Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 30: Telling the Truth is Dangerous

So here goes.

It was May 8, 1945. I was late for grade 6 - again.  So the teacher sent me home - with a note. I was one frightened kid.

But my mother ignored the note. And she didn't even listen to me. Without a word, she took me to downtown Montreal on a tram car that was packed with jubilant people. The streets were packed, with a mob following a man strutting in front with a wire litter bin over  his head.  Then I saw the signs.

VE Day! Germany had surrendered! The war in Europe was over! My father would be coming home.

And, oh, there were there were still the wartime signs up.  "Loose lips sink ships", "Buy a bond for freedom today"...."We've won the war. Now we've got to win the peace."

Oh! That last was a new one. But it made no sense We'd won the war. It was over. My father was coming home. We'd won the peace...hadn't we?

It certainly looked that way. We formed the UN to establish a sort of world government that would keep the peace. We formed NATO as a defence against Russian expansion.

And we threw it all away. The first use of NATO was to invade North Korea, an operation that killed a third of all North Koreans while making no gain whatever. Even the idea of preserving tthe freedom of South Korea was pure propaganda. South Korea was a vicious dictatorship.

No. The real purpose of that war was to occupy North Korea as a base to attack China. U.S. big business desperately wanted control of China as a capitalist's wonderland of cheap labour and markets. That's why President Truman seriously considered the nuclear bombing of North Korea when Chnese troops intervened.
Generally, the major powers, prominently  the U.S., have pretty much ignored the U.N. And when Afghanistan offered to turn over Osama Bin Laden to international courts for trial on 9/11 charges, the U.S. refused - preferring to punish a whole country, killing far, far more than were killed on 911 - and most of them just as innocent as those who died on 911.

In fact, the biggest aggressor since 1945 (and perhaps the biggest in history) has been the U.S. with over 70 invasions, with uncounted CIA murders, with the CIA creation, training and equipping of al Quaeda. with drone bombers that have killed thousands, with the creation of dictatorships as it did all over Latin America, in Iran and in Africa, with the creation of chaos, refugees and horrible suffering in Africa.

All of this  has been to make billionaires richer. And, like Britain in its fading days, the U.S. wants its empire to join its wars. That's why Canada and Britain fought in Korea and Afghanistan and Libya. That's why Britain fought in Iraq. That's why Canadian soldiers are on a very dangerous duty in Lavia and, possibly, in Iraq and Syria.

And our news media reports it as though the world is made up of evil countries that are always picking on us. Yes. Guatemala was picking on the U.S. So was Castro. So was Vietnam. So was Iran. This is why Canadians are on dangerous duty in Latvia (and without our news meda paying much attention to it.) Same for Iraq and Syria.

The world of today is many things. But there is one thing it is not. It is not what our soldiers, sailors and airmen fought and died for in World War Two. It is not a world of peace and sharing and freedom. And our soldiers did not die so that billionaires could plunder oil in the Middle East.

We now have a world in which the most dangerous aggressor (by far) is the United States. And that's not because of the American people. It's because of those very, very wealthy Americans who own the American government - and almost all the news media.

No. It's not just Trump. It's every American President since 1945. .

(The American people can be propagandized by the news portrait of foreigners as evil; but there's an almost subconcious reaction, as well. They're fed up with wars. That's why the American army can't get enough volunteers. So now, slightly over half of the U.S. army is make up of mercenaries from all over the world. And they are extremely expensive, most earning more in a year than an American general does and, commonly, with the promise of American citizenship at retirement.)

On, November 11, let us, most certainly, remember those who served. Let us think of the debt we owe them. But let us also, for the first time, remember how we betrayed them, how we broke all the promises we made about the world they were fighting for. And let's promise to change, to honour the promises we made as they honoured our need for to risk their lives.

And let's stop making a propaganda show out of Nov. 11. For a start, let's take loaded words like patriotism off the table. That's a vague and misleading word.  Patriotism is one of those words that can be good - or terribly evil. The Naziis who killed Canadians and who operated death camps for Jews were patriots. So were the Italians who killed for Mussolini, and the Japanese who starved Canadians in their work camps.

The Japanese were not only patriots serving their country. They were serving their emperor - as Canadians served their king and as Italians served Mussolini (who actually thought he was a caesar) and as Germans served Hitler.
There is nothing necessarily good about patriotism or serving your country. These are just propaganda words.

So let's get reasonable. From the age of six, I can remember the 'boys' coming to our place to say goodbye. I can remember their happiness. This was adventure. I remember the fellow who helped my father with the scouts, proud of his navy uniform, and thrilling me by letting me hold his jacknife. He, like many others of 1939, was joining because there were no jobs. This was the Great Depression, an almost universal plague of poverty and hopelessness. (He was blown off the bridge of HMCS Sackville on D Day.)

None of this detracts from the service he gave us, and the respect and honour we owe him.

My father joined because he had a family to feed. And that just wasn't possible in the Great Depression. The same was true for thousands, especially of the first contingent to go overseas.

My uncle joined to get away from his wife and children. It was no secret. He was at Dieppe and D Day. And he talked about the war for the rest of his life. But all the war ever meant to him was the great parties in England.

And Bertie. Poor Bertie. He was only 16 when he stole his brother's draft papers to join up. But he was big and strong and looked older. Intellectually, he was four or five. That's why he played with me. And he just loved marching because of the sound of the steel clips on his boots hitting the sidewalk. His family said they would tell the army his real age. But they didn't. They were a family of poverty and ignorance and alcohol and indifference.

In his first action, Bertie was lying down under machine gun fire. I met a man who was with him.

"He was cryin'. Yeah. I could see he was crying. Then he jumped up and was cut in  half by the machine gun. Craziest thing, when he jumped up he was screamin' for his mother."

It wasn't all patriotism and God blessing the King.

Let's not lose ourselves in wonderland.

They were a generation raised in the dreadful 1930s, a period of suffering and hunger and fear and dreadful exploitation by the wealthy. And, for those ten, dreadful years, they got no help, none, zip from the government of this country.  And less than no help from the wealthy of this country. Indeed, the wealthy used the hard times to cut salaries, cancel holidays, and even to put the  unemployed into remote 'work camps' that were really concentration camps.

We most certainly should remember those who served, and remember with respect and gratitude for what they suffered. What we should not do is to romanticize November 11 as though it were a sort of revival of King Arthur's knights doing good deeds.

We should remember all - including the promises we made to them - the promises that we have since dishonoured - of the better world they were sacrificing for.

And the worst offender in that respect is The Canadian Legion. It  has a record of romanticizing war, and forgetting about the promises. The greatest honour it could do to those who sacrificed would be to remind us of what it was all supposed to be for. Instead, it invariably plods into a dream world of big words and small actions.

With fond memories of Jack and Bertie and Howard, of my father who was away so many years of my life, of my mother who had to live through all the fears and loneliness of a wartime world - and with a son who couldn't even get to school on time.
Just a brief glance here at the ghastliness of the irving press in this province. Today, Norbert Cunningham gives us a commentary on how the public service is full of faults. In ten years of reading his gutless columns, I have never seen one in which he criticizes the big corporations who actually run this place.
Then we have a 'commentary' on how phones have changed in the last fifty years. That's not a commentary. That's an utterly useless piece of information. A commentary analyzes the news so we can better understand it. Real commentaries almost never  happen in the irving press.

The Assistant managing editor of the commentary page is Rod Allen who used to write commentaries in ponderous humour about stirring topics like "what I did last summer."

Then there's the usual 'commentary' which really comes from a propaganda house for big business. This time it's the Fraser Institute.

Even Alec Bruce,  the best (and only) intelligent columnist on the page feeds us material from a propaganda think-tank (the most eminent one), the Conference Board of Canada - which is really an offshoot of a similar propaganda house in the U.S.

Canada&World? That's a  miserable four pages, half of them about Houston. There's also a big story that a man who murdered his parents and grandparents will not get bail. There's a bit on North Korea and how evil it is. But there's no mention that the U.S. has for sixty years been provoking North Korea with war exercises on its border, and with routine bomber flights over North Korea.
North Korea has a nuclear bomb. OOOh. What a threat to the world! The poor little U.S. has only 7,000.

There was also a brief note that North Korea has the largest standing army in the world. If it does, the U.S. has a lot to learn from it. The North Korea military budget this year is seven billion 500 million dollars. The U.S. military budget is  eight hundred and forty-six billion. Sounds like its time to take a look at U.S. military spending.

In any case, and as a good reporter should know, size of a 'standing army' doesn't tell us a whole lot. The term can have quite different meanings. And, in any case, when one looks at military power rankings, North Korea isn't even in the top thirty. Too bad the news editors of irving press don't know that.

These are disgraceful newspapers by any standard I have seen. They're trivial, irrelevant, lying propaganda for big business.

