Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Feb. 27: it's time to wake up.

The U.S. has just increased its trade sanctions on North Korea. It's doing that just as the Olympic Games that have brought North Korea and South Korea together are ending. That timing is not an accident. The U.S. does not want peace between north and south, not ever.

The U.S. almost never deals with disagreements by discussion and negotiation. No, it almost invariably uses force. Any country in Latin America can tell you that. So can the 70 or so countries the U.S. has invaded, drone bombed, hit with murder squads (patriotic heroes) in the last seventy years. That's why Cuba is still being punished for overthrowing a murderous dictator. That's why 200,000 civilians were murdered in Guatemala, and why millions have been killed in Asia and the middle east. Can the U.S. win in that way?

No.

The U.S. military, for all its record-breaking cost, has been remarkably ineffective since 1945. It can destroy; it can kill civilians by the millions. But it still has not performed well, even against small and relatively backward countries.

And nuclear war?

No.

For a start, any nuclear war would unleash close to 10,000 nuclear bombs, each of them far more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It  has been said the U.S. could wipe out Russia and China with a nuclear attack. Maybe so. But even if,  by some miracle, no bombs ever hit the U.S., what would be the impact of all that destruction and radiation on all animal and plant life on this planet?

It should have been obvious, even to fools, back in 1945 that further war had become impossible. But it was not obvious to the fools who led us.

In fact, this raises a question about our leadership in general.

All over the world, environmental scientists have been warning us that we face destruction if we do not reduce our fossil fuel emissions. So why are governments taking this so casually?

Look at who has the real power in the world we have created.

Governments are dominated by people like the  leaders of the oil industry. Those leaders are unanimous that they should continue producing, and they have blocked efforts to take action all over the world.

Who are these oil leaders (who also own our news media) who seem to think they are smarter than the world's leading scientists? Are they highly educated scholars in the field?

Well, no. Indeed, for the money they get, their education levels are decidedly ordinary at best. Few have any scientific training at all. (Many have limited training even in business methods.) But they are the ones holding their guns on governments, and telling them to back off. They are the ones who hire journalists even worse trained than they are to write commentaries about how climate change ain't really happening.

Now, if our world gets shattered by climate change, won't our oil barons die, too?
My guess is they will. Now, if people carry out acts that, it should be obvious, will destroy them or their children, wouldn't that be,  you know, really, really stupid.

And, yes, that is the problem we face. We have allowed people of quite limited intelligence, intense greed, and no social sense at all to assume enormous power in our nations.

Some people ain't evil. Just stoopid.
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Americans, especially those who support Trump, are quite caught up in the notion that they are the chosen people of God. (The Christian God, of course.) That justifies their killing of people all over the world. It sanctifies capitalism as God's choice for 'His chosen people". (Billy Graham very much reflected those values.) Not surprisingly, other empires have had similar notions. (Remember the British hymn of self-praise, "God who made thee mighty make thee mightier yet...")

It's important to note this unique analysis of God as a justifier of greed and mass murder. And HIS nation is constantly in arms, even in classrooms.

//www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-nra-s-anti-semitic-and-ethno-nationalist-call-to-arms-1.5847278
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Yes. Here in Canada.

https://www.wolverinesupplies.com/Products/firearms/rifles
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Our New Brunswick press hasn't noticed it  yet, but Israel's prime minister Netanyahu has been up to  his nose is a massive corruption scandal. If you don't think that important - consider. What can he do to bury this? Answer - start a war with Iran to be added to his war with Syria. And that could turn into a war with four nuclear powers involved - Israel, the U.S., China and Russia.

www.haaretz.com/israel-news/prosecution-links-netanyahu-directly-to-telecom-giant-scandal-1.5852264
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I wouldn't take this next story seriously. Like Mr. Irving recently told worshipping reporters from his newspaper, the important thing is to sell more oil.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/27/arctic-warming-scientists-alarmed-by-crazy-temperature-rises
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Here's another story, one of many, that the Irving press hasn't noticed.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/26/north-atlantic-right-whale-extinction-no-births-fishing
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And another story the irving press hasn't noticed.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/26/so-called-ceasefire-in-syria-has-barely-led-to-a-lull

The only 'good guys' in Syria are the refugees and the dead. And before we get all indignant about the fighting in Syria, we might remember the massive slaughter of millions of civilians by the U.S. since World War 2, it's use of chemical weapons, especially in Vietnam. (Not to mention it's arming and training of the jihadists it calls 'Syrian rebels"). I don't see an opening to use the word 'righteous' in any of this.
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I knew Jim Laxer well when we were graduate students in history at Queen's University. This was when he was a leader of the Waffle Movement to save the CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation) from becoming the NDP. We weren't always in agreement. But we were agreed that the NDP was a disaster than would not bring any significant change to Canada.

Capitalism is a monstrously destructive force. Its central principle is greed. Indeed, it exists only to please the very greedy without consideration for the society as a whole. Every war we  have fought in over a century has been a war to benefit capitalists. Ultimately, capitalism will destroy itself, and us with it.

We can restrain it, but only with strict controls. We have to start with politicians who base their decisions on what the whole society needs, rather than on the absurd notion that making billionaires richer   (and letting them hide their money) will make us richer.

The world around us is a world of mass murder, dreadful suffering, masses of refugees....and this is a world created by capitalism. Oh, and add to that news media which lie to us to please their wealthy bosses. Fighting that is going to call for a party (and for voters) a lot tougher than we now have.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/james-laxer-and-movement-he-helped-create

So long, Jim. It was good to know you.
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The U.S. has fought over 70 wars since  1945, indiscriminately killing millions of people. And every one of those wars was fought to improve capitalist profits. (Oh, I know. I know. All those people on the other side were evil.) We have recreated a medieval world in which a small number of aristocracy by birth rule us all through their ownership of what we call our 'democratic' governments.

http://theantimedia.org/americans-horrified-mass-killings/

A deranged kid who murdered 17 children will be punished. Americans who have killed, starved millions of children, created tens of millions of refugees get medals for it and march in parades.
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Here's a report from Amnesty International that isn't going to make the irving press. (Hell, almost nothing ever makes the irving press.)

http://theantimedia.org/israel-extrajudicial-executions-tortured-children/
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And another one that didn't make the irving press.

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/26/pre-dawn-raid-israel-arrests-badly-wounded-cousin-ahed-tamimi-jailed-protest-icon/
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https://theintercept.com/2018/02/25/koch-brothers-trump-administration/

What would happen to you if you tried to bribe a member of the government?
Of course, you'd wasting your time. Politicians don't accept small bribes.
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This next article is long, and not as clearly written as it should be. But there's a lot of truth in it. Much of our history is made up of lies. For example, Germany was punished for starting world war 1, but the country most responsible for starting it was not Germany. It was Britain. Iraq did not start the war that led to the hanging of Hussein. That was the U.S. and Britain, using false charges. Afghanistan did not attack the World Trade Center in New York.

The U.S. did not pioneer human equality.  Quite apart from the case of slavery, it did not give the vote to women and, in fact, it did not give the vote to men who were not a certain level of property owners. And it never spread democracy. More typically, it imposed dictatorships, especially in Latin America.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48862.htm
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Our news media are playing the fighting in East Ghouta for its propaganda value. In fact, two days ago I found an item which featured a heart-rending picture of a baby which, we are told, suffered from chemical bombing by Syria. But I wonder...

.....It got the story from the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights. Sounds good. But - that's a propaganda organization for the anti-Assad side. Then there was the picture of the baby who had been hit with "poison gas". Except -

The baby was not being held by an adult. It was being held by a cute and well-groomed young boy. The boy was holding a breathing tube on the baby - but it had slipped so the baby was getting nothing. The boy was looking up, staring at the camera.

Now, there's a photo that smells of propaganda. This reminds be of the Hollywood propaganda film about the "white helmets" and their valiant saving of children to get propaganda photos of them.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48861.htm
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China will be a dictatorship. That's not good. But it's not news either. It's been a dictatorship for thousands of years - under emperors, under British and other European rule, under Chiang kai-shek, under Mao...

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/27/china-official-xi-jinping-aims-dictator-life/
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Many people in the western world, perhaps most, believe all the propaganda about the white helmets (academy award) and the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (which is actually run by a haberdasher in England). And there's a new film on the way.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/27/syrian-white-helmets-oscars/
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The American empire is nothing new. Like the British empire before, it drains the wealth of its colonies, handing almost all that wealth over to a small number of the very wealthy. The rest fight and die to build such empires, but they get nothing as a reward.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/britain-would-collapse-if-it-tried-to-pay-back-the-money-it-drained-from-india/5630289
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The U.S. is warning the world about the evils of Iran. Yep. Yep. We've been there before, haven't we?

