever since.

And the King of Saudi Arabia (who is also a major supporter of Jihandists) is Trump's first choice for a foreign visit. And it will probably be a friendly visit because Saudi Arabia wants to make a huge purchase of weapons from the U.S. to starve more Yemenis, and to fight a war - with U.S. help - against Iran.
This, at best, will mean one hell of a destablization of the whole Middle East. It may also mean that Canada will be expected to play a role with troops sent to "die for their country".
As I wrote the above, it reminded me of an important point to remember. Every empire I have ever heard of has been dominated by a nation that feels morally, intellectually, in every way, superior to all others. That's what justified killing and looting so many people.

The British Empire was like that. The British saw themselves as a higher breed than other humans. Thus the derogatory labels they put on the people they murdered or looted. They also claimed a special relationship to God. "God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet".

You can find the same things in the French, Dutch, Spanish, American empires. Hitler was not unique. His empire was quite within a long series of empires. The U.S. has stepped up the ante with terms of superiority like "a people chosen of God", "American exceptionalism".

Within such nations, those who really control the power - aristocrats, billionaires - share the same delusions, and the same contempt for the people they exploit.
Around the world, that thinking has characterized the ruling classes in relation to their conquests and to their own people. And, frankly, the occasional gift of a relatively small sum does not make up for the damage they do and the suffering they cause. No. And that's true no matter what the New Brunswick chambers of commerce say.
Amazing how most of our news media have not mentioned that the U.S. has no right under international law to be in Syria for any reason. Syria is in no possible way a threat to the U.S. This is all illegal. Funny how the United Nations hasn't noticed that.
The US does claim to be fighting ISIS (though it can't even do that, under international law). Anyway, it isn't fighting ISIS. In fact, it is supplying ISIS with money and weapons.

The U.S. also  has to send at least 50,000 more  troops to Afghanistan - soon. Watch for Trump to ask Canada to help with that with, you know, Canadians who want to serve their country.

American foreign policy has created the worst mess this world has ever seen. And it's all a direct result of economic greed from, you know, people who are a higher class than us.
I don't  entirely agree with this article. But that may well have something to do with my own limitations.
Our privately-owned media have mentioned a little about Venezuela. But not much.
Unions have not been very effective some decades now. It was largely unions that destroyed the CCF party to create a wimply NDP. But there might be some signs of life still there.
If I had to name the dominant political ideology of the western world, including Canada, I would say 'fascism'.That's a word whose meanings can get tangled, and one whose meaning in the general public is quite unkown. But it's integration of government with big business very much describes our governments.
There are many people who should remember that on November 11.
This is a very useful review of a book on what the war in Syria is really all about
For the most part, Canada has never welcomed refugees - except as cheap labour (like the Chinese who were brought in to do the dangerous jobs in building our railways.) Trudeau has done little to change that.
This is probably more unusual than it is important. The only major , national party in Canadian history with prominent clergy in its ranks and in forming its policies was the old CCF. And much of that connection continued into the NDP years. in fact, it's safe to say that the major founder of the CCF was a Methodist clergyman.
Here's a kind word for Iran that you're not likely to find in your local news media.
Here's how our social superiors treat people who are honest.
American treatment of Latin America has been shameful for over a century with its imposition of poverty, frequent murder, invasions. It's now reaching a peak of artificial chaos.

What's it's like to live through that? Canadians can find out easily enough. All they have to do is to get up off their knees, and run their own country. The U.S. would never allow that.
Guess whose side Justin Trudeau is on when it comes to the climate change issue.

Trudeau is another Stephen Harper, but with better taste in clothes and hair styles.
Let's get real. ISIS and its allies are fighting very, very expensive wars. How are they getting all those advanced weapons? Who is supplying them? And who is giving ISIS the money to buy them, and to feed their armies?
Here's a very impartial look at what's happening in Venezuela. Venezuela's position looks hopeless. And it will not get help from the U.S. Instead, there is every chance of an uprising stimlated by a mysterious influx of money. And that will be followed by a government dominated the wealthy - who will immediately get American assistance.

The Venezuelan government has certainly failed. It will now be replaced by a government that is successful - as the word successful is used by American big business to mean obedience to  its wishes.

