Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jan 30: Some blogs I hate writing.

Donald Trump has announced that he plans to open the waters off the Atlantic coast of the U.S. to oil drilling.

Yes, of course there will be oil spills and much other damage from that activity. Yes, it will be in waters that have already suffered monstrous damage. from disposal of plastics and other waste, from massive over hunting and overfishing.
(There's an excellent book  on what our Atlantic coast used to be like. It had a fishery so plentiful it could support millions of seafaring birds in flocks so great that they would cover huge areas of ocean. When I go to the coast now, I see nothing resembling that. The early explorers and settlers from Europe looked after that as they wiped out whole species of them as early as the 1700s.  They punished whales and fish stocks in the same way.  (The book is by Farley Mowat, Sea of Slaughter.)

And, to cover the ecological ground thoroughly, Trump has also announced punishing tariffs which will destroy industries developing safer forms of energy production. All of this goes beyond stupidity to insanity.

But, so far, there is not a whisper of criticism from the oil industry. Nor will there be. Why is that?

The answer (part of it) lies in things we have to understand about our major industries, including oil. The people who operate these are not only monstrously and immorally greedy - though that is a common trait. (After all, they have a long, long history of wars and mass murder, especially in the middle east.) But even the greediest of intelligences would surely warn them that the damage they are causing will kill them, too.

But then there comes another block to their thought processes. If one checks the education of their CEOs, one finds a disturbing narrowness of training. Almost all have very, very narrow training, quite limited to business courses. They have no training whatever in the sciences. They are, therefore, quite unable to understand the warnings of thousands of climate scientists all over the world.

And even in business courses, their education is more than a little shallow.

Slightly over half of all such CEOs in North America have only a bachelor's degree in their studies.  I needed more than that to be allowed to teach elementary school. And much, much more to be allowed to teach university.

The rest have graduate degrees  (master's) but, again, very, very narrowly. It's a training in the operation of a business. Nothing more.

To make it worse, the owners of industry typically have even less education, barely more than high school. There's a common opinion that one must be smart to make such a lot of money. That's sometimes true, but not often. Look at those families that produce billionaires in fields like oil and mining. And they produce them every generation. That's not called smart. That's called inheritance.

And these, like Donald Trump, are the ones who decide whether we should pay any attention to the warnings of highly trained scientists all over the world.

The lack the training to make such a decision. They lack the sense of civic responsibility. They are entirely self-serving. But they own much of the news media. And they own governments. Trump is not a unique figure. He's typical of a whole class, and to get rid of opium.
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In a related example of the control of big money, the irving press for yesterday had TWO 'commentaries' from propaganda houses - Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and The Frontier Centre for Public Policy. (The Atlantic Institute pitches the idea for private ownership of liquor sales, rather than provincial government ownership because private ownership would be more efficient. Well, the trouble with that is that all the profits of liquor sales would go into private hands. But with government ownership, they go to us.  And giving up all that revenue in a province in which the wealthy seem to avoid taxes and in which the wealthy get bounteous government subsidies (our money) would suggest that we  private citizens would be big losers in any such deal.)

As it is, liquor sales are a money-maker for us, all of us. Privatizing would mean we would lose that money - so getting that six-pack for a slightly lesser price would really mean  you were losing much, much more than you were saving.

Let's consider the things WE need money for, things like education and medical care - rather that our usual practice of giving enormous subsidies to billionaires.
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And that takes us to the wonderful world of billionaires, those people who believe they deserve their wealth because they work so hard. In fact, they often and quite publicly object to paying taxes because it's all 'their' money  - as though the rest of us should pay taxes because we don't work nearly as hard as the very wealthy and what we earn isn't really ours.

In fact, most of the very wealthy - like the Vanderbilts and Trumps - did not work hard for their wealth. They inherited it. And, with their constant demand for government grants and favours, they sponge off the rest of us.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/29/rich-people-wealth-america
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This next story is a little dated. But it's an ongoing story. In much of the world, people who try to defend the environment get killed for it. That is most notably true in Latin America - and guess which countries and their mining and agribusiness run the show in Latin America.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2017/jul/13/the-defenders-tracker
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Addictive and destructive drugs  have long been the path to wealth for those lucky enough to own the supply. The British fought wars to force the Chinese government to permit the sale of opium from British owned farms in India. The last western pet to rule China was Chiang-kai shek - And Britain and the US supported Chiang because he was a big time drug dealer. China was massively and destructively addicted. It was close to a miracle that the Chinese were able to get rid of Chiang and Britain and the U.S.

Now, the U.S. is getting a taste of addiction.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-opioid-epidemic-in-america-killing-one-million-workers-the-triumph-of-capital/5627300
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https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/28/need-renewed-supporters-along-side-us-stop-atrocities/

Duh! Pipelines create jobs.
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The chaos of Afghanistan - as our news never tells it.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/28/hotel-intercontinental-siege-kabul-falling/

The 'terrorist' groups of Afghanistan who carried out the attack on Kabul were created, trained and equipped by the U.S. way back in the 1970s. The original purpose of them was to fight the Russians who had been in their own war on Afghanistan. (Russians and Americans, I'm afraid, have a lot in common.)
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Is ISIS the creation of Muslim evil and treachery? Well, no, actually. It's the creation of Christian evil and treachery.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48682.htm
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Most people think of war as a struggle between armed forces. Sometimes it is. But assassination, rape, torture have always been important components. The difference in the twentieth century was that they increasingly came to resemble mafia wars with a heavy reliance on indiscriminate murder. (Well, no. That's not fair. Mafia murders are usually targetted.  But governments now kill - and torture - indiscriminately. Men, women, children, babies - they're all targets and fair game.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48683.htm
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With so many threats around us, it's hard to pick the most dangerous. But a good place to start is with the super-wealthy  whose wealth, and power,  compared to the rest of us, now surpasses anything in history. It is now the super-wealthy who decide who we will go to war with - and why. And their greed is testified to by growing poverty and lack of opportunity for the rest of us.

Never kid yourself. The war in Iraq was NOT against Saddam Hussein. He was simply a tool of the wealthy, and he got in their way. And that's why a million and a half Iraqis were murdered. It's the super wealthy who are the most destructive force in our world.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48685.htm

But they occasionally make a gift to the deserving poor? Oh, how sweet.
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The U.S. is in perpetual war. It's a war profitable to the wealthy. But it's been a losing one to the U.S. since 1950. It is also destructive of domestic needs in the U.S., and ultimately will be a major factor in the destruction of the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, the U.S. is incapable of defeating any major enemy except by nuclear war - but no-one would win that.

The following analysis of if is long and somewhat specialized. But it's a good account of what's happening.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/29/the-war-that-never-ends-for-the-u-s-military-high-command/
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As usual, I can offer only the headline and a short blurb of an opinion in Haaretz. This one plays no favourites, putting Trump and Putin in the same bag. I was particularly struck by the comment that most national leaders exploit religion - but don't follow it. That's certainly true in the behaviour of both Trump and Putin. It's also true of virtually all Christians. The Christian churches have nothing to offer except, of course, eternal life (but only for 'believers') It's astonishing that church leaders (with very few exceptions) could be as blind as ours are to the greed, evil, and destruction practiced by our political and economic leaders.
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Jan. 27: The one I don't want to write.

I have misplaced the article, and I forget who was quoted in it - except that he was a senior member of the White House circle. In short, this politician said that the aim of the U.S. in Syria is to establish a democratic government. That sounds good, and I'm sure it was convincing to large numbers of American voters.

But it's pure propaganda. Let's get real look at what almost all American governments have been about since 1945.

For a start, this is the same U.S. that invaded Guatemala to kick out an elected government, and appoint a dictator. Then it helped the Guatemala government to murder 200,000 of the Maya people (plus assorted Christian missionaries) - and all that to make American and Canadian mining companies free to impose terrible working conditions for low pay on the Maya, and to freely destroy the environment. This is the same US that put Cuba and Haiti under murderous dictators who made life sweet for agricultural and resource companies based in the U.S. When Haiti got rid of the dictator and held elections, the U.S. invaded the country and threw out the elected president. When Cuba got rid of its dictator, the U.S. indignantly placed it under severe trade sanctions so that to this day, Cuba is poor.