 Strange. The editor-in-chief has an MA in journalism from an excellent school.
Coincidence. His family name is Irving.
As you get indignant at the next video, remember that this is not a horror created by those awful Chinese. I saw this - and worse - when I was working in a Hong Kong that had been under British rule for over a century.
I loved Hong Kong. But it was not all honey and roses.
Here's a story about Hurricane Harvey that the irving press would be unlikely to carry. It's too busy cheering for more oil pipelines.
All these  years after the Canadian government's official apology to its native peoples for deaths and other damage in residential schools for their children, nothing has been done. Justin talked a good game. But that was it.

It may well be we shall have to go much further in making this country livable for native peoples - as far as making their own land really theirs - and more.
War poisons all of us, not just the ones our 'our' side.

(Some reader is sure to read this and to say we must  go to war against Syria. Well, no. We won't end wars by making them.
The nature of war has changed radically over the last century. One of the greatest changes was the bombing of civilians ordered by Winston Churchill in 1920 (against the Kurds). And so civilians and children have become the major targets of war. Then there came nuclear weapons, chemicals, drones - and now robot killers.

In the fullest sense of the word, we can no longer afford war. But the governments that, in democracies, are supposed to rule for us actually rule for some of the greediest and most pig-headed people in history.
This may explain why people read the irving press.
This may help to partly explain why New Brunswickers are suckers for the Liberals or Conservatives  in every election. Added to that is their fear because they know who really has power in New Brunswick.

Only here could a man who demands massive favours and tax rebates from the government be hailed as a philanthopist for giving a much smaller sum to a public service group - and only if it's a harmless one.
Here's story that wasn't important enough for the irving press. It needed the world news space for a big story about two Ontario men who are driving to Houston.
David Suzuki has long been persona non grata in the irving commentary columns. They needed space for propaganda 'think-tanks'.
This one, too didn't make the irving press.
And here's a rarity, a commentary crediting Trump with doing something right.
With thanks to a reader who supplied me with this one.
And this is the new way of war.
With all respect for Jews who were murdered in Hitler's Germany and Europe  (and horribly discriminated against in most of the rest of the world, including Canada), Israel's treatment of Palestine for the last 60 years has been beneath contempt, and is a dreadful distortion of Judaism. It has stolen much of Palestine, kept its people as a nation of prisoners, abused them.....  And Trump, to his credit, is showing signs of  taking a more honourable stand. And the UN is showing even stronger signs.

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28: The worship of war.

First, a  third and final piece on what the wars of the last 150 years have been about.  Then excerpts from various news media.

The Nature of Warfare Since 1871
After World War 1, the new enemy for western business became the Soviet Union.  It wasn't really communism it feared. (The Soviet Union was not really communist, anyway). But it was feared that it's alternative to capitalism might gain popular support in the west. This fear became acute in the 1930s depression.
The response of German big business emerged in the form of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. (Consider. How did Hitler build support if he had no money? How was he able to campaign? How come the major newspapers were not more critical of him? How was he able to set up all the apparatus a political party needs?)

He was funded, of course.

He called  his party National Socialist. But it wasn't socialist, either. It was a capitalist party, and it was enthusiastically supported by big business in Germany----and by big business in other countries, notably in the U.S.   Until the U.S. declared war on Germany at the end of 1941, a hugely oversized portrait of Henry Ford  hung on the wall behind Hitler's desk.  Ford and Hitler had everything in common.

Ford supported capitalism. Ford hated government controls on business.  Ford hated Jews; he owned a newspaper - the Dearborn Intelligencer - that spewed his hatred of them.

But western business became nervous as German industry revived under Hitler, and as it became obvious he was looking for a much wider war. This was the  World War 1 German threat to western big business all over again. The breaking point came in September of 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, after making a deal with Russia for it to get the eastern half of Poland.

But the U.S. did not join the war until more than two years later. Why not?

Because the eyes of the U.S. were on, above all, China. With its huge market and cheap labour, China could be the pot of gold to the U.S. that it had long been to Britain. Its competition for that was Japan. That's why the U.S. had spent the years since 1919 in building a fleet specifically to beat Japan - particularly with its supply ships and aircraft carriers.

As well,  if Britain lost to Germany, then the U.S.  could also hope to pick up valuable British colonies in, for example, the Middle East, and French ones in, say, French Indo-China (Vietnam). So the U.S. watched Europe - and waited for its chance at Japan.  To shorten the wait, it cut off almost all oil supplies for Japan. The Japanese would have to respond - and when they did, the U.S. was ready.

Meanwhile, the Germans had invaded the Soviet Union. Suddenly, documentary films and newspaper stories appeared about what nice people the Soviets were, how courageous, how just like Americans...

When the war with Germany ended, the U.S. gave money to the European countries to rebuild. It not make such an offer to Britain. The intention was to keep Britain poor, and unable to hold onto its empire.

When the British closed in on the Japanese, the U.S. ordered them NOT to recapture Hong Kong. Churchill ignored it to recover a piece of its empire. But most of the rest would be lost soon after the war.

The U.S. would succeed in moving in on parts of the British Empire, notably on Iran after the war as a marvelous source of oil. The U.S. overthrew the democratically-elected government, and installed a dictator. But the Iranians fought back to overthrow the dictator. And that's when Iran became evil in American news media.

But the U.S. failed in its greatest ambition - the conquest of China. Mao beat them to it. That's why there was a Korean War. North Korea seemed an excellent base for the invasion of China. And that is still the  dream. The U.S. killed at least 30% of the North Korean population in that war, mostly by the heaviest bombing campaign in history. It is also the highest killing percentage I know of in any war.

American business after World War 2 immediately embarked on its greatest ambition. Conquest of the whole world. Thus the U.S. invasions of some 70 countries since  1945. This is the dream that was revived with the web site, Project for the New American Century.

Finally, a frightening note on the nature of warfare. Modern terror-bombing of civilians began in 1920 with Churchill's bombing of  Kurd  villages the Middle East. Hitler picked it up in the Spanish Civil war with the infamous bombing of Guernica. Canada, the U.S. and Britain adopted it in World War Two.

The U.S.  has used it intensively ever since. It's effective, and the folks back home like it  because the casualties for our side are low. That explains why the casuaties for a whole population in World wars one and two were in the range of 1 or 2 percent. That's why in North Korea, they were 30% or more. And if would have been far, far worse if President Truman had followed his plan to nuke the north.

Since then, the U.S. has provoked North Korea constantly with a large invasion army kept in South Korea, routine "war games' on its border, constant sea patrols just outside Korean waters, and even bomber flights over North Korea.

North Korea knows an American attack is coming. The U.S. has been looking for that war for over 50 years.  That's why North Korea developed a nuclear bomb. It knows that attacking anybody with it would bring annihilation by just a few of the 7,000 bombs the U.S. has.   Its only hope is that simply having  a bomb might to deter an attack.

Yes. Kim Jong un is an unpleasant character. But no more so than almost all U.S. presidents since 1945.
Here's a story about climate change that obviously isn't true. I mean, if there were really climate change going on, our oil barons would be first to lead the way in tackling the problem. Wouldn't they?

And, for climate change deniers, here's another story to read.

When will we figure out that, with these challemges, we cannot waste time and money on wars to make the rich richer?
This is a quite horrible story. Worse - our treatment of most of the world is still vile. Western companies routinely murder environmentalists and others when they are looting the resources of, say, Latin America.  (And they routinely rob us.)

Capitalism itself is not necessarily evil. But, oh, it can create  evil and greed on the part of the major capitalists. Like almost everything else, capitalism needs controls. It does not, as the irving press insists, necessarily produce wealth for all. Indeed, it more often feeds on poverty and slavery - and murder.

We face monster problems of climate change, robotization of the work force, loss of food supplies, refugees. But an uncontrolled capitalism has shown no sign of being interested in these. It would rather create more wars to satisfy the greed that can never be satisfied.

Capitalism, including the Canadian form, kills and impoverishes people all over the world.

Now, the weakening of controls on capitalism has reached a crisis. It has effectively destroyed democracy. That's why the crisis in the U.S. is not a crisis of Trump (however big an ass he may be.) The crisis is the rise of capitalism to absolute and uncontrolled power.

The U.S., since 1945, has invaded over  70 countries and killed millions - all to respond to the greed of its leading capitalists. The cruelty of these wars has been unmatched in history. The death toll of North Koreans in the Korean War was the highest, as a percentage of total population, of any history I  have read.

In the Second World War, which was terrible enough, 40,000 Canadians lost their lives. That was just over 1% of the whole, Canadian population. Britain's percentage of dead was only a little higher. In Korea, the U.S. killed over 30% of the whole population. A second Korean War would almost certainly be far worse.
The Iraq war was short. But it still killed about 7% of all the men, women and children in that country. And all so billionaires could make even more money out of oil

Think of that next time you're having coffee and socializing in the barn at the Irving Chapel.

