Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14: self-indulgence, odds and ends, and other stuff

Am I capitalist, socialist or communist?

None of the above. Politics doesn't start with labels or with political ideologies of any sort. It starts with moral principles, with a sense of what our society is, what it should be, and how to achieve it.
It's about people and how we think of them. It's about what our values are. And it commonly comes from our own backgrounds and what our experiences have been.

My political values came from being born poor and, as it seemed, condemned to stay that way. It was a Canada of no medicare. So I never saw a doctor or dentist until I was 20 or so. Almost all my clothes were hand-me-downs. I still remember the overcoat I wore through high school. It was a very elderly, formal coat with a black velvet collar. And it was riddled with great moth holes. And I grew up in a family in which it was sinful to hope for anything better. To do that was to try to rise above the station God had placed me in. But that political thinking was first challenged by my grade 1 reader.

It was called Dick and Jane. It featured two children, and we were supposed to see ourselves in them. The plot was See Dick.
        See Dick run.
        Run Dick run.

       See Jane
        See Jane run
        Run, Jane run.

And they had a dog.  See Spot.------well, you get the idea.

Dick and Jane had clothes that were obviously new. They had nice shoes that fit. They lived in a nice, white bungalow. It had a big lawn -  with swings. Their father went to work in a suit. He had a car. None of us kids had ever seen such things.   And I guess we didn't believe they existed.

After I finished grade 1, we were invited to visit a summer cottage just ten miles from the city. It was expensive, maybe a quarter each, but we took the train. Then we walked a couple miles with our luggage to the very primitive cottage. I changed into my 'new' bathing suit, a very old men's style that had a sort of short skirt on it. (It once also had a top; but that had been cut off.) And so I raced down the dirt road to the beach.

Then I froze. A white bungalow sat like a jewel in the middle of a huge lawn. There was a big, chain fence. I went over to it and gripped the iron links to stare through. There were swings, and on them - Dick and Jane in their brand new clothes.  I don't know how long I stood there. But I can still see them as clearly today as I did then.

Later, I would meet a great many Dicks and Janes who were very, very wealthy. Some have been close friends for many years. And some I immediately and intensely disliked.

The ones I disliked lived on and for money. The lusted for power. The used that power against everybody who wasn't rich like them.  And they justified their greed by pronouncing ordinary people to be subhumans  who are too lazy to work  They counted themselves as an aristocracy, born and chosen by God to have wealth and power. And their women are even worse. And it's these people who impose massive suffering on everyone who isn't born rich - and send us lazy people off to fight their wars "for God and country".

That's where my political thinking comes from. And it began that day when I saw Dick and Jane through their chain link fence.

Communism? It's the most Christian political ideology around. But it's never been tried - and it's based on the idea that we live in a profoundly Christian society. We don't. Maybe some day - but it's distant.

Capitalism? It works for small business. But at higher levels, it becomes based on pure greed and, as we can see, is profoundly corrupt, corrupting,  exploiting, debasing, murderous and, for most people, impoverishing.  Forget the stories about how making billionaires richer will create jobs. That has never worked. Save that story for the people of Congo who have been making billionaires richer for a hundred and fifty years, and whose country today is estimated to have 28 trillion dollars in resources. Yes, they have jobs. From the age of five, they have jobs at pennies a day. They have jobs, some of them, which (almost) pay enough to keep them alive. They have virtually no schools, no medical care, nothing. And that's true all over the world wherever capitalism rules. and worse, much worse is coming with the new free trade deals being negotiated.

Mahatma Gandhi summed up this type of the very rich   in "Seven Social Sins".

Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice. (check the Faith page of the Irving press for this).
Politics without principle.