The U.S. can't even establish democracy in its own country. Every election, the president and the congress are for sale to the highest bidder. As a result, poverty in the U.S. is steadily growing, even as it also has the worst social services of any developed country. I see no sign of any political thought  in the U.S. except for the (modest) attempts of Bernie Sanders.

Real power in the U.S. is in the hands of a small number of super billionaires who have no interest whatever in democracy for anybody.

No. Since 1945 (and even before) U.S. governments have not been big fans of democracy. When they conquered The Philippines almost 120 years ago, it promptly put them under an American dictator. Then, after 1945, the U.S. supported a native dictator who governed under martial law to 1981.

The war, incidentally, was marked by atrocities committed by the U.S., including the mass murder of civilians, the wide use of torture, and the placing of whole towns in concentration camps where at least 20% died. Nobody knows how many people of The Phillippines died in that war. The official  U.S. estimate is some 250,000. Others range up to three million. All agree that the majority of the dead were civilians.

British poet Rudyard Kipling applauded all this in his poem The White Man's Burden.

"Take up the White Man's burden —
Send forth the best ye breed —
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild —
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden —
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden —
The savage wars of peace —
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden —
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper —
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden —
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard —
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: —
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden —
Ye dare not stoop to less — Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden —
Have done with childish days —
The lightly profferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!'[12]

The British had long justified their mass murder, slavery, theft, exploitation of cheap labour as a sign of British nobility and Christian devotion. In the poem above, Kipling simply extends the mantle to the U.S. So this was not theft and murder and greed. No. This was obedience to the will of God which, in the case of the U.S. was summed up in the term 'Manifest Destiny'.  It was the will of God just as the British conquests and mass murders  were the desire of "God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet..."
That perversion of Christianity is still common in the U.S., and it's a reason why Trump has the support of the 'Bible Belt' even as he preaches greed and violence.

All that interests the capitalists who are the real American government is the money they can make out of exploiting the resources and the people of other nations. And it's been that way since 1776. The U.S. is simply a larger, more brutal, and more exploitive version of the empires that preceded it.

Just as Britain and France and Spain and Portugal and Belgium for the profit of a very few, the US is entirely absorbed in building an empire. There was no glory in those empires. Millions of people were enslaved or killed just so a handful of European capitalists could steal their resources. The only differences are that the U.S. is looking for conquest of the whole world, and it  has infinitely more destructive power than those older empires had.

In all those empires, the common people of the  homeland got nothing much - if anything - out of the empire. As common people were forced off their farms and into factories, they lost the little security they'd had. There was a reason why the British voted against Churchill at the end of World War Two. They'd had centuries of living under Churchills, and getting steadily poorer.

In final desperation, the poor  had to sign up in the army and the navy. And they were, when in battle and getting killed, 'splendid chaps'. But when the killing was over, and they were dumped on the streets; they were just litter and scum. The very rich had a profound contempt for the rest. (That's been a characteristic of the rich throughout recorded history. Like the people of the conquered nations, the common people were just inferior animals. That's why the U.S. can ignore its own growing poverty.)

World conquest has been the theme of American political life since 1945. That's why Truman wanted to nuke North Korea early in the Korean War. He wanted China. This was the jewel U.S. capitalists wanted. That's why Trump still threatens it.

That's why the U.S. has killed in the many, many millions since 1945. This was all insanely murderous from the start.  And it's now murderous with a deadline. The U.S. has -maybe - twenty years to conquer the world. Tops.

Meanwhile, democracy in the U.S. has brought the American people nowhere close to understanding what is happening to them or why, let alone what to do about it. And that's why we are watching the quickening death of the biggest empire in history - if the only one that never called itself an empire.

And Canada?

Like Britain and Australia, it kisses up to the American empire because our capitalists depend on keeping good relations with American capitalists. But there is, I'm afraid, nothing in it for most of us.  And there is now every possibility that Canadians will be killing - some foreigners - very soon to show we are good neighbours. Meanwhile, like Americans, our news media dizzy us with tales of how the U.S. is fighting to bring democracy to the world - and how everybody who's different from us is evil.

You want to see what real evil looks like? Look at the greed, the contempt for 99% of all humanity, the mass murder, the starvation of whole societies, the refusal to deal with the problems that all this is creating for the near future, the indifference of our capitalists to human suffering.

And, no. None of the above is manufactured. We are repeating the fatal mistakes that have destroyed every empire in the past but, this time, on a far greater scale.
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Remember haw often you have read in the irving press that government grants to industry are good for us because they create jobs? (It's a popular theme of propaganda houses like Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.) Remember this article the next time you read that.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/01/huge-wasteful-subsidies-corporations-deplete-funds-social-programs
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Israel has made it clear since it was founded in 1948 that it intends to take over all of Palestine (and other regions) and make it part of Israel. To that end it has  already stolen much of Palestine.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/26/jerusalem-trump-aid-cuts-shuafat-israel-palestine
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The last time I was in Hong Kong, the British still ran it as a colonial dictatorship. I noticed a lot of activity in a nearby building, and asked my students what it was about.

"Oh," said one of them sourly, "those are our new masters". He referred of course, to the government of China."\

He was right. It was a lesson in how much the governments of Britain, the U.S. and China resemble each other.
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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/25/trump-state-of-union-workers-rights-working-class-record
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The important, need-to-know, story for today was how Prince Harry met Megan Marple. It was important enough to demand a major story in the World News section of the irving press. And the scoop is - they were introduced by a mutual friend.

The Guardian missed this. But our irving press had it. And we needed to know it.
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http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48658.htm
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Most of the commercial press has always been used for propaganda. But there's been a big change because it is not longer used for ANYTHING but propaganda.
One can see it at its worst in papers like the irving press which have nothing but propaganda. But the disease has spread even to top papers like the New York Times.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48657.htm
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And say goodbye to individual freedom or rights in the U.S.  (and in Canada).

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48656.htm
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The government of Poland has made it illegal for Poles to mention Polish war crimes of World War Two, notably the Polish complicity in rounding up Jews for the death camps.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/my-grandma-was-murdered-in-poland-i-don-t-need-holocaust-education-1.5767630

But before you get smug about our role, think of an incident rarely mentioned in our press. Toward the end of World War Two, some people managed to rescue over a hundred Jewish children from the camps and into Spain. But Spain wouldn't let them stay. So the rescuers tried Britain, Canada, and the U.S. among other countries to take them. And the other countries,  us among them, refused - and they refused knowing what would happen to those children. They would be sent back to the death camps.

Talk about war crimes...
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Here's a reminder that all these years after auschwitz and the holocaust, we are going down much the same path the Naziis did. Under Trump, for example, racism has taken a huge jump.

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/auschwitz-isn-t-history-its-message-is-desperately-relevant-today-1.5766546
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http://theantimedia.org/stealth-bombers-guam-nuclear-strike-north-korea/

Sounds crazy? Yes, it does. But it's not the craziest idea to come out of Washington in the past year.
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Perhaps the greatest threat we face is the greed of the very wealthy, the ones who meet at Davos where heads of state scramble to win their favour. Their terms are clear. They want absolute power to do whatever they like with no regard for human needs. They want to pay no taxes, none at all  (and they have largely achieved it). They want us to keep burning oil until the whole world supply is destroyed, and until human life, itself, is destroyed.

Capitalist bosses have always been like this, of course. But they have now turned up the heat in governments so that they can really run wild. Democracy is pretty much over.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/27/lucky-1-percent-get-trumps-speech-cnbcs-devotion-and-nearly-all-global-growth
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The Canadian government has been dishonest from the start in allowing Canadian companies to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is supposed to be under a ban for such sales because of its human rights record - now made even worse by its brutality in Yemen.

Prime Minister Trudeau makes a big noise about giving aid to Yemen of 12 million dollars to Yemen. Whoopee. He has allowed the sale of 15 BILLION dollars worth of armoured  cars to go on killing the people of Yemen.