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/26/growing-risk-of-u-s-iran-hostilities-based-on-false-pretexts-intel-vets-warn/
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Most of the wars in the middle east have been reported as civil wars. In fact, almost all are invasions sponsored by the U.S.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article199846.html
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Given the world supply of nuclear weapons, any war at this stage is very, very dangerous.  Our responses to the middle east and North Korea are within inches of creating a world, nuclear war. And there will be no winner of such a war.

Does it make sense to pursue this just to please a handful of extremely wealthy people who rob us as much as they rob nations all over the world?  (New Brunswick was plundered by its wealthy going back to the earliest days of it's timber trade. In each part of the provinces, the jobs were controlled by a small number of the wealthy. Anyone they didn't like didn't get a job. And, just to make sure, on voting days, voters had to step forward and announce loudly who they were voting for. And New Brunswick still has more than a touch of that about it.)

But New Brunswick sees itself as a religious and largely Christian province. If so, I wonder what the hell greed and corruption and exploitation have to do with Christian teaching. As it is, I see no sign of Christianity or any other religions in the social/political atmosphere of this province.

We need to develop a world government. Indeed, we promised that at the end of World War 2. The UN was supposed to be a step toward that. And we betrayed that promise. And now the time is running short.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Feb, 24: Arm the Teachers. Yah.

Arm the teachers. Right! Nothing like a mass shootout in the halls and classrooms to save the children.

No. Trump solves the problem without looking at what caused it.

It was not caused by any lack of armed teachers. Teachers in all  schools in developed countries I have ever heard of are unarmed. But have you ever heard of kids walking into school in Britain or France or Sweden getting assassinated in school attacks?

In Cuba every family has guns at home, military guns. That's in case of an American invasion. But there has never been a school attack in Cuba. In fact, Cuba has one of the lowest rates of gun crime of any sort in the world.

So why is the U.S. unique in the world for this problem?

The National Rifle Association is part of the problem. It keeps it legal to sell any kind of a gun, including all those capable of mass murder of humans - like submachine guns and 'bumpstock' guns. But as I noted above, Cuba permits just as wide a distribution of guns. So how come it doesn't have mass murder like the U.S. does?  No. The NRA is part of the problem. But it's not the whole thing.

(I have to confess I was once a gun nut with 30 or so guns, .22s, a military rifle, a shotgun, lots of automatic pistols and revolvers. But I was never tempted to shoot up a school.)

There's something deeper at work in the U.S. It's not only the gun nuts who are the killers. It's also the American police who routinely kill over a thousand people a year. And it's the people who shoot each other in the streets.

By all means, the US should crack down on gun sales in the U.S. But that's not the whole problem. It's movies with their ridiculous films about a wild west that never was wild as the movies say. In fact, a cowboy in Dodge City was safer than anybody in New York in those days. And there's a worship of violence as being the distinguishing mark of American history - the revolution, the killing of native peoples, the violence of war in Latin America, The Phillipines....the saturation killing that's become the mark of 'heroic' air force pilots who kill civilians, the worship of the military as being patriotic for its killing, and it's no longer a secret - the U.S. has plans to destroy at least half the population of the whole world in order to 'protect' itself. The U.S. has been almost continuously at war since 1950, and always with mass killing of civilians and children as its normal form of heroism - as in Yemen, Iraq, Guatemala, Syria, Korea, and with drone bomber indiscriminate killing by hero pilots in their office cockpits in the U.S..... And the crowds are taught to turn out and cheer their heroes as they march with their medals. And to watch movies that show their wars as being glorious (though usually missing in shots of all the dead civilians and children.)

The American admiration of killer heroes runs deep. Arming teachers will, if  anything, encourage that. Restricting the NRA will certainly help. But it won't cure the America notion that violence is good and very, very American. This is a problem well beyond the intellect of a Trump.

Incidentally, arming teachers with revolvers or pistols would not be very helpful. Revolvers and pistols are not very accurate at any range, and would have added to the killing of students. As well, the killer was using a gun that fired at a rate of 800 shots or so a minute. Revolvers and pistols are closer to five shots a minute.

Oh! I know. They could arm the teachers with submachine guns.  And they're big, so that would also be a visible deterrent to kids who talk in class.

(And, contrary to popular belief, cowboys did not quick draw and shoot five people at a time.)

This also relates to the American belief that it can conquer the world by violence. But that's for the next blog.
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I have no doubt that Syrian bombing of eastern Ghouta is quite terrible. But I have increasing doubts about honesty of The Guardian reporting. In this lead story giving what seem like precise statistics on the death rate from that bombing, the sources are The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the White Helmets. Both of these are propaganda fronts for the "Syrian" rebels. But The Guardian never even mentions that.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/24/syria-death-toll-nears-500-as-eastern-ghouta-bombing-continues
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Military force is legal under international law ONLY in response to an attack and, in the U.S., only if authorized by congress. But in the last 70 years, there has been only one attack on the U.S. by a foreign power though, in that time, the U.S. has attacked at least  70 countries.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48857.htm

Incidentally, there is no evidence that Afghanistan was behind the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York. Indeed, most of the evidence suggests Saudi Arabia involvement. And the U.S. knew that when it invaded Afghanistan.
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Israel's treatment of Palestinians has been extraordinarily brutal for decades. And it has no justification in Judaic teaching - just as western capitalism and war has no justification in Christian teaching.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48851.htm
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Religion is supposed to be what defines our sense of responsibilities. But I don't know of any religion in the world that would approve of what capitalism has done. Lucky for capitalism we  have lots of very dozey Christians in this world.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48859.htm
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As we all know, the poor are poor because they're lazy. The rich are rich because they're energetic. So how come the children of the rich become rich, too? Well, that must be because it's in the genes. That's why families like the Rockefellers go on for a century and more.

And how come some countries suffer worse poverty than others? If Puerto Rico were populated by more, you know, real white people, it would be rich. And Greeks? Well, they're pretty close to them there warm climates, and people who work there as super-cheap labour in say the mines of Congo and Guatemala, well, they're lazy because it's warm..

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/begging-bread-greek-family-austerity-180202135428686.html

Maybe if we renamed all our poor people Irving, they, too, would get piles of money from the government.
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Trump is going to impose the 'heaviest trade sanctions yet' on North Korea.

1. The U.S. has imposed heavy trade sanctions on North Korea for some 70 years. Why? Because it is developing nuclear weapons? Uh - no. The weapons are recent - and a response to earlier trade sanctions.

2. Additional trade sanctions are an act of war. And,  since North Korea has not attacked the U.S., they are an illegal act of war.

3. Enforcing those sanctions will involve attacking the ships and aircraft of many nations. And those attacks, too, will be illegal acts of war against those nations.

4. Any such attack could draw a military response from China or Russia.

5. So what is the real point of these sanctions? Well, Trump, in his statement, says that attempts to send goods North Korea could lead to a much rougher reaction from the U.S.  Translation - the U.S. wants a war, and quite possibly it wants a nuclear war.

6. Canada has just, at American request, sent a submarine to those waters. Is it possible we are being honoured to assist in this illegal blockade?

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/trump-announces-heaviest-north-korea-sanctions-180223210930230.html

My suggestions above seem wacky. And they are. But if the U.S. really wanted peace, it would be an easy matter to arrange it. But he doesn't want peace. Nor has any American president in the past seventy years. He wants absolute control of North Korea for its strategic value in a future war.
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No. I was never an admirer of Billy Graham.  He always, I thought, symbolized all that has gone wrong with Christianity - including self-righteousness.

//www.haaretz.com/us-news/billy-graham-nixon-and-anti-semitism-the-bombshell-tapes-1.5844419
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In the Korean War, the U.S. dropped biological weapons (germs) on North Korea in what was already the most brutal bombing of civilians in history to that point.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-long-suppressed-korean-war-report-on-u-s-use-of-biological-weapons-released-at-last/5629882
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Ahed Tamimi is a Palestinian teenager who slapped an Israeli soldier's face because he  had shot her cousin in the face. She now faces an Israeli trial (with no spectators allowed) and, probably, a long prison sentence.

The story has not, of course, attracted the attention of most North American news media.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/24/wish-palestine-free-freedom-fighter-ahed-tamimi/
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The Venezuelan government is already in trouble for not being as nice as it should be to American oil billionaires. In fact, the U.S. has been talking about overthrowing the government. And this story could step up the pace.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/24/venezuelan-petro-towards-new-world-reserve-currency/
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The following story should not be surprising. If I were a cop armed with just a pistol, I'd be very hesitant about getting into a firefight with somebody armed with what was, in effect, a submachine gun.

