Friday, August 3, 2018

August 4: Losing the Future.

I write this just before I leave for the shore for a few days. It's not so much about the news as it is about the general picture. But I will start with some news items.

(the irving press usually doesn't mention poverty in New Brunswick - unless it's a touching story about somebody rich tossing a few bucks at poor people -instead of paying taxes - and getting lavishly praised by the chamber of commerce.)

(Though Gwynne Dyer is an internationally recognized authority on world affairs, the irving press dropped his column. That's because 1. he knows what he's talking about and 2. he tells the truth. And that just doesn't fit irving press policy.)

Modern warfare, as it was in the old days of 'Mongol hordes' and 'savages' is war against civilians. What made that possible was the bomber. And the pioneer murderer of civilians by bombers was Winston Churchill who ordered the RAF to bomb civilian Kurd villages in 1920. It was picked up by Nazi Germany in Spain - and it became the standard method of war with the allied bombing of Dresden in World War 2. We deliberately killed mostly civilians in the Korean War - and that has been the practice of the U.S. ever since -bombing schools, hospitals, defenceless villages....

New Brunswickers trust the Conservative party view that fracking is harmless?
And my local, irving press has a magnificent commentary about our provincial election. The writer is running as a candidate for the Conservative Party. The great issue, he writes, the one that New Brunswick must deal with now, is repairing our rural roads. Why is this is so urgent?

Because it will attract tourists from China.

Damn right. Forget schools. Dump hospitals. Ignore miserably low wages. Don't worry about illiteracy. Forget poverty. Forget feeding school children who don't get enough to eat at home. And, certainly, don't get after the super wealthy to pay taxes like everybody else. Just fix them there rural roads and wait for them hordes of visitors from China.

Actually, the biggest problem we face is a runaway economic system that will destroy us. Funny how the Liberals and Conservatives never mention that. A tiny number of people in Canada and the U.S. (and other countries) now control our lives. They decide who will acquire the wealth of this nation. And a result is the steady collapse of income for the other 99% of the population.

The United States, wealthiest country in the world (for now), has a poverty level probably approaching 40% - and a hardship level that is even higher, much higher. And it is steadily getting worse.

(When the Sears stores across Canada closed, the employees were simply dumped. But the senior shareholders are still getting payoffs that are more than most people can earn in a lifetime.)

And, even as a write this, we are well into the age of robotization - of replacing human workers with robots. Within ten years, we may well have disposed of the need for huge numbers of workers. And the plans to find employment for these people? The plans to deal with their massive loss?  There are none. And not even talk of any. Corporation bosses will get even higher profits. But millions, many millions all over the world, will be dumped into poverty.

Then there's a side-effect. The super-wealthy of our world don't pay taxes. It's the rest of us, including the low-paid, who do pay the taxes that support our schools, and medical care and fight our wars ..... As it is we who suffer seriously for the refusal of the wealthy to pay taxes. What will happen on that day coming very soon when the poor can't pay taxes?

Add to that the collapse of democracy as the wealthy use some of their money to take control over our governments. This has always been true to some degree. But it's now gone wild.

The result in the U.S. is that government has become a madhouse of corruption and daylight robbery. The biggest factor in U.S. government spending is not health or or education or the alleviation of poverty.  It's the massive spending on the military, the creation of artificial markets all over the world for weapons. Even the enemies of the U.S. - like ISIS - rely heavily on American sources for their supply of weapons.

That spending is massively corrupt, much of it ending up in the pockets of billionaires who sell grossly overpriced weaponry and who also use the profits to buy ever more politicians. As well, the politicians are paid off to insist that American "allies"  like Canada and all the NATO countries buy far more weapons than they need.

We need massive defence? Come off it. No country has attacked the U.S. since the Japanese weak effort against Alaska. No country has attacked Canada since the U.S. did after its civil war over a  hundred and fifty years ago. The U.S., though, has attacked some 75 countries all over the world since 1945. The 911 attack was terrible because it killed 3,000 Americans? The U.S. has killed millions, most of them civilians, since 1945. It's now openly starving millions of children to death in Yemen.

In fact, all American wars since 1941 have targeted civilians - by bombing, by starvation, by mines. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen precisely because they were essentially civilian cities with almost no military presence.

And Canada has supported all this because of something else we aren't told. Canada, like Latin America, like Britain, like much of Africa and the middle east, like  NATO (that is getting very nervous about it) is an American colony.  We buy weapons to make American billionaires ever richer. We have already sent our military to fight   (illegal) American wars. And it's going to happen more.

War is an essential byproduct of capitalism. (Yes. Some countries that aren't capitalist also fight wars. The difference in capitalism is that it MUST  have wars. Capitalism exists only to make profit. Nothing else. That's why it must dominate ALL countries.)

