Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sept. 2: You can't go home again...

I was born, and lived most of my life in Montreal. My ancestors from France settled there about 1651. The old road that connected the Decarie farms is still in use - as the six lane, jam-packed Decarie Expressway. But,oh my, it's changed. Culturally, it's diverse than ever - and that's enjoyable. But I found the jamming of high rises in the city centre crushing and ugly - and then there are miles of bland suburbs and dreadfully ugly apartment buildings. And everything is far away. The Parti Quebecois government is playing on this fear of change with a bizarre piece of legislation called the Charter of Quebec Values. In effect, Quebeckers will in future be told what their values must be. And wearing a turban or a veil isn't one of them. There are a great many Moslems and Hindus in Montreal now - and Africans and Orientals. And they are now being told how they must dress and act. As if there is any such thing as "Quebec values"... Like the days the PQ spoke of culture, the whole idea is absurd. No society has its values or it's culture molded in concrete. Culture and values are constantly changing. They're supposed to. There are great differences between us and our grandparents - and greater still the further you go back. In its culture days, the PQ brought in some excellent social programmes - which had never existed in Quebec. It changed the culture. It also severely reduced the power of the Roman Catholic Church - though its power had been the outstanding feature of Quebec culture for over two centuries. But the PQ has run out of useful political ideas. So now its playing pure fear and hatred of anybody different. It will probably work in rural Quebec. Fear and hatred are they have have left. And it's in province in which both French and English have a stunning history of bigotry and hatreds and racism. Quebec now has lost all sense of political direction. All that's left is fear and hatred and racism. It was nice to get back to New Brunswick - and home. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Speaking of fear and hatred, Obama has picked up where Bush left off. The US has fought war after war with no good or even legal reason. For a long time it was driven by speeches and news stories that preached or implied hatred and fear of communism. That was good enough kill or sicken or poison uncounted millions of Vietnamese. It also came in handy when a gang of US mercenaries overthrew the elected government of Guatemala (even though it wasn't communist) and instal a de facto dictatorship very friendly to US big business - especially Dole. Now, our politicians and news teach us to hate and fear Moslems. That has justified the theft of Iraqi oilfields and the murder of over a million Iraqis. It has also justified the greatest mass torture in history, the holding of prisoners in violation of international law, the suspension fundamental rights in the US, the use of Drones for indiscriminate slaughter (also in illegal attacks). Now, we get almost all our news from North American sources. It's all slanted. Sometime the slant is planned - as in Iraq and Syria. And sometimes it's just reinforced by the prejudice of the reporters. And, yes, reporters are prejudiced. How could they help it? We all have prejudices. It's very human. Added to that, the publishers and editors of private news are heavily leaned on by big money. Indeed, the owners of most private news systems ARE big money. Brunswick News is not different - it's just contemptibly worse. The best and most honest news media in Canada are CBC. But it, too, comes under heavy pressure to follow the governmentand big business line. YOu've seen reference to terrorist Moslems. How about terrorist Christians? (Yes, there are such things, and Bush and Obama have been two of them.) You hear of Syrian rebels constantly - though very few of those people are rebels. You hear of the US wanting to establish democracy through the rebels. IN fact, democracy is the last thing most of the rebels have in mind. And the last thing the US has in mind. To be a rebel, you have to be a subject of the country you are fighting in. But the majority of the "rebels' are, ,in fact, foreigners hired by Saudi Arabia and the emirates - all of them crushing dictatorships. When we speak of the terrible things the Syrian government has done to those nice, democratic rebels they are, most of them, tied to what we otherwise call terrorist groups. When we speak of the US going to war to bring democracy, that's bullshit. The US allies in this war are Moslem dictators, Britain, and France. And neither the US nor its allies have any wonderful record of bringing anything but dictatorship and pillage and sometimes starvation. The US spent the whole of the 20th century installing dictators in Latin America - and it's still doing it. (In fairness, I refer to the US, not to the American people. They are caught up in a history that is almost entirely fictional - rather like Harper's idiot depiction of the War of 1812. And they are stuck with news sources that can come close to the stink of Brunswick News.) So what is going on in Syria? 1. US big business wants imperial control of Africa and the Middle East. 2. Britain and France follow the US lead and support it because they badly miss the loot from their old empires. So they support the US hoping to get a slice of the pie. 3. Syria's independence from American power and its alliance with Iran (which American big business also wants) is in the way. 4. Whatever Saudi Arabia wants out of this is not democracy - and it's certainly not religion freedom. The Saudi kings and the emirs are the severest dictatorships in the world. And they, our allies and very good friends, hold religious views at least as strict as those of Saudi Arabia. 5. I don't know whether it's true that Syria used poison. If so, it's not clear to me why western intervention with all the death and destruction it's going to cause is any remedy. Nor do I see why a nation which tortures, uses cc-chemical weapons (agent orange and depleted uranium and has killed millions of innocent people is the one that should be sitting in judgement. 6. Obama is reluctant to make more than a symbolic punishment because - look the the record - the American military has been stunningly ineffective in these wars for the last fifty years. In consequence, it has destroyed more than it has won. But the interest may not be in winning. After all, winning with those rebels means an Islamic state hostile to US interference. What Obama might be thinking of is heavy use of missiles to destroy and survival of Syria as a coherent state - which is roughly what was done in Libya and Iraq. Our problem in understanding all this is the prejudice and bias (very human) and the deliberate propaganda of most of our news services. that's why it's bad to rely as we do on North American news services. We need also to look at rogue services and news from foreign services like Al Jazeera. After all, at its worst Al Jazeera completely outclasses Fox News, National Post, and, most certainly, the Irving Press. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ I hope this tablet sends mail in paragraphs as I wrote it.