Donald Trump calls them cowards. Maybe so. When was the last time Donald Trump did something brave?

http://theantimedia.org/4-armed-cops-florida-high-school-children-massacred/
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Beware of political leaders who are super-fond of huge military parades. Hitler was big on them, too.

https://news.antiwar.com/2018/02/23/white-house-orders-military-parade-for-veterans-day/

Anyway, big armies no longer matter a poop. The U.S. military is the biggest in history. But after all these years, it's nowhere close to victory in Afghanistan. The real, disruptive power is now in nuclear weapons. But they wouldn't leave many people to cheer for them.
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Any economic and social system that has no controls will be a disaster because no economic or social system is good in itself. It needs to operate within our understanding. And it has to operate with our control.

Why is the U.S. so gun happy? Well, that has a lot to do with a gun industry so powerful through corrupting politicians that it can sell whatever it likes to whoever it likes.

And why do many Americans have no access to even basic health care? That's because any real access to health care can only be achieved through public ownership, and public control.

What does a United States which is, militarily, the least threatened nation on earth - and has been since 1775 - feel it has to spend more on defence than any nation in history? That's because capitalists make huge profits out of war industries.

Why do countries like the U.S. and Canada and Britain lack any real democracy? That's because capitalists own their governments. We don't.

I've been doing some family research. My grandmother grew up in industrial Glasgow, Scotland. She lived in a district called The Gorbals which was so filthy and vile and dangerous that it was regarded as the worst slum in Europe.

And what created that filth and danger?

It was capitalism. Early in the nineteenth century, highland Scots were forced off their land in the so-called 'highland clearances', and sent down to work in the rapidly developing industries of the south. It was a time of wonderful development for the rich, enabling them to live in mansions in the city and magnificent estates in the country, there to look down on their ignorant brethren of the lower classes.

For the majority of Scots, it meant cheap labour in dreadful slums, lack of health care, second and third rate education, no pensions, short lives....  The wealthy dominated political life, and sent the poor to fight their wars for pennies a day while the wealthy looted whole nations stealing all the wealth that the poor had won for them.

Capitalism is the worship of greed. That's why the U.S. is at least a century behind other developed countries in education, health care, and other social services. (That's why, in Los Angeles, suffering massive poverty, it is now illegal for the homeless to sleep in their own cars or even in trailers. I mean, who wants to look at all those yuckie-poo poor people.)

Capitalism is blind to the damage it causes, and even blind to the disaster it is bringing down on itself.

That's why the capitalist owners of our news media carry big stories about how making the rich richer benefits  everybody.

Tell that to the people of The Gorbals.   (check out pictures of The Gorbals. Go to google, punch images, and write The Gorbals.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Feb. 22: The biggest news story ever?

This could be it. But as I write this on Feb. 21, the irving press hasn't noticed it. Indeed, it hasn't been noticing for weeks as this story has been breaking. (It's hard to fit in when a paper has only one and a half pages of Canada and World News.)

www.haaretz.com/opinion/this-is-the-man-who-will-lead-us-to-war-1.5841524

Israeli police have caught prime minister Netanyahu and his wife in a huge corruption scandal. Now, it's all about to come tumbling down as one of Nethanyahu's chief supporters is ready to tell the truth  (to save his own skin).

And why is it important to know about this?

Netanyahu's only way out may be war.  And he has been looking for a war with Iran and with Syria. And Israel is a nuclear power. And Iran and Syria are states that Russia and China have an interest in. And the U.S. (illegally) has troops in Syria. And it wants a war with Iran, too.

With luck, the Israeli police will be able to settle this quickly. But without luck.....???

Watch the  irving press for up-to-the-minute breaking news.
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World War 1 killed more civilians than soldiers. But that was nothing compared to what war is now. Since 1920, civilians have been the main target of war. And that's true as well of our Christian warriors who routinely focus on civilians for bombing, shelling, and enforced starvation including babies. And at the height of this, we are also cutting out food supplies for starving Palestinians.

I wonder if our churches will ever notice what we have become?

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/death-soars-syrian-forces-continue-pound-ghouta-180221112229120.html
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Hate groups are on the rise. Almost all of our wars are fought to satisfy the unsatisfiable greed of the very wealthy. Of course, most people would refuse to fight their wars if they were told that. So, instead, we convince them that the people they are to fight are evil and/or inferior.

Hitler rose on that hatred. But he wasn't the only one. The same was true of the British Empire and the French Empire. So it is with the U.S. as it's armies cover the world, determined to put all of it at the mercy of American capitalists.
And racial hatred is on the rise. I noticed on Feb. 21, for example,  that The Guardian was showing pictures of the killing of civilians by Syria in recent days. Well, so it should. But where are its pictures of Yemen babies dying of American-enforced starvation? Where are its pictures of Syrians killed by American bombing?

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/hate-groups-grow-straight-year-splc-180221192119355.html
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Here is a pretty harsh opinion of the direction Israel has been taking. (And I note that the writer offering this harsh opinion has a Jewish name.)

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/netanyahu-departure-170917074220221.html
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And here, from The Guardian, is what can be called 'fake news'. It's really propaganda about an outfit designed for propaganda, the White Helmets. These are workers who rescue the injured in Syria - but only those who are on the 'rebel' side. The White Helmets were founded to create propaganda against the Syrian government. And, yes, it's true. There are people being killed on the rebel side. They are also being killed on the government side - but the White Helmets don't bother about those. And neither do our news media.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/22/ghouta-syrians-starvation-bombing

Alas, this is not the first time I've seen propaganda in The Guardian.
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I well remember the great days of Billy Graham. And he reminded me (too much) of other evangelical Christians I had known. He was, for example, the counsellor to generations of American presidents going back to Harry Truman - and almost all of them mass killers. And you can bet he never mentioned the killing to them.

To him, the only important part of the Christian message involved believing in Jesus as the key to getting into heaven. The rest - Christian love and charity, respect and caring for others - he never gave much of a damn about. And that made him the darling of the far right.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/billy-graham-wrong-side-history

The irving press, not surprisingly, used half of all its Canada and World News section to announce (And it still hasn't noticed the Nethanyahu scandal.)
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Today's irving press had a column by a favourite 'think-tank' propagandist. It seems fossil fuels are not the cause of climate change. No. All the world's scientists got it wrong. It's caused by governments that change the climate.

(The author of this gem in today's paper is the usual think tank hack whose evidence is slim, and whose logic is, to put it gently, weak. But I'm sure Mr. Irving would love his column.) The author is Lee Harding who, of course, writes for a propaganda think-tank for billionaires, The Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

David Suzuki is better educated than Lee Harding - and Mr. Irving - put together.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/david-suzuki/2018/02/we-cant-close-our-eyes-climate-change
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Canadians are such nice people. Aren't they?

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2018/02/crimes-compassion-iraqs-long-war-and-canadas-bloody-hands
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On of the greatest dangers facing the world today is the concentration of wealth in the hands of very, very few. And it's rapidly getting worse. Not only does this cause immense suffering and death all over the world; it's very likely to crash.

And Russia and China, both now capitalist, are moving in the same direction. Does this mean Russia and China will become friends with U.S. capitalists? Not at all. Little piggies don't like to share. (World Wars one and two were fought for exactly that reason - so the little piggies of Britain, France and Germany wouldn't have to share.)

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2016/01/extreme-wealth-plutocrats-and-canada#at_pco=smlrebv-1.0&at_si=5a8eee0fff33e4ff&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=3&at_tot=5
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Here is a distinct possibility for the near future.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48845.htm

As a footnote, note that the U.S. has recently been favourable to Saudi Arabia building a nuclear arsenal. (But that's okay. Saudi Arabians are rich - so they're nice people.)
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Billy Graham again. This illustrates his view that the only important thing about Christianity was getting us into heaven. Accordingly, Graham (like many, many preachers) avoided the basic principles of Christianity.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/21/billy-graham-old-soldier-fades-away
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The U.S. is preparing for nuclear war. It's been preparing since 1945.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/22/refuting-nuclear-winter-denial/
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This article is five years old, but still worth a read.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/world-bank-whistleblower-reveals-how-the-global-elite-rule-the-world/5353130
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The U.S. empire in Latin America has been as brutal as any in history -and all of it designed to benefit American billionaires. Now, it looks like Venezuela's turn - again.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/21/war-preparations-on-venezuela-as-election-nears/
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A feature of the last 70 years or so has been the failure of the U.S. to win wars against much smaller countries. So there is no reason to believe it would be capable of winning a conventional war against Russia or China. Indeed, it is so far unable to win one in the smaller countries of the middle east.

