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.

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/06/20/news/playing-hardball-jd-irving-way

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.
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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.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/may/15/state-of-emergency-in-yemen-capital-sanaa-as-cholera-kills-115-people

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).
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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.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/15/kansas-trump-style-tax-cuts-economic-disaster
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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.

https://www.commondreams.org/?gclid=CMfW89em8tMCFUS2wAodyVAODA
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Onward Christian Soldiers...

https://theintercept.com/2017/05/15/obamas-deportation-policy-was-even-worse-than-we-thought/

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.
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This is an interesting look inside international meetings.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/15/gorbachev-warns-of-growing-danger/

Wow!

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.
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The next item is based on two sources, both of them reliable.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47038.htm

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.
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You can't trust this next one because it's not from an irving newspaper. It's from a Russian one.

://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201705121053529129-us-iraq-no-democracy/

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.
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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.)

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/common-frontiers/2017/05/venezuelan-people-are-dying-streets-again

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.
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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.

http://www.thinkupstream.net/outside_action
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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.)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/president-trump-visits-the-very-source-of-wahhabism-and-the-sharia-law-saudi-arabia/5590071
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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.

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