I wonder how our churches have failed to notice the horror that we are inflicting on the world and, ultimately, on ourselves and our children.
And here's a story about a Canadian mining company in Guatemala. It's called Tahoe. And workers who complain get beaten and/or killed. In the 1970s, the CIA and the Guatemalan army worked together to murder 200,000 indiginous men, women and children - as well as many priests and nuns who supported the Maya people. That's when Raoul Leger of New Brunswick was murdered.
The irving press has still never mentioned this.

The Tahoe mining company has quite a record of violence and brutality. That's what happens when we allow capitalism, or any ism, to go uncontrolled. That lack of control, if it's allowed to go on, will destroy us.
Here's the same story - as carried by a paper for businessmen. Notice the difference in tone?
The next story tells us just how evil those Muslims are. Yes, it does.

That's just Muslims. So it doesn't count the millions killed in North Korea and Vietnam.
Here's a story that the irving press hasn't noticed.
The following site is stunning.

And almost all of those wars were fought in the interests of big business. Big business understands only profits. It does not exist to make us rich or to 'create jobs'. In fact, its record around the world is for creating poverty.

But it does control. And that could be tragic because I have seen no evidence that the leaders of big business are gifted with either morality or brains.
This article contains a powerful message. In the U.S., Naziis and evangelical Christians have a lot in common.

Makes one wonder at the damage Christians have done to Christianity.
The next one is to be taken very seriously, indeed. Transnational corporations DO rule the world.
The following is not surprising. Like most western news media, the irving press  has not carried this story. But then, the irving press seldom carries ANY storty. Its purpose is to keep New Brunswickers in a stupor.
And here's an unusual one.
This next one reminded me of today's irving press in which commentator Norbert Cunningham launched his routine attack of the New Brunswick government for going into debt. As always, he ignored the reason for the debt - the failure of so many wealthy to pay taxes, and their constant demand for more giifts from the rest of us. (There's also the story about the closing of a local home for the destitute because it ran out of funds. So of course we cannot afford to house the destitute. But we can afford to give irving a huge tax reduction in the millions for a property in St. John.)
It looks very much as though the U.S. is getting ready for an invasion of Venezuela to "restore democracy". And it looks as though it will be dragging in NATO. That very likely means that Canada will be asked to fight another American war.

Expect Trudeau to buy in..
Most people use words like capitalism, communism, socialism, and use them with great sincerity one way or the other  - though most have no idea what they mean.

I don't think communism can work. That doesn't mean it's necessarily evil. I think it's just too idealistic. That's why no country, not even the Soviet Union, has ever been communist.  Capitalism can work. Socialism can work. A mix of the two can work. What cannot work is a rabid hound tearing loose. But a rapid hound tearing loose is what we have.

And we have very little time to get the beast under control.

Christian churches - do you seriously believe that indiscriminate mass murder and the creation of poverty and deliberate starvation all over the world is what Jesus was talking about? Do you seriously believe that we are good and the rest of the world is evil?

If not, what the hell are you clergy doing standing around with your faces hanging out while every principle of your faith is being destroyed?

Yeah. I've seen you demonstrate against birth control. How courageous!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sept.25: The Forces of Evil.

Part 1 of 2 parts on the causes of war since the late nineteenth century.

The fears about the rise of German industry proved correct. It was soon serious competition for British and French business. And it also maintained a pretty effective army. War became likely - not a war because one side was evil, but because both sides were motivated by profit to be made from trade all over the world, not just at home. The British embarked on a massive fleet building campaign. So did Germany. The British reached 1914 with the biggest fleet in history.

By the 1890s, Britain was also changing its mind about getting rid of Canada. In a war with Germany, it would need all the troops it could get. So, suddenly, there developed a surge of worship of the Empire and the Queen. It was really a one-way love affair since few British felt any closeness to Canada. Certainly, they would not have gone to war to defend it from the U.S. But the Canadian attachment to Britain was strong, and it was encouraged by lots of Union Jacks, visits from the aristocracy.....

This really took off as Britain neared a war with the Dutch settlers of South Africa. It was a typical imperial war to plunder a nation. South Africa had huge quantities of gold and diamonds - all controlled by the Dutch settlers (Boers) who were plundering it from the native population. It would be so much better if English billionaires controlled all that wealth.

Britain asked Canada to send troops.

That was an odd request. Colonies were not required to fight wars for Britain. Certainly, South Africa was no possible threat to Britain or Canada. The British army was expected just to roll over the small, Boer population. But wealthy Canadians immediately stepped forward. Of course. Their trade and their profit depended on the good will of Britain (just as it now depends on the U.S.)
Lord Strathcona paid the entire cost of a cavalry regiment, a thousand men and their horses and equipment (now the Lord Strathcona Light Horse).  Ordinary Canadians, the ones, I suppose, whose descendants now buy magazines about the home life of the  Royal Family, were wildly in support.

But why did the British want help for such a minor opponent?

They wanted to establish a precedent that anyone who went to war with Britain was going to war with the whole empire - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India....  In my childhood language of the Montreal street gangs "You fight me, you fight my gang."

And so 270 Canadians died.

It was much worse for the Boers and the natve Africans. Something over 90,000 of them died died - most of those were civilians, whole families in concentration camps. Many thousands of those deaths were in camps operated by Canadian soldiers. But we won't talk about that. We'll do what school  history books do - remember how nice it was of Lord Strathcona to be such a philanthropist.

Another thing that would have a profoud effect on World War 1 was the American civil war. It had shown that the railway was now a requirement in w ar. It made possible a massive and swift movement of troops to catch an enemy off balance. Europe plunged into that as a requirement for its armies.

But the times tables were massively complex, so complex it was impossible to stop or change once started. And that could provoke a war rather than preventing it.

And by 1900 at the latest, everybody was preparing for a big war - a war that was really all about profits, and which country's very wealthy would make them.
Many school history books tell us that the war began in 1914 because a student shot the archduke of Austria and his wife. That's not quite true.

The assassination was taken to mean that some country, not named, was about to start a war. That set off a storm of nations calling up their armies and sending them to defensive points by those dreadfully awkward and unchangeable schedules. And once any nation began that mobilizing, everybody had to follow. Nor could they risk the formidable and slow process of backing off. That's why the war started.

The war was guaranteed to come with those rigid schedules. But even that wasn't the real reason it started.

It started with the eagerness for wealth no matter what the cost to millions of people. The war was something to satisfy the wealthy. That would be illustrated just after the war ended in 1918,

By 1918 a revolution had broken out in Russia against the Czar (a monarchy that was hopelessly greedy and incompetent, and well past is 'best before date' .)  But the revolution was a threat - no, not to any country - it was a threat to capitalism. And in those days as today, the world's major capitalists were the ones to decide  when a war was necessary. And it was certainly necessary against a country that challenged capitalism.

That's why Britain, Canada and others sent armies to Russia in 1919 to fight the communists. (But most school books don't mention that.) And that is what took us to World War 2.

Oh, and what did the U.S. do in World War 1? It made lots of money out of lending money to Britain and selling it war material. But for the most part it had been occupied with building its own empre in South America and - in major expansions - The Phillipines and the annexation of Hawaii.

And why would the U.S. build its major naval base way out in the middle of the Pacific? That was awfully far away from the U.S. for a defensive base. Along with The Phillipines, that base was aimed at building an empire in Asia. The US had begun its hunger to get rich out of China.

It didn't care about Britain, so it waited  until 1917 to join the war. I'm not sure why it joined. But it may well have been hoping to pick up the crumbs of the weakening British and French empires - especially in the Middle East.

The UN condemnation of racism in the U.S. is not simply a reminder of its misbehaviour. Racism is steadily leading to a downfall of the U.S.

And it's a situation the whole world will be facing at a far, far higher level very soon as the number of refugees skyrockets due to war and climate change.

 Racism is going to run wild.

The reality is we are all the same race. And we had better get used to that very soon. As a sobering start, get a DNA test. I did, and learned that one, at least, of my ancestors was a west Asian barbarian.

For almost forty years, I taught students of just about every 'race' on earth. If there was some profound difference between them, I missed it.
Most of our news media have been less than helpful in reporting on the North Korea crisis. The reality is that the U.S. has been deliberately looking to provoke a war with North Korea for decades. But we never read about that - just about how those 'evil' North Koreans are threatening us.

Our level of ignorance of that was reflected by the note of panic in a column by Norbert Cunningham of irving press. - "..Wow, a North Korean nuclear bomb could reach northern New Brunswick.."

That, to say the least, is nonsense. And even if it could, who would bother bombing northern New Brunswick?
Isn't it awful the way those little, poor countries are always attacking the U.S.?

The reality is that American big business is still hot on ruling the whole world. This was the theme of Project for the New American Century - which you can find on google. That group led straight to George Bush and the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria.
I'm an historian. I know that much of the history we learn in school is not true. It's propaganda to produce unthinking 'patriots' who will kill when they're told to.
The following has a good deal of truth to it. But I think it is too easy on the role of the very wealthy in controlling the president.