But this is Trudeau (like Harper). He wants to be nice to Trump and Trump's friends.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/canada-should-follow-germanys-example-and-halt-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia/5627400
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https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/26/homeless-america-illustrates-inequality-discussions-davos/

The irving press has not, I think, ever mentioned the point that all of the world's recent increase in wealth was enjoyed by just one percent of the people. And the real figures are even worse as even in the wealthy U.S. the numbers of poor are rising dramatically. And there is no end to it. Greed rules.

Get used to it. The wealthy are not only greedy. They are also remarkably stupid.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/26/homeless-america-illustrates-inequality-discussions-davos/
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Jan. 25: Wake Up, New Brunswick. Wake Up, World.

Forgive me. Something has to be said about the decline of our press in New Brunswick. It has always been in the toilet. But it's actually getting worse. And you might look for signs of this decay in your own press.

The news for Canada and the whole World Today is one page. (count it. One.)

That page has three stories, the biggest one about a Japanese company that cleans up apartments of people who died, and whose bodies were found in their apartments months later.

Then there is a story that really isn't a story but an opinion column that Trump will tell the billionaires at the Davos meeting that his agenda is working.

And there's the US gymnastics physician who got sent to jail. That's it. All the news YOU need to know.

The lead story on page one is that our provincial government got a C minus in reducing red tape for business. Is this an important news story?  Well, no. In fact, it's not a news story at all. It's a piece of self-serving propaganda from Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The message is that regulation is bad for business. I'm sure it is. It's also necessary to prevent recurrences of the Lac Megantic disaster when a loosely supervised oil train exploded in the middle of a city.

The editorial page has a column about how Nova Scotia is removing it's highway toll for locals, but keeping it for visitors like us.  He writes, "It's a government looking to bleed people dry rather than promoting fair or just taxation."

Look, the taxation problem, the real one that the irving press refuses to mention, is probably that the very wealthy don't pay taxes. And when the very wealthy make more money than all the rest of us put together that leaves a big hole in our provincial budget. When is our local paper going to mention that?



Then the Commentary page has its standard commentary from a propaganda house for the wealthy. This one is from Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, The sinners, in the view of the AIMS hacks, are those people who are pushing to raise the minimum wage - particularly at Tim Horton's. Now, the commentary says that Tim Horton's exists to support communities and create jobs for the future generation. (Gee! I didn't know that. It thought it existed to make money for the owners. Gee? These people are saints. That's what they are.) And if we raise the minimum wage, then the company will have to move its head office to the U.S. And that would be terrible because Tim Horton's is where we have chats and birthday celebrations. Yes, we do!

The lead commentary is by Andrew Coyne, a National Post Columnist with a long record of being to the right of Ebenezer Scrooge. He says the Canadian economy is terrible because we're so, so cruel to those nice capitalists who come here to help us. Yes, they do. And we just tax the poor dears cruelly. (Like all writers for the irving press, he's never heard of tax havens and government gifts to the wealthy.)

And you know it's just awful the way governments overspend their tax money? Yes. They waste it on education, health when people could pay for those things themselves.

This is the real 'fake' news, the news you get when almost all the news media are owned by wealthy people.

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/10/paris-floods-made-almost-twice-as-likely-by-climate-change-say-scientists

The river Seine is now at its highest level in a century. Scientists say the chances of this happening in future have been doubled by climate change. But what do they know. If oil bosses say it's not happening...well, they'd know. They're real smart.
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https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jan/24/anti-homeless-architecture-seattle-bike-racks-block-rough-sleepers

Just ten years ago, American super-corporations created a debt crisis, largely because they ignored regulations. But the government did not put them in the streets. In went hugely into greater debt to bail those nice people out, and so they could pay their board members millions of dollars in bonuses to make them feel better.
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https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/01/22/news/income-inequality-deepens-billionaire-club-grows-oxfam
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Recently, the innocent in the case of the Lac Megantic rail disaster were found innocent by a court. But that surely is not the end. We haven't yet really looked at where the guilt lies. It almost certainly lies with the railway company, the shipper, and the Canadian government. But we aren't likely to hear about that.

What we will hear, especially in the irving press, is more bleating about how government regulations are bad for business. Maybe. But enforced regulations would have save many lives in Lac Megantic.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/views-expressed/2018/01/lac-m%C3%A9gantic-criminal-trial-ends-government-action-must-begin
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The following story is obviously not true. If it were true our oil bosses would certainly lead the way in doing the right thing. Much of Africa is running out of rain. What are we planning for the millions of refugees that will create?

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/24/climate-bellwether-cape-town-almost-out-water-day-zero-looms
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This is offbeat. But, as a father, I think this is worth considering.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/25/smartphone-smartness-stupidity/
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The U.S. has, for over a century, interfered heavily and often murderously in most Latin American countries. And the North American press either ignores it or blames the people of Latin America.

That is what I would call fake news. If you really want to attack fake news, don't waste your time policing social media. Take a look at the big kids. In Cuba, the U.S. uses its power to keep a nation poor. It does that all over Latin America (with the blessing of Canadian business that operates in Latin America) just as it does it in North Korea.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/24/daily-life-cuba/
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All the news you're allowed to hear.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48655.htm
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http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48641.htm
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Anyone who is surprised by the following article is someone who believes every word in the irving press.

http://theantimedia.org/tillerson-truth-syria/
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https://www.globalresearch.ca/no-taxpayers-money-is-spared-in-washingtons-military-adventures-worldwide-trillions-of-unauthorized-spending/5627109
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Remember all those columns in the irving press about how making the rich richer benefits all of us?

https://www.globalresearch.ca/richest-one-percent-bagged-82-percent-of-wealth-created-last-year-poorest-half-of-humanity-got-nothing/5626929
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Do you seriously think there is any possibility of Liberals or Conservatives or Democrats or Republicans doing anything about any of the above?
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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jan. 23: The China Obsession



http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/insurers-extreme-weather-canada-1.4497456

Gee! Lucky for us all our oil CEOs are so much smarter than those 15,000 scientists.
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North Korea and South Korea will come together at the Olympics in South Korea this year. That's good news. Maybe.

Until China took back control of Hong Kong, it was the centre of British business in China. And, oh, that was a profitable business. Yes, it cost the Chinese uncounted dead from British invasions, and even more dead from starvation as Britain looted the country.  And for Hong  Kong, it meant government by the unspeakably arrogant British dictators that it pleased the British to call governors. (And, for much of that time, the biggest  profit-making business was opium supplied by other British colonies.) I knew a secretary to one of the last governors. He was the sort of arrogant racist that the British empire produced in large numbers.

And all that profit attracted American big business. It has wanted control of that monster trade for well over a century. In fact, that is a major reason the U.S. has  its biggest naval base way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. (What other country has its major naval base so far from home?)  That desire is why, in 1945, the U.S. ordered Britain NOT to retake Hong Kong. No. The plan was that Chiang Kai-shek would take it - and Chiang Kai-shek was an American puppet.

But Britain defied the U.S. That's why a British fleet (including HMCS Prince Robert) relieved Hong Kong. The American government was furious. The desire of American business to conquer China had become an obsession. That is why the U.S. lined up the UN for a war against North Korea in 1950. A victory in North Korea would  have given the U.S. access to Russian and Chinese borders. Those borders could be lined with nuclear missiles (as the U.S. is now lining Russian borders.) And missiles so close to their targets would be difficult to stop.
Imagine the reaction if the Russia and China were to plant missiles on the U.S./Mexico border.)

Today, the desire to control the China trade is even greater as western big business realizes that China could have the world biggest economy within a couple of decades.

But then came the Olympic Games in South Korea, and the agreement that north and south will not only participate but will do so with talks to unite the two - which would put a severe cramp in the American desire to control the north as a stepping stone for an invasion of China.  (That desire is the real reason why the U.S. has imposed savage controls and poverty on North Korea since the 1950s.)

In short, the U.S. has been bypassed as a major force in the region. The two Koreas will look after their own affairs and their own interests. This is a huge blow to American prestige, and to its dreams of conquering the Chinese market. It will also be a sharp signal of the American economic decline.