I don't see any happy ending in this one.

re title of "Format? - I find that sometimes a story does not tell enough to give a reader a sense of the situation. So I occasionally, as today, add some rather long paragraphs of my own. I'm not sure what to do about this. Somewhere, in an out of sight part of my head, I must be thinking of changing the format. But I have no idea of where to go.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18: Hey. Give me a break. I've had a couple of busy days.

Sorry! This is a disorderly blog. I had nothinig but interruptions in trying to write it yesterday. And today, I felt a need to write the long intro below.

Our very own Brunswick News carries on with hits tradition of trivia, of avoiding major issues, and treathing its readers as morons. There is, for example, one story it often carries - but always without saying anything.

Two beaches, important to our tourist trade, have een dangerously polluted for at least ten years - largely, it seems likely. due to tourist trailer parks and campgrounds. People in government have known about it, but have never posted the beaches to warn people. Now, a cabinet minister is divesting himself of his investment in a new and very large campground. With a pose of nobility, he recognizes that his investment is a conflict of interest.

Well, actually, his nobility comes late. He will remain as our Minister of Health and, therefore, the one who is responsible for the safety of the beaches. Are we to believe he didn't know what was going on? If he didn't, he is one hell of an incompetent minister of health who should resign or get fired.. And if he did know what was going on, he should be facing criminal charges.

Note, too, that the Conservatives are being rather quiet about this. Of course. This was going on while they were in power, too.

And the Brunswick News has tip-toed around the whole subject.

All these are signs of gross corruption, indifference to human safety and, quite possibly of criminality by lots of people. But don't fuss. Just read Brunswick News, and you won't know about it.

There's another scam that Brunswick News isn't talking much about - the (expensive) move of the municipal library into an abandoned high school which will require lots and lots fo money to bring it up to safety standards, and to rebuild the school as a library.


The library as it is now is in an excellent location, and with a size adequate to the library's needs. Is it possible that we are going to asked to  pay taxes for much of the renovation that's required? As well as for the cost of the move?

It's all reminiscent of the scandal of the Events Centre. That is being built with our tax money. We are told that it will mean huge profits for the taxpayers.
Get real. If the Events Centre were going to make big profits for us plebes, do you seriously think the wealthy would let us get anywhere close to owning it?
Of course not. The Events Centre will, indirectly, generate some big  money. But, while we pay for the centre with our taxes, the financial benefits will go to the wealthy.

(Yesterday's Brunswick News had a letter to the editor that it's time for New Brunswickers to elect businesspeople into government. In fact, from the earliest days of elected government, this province has ALWAYS elected businesspeople, and they HAVE always run the province. The only change over the years, is that we now elect puppets of the business leaders.

The result of government by business people  (or the puppets of business people) is, among other things, billions of dollars we  give away to the wealthy in the form of non-payment of taxes, forgiveness of property taxes (as we have recently done for poor Mr. Irving), and regular gifts to the wealthy - as in the forgivable loan of a couple of hundred million to Irvinig shipyards. And that's only the tip of yjr iceberg.

There's a price for this. The price is that the rest of us have to pay more taxes for fewer services. (God forbid that Mr. irving should have to pay his property taxes and for his own business ventures.)

That is translating into reduced services for the rest of us.  Take the case of education. Our public education system dates, largely, back to Scotland.  Though Scots commonly overstate their impact on making public education available, there is some truth in giving them credit for the development and spread of a system available to all. And it was largely Scots who brought that tradition to North America. Without public education available free to all, our modern world would not be possible.

Through the nineteenth century, that commonly meant free education to grade 6 or so. But by World War Two, ecomonic need had made it clear that high school and, often, university were needed. Alas!   Our charity to the rich in matters of taxation means we cannot afford the taxes for education. And, increasingly, we cannot afford the fees. Unlike more progressive nations, our education system is slipping back into the middle ages as something for the rich only.

Too bad; because the children of the wealthy are not generally a distinguished group in education. That's one of the reasons they provide terrible leadership. That's why, immersed in greed and self-interest, they run terrible newspapers designed to keep everyone as ignorant as they are. That's why they don't see the economic disaster they are heading us into. That's why they don't give a damn about how much suffering and death their greed causes all over the world.

