Friday, February 20, 2015

Feb. 19: "We'll meet again, don't know where don't know when,...

But I know we'll meet again some sunny day..."

(What follows is a sort of comment in story form that explains how we got to where we are. It's true. But it's a story. If  you just want the regular blog, skip this and go down to the line XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

We'll meet again was sung by Vera Lynn, a British woman with a magnificent voice who was the darling of British and Canadian troops in World War Two. She sang of the heartbreak of parting, and then of the joyful future we were making sacrifices for. I first heard her, I think, when I was about six.

The church basement was filled with rows of us watching church members doing acts on stage. (My father did a shadow show of a medical room using a huge saw and a hammer).  Then, a record was played, "We'll meet again.." A hush fell over the audience. She was wonderful. Even a kid could tell that. But the silence of the audience was strange. I looked around  People were sitting very still, staring blankly; some cheeks glistened with tears.

That was around the time when the boys from my father's scout troop were coming  to our house to say goodbye.  There was good-looking Jack Westwater who thrilled me by letting me handle his big, navy jackknife. There was the Kelly boy who would be wounded. My mother and I spent much of a summer day with her because the telegram boy wouldn't deliver her telegram until someone was with her. It was the day the newspaper headlines were all about Dieppe. And there was Leslie Bibewell who would die in the torpedoing of his escort ship, "St. Croix". There was my Sunday school teacher. He was a rare sight in Montreal because Blacks were not normally permitted to live in white districts. But they were allowed to join the army or some parts of it (depending on the regiment).

Then it was my father. We went down to the train station to seem him off in his navy uniform. I remember it well, because it was the day my mother took me into the station restaurant for my first dish of ice cream ever.

Toward the end, there was Bertie. Poor Bertie. His father was a drunk. So was his brother who spent the latter part of the war dodging the draft. Bertie left school in grade four when he was 16. He was much older than me. But he played with me because older kids wouldn't play with him. At 16, he stole his brother's draft papers and joined up in his brother's name. His mother said it was terrible, and she would tell the army. But she never did.

His medals arrived, with his brother's name on them. So did a huge cheque - in his brother's name. The father and the brother drank it all in within months.

Years later, I would meet a man who served with him.

"Bertie just loved marching and making his boot heels click on the street. I was with him in his first action. We were just inside the German border, lying face down in the mud while German machine gun bullets flew over our heads. I stole a look at Bertie. He was shakin' and cryin'. Hell, he was only 16. He was just a kid....
Then he jumped to his feet, and the machine gun cut him in half....craziest thing...when he jumped up, he was screamin' for his mother."

Years later, I visited his grave at a Canadian military cemetery in The Netherlands. The stone had his brother's name on it. So I contacted a friend in Ottawa. It was changed within days.

But, oh, we had been promised wonderful things from the war. For a generation that had grown up impoverished by a depression during which the wealthy got wealthier every day while the rest of us got poorer (just like today), the government would control big business so that wouldn't happen again. And we would get social programmes that would share the wealth that had been going only to rich. And we knew government could do that and do it well because it had done a superb job of managing the economy through the war, far better than private business had ever done.  That was a very clear lesson I would learn in many years of studying Canadian history.

Anyway, there wouldn't be any more wars because we would settle future disputes through a world government - oh, and all people all over the world would become free and equal. That's what Churchill and Roosevelt told us.

On the day the war in Europe ended, I was an elementary school kid in the middle of a jubilant mob on Ste. Catherine, Montreal's main street. And I'll swear I could hear Vera Lynn singing:

"Keep smiling through
Just like you used to do,
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away."

Then I saw a sign in a bank window. It was some kind of slogan. We had lots of those during the war. But this was a new one.

"We've won the war." That sounded good. So I read the whole thing. "We've won the war. Now we've got to win the peace."

Huh? Win the peace? What was that supposed to mean?

It meant nothing. It was just a slogan. We should have learned that over the past seventy years; but we haven't.

For a start, Churchill and Roosevelt lied to us. They had no intention of bringing freedom and equality to the world. Freedom was restored to those western countries that had it before   (though not to those occupied by the Soviet Union). However, not one western power gave up its empire. Malayans and Africans had to fight their British overlords. Even South Africa and Zimbabwe,nominally free, had to accept white dictatorships. In fact, Britain fought an unbroken string of colonial wars for 69 years. And there's more to come.

France fought brutal wars to hold colonies in French Indo-China and North Africa. The Netherlands fought in Asia. In all of its dictatorships and puppet states in Latin America, the US granted freedom to not a single one. And none of the powers delivered equality, not even to their own people. The only one under American dictatorship to break free was Cuba - and it has never been forgiven, just as Iran has never been forgiven.

As for world government, the major powers used the UN only when it was useful to them. And that wasn't very long at all. No western leader has even been tried at the international court - not even Blair, Bush and Obama for illegal invasions, mass murder, illegal detainment and illegal torture. Nor are they likely to be. Obama has publicly declared a policy of American exceptionalism, which means the US (and only the US) is above the law.

Canada's only serious try to make this a better and more peaceful world died with Lester Pearson and his goal of peacekeeping. "Peacekeeping" became giving a nice name to "aggression". And Canada became an eager tail-wagger for the US.

Oh, and the world bank became what it was always meant to be, a device for big business to dictate policy to poor countries - and even rich ones. the result has been the creation of a mass redistribution of wealth to the very wealthy

Since that day of joy and cheering on St. Catherine St., capitalism has run out of control, spreading hunger, misery, fear and death all over the world. And the major tool of capitalism has been its control of news media, and its use of it to heighten our fears and hatreds to justify more killing.