So what will the U.S. do?

1. In an ideal world, the U.S. would give its blessing to the talks between the two Koreas, and would help the north to rebuild. But American big business will never allow that.

2. Would the U.S. invade North Korea? Not likely. America's conventional war record since 1945 has not been impressive.

More likely, the U.S. will try to rebuild its status by destroying the talks - and perhaps even by launching a nuclear strike against North Korea.  (We know that such a strike has been considered for the last seventy years.)

2018 could be a very interesting year.

P.S. If you decide to send this to the irving press, take care to send someone who can read it to them, and explain words that are more than three letters long.

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The BIG, world news story in today's irving press is that a man in Ontario is angry because the courts did not jail a man who killed his wife in a traffic accident.

Actually, there were some bigger world stories that happened.   One is that Turkey has defied the U.S. by launching an invasion of Iran to defeat Kurdish rebels who are supported by the U.S. And, with 2,000 U.S. troops in same region - and in support of the Kurds -, this could become very dangerous. At best, it is a crushing blow for American status since it is a NATO partner (Turkey) that is defying the U.S.

Somebody at the irving press got the story, but converted it into a danger for Russian involvement. It is such a danger. But for now, the crisis is the U.S./Turkey confrontation. (That whole region is being pushed into a blow-up with strong possibilities of a U.S./Russia conflict.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/23/turkey-preoccupation-syrian-kurds-could-spell-disaster-for-us
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Meanwhile, the U.S is happily stepping up its (illegal) drone bombing of Somalia, killing mostly civilians.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/23/somali-citizens-count-cost-of-surge-in-us-airstrikes-under-trump

In fairness, we should recognize that killing civilians is mostly what modern war in about. It's been like that since the middle of World War Two.
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The U.S. has been deliberately holding North Korea down in poverty since the 1950s.  But who gives a damn? Right?

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jan/23/north-korea-tops-list-most-neglected-humanitarian-crises
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This opinion piece is a little unfair. It puts lots of blame for the deliberate killing of civilians on Trump - with a bit on Obama. In fact, the deliberate killing of civilians goes back to Winston Churchill and his attack on the Kurds in 1920. And it has been normal practice by all sides since early in World War Two.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/23/us-air-wars-trump
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One of the greatest threats of our time is the increasing share of our national wealth that goes into the pockets of the extremely wealthy - many, perhaps most of whom, don't pay taxes. This will mean disaster for all of us. And there is not the slightest possibility that either the Liberals or the Conservatives will do anything about it.

And other parties that should be dealing with it are being pretty wimpy.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/22/billionaire-boom-while-worlds-richest-1-took-82-all-new-wealth-2017-bottom-half-got
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The routine message of the irving press is that private business is more efficient than government, and that it creates wealth for all of us. Of course that's its message. The irving press exists to make sure that's the only message that gets out.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/23/disaster-capitalism-action-puerto-rico-governor-announces-plan-privatize-power
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This story is from Haaretz, so I can't show much more than the headline. In 1948, Israel could do no wrong in the eyes of North American Jews. By the 1990s, it  had become virtually impossible to criticize Israel in the North American news media. But that is changing dramatically as Israel has become increasingly on the far right, increasingly corrupt, and increasingly brutal toward Palestine.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-jewish-agency-chief-warns-young-u-s-jews-more-turned-off-to-israel-1.5751616
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Once again, I can give only a taste of this story. But, like most stories on the Turkish attack on Syrian Kurds, it sees this as a disaster for the U.S. The irving press is the only exception in seeing this as a Russian crisis - and not even mentioning the U.S. factor.

https://www.haaretz.com/
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U.S. war spending is far, far the largest in the world. But, for all the spending, the American military have not performed well. Indeed, the American position in the world has been steadily in decline. Most authorities agree that at the present rate, the U.S. will be a second-rate power within a generation. The decision of the American military - and American capitalism - is to spend even more on the aggressions that have led to this crisis.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48646.htm

And the U.S. will insist on towing Canada along.
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Most wars are the products of our uncontrolled capitalism. Most wars have ALWAYS been the products of such greed.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/why-america-needs-war/5328631
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Eight men hold half of all the world's wealth. I can see the stories in the irving press now. "Eight men's wealth benefits everyone". "The wealthy make us all rich." "Executives work hard for their billions." Yeah. The New Brunswick government's major efforts to distribute wealth in this province consist of giving the wealthy tax breaks, free services.... I guess that's why the the people of this province have such lush homeless shelters.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/23/eight-men-half-worlds-wealth-india-worst-hit/

(I know I ran this story earlier. But we really need to  understand that our catering to the very rich is destroying us.)
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Trudeau is the sleepy rabbit who is losing the climate race to the American turtle.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/01/18/analysis/americans-pull-ahead-canadians-race-against-climate-change

I wouldn't have thought it possible for anybody to beat the Trump record for environmental irresponsibility. However, Trudeau is doing it. But don't worry. I'm sure the Canadian oil industry will rally to demand tougher action.
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Trade sanctions sound like an innocent sort of thing. They aren't.   They're an act of war, and an act that's carried out with particular viciousness against the poor.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/22/its-time-to-call-economic-sanctions-what-they-are-war-crimes/

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jan.20: The Future is Very Near.

I had just finished some seven hours of writing it when my blog disappeared. I have no idea why.

I shall try again - but this may be a short one.
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A new Gallup Poll says that Americans trust the standard news media more than web media  (like this one.) It's one of those polls that will get a lot of attention - but which really tell us nothing.
1. How many Americans have the ability to judge news media of any sort?
2. How many have never watched any web media at all?
3. The percentage of Americans who trust their commercial media is some 51%. That's something less than a triumph.
4. The percentage of those who trust web media is  36%. Well, okay. But what percentage even watch web media in the first place?
5. I note that one of the top rated services is BBC though, in fact, it has been plunging downhill for some time.
6. There is no mention of Israel's Haaretz - which is probably the most honest newspaper in the world.
7. The Guardian is rated well below news media that are,  in fact,  pretty poor stuff.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48623.htm

(I got this report from a web site. I had to. It didn't appear in my daily irving press. It's big, world story for the day is that the Vancouver aquarium will no longer keep whales and dolphins.  The only big foreign news is that North Korea will send cheerleaders to the Olympics.

The big local story is that New Brunswick grade six students are below par in government tests. Well, of course they are. Just read the irving press for the reason why.  This province does not encourage intellectual activity. The parents don't. And the schools alone can't make up that difference. As a kid, my friends didn't read. I did because it was a normal thing in my home, and my father encouraged me. Teachers alone cannot make up for an intellectual gap in a whole society.)
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The Ukrainian revolution was reported in our news media as a popular uprising.
It was no such thing. And the information that it wasn't was readily available. Today, far from being a great democracy, it is home to what is probably the strongest Nazi movement in the world.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48619.htm
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The American army, like most armies, has ALWAYS tortured prisoners. And it still does.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/17/cia-rendition-flights-north-carolina-citizens-commission
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This is not a big story yet. It might never be. But it's fascinating.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/20/hydrogen-cars-hugo-spowers-future
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The following is an interesting editorial. But it's dead wrong in calling for a 'caring' capitalism. There is no such thing, never has been such a thing,  and cannot be such a thing. Capitalism is based on individual greed and indifference to human needs. The caring - and the control - have to come from us. That's what an NDP should be about, but ....

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/19/the-guardian-view-on-a-caring-capitalism-healing-an-unhappy-society
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Our commercial news media have had little to nothing to say about the billions and hundreds of billions in taxes that the wealthy don't pay. (When was the last time you saw an article in the irving press about this?)