In any such war, the U.S. would have to go nuclear - and such a war would have no winner.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/20/u-s-empire-still-incoherent-after-all-these-years/
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You know, perhaps the outstanding story that has not made the news is our betrayal of all we said we fought for in World War Two. Instead of ending war, we have created endless wars. Instead of spreading democracy, we have spread dictatorship and, even in the 'democratic' countries, destroyed democracy by allowing the very wealthy to buy our politicians. And our news media have helped to destroy it by allowing the newspapers of the very wealthy to spread ignorance and propaganda.

I still remember, as a child, seeing the 'boys' go off to war. I remember the madness of VE day on the streets of Montreal, and the joy of victory. But it was soon obvious that we lied in telling them what they were going to war for - and that there really was nothing to celebrate on VE day.

And so it is that we now live in a world controlled by the ultra-greedy - and not very bright. And it's a world in which most of our information comes from news media owned by the ultra-greedy.

On November 11, we owe our veterans thanks - and a big apology.
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And here is the result of our failure.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/amnesty-annual-report-1.4546393

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Feb. 20: Say Hi to the Ku Klux Klan

Americans are all abuzz that Russia played games with the U.S. election. Oh,  those Russians are so evil! Now, the U.S. would never interfere in elections - unless it's good for them. (In fact, the U.S. has a long, long history going back to the 19th century of interfering in foreign elections. And it's not just spreading propaganda.  It's a history of mass murder and of setting up brutal dictatorships. in fact, the list below is missing some such events - as in the overthrow of the elected leader of Haiti and the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.)

http://theantimedia.org/former-cia-chief-admits-us-meddles-foreign-elections-good/
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In World War Two, Canada, the U.S. and Britain refused to accept Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany We sent them back to die in the extermination camps. Today, Israel is sending back African refugees. (Wrong colour. Indeed, some of them are Jewish, but still can't get accepted in Israel because of their colour.)

In discussing world affairs, it's glib to talk about them is if  they're about good guys and bad guys. They're about humans. And all of us humans  have a touch of Hitler in us. (Though, admittedly, Christians may be the worst.)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/israel-africa-migrant-deportation-1.4536580
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http://theantimedia.org/genocide-gaza-dries-out-israel-turns-off-fresh-water/

This is another example of the Israeli abuse of Palestinians that is turning many North American Jews against Israel. Criticism of Israel by Jews has been made very difficult for the last seventy years as enormous pressure was applied to stamp out criticism. But my experience of the Jewish community is that it has a tradition of fairmindedness winning out.
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The risk of nuclear war has become very high this year. In fact, it is even higher than the article below suggests. Israel, for example, is very close to a war with Iran, which would be a formidable opponent. And Israel is a nuclear power. It is impossible to even guess at the impact of a nuclear attack by Israel on Iran.

We have known about the danger of nuclear war ever since 1945. But the leading powers  have done nothing whatever to deal with the problem. In the halls of American finance, in particular, the nuclear bomb was seen to be the great opportunity for world conquest. (Shortly after World War 2, a nuclear attack to 'obliterate' Russia was seriously considered.)

The greedy have not lost their lust for world conquest. And the quest now is to choose the moment to be the first to strike. And it has to be nuclear.

The U.S. military  has performed poorly (except in movies) since World War 2. In fact, Americans are so reluctant to serve in it that  half of the army has be be made up of mercenaries. It cannot bring about the desired world conquest in a conventional war. Only a massive,  nuclear strike can do that. And the greedy have lost none of their greed. Nor have they gained greater intelligence.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/war-risk-blunder-1.4540790
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Hey, for Canadian readers, betcha didn't know that Canada once had a thriving Ku Klux Klan. Yep. It was back in the 1920s and 30s. The most enthusiastic province was Saskatchewan where the Klan dominated the Conservative and Progressive leadership. (Ever wonder where the term Progressive Conservative came from?)

It's influence was strong even in Ottawa under the Conservative government of New Brunswick's very own R.B. Bennett.

It was also popular in other parts of Canada. Kingston, Ontario hosted a convention of 25,000 ardent racists in the 1930s. New Brunswick had Klan parades. It was essentially an organization of white, Protestant racists who rejected anybody different - Jews, Chinese, Japanese, native peoples, African Canadians.... It was also very, very right wing.

Of course, it's dislike of Catholics made it a non-starter in Quebec. But Quebec's Catholic leadership made  up for that with strong support for naziism and fascism. (A Catholic church in Montreal still has its dome brilliantly painted inside with God, Jesus and the disciples standing on a cloud. And among them is Mussolini on horseback.)

The story of the KKK in Canada can be found in Julian Sher, The Ku Klux Klan in Canada. You can also go to google on your computer, select images, type Ku Klux Klan in Canada, and sit back for many, many photos that Conservatives don't like to know about.

And the KKK is why many Canadian Conservatives today call themselves Progressive Conservatives. In the 1920s and 30s, the Conservative party desperately needed the support of two  groups in western Canada - the KKK which effectively controlled a large part of the Conservative Party, and another political group called the Progressive party (though there was nothing progressive about it.)  So the Conservatives agreed to rename their party as Progressive Conservative. But to this day, many Conservatives call themselves Progressive to kid themselves (and you).

Anyway, the KKK is now recruiting again in Canada. And our fear of immigrants plays right into its hands.
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Not all news is in our news media. (In fact, most of it isn't.) Here's an account of where Canadian troops are active now, and have been for some time. I note that we  have had  (and still have) troops and aircraft in Syria.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations/update.page

Oh? Syria never asked us to go there. And when you send troops to another country without its permission, that's an act of war. And the Canadian government has no  right to commit acts of war unless it declares war. That was supposed to be a right we won after World War 1.

In fact, our troops and aircraft are there as bumboys for the U.S. - which also has no right to be there. And we are setting ourselves up to be caught in the middle of war that is going to be much bigger, and one that has nothing to do with us.

Similarly, we  have a submarine sent to spy on North Korea. Again, we are being sucked into an American war that has nothing to do with us. This is like 1900 and the Boer War when Canadians fought and died in South Africa so that British billionaires could steal the gold mines.

Why do big powers like to suck others into  their wars? Because it makes their murder and theft look legitimate. That's why the U.S. will be putting more pressure on Canada.
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Pope Francis has always been the most admired Christian for me. (I'm a born Protestant, but not a born-again one.) But the task he has taken on is a huge one.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/18/pope-francis-attitude-abuse-scandal-catholic-church-critics
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And aren't those Russians terrible with their propaganda news media? I'm sure if this story were true, the irving press would have carried it.

https://www.rt.com/business/419211-gates-urge-significantly-higher-taxes/
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Another story that wasn't important enough for the irving press.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2018/feb/19/protect-kids-not-guns-students-stage-gun-reform-protest-in-front-of-white-house-video
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It's common for the western press to emphasize the brutality of those on the "other side". And it's true. The 'other side' is brutal. But the whole truth is that 'our side' is brutal , too, slaughtering children, bombing schools and hospitals... That is the nature of modern warfare. It has been for a century.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/20/its-not-a-war-its-a-massacre-scores-killed-in-syrian-enclave-eastern-ghouta
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If you want to know what's happening in Canada, don't waste your time with the New Brunswick press. Go to The Guardian from Britain.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/18/canada-indigenous-first-nations-justin-trudeau-pledge-reaction

And here is the bitter truth that Canada's NDP party has to face. Either it stands for real change in Canada or it doesn't. And what Canada does not need is a smiling version of the Liberals and Conservatives.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2018/feb/19/a-less-timid-version-of-justin-trudeau-wont-cut-it-the-ndp-must-be-bolder

Canada faces a very dangerous future. And a wimpy NDP isn't going to change that.
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Karl Nerenberg was, for many years, the CBC's "main man on the hill." He is still one of the best in the business.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/jagmeet-singhs-populist-rhetoric-inspires-ndp-convention-what-next
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Here's a taste of the reality of war today. It's the deliberate murder, torture, terror inflicted on whole societies. And it doesn't matter who the killers are. They all do the same, even the ones who come home to march in parades with their medals on, and to hear speeches about how they have made America great again.


https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/20/battle-line-blurs-turkey-assaults-afrin/
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In 1945, there was one, great power in the world. It was the U.S. It controlled the UN. It was the wealthiest power. Now, there are three great powers - the U.S., Russia and China, with the U.S. in decline militarily and economically, and China and Russia on the rise.

