Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 12: Waddya' think of when ya think of Castro and George Washington:

But first, read Alec Bruce and Norbert Cunningham.

Alec Bruce looks at both sides in the shale gas debate, and is not impressed by either. That's not my view. But at least it's an unbiased one - and we  haven't seen much of that.

Norbert does what he so often does, and what I so often dislike. He covers two topics in one column. But this time, he covers both of them superbly.

On both the Malaysian Airline flight and and the Ukraine, he  writes with no special insight and doesn't claim any, no blame assigned, no fancy argument. Instead, he writes with clear, common language, and with a high degree of common sense -    something that is not common at all in our world.

For all that he can sometimes be annoying, the kid obviously has talent. This is the sort of commentary I would refer to journalism students as a sample of how it's done.

There's a good letter to the editor "Ottawa obliged to maintain Via Rail". At a time when much of the world is developing magnificent, comfortable, high speed and relatively cheap rail services. Harper says we can't afford it. No. But we were able to afford a hugely expensive trip to Israel for Harper and several hundred of  his closest  friends so he could do nothing that was of any use to us or the world - but which would win him votes.

The stretch of track that needs repair is relatively short. The potential benefit for maritimers who want to travel in comfort for a reasonable price is tremendous. And to maintain the high and, eventually, suicidal cost of relying on fossil fuels in cars, trucks and buses is close to insane.

Let's fact it. If Mr. Irving needed that piece of track, it would be a simply matter of snapping his fingers. But he doesn't need it.  So, as far as he and Harper are concerned, the hell with us who live here.

The only news in the paper worth reading is on C12. "More than  half of Syria's children affected by war."

5.5 million children refugees are orphaned and.or starving. They have seen their parents other family members die. Many are starving to death. Two million, at least, desperately need psychological care.

And this is all because the US and Turkey and Saudi Arabia started a civil war in Syria, hired thugs and terrorists to fight it, supplied weapons, lied, and are now trying to destroy the nation. The purpose  of that is to please Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey who see Syria as a competitor - oh, oh, oh, oh, - and who want to bring democracy to Syria. (Make me a list of African countries that the US has brought democracy to. Make me a list of any country that Saudi Arabia or Turkey has brought democracy to.) So it's worth destroying the lives of a whole generation of five and a half million children.

Harper has been a real leader here. Of the 10 million or so Syrians displaced, he has generously agreed to accept a thousand or so here in Canada. And, after barely a year he has already admitted ten people. Count them, ten out ten million. God bless you, Mr. Harper.

And to all our Conservative members of parliament - you callous bastards.
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And that takes us to us. Why do we condemn this sort of behaviour when the other side does it. But then blame the other side if it does the same thing? That's why I asked you to think of Castro.

What did you think of? Dirt? Foul communism? A threat to us and the US? Brutality? Dictatorship?

Many of us think of it in exactly that way.And that's the way Cuba and Castro are commonly reported in our news media.

Look. For over fifty years, Cuba was deliberately kept poverty-stricken, with almost no public education, no social services Major government activities were rape, beating, and murder. The government was a dictatorship - imposed, supported and paid for by Washington, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Castro got rid of the dictators and thugs and Americans. The US handicapped  him in every way. Though the US was the first country he turned to for help (some communist), it turned him down. It then imposed sanctions which made Cuba even poorer, and still maintains those sanctions. (against international law.)  The US also sponsored terrorist attacks on some Cuban hotels, and the bombing of a Cuban , civilian airliner that killed everyone on board. (all of them civilians.)

Despite all these pressures from his giant neighbour, Castro built a public education system which is now one of the best in the world. And, unlike Canada and the US, all children in Cuba are equal and have the same chance to education as advanced as they want - at no charge.

Imaging that. A tiny and poor nation under constant threat of invasion can afford to give all its children all the education they want.

And Canada can't.

Cuba now has a medicare system that is one of the best in the world - with the result that Cubans now live longer and healthier lives  than Americans do - and without billionaires pressing in to demand privatization of medecine.

Much of Central American still lives under the brutality of American dictatorships with mass killings, poverty, torture and abuse we never hear about in our news. To many millions of people, Castro is a hero. And those millions are right.

We think highly of presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower and Kennedy, the ones who brutalized Cubans for generations in order to please a handful of billionaires. So why do so many Canadians look down on Castro?

Partly it's the extreme bias of most of our news media, a bias that amounts to deliberate lying. Partly, it's sort of racism. Throughout the world, us humans are deeply suspicious and contemptuous of peoples who don't look like us, or who talk a different language. I mean, Castro is white, sort of, but he ain't white like you me.

Almost any wars the world has ever fought have been fought on the understanding the the other side is genetically inferior to us or has an inferior civilization. So it doesn't matter if we kill them. Just to make sure you get the message, news media and political leaders will spread the racist word by giving the enemy names that suggest racial difference. That's why soldiers and civilians in the US were daily reminded that Vietnamese were "slopes" - and so not really people at all.

Racism runs far deeper and wider in our society than we care to admit. It has been the foundation of virtually all empire building of recent centuries - the slaughter of native peoples, the forcing of them off their land, the conquests in Africa and Asia....

Winston Churchill, for all his outstanding qualities, was profoundly racist. He was one of the originators of terrorist bombing when, in 1920, he authorized the aerial bombing of Kurd villages in what is now Iraq. He loathed Ghandi primarily because Ghandi was not British, but Indian. Churchill was raised in a thoroughly racist society - especially at his, aristocratic level. The poor of England understood very well that he saw them as his racial inferiors, and he would never do anything to benefit them. That's why they voted against his government in the first election after the war.

We're pretty racist, too. And we see the world through racist eyes. 3,000 New Yorkers got killed on 9/11. And we still go into ecstasies of mourning over it.

In retaliation, the US murdered one and a half million people who had nothing to do with 9/11.

I remember my church had a special service for the 3,000 New Yorkers. I have never heard of any church in any way recognizing the murders of the one and a half million.

Of course not. The one and a half million are not like us. And we, and our churches, are as racist as they come on such an issue.

Do you think our churches had special services for the dead when we were killing native peoples - men, women, and children? I've never heard of one.

Do you know of a single clergyman who asked "Why are we killing people in Afghanistan"..

Quite the contrary. Our clergy were there to tell our troops they were doing a great job killing people (who had never attacked Canada or in any way threatened Canada or, for that matter, the US).

I begin to understand why the clergy on our Faith Page on Saturday confine their comments to letting Jesus shine on our hearts - or something equally vague and squishy.

Then I said to think about George Washington, the man who brought democracy and freedom and quality to all the peoples of the United States.

Come off it.

George Washington was the wealthiest man in the US, and the biggest owner of slaves. And people still say that this slave owner on a grand scale brought freedom and equality to all.

In fact, he led the revolution because he was rich and, like other rich people (naming no names) he didn't intend to pay any taxes if he could  help it.

There was no equality or freedom for African Americans, for women, or for most of the poor. (some states for years after required a certain income or property level to get the right to vote.)

Washington also wanted a break with England in order to have freer access to killing more native peoples and taking their land.

Fidel Castro is a greater man by far than Washington was. But we think of Washington as a great man. That's partly propaganda that starts in grade one; and it's partly racism. George was a white boy.







































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