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/19/apple-avoided-40-billion-taxes-now-it-wants-gold-star
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https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/15/african-americans-learn-criminal-medias-54-year-blackout-kings-condemnation-us-wars/
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Oprah Winfrey is not the answer for America. In fact, the enthusiasm for her is a powerful sign of the American collapse of democracy. And the U.S. is not the only one. Would Justin ever  have become leader of the Liberal party if he were not Pierre's son?  We need, but don't have, political parties which are prepared to deal with the needs of our whole society. What we have are political parties that are prepared to do only what capitalists tell them to do, and which are led by 'personalities'.Capitalism is a system that has run wildly out of control. And Oprah ain't going to to do nuthin about that.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/01/15/thus-spake-oprah-new-york-times-spots-ufos-comb-empire/
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Here's a reminder for the irving press that the Vancouver release of aquarium whales and dolphins is not the greatest issue of our time.

https://thesaker.is/2018-war-or-no-war/
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The creation of Israel was bungled from the start.

Despite stories of the time, it was NOT done in reaction to Hitler's holocaust of Jews. In fact, it was planned some twenty years earlier by British politicians. And it was NOT done out of sympathy for the Jews.

The idea originated  because the Britain of the World War 1 era was as anti-semitic as Germany was at that time.  (So were Canada and the U.S.) The idea of creating a Jewish homeland was to get rid of the Jews in Britain and other countries. By post-World War 2, it also gave Britain and the U.S. a reliable ally in the middle east.

It could have been done successfully. It could have been done by creating two states - with lots of help for both to become functional. That might have created happy peoples in both countries. Instead, the U.S. and Britain chose the much more expensive method of the massive arming of Israel. And the humiliation and destruction of Palestinians.

Unfortunately, Israel accepted that path, and made it worse by deliberately impoverishing Palestine and stealing most of its land. (I knew some Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps. They had nothing but hatred and contempt for Palestinians - an odd reaction considering they were the ones taking land from the Palestinians.)

Now, almost unnoticed in our news media, a teenage girl faces years in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier in the face.  And all this goes back a hundred years to a British Lord who really didn't give a damn for either Jews or Palestinians.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/slapping-an-israeli-soldier-more-newsworthy-than-shooting-a-palestinian-child-in-the-face/5626430
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Need medical care? a place to live? an equal chance with the rich for education?
a decent salary? Forget it. In a capitalist society, all that matters is the next quarterly report - and the profits in it. That unremitting greed has no concern for your problems. That's why Trump has been destroying the few social programmes the U.S. has.

Canada has been moving in that direction - if much more slowly. That's why it is rare, very rare to see any mention in the irving press of a need for social programmes. Instead, we get commentaries from 'think-tanks' telling us that making the rich richer will make us all rich. (Yeah. I guess that's why so much of our money is given to huge corporations to make them richer.  And they hide it away in tax  havens. And someday, the rich are going to open those tax havens and just pour that wealth all over us. Yeah.)

But the U.S. is way ahead of Canada. It really looks after its rich.

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/18/puerto-rico-trump-administration-tells-its-too-rich-for-aid-money/
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Well, I'm running late. And this has been a painful blog to write. And this last part is the most painful.

We are living in the most dangerous time this world has ever known. The U.S. is quite eager to create nuclear wars in North Korea and Iran, wars that almost certainly would force China and Russia to respond. We are caught up in a capitalism running wild, a capitalism that knows no responsibility for human life. It knows nothing but greed, a capitalism that doesn't have the brains to see that it would destroy itself as well as the rest of us. It's not just Trump. The driving force, as it always has been, is capitalism itself.

I don't know whether capitalism in China and Russia has perverted those nations to the same degree. But it almost certainly will. Unlike the drivel that appears as analysis in the irving press, capitalism can function only under strong control. In the U.S., that's gone. And there's no sign any control is coming back.

So what does Canada do?

In 1900, Canada sent troops to kill Dutch farmers in South Africa for the British. And the British were fighting them to plunder the gold fields that the Dutch had stolen from the Africans. The soldiers killed lots of Dutch farmers, and the Canadians, in particular, were responsible for the deaths of some 16,000 Dutch women and children in concentration camps. For the this, the Canadians got medals, parades, and were lauded as patriots.

What was patriotic about killing Dutch men, women and children so that wealthy Englishmen could steal their gold? (This isn't a criticism of the soldiers. It's a criticism of the political and economic leaders who used them to do their dirty work.)

Canadians who were sent to Afghanistan and were killed there were placed in hearses to go along an Ontario St.  The press called them patriots, and the street was called the Avenue of Heroes. What was heroic or patriotic about killing Afghanis?

Our pilots who bombed Libya were named heroes.  What was heroic about bombing a defenceless people? And what was patriotic about it?

We now fight wars for the U.S. (and as I write this, we have troops in danger spots) as we used to fight them for Britain. We call it patriotism. But is it?

We fought those wars - the British ones because Canadian business leaders wanted us to kiss up to the British financial world, then because Canadian business leaders wanted us to kiss up to the American financial world.

That's not what patriotism means. We fought not for Canada, but as the Germans and the Japanese did. - so that the wealthy would benefit. That is not what patriotism means. And, certainly, patriotism does not mean killing people because our news media make it 'the thing to do'. If it were, then we should have urged Germany and Japan to hold parades in 1945 cheering its patriots who killed our soldiers.

No. I am  not criticizing those  Canadians who served in World Wars One and Two. I knew some  of them. I studied a good deal about them. Some fought out of patriotism - though I have no idea what the proportion was. Some, like a relative of mine, served so he could dump his wife and family. Some joined for the very good reason that there were no jobs to help them feed their families. Some joined because they were  young, and it sounded exciting.

But we use the word patriotic as though it meant devotion to country and so is a ''good" word. Well, by that definition, the German guards at the death camps were patriots. And soldiers who massacre and/or torture prisoners are patriots. (and all armies do at least some of this.) The American fliers who napalmed Vietnamese civilians were patriots. The ones who killed a third or more of North Korea's civilians were patriots.  God bless America.

We are inches from a world nuclear war. Explaining what we should do (or not do) is important. But the last thing we need is greedy killers tossing about the word patriot as if it were a wedding bouquet._______________

Oh, an afterthought. Google Haaretz. Get a look at it. It will  be possible to see only the intros for each report or opinion. But, oh, it's a pleasure to see a newspaper that has guts and honesty. One of the opinions is about African refugees in Israel who are being tracked down an kicked out by the government. Some rabbis compare this to the Nazi hunting down of Jews - as in the case of Anne Frank - and they're hiding the refugees.




Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jan 18: Repeating a terrible mistake.


Trump has launched an attack on Russia and China for helping North Korea to avoid American sanctions on its trade.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/17/trump-accuses-russia-of-violating-sanctions-to-aid-north-korea

No. Don't blame Trump. He is doing what every president since 1945 has done. And it all goes back even further to a terrible precedent.

When Germany surrendered in 1918, the victorious allies placed economic sanctions on it.  The purpose, like the sanctions on North Korea, was to keep Germany economically weak and in poverty. The result?

German anger at the unending poverty was taken out, at the start, in the persecution of Jews. Building on the old hatred of Jews that existed ALL over Europe (yes and Britain and Canada and the U.S.)  Germans blamed the Jews for the loss of the war by Germany. And that created new political parties that played on the hatred of Jews and the anger at the sanctions. The result was Hitler and World War Two.

The Peace Treaty of 1918 was meant to impoverish and humiliate the Germans. The motivation for sanctions on North Korea is to permanently destroy a nation and a people. It's true that, technically, the sanctions were imposed by the UN. But this was a time when the UN was in the pocket of the U.S. It was the U.S. that wanted the sanctions. And the reason it wanted them was to forever destroy North Vietnam, to smother and starve it in its own poverty. And it all really had nothing to do with Vietnam itself. The U.S. wanted North Vietnam as a platform for an invasion of China (which is similar why the U.S staged a rebellion to overthrow the elected government Ukraine. That gave the U.S. a base for the invasion of Russia.)

And why the lust for these invasions? They're all to benefit the corporations that own the U.S. government, to effectively give them control of ALL the world's trade. Of course, one can't say that publicly. So we get stories about how Russians and Chinese and Vietnamese are evil and greedy - not at all like those nice American corporations.)

This approach produced disaster in dealing with Germany after World War 1. It is quite possible that it will produce a far worse disaster in North Korea.

