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 

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