Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jan. 22: damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn


Stephen Harper says we are not at war. (Sometimes he says we are at war - with ISIS . If so, it must be a special kind of war because it has never been approved by the Canadian people or our elected representatives - despite all the pious babbling on Nov. 11 that our people in military service died to win that right.)  The truth is that the Stephen Harpers of this world don't give a damn why they died.

Nor have our news media been a whole lot of help. When Canadian troops fired on ISIS troops recently, Harper (contradicting himself) said this was not war. They were simply returning fire. However, as the news stories said, we sent aircraft to bomb people in another country. We also sent special ops troops, with weapons to, among other things, direct the rocket fire from our aircraft. So, says Harper, when the other side fired at us, we just returned fire. And that's not war.

And so most of our news media simply ran headlines that we returned fire. It's not war.

I don't know whether most of our news people are brainless or just spineless. But Harper's statement is a dictionary definition of what war means. We have weapons and military people in a foreign country and killing people - and they are shooting back at us. That IS war.

And why are we there in the first place?

Is it to save democracy? Come off it.

Britain,  France, the US (sometimes with our help) have a long history of destroying democracies all over the world, especially in Latin America and the Middle East. (In fact, when the US invaded Vietnam, that country had a democratically elected leader. The US cooperated with the military to murder the president, and to install a series of dictator generals. That's not a rumour. It was carried live, as it happened, on TV and radio.)

Is the war because ISIS beheads people in public? Another come off it. One of our closest allies is Saudi Arabia which beheads people every day, publicly, and for very minor crimes. Saudi Arabia is also one of the world's most severe dictatorships. And nobody mentioned war in the the years France had public executions by beheading - right up to 1977.

American foreign policy, like that of most major powers, is set by the big money that controls the government. Big money wanted American power in Korea and Vietnam in order to control trade in the region. and it supported dictators in both cases. Big money wanted American (and British) power in Iran for its oil. That's why Iranian democracy was destroyed, and  a dictator installed. Big money wanted absolute control over Iraq oil. That's why a million and a half Iraqis, mostly civilians, were killed. Afghanistan was to be a key to surrounding Russia and China with missiles, and possibly for pipeline and mineral development.

That policy has been a disaster for over sixty years. The US has gone hopelessly into debt for its weapons industry, so much into debt millions of Americans now are plunged into poverty, and the whole social fabric of the US is in danger. And its military, billed as the greatest in history, has had its nose wiped by tiny and poor countries defended by peasants in sandals. It also now has to rely heavily on mercenary soldiers (hired thugs) because Americans have had enough of wars.

The US still has massive power in its nuclear weapons. But even if they could be used without all the other nuclear powers joining in, it would be a global disaster.

So what is this war about? The same old same old. It's about oil billionaires and mineral billionaires who want to become trillionaires. It's about greed. It's about a complete lack of moral standards. It's about the insanity of power.

Add to that the fact that the strategic nature of the whole world has changed.  Strategically, the world even of ten years ago is gone. That whole Pacific region, which was powerless up to 1945 and even beyond, has developed massive power, fast-growing economies----and alliances aimed against the west.

There's a long, long history behind this of Western brutality, theft, enforced starvation, murder in the Pacific region. If it gets into western print at all, it becomes a story about civilizing them, and winning glory for us. That's what we learn. But they know the truth. And they don't intend to suffer that again.

We are feared and hated by a large part of the world. And for the first time in history, that large part  is uniting. Against us. Even Russia and China are uniting - and they hate each other, and have hated each other with good reason for centuries.

We have military forces in Iraq. Legally or not, we are in a war, and it could be very tough to get out. And the major reason for that war is to make oil billionaires richer. It is a war that is hard to predict because changes in world affairs and attitudes are changing so quickly. But it is quite possible this could become World War 3. And the last one. Even if its contained, this could be a long and costly war.