For a start, almost seventy years (70, count them) of these sanctions has produced monstrous suffering and poverty for the people of  North Vietnam. And a limited ability to get around American blockades has not been enough to ease that.

Add to that the war in which the U.S. with its UN friends conducted what must be the most brutal war or modern history against the North Koreans. Rebuilding  a livable country was a massive challenge. Add that to seventy years of American war games on their border, American patrolling of their waters, and more than fifty years of American nuclear missiles set in South Korea and aimed at the north.

North Koreans are suspicious and fearful of Americans? Gee! I wonder why? They live in fear and suspicion of the U.S.? Their leaders rise to power on fear and uncertainty and distrust of the U.S.? Golly whillickers, who woulda guessed?

And those evil Russians and Chinese have given them a little bit of help. How evil! Of course the Russians and Chinese will help North Korea; the Russians and Chinese know what the game is. It's to put American missiles on their borders, just like it's been doing in eastern Europe.

The UN was extremely unwise to approve those restrictions in the first place. But the U.S. demanded them because the greed of American big business had to be satisfied.

And now the North Koreans have responded with their own missiles - though very few of them. Isn't that evil of them?

And the U.S. has only 4,000 missiles - and the largest armed forces in the world - to defend itself the against those terrible bullies. (Luckily, it has Canada to help it. Yes. That is in the cards.)

So now Trump feels he needs to impose more sanctions. (But he almost certainly won't go to the UN to approve them because relations there are a little rocky.) No. He'll have to impose the new sanctions on his own. And that, of course, means they will be illegal under international law. But, hey, who cares about international law?)

American problems with North Korea could have been settled in the 1950s. What a horribly battered North Korea needed then was help in rebuilding all that had been destroyed in the war, and the freedom to trade so that the people could survive. That approach could still be taken.

But it won't be. The American government doesn't care about poverty or hunger - or even about peace. It cares only about corporate profits and the American World Empire. If Trump goes ahead with this, think of what will happen when American warships stop Russian and Chinese cargo ships, or when the US bombs land routes carrying goods to North Korea.


But you won't see any of this in the irving press. If it mentions that country at all, it will be to say it's evil (sort of a racial thing), that it's people are, by implication, morally corrupt (unlike your average American or big time capitalist).

This is the most dangerous development the world has ever seen, a thousand times worse than the disastrous peace treaty of 1918.

The history of the world since  1945 has been the history of the American Empire. American billionaires want to rule the world. That's not just a guess. Check out the website called "Project for the New American Century". The people who prepared that are all good friends of American big business.

And no. Place no hope whatever in Justin Trudeau.
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The following opinion has a good deal of truth to it. But The Guardian is still the best, by far, of a bad lot.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1610997ddc5db03b
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The horror that the U.S. has inflicted on Latin America for over a century makes North Korea look like a holiday paradise. Much of the horror comes from American corporation bosses - and much of it from their Canadian counterparts. Funny how stories about this never make the irving press.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/dont-need-telescope-find-shithole-country/
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Don't let this article bother you. Yes, oil companies are moving in to drill in the Arctic. But I'm sure they'll be very responsible.  As always.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/17/arctic-our-climate-canary-coal-mine-issues-further-warnings
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Trump seems  determined to restart the Syrian war.   (But let's not load all the blame on Trump. He is following the policies of the sainted Obama in Syria. More to the point, he's following what U.S. corporate bosses want.) The U.S. is now training Kurdish-led forces (probably to be drawn from ISIS and other groups just like the old, Syrian war.) Turkey is furious and won't allow it. Russia almost certainly feels the same way - and it's forces in Syria (invited, unlike the U.S.,  by the Syrian government) have already been attacked by Israeli aircraft flying over the border.)

This is a move that directly affects Syria, Russia, China, and the one that could blow up the whole middle east. Again, Trump's stupidity is making this a nuclear threat to the whole world. But, again, he is following the same policies as his predecessors.

Bush and Tony Blair killed one and a  half million people in Iraq because of their claim that they had 'weapons of mass destruction'. No such weapons were ever found. And it's quite clear now that Bush and Blair knew all the time there were none. But they still killed one and a half million people and hanged the president of Iraq. A Trump is nothing new on the American scene.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48601.htm

And there is an urgency in this. Almost every U.S. president since 1945 has been determined that the U.S. shall rule the world for the benefit of its billionaires. That's what 'make America great again' really means. But time is running out.
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Who really runs the U.S.?

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/17/fracking-lobbyists-ipaa-trump-hotel/
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Military decisions are - or should be - treated as very complex matters. "Sending in the marines" is rarely a solution. It's usually more complicated than that. Here's an article on the complexities of making such decisions.

http://thesaker.is/why-is-putin-allowing-israel-to-bomb-syria/
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A constant theme in the irving press is that capitalists must be given more freedom. (Actually, they have quite a bit of freedom. They can pay off governments to do them favours. They can escape taxes by hiding their profits. They can endanger the environment - and happily so with the oil industry and mining. They can set up brutal operations in places like Latin America and, if the locals object, they can kill them with government troops.)

But the irving press usually argues they need more freedom. The reality is that, for our survival, we need them to have a lot less freedom, and soon. Really, you don't allow your dog to go poop on your couch. Why should you allow your capitalists to create poverty all over the world? To abuse and to murder people in other countries? To decide when we will fight wars and against whom? And to deprive us of the taxes we need to meet human necessities like education and health care and help for the poor.

https://www.undispatch.com/un-human-rights-official-examined-poverty-united-states-findings-hit-hard/
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Here's a story that never made the irving press. And never shall.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/history-of-world-war-ii-the-forgotten-us-nazi-alliance/5626346
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I can show only a bit of this story. But it's indicative of a bigger issue. There are many black Africans who, religiously, are Jews. But the Israeli government does not want to see them on its streets.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-ethiopian-in-israel-s-bible-contest-not-jewish-enough-to-live-here-1.5745974

And, that, I'm pretty sure, is what's called racism.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Jan. 16:Did you hear him? Did you hear him?...

...Oh, the monster overbearing.
Don't go near him. Don't go near him.
He is swearing. He is swearing.

(With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan and the captain of HMS Pinafore).

There is nothing new about Trump's shithole remark. It has been a characteristic of the rulers of any empire I have ever heard of. And that includes the Victorian age at the British Empire's peak. It includes the attitude of Christopher Columbus, almost all American presidents and most Canadian pms toward aboriginal peoples, to American treatment of the aboriginal people of Hawaii and most of the people of Latin America.  A similar attitude on the part of Belgium toward Congo explains why that African country is a hell.

Trump is a lout. But he's by no means something new to this world. John A. Macdonald worked very hard to destroy the Metis and to execute their leader, Louis Riel. And John A used to swear. Yes, he did.

I mean, hey, how can we murder people if we like them?

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/415827-trump-haiti-africa-countries/
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Picking up on what I was talking about last time.....

The promise of World War Two was that we would end war. Funny how that is never mentioned on Nov. 11. Instead, we continued what we had been doing for centuries, killing and pillaging for the benefit of big business. The U.S., in particular, launched itself on a series of wars of conquest and pillage, cashing in on  the collapse of the British Empire in Africa and the middle east --- but failing in its great aim, the conquest of China.

The UN, which was intended to be the beginning of the creation of a new world order became simply a rubber stamp for whatever US big business wanted. Britain hung on, as it still does, as a sort of tail to the American rear end. So, to a considerable degree, does Canada. (PM Lester Pearson saw this coming, and he tried to carve out a more independent role for Canada. That's what Canadian peacekeepers were all about. But that ended as Canadian big business was determined to become another American tail.)

This would all be simply a return to the old style of business brutality against weaker nations except - world war two had already turned a corner in world history. actually - two corners. One was the decision to conduct wars not just against armies but against whole, civilian populations. The other was the development of nuclear bombs with the current models far, far more destructive than those of 1945.

That is why today we live on the edge of nuclear war. And since nobody can afford to come second in such a war, it is virtually certain that one will occur as nations decide they cannot risk being second. The big worry is not North Korea. It can certainly destroy an American city. But it cannot defeat the U.S.