"We've won the war. Now we're got to win the peace."  In fact, since that day there has been no peace.



As we might have expected, Larry's Gulch was the lead story again, as the TandT floods us with useless information about it. When you want a story to get lost, pour irrelevant words on it like the torrents  of Noah's rain.Today, it's  "NB Liquor says it books Gulch as Crown agency but pays private rate". Next, I suppose, will be a story that they even brought their own tooth brushes.

The question is - why were journalists invited? Why did they accept? But the TandT will never tell us that.

Page A 9 has two, big stories.

The biggest has a photo of five guys who, like almost every pop group of the past sixty years, really know how to strike a defiant pose while actually defying nothing, and wearing long hair and sleeveless shirts. And have a rudimentary knowledge of music.

The less important one is about a union telling us that 1. reports of the province's fiscal situation are exaggerated 2. the exaggeration comes from think tanks that create fear by saying we're going off a fiscal cliff  3. the purpose  of all this to cut social spending 4.Such cuts never work in restoring an economy and 5. we could do the same thing more effectively by making the rich pay their share of taxes.

The editorial, as is so often the case, is a thoughtful critique of the science of picking up garbage.

Similarly, Norbert tells us all about an exciting article he read on genetics - and how it has no bearing on the life of anybody who's living now. These are things we have to keep up on.

Cole Hobson's column makes much of statistics about our health system that, in fact, tell  us nothing. For example, a poll sample of NBers shows that over half think their health is good to excellent.
 So? If somebody were to take a poll on good looks, I'd say I'm beautiful.

There is not a word on the qualifications of its members or staff. Nor can I find much at the Department of Healthy site. This is a column that tell us nothing.

The only item worth reading on the ed and op ed pages is Alec Bruce's about the very severe dangers for us in Stephen Harper's anti-terrorism bill.  This bill is so dangerous to Canada - and so obviously dangerous - I cannot think of any prime minister in our history, except for Stephen Harper, who would even consider it.

Legislation like this that targets indvidual rights and individual freedom is not what Canadians fought and died for. And the most dismaying part is to watch the seeming indifference of most of our news media to what is happening. And they can get away with it because for the past forty years, at least, most of our news media have been conditioning us to hate and fear - and to ignore the vicious behaviour of our own leaders.

IThe bill is, we are told, to deter violence. Is violence possible? You bet it is. The increase in diverting money from most of us to the very rich reflects a greed that is unlimited, and is very likely create violence all over the western world. So far, our massive creation of fear and hatred has worked to block that. If Harper were serious about avoiding violence, he would be turning the police loose on the rich. Instead, our police are being turned into a force not to protect us, but to protect the very rich in their exploitation of us, and of people all over the world.

If CIA had existed in 1775, it would have been assigned to murder George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. And, a little later, the Canadian CSIS would have been arresting William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis Joseph Papineau.  With Bill 101, Harper is not using the police to protect us; he using them to protect the very rich from us.

The time is close when I would be ashamed to be a Canadian, and not be n jail.
News of the world is pretty slim pickings. An important story is on B3, "Former PMs call for better intelligence accountability".  Actually, the concern, as above, is more than just intelligence accountability. The PMs were joined by 5 former Supreme court justices, 7 former solicitors-general (and I'd bet one of them is Warren Allmand), 3 past members of the intelligence review committee (who knows what a farce it is),2 former privacy commissioners and a retired RCMP watchdog.

What Harper is doing is to take us back centuries to rule by an aristocracy of the rich.

Unfortunately, the paper has no mention of a related story. The US was caught red-handed in an attempt to overthrow the government of Venezuela, largely in the interest of American oil barons. One person associated with the plot is, it seems, an RCMP officer. I wonder that that is all about. I can't wait for Norbert's revelations about it.

There's also a full page of photos of people holding up big cheques. One of  the photos is of people who deserve the recognition.  - the students and principal of Hillcrest School.
There are things that actually didn't make the news in the Irving press. One of them reminded me painfully of my university teaching days. Once a year, for graduation, we had to sit on stage. Then would come the big moment, the honorary degree. Occasionally, it was deserved. More often, it wasn't. It was just payback for a big cheque given to the university and, oh, there were some precious scoundrels among them. But the University of Texas has set a new record.

It has given the honorary title of Doctor of Humanities to a former druggie, alcoholic, and draft-dodger (avoiding service in a war he urged other to join up for), a failure in business who was lucky to be born rich and who made multi-millions more in his years of "public service",  a moron, mass-murderer, torturer, and devout Christian.

Yes. He is George Bush Jr.  (Which reminds me. How did his daddy become a multi, multi, multi millionaire on his civil servant salary?)

Remember George Bush's doctorate next time the TandT quotes one of its university "experts". Yes, universities can be bought.

For even more reading  ( this is awfully long) you might want to look at an interesting suggestion about the oil price- and almost certainly a true one.

The price crash in undoubtedly created, quite deliberately, by Saudi Arabia producing an oversupply.

Then, a reader has sent me a note penned by former commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark. It's about something that's been public since 1998 (well before the Iraq war) but rarely mentioned in the news media. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were planned long before 9/11, and they really had no connection with 9/11 - except as an excuse.

The site is    htttps://

NB - the dash between y and 9 should be an 'equals' sign. But my keyboard is being bad.

In sum, we are being set up. We are being set up for a full takeover by big business in North America. We are being set up for wars which are only to make the very rich even richer. And major players are our news media who act as propaganda to make us fear and hate so we will happily kill.

There you are, CSIS. Enjoy.

And I still love Vera Lynn. Look her up on Youtube.

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