No. Trump has not made America 'great' again. And it's not likely he will.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/20/three-global-super-powers/
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Uncontrolled capitalism makes no sense either economically or morally. But uncontrolled capitalism is what is running wild in Canada and the U.S. (as it once ran wild - and often still does - in western Europe.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48814.htm
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As I write this, Turkey is firing on Syrian troops in Syria. The U.S. is illegally in Syria,, and is also, with Saudi Arabia, starving civilians in Yemen. Israel is threatening war with Iran (which has close ties to Russia and China). And -

http://theantimedia.org/israel-directly-arming-7-syrian-rebel-groups/

Who are these so-called Syrian rebels? Most of them are, in fact, what we used to call Jihadist terrorists. Yes. They are the same people who created 9/11 in the U.S. They are the same ones who the U.S. armed and trained in Syria.

That whole region is exploding into what could well be a world nuclear war. But I'm sure everybody means well.

And why is this worth risking world destruction? Well, both the middle east and Africa are rich in oil and other natural resources. That's why the west  has been looting them for over a century. Now, capitalist China and Russia want a piece of the action. And that's why wars are fought and civilians slaughtered and millions of refugees created.

And Canadians will be pressured to join in, and we'll call them heroes.
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Yep. Russia is just like the U.S. now. It's news media manipulate the public just like American news media do. In fact, it's a little ahead of the U.S. It jails uppity candidates.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/russia-police-raid-navalny-office-protests-180128075916211.html
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And again, if you want serious news and opinion about Canada, don't waste your time with most of the Canadian news media.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/killing-colten-boushie-canada-hypocrisy-180219143228584.html
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Netanyahu is in deep trouble over corruption charges - and it's quite likely he will find a  way out with a war.

I can send only the headline for the story. However, Haaretz is worth reading just for its headlines. Try them.
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Feb. 17: How we miss the news we need to know.


http://theantimedia.org/playboy-model-details-9-month-affair-with-trump/

So Trump had a long affair with a model. Lucky him. And  his wife doesn't like to hold hands with him.  But what does this have to do with his presidency? If the first requirement of a president is to be a virgin, then the U.S. has been in trouble for a long time.

It's no secret that President Roosevelt had a long, long affair with his secretary . And it was no secret from his wife, Eleanor. When General Eisenhower was in London directing the U.S. war in Europe, he had a long and open affair with his British driver. She thought he intended to marry her, and was terribly crushed when she realized he was going to stay with his wife.

John F. Kennedy was raised in a home in which his father had constant affairs, often bringing his love of the moment up to the bedroom while his wife entertained visitors downstairs.  Like his father, John F. made no secret of his many, many affairs, even bringing some  home to the White House. And his long affair with Marilyn Monroe was national news. Indeed, the press and the American public hugely enjoyed the stories about Kennedy and Marilyn. Many, probably most, presidents have had affairs. And the press and its readers have usually just giggled about it.

Anyway, presidents are not elected on the basis of their virginal purity. They are elected on their domestic and foreign policies. And Trump's domestic and foreign policies are not all that different from those of his predecessors going to back to 1945. He represents the very wealthy who want wars of conquest, and plundering of the American people. He wants to kill millions - as did Kennedy and many of the presidents before and after him.

These are the issues , not his sex drives.

But who cares about killing millions and impoverishing even more? Who cares about starving children to death in Yemen? Who cares about starting a world, nuclear war in North Korea or the Middle East?

No. Evangelicals, hypocrites that they are, will still clap hands for Trump. They are, after all, the ones who still support killing babies all over the world - while getting indignant about abortion.

An oversexed president is not the great threat to this world. The great threats are presidents like Kennedy who punished Cuba for getting rid of a dictator. He impoverished Cuba with trade sanctions that are still in force. He sponsored an illegal invasion of Cuba. A later president blew up a Cuban civil airliner killing all aboard. (Yes, I know Cuba was prepared to accept Russian missiles. But Castro turned first to the U.S. for help. He did not turn to Russia until after the U.S. had turned him down, until after the U.S. Bay of Pigs invasion, and after the U.S. bombing of Cuba.)

It's amazing how people will react in different ways to similar events.

In a related case, we see the horror over a school shooting in Florida. And, yes, it is a horror. But where is the horror over killing millions, mostly innocent civilians, in Vietnam, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Guatemala and, likely, Iran?

The killer in the school shooting will no doubt get the maximum possible sentence. The American killers of those millions - the bomber pilots, the Agent Orange sprayers, the machine gunners will get medals and parades and cheers and be called  heroes and patriots.

The Christian evangelicals among them will sing "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam".  The mainstream Christians will, as always, do nothing.

Yes, when we murder millions of innocent people by guns, bombs, napalm, cluster bombs and mines, that's good. And we applaud the killers. But when a severely disturbed kid shoots 17 school mates, he's evil.

And how did a disturbed kid get his gun? That was because of an arms industry in the U.S. that gets away with selling guns to anybody (mentally feeble, aggressive...) who wants one. And the industry gets away with it because Congress and the president, himself, accept large sums of money - graft - to let it get away with it.

Trump's sexual tastes are the least of the ills and social rot and moral collapse of the United States. But they are the ones the commercial news media will hit on because it takes attention away from the real problems. And nobody wants to hear about yucky things like the deliberate mass starvation of children by the 'heroes' of the U.S.
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Here is a story that seems to clear Trump of any deal to use Russian help to win the election. Amazingly, the irving press doesn't have the story.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/16/robert-mueller-russians-charged-election
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And here is a reminder. Russian  (and Chinese) capitalists are exactly like Canadian and American ones. And there are no limits to what any of them want.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/16/russian-oligarchs-fight-mine-battle-in-london-court
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And here's another story that the 'news-as-it-happens' irving press has not carried. (And won't carry.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/canadians-sacrifice-food-and-heating-to-afford-prescription-drugs-report
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Before the NDP, there was a political party called the CCF ( Cooperative Commonwealth Federation). It's roots were in what was called the 'social gospel', the belief that our politics should reflect our religious values. (No, not the self-righteous ones like fighting abortion while murdering foreign babies. No, the idea was to apply our religious principles to the needs of the poor, the disposable.....that we needed a political party which would be based on our love for all humans.

And that's where medicare came from. Without medicare, Canadians would still be dying in their own homes with virtually no care at all - and preventive medicine would be beyond the reach of most of us.

But, in our political system, a party needed money to win elections.  And those who had money weren't interested in giving it to a party that wanted to help all Canadians. (The rich attend church and clap hands for Jesus.  But few of them have any interest in following the Christian message.) So the desperate CCF turned to the union movement. But, in return, the unions insisted in making it into another Liberal party.  Thus the birth of the NDP.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/divided-ndp-has-decide-what-it-stands
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Who is the world's biggest killer of children? It's not a crazy kid in Florida. It's the U.S. government.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/02/16/lets-remember-schoolchildren-us-russian-bombs-are-killing-too
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Billionaires all over the world are causing suffering, illness, despair by hiding their money from taxes. The loss, for the American and Canadian people alone, is over a trillion dollars a year. But the world cost is much, much larger. And it never,  ever makes the irving press news.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/17/mauritius-connection-big-businessesgovernments-illicit-finance/

Eventually, this will crash. But don't worry. The very rich will still be okay, just like they were in the big crash of the 1930s.
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This next item is a long one. But it wakes us up to a stage we are going through, one that has been repeated many times in history.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/17/mauritius-connection-big-businessesgovernments-illicit-finance/
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One of the world biggest users of  poison chemicals in war - perhaps THE biggest - has been the U.S. It's heavy use of agent orange, alone, in Vietnam where it is still killing people and producing horribly deformed babies, may make it the biggest in the world.

(Many years ago, visiting an American friend who had served in the Pacific, he showed me a photo of what looked like an oil truck - but with nozzled pipes in the front of it. My friend told me that there were used to spray poison gas on Japanese hiding in caves.)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48806.htm
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I'm not entirely in agreement with the following article. But there is a good deal of truth in it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48807.htm
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I'm not sure I entirely agree with this one - but it's worth considering. All countries experience some violence. But it's commonly connected to organized crime (as in Mexico) or to small scale violence. In the U.S., such violence seems to be more related to social patterns.

https://steemit.com/news/@emmafiala/mass-shootings-are-a-symptom-of-a-problem-that-gun-control-won-t-solve
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Alas! I can show only a small part of this story. But it's an important variant on the shootings in the U.S. Much of the violence in Israel arises from utter contempt for Palestinians. As an Israeli prime minister once said, "They are just donkeys."

