Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August 23: We are the most intelligent species on earth......

....I'd hate to see what came second.....
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https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/saudi-arabia-seeks-death-penalty-for-woman-activist-1.640903

This is from Saudi Arabia, a close ally of  the U.S. in its zeal to spread democracy and human rights, in (with American help) starving the children of Yemen to death in an inspiring union of Christian and Muslim principles.
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https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/23/pope-francis-ireland-irish-catholicsm-catholic-church-abusive-institution
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The effects of even tiny changes in climate don't just manifest themselves in hot days and temporary discomfort. The effects include crop failures, starvation, wildfires, changes in severe storm patterns (as in the hurricane now reaching Hawaii), deaths of wild life on land and sea, - and death for us by disease.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/aug/23/tropical-disease-outbreaks-are-growing-threat-in-europe-as-temperatures-rise

https://truthout.org/articles/sixth-mass-extinction-ushers-in-record-breaking-wildfires-and-heat/

But, hey, all this don't mean nuthin'. Climate change is good and, anyway, it's not happening.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/08/22/Cargo-ships-to-test-shorter-route-through-Arctic-opened-by-melting-ice/8351534955227/?ts_tn_int=4
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Gee. How come the irving press missed this story? Part of it's happening in the province next door to it.

And part of it, in the U.S., is the result of handing the prison system over to capitalists who use it for very, very cheap labour.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/23/prison-strike-us-canada-forced-labor-protest-activism
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I include the next item because it's an example of bad reporting. The U.S. is imposing trade sanctions on Iran. Does the U.S. have a right to do that? When you impose trade sanctions you are telling a nation who it is allowed to trade with. Who gave the U.S. the right to do that?

This is equivalent to an act of war. Trade sanctions are enforced by military and naval power. All over the world, in Venezuela, Korea, Cuba, Yemen....nations are suffering poverty and even starvation as a result of U.S. sanctions.

Who gave the U.S. authority to do that?

This report conveys a sense that the U.S. has a perfect right to tell any country in the world who it is allowed to trade with. Britain, of course, will obey immediately.  (As an American colony, Britain has to kiss up when it's told to.) China has told the U.S. to get stuffed. So will Russia.

This is not only an illegal tactic by the U.S. It is an act of war. But this report in The Guardian glosses over these issues.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/22/us-ready-to-drive-iranian-oil-exports-to-zero-says-us-national-security-adviser

Would the U.S. do this to Canada? You bet. It already is doing it to Canada, though in a much milder form, by changing the rules of NAFTA.
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This next item is about Remembrance Day, and our observance of it. We  should, most certainly, remember and honour those who served. But we should not kid ourselves that wars are about good and evil.

More commonly, they're about the greed of the wealthy on both sides. And they're about the use of the rest of us to face danger and risk death to make the wealthy wealthier.

We seemed to have caught on to that at the end of World War Two when we made wonderful promises about the new world we were going to create. But that one never got off the ground. Instead, the U.S. today in style and purpose is very much the offspring of Hitler's Germany. And American crowds cheering military parades today are cheering those who have murdered civilians and children in even greater numbers than Hitler's troops murdered Jews and Roma. And they have done it, really, just as Hitler's troops did it - to profit the wealthy.

http://rabble.ca/news/2017/11/remembrance-day-should-be-about-honouring-sacrifice-not-sacrificing-truth

We have destroyed all those things we said we were fighting for in two, world wars - and Korea and Afghanistan.  So why haven't our military historians, and our news media, and our Canadian Legion stood up to challenge this?

It's because they have been used from the start as propaganda agencies. And they have fallen for it.

Yes. We should honour our veterans on November 11. They paid, and paid  heavily, for their service. Then, also on November 11, we should look at ourselves, and remember how we have betrayed all we told them they were fighting for.

And now, we have placed ourselves on the road to the final war.

You want bad guys? Check out the world's very, very wealthy.
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Sometimes, the news is good. But good news is often of the kind the irving press doesn't want us to know.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/08/22/double-digit-margin-poll-shows-sanders-mopping-floor-trump-latest-2020-matchup
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I don't entirely agree with this next item - but mostly I do.

https://countercurrents.org/2018/08/23/european-holocaust-had-roots-in-africa-now-namibia-is-suing-germany/

It plays down the impact of World War 1 in influencing Hitler's rise to power - and he suggests that racism was built into German thought.

Yes, it's true that Germany was profoundly racist before World War One. So was Britain. And the U.S. And Canada. And France. It was our racism that caused us to offer safe haven to Jews who tried to escape. It was the racism of Spain, Portugal, Britain, the U.S. and Canada that slaughtered American peoples by the millions. It is American racism that created the mass bombing (and poisoning) of civilians in North Korea, Vietnam,Laos and Cambodia. We condemn Hitler for his racism. But we ignore ours.
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https://countercurrents.org/2018/08/23/yet-another-appeal-for-green-capitalism-annotated/
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And a story of no interest whatever to the "broad-minded" editors of the irving press.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/23/julian-assange-and-the-fate-of-journalism/
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https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/23/beijings-bid-for-global-power-in-the-age-of-trump/
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Guess who knew about climate change almost 40 years ago - but never told us.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/exclusive-shell-took-16-years-to-warn-shareholders-of-climate-risks-despite-knowing-in-private-all-along/5651597
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Here is an issue that should have been familiar to us decades ago. But the irving presses of this world never told us.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-energy-charter-treaty-ect-secret-deal-which-allows-energy-giants-to-sue-governments-which-take-action-to-protect-environment-stop-climate-breakdown/5651482
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Read this, NDP, and weep.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/left-right-marching-to-the-beat-of-imperial-canada/5651407
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https://truthout.org/articles/writing-a-new-chapter-not-an-obituary-for-the-planet/

Note - I have been planning to write a piece on the topic above. We may have time to save our planet - but there are important steps we have to take to do that. (And I try  to do that for the August 25 issue).
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Will Trump get impeached? Possibly. Will that make any difference? Not likely.