It does not exist to ease poverty. If it did, we wouldn't have so much poverty in this world. Its doesn't exist to give charity. (That's done only as a PR stunt. And capitalism creates far more poverty than it eases with charity.)

Capitalism exists for no reason but to make capitalists wealthy without end. It's greatest 'virtue' is greed. And there is no limit to greed. It is greed that has killed millions since 1945. It is a greed that has forced Canadians to kill others. Korea was about greed. So was Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Guatemala, and so will be Iran.

I am not convinced that any economic system is the answer. The problem, alas, is that all systems have to be operated by people. So it was that the highly idealistic and even Christian system of Marx's communism produced the murderous Joseph Stalin.

Capitalism is the system that has caused centuries of extraordinarily murderous empires (like the British and Spanish conquest of America, the American conquest of Latin America, the British Empire all over the world).

Capitalism caused centuries of slavery that still continue. It has brought the world to the insane extreme of building nuclear arsenals that CANNOT protect, only destroy.

We have to control any system if this planet is to survive. And the biggest threat, by far today, is the threat posed by capitalism. And in that context, I have to lean to a heavily controlled capitalism sharing a high degree of socialism.

How much time do we have?  I don't know. I would be surprised if it's more than twenty years. I would not be surprised if it ended tomorrow.

(That's one of the serious failings of capitalism. It refuses to see the consequences of its actions. Trump is ignoring the well-documented warnings of the world's leading scientists about climate change. He has destroyed the few steps that were taken to deal with it. And in this, he has had the full support of the billionaire world. These people have no sense whatever of any world beyond the date of their next quarterly report. They operate on a greed that has no place for common sense. They have happily killed millions out of greed.  There is no room for humanity in their thought processes.)

The reality is that we are facing the breakdown of the U.S. That breakdown is what produced a Trump. The American people are aware that something is wrong, desperately wrong. But they don't know what it is.

Like most nations, American are raised on some very false notions of what their national history is all about. And that falseness is encouraged by the privately-owned news media. There is, for example, a common belief that God wants the U.S. to rule the world (Manifest Destiny). And that became the major thrust of ambition for American capitalists - not to bring freedom to the world, but to take over all the empires of the world.

Americans are frustrated, angry at the real world they are forced to live in. They don't want it. But they are caught up in the myth of what they think the world is about - the myth that Americans are good (whatever that means) and that those in their way (like Syrians) are evil. They have no sense of any alternative way of looking at the world. Lacking that sense, who can they vote for?

Hitler found the answer. He worked not on any solutions, but on popular anger and frustration. He worked on their hatreds - and especially their hatred of Jews.

Trump worked on their  hatred of immigrants, especially (but not only) Latins. Similar governments are popping up in Europe. And we're going to see much more of this in Canada - from Doug Ford in Ontario to the Conservative party of Canada.

Instead of dealing with our problems, we're pretending they don't exist - and the only real problem is keeping out them foreigners (neatly forgetting that our native people might have some views on this subject of unwelcome immigrants.)

Meanwhile -

We're ignoring the real issues of climate change, of increasing poverty, of the destruction of democracy, of the impact of our behaviour on the developing world.

We're also ignoring a very, very important factor. The U.S. is a nation in serious decline. It's democracy and government are in shambles. Americans are profoundly divided, but without much sense of any alternatives. It's economy resembles a desert, a sea of waste water  - take your pick. It has the biggest national debt in history, almost all of it created by overfeeding the billionaires in its social zoo. That debt is now held by foreign countries that are in a position to destroy the American economy by disposing of their American dollars. And the U.S. is now, quite possibly, the most hated nation in history.

(In our news media, enemies or rivals of the U.S. are always evil. Muslims are 'terrorists' we are taught. Um, well, if Muslims are terrorists what are we western Christians who have been killing and exploiting muslims for a century? who have been spreading disease and starvation in Muslim countries?)

Greed has been allowed to run wild - in the U.S., in Canada, in Europe....

And the Chinese economy is very likely to outclass the American one within twenty years. What will American capitalists do? Quite probably, they will launch a nuclear war on China and a few others to 'erase' their debt. That is they will launch such a war if there still is a U.S. twenty years from now. (It is quite possible the U.S will simply dissolve into social disorder over its internal conflicts.)

We have very little time to respond to all this. And we don't yet have a political party anywhere near to being ready for this challenge. And we are desperately weak in honest news media.

Oh! Here's a social history of New Brunswick.

I read a letter to the editor in my local paper about how we should remember  those who have served Canada in its wars. And so we should. We, after all, are the ones who send them to war. We owe it to them to send them to risk their lives only when it is necessary for our own survival.

