Monday, September 9, 2013

Sept. 9: Let's start on a light note because ....

...the rest gets pretty heavy. On Saturday, Aurelle Pare, who always writes an excellent column on health, wrote one on an ear problem called tinnitus. It causes ringing in the ear, or a buzz, and it's annoying. It develops when the ears are exposed to excessive noise - like very loud music or machinery. Mine developed, probably, out of firing thousands of rounds of pistol ammunition in a concrete firing range, and wearing no ear protection. But it's not all bad. I get ringing, of course. But I also get music, some of it quite good. I've had opera, symphonies, folk songs, school songs - music that I thought I had long forgotten. Apparently, our minds have a big hard drive just packed with stuff we think we've forgotten. And each morning I wake up to a broadcast of radio news read by a newscaster who I was on with every day for many years. But, yes, generally it's a nuisance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The headline today is that Alward is going to push for rail safety at a premiers conference. But why? Remember Lac Megantic? He told us right after the disaster that our railways were perfectly safe. Is he now retracting that? And could we now have a statement on whether Irving Oil is still shipping crudeto St. John by rail? At least, though, this is a real, news story. The rest of section A is filled with trivia. For example,a Moncton-based frozen yogurt store is expanding to three more provinces. I really needed to know that. Now for the heavy part. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The only big news in the paper is that Obama wants to attack Syria. Secretary of State Kerry has been foaming at the mouth about it. "This is our encounter with Muhich." "Can we stand by and watch the slaughter?" In fact, there is no resemblance between this crisis and Munich - which was an attempt by a British p.m. avoid a war. As for standing by to watch a slaughter, the American government stood by while its own forces slaughtered millions. As for the possibility that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The US has made claims, but has made public no evidence they were used, and no evidence they were used by the Syrian government. Most of the world, including most of the West, has told the US to get stuffed. Its only supporters are the usual stooges like Canada, South Korea, and Japan - none of which has shown any desire to take part in an attack. As for the use of chemical weapons being a horror, it is. However, the US has used chemical weapons for a century. It still does. It dumped 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam. It still infects thousands of American veterans of Vietnam, causing horrible birth defects to their children and great grandchildren. It used napalm in Japan, largely against civilians. It also used napalm in Vietnam. (Napalm is a forbidden chemical weapon under international convention.) Israel used phopshorous in Palestine just four years ago. The US didn't even report it. The US supplied Saddam Hussein with Sarin, among other chemical weapons, for use against Iran. It used depleted uranium lavishly in Iraq, causing high rates of cancer that persist. And, oh yes, how soon we forget, It experimented with poison gas in the 1950s. It spread poison gas over the poor (African-American) districts of St. Louis. The result was a high rate of cancer in those districts. For at least sixty years, the US has been the world's largest maker, supplier and user of chemical weapons. Now, it demands the world support it in attacking Syria for (maybe) using it. Then there's the historical background you won't get in any news report. During and after World War I, Britain, France, Spain, Italy interfered massively with the middle east and north Africa. They took over vast oilfields, installed phony royal families (as in Saudi Arabia), stooge dictators in some, and direct rule in some. And so began years of brutal exploitation. When, after 1945, the European empire collapsed, the US began its move to take over, and create its own empire in the region. Britain and France have grabbed onto US coattails hopeing that, by joining in, they can get some bits of their old empires back. Libya was a part of that takeover. That's why Canada sent bombers. Libya was getting too independent. So the leader was killed, and the country plunged into a chaos of violence and hunger from which it has never recovered. But the US has the oilfields. Syria is another part of that takeover process. The so-called "civil war" in Syria was begun, paid for, supplied with mercenaries, weapons and money by the US and its allies like Saudi Arabia, the emirates and Turkey. The US HAS BEEN in this war from the start. There is no civil war in Syria. There is an invasion of Syria, largely by foreign mercenaries. and with the US pulling the strings from the start. I don't know the cause of this recent decision by Obama to get involved directly. It may be his fear that the so-called rebel forces will win - and then establish an extreme Moslem state in Syria. It may be his fear that the Syrian government will win. But why should we worry about Obama's reasons? Obama is a stooge for big business just as much as George Bush was . He always has been. It was evident, or should have been, in his first presidential campaign, that he was nothing but a smiling face and a chant of "we can do it." Obama is simply the US equivalent of a Justin Trudeau - or a Brian Gallant. In short, since 9/11, the US has continuously fought expensive, extremely brutal, and largely unsuccesful wars to satisfy the big business dream of "The American Century" of world dominance. The G20 has been its biggest diplomatic defeat in history as only a very few toadies like Canada, France, South Korea, Japan offered support - and most of their support was moral. But no teeth. Where will this take us? That's anybody's guess. Three of the biggest countries in the world - Russia, China, and India - have a stake in blocking American big business. So do almost all of the people in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. At best, the American strike would lead to a long and extraordinarily brutal war - and perhaps even a losing one. The US military has shown serious limitations over the past 60 years. But even those outcomes are the ones we will get only if we're very lucky. This is one hell of a serious time we're facing. That's why the TandT gave the story almost as much coverage as the expansion of a local, frozen yogurt shop. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The best of the editorial and op ed are Alec Bruce and Steve Malloy. As well, Craig Babstock has a good column on bail in courts. It's must better and more important that that description sounds. Norbert writes an essay on statistics. Alas! He doesn't appear to understand anything about them. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Now, I shall sit back, and listen to the bells tolling in my ears.

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