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.

1 comment:

  1. Why the US Army was invented