I have know many Israelis who share that view. Abusing them, killing them, stealing their land and their homes means nothing. And that, like the contempt some Christians for human life, is not what Judaism is about.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-palestinian-schoolteacher-mauled-by-idf-dog-as-soldiers-watch-1.5824682
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For at least a  year now, the U.S. has been accusing Syria of using chemical weapons. That led to the rise of western news praise for the "White Helmets" who were with great courage saving the innocent victims of these terrible poison gas attacks.

All the western press joined in the praise - and this led to a movie about the "White Berets" and their courage, a movie that won an Academy Award.

Alas! It was all propaganda and a fake. But most people don't know that because their press never told them it was a fake. Now, a member of the Trump cabinet has said it was all a fake. There was no poison gas attack by Syria.  But the same western news media who swarmed all over the original story haven't yet told us the true one. (And they won't. Not ever).

http://www.voltairenet.org/article199727.html
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Finally,  there is a story I should have commented on when it appeared in our New Brunswick press some days ago. This province routinely scores low on national tests of reading, language and other school tests.  The news article suggested this should call for a sprucing up of our public education system.

Well, no, actually. That isn't what it calls for. The schools are almost certainly not the problem. New Brunswick school teachers have the same training as teachers across Canada. And the school programmes are much the same as the rest of Canada.

I learned, as a teacher at every level in the education system from elementary school to university that prime factors in learning performance are family income, and family attitudes.

The poor usually have high levels of illiteracy. It's not because they're stupid. It's because poverty is a sort of stamp of hopelessness. I grew up in a society in which we all knew we weren't going to amount to anything.  So there was no point in trying. Our parents, caught in that same trap, had no expectations for us. That's why many of my childhood friends were illiterate. We were born losers, and we accepted it.

Of the 20 or so students in my grade one class, only one finished high school. I, alas, was not the one. I failed grade 10, and was kicked out while failing grade 11. My parents were not upset. None of the parents in our district expected us to complete high school. And, getting as far as grade 11 made me the success story of our social circle.

Somehow, after four years in a dead end job, I became a teacher in elementary school, then finished a BA (admittedly a terrible one), then an MA and a PhD, and a job teaching in universities.

What saved me, I think, was that my father was a reader. Every Saturday, he would go to a used book store to get books for himself, for my sister and for me. I read pirate stories, cowboy stories; I memorized poetry like The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert Service, and Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling. And from the age of six or seven I was shaken out of bed to recite for visitors in my squeaky voice, "You may talk of gin and beer when you're quartered safe out here and you're sent to penny fights and Aldershot it; but when it comes to slaughter, you will do your work on water, and you'll lick the bloomin' boots of  'im that's got it."

That grounding is what made the rest of my life possible.

But that's rare for the families of the poor. Rich kids can be morons. But rich daddies can afford expensive schools for them. Then, sometimes for a special gift to a university, daddy can get them into a  programme that they might or might not complete. But it doesn't matter because, in any case, they will become executives. (George Bush Jr. got a master's degree at a prestigious university. But there's no possibility he earned it. He was not only a drunk and a druggy throughout his programme. He was (and is) a person of severe literacy handicaps.

When you have a province in which there are severe learning problems, it is almost certainly not the fault of the school system. It is the fault of the social atmosphere of the province.

The cause is that New Brunswick is an intellectual wasteland. The thinking of most adults is, to put it kindly, severely conformist and unquestioning. And this low level of thinking and curiosity and thought is very much encouraged by the irving press. It's as though the people of this province have put their minds into a deep freeze.

Is it fear that does this? That's certainly a factor. This is a province in which, historically, people have been prisoners of their governments, afraid to offer serious challenge to them. And their governments have been branch offices to serve the very wealthy who dominate the province.

The people of New Brunswick have long been scared into not having any opinions of their own. It's the norm of provincial life.

If our schools produce results below the national standard, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of a society that is too scared to think.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Feb. 15: Where are we going? Where are you going?


From its earliest days,  the modern newspaper has been a propaganda sheet for its owners. Of course. Pioneer William Randolph Hearst used his newspapers to start a war that killed lots of innocent people - but made Mr. Hearst even more wealthy. Canadian and British newspapers of the late 1890s roused hatred against Dutch settlers in South Africa to kill innocent people on both sides - so that wealthy Brits could steal South African gold.

Today's New Brunswick papers have at least two of its commentary columns coming from what it is pleased to call think tanks. (Or from writers who also write for think tanks.)

One is David Campbell - who also writes for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. The other is by Jason Clemens, Milagros Palacios and Neils Velhuis who write for the Fraser Institute.

Such columns invariably attack governments for overspending. But they are never, never critical of big business. The wealthy are left to flutter softly over our heads like angels waving their wands. So the columns never point out, for example, that many of those angels don't pay taxes, and the amount lost to us every year is so far into the billions that it would easily balance our budgets. Nor do they ever point out that in addition to a free pass on paying taxes,  the very wealthy also get huge chunks of OUR taxes as gifts in the form forgivable loans, 'incentives', etc. (The irving press never mentions this, either.)

So who finances these 'think tanks'? According to the think tanks, they are financed by gifts from concerned citizens. And they insist they do that to keep themselves independent and honest. Yep. Yep. It's all those kiddies in school collecting pennies for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies; and it's widows and all us common folks.

Well, no -- actually it isn't.

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Atlantic_Institute_for_Market_Studies

The whole of the western world is covered with these propaganda outfits, many of them linked to so-called 'economics and business research' companies.

With this sort of misinformation ((lies) being peddled, the world is quite likely headed into a financial crisis. Indeed, for many millions in the U.S. and Canada, the crisis is here, and has been getting worse. But the 'think tanks' don't think about that.
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Here is the news story of the day. Police have recommended that Netanyahu, the leader of Israel, be charged with accepting bribes. Coming at a time when Israel has been drifting into wars with Iran and Syria, this is by far the story of the day.
But, as I write this on Feb. 14, I wonder whether this will make the news in the irving press on Feb. 15.

www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-set-to-publish-recommendations-in-netanyahu-corruption-probes-1.5812016

As well, Israel is losing credibility among American Jews, especially the younger ones. This has shown up strikingly in a survey conducted in California.
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And here's another story not likely to be featured in the irving press.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cra-panama-papers-raids-vancouver-toronto-calgary-1.4535565

The story is a little misleading since it refers only to illegal offshore accounts. But most of them are quite legal - and it would be interesting to know how some people got legal permission to avoid not millions but billions in taxes.
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As I write this, a day after the above, it's Feb. 15. And guess what?

The irving press"up-to-the-minute breaking news" doesn't have the story about the charges against Netanyahu, and it doesn't have the story about police raids on big time tax dodgers.

In fairness, it needed the space in "Canada and World" for a really big story about an Alberta town that dresses it's councillors in Star Trek uniforms. It also needed the space for another big story you need to know, "A rose by any other name is a lot more common than you think".
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Here's another story that you will never see in the irving press. It's all about the wealthy of Canada avoiding taxes. Of course, nobody at irving press reads The Guardian. It's words are too big.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/canada-corruption-snow-washing-investigation-private-companies.
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We, all of us, have played a part in inflicting horror on the middle east. And it's about to get much, much worse. (Somehow, the irving press has managed to ignore all of this.)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/15/war-protests-iraq-libya-syria-iran-peace-jeremy-corbyn
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Thanks to the National Rifle Association, Americans can - and do - kill each other at the rate of a thousand a month. (I shall never forget my visit to a gun shop in Arizona which offered me a submachine gun for fifty dollars, a water-cooled, heavy machine-gun for three hundred, and an anti-tank gun for 3,000.)

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/15/behind-many-thoughtsandprayers-gun-massacre-victims-millions-nra-cash

Be sure to read this one down through the list of comments to see who the NRA pays off so it can sell guns. Top of the list (though not listed here) is Donald Trump at over 20 million, then Senator McCain at over 7 million.
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One thing almost all of our news media have not noticed is that the western world is in decline. The obvious examples after 1945 were the collapse of such European imperial powers as Britain and France. Britain, in particular, has been forced to become an errand boy for the U.S.

The U.S., itself, and despite almost constant wars since 1945, has seen a steady decline in respect and, despite immense military spending, a steady decline in international standing. It's going to be a messy process. But it's happening as it happens to every empire.

This could be handled with respect, with consideration for all, with a revised idea of the shape of the world so all benefit and none suffer. But the very greedy will not allow that to happen.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48791.htm
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Despite Trump's confident words, the future is not about making America great again. America's "greatness" began to fade in 1950. In any case, maintaining "greatness" can no longer be a matter of military power, and can lead only to complete destruction.