Socialism? It needs a public which  has access to truthful news, a public which takes the trouble to read that news and which is active enough to discuss it instead of just having pancake breakfasts.
Otherwise, you get a Tony Blair who pretty much destroyed the Labour party in Britain, who shared in the murder of over a million people and who, by brown-bagging his lunches, now has a wealth estimated at 60 million British pounds - and who owns ten homes.
We, the people, are our own worst enemies.
And now, here's the scoop on why Evan Solomon, the CBC television anchor was fired. (I can't give a source because it comes from journalists I know in Upper Canada.) It is true that Solomon had a business on the side, setting up customers for an art dealer. I agree that he should not have done it. There's no evidence he in any way compromised the news by doing that.   But I think it's unwise for a journalist to give even a hint of the possibility of conflict of interest.

However, that's not why he was fired. For a start, he had informed CBC from the start of what he was doing. And CBC management approved it. As well, CBC management did NOT fire him.

He was fired by CBC board of governors which is appointed by Harper who has filled it with his usual stooges. And that means he was really fired by Harper.

Why? Harper doesn't like people who don't agree with him on what the news should be. Harper is, by nature, a dictator and a fascist. (and,yes, I know what fascist means). If he wins another election, the CBC will be privatized within a year - under Harper's kind of people.

Where is the news on Dennis Oland who is going through hearings concerning the murder of his father? Yes, I know it happened a long time ago. But the hearings are happening now. Why doesn't the Irving press mention it? Justin Bourque was arrested, tried and sentenced in little more than days. And we certainly had publicity every step of the way. So why is it different  when a rich man is accused of killing somebody?

Which reminds me - when are we going to get the  full story about Irving Ltd. and the Lac Megantic tragedy?
  Google -  Red Cross Haiti houses. You 'll find a whole bunch of sites from sources far left to far right on how the Red Cross, in 2010, raised half a billion dollars to build houses, very cheap and simple ones,  in a Haiti that had been ravaged by an earthquake.

The money is now gone.

 Number of houses (shanties) built? Six.

That's typical of the help we give to the world. The US had, additionally, promised millions in aid to Haiti. Almost all of that went straight into the pockets of billionaire friends of the government. That rot and corruption also characterizes the money that we and the US send as  "aid" to Iraq and other countries.

That kind of corruption is why the US government has to cut back on food stamps to the hungry.
God forbid that those millions of jobless Americans should be allowed to eat. That's why professor Saillant says the poor have to pay for the economic recession caused by the rich.

This might a good time to take another look at Gandhi's Seven Social Sins.  
 Though the Irving press is fond of long, long stories and many of them, about anniversaries, it missed a big one on June 8. On that day, Israel was fighting the six-day war. The USS Liberty, a very lightly armed communications ship was well offshore from Israel when it was attacked by Israeli jets and torpedo boats. 34 American sailors were killed and 171 wounded.

By the next day, both the US and Israel announced it was a tragic case of mistaken identity. It wasn't.

Israel had been told the American ship would be there. The attacks lasted for hours, despite repeated messages from the ship and the US that it was an American ship. The Israelis well knew what they were attacking. And the attack included machine gunning sailors who took to a life boat.

So what was this all about? google USS Liberty Israel. You'll find lots of sites, lots of studies, lots of theories. But it's probably this-----

The US government refers to the Liberty as a "research" ship. That's not quite true. It was a communications ship. So why was a communications ship sent into that area just as the six-day war was breaking out?

Well, a communications ship is equipped to tap into other people's communications.  Now, Israel was fighting for its life in that war. If you were president of Israel, there's an American spy ship off your coast at this decisive time. Why?

The US is your most important (almost only) ally. But....who knows? The situation is desperate. So you attack.

Is it possible the USS Liberty was there to spy on Israel? Quite possibly. Quite possibly it had decided the oil countries were more important to it.

There are no friends between nations.

This is an interesting site. Like Vatican News, it gives us a view of what's happening in the world that we don't get from other news services.

And, I apologize to Isabelle Agnew, a student columnist for the Times and Transcript who, on Saturday, delivered her farewell column. I forgot to mention that, and to say I thought  it well-written and, really, quite delightful. 

1 comment:

  1. A journalist once asked Gandhi "What do you think of Western civilization?" to which he replied "I think it would be a good idea.".