And remember - the U.S. will try to suck Canada into taking part in it unending wars. And think what would happen to Canada if the U.S. did conquer the world? (we'd be part of the conquered world.)
Tearing down statues is fine. But it does nothing to help African-Americans who have been abused by Whites for centuries.
The following deals with the most dangerous development of our time - and the failure of almost all governments to deal with it.

We, like the U.S., have serious problems in financing education, health care, living wage - dealing with climate change. adequate housing.... But we can't deal with them because the wealthiest of our capitalists won't allow us. They want more money for their own, glutted selves. And there's more money for them in continuing to destroy the environment, to kill people in countries with resources the very wealthy want to  own, and to make more and more increasingly destructive weapons because the war industry stuffs their wallets even more.
We are heading straight into wars that will end only when all of us are dead.

Think of that the next time your chamber of commerce kisses up to its real boss with a  salute to his 'philanthropy'.
The irving press hasn't noticed it, but the most popular politician - by far - in the U.S. is the mildly socialist Bernie Sanders. (No. he's not a communist. A socialist is not a communist. In fact, very, very few people know what a communist is.
 Russia was NOT communist. China was NOT. So let's either find out what that word means, or stop using it. And I would happily debate any billionaire of your choice on that topic.)

Sanders wants to tax the very wealthy, to put controls on big business, to provide Americans with essential services like education and health care----(OOOOh, how dangerous!)

Is there a chance he could be president? Not likely. The billionaires will, as usual, buy the election as they have bought most of the news media, by financing their political friends who understand that billionaires need money more than the rest of us need food, education, or even life itself. If you want to find evil in this world, that's who to look for.
Capitalism in itself is not evil. Unless it becomes greed. Love is not evil.  Unless it becomes rape.

The U.S., Canada, Britain, China, Russia are all controlled by capitalists with the wealth and power to buy governments. That is combined with destructive power never before seen in history. And we are into war without end.

We need governments that represent us - not billionaires. New Brunswickers might think of that when they next vote for a provincial government. (And no, I am not suggesting they should vote Conservative.)
Check your Moncton Times and Transcript for news that is "up to the minute..and..breaking" (How do they do that "up to the minute stuff"  with a paper that goes to press many hours before it's sold?) It also has an "exclusive" story about  how a local elementary school has had to relabel its washrooms 'boys' and 'girls' instead of 'gender neutral'. (Hold me back.)

This is a newspaper deliberately designed to keep readers in ignorance. And guess who owns it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

With apologies, I am going to try something different today. To understand current events, it's important to understand them in a very broad context of years and places. It's not possible to fully understand, say, the American invasions we read of today without starting way back to at least 1871 and the unification of Germany. So  - I'll take a stab at creating that bigger picture. each day as I start the daily blog.

It's, in some ways, a personal story that begins with my birthday at age 12 when I was given the mutivolume set of Winston Churchill's History of the English-speaking Peoples. I was enchanted by it.

It was filled with an oratory that bellowed from the pages. An oration to the magnificence of the English people, the glory, of the need for all the English-speaking people of the world to unite. Churchill was, himself, hugely admired as the saviour of Britain and the Empire and his vision of the continuance of it through Uniting all the English-speaking people of the world. I was transported to a world of ecstasy.

In fact, his book, as I would later learn, was highly romanticized crap. Nor was he the prophet of a new world. He was, in fact, the last defender of a brutal England that had mudered and plundered all over the world - and for the satisfaction only of the very wealthy English. He was the last defender of an ugly past.

Churchill was born into a family of the highest British nobility, His grandfather was the Duke of Marlborough. Alas! his father (since he was not a first son) was only a Lord (a title he could not pass on to his son), and did not inherit money. So, in the fashion of the time, he married a very wealthy American woman with both living it up in a world of palaces, the highest society, gala dinners - and endless sexual encounters.  Winston rarely saw them or spoke to them, being raised by a servant in his grandfather's magnificent palace.

He grew up, like others of his class, with a monstrous arrogance toward everyone, including even the aristocracy. The working class simply didn't exist in  his mind. No, he was not a prophet of the world of the 20th and 21st. centuries.
For that, we have to go back to the mid-nineteenth century and a Prussian nobleman named Otto von Bismark. Prussia was then the largest and most powerful of many German states.

There was no Germany at the time. By force and political skill, Bismarck united them as an empire under his rule in 1871, naming  Wilhelm 1 as the Kaiser. (Caesar)

And that sent a shockwave through the European powers, especially Britain.  A united Germany could outclass the industrial power of Britain and France, for example, and severely cut into their profits. And it might look for its own empire in Africa and Asia, further cutting into British and French profits.  It might even build a navy to challenge the British navy.

(As an aside, the British had been moving toward getting rid of Canada. It feared an American invasion of Canada  (which was certainly possible).  Such a war would be expsensive and unwinnable.

No. Britain had to be friends with the U.S. in face of a rising Germany. That's why, by late 1870s, the British were speaking of how nice the Americans were and how Britain and the U.S. should start getting together as a friends to rule the world.  (You'll find it mentioned in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Noble Bachelor". )  That was the real beginning of Churchill's reason for writing "History of the English-speaking Peoples".

Yes, it seemed clear that Canada was just a burden on the empire.
To be continued..unless there is a reader rebellion against it.....
I couldn't resist this one- it's such a wild idea that I laughed at first. But this IS the future. How will we be prepared for it? Will we vote for governments maintain our standards of living? Or will we let big business do what it has always done -  make huge profits by firing people and cutting the salaries of those left?

Will Mr.  Irving tell us he plans to cut working hours to two hours a day - while raising salaries?

How come our politicians aren't talking about this? How come we aren't make plans. This is not the distant future. Comic as it may seem, this is one hell of a serious matter, and it's happening now.

Note at the bottom that a robot priest has been created, too. And here I've been thinking that many of our clergy have been robots for a century and more.
It is almost unheard of for the UN to issue a warning to the U.S. It is absolutely unheard of for it to warn any country in the western world for its racism.

This is a sign of concern of  general U.S. behaviour - and not just related to Trump.
A warning for those who think the generals will bring down Trump. In fact, there's no use in  having generals or Republicans or Democrats take him down. The U.S. is way past the point of cosmetic surgery. It needs massive change - and only the American people can do that.  But, oh, they don't have much time.
The story below is British - but it applies to Canada and the U.S. And it's one I feel strongly about because I began my working life with a heavy debt for university education. The record of Canada, Britain, and the U.S. for this is shameful. In many countries poorer than us, universitty education is free.
Part of the problem is that our universities have come to be dominated by the wealthiest businessmen on their boards.   They run them as if they were businesses. And the effect of the wealthy has been make universities extremely overburdened with support staff, puppets of the very wealthy, and even propagandists for them.  (Most profs aren't propagandists,but a very few are sell-outs.)

And, symbolic of the destruction of the university as a free and thinking place are the huge salaries of their executives.

I was once offered the presidency of a large university. The terms were stunning - a hugely oversized salary that I would get for life even if I got fired second day on the job. Huge gifts on the side. I was hammered at by a team of lawyers. It seemed too good.

And it was. I realized I was being bought by one of the Irvings of this world. So I turned it down. A disgusting sample of what can happen did happen in New Brunswick almost ten years ago.

The Irving of the time announced that he was (illegally) going to become a member of the government and plan our economy. And he named the usual boot-lickers to serve under him, starting with the univesity presidents, chambers of commerce, etc. And the university presidents were the first ones to ask him which cheek (behind him) they should kiss.
Our university system is a disgrace when it has all the potential to be one of the best in the world.
ALL of information Clearing House for the last two days is a good read.
Just google Information Clearing House.

In particular, note the the clips on Afghanistan. The Afghani government (the one on our side) is made up of unspeakably corrupt warlords who long ago destroyed the significant progress Afghanistan was making to democracy, and who are now the biggest drug lords in the world. Funny how that never made the Irving press.

Be warned that sending 3000 or so American troops is most unlikely to work. And it will certainly not make more Muslims love Americans. Be warned, too, that Trump is very likely to ask for Canada to 'do its share'. And watch for all the kissups in Ottawa - and the irving press -  to support it.
This could be the final act of the terrible war that U.S. oil barons  have inflicted on Syria.

I hope it is the final act. The problem is it shuts out the U.S. oil barons, and it weakens their hold on the rest of the middle east. It is possible the U.S. will look for extensions of this war, perhaps helping other middle east states to join in against Assad.

But don't worry. If you stick to the irving press you'll never know what happened, anyway. Its sense of news stops at 'man arrested for spitting'.
There was a racist riot in Quebec City. The Irving press didn't pay much attention to it. It should have.

The province of Quebec, like all provinces,, has quite a history of racism. (Toronto was famous for its anti-Jewish demonstrations in the 1930s). I've been at more than a few anti-English riots in Montreal - and other violence like the torching of the offices of the english-rights group. Racism is a powerful force in the history of both English and French Montreal.

At my last visit to my  home town, I was suprised at the hugely growing racial mix of Montreal. I was happy to see it. But I very much fear a violent reaction.
Below are letters to an editor of a blog. It's about the Dieppe raid.