But we have tied ourselves to an economic system that is supposedly based on "competition" as though competition is, by definition,  good. But competition is NOT good for everyone. Inevitably, what competition produces is losers, great masses of losers. And any society made up of losers will crash.

And, in any case, the big 'competitors' in our society never lose. They go on, generation after generation, while everybody else loses.

Yes, it is possible, I think, to produce a workable capitalism. But it can't be allowed to run wild. It has to be  controlled. That's why we need a democracy in which political parties stand for principles and for the general good. We don't have that. The big parties are bought. The smaller ones are too narrow in their set of principles.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48791.htm
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Here's an interesting example of how 'diplomacy' works. The U.S. is illegally in Syria. It has not declared war - and it would be illegal to do so since it has no right to declare war. But by staying there (and bombing there), it is encouraging a war that could go global , a war that nobody would win.

As a part of this 'diplomacy', watch out for the U.S. to ask Canada to send troops.  ( I can imagine nothing more foolish for Canada to do.)

Oh, and the U.S. is planning to send some 49,000 troops to Ukraine. But they may not be aimed at Russia. When the U.S. overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, it established a new one on more capitalist lines - one that has plundered the Ukrainian people - and many are not happy.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43093.htm
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Our news media endlessly carry stories about the idiocy of Donald Trump. It's true enough. But it has little to do with the real world. The sad thing is the lack of attention to the one politician in the U.S. who has intelligent things to say.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48798.htm
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Not long ago, in an interview with  his newspapers, Mr. Irving of Irving Oil pointed out the importance of continuing to sell Canadian oil to buyers outside Canada. That seems an odd statement seeing that exported oil pollutes just as much as other sorts - and worse if its from Alberta. Here's an explanation that the irving press didn't give us.

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/02/naftas-mandatory-energy-exporting-rule-must-go
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It's nice to see North and South Korea getting to be friends again. But I'm not sure I have much confidence in the process.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/15/korean-olympic-diplomacy-moves-forward-despite-u-s-intransigence/

I'm not sure neither North Korea or the U.S. is ready for what it required. The U.S. and South Korea will insist that the north abandon its nuclear weapons. But that's not as easy as it might sound. The U.S. has made it clear for seventy years that it wants control of North Korea. And the only deterrence North Korea has is its nuclear weapons.

As well, a united Korea might very likely become allied to Russia and China. And that would be a devastating blow to U.S. capitalists who have wanted control of this entrance to China since 1945 least - and probably much earlier.
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Despite lots of talk and vague promises, Canada has still done very little to help its native population. The news item below is just a small reflection of it. There's been virtually nothing done about daily problems of living conditions, water, education.

It's not a simple issue, I know. You cannot destroy the social patterns of whole societies, then fix it all  up with band-aids. Nor do I have any easy answers. But Canadians, so far, haven't even thought about it.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43531-quebec-s-legacy-of-racism-continues-in-its-medical-airlift-policy-for-indigenous-children-in-the-far-north

Oh, and let's not blame all the racism on Quebec. Every part of this country has a strong history of racism - and a strong present day of it.
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We aren't getting anywhere. In more than seventy years of non-stop fighting, we are nowhere close to peace. And seventy years, just on our side, of killing over ten million people has not brought peace closer. And, far from dealing with massive problems of poverty and starvation we have actually hugely increased those problems in the last seventy years.

And all the things we are doing for whatever reason (call it patriotism if you're dumb enough to believe that) are taking us, all of us, closer to disaster. Want something else for a cheer-up? Saudi Arabia is looking at a nuclear arsenal. Of course. It's on the edge of decline - and it's military record in conventional war has not been impressive.

What should we do?

For a start, we should being seriously thinking and discussing what a political platform is. And this kiddie stuff we get in New Brunswick are not platforms, not any of them.

What the Liberal and Conservatives offer are simplistic and even childish promises. But programmes? No. The only programme in either of them is kissing up to the rich and letting them run out of control.

The NDP? No. Since it's founding on the bones of the old CCF, the NDP has settled for being honest - which is nice. But it's not a policy for the building of a society.

The Greens? No. Environment is not the whole problem. We need to establish some fundamental principles of the treatment of ALL the people of this province, and in more than environmental matters.

We need a party that stands for reasonable controls on the romp of the wealthy. We need a party that believes in real equality of opportunity for all people of this province. (Medicare was a giant step in that direction. But, hey, kids,  that was sixty years ago.) We need some pretty serious progress on equal opportunity in, say, education.) No. We don't have it now. We need to think about decent housing for everybody. How come most kids born into poverty will only get lousy jobs? How come rich kids, even the brainless ones, get to go to university even without finishing it, and get high-paying jobs?

Can we afford this? Of course we can. For a start, we can do it by making the very wealthy pay their taxes. (Maybe we could even make the wealthy pay for their own, damn wars instead of taking the costs out of us. And we could stop handing out charity to billionaire corporations.)

And let's stop justifying the killing of people by calling it patriotism.  (I suppose I should add that the Christians among us should act like Christians - but that would be pushing my luck.)


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Feb. 13: Being good is not normal - not for any major power.

Back to the reason for our great war from 1914 to today.

World War 1 was created by all the major, industrial powers involved. The demand to go to war came from their capitalists who feared the competition of capitalists on the other side. Of course, they couldn't say that was the reason. So they got the newspapers they owned to call people on the other side nasty names to make us hate them.

And that is what led to world war one that killed some 20 million people - just over half of them civilians.

The winners then imposed a heavy financial penalty on Germany, to keep its industries from offering serious competition to the British, French and American industrial bosses.

But that imposition is what brought Hitler to power. Early in his rise, he won the support of German capitalists (though this was not mentioned in  his speeches).
Indeed, when he was still seen largely as an anti-semite, he attracted a good deal of support from capitalists in Britain, the U.S. and Canada.

This is what led directly to the continuation of World War 1 that we call World War 2.  Again, the news media owned by capitalists on both sides boosted the war, once started, by calling the other side names - something that Hitler made easy for our side.

Yes, once again, Germans were portrayed as murderous racists - which they were. But our news media made no mention of the British, French and American history of mass murder all over the world, routine torture (as the U.S. did in the Philippines), slavery and massive abuse. Nor did they mention that Britain, the U.S. and Canada did not accept escaped Jews, but sent them back to die. I guess it makes it easier to hate clearly that way.

The capitalists on our side were also fighting each other.  U.S. capitalists wanted to steal imperial colonies from their British and French allies. (The news media never mentioned that, either.)   The Vietnam war was the American attempt to steal the former French colony of French Indo-China. The Korean war was the attempt of U.S. capitalists to get control of a base to conquer China. The U.S. failed. But it's still trying.

Things went better in  the middle east where U.S. capitalists were able to muscle in on the British ones - as in Saudi Arabia and Iran. The British capitalists could only pretend to smile and be happy as their economic empire collapsed and the U.S.capitalists moved in. The British capitalists have no choice now but to kiss up to the U.S. empire and help fight its wars (Afghanistan, Iraq...) to keep at least a bit of the action.

The only big change in this third period of the more than a century-old great war is that Russia and China are now both capitalist, too, and so are determined to get a piece of the imperial action. (Actually, though our news media loved to label them as communists, they never were communist. Our news media use words for the emotional sound of them,  but rarely know what they mean.)

We have been through over a hundred years of what can be called the wars between capitalists - though the capitalists usually let the rest of us pay for and fight these wars. (Very, very few big-time capitalists ever see military service.)

The bad news is that it isn't going well. The middle east is in chaos from years of mindless killing - mostly by us. That chaos now includes the middle east where British, Americans, Chinese, Russians face each other in lands in which all law and order have been destroyed for profits. And that means a nuclear war is possible.

The U.S, in particular, also seems to be determined that the Korean conflict will not be settled, but that we are in for more name calling and obstruction and propaganda news to justify a war that Russia and China could not possibly just watch.

Somebody should explain to the irving press that capitalism does NOT bring peace and prosperity, not when it's allowed to run loose. Like everything human, it has to be controlled. But we have allowed it to run wild for centuries. And, since 1914, our capitalist wars have killed well over 200 million people.  (Alas! Very few capitalists were among the dead.)

This orgy of greed could well kill billions in the not too distant future.  In the process, capitalism is also killing itself. It has been building a world in which the leading capitalists pay no taxes and yearly suck up a greater share of international wealth as the rest of us humans get poorer. (If the rich constantly get richer and the poor poorer, who is going to buy all their products?) Common sense should tell them that this system, along with wild spending of borrowed money on wildly corrupt weapons industries is bound to crash. And soon.