Among other things, we need higher educaton to maintain a democracy. Because we certainly aren't' maintaining one now.

It is not an accident that the U.S. has elected a billionaire moron. After all, it has long had multi-millionaire ones like Bush. I suppose that when you're born into wealth, as so many of our wealthy are, it's not a good idea to be a thinker and to recognize what you are.

All the above could be written about almost all of the billionaires in the western world, and in those arising in Russia, the Middle East, and the Far East.
Saddest of all is our failure to recognize what we told our military they were fightinig for in World War 2.

The first thing that Roosevelt mentioned was to establish a good neighbour policy to Latin America. Since then, the U.S. invaded, committed assassinations, imposed dreadful conditions, destroyed governments, mass murdered, tortured, imposed some of the worst dictators in history all over Latin America.For over fifty years, Cuba has been punished for overthrowing its dictators; Guatemalan civilians have been killed in hundreds of thousands. (And no. It was not the poor or the middle class  of the U.S. who demanded all that.)

Then there were the Four Freedoms - Freedom of speech,   Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, Freedom from hunger. On the last two, the U.S. and the West in general have done damn little. Indeed, we are currently imposing hunger and death from hunger on people In Yemen - to name just one example. And we have done little to ease hunger and want even in Canada and the U.S. And very little of what has been done owes anything to our wealthy.

Freedom of religion? It depends on your religion. Jews were not allowed to come to Canada in the years immediately following World War 2. In fact, Canada and the U.S. have a long history of racism in regard to Jews, Hindus, Muslims. So, of course, does all of Europe. That's why Europe has horror camps for the Muslim refugees we have created. We are still profoundly racist - and always have been.
Freedom of speech? Well, that depends on what you say. Our news media and our political leaders are free to speak of  hatred for Muslims. In fact, UN foreign policy is acceptable in the U.S. BECAUSE it is racist. Anyone who writes a blog that is critical of wealthy is aware of the risk. But, with all their money, the rich can say anything.

We owe a great deal to our veterans. Most of all we owe an apology for betraying all those things we said they were fighting for. Too bad the Canadian Legion has paid no attention to that. Instead, it prefers to be a cheerleader for those who want to send more people to war.
And, while I'm so far off topic, what's this nonsense about fighting for one's country? What were Americans killing Iraqis doing for their country? What were Canadians in Afghanistan doing for their country? What are our pilots in Syria and Iraq doing for Canada?

Any thoughts on including native people who died defending their country from us? Shouldn't they be a part of Nov. 11?

In fact, why is patriotism a good thing? And if it is, why don't we cheer for those Germans, Japanese and Italians who fought for their countries in World War 2? Why don't we cheer for those Iraqis who died fighting for their country?

About 1900, Canadians died while killing Dutch South Africans so wealthy Brits could steal their gold. What did that have to do with Canadian patriotism?
We should think before we chatter the words in our slogans.__________________________________________________________
(sorry for all this diversion. Sometimes, talking about isolated headlines gets boring.)
Here's a bit of free speech that was too free to appear in Brunswick news.

And, gee, how come this related story never reached the ears of our great minds at Brunswick News?
And who could believe that a nice, Conservative prime minister could put lives at risk like this. Boy, if Mr. Irving were in power, just imagine how fast he would crack down on the oil industry.
I include this story because it really doesn't matter. Trump is, of course, a bumbling, ego-driven ass. But, in general, he is pursuing much the same policies as his predecessors. It would be possible, of course, to elect a Hillary Clinton who wouldn't spend her days tweeting, and would not make the blunders that Trump does. But the reality would remain.

Since world war 2, American big business has been pursuing a world-wide American empire to be controlled by American billionaires. Most obviously, that was the policy of Bush and Obama. It's not the policy of Trump. And it's the policy of Clinton.

So far, it's been disastrous. The U.S. has been beaten or fought to a draw by much smaller nations. It has created a swamp of national existences in Africa and the Middle East. In fact, this has been American policy for more that seventy years. Trump's presence in the White House gives a touch to the darkly humorous part of it. But it really changes nothing.
I had to include this one. It's a story about Britain - but it could as well be about Canada or the U.S.