I don't entirely agree with the first writer. And it think his responder is hopelessly out of touch with reality.

One of my students wrote a book about the raid in which he claimed it was a success because it made possible the success of a small group that had piggy-backed on the raid. (I don't agree that made the raid worth all those Canadian lives.)

And there's the old story that we learned valuable lessons from the raid. Yeah. We learned you shouln't continue a raid when you've been spotted by an enemy ship while still a long way from your target. You shouldn't continue after the enemy has been wirelessed in time to set their defences to shell and machine gun your toops before they even land.      
The truth is that the Dieppe Raid was one of the worst planned military raids in history.  Field-Marshal Montgomery saw the plan - and advised that it was a terrible one. (and the story that we learned valuable lessons for D Day is a crock.)

We should, indeed, remember those who were killed or imprisoned in their hopeless attack. But we should not kid ourselves it was a triumph of any sort - except for those who had to have the courage to face it.
Disaster - my favourite newspaper, Haaretz, is going to charge me for future copies. - And I'll probably do it.

For today, it has broken the big story that Israel has recently built 3,000 Jewish-only homes on land stolen from Palestine.

Does that mean Jews are evil?

Alas!  No. It means like the Jews, Africans, Muslims, Chinese, Russians we're all human.

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21: Damn!

"If Rural NB Wants Better Public Services, It has to Pay More"

That's the headline on Norbert Cunningham's column  today. Yeah. They want bread? Let them eat cake. It's smug, arrogant - and servile.

In this case,  the service referred to is a community centre.

Norbert. We, all of us, spend $10 million dollars a year so that the ownder of that wretched newspaper you write for can get free spraying for the forests we gave him at a bargain basement price. This is also the owner who has received many, many millions of tax forgivenous.  (But how wonderful him to give to charities.)

The gift of forest has given him such a stranglehold on forestry, that small woodlot owners have to sell at a far, far lower  price. That is what is called jobs lost. Billionaires do not, despite the half-wit views of   your newspaper, create jobs and wealth for us. They create jobs at the lowest possible salaries and as few as possible. But they give themselves magnificent paycheques, and they avoid many of those nasty taxes that us peasants have to pay.

Moreover, we are paying 10 million a year for spraying that may have disastrous effects on our forests, their wildlife, and us. And when our chief medical officer pointed that out, she got fired. And nobody at your paper had the guts or integrity to find out who ordered that firing.

"If Rural NB Wants Better Public Services, It Has to Pay More."

Norbert, Grow some.

P.S. Explain to commentator Steve Malloy (on the next page) what 'social media' means. (It ain't just arguing with people on Facebook.
Some reliable studies place the rate of Illiteracy in New Brunswick at 53%. There's a good deal of truth in that - but literacy studies vary a great deal in their standards. Some require evidence not only of being able to read - but to actually do reading, and to do it with pretty serious literature. That's why some studies rate Canada at 100% literacy. Those studies are absurd of course. It's not a hundred percent, not even if you include those adults who still read the Dick and Jane Reader of grade 1.  "See Dick. See Dick run. Run Dick run."

I researched dozens of studies to get a sense of reading by people who can read, who do read, and who do serious reading.

And guess who leads for the world?

Nope. It isn't Canada. We're well down the list. The U.S. is even lower. And BRITAIN is within  sight of the toilet.

The winners? Get ready.
North Korea and South Korea. The older people of those countries do suffer illiteracy. Of course. They grew up in a dreadful war and then, especially the South, in total rebuilding of the whole country. That's an amazing

accomplishment. Gee. Funny that story never made our papers. The only stories I ever see about the North feature a fat little man with a wacky haircut. And millions of citizens who spend all their time clapping hands for him.

Take a look at North Korea, in particular. It suffered the most intense bombing in history. It had to rebuild the whole country from scratch. It's a very poor country.  But its accomplishment in education - and rebuilding - is amazing.

But all our news media have taught us about North Korea is it's evil.

And why is our literacy rate so terrible?  It's not because of the schools.

When I was an elementary school child, I read heavily from the start. That was because my father read - so I read Kipling and Service from age 6. By high school, I was deep in cowboy novels. That put me way ahead of my friends, most of whom were functionally illiterate.

Then I moved on to a new school - and a class that was half Jewish. One of my new, Jewish friends looked at my book, picked it up, threw it in the garbage, and gave me books of plays by Sean O' Casey, G.B.Shaw - and Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And that changed my life.

Kids in poor communities are much slower in learning how to read. They aren't stupid. It's that the atmosphere of poverty discourages reading.  The very poor become resigned to poverty.  They know the dice are loaded against them. So they, like their parents, give up. There is no room for expectations. Thus my illiterate friends. But This is not for all poor communities.

My Jewish friends were as poor as I was. But Judaism encourages learning. It runs through the whole society. (It's no accident that so many of the apostles of 2,000 years ago, most of them poor, could read and right. Judaism requires discussion and debate in the synagogue. And to do that, you have to read the Talmuhd and the Torah.   (Lucky for them they weren't living as Christians in New Brunswick.)

I had a similar experience with Chinese students. I found a profound respect for learning among them. Indeed, I had to threaten one of them that I would put him in hospital if he didn't stop studying at dangerously late hours (sometime all night with no sleep.)

That may be the reason for the success of North Korea and South Korea. So, rather look down on other groups, we should be learning from them.
The following item appeared on CBC News.

Yes, we have nukes by the thousand.. Now we have rocket satellites in space to kill with. That means we'll soon have nukes in space, too.

This is insane.

We knew, in 1945, that a war with nuclear bombs would destroy the planet. That's  a big reason why we needed a UN, and the gradual creation of a world government. And we didn't do it. So we now have bombs - more of them, and far more powerful.

(Okay. That's a problem because the other side is evil. Right. We aren't evil. The U.S. has fought at least seventy wars since 1945, and killed millions. But that was to spread democracy and basketball.)

The UN was effectively destroyed by the major powers, especially the U.S., from the start. Instead, NATO became a device for American dominance of Europe. And the U.S. embarked on its quest for world dominance. (google Project for the New American Century, a more recent American plan to rule the world - and the reason for the wars in Afghanistan and the middle east.)

There will be no winning of anything as a result of this. Whatever excuse you may think of for carrying on as we are, the reality is it CANNOT happen. As in the case of dealing with climate change, there is no room for choice.
This article deals with British universities, but much of it would apply to Canadian ones. I find my own university for most of my career has gone wild with more and more bureaucrats wasting time and money by copying business methods. That, I guess, is the result of the dominance of major businesspeople on thier boards.

One of the sillier offshoots of this is the struggle to look good in the Annual MacLean's issue on ranking Canadian universities. It's a crock.
The U.S. problem is not Trump.  Yes, Trump is ego-driven and fundamentally incompetent. But he's not the problem For years, American democracy has been crumbling. The major cause the big money that owns the government, and that has been driving for years to make the American people incapable of standing against them. The big money has pressed from change that take the U.S. back to the nineteenth century, that impoverish millions, that want to conquer the world, and that don't give a damn for the American people.

(That's something to think about as they also spread poverty by not paying taxes and as we are busying negotiating a new NAFTA deal that will almost certainly make it impossible to enforce urgent controls on big business.)

Trump did not cause all that, though he's no sweetheart. And Clinton would have been worse. The U.S. is now big business running wild all over the world without respect for any nation or its laws.

But the problem is  not Trump. The problem is that a fearful and angry public voted him into office. The American people, both Democrat and Republican have an intense dislike of what is being done to them. They are against the government, any government. But they have no idea of what an alternative should be - largely because their news mediahas never even told them there are alternatives. (see the irving press for an example.)

That means big trouble. And it almost certainly means very big and very thoughtless violence.
There are Muslim terrorists who hate the U.S. That's because the U.S.  (and Britain and others)  has spent close to 70 years murdering them.

More killing is not going to make them love us. The "war against terrorism" is a dead end for all sides.

In fact, the origins of Muslim anger go way back to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Afghan fighters who fought off the Russians were trained, eqipped, and financed by the CIA. Yes. It was not Osama bin Laden who created All of bin Laden's ideas were copied from that American intervention. And we are  now paying the price.
And here's  a reminder of why North Koreans dislike the  U.S
Cimate change? Nah, says Mr. irving. Ain't happenin'
Here's another sample of President Truman's plan to use nuclear weapons against North Korea in the Korean War.
And there's a lot of truth in this one. A lot.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18: What a terrible day!

The lead story in Canada&World News for August 16 was 'N.B. cabinet minister condemns U.S, violence'.

Actually,  racist hatred was what I first noticed about the maritimes when I came here as a student at Acadia University. In that whole, Baptist school, there was only one person who was not white. And he was the first non white in the history of the school. And I well remember the day I turned off into a country road near Halifax. Isolated in that wilderness, I saw a brick building that had the stench of Dickensian England about it. The sign said Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children. It might as well have read Abandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here.
Nova Scotia was (and in   some respects still is) a racist province.  So were all the others. I grew up in a Montreal in which African Canadians could not get work except at the most menial level, and were forced to live in a run-down district. So were Chinese.  In fact, even Irish-Catholics were regarded with suspicion and disapproval and, until the 1950s, and many of them had to live in their own run-down ghetto.