No. The problems are the U.S., Russia, China, each capable of killing billions of people. And the other problem is that any one of them could start that, and any one of them would feel compelled to start it if they feared the other one might start first. We now face the prospect of the ultimate war triggered not just  by greed and hatred, but also by fear.

I have no idea who would win - almost certainly nobody.

We desperately need to go back to 1945, to begin work on the promises that were made in 1945, to create a world without war. (Yes. I know the world has always had wars. I also am pretty sure that nothing like human life would ever survive a nuclear war. Maybe its true. Maybe we're too blind to see reality. But reality is still what's happening.)

The big obstacle today to making even a start is a wildly out of control capitalism. It operates entirely on profits. Nothing else matters - not human needs, not human lives.....  Only profits. And all of the world's major powers are capitalist. We elect governments. But then big capitalists tell those governments what to do. They are the ones who have been behind most of the wars of the last several centuries. They are the ones who stand on the mounds of the bodies of millions who have died in those wars. They are the ones behind the drive for more and greater wars today.

Either we bring them under control - soon - or they destroy everything. Big oil, for example, is continuing to develop more sources for oil - just at a time when we desperately need to tackle the problems caused by climate change. It is also creating tensions in the middle east which could make that region the focus of the great and final war as it draws in the U.S., Britain, Israel, Russia and China.
There is no reason to believe that the very wealthy are either compassionate or intelligent. They understand personal profit. Nothing else. And they care for personal profit. Nothing else.

Nor are the problems we have to deal with limited to nuclear war and climate change. The 'soaring' U.S. economy, as Trump would put it, is actually increasing poverty as the greed of the wealthy has created massive and growing poverty. Then there is the poverty imposed by capitalists all over the world on Latin America, Africa, much of Asia and, yes, on much of Europe.

We need to   remind our governments of the promises that were made in 1945 of a new and safer and better world. Instead, we're back in the 1930s looking at a Europe drifting back into a world of Nazi and Fascist values. We're seeing it in the U.S. where Trump's values are essentially Nazi and Fascist, in Ukraine,  in France.

Out-of-control capitalists just love Nazism and Fascism. Remember - capitalists like Henry Ford thought that Hitler was a great guy. So did many, many others of the capitalist world.

A controlled nuclear war?  There is no such thing.
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The Vancouver meeting about North Korea seems likely to focus on enforcing trade sanctions on North Korea rather than finding a solution to the crisis. That may sound righteous, but the fact is that the sanctions were imposed by a UN that did what the U.S. told it do do.

And they go back a lifetime for our older generation. The purpose of them was never to bring peace. The purpose was to keep North Korea poor - and vulnerable to U.S. attack.

And that means the Vancouver peace talks aren't worth a damn.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/north-korea-meeting-1.4485445
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Despite the mass murders we call war, despite our feeding of the rich and starving of the poor, despite the rise of greed as the symbol of righteousness, our churches have been remarkably silent - more so even than the churches of Hitler's Germany. (I'm not sure this pastor quote below should have denounced, but he was most certainly right to encourage his congregation to think in a Christian context.)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/15/pastor-denounces-donald-trump-with-mike-pence-in-the-congregation
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Wealthy Canadians hide their money from taxes to the tune of billions of dollars. And the Canadian news media, with the exception of CBC, say almost nothing. And nowhere is the silence greater than in the irving press of New Brunswick. Apparently, this 'service' is now being advertised like a holiday package. Can you imagine the hell that would be raised in the irving press if poor New Brunswickers didn't pay their taxes?

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/15/paradise-papers-revealed-commoditisation-of-tax-evasion-australia
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Making America great again.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/16/after-living-us-30-years-man-being-ripped-familys-arms-latest-look-trumps-america
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Another story that will never make the irving press.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/15/rapidly-falling-prices-renewables-set-outcompete-fossil-fuels-2020
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One of the (very) few Christian leaders to speak about the suicidal path we are on has been the pope.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/15/world-very-edge-nuclear-war-warns-pope
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The U.S. has no right to have troops in Syria. It has no right to train and equip 30,000 Syrian "rebels". But that's what it's doing. And this is just begging Russia and China to intervene in a region that has been made so unstable that only idiots would be so foolish as to  make it worse.

http://theantimedia.org/syrian-army-vows-to-remove-us-troops-from-syria/

And...

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48598.htm
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The people who live for war.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48600.htm
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This is long, but worth listening to. It's a speech by Martin Luther King. a clergyman who was hated in the U.S. by both the Democrat and Republican leadership because of his insistence on telling the truth about what the US had become. So, of course, he was murdered.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48594.htm
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Here's a story that never made the irving press. But it did make the Israeli paper, Haaretz.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48596.htm

Oh, New Brunswick could use a Haaretz.
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The irving press has yet to notice the war in Yemen.

https://www.undispatch.com/video-bbc-journalist-snuck-yemen-report-worst-humanitarian-crisis/
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In New Brunswick, we get very occasional news about homelessness, but never a probing story. How many are there? How many have jobs but still can't afford a place to live? Exactly what are we doing for them?

You know, if Mr. Irving suddenly had to leave his home, we wouldn't put him in flophouse or send him to a church basement for his meals. What happens to other people in this province? Why?

https://www.globalresearch.ca/winter-in-ontario-homelessness-doesnt-end-in-april/5626073
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And just a few stray thoughts I felt like writing about.....

1. Despite the victory over Germany and Japan, one of the big losers of world war 2 was Britain. At the beginning of the war, Britain had the largest empire in history. But soon after the war, it was all gone. Today, Britain is a third rate power and a rubber stamp for anything the U.S. tells it to do.

There's no need to shed a tear about that. There was nothing lovely about the British empire. It plundered much of the world - and with the profits of that going to a small group of capitalists. The British people saw little benefit from it; and the common soldiers and sailors who fought Britain's wars were treated like animals while serving, and were simply dumped on the streets when they were no longer needed. (That was true until World War 1).

The British people, a high proportion of whom lived in poverty through the period of empire, got some benefits for a short time after World War Two, but now even those are being rolled back in areas like medical care and education. Large and growing numbers are people who live in the streets, including large numbers of children. (Indeed, special arrangements are now being made to keep the homeless and the hungry out of sight for Prince Harry's wedding procession. The Royal family, though, continues to do well, with the Queen having discovered the joy of hiding some of her money in tax havens.)

But Britain is now in decided decline, and it's going to get worse.  It has lost much of Eire. It may well lose the rest. It is very likely to lose Scotland. It's economy is not well. How did this happen?

It happened because US capitalists wanted it to  happen. During the war, American capitalists wanted to get control of the British colony of Hong Kong. They tried to get it, but Churchill outplayed them. However, they still lost it as China took it back. U.S. capitalists moved into the middle east, gaining dominance over the British oil industry.  The U.S. helped other nations to recover from the war - but not Britain. It even helped Japan to recover. Of course. There  was profit to be made in helping Japan. Today, Britain has to help fight America's wars, and has to rubber stamp American policies.

The lesson? There is no such thing as friends between nations. (No. Not even between Canada and the U.S. If the news says differently, that's because most of the news is a tool of the wealthy.
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2. This next bit is for New Brunswick readers. The Moncton Times and Transcript and, I presume, other papers of the irving chain are getting, impossible as it seems, even worse. It has less in it (an economy move, I presume) and even worse commentaries than it had when it got rid of its old commentators.

Today has a BIG  commentary by someone who writes for a 'think-tank' - i.e. a propaganda house, this time for the oil  industry. Essentially, it argues we should keep encouraging oil because it creates jobs. Right. And for the same reason we should make it easier for criminals to buy guns.

Then a world news page has a news story about Kim Jong Un that isn't a news story. It's an opinion piece by one of the shallower thinkers of Postmedia News.
It's an attack on North Korea. Okay. It says North Korean  GDP per person is $600 while South Koreans average 27,000 a year. Okay. Probably true. but that might have something to do with the monstrous damage inflicted on North Korea in war - and brutal trade restrictions imposed by the U.S. for almost seventy years. It might also have something to do with many billions spent on the U.S. military force that's been in South Korea for almost seventy years.