I attended a small school in a very poor district. At recess, there was milk. But it was only for the 'rich' kids whose parents could afford it. For most parents, in that district it was unaffordable. They weren't being cheap. It was a district in which money was counted in pennies. And there just wasn't enough. But the company did provide and extra, free container of milk. And, oh, it was heaven once or twice a month to get a free milk.

Lunch was almost as bad. For many of us, there simply wasn't enough money in the house for lunch - and certainly not enough for a good one. (That remained true for me for many others all the way through grade 11.)

There is something very wrong with a society in which the only children who get properly fed are the ones in private schools.

Britain, certainly, is falling back to the viciously indifferent country it was through the years up to the 1940s. Then the poor and even the not so poor lived in dreadfully unhealthy conditions. It's now going back to those days.
Well, it has to. If they fed children, they would have to tax billionaires. Why, they might even have to cut back on essential services like multi-palaces for the royal family, and 150 or so household servants for a Pince Charles.

Think of that next time you're reading one of those garbage mags about the royals.
This story can't be true because the agrochemical industry is controlled by very, very wealthy people - and wealthy people would never put others in danger just to make themselves wealthier. Why, it wasn't long ago the sent the Chief Medical Officer of New Brunswick away so she couldn't get good, Christian New Brunsickers all worried. And our government would never have supported that unless it knew it was the best think for us.
Racism thrives, even among those people who were among the worst victims of it.
ever wonder why the U.S. invaded Iraq?
This should come as no surprise. Forget the bragging that we fought World War 2 to bring democracy and freedom to the world.

What is the war in Syria about? it's not to bring democracy to Syria. It never was. From the start this was a war to give American billionaires control of Syrian oil. It's now also to cut Syria in chunks for various interests.  It is, like Iraq, largely a slaughter of civilians in which (as in Iraq) the U.S. is not doing well.
How come our Christian churches have never noticed this greedy and horribly destructive trait of capitalism?  It has been an obvious feature of western capitalism since at least 1492. And the Christian churches have been cheerleaders.

Or maybe my reading may be faulty. Show me the passage where Jesus says it's good to kill foreigners who have oil. Or it's good to let government be run by billionaires. Or it's a sign of divine grace to allow the wealthy to pay no taxes. Perhaps one of the rented preachers at the Irving Chapel this summer will     explain this.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Generations of Americans have memorized this tribute to a generosity that, in fact, never existed. What American and Canadians wanted, even in those days, was just cheap labour. Now, we want white folks who share our Christian values - whatever they are.
For well over a century, American billionaires  (and some Canadian ones) have viewed Latin American as their territory. American troops have often and freely invaded to overthrow elected governments, impose dictatorships - you know - American values. The only Latin American leader to beat the U.S. off was Fidel Castro. That's why, to this day, Cubans are evil.

I don't know how accurate this next story is. Certainly, it would not be out of character for the U.S. to do what this article describes. And capitalism glorifies greed and indifference to human need. (In fact, this kind of behaviour by the powerful goes back way before capitalism. Capitalism, it seems, brings out a trait that always lurks in us.

Any clergy reading this? If so, tell me about the passage in which  Jesus says that competition is a prime, Christian value.

Or just do what you did in Germany. Shout "Sieg Heil".
Equal opportunity for all students has never existed in either Canada or the U.S., though Canada seemed to be moving in that direction some fifty years ago. The U.S. never has. The system has always favoured the rich. It's a sort of double knee-jerk reaction.

One part is the belief so common among the wealthy that they are a superior breed of human, and therefore entitled to better education. The other part is the tendency to see all human activities simply as sources of profit for the wealthy. (This has already been stepped up in the U.S., and will be on the rise in Canada.)
It's not only grossly unfair to most students. It's also destructive for the whole society.

But, what the hell, it suits the rich.
This has been a terribly long blog; and a slow one in the writing.The nature of our problem is,  I think, dawning on me but slowly.