And an African-Canadian playing in the NHL? Forget about it. A friend of mine in Montreal was a pro quality  player but who knew he was the wrong colour to hope for the NHL. So he tried, instead, to get accepted to play at a Canadian university. He couldn't. Like Acadia, most of them accepted white folks only. Finally, it was an American university, Princeton, that accepted him. Yes,  An African-Canadian had to go to the U.S. to escape Canadian racism.

And New Brunswick? A superb poet said it well.

So it's nice to hear a New Brunswick cabinet minister speaking out fearlessly against racism -(though he was careful to refer to it somewhere else). But I don't believe he knows what he is talking about.

The recent Swastika-waving and racial violence in the U.S. is not simply the result of Trump's bizarre behaviour and his recent interviews. It has been standard behaviour for every imperial power I have ever heard of. Britain did it. All the major European powers did it. The U.S. was founded as a racist society. The only recent change is the addition of the Swastika. But even that isn't really a change.

Hitler's Naziism used racial hatred to sell his party to the German people. (After all, he couldn't tell people to vote for him because he was going to create massive profits for capitalist business.) And he used racial hatreds to get support for many of his invasions. (Most of the occupied countries provided troops for Hitler's armies.)

And racial hatred is what the U.S. has always played on.  So has Canada. The enemies we fight against are always evil. All of them. The Boer farmers of South Africa were evil. The North Koreans were evil.  The Afghanistanis were evil. The Libyans were evil. To brand a whole society as having such a quality is a racist statement.  Well, if they're all like that, it must be racial.) And so the native peoples of North America were all evil.   (But they're over it now, so long as they keep quiet.)

The native peoples of Latin America are genetically evil, too.  That's why we have to kill them as we did in Guatemala and so many other countries. Evil can even affect Christian countries - like Germany and Italy. But they're better now.
Really, Naziism and Fascism have been standard forms of government forever. Both distracted people by directing their frustrations at a disliked group. It sill works to distract people from their real problems.

Capitalism can work. Of course it can. It's not working now, though. We are seeing a decline in living standards, and a massive concentration of wealth in the hands of the already wealthy. Almost all of our wars are dictated by the wants of the very wealthy (though they carefully avoid service themselves - and also leave it up to us to pay for those wars because most of them refuse to pay taxes. )
Capitalism, like any system, will work. But it has to work under controls that we set. Instead, we are sitting with our thumbs in our mouths as major capitalists own most of our governments. We don't control them. They control us. That's a system that can only lead to disaster.

The world of 2050 - and maybe much earlier - will be very different from today's. By then, climate change will be forcing millions of refugees in our direction. It will certainly cause more wars. Automation will have replaced most jobs. (Will that automation be used to give us shorter work hours while keeping a decent wage? Not if Mr. irving has anything to say about it.  And he will have something to say - to whichever Liberal or Conservative leader that people are foolish enough to elect. And if automation results in massive unemployment, what are our plans to deal with that? Do you seriously think the major capitalists will give a damn?)

There is every possibility that the greed of the wealthy may create another Great Depression. And what was notable about the depression of the 1930s is that the wealthy really didn't give much of a damn. Despite the tales of them jumping from windows, they did not suffer. Of course not. The depression gave them a chance to reduce wages, increase work hours, cut staff, cancel holidays with pay, cancel pension plans...... The rich did well in the depression. And almost all Canadian governments did nothing whatever to help. Of course not, almost all were bought by the wealthy.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King used 'work camps' to 'help' the unemployed and homeless. Actually, they were prison camps in remote areas. And their purpose was to prevent the unemployed from demonstrating where the rich people lived.
Government did nothing to help because the rich had no intention of paying taxes to help the poor. But, surprise, when war was declared, it suddenly found the money to create war industries and military forces.

I was a very young child in the depression. But I can remember my father walking many, many blocks every day to get free milk for me. His pay was cut to three or four dollars a week. But our rent was eleven dollars. So I remember him putting on pair of battered boots, and going out to shovel snow for the city in the late afternoon to earn fifty cents in a couple of hours. Breakfast was chunks of stale  bread with milk in a bowl. As a child, I watched people die because they couldn't afford food or medical care.

But big business did well in those years. Very few millionaires, I suspect, had stale bread chunks for breakfast. Very few watched friends and relatives dying of malnutrition or curable disease.

The Canadian people were as thick then as they still are. Most voted Liberal or Conservative, just like New Brunswickers today. That gave us nothing in the past. Expect nothing in the future.

Naziism, fascism, uncontrolled capitalism, Trump, swastikas, bought politicians - they're all part of the same bundle, with the racism used so we won't think of what should be done.

We're so lucky to have a cabinet minister who can spot it when it happens in a different country. Now, if he would only look around him and into a mirror....

Notice the language of this story. Notice 'terrorist', 'atrocity'. Those words are quite true. The killers were using terror, and their act was an atrocity.

Now, try to think of a news story which has referred to American mass murder of civilians right down to babies, deliberate starvation of millions as in Yemen, saturation bombing, agent orange bombing,  cluster bombing which goes on killing for years, saturation bombing as in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Can you think of any news report that referred to those as 'terrorist' or 'atrocity'? I can't.
Again, it's not Trump who's the problem.  For example, every American government for the last century and more has interfered in Latin America to destroy governments and install dictatorships. It's hard to think of any country that has been better off as a result of American intervention.
Here's a story about the climate change that the irving press doesn't talk much about.

Hey! build more pipelines. It'll create jobs.
I was very sorry to read the following story. I worked in Hong Kong for some time. It was an exciting city, and I liked its people. What is now happening in Hong Kong is terrible, and I agree we should help all we can.

But how come we never read stories about dictatorship in Hong Kong when the British were the dictators?

In a century of rule, the British permitted a limited democracy only in the closing days of their rule. For almost the whole history of British rule in Hong Kong, it was a dictatorship by a British governor  (with wide powers to his arrogant and racist secretary.) Most Hong Kongers lived in dreadful housing. Social services were few. I can remember seeing people who lived in wire dog cages that were stacked three deep. And they had NO weather protection. But it never made our news.

If Hong Kongers were to come  here, I would be delighted to see them. They're good people who have been terribly abused by both Britain and China.
Here's something that is quite true - which is why it never made it into most of our news media.

Trump is certainly a wretched and vile person. But he is not the cause of the 'American' problem. That problem goes back a long, long way.
Writing history - and hiding it. Onward Christian torturers.....
Here's one that may come as a surprise. Funny how our news media missed this.
No. We never learn.

When the National Film Board made a film that mentioned the Canadian airforce bombing of Dresden in World War Two -a bombing deliberately aimed at civilians - The Canadian Legion was furious. But the film was quite right. Everybody in that war deliberately killed large numbers of civilians. Since the war, reliance on massive bombing of civilians has become the American normalcy in war.

And Americans wonder why some countries don't like them. But not to worry about it. Our news media will prevent us ever from hearing about it.
As I was writing all the above, a memory came back to me. I was runninig a camp for the Young Men's Hebrew Association. One of my counsellors was a man who, in 1945 at age 8 or so, survived a Nazi death camp. He was discovered by his sister who took him to Italy, then to a kibbutz in Israel in its early days. He was a very, very lucky guy. I came to know him well. But there was an oddity I have just remembered.

He had no bitterness toward Germans. All his bitterness and  hatreds were spent on arabs. And that has reflected the general tendency of Israeli thinking. That's why a normally compassionate and caring people are now treating Palestinians as they had been treated by the Naziis. We're all vulnerable to irrational and murderous hatreds. It seems to be a part of being human. And leading politicians of this world know how to capitalize on that.
Here's story you're not like to see in your daily paper.
Is the U.S. deliberately (and with cooperation from other countries) encouraging climate change as a means of genocide? That, quite likely, is true. You think Hitler was bad? We're heading into worse. We're  heading into unprecedented numbers of refugees, wars..... The oil companies encourage this out of sheer greed. But there are others who see it as a good way to reduce this world's overpopulation.

Rising temperatures and drought will produce starvation and death. It's happening now.

Will capitalism prevent this? Not a chance. It exists only to make money. That's why we have to bring capitalism under control. Certainly, capitalists will never bring themselves under control.
Here's a reminder that you won't learn nuthin' if you just read commercial media.
Christian churches have some thinking to do. They, especially the evangelical ones,  have always been willing to support some very questionable leaders. Hitler had strong support from German Christians. Billy Graham touted for Richard Nixon. Now Trump has a religious following.

Most churches prefer to stay away from political issues, and to tip-toe through the tulips. I guess that's why most of our churches prefer to be boring and irrelevant.
1. We are living in a time when most power is in the hands of a very small group of capitalists in the U.S., Canada, China, Russia, Britain. And they exercise that power with no sense of responibility to the rest of humanity.