Meanwhile, it would help if our news media were to learn what words like capitalist, communist, socialist, liberal, conservative really mean. And they should learn to give us information, not just emotional buzzwords. They should also open their eyes to the horrors that capitalism has unleashed in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and even within countries like the U.S. - and Canada__________________________________________________________

Sorry, now. Readers outside New Brunswick can skip this next insert. But I can't skip how far the irving press of this province has sunk into the mire.

Big story on the front page? 44 years ago, a woman in this province was murdered. Nobody has ever been caught. Yes, we should feel sorry for the family. But why on earth is this a front page story? Oh, there's a reason.

The reason is that it fills space while telling us nothing useful. And that's the way the irving press likes it.

Then there's a full page story about how people like to eat chocolate. Who woulda guessed? And another gushy, gushy story about how an old desk in New Brunswick was returned to the descendants of an American hero of the War of 1812. The story doesn't mention who it was that American heroes were killing that year. (It was Canadians.)

Then, on  the comments page, is one by a writer who also contributes to Canadians for Affordable Energy. It's an attack on the greens for putting charges on polluters.

And what is 'Canadians for Affordable Energy'?

It's a propaganda think tank to write nice things about rich people. William Lau (who has, at best, a very ordinary training in the subject he writes about) also writes for "think tanks" (propaganda fronts) like Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and Fraser Institute.

The National Director of Canadians for Affordable Energy is John Williamson, a former MP from New Brunswick. He, too, has kissed up big time for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, Fraser Institute, Manning Institute for Democracy. Oh, and also director of another kiss up for big money - Canadian Taxpayers Federation. To cap it he was an editorial writer for the National Post, a newspaper far out on the propaganda, ultra-greedy right since it was founded by an owner who had to do prison time for his dishonesty.

We have to pay to read this propaganda crap.

Editors at the irving press know what they're doing. They know they're printing propaganda.

The Canada and World section has a total of six stories from, wow, all over Canada and the whole world - sort of. One of them is that a woman in Gatineau gave birth to twins in less that 23 seconds ---last April. New Brunswickers don't get a clue of what's going on in the world.

For Tuesday, page 1 has a big story about donating one's body to science. It's a long one, continued on page A 5. Okay. But it also appears as a separate and shorter story on A2. I've never seen such sloppiness in a newspaper before.

Then,  A7 has a commentary on the 'thugs' in Beijing. It seems they have brutally  imprisoned and perhaps tortured a Chinese who is a Swedish citizen. Yes, they did. And they're thugs. The writer isn't afraid to say that.

(The U.S. has murdered well over ten million people since 1945. It has tortured thousands, at least. It is starving people to death in Yemen. But the U.S. leaders are not thugs. No. They're nice people.)

This is what fake news is.

Then there's a commentary by Patrick Webber who attacks China and Russia for being totalitarian - unlike the U.S. which has far the largest prison population in the world. And exactly who is Patrick Webber?

Well, they don't say so, but he writes for The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. Funny the irving press didn't mention that.

Then Norbert Cunningham has a column "Tories much rediscover traditional philosophy"? It is based on a column by Andrew Coyne which said that conservatives originally believed in free trade, protested apartheid in South Africa, appointed the first woman to the cabinet, etc.

Like hell.

In fact, it was the Liberals who believed in Free Trade at confederation and for decades after. John A as Conservatives had nothing to do with it. And respect for women is part of Conservative ideology? So how come it took them almost a hundred years to appoint a woman to the Canadian cabinet? And how come it took them over fifty years even to give women the right to vote?

The Liberal and Conservative parties in Canada don't have any ideology except serving the rich.  ( Oh, and Brian Mulroney pushed free trade because he believed in freedom of all sorts? Donne-moi un break. He did it because his billionaire bosses told him to do it.)
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https://www.rt.com/news/418389-kim-moon-invitation-sister/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome
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Is there a drug company in this world that doesn't bribe hospitals and doctors?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/12/greek-pm-calls-for-inquiry-into-bribery-claims-against-two-predecessors
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Our news media told us little about the Haiti earthquake of 2010. Here's an account of horror that we got no sense of.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/feb/13/aid-worker-haiti-quake-debauchery-shocking

I really don't understand this story. I fear it must tell us something about human behaviour. Is this a typical human reaction to horror? And note the role played by some evangelical Christians.
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Here's a big story that the irving press hasn't noticed yet. It's a story that has profoundly divided Jews all over the world.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/palestinian-teenager-ahed-tamimis-trial-begins-behind-closed-doors
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Don't let this news item affect your judgement. As Mr. Irving told us in a recent interview, the important thing is to let him get on with the business of selling oil.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/13/game-changer-confirming-fears-satellites-show-fast-rising-seas
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The writers at irving press would admire Mr. Trump's efforts to balance the budget.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/12/morally-bankrupt-budget-after-15-trillion-gift-rich-trump-demands-17-trillion-safety

Somebody should tell deAdder, the irving press cartoonist, that there are two ways to balance a budget. One is to cut spending on on the general population - which is, seemingly,  the method de Adder prefers.

The other is to cut gift-giving to the very wealthy, and to make them pay their taxes.
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Oligarchy, rule by a tiny group of the very wealthy for their own benefit only, seems to be a natural human state. And it's invariably a destructive force.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48789.htm
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It's hard to find out what the Korean mess is about. Forget our news media. They live on lies and propaganda. You can also forget most google sites. They, too, are loaded with propaganda and lies. Wikkipedia told me that South Korea in 1950 was a democratic republic. But Wikkipedia is full of it.  In 1950, South Korea was a dictatorship  that had never, never in its history known  democracy. And it remained a dictatorship long after the Korean War.

Wikkipedia will also tell you that Chiang kai-shek was the legitimate ruler of China. Oh? Who decided that? He certainly was never elected - and much of China even in his time was controlled by Mao's communists.

And don't waste your time looking for good guys and bad guys, not on any side.

Korea used to be one country. It was conquered and ruled for 35 years by a Japan that was imitating the European powers and the U.S. by invading, killing, and plundering other countries.

In the closing months of World War 2, the U.S. 'liberated' the south while Russia led local communists in 'liberating' the north. The U.S. and the U.N. then drew a line separating the two Koreas. China, when it dumped Chiang, also supported North Korea.

Nobody brought democracy to anybody. The south became dominated by those who had collaborated with the Japanese during their rule. And they continued as a dictatorship. The North became dominated by a dictatorship that called itself communist like the Russians and Chinese but, also like Russia and China, it wasn't really communist. (State ownership is not the same thing as communism.)

The Russians and Chinese held on to influence in North Korea because it touched on their borders, and could be a natural launching point for an invasion of Russia and China.

The U.S. hold on to even greater influence in the south, and stationed troops there, for much the same reason. It wanted to invade China and, possibly, Russia.  The objective of Russia and China now and for many years has seemed to be to quiet the region down. And that seems now to be the objective of both Koreas.

The objective of the U.S. seems, still, to be the invasion of China.

Forget the good guys and bad guys. This isn't an old cowboy movie.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/13/fearing-peace-olympic-diplomacy-action/
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This is a l-o-n-g account of l-o-n-g and illegal wars fought by the U.S. in Latin America so American capitalists could plunder and abuse those countries.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cias-dirty-war-in-nicaragua/5629008
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Here's a story that has received no attention in the irving press, either in the sports pages or in real news.

https://www.motherjones.com/media/2018/02/california-is-the-fourth-state-in-a-month-to-propose-banning-youth-tackle-football/

Football, like boxing, is a dangerous sport for both children and adults because of the brain damage it causes. But our news media don't seem to care.
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Good news! The U.S. is now the world's second largest tax haven for the very, very wealthy. Somebody should tell the cartoonist, de Adder, at the irving press.
That might help to explain why New Brunswick governments can't balance taxes - not without closing the schools and privatizing health care.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyvQK-_U13U&feature=youtu.be
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See? Russians are nice. They're just like us.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2018/02/russia-pre-election-media-manipulations-180203065551669.html
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Africa is poor because we've made it poor. There's lots and lots of wealth in Africa. But it all goes into the pockets of foreign capitalists. Think of that next time you see a movie about the glories of empire.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/05/africa-poor-stealing-wealth-170524063731884.html
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Another aspect of the war we have helped to create.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/taiz-leprosy-colony-offers-yemeni-outcasts-home-180205150554348.html
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You would think that a big story about a foreign chief of state being charged by his own police with bribery would be a story for every newspaper in the world. But, no, not in  the irving press.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-set-to-publish-recommendations-in-netanyahu-corruption-probes-1.5812016
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I notice a lot of the talking this time was by me. Sorry about that.