When I first moved to New Brunswick some ten years ago, I was shocked at the reluctance, even refusal, of people to discuss world and national affairs. I was shocked that they would actually read the propaganda and trivia that is Brunswick News. It took me a while to understand that most New Brunswickers are afraid to discuss anything serious. They fear their political and economic leaders. And, I guess, rightly so.

But as I read every day of writers and commentators all over the world, I see piles of nonsense and propaganda. It is surely not possible for journalists to write and talk the nonsense they do. And I gradually realized that they, too, are scared. (It is not possble to believe one is telling the truth when one heaps criticism on Russians for bombing Syrians - but no criticism of Americans for doing the same thing.)

The reality is, I'm afraid, that most people around the world are scared. They're scared to have an opinion, and would be terrified to express it.

But being scared won't make the danger go away. We have to face it. And we have to deal with it. Soon. We are facing a world calamity being created by a small number of extraordinary and quite immoral people. And they control our leading politicians who, it seems, are themselves often acting out of fear.

We've seen this before, I suppose, as in the rise of Hitler's Germany. Today, we bear a remarkable similarity to those Germans who were too scared to speak out against Hitler, afraid to examine the country's real problems.

And if my writing seems long and tiresome today, it's because I'm wondering how we can cope with that.

(I also cheated by not checking my spelling. So sue me. I'm tired.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 12: It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

Here's a Canadian news source I  have neglected. So I have chosen a story in it that the Irving-owned newspapers of New Brunswick have neglected.

It brought my attention to the headline story in today's  Irving papers. The province has hired a lawyer to chat with key figures in the Trump government about protecting the interests of Canadian big business (mostly Irving) in New Brunswick.

(We'll pass lightly over the obvious corruption of governments that you can buy chats with - if you're very rich.)  The price tag in this case is 480,000 a year - some for the lawyer, and some for the elected representatives of that great people's democracy, the United States.

Who will pay for that 480,000? Well, the common people of New Brunswick will - out of their taxes. And who sill get most of the benefit - and get it without paying a cent? Can you spell Irving? (only the riff-raff pay taxes). This is a very expensive family for this province to support, what with tax breaks, avoidance of taxes, forgiveable loans.

Clap, clap, clap says our chamber of commerce.

In other big news, a convenience store got robbed. (That comes as a relief. Convenience store robbers don't cost us nearly as much as the Irvings do.)  In another fast-breaking news story, a new bicycle store has opened in town.
In other big news, another bicycle store is also opening in town. And each story has a photo of a bicycle.

But the big stuff is in Canada and World News. For example, a woman in South Carolin was arrested for hitting her son because he didn't give her a mother's day card. Now that's what I call world news.  Another story has a huge photo illustrating that panhanders in Maine would rather have jobs than be begging.
There is no mention of the millions who are starving to death in Africa and the Middle East, no mention of the bombings in that region, of the breakdowns of government in South America, of any unpleasantness in the Koreas, no mention of the fact that 62 people now hold half of all the wealth in this world of billions.
There is no mention of the future. Of course not. How can there be a future in a world ruled by the greediest and least intelligent people since the emperors in the late years of the Roman Empire? The American empire is on life support, survivng only because of corrupt and inflated 'defence' contracts. The disease has slipped into Canada, thanks in part to Irving Shipyards.

But relax. Read the Irving press, and you'll never know anything is happening at all.
We have destroyed stable governments all over the world, notably in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The result is violence, slavery, starvation, lack of basic necessities like clean water. Here's a very minor sample of the hell we have created in Yemen.

Of course, we do this only because they are foreigners and, therefore, evil.
Well, some of us do lots of damage to our own people, too. But they make up for it by being philanthropists. (clap, clap, clap).
It's gospel in propaganda sheets like Brunswick News that cutting taxes for the  rich benefits all of us. (check out columnist Norbert Cunningham). And It's gospel that cutting taxes in general is good for an economy.  That, too, is nonsense.
Ths story is part of a much bigger one. We have, for the past century, lived on a wave of consumption, of novelty, of newness.... It's been an astonishing age of change, of novelty of accelerating consumption. But it's over.

