Sunday, February 15, 2015

Feb. 15: What the TandT missed - and some thinking out loud.

Yes, there were stories I didn't notice in the Irving press. For example, Feb. 14, across Canada, held the annual Valentine's day marches for missing and/or murdered native women.

Then there's the story that one would think would interest a news outlet - the annual ranking by Reporters Without Borders of press freedom around the world. The US ranked 49th in the world. How's that for the land of hope and glory, mother of the free? Among the 48 nations who beat the US were Botswana, El Salvador, and Chile.

Canada came in 20th, way behind Finland in first place, and also behind Costa Rica. Israel came in a miserable 101.

Then there's the story about the US conducting nuclear disarmament talks with Iran. The odd thing about this is that all American intelligence agencies agree and have agreed for years that Iran is not and has never been developing a nuclear weapons.  As well, international inspection agencies have confirmed this. So why the talks and threats?

One reason is because the US wants to get back control of Iran's oil. The other reason is to simmer down Netanyahu who has been saying for over a decade that Iran is within six months of having a bomb. He has also frequently threatened to bomb Iran if the US won't intervene. As I wrote yesterday, I don't believe the claims that his pyschiatrist committed suicide because Netanyahu drove him crazy. But I do suspect that Netanyahu is mentally ill, and one hell of a dangerous person to be running a country. And I think he's quite capable of launching a nuclear war on Iran.

The testing point in just a month away. In a wildly improper and dangerous move, the Israeli lobby has induced the US Congress to invite Netanyahu to address Congress. And Congress has done so in the most improper way I have ever heard of.

The president was not consulted or even informed - not by Congress, not by Netanyahu. That part, alone, could not be a bigger humiliation for the president. To make it worse, the speech will not be cleared, either for topic or content fwith the White House - another breach of protocol I have never heard of before. But the topic is a safe bet. He will demand the US attack Iran.--or he will - with nuclear weapons.

Would he carry out such a threat? Yes. I think he's crazy enough. This, after all, is the man who claims to speak for all Jews in the world. That is utter nonsense. rather like me saying I speak for all people with brown hair. Many, many Jews all over the world detest him and all he stands for. Netanyahu is the inevitable product of centuries of persecution and of the horror of the holocaust and of the indifference of the rest of the world. It's the fault of the rest of us that he is deranged. But he does appear to be deranged and, if so, is the most dangerous man in the world.

Oh, yes. The Irving press hasn't mentioned it yet, but the kill total for his attack on Gaza was 844 dead, with 60? of them women, children, and the elderly. Oh, I know. Of course. They all deserved it. And I'm sure we'd all be willing to explain that to the parents of the four day old baby who was killed.

The papers also missed the 70th anniversary (Feb. 13 and 14), of a great event of World War Two, the bombing or Dresden, German by British and American air forces. Nobody has the faintest idea how many were killed. Estimates range from 25,000 to a hundred thousand - something to suit every bias. But that's not the important part.

More important - many thousands were burned alive, and they included men, women, children. So, no, burning alive was not invented by Muslims. If you have the stomach for it, there's a video of Dresden just after the bombing on

The reality is that it is not possible to fight a modern war without mass and indiscriminate killing of innocent people.

Another reality is that this is done to create terror. The leaders of 1945 had not hesitation in using that word.  The bomber of World War Two was a major weapon for terror. Churchill had no hesitation in calling Dresden a terror bombing.  Terror was a quite respectable term for a quite respectable form of warfare.
The war against Vietnam was essentially a terrorist war, killing mainly civilians - and often by burning them alive. It was the same for Iraq.

Terror became a dirty word only when the other side began using it on us. Ditto for burning alive. That became nasty only when ISIL did it. A lot  of what we get from the news media isn't news; it's word games using loaded language.

For those interest in the account of an eye-witness at Dresden, read Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., who was an American prisoner in Dresden at the time. It's called Slaughterhouse - Five.

The rest of this is not news or even news commentary. It's just speculation on my part.

In the days of European empires, our ancestors murdered, tortured, starved, exploited, robbed, enslaved people all over the world by the millions. It wasn't only done. It was a source of pride. The churches chanted prayers of joy for it. (They still do.)

Now, the only reason it was done was to get money for the very rich - money in the form of cheap labour, slave labour, natural resources, profitable crops....

To murder and steal like that, even on a tiny scale, would get you a death sentence if  you tried to do it on your local street. But it was praised when it was done to foreigners.

The very rich who actually controlled all of the empires certainly never thought of themselves a criminals. And they were almost all regular attenders of Christian churches, so they had some idea of right and wrong. So how were they able to behave as they did without feeling the slightest guilt?