4 comments:

  1. Here's the Liberal Party's Warren Kinsella in his September 4 blog arguing in favour of imperialist intervention in Syria

    "I plan to write more about this in my Sunday column. But, as the debate heats up in Congress today, here are a few reasons why I feel we are compelled to take action, in no particular order. Comments welcome."

    "1.Morality: More than 1,400 were killed by Assad’s Sarin gas, many of them children. We cannot allow that to happen again. This is a profound humanitarian crisis. We have a collective moral and legal responsibility to prevent further use of chemical weapons."

    "2.Red Line: Obama said a year ago that the use of chemical weapons was a red line – he cannot back away from that now. U.S. credibility – particularly in Israel and with pro-U.S. Arab states – is at stake. (And, as Obama noted this morning, it’s the world’s red line.)"

    "3.Terrorism’s arsenal: If Assad is permitted to use such weapons with impunity, there is every reason to expect his allies – Iran, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda – will seek to do likewise. Assad will reward them with chemical weapons for their support in the nearly three-year war."

    "4.Proliferation: Chemical weapons, as I wrote in my first book, are cheap and easy to produce. They radically change the way in which war is waged. Their increased use will make the Middle East (and therefore the world) a much more dangerous place."

    "5.Stronger Assad: If his targeting of civilians with chemical agents remains unpunished, his stature is increased, and the rebels’ predicament gets increasingly dire. Iran, Hezbollah and others benefit."

    "6.Allies onside: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey – all of them are advising to strike now, and ensure that Assad is driven out. They are in the region; their perspective is highly relevant. We must listen to them."

    "7.No more waiting: Those who said waiting would work were wrong. The situation has gotten dramatically worse – a massive refugee crisis, and more than 100,000 dead. Action is needed, now."

    "8.Others are watching: North Korea et al. are watching closely. A failure to act will only encourage them."

    "9.Consensus: While Bush Sr. didn’t wait for Congress with Kuwait – and while Clinton and Chretien didn’t wait for the U.N. in Kosovo – Obama has sought bi-partisan congressional support. He is getting it. Most Western governments are onside. That matters."

    "10.Public onside: An NBC poll found that a clear majority favour action if (a) Congress approves and (b) U.S. allies are with Obama and (c) the engagement is limited. Conditions (a) and (b) will be met; condition (c) is what Obama has promised."

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    Replies
    1. Wow! Over a thousand, many women and children, were killed by poison gas. Gee! Makes ya think. Since 1950, the US has killed perhaps as many as four or five million - many of themm women and children. It used chemicals, napalm, drones, depleted uranium.

      So when do we fire missiles at the US. If failure to act is what encourages North Korea et al,then our failure to act against the US is just such an encouragement.

      Despite Mr. Kinsella's insights, most of the western wrold has NOT supported a strike.

      Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar want a strike? Three of those are dictatorships and quite extreme Islamist states. And it is certainly not unkown for Israel to kill women and children.

      The American majority favours action? So did Hitler's Nazi majority.

      Kinsella has produced quite a selection of lies, and faulty reasoning.

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  2. And thus you have a key Liberal Party advocate arguing in favour of imperialist punitive actions against the Syrian regime, not only with respect to his own country's military, but likewise proposing adventurist military foreign policy to the US government, against the wishes of a war weary public, for alleged humanitarian purposes, when the genuine motive reveals itself to be the superpower "credibility" of Western imperialist nations and the defense of the interests of assorted allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar....

    Thus does the Liberal Party reveal its true nature as an imperialist war-monger ....

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