As November 11 approaches, I always think of the boys from my father's scout troop who came by to say goodbye to our family. I think of Leslie, so proud of his navy uniform, who went down when his destroyer was torpedoed. I think of Jack who was blown off the bridge of  his ship, a corvette, just off the beaches of D-Day. I think of Bertie, a severely retarded kid who used to play with me. He left school in grade four. At sixteen, he stole his older brothers draft papers and joined the army. He just loved marching and the click of his boots on the pavement. He was cut in half by a German machine gun in his first action. "He was cryin' " said a soldier who was with him, " and he jumped up. Funniest thing...he was screamin' for his mother..."

Yes. We should certainly remember. And we should think - about those Canadians that we should never have sent to war - the many who died in the Boer War for the sole purpose of making British gold speculators even wealthier - for those who died in an illegal and unnecessary American war in Afghanistan - for those dedicated pilots we sent to illegally bomb Libya to please American billionaires, to the 'peacekeepers' we sent to help the U.S. destroy Haitian democracy, and for the other wars we will be urged to fight for the U.S. We might, too, remember all those wonderful things we said we were fighting for in World War 2, all the promises we broke about how we were going to help create a world of peace and democracy....

Yes. We must remember those who served us. And we must remember how we have betrayed them.

Canada's wars since 1945 have been wars to make capitalists richer - nothing else. That's what Korea, Afghanistan, Libya, our trainers in Syria were all about. Capitalists have killed millions in that time simply for their own profit. Nothing else. As a rule they don't send their own sons and daughters to fight. (Check the career of George Bush Jr.) They send our sons and daughters.

And they don't even pay for the wars because they don't pay taxes. We have to supply the money as well as the bodies. Watch for Canada to be pressured to send troops to Iran to make American billionaires happy and fat. This one, like all the others, will be both unnecessary and illegal. This one, if it happens  (and it very well might) could lead to a world, nuclear war.

None of this is what we told our military they were fighting for in 1939. That is our betrayal.

And The Canadian Legion, of all groups, should remember that betrayal. It is shameful that we commonly use November 11 simply as a day to glorify war when we should be using it to remember why they fought.

As to the long run, there is no future for Canada in a relationship dominated by the U.S. and run to serve the interests and greed of American billionaires. We have to involve ourselves much more closely with, possibly, Europe and (gasp) China.

The alternative? There is a very strong possibility of an American takeover of Canada within the next twenty years.

Oh! Here's a social history of New Brunswick.

We start with two birth notices say, oh, 20 years ago.

1. Mary Nobody. High intelligence. Poor family. Born in New Brunswick.

2. Plentiful Irving. So-so intelligence. Born in New Brunswick.

Mary has to leave school after high school graduation. Family needs her to get a job.  Finds minimum wage as waitress in a fast food place. Rest of life is blah, blah,  blah....

Plentiful goes to expensive private school. With much tutoring barely manages to finish high school. Is then sent to expensive American university which accepts rich kids with low grades, supplies them with tutors, and makes sure they graduate (as was done for George Bush Jr.)  Gets job as senior executive in daddy's company. Rest of life is buying politicians....
And now, I'm off to the sea and the sand and the sky for a few days.

ps  - readers with access to the New Brunswick News will notice it has paid almost no attention to this summer's heat wave. It rarely, if ever, mentions the horror of Yemen. It pays no attention to the routine interference with chaotic results of the U.S. in Latin America. It's been very quiet about the current New Brunswick election campaign - though it is routinely taking shots at the Liberal party. It is, though, very heavy on trivia, writers for propaganda houses, and sob stories.


  1. Millions of years from now archaeologists will discover a deep layer of plastic which doesn't occur naturally on earth. Taking the evidence of a coinciding global extinction, they will theorize a giant meteorite made of plastic must have hit the earth and killed the mammals. When cockroaches inherit the earth, will they evolve to be intellegent? What will they think of the weird cultural remains that came before?

  2. You've shared this Bruce Livesey interview -

    The link starts at this quote that resonates:
    "New Brunswick is the perfect, tragic case example of what happens when governments don’t reign in corporations getting too large and don’t allow competition to occur in a local market. I think this has a psychological effect on the population and one of the things I’ve seen is a tremendous passivity in this province towards this reality. Before you used to see governments that would change every 16 years; now every election time there is a new government. I think this reflects a growing mood that people are impatient with the same old same old, but they haven’t got to that ideological/intellectual point where they recognize there is something fundamentally wrong with the government being in effect dominated and captured by this large economic group [of Irving Companies]."

    at least some in this province are trying