We also have troops and ships moved close to Ukraine in another war that has nothing to do with democracy. It has to do with American Exceptionalism and the will of American big business to dominate the world. And if it starts...................

Do you have children nearing military age or at it? I do. Do you want to see them march off to die so that a handful of billionaires can get richer? (only to die themselves in the hell they are creating)?


Where the hell are our news media?

Where the hell are our churches? This is a profoundly moral issue. Where are they? All I've seen from them so far are Tweety-bird stories. Do the clergy just want to be socially respectable and respectable among our upper classes? Maybe they should remember that Jesus wasn't.

The Irving press is the usual mindless crap. For Jan. 21, the big, front page story is "Top baby names are evolving". ( I think the editor meant changing. But evolving sounds much more intellectual.).

NewsToday for Jan. 21 has no news today. Well, there is a story about how the Liberals have raised 16 million in campaign funds, and the Conservatives should have 18 million. The story doesn't mention the NDP or the Greens - which are both way, way below that. Nor does it say much about how Liberals and Conservatives could raise so much more than the NDP and the Greens. But I guess we all know how they did it. Let's hear it for the best party money can buy

Let's wave goodbye to democracy.

And let's be grateful the people of Moncton will keep on getting their regular mailings from Smirkey Goguen.
For Jan. 22, most of section A is trivia. But Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire are both worth a read. Both have useful comments on important topics.

And then there's Rod Allen. I groaned as I read the title. "Lord", I thought, "another mess of overdone humour"

I was wrong.

This is about the problem of rural schools. Yes, it is another piece about Rod Allen's life, and there is some humour in it. But it's a piece of his life we need to know about if we're going to deal with rural schools. And the bit of humour is pretty good.

I know I have often been hard on Allen for triviality and an obsession with himself. But this is the second time I've seen something solid and useful by him. A good columnist can occasionally be bad just as a fast runner will sometimes have an off day. But a slow runner can never have a good day. And a bad columnist can never have a good day. You must have talent to be a good runner even once. And  you must have talent to be a good columnist even once..

I've seen twice now that Rod Allen has talent.

This time, I disagree with him only on his wish for the return of the strap as a school punishment. It was a stiff thing that was struck against the student's hand - usually five and five. A friend of mine who was extremely religious and very, very powerful, used to say a brief prayer and put on running shoes before giving the strap so he could belt them really hard. (He later became a missionary to the Congo.)

My experience was that strapping had little effect. So I stopped it; and I often wish I could apologize to those boys I strapped (though some did deserve it.)

In NewsToday, The Fraser Institute is cited in a big story because it said Alward was an average premier. In the first place, The Fraser Institute (like AIMS) is a propaganda house for the very rich. It is not trustworthy, and an honest journalist would not run its propaganda for it. In the second place, who could possibly care?

The big surprise is what is not there. CBC yesterday had the story that the usual suspects (business and community leaders) are organizing to give advice on how the New Brunswick government should be run.

Those arrogant bastards. Us peasants are the ones who voted for that government. And in a democracy, the people who have a say are limited to us peasants and the people we elect.

Anyway, we've had this dance before. Remember?

When Alward was elected, Irving pronounced  himself a member of the government even without getting elected (an astonishing and illegal piece of arrogance)  He then formed a committee to advise Alward how to govern.  Alward said not a word about that. (Can you say wimp?) So Irving formed a committtee of flunkies like his business buddies and the university presidents, and "community leaders" who were dumb enough to think Irving gave a damn for what they thought.

Alward accepted the advice of that gang - and even gave them some power within the government.

And that is a major reason why we are in an economic mess, now.  Note that the wealthy among us are NOT in a mess. They are making (and keeping) money more than ever. So they looked after themselves very well. It's the rest of us that paid the price.

As for "community leaders" don't give way to flattery or self-importance. You are being asked to be window-dressing. Have some pride, and refuse to get sucked in. Or, if you want to get active, do it with your community. Remember, your 'leadership' role should play out in your community, not in a big businessmen's racket.

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