And, oh, Kim Jong is a madman.  Oh. How different, how very different from Donald Trump.

And Kim Jong tests missiles. Goodness me. The U.S would never do that.

And Kim Jong has a 'massive  stockpile of nuclear weapons'. Well, the U.S. would never do that. It has a mere 4,000 nuclear weapons and Kim Jong has????

Kim Jong is not, I think, a nice guy. But the first threat of nuclear weapons was by President Truman in the Korean war. After that war, it was the U.S. that kept nuclear weapons in South Korea aimed at the north for some fifty years. It was the U.S. that constantly badgered North Korea for 70 years with war games. It was U.S. controls that kept North Korea in poverty.

For seventy years, the threatening  people in this affair have been the presidents of the United States. Yes. Kim Jong is not nice. And U.S. presidents have made being 'not nice' the only way for North Korea to survive.

This isn't a news report. This is simply a propaganda hate piece. And a brainless one at that.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jan. 13: Time is running out.

Thanks to a reader for this item I had not known about.

http://russia-insider.com/en/stephen-f-cohen-us-betrayed-russia-it-not-news-thats-fit-print-podcast/ri22163
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One of the most important developments of our time has been the move of big capitalists to have no real nationality whatever. In much of the western world, capitalists hide their money in overseas bank accounts so they won't have to pay taxes. And it goes beyond that.

It's something most of our news media don't talk about - though it's the reason why governments are forced to run up big debts. The U.S. national debt is so high that it will never be paid. And , some day, there is going to be one hell of a crash. However, don't worry about the wealthy. It won't hurt them.

Unlike the rest of us, the wealthy no longer have any obligation to their home countries. Indeed, many have no home countries in any real sense. Here's a story about how Russian billionaires are becoming  'citizens' of Malta.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/russians-malta-oligarchs-rich-citizenship-1.4483144

Expect similar rushes coming from the billionaires of China. All over the world, the wealthy are reshaping conditions so they have no obligations to anybody but themselves. That helps to explain the phenomenal, seemingly endless,wars we have  had since 1945. It explains the the killing of millions, the starving of millions more, and the brutality of so many of our governments. All sides are seriously planning for a nuclear war that nobody can win.

That greed and irresponsibility explains the inroads on Canadian medicare and the near-destruction of U.S. medicare. It explains why the U.S. has so many privately-owned prisons. It has nothing to do with improving the effectiveness of the prisons - but everything to do with the profits that can be made out of abusing prisoners. It explains a U.S. that encourages the sale of weapons all over the world, including to the people it calls terrorists - and it explains why Canada is moving in that direction (with its sale of armoured cars to the Saudis.)

We are heading to the ultimate war simply because it's profitable in the short term. Meanwhile we have created a world crisis in refugees that is the worst the world has ever seen - and it's going to get much, much worse.

We have allowed ourselves to be ruled by greed, irresponsibility and ignorance. (Don't blame the politicians. These, the hired flunkies of the wealthy, are, after all, the ones WE elected.)

No. The real problem lies in how we have allowed the wealthy to run loose with no responsibilities whatever to the rest of us.

Capitalism is profoundly unChristian. Indeed, it is alien to just about every religion I have ever heard of. It does not focus on helping one's neighbour. (It claims that comes as an after-effect. But even that claim is very, very doubtful.)

As to 'thou shalt not kill', please. Almost all wars are started by those who do it for profit. All the invasions of empires are in that category. For the U.S., that means most of the invasions of Latin America. World War 1 was fought because capitalists of major western countries feared the growing competitiveness of Germany. World War Two was fought for the same reason.  (No. It was not fought because of Hitler's treatment of Jews.  In fact, Hitler had the support of major capitalist countries right up to 1939.) North Korea was fought and then threatened for almost seventy years because a victory there would give the U.S. a base for its capitalists to get control of the China trade.

I'm not touting for Christianity here. After all, helping one's neighbour and not killing are surely rather good ideas for any society and, indeed, feature in many religions. This is simply good, common sense.

Capitalism is a system based on competition and self-interest. Okay. We can live with that. But if we allow that to operate without controls, we are destroying ourselves.

The world, since 1945, has abandoned all the principles we were told we fought for.  And the principle destroyer has been a capitalism allowed to run wild.

Now, we are very close to the final act.

Will capitalists lead us to a safe shore?

Not likely.

One (just one) of the major forces that could destroy us is the side effects of the oil industry. But far from dealing with those effects is the oil industry. It is doing everything it can to continue its destructive behaviour.

No. That's not very bright.  And it's not humane. But it's good capitalism - for the capitalists and only for a little while.

It's simple, really. Either we control capitalism. Or capitalism destroys us, and itself.
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Yes, Trump is a crude lout. But he's not the problem.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/unkind-divisive-elitist-international-outcry-over-trumps-shithole-countries-remark

For centuries, most leaders of the major powers have had nothing but contempt for the societies they invaded.  That contempt is why British, French, Dutch, Spanish leaders had no problem with destroying those societies and looting their lands. The U.S. has been the same all over the world - in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the middle east....  Trump is simply following in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, Winston Churchill, Bush, Obama....

Trump is crude and coarse compared to them, but no different in his attitudes and policies. No. Dumping Trump will change nothing - unless he gets dumped in favour of very different policies, and unless the U.S. can somehow establish itself as a real democracy.
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It's a fact of political life that smaller countries must suck up to bigger ones. That is why Canada fought in two world wars. (No. I'm not saying Canada should not have fought those wars. I'm saying that the reason we fought are not the ones we are told. Canadian big business HAD to fight for the UK because the UK was economically important to it.

We HAD to fight for it even though we had known before 1900 that if the U.S. invaded us (as was quite possible), the UK would NOT defend us.

But after 1945, it was the U.S. that Canadian big business depended on. So we have had to fight American wars ever since.

In that context, the following story is important - though it's early to draw any conclusions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/13/us-canada-trump-trudeau-trade
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We may well find that our future lies more with Asia than with the U.S.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/13/india-600-million-young-people-world-cities-internet
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Here's a commentary not likely to find its way in the pages of irving press.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/alberta-diary/2018/01/tim-hortons-brew-haha-shows-fast-food-industry-doesnt-get-pr
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Here is the thin edge of a crisis that is going to affect all religious groups. We haven't begun to see the impact of the refugeeism that is coming. Or the impact of our bigots.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2018/01/islamophobia-continues-fester-wake-quebec-city-mosque-shooting
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A shithole story that's a little different from the others.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/12/us-role-turning-countries-shitholes-and-provoking-immigration

A reminder, though. It's not just Trump. A great many American presidents, British prime ministers, and other leaders have had exactly the same, racist views.

We are going to need a change in our thinking which is often racist.
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"Land of hope and glory..."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-captures-video-of-patient-dumping-outside-baltimore-hospital/
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A useful reminder of reality.

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/12/haiti-donald-trump-shithole-america-history/
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Again, it's not just Trump. It's the whole military-industrial complex and all its puppet-politicians.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48569.htm
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Of course, the irving press hasn't mentioned this.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48576.htm
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And as usual, the oil industry leads the way in indifference to human needs, and in destructive greed.

https://www.alternet.org/environment/chevron-has-secretive-drilling-site-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge?akid=16602.1132352.Xsernw&rd=1&src=newsletter1087509&t=4
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An important read. It's interesting to see how our news media get all indignant - but don't have a word to say about how we created these 'shitholes'. And which of our distinguished citizens helped to make them so awful.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2018/01/13/who-created-these-shitholes/
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We don't have much time to deal with enormous challenges that face us. And we aren't getting any leadership from most of our politicians or business gods. We have to find a way to return to the principles of the world's religions. But we certainly won't find them by relying on our religious leaders since most of them prefer to keep their heads down.

Some people think those principles are dictated by a god or gods. Maybe. Maybe not. The important point is that these are eminently common sense principles. And they are what we need to survive the huge challenges that face us.

The alternative would be insane.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2018/01/reassuring-children-when-future-is-terrifying/
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