2. They play on our racist attitudes. Thus the rise of a Trump - and a Bush and an Obama.

3. They have no sense of long term goals.

4. In the long term, we face spreading droughts, crop losses - and we are  using these to kill off the poorest people on this earth.

5. We are facing many wars as a result of this process. We are also facing the high possibility of our own destruction.

6. Our leading political parties are part of the problem. Indeed, I don't know of any party that is prepared to deal with the whole problem. The Charlottesville riot is just a taste of what's coming - and not just for the U.S. There's a worldwide rage of frustration with our leaders.

7. To add to the load, we are facing an employment crisis as automation spreads.
It's really time, more than time, to wake up and do some serious thinking and discussion about what is happening, and what is likely to happen.

Luckily, we have the Irving Chapel to encourage our thoughts with special music,  and the offer of fellowship in  the barn. That'll fix everything.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Words, Words, Words...

We use them every day without understanding them. Take the words Nazi and Fascist. We all agree they're bad. But I've never met anyone who understands what they mean. That's why I've known journalaists who, with straight faces, say that Hitler was a socialist. That's nonsense. The word socialist was in the name of his party - National Socialist Party. But Hitler was fiercely anti-socialist and procapitalist. Hitler was the leader of a fervently pro-capitalist party. Funny how our news media miss that. And western capitalists just loved him until 1939 - and some for several years after.
And Facism? Even scholars can't give that word a clear meaning. Mussolini and HItler were both capitalist dictators. Both served the interests of the leading capitalists of their countries. Both gave high status to the wealthy.
Oh, but Hitler's Naziism was the first to attempt to destroy a whole, social group in the Nazi holocaust of Jews......
Uh, no, actually. In that category, you will find France, Britain, Spain, Portugal  (and the United States) in their days of racist slaughter. (That are still going on). What do you think happened to the native peoples of Canada, the U.S. and Latin America? A major reason why George Washington led Americans in revolution was so he could expand the annihilation of native peoples in order to steal their land. Washington had a big stake in it. He was the largest slave owner in the U.S. He wanted more land. And he was also a land speculator - big time.
The killing of native people in Latin America, usually by  the U.S. or its allies, goes on to this day. (Our news media just don't pay much attention.)
Other western powers, notably Britain, did the same to  Africa, the middle east, and Asia. Actually, those western holocausts killed more people, far more, than Hitler's death camps.
In fact, if you look at the behaviours of Britain, the U.S., Spain, Canada, Portugal, The Netherlands, you will find everyone of them guilty of racist holocausts.  How would we react to a story of a Hitler or a Mussolini  starving a whole nation to death?
That's what the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are doing now in Yemen. And that one, alone, could exceed the Nazi Holocaust. Forty years ago, 200,000 of the Maya people of Guatemela, men,  women and children,   were murdered by the Guatemalan and American governments. It never even made the news. One of the dead was a lay missionary from New Brunswick. The Canadian government knew - and never said a word. Nor did the irving press, not even on the obituary page. That should tell you something about the integrity of the irving press.
This is the result of uncontrolled capitalism. We talk about fighting wars on the racist claim those 'other' people are evil. I'm sure some are. So are we. Now, count the dead, and tell me who's the most evil.
We are duplicating all the empires of the past. A key to justifying all those empires was racial contempt for the colonials. That contempt was carried on to a massive contempt for the British and American and other people by their own leaders. It was most notable, perhaps, in the attitudes of the British upper classes. The British people understood that. That's why, in the final election of the war, they voted Churchill out.
Our dukes and earls and lords are our major capitalists. (Not surprisingly, the old-time dukes and earls and lords weren't very bright, either. Just greedy.) They have interfered in every election in the western world for centuries. Now, they demand freedom from government controls. That's it. But not freedom for us peasantry.
They want freedom to pollute - and to demand billions of us if we ask them please to stop it. They want freedom to skip taxes - and to demand that we pay them That's what's payihg for American wars. Billionaires get richer. But the wars maket rest of us poorer because we have to pay for them. They demand the right to take over public services like health and education. And, in the U.S., the billionaires are winning.
It's not surprising that the U.S. is seeing far-right, even Nazi rallies. We're going to see them in Canada. Americans are lost because they're afraid to see the truth about who their enemies are. It's not the Jews, Muslims, Africans or Mexicans. But those are the targets. Of course.
The behaviour of Hitler and Mussolini was not unusual in history. it's been duplicated many times for centuries all over the world. Britain did it. Spain did it. France did it. And now the U.S. is doing it - both Democrats and Republicans.
So, in its feeble way, is that wimpy collection in New Brunswick that we call Liberals and Conservatives.
And they are are courtiers to the wealthy exactly as their spiritual fathers were to Hitler and Mussolini.
(In fact, not all that long ago, we had a brief period of fascist rule in New Brunswick. But that's another story.)
Hitler and Mussolini are still with us. They just changed their names to - well - Trump, Clinton, Bush, and others.
The Korea crisis is stilll very real. The big question is - why has the U.S. maintained such a powerful presence in South Korea, and in the air and on the seas of North Korea? In anybody's language those are provocative acts.  Why has China shown so much interest? (Because it's a 'friend' of North Korea? No. There are no friends between nations.)
No. The American interest is because South Korea would be a great launching pad for a nuclear war or a conventional one against China. And China knows that.
And why didn't the U.S. come to terms with a badly battered North Korea 60 years ago? Because it was still obsessed with conquering China.
With their agendas set by the very wealthy, governments are paying no attention to the major problems that face us. This planet is trunning out of food. Not in the distant future - now. And, yes, this world means us, too. But governments' only answer so far is to poison what productive land we have left with pesticides.
Nor do I see any significant progress on other climate problems. We haven't because the big money is in oil and other forms of destroying the planet. Look at what we are allowing big business to do all over the world. We have allowed the greediest and least public spirited people in the world dictate to our governments. And we repeatedly elect politicians who are, at best,  pimps for the wealthy.
Still happy you voted for Justin Trudeau?
I include this one because it will be getting a lot of attention - Trump as the racist. And I do this as a warning. Trump is not the problem. Let's not get hooked on that miserable wretch. He is not the problem. The Problem is a U.S. that is raised in admiration of the myth of what a wonderful people Americans are.
They aren't worse that others. But they certainly aren't better. They're a nation that abuses the world - and abuses itself quite dreadfully.
Its behaviour in the world is exactly like that of Hitler and Mussolini. And for the same greedy reasons as Hitler and Mussolini - to enrich the already rich.
Trump did not create that United States. It's a U.S. that has existed to serve the rich from its earliest days - mass murder, theft, and greed. And that makes it a lot like other countries. Trump did create that. He's a product of it. And voting for somebody else is not likely to help. There is, I think, much, much worse to come.
And keep an eye out for the same disease in Canada.
This is the reality of why the U.S. supports Europe.
The problem is not Trump. It's the American people. It's a capitalism (like ours) that thinks always of the greed it must have satisfied, and nothing of the population it must serve.
The irving press thought the reaction of Trump to Charlottesville was worth only a short glance. Here's what a more intelligent news service thought.
And here's a list of countries invaded by the U.S. since 1945  in its efforts to bring peace to the world.
Wake up and smell the roses.
Canada has, very foolishly and unthinkingly taken part in some of these wars. Canadians have died so that American billionaires could plunder. Watch for more, and possibly for many more.
And here are a couple of stories that tell a lot about our lying news media.
Well, this is a story I never knew about. The U.S. was prepared to nuke North Korea during the Korean war. North Korea had already lost a third of its population. And there was a Chinese army in it, so the bombing would have triggered a war with China. Indeed, it's hard to see how nukes could have been used without harming the South Koreans we were supposedly there to protect - and our own troops.
Even for his time, Truman was an enhusiastic killer of civilians. He was/is also the most popular president since Roosevelt.,
We are  in very, very dangerous times. Trump is a new Hitler, yes. But so was Reagan and both Bushes and others. And Canada has its own Hitlers and Mussolinis and their wealthy friends to worry about.

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14: Retardation as a product of wealth...

I have often seen letters in the irving press suggesting that we should elect more private business leaders to run out governments. The argument is that they have more understanding that politicians because they are accustomed to run large corporations.

Well, their dream has come true with the election of Donald Trump.

The reality, of course, is that it doesn't take brains to run a large corporation. What it takes is being born into families that own large corporations, or into a social milieu which is obsessive about piling up wealth.  Offhand, it is hard to think of any billionaire who has shown a superior intellect. (They are not notable for their writing of great books or for their thoughts on the world and its people. In fact, they tend to have educations below the level one would expect from people who have all academic doors open to them.)
It also helps to be devoid of any caring about the needs of  the general public - and to be willing to murder innocent people in the millions.