In that century, and despite all our murder, the world population has more than doubled. Many those resources we consider essential are running out - soon. Many have to be brought under control. We have to learn to downsize our lives.
The future is not going to be one of superhighways, suburban bungalows and not even one of 'events centres'. The weathy can't (won't) understand that because they depend on a future of unlimited exploitation. (That's why I so often suggest they are unwise  - to put it kindly - as well as greedy.) That combination is a natural human condition, and a reminder that the very wealthy are, indeed, human.

But we are making no plans whatever except to burn more oil and, generally, to do more of what we have been doing for the past century and more. Here's a pleasant exception.
Onward Christian Soldiers...

And it was just a few days ago that the commencement class of a 'Christian' university applauded Trump for bombing Muslims. We, in New Brunswick, are so lucky we have the Irving Chapel which can afford to hire the best preachers money can buy.
This is an interesting look inside international meetings.


As an aside, I once knew a couple of mafioso who lived in very, very expensive houses. And I know they didn't make their money from hanging out with poor people. Birds of a feather.
The next item is based on two sources, both of them reliable.

The idea that nuclear weapons were a deterrent to war was always a foolish one. From the start, it was foolish for the U.S. to build a nuclear arsenal, and to base its foreign policy on it.
You can't trust this next one because it's not from an irving newspaper. It's from a Russian one.


Actually, I think it oversimplifies a much worse reason. The US certainly did not invade Iraq to create a democracy; that's obvious. But the real reason it invaded was much worse than solving a "problem". The real reason was to hand over Syrian oil to American oil billionaires.

And there's a pattern becoming evident to such U.S. interference. It has destablilized societies so severely that it make take generation for them to recover. This is very evident in the middle east where some countries can expect  re-drawings of the map to push them out of existence - to be replaced by additional, unstable countries.
Here's a story about the violence in Venezuela. (The irving press couldn't carry it because it needed the space for that fast-breaking story about a mother in the U.S. who hit her son for not giving her a mother's day card.)

It suggests Canada should intervene to help. Fat chance. All the signs are that big money in Venezuela and the U.S. wants this rioting to happen. And Trudeau is not going to annoy either of those.
Here's an optimistic item - though I'm afraid we have mutch further to go than it suggests. Perhaps our chamber of commerce could find a philanthopist who would sponsor an effort to deal with climate change.
The most extreme Muslim nation in the world is Saudi Arabia. (You know, like  those  terrible Muslims Trumps is killing in Syria and Iraq because they're evil.) Saudi is perhaps the world's worst government in regard to human rights. It is also the world's largest supplier of weapons and money to Islamic Jihadists, the ones the U.S. says it's killing because they're evil. Saudi Arabians were the majority of the terrorists of 9/11.

And Saudi Arabia will be the first state visit of the Trump presidency because Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have been the world's best friends for some seventy years or more. (I  guess Liberty College, the 'Christian' school that cheered for Trump didn't teach its students about that.)
There's so much material that I can never finish a day's blog. And today seems worse than ever. So I'll conclude for today with a brief story.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world. I guess that's why I just remembered a day, some twenty years ago, in Rome. I was visiting the Colosseum. I climbed up the rows of seats until I could see over the walls. And, from there, I  could see remnants of the ancient wall of Rome. And that reminded me of a superb book by Lewis Mumford, 'The City in History". (You can get it free on the web.)
In the declining years of Rome, it was huge city made up mostly of people who an empire had brought nothing but poverty to. That made the people a threat for rebellion against the increasinly self-indulgent emperors and aristocracy who, despite their lack of brains, controlled the empire and all the wealth it produced.
So they had to find a way to keep the people amused and quiet. Thus the Roman games. These were free shows of the degradation  and mass murder of people for entertainment. And it worked. It kept the 'mob'  fascinated at the horrors inflicted on people who were even worse off than they were.

Then, as I looked across at the wall of Rome, I remembered Lewis' words that the games went on even as barbarian hordes attacked the city. From the Colosseum, one could hear the screams of the defenders as they were killed on the wall. But the Roman mob didn't listen. The years of making the people of Rome brain-dead had worked.  They felt no connection to the real world until the barbarians broke into the Colosseum, itself, to slaughter the watchers.

And that's what our emperors and aristocrats do with us - through our news media. Maybe we could rename Brunswick News as New Brunswick Colosseum.