Trump's policy is that of most presidents before him going back to 1945 - to rule the world and to even more enrich the very, very rich. Almost all the planning apparatus of American government is stunningly corrupt. The only substantial opponent to all this is Bernie Sanders.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/08/23/impeachment-momentum-grows-trump-warns-everybody-would-be-very-poor-if-he-gets
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For New Brunswick  readers.

As I read my irving paper for August 10, I was struck by it's slide from its usual triviality to truly disgusting reporting.

On the editorial page,  i's cartoon (as it has been for months)  is an attack on the Liberals. Oh, yes. The Liberals deserve attacks. The problem is that the irving press has been attacking ONLY the Liberals for some months. This isn't a campaign to make us think. This is the abuse of all readers by an owner who uses the newspaper as a propaganda tool.

Then there's the 'scandal' in today's editorial. The federal Liberals have extended Employment Insurance. This is to help the many workers in New Brunswick who can get only jobs that are seasonal. And that means that life can get pretty hungry for seasonal work families.

So the federal Liberals have extended the insurance periods  for some 7,000 seasonal workers. And this, we are told, will be a terrible burden for New Brunswick. The editorial quotes no less a giant than former premier Frank McKenna who described Employment Insurance for these people as 'a drug'.

I pause here to note that Frank McKenna, for all his popularity in this province, is a man who has spent his life kissing the rear ends of the very wealthy, most recently in his services to a gang of vultures called the Bilderberg Group.  He's a person who thinks feeding the poor is bad for them. But he happily shovels truckloads of money to the very wealthy. Yes. Feeding the rich is good for us.

He and the editorial writer wouldn't dream of criticizing the government for letting billionaires escape paying any taxes at all, and therefore taking billions of dollars out of our economy. He and the editorial writer would never question the gift of our forests to the Irvings, or the handouts to them. But they valiantly dump on 7,000 people who get barely enough to live.

But this is a constant theme for the irving press. The poor are scum of the earth. But the very wealthy of this province can stuff themselves with the millions and billions they steal from us - and that's good.

Gee. Maybe I could make a buck writing a column for the paper on how churches and civic action groups should clean up their act, and stop spoiling the poor with free food and shelter.

On the opposite page is a column by economist Herb Emery on a similar theme. Essentially, it says helping the poor is bad for the economy. I've led quite a few of his commentaries now, and his leitmotif is always 'make the rich richer and we'll all prosper."

In fact, we've been making the rich richer for centuries, and that wealth has never 'trickled down" - not in Congo; not in Latin America; not in any of our centuries of empire; and not in Canada. Indeed, in the last fifty years or so, the drift of wealth in this world has increasingly been into the pockets of the very, very wealthy.

On the same page is a column by a group called Canadians for affordable energy.
Essentially, this is an organization that denies climate change is happening. And it pumps out propaganda to that effect.

We've been getting heavy doses of propaganda from 'think tanks' like this. Almost all of them are propaganda houses financed by the very wealthy. The irving press just loves them and, indeed, the name irving has been known to finance this sort of propaganda. Samples that regularly appear in the irving press are Institute for Atlantic Studies, Fraser Institute,---this is common all over the western world.

In this case, the writer ends on a very corny line that governments impose carbon tax not to help the climate. No. It's because politicians just like taxes, and love to waste them in spending. (Perhaps on trivial things like medical care. Whenever you see a silly line like that in a column, you can be pretty sure you are reading propaganda.)

And yes, among their 'fellows' are university professors. There are university professors, I'm sorry to say, who write any lying propaganda for a price. I have known some. I have read some in the pages of the irving press. Indeed, many years ago, I was approached by people in the oil industry to write propaganda for them. (I felt ashamed that they could even think I would do that.)

Anyway, you can read them almost every day in the columns of the irving press.

The day's paper also has a long story on the start of Conservative leader Blaine Higg's campaign. I don't know why it's long. Most of what he says is pretty trivial. Much of it is about how he'd make a government efficient - just like a business office. The problem, of course, is that a government is not at all like a business office. It is not entirely concerned with producing profits. It is also about meeting human needs. A political party should be about people and what they require, not about organizing the seats in the legislature. Mr. Higgs seems not to have the faintest idea of what a human society requires. I have never seen a politicians so ignorant of what government is.

He is also, essentially, a climate change denier. We have, according to thousands of highly trained scientists, maybe ten years (MAYBE) to deal with climate change. The response of Mr. Higgs?  Hey! We need our cars to drive to work and go shopping. And, seriously, he says he would not drive an electric car unless it had good acceleration. Indeed, he would increase the use of those fossil fuels that people with brains know can destroy us all - soon.

We face a strong possibility of extreme suffering followed by extinction. The reality of life is that there are some things we cannot have. We can't. It's as simple as that. To ignore that is to lead us straight into unimaginable horror. Too bad Mr. Higgs never learned that there are things we cannot have; I can imagine him as a child screaming "I wannit. I wannit."

The Conservative party must be incredibly thick-skulled to have chosen Mr. Higgs as leader.

The paper also has a report on Liberal leader  Gallant who promises to maintain a fracking moratorium. And that, I think, makes him an Einstein in comparison with Higgs. Alas! The fracking moratorium seems to be his only good idea.

There's also a report on David Coon, leader of the Green Party. That report looks more promising than the ones on Higgs and Gallant. Alas! It's a report that's too slim and vague to tell us much.
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