Sunday, April 1, 2018

March 31:this is funny....

....but very, very dangerous.

In much of the western world, we are moving into the same phase that Germany entered in the 1930s. We are dissatisfied (and justly so) by the quality of our governments. But instead of making rational and informed choices, we are turning to leaders who simply play to our anger. That's where Hitler came from. That's where Trump came from. That's where Doug Ford came from. And we're seeing it in France, Ukraine......

That's what happens when you have a society made ignorant by its news media and the people who own them.

The U.S. army calculates that it takes some 238,000 shots fired for every enemy killed. That's quite a problem when the rate of fire of modern weapons is so  high that that the weight of a day's supply of ammunition can be a very, very heavy load. And that's why, some years ago, the U.S. changed its standard cartridge to a weaker and lighter one. It's not as effective as the old one; but it makes it possible for soldiers to carry a day's load of ammunition.

That story about how many shots it takes for one kill shouldn't cause great surprise. Most soldiers have never liked killing each other. And 'missing' has been standard in most armies.

Some years ago, working on a film about the War of  1812, I stood on what had been the front line of a British army defending Canada against the U.S. This consisted of rows of British troops, standing soldier to soldier and firing at the American line so close that they could have demolished it just throwing rocks.

Instead,  the British lost. How could soldiers so close to each other miss so often, even with muskets, at such close range?

In fact, studies have shown that a great many soldiers don't like to kill each other.  That's why they aimed high, or fired empty muskets. And that's been true for some centuries.

And, oh, that's just terrible for the people who want them to kill each other - almost always the people who make money out of wars. (It's not as bad as it used to be, perhaps because so much of the killing is now down piloted aircraft and drones who don't have to see what it is they are doing.)

For all the brutality we see in our world, it could be much, much worse. And our national leaderships (economic and political) want it to be much much worse. And their prime means to do that are the news media.

Since the earliest days of modern news media some 150 years ago, a prime purpose of the news media has been to make us hate, to make us want to kill.
Check your local paper. Notice how often it slips in comment about how evil the enemy is - but never much about the worse evil on our side. (How often have you seen stories critical of the U.S. for its deliberate starving of the people of Yemen? For its massive killing of civilians in countries all over the world? For its use of drones, largely against civilians? For the tremendous slaughter of millions of North Korean civilians by bombing?)

Were the British ever cruel in building their empire?  In killing and plundering and impoverishing all over the world? Not in our news media they weren't. No. They were glorious in the service of their monarch.

And Canada? One thing Canadians in the Boer War were responsible for was the concentration camps for women, children and elderly members of Boer families whose men were fighting the British. Under that tender, Canadian care, at least 16,000 of those people died. Did you learn about that in your Canadian history course?

On a day in world war two, Canadian soldiers in France murdered hundreds of German prisoners. I have some confidence in the truth of that because the man who told me was a Canadian brigadier-general who had seen it. Didn't make the news,  though.

Where was the rage in the news when George Bush junior killed one and a half million (or maybe two and a half million Iraqis) when he lied to us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? And the US/Guatemalan murder of 200,000 civilian native people in Guatemala? Hell, that never even made the news. It still hasn't.

One of the few American presidents engaged in killing and forced starvation and plundering to be criticized in the news media is Trump. But that very evil part is NOT what he gets criticized for. He gets criticized for being a public nutbar and skirt chaser. This isn't news. This is brainless gossip.

The essential function of our commercial news media is to make us hate, to make us want to kill. That's what we see every day in our news.  And that's what the owners of our news media want us to do because if we don't learn to hate, we might figure out that the great killers of this world are ---people like the owners of our news media. The masters of fake news.
As a footnote to this, it might be worth thinking over our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder. This came to public attention in World War One, with the sufferers widely regarded as being cowards. Indeed, it was not until after World War 2, we began thinking of it more intelligently - but quite enough.

Today, it is commonly seen as a reaction to the stress of war, essentially a state of fear. Odd how our news media have never looked at a more likely possibility - a reaction to seeing the horror of what we force our military to do to others. And that's a reaction very similar to the one that caused musket-firing soldiers who fired to miss the enemy in front of them.

This story wasn't important enough to make the irving press today.

Who's the villain in this? Just about everybody.

For seventy years, Israel has made life hell for Palestinians. It has stolen almost all their land. It  has bombed their homes, hospitals and schools. It has destroyed their trade. It has kept Palestine in a permanent state of poverty and hopelessness.

Who made it possible for Israel to do this? The U.S., Britain, Canada - the whole western world that took land away from Palestinians who had lived there for thousands of  years, handed it over for Israel, then allowed Israel to be as brutal as it liked. Seen much of our news media being critical of Israel?

The irving press didn't have this story, either, though it's a huge one. This could put the U.S. in real economic trouble - especially with its monster debt.

And here's a more detailed report and opinion.

The irving press missed this one, too.

And for all Canada's big talk, what has it done about the situation of native peoples?

New Brunswick's Christians might read this and, for a change, think.

Sometimes the news is good.

A brief history of the U.S. Pay close attention to the role of big capitalism. That is by far the most destructive force we have to control if we are going to survive.

The really great philanthopists of New Brunswick are----the ordinary people of New Brunswick who give freely to billionaires!

Much of the world is either expelling or recalling diplomats over the killing attempt on a retired (maybe) spy. What is all that supposed to accomplish?

We are inches away from nuclear war, and we are doing nothing whatever to deal with the certainty that we face climate crisis that will destroy all of us. Indeed, our oil barons, never at the best of times the brightest of souls, are doing everything they can to speed up the destruction of all human and animal life.

And we are indignantly claiming that Russia attempted to kill  one of its own spies in Britain? Even if true (which I very much doubt), where is the common sense that we engage killers to do that in countries all over the world? They're called 'special forces'. They're called drone pilots.

With all the problems we face, we are governed by idiots who take their orders from the greediest people in history.

New Brunswick is the province that 'deposed' a chief health officer who warned about the danger of spraying glyphosate on our forests. So don't hold your breath waiting for this story to appear in the irving press.

This is running late because of interruptions. So I'll continue this in my Tuesday blog.

People of New Brunswick, you have suffered abuse for centuries. You have government that is a collection of puppets for the very wealthy - and it almost always has been. You have news media that lie to you when they aren't being just brainless and trivial. You have alternate political parties that back away from examining the real problems. You have a population that is afraid to look at reality - and deathly afraid to talk about it.

Here in Canada, the Conservative party of our biggest province has just chosen a leader who makes Donald Trump look like a reasonable kind of guy. In Alberta, we have an NDP government that serves the interest only of big oil.

We have a nation that praises it's military veterans of World War 2 while completely forgetting what it was we told them they were fighting for. (Every Nov 11, we hear great speeches about their sacrifice. But we never hear about what we were told those sacrifices were for. Nor has the Canadian Legion shown any interest in raising the issue.) Hint - our veterans of world war 2 did not fight so that their children and grandchildren  could fight illegal wars for the U.S. They did not fight so that billionaires could buy our governments. They did not fight so that we could get poorer while the very wealthy   could avoid paying taxes.

For all the 

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