Africa has been  under the control of western corporation bosses for well over a  hundred years. And in that time, Africa has been a hell of starvation, mass murder, torture, slavery. Corporations destroyed whole societies, redrew the maps to create new countries which had nothing to so with native needs, but only a savage looting of those new countries. Today, Africa is a chaos - and there is not the slightest reason to believe it's going to get better. Greed rules. And millions die.

The same hell is being visited on Latin America, with enthusiastic support of the Canadian and American governments - all to keep up the profits of the very, very wealthy. And it's going to get much worse.

Both Africa and Latin America are starting to suffer from climate change. Tens of millions will have to flee - only to be blocked by our navies, or held in death camps like the ones we don't get much news about in France and Greece.

Yes, climate change is happening. Just about every scientist of any stature recognizes it's happening. But, to the best of my knowledge, all the oil barons are playing it down. That does not suggest to me that they are highly intelligent. And it's not an accident that a billionaire U.S. president should be encouraging more and worse climate change. Can you name for me any oil billionaire anywhere in the world who has become a leader in dealing with climate change?

No? Of course not. They are, all too commonly, marked by low intelligence and insatiable greed. And are all served by those politicians with no sense whatever of what humanity requires. (Yes, that includes both federal and provincial levels.)
And that takes us to nuclear weapons and North Korea.

I still remember that day when I was a very young child, and saw the newspaper headline with a photo of a mushroom-shaped cloud. It was Hiroshima. And we were all assured that this terrible power would be a deterrent to war.

Well, it hasn't been. If it were a deterrent, then everybody should have it - and we'd never have a war. In fact, we've  had nothing but war since Hiroshima. And every one of those wars has been caused by commercial ambition, almost all of them caused by American  (and Canadian and British) commercial ambition. In fact, when North Korea just recently used it as a deterrent, the U.S. promptly jumped to a threat of nuclear war. Apparently, you are allowed to used it as a deterrent, but only if you're an American government.

We are close to that final war. And the most aggressive people on his earth are billionaires of the U.S., Canada, Britain, Russia, China...

We cannot afford to allow that aggression to run loose. For the same reason, we cannot allow capitalism to run loose. Uncontrolled, capitalism is a terminally destructive force which will destroy us as it has Africa, the middle east, and Latin America. And climate change is the final force that will destroy us - as well as it will the capitalists.

Even now, the tragedy of the U.S. is not due to Trump. He is a product of a society that has lost all sense of direction, and is now fracturing itelf. Capitalism has effectively overrun American democracy and overrun any sense of social order.

We are watching the crash of American society, a crash induced by greed and corruption, and lack of consideration for the needs of the American people. Replacing Trump won't change anything. This is a process that has been going on for many, many years under both Republicans and Democrats.

The root of it is a capitalism that controls us instead of us controlling it. And New Brunswick is well down the same road. Such a capitalism will destroy us. The fact that it will also destroy the capitalists is pretty slim consolation.

In World War Two, we told our armed forces that we were fighting to create a more secure and peaceful world. With the United Nations, we seemed on the way to that. But the major powers, all of them, have crippled the UN so they can carry on war and plunder as usual. And we have done nothing about that.

In short, we have betrayed all that our veterans were told they were fighting for.
It's decision time. And well past decision time.
Even a good paper could be carrying propaganda. Here's an example of a blatant case in The Guardian.

The "White helmets" of Syria are essentially a propaganda organization for the Syrian rebels (most of them from ISIS and many not Syrian at all) who pretend to be rescuers for the wounded. From the start, their only function has been as anti-Assad propagandists. The American government also helped them with a very unusual and questionable academy award.

Here, The Guardian treats them as honest rescuers, and  hints at the reality only late in the story.

Americans, of course, would never, never kill rescue workers. Americans are famous for bombs that kill only enemy soldiers..
And climate change, as we know from our oil bosses, isn't happening. So there's no need to read this next story.

Trump has said me might use the military to "restore democracy" in Venezuela. Yes, the U.S. is famous for spreading democracy all over the world, especially in Latin America.

Come off it! The U.S. has supported and created dictatorships all over Latin America.
And here's a chilling reminder of the past.
I'm an historian who specializes in the history of Canada. And I can assure you that much (most) of what Canadians think they know about our history is bunk. It happens all over the world, not just in dictatorships. Perhaps the most spectacular offender is the United States which has lied to itself about its history from the start. That ignorance of their own history is an important factor in building support for Trump. (He was also hugely helped by evangelical Christians. His cabinet now meets for prayer every week with an evangelical preacher - though I see no sign of Christian impulse in anything its has done.)
This article gives a pretty balanced view of what is causing fear of a nuclear war in the Koreas. It's proposed solution, however (supplying the south with nuclear weapons), does not seem to be a very useful one.
I am finding contradictory statements about China's stance on the Tump-Kim Jong-un confrontation. The one that I hope is true is that China has notified North Korea that it will intervene if the U.S. attack North Korea first. It will not intervene if the North Korea. attacks  first.

This is an intelligent and helpful position in a world which doesn't see many intelligent and helpful positions. It puts a lid on any foolish war started by North Korea. Alas! it will not stop foolish war started by Trump.
And a sobering reminder that the rise of a small number to great wealth in hands of people who keep it all for themselves has been a great destroyer of societies in the past. And we're now in the late stages of it.

The wealthy accumulate (and hide) their wealth. That progressively impoverishes everyone else. And the society collapses. That's the history and future of, for example, New Brunswick.
This comment is about the Canadian government's habit of throwing billions of dollars as gifts to the wealthy - no matter how incompetent they are - while withholding money from people who need it.

Sorta reminds me of New Brunswick.
When New Brunswick's chief medical officer raised concerns about the use of pesticides in the province, she was fired on the spot. No reason was given. And the people of this province said not a damn word. Chemical sprayers are now free to poison us and our children and our grandchildren as long as they like. This is not a province marked by people of intellectual and moral courage.
I should write a column about how the wealthy really suffer from being overtaxed. I could probably sell it to the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Or, alternately, I could start a philanthropic society for starving billionaires, and so win a lifetime of free, honorary dinners at the chamber of commerce.
This is an interesting site. Essentially about medical issues, it puts them into a context with social issues.
Now, here's an interesting story from New York Times via Russia insider.
Here, I include a whole issue of Haarretz because it has far more coverage of the Charlottesville riot Than any other paper I have seen. In particular, Haaretz    picks ups on the role of neo-Naziis in the affair.

And open, Nazi role in this was prominent, so much so that Jews in Charlottesville hired private security firms to  protect their homes. Chalottesville was largely a product of the rise of Naziism in the U.S. - and notably so among supporters of Trump. Our press largely missed that. The Israeli press, understandably saw that immediately.
The purpose of government is to serve the people. It is almost unheard of for a government in Canada to do that. Almost of them, since 1867, have been in the service of the wealthy. Even confederation was accomplished to serve the interests of the wealthy in Canada and Britain. The concept of serving the people is quite absent in both the Liberal and Conservative parties. It still survives with the Greens and the NDP, but in both in quite inadequate form.

The wealthy have only one interest -making money for themselves. They have no interest whatever in the spread of poverty, the decreasing value of salaries, the looming chaos of climate change  - and no interest whatever in human life except, perhaps, in their own social circle.

For the rest of us, one reaction is to blame foreigners and to approve of killing them - a reaction which suits the wealthy just fine since it can be used to knock off their foreign competitors. That reaction includes "foreigners" who are treated as if they were foreigners though they have been in North Ameica for centuries. Thus the recent violence, largely against African-Americans, in the U.S. Watch for much more of this as American society melts down.

There is no industrial country that has treated its poor as shabbily as the United States has - though there are Canadians who would like to do so.  Watch for more from them, too, as they chip away at health care and education.

The Christian churches are no longer of much relevance in this world. Surveys in the U.S. show that observant Christians, especially the evangelical ones who support Trump, blame the poor for being poor. (They have no understanding, Christian or otherwise, of the impact of physical or mental illness or simply of childhood social environment in the creation of poverty.) And, certainly, they have shown almost no interest the issue of mass murder all over the world.

Christianity has become pretty much a dead letter except for those who think that getting dunked into a pool will guarantee them a spot in heaven.

Those political leaders who make a show of their Christian devotion (Trump and Bush spring to mind) are not heartening examples.

But Trump is not the cause of it all. We've been going in this direction long before Trump was even born. He is not the cause of social rot in the U.S. He's the product of it.

There are things we cannot do - and still survive. We cannot fight more wars That will inevitably lead to total destruction. We cannot create even more poverty without creating massive violence. We have to deal with climate change (and these isn't much time to deal with it.) We have to deal with world overpopulation - not to mention its companions - masses of refugees, and severe food shortage.

We are ignoring the things we must do. We are embracing the things we cannot do without destroying the world.

The answer should be obvious. But we don't look for the answer. We follow the lead of our billionaires who have never shown much intelligence.
Norbert Cunningham's commentary for today puts all the blame for the current crisis on the 'deranged' Trump and Jong-un. Nonsense. It would make far more sense to the put the blame