It was easy. They saw the conquered as inferior to them. Indeed, they often saw the conquered not as people at all, but as savages and, as savages, as far beneath Europeans (and Americans and Canadians) as wild animals.

That's why John A. Macdonald had no qualms about starving Plains Indians to death. That's why,  until very recently, we thought nothing of tearing native children away from their homes and communities, and destroying them in residential schools. (And the authorities knew quite well what was going on in those schools.)

The word was that native peoples just weren't civilized like us. So it didn't matter. (In fact, there is considerable reason to believe they were more civilized than us.)

The same sort of thing happened in the US. The south added the community lynching parties of Blacks at least through the 1930s. (Canada didn't do that. It put Blacks in ghettoes, refused to permit them decent jobs or wages, wouln't allow them into "respectable" hotels....and that went on into the sixties, and survives in some places to this day.

The justification? They were morally, intellectually, and spiritually inferior to us. Much the same happened to Jews all over the western world, including the Americas.

We justify our brutality by claiming to have a natural intellectually and spiritually higher level than the victims of our brutality.

And that takes us to today.
The west has been fighting wars virtually non-stop since 1945. Indeed, the west, including the US, has been fighting colonial wars almost non stop for centuries. In all cases, its enemies have been evil, of course. But, more important, almost all of those wars have been essentially economic (to get control of the land of others - which is what the War of 1812 was about) - , to steal resources like oil (to enrich billionaires), to enforce poverty (in order to get cheap labour for billionaires) - as in Guatemala, as in the Middle East, and as is being attempted with Venezuela and Russia.)

Our very wealthy, like the very wealthy of centuries past, have known the price paid in human misery and death to make them richer. They know the economic hardships their behaviour has imposed on the whole western world. And they often are regular church attenders who must, occasionally hear the words 'thou shalt not kill" and "love they nieighbour".

So what's the excuse that justifies their barbarity?

The old, racial one is still useful - though it's reputation has suffered. But they have a new twist on it.

I wrote once about being disgusted by a radio and TV star whom I had to host for several hours. And for all that time, she poured out her hatred of all who weren't rich. The message was clear. She had married a rich man - and she also made a bundle out of the media. She was, therefore, superior. And all those who had less than her were inferior. It wasn't quite racism. But it was close enough.

I knew the type well. I had been foolish enough, years earlier, to date a few of the type - including a clergyman's daughter.

And some people are fools enough to agree with such people. I have met many who blame the recession on the poor. In fact, that's the assumption of Mr. Gallant who clearly intends to make the poor and the middle class pay for the recession.

Yes, the assumption is that if you are born rich or make a fortune yourself, you are superior to others. (So Jesus, for a start, was a real loser.) And being superior gives you rights that others don't have. For example -

I well remember the op ed column that Mr. Irving placed in the paper early in  Premier Alward's puppet rule.
He announced that he would be setting up his own committees to plan the province's economic future, and that he would be a member of the government (even though nobody had ever elected him.)

Alward and the irving press never even squeaked. Nobody asked why he had a right to be in the government or to plan anything for itt. (Nobody has such rights in a democracy -  except by election.) But New Brunswickers sat, silent.

Now suppose your neighbour made such a claim. For openers, the Irving press would probably just laugh and dump it. And Your other neighbours would laugh that one off as a kook.

I don't think I ever before or since have seen a more arrogant column than the one by Mr. Irving declaring himself a member of the government, and saying he would plan our economy.

And there was no reaction, even though that was the day that democracy in New Brunswick openly died.

I guess we've always seen this. The British still bow to arisitocrats and allow them a voice in government, even though most were simply born aristocrats and don't have enough brains to flavour their tea. Similarly, they bow their heads to a royal family that has a long reputation for being intellectually challenged. Then there were all those years we assumed that white people (who just happened to be born that way) were superior to those of other colours.

In all cases, it was done to justify, to itself and to others,  the barbarity and cruelty of a ruling class, and its indifference to the suffering it caused - and still causes.


  1. these small terror incidents taking place all over the world; Canada, Sydney, and the latest, in Copenhagen-any chance these are all CIA operations, designed to get the citizens in line behind the war on Muslims? (The Paris incident seems like the real thing. But who knows?)

    1. It's possible. Such killing is no longer the private domain of criminals. We've gone down a long way since those days. targeted killings boy government are now a daily affair.

  2. A prerequisite that must be met before being elected to the highest office in Israel? You must be mad. Performing the duties demanded by the job description would put any sane person over the edge, better to have someone in charge with the proven experience of functioning on a flimsy budget of rationality.

  3. Unfortunately, that has begun to make sense.

  4. Sorry I can't bring myself to buying the Irving papers. I guess I will just have to depend on you Graeme.