Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19: Thoughts on a rainy Sunday

I despise the Toronto Sun almost as much as I do the Irving press. So when I first read its story about a very, very young Princess Elizabeth being taught the Nazi salute,  I though it despicable for a newspaper to run such a story about a child who had no idea of the meaning of what she was doing - and to run the story for pure sensationalism.

I still think that, but......

....when I saw the commentary on this in The Guardian, it put the story into a different context. And that was the difference between cheap sensationalism and intelligent journalism.

Elizabeth did nothing wrong. She was a very young child. But the man teaching her how to do the salute was quite a different matter. He was her uncle, Edward VIII who was a supporter of Hitler. That's why Churchill sent him so far away - to be governor of Bermuda. He would, without doubt, have betrayed Britain in order to get the throne back. And he was not Hitler's only admirer.

EVERYBODY knew, long before 1939, what Hitler was doing. Everybody knew he was a dictator. Everybody knew about the prison camps for Jews and gays and anybody else Hitler didn't like. Everybody knew that Naziism was founded on racism.   Everybody knew about the arbitrary killing and beatings and arson against Jews carried out by official and unofficial Nazi groups.  Everybody in England and Canada and the US and all over Europe knew all about it years before the war..

And it wasn't just the dim-witted Edward VIII who admired him. It was us - the whole western world. We had no concern whatever for the Jews or any of his other victims. We had no concern that he was a dictator - which means, incidentally, we did not go to war to defend freedom and democracy.  If that were true, we would have gone to war at least seven years earlier. But we didn't. And we didn't lift a finger to help the Jews because we were as anti-semitic as Hitler was. We didn't help them before the war, during it, or after.

Western capitalism rushed to do business with Hitler. Hollywood producers (Most of them Jewish) made an agreement with Hitler that they would not make films critical of Naziism. The only Hollywood figure with the integrity to break that rule was Charlie Chaplin with "The Great Dictator" and, oh, he was persecuted for that - by the US - long after the war had ended.

Western manufacturers rushed to sell Hitler the steel he needed for the tanks that would sweep across Europe. And where to do you think the oil that was stockpiled before the war came from? Germany had no oil fields. And many of the tanks and bombers Hitler needed were built in factories owned and returning profits to people with names like Ford. Another of Hitler's admirers and profiteers was an American whiskey gangster named Joseph Kennedy  who used his time as U.S. ambassador to Britain to grab for himself the assets of a Britain that was sinking because of war costs.  His son was, of course, John F. Kennedy.

Many, many western capitalists, almost all of them profoundly anti-Jewish, supplied Hitler with money. But it had nothing to do with religion, anyway. Hitler was courted as the barrier who would prevent the spread of left-wing and socialist and even communist ideas to a west made shaky by years of economic depression.

When the war was over, we took out our self-righteousness on Edward VIII, and erased the memory of the partnership of out political and economic leaders (and us) with Hitler from our historical memory.

I think a Netanyahu   goes much, much too far in his aggressiveness (to put it kindly). But I can understand where he's coming from.

Meanwhile, we go on making mistakes learned from the myth we call our history.

The Irving press has studiously avoided telling us about the trade deals that Harper is completing. Again, the information comes from news sources that are in the same gutter as the Irving press. But they have competition with other gutter newspapers. So they occasionally let something true and important slip through.

What's happening is that Harper is making deals that actually destroy the power of our governments and our courts to impose any control whatever on corporations based in Canada or abroad. In effect, Canada is rapidly ceasing to exist as a nation. And words like sovereignty and democracy are rapidly ceasing to have any meaning.

Despite that, I'd be willing to bet that Harper will get a healthy vote from the Atlantic provinces, the ones he has done most to destroy. Let's hear  it for Goguen!
Meanwhile, Greece is the model for what we are all becoming, the world that was promised in George Orwell's "1984". It's almost here.

Greece has been converted to a nation of slaves and paupers. This was a set-up. The Greek debt wasn't created by clumsiness or lavish salaries or social services. It was the deliberate product of massive corruption in the capitalist system.

To pay that created debt, Greeks are being forced to live in utter poverty for generations to come. As for the "aid" Europe is extending to it, almost all will go immediately into the pockets of the bankers.

There will be no social services, no pensions, no government ownership of electricity or water as all services will be privatized for private profit, with prices controlled only by the capitalists who will take them over.

Given the rate of unemployment, salaries for the few who are employed will be low - and there will be no benefits. Capitalism   will operate without the restraints of law. Children will go hungry, poorly educated. Many will die, all so well-fed bankers can enjoy resorts like Larry's Gulch, and gambling on the Riviera.

(and some billionaires will, no doubt, donate church buildings with special music. And named after themselves. God will be so impressed!)

And more Greeces are on the way. Greece is the model for the new Naziism that will protect the very rich from the spread of that awful socialism with all its fussy concern about human rights and democracy.

But, as Jesus would have said, "Hey,  ya gotta balance yer budget."

Luckily, in our times of deepest stress, humanity produces inspirational leaders like Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Ghandi, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump.

I'm not sure that it any longer matters who wins an American election. But an ignorant, irresponsible and greedy egoist like Trump still scares the hell out of me

The western world has always been profoundly unChristian. But with capitalism and its elevation of greed to a moral principle - and its only moral principle - we have, especially in the last 500 years brought it to something more than unChristian - to something that is actively anti-Christian.

For much of the past 2000 years, the Christian churches have been actively cooperating with anti-Christianity. They sent missionaries, but that had less to do with helping conquered and impoverished people than it did with getting the missionaries into heaven. Perhaps, by converting kidnapped slaves, millions of them, they got them into heaven,   but they left them with all the suffering and scars of slavery..

But there was a time from 1870 or so and dwindling into the 1960s when the churches actually began paying attention to the message of The Bible. The Salvation Army fed and housed the poor. Prohibition, despite its reputation as being self-righteous and tampering with people's rights, actually arose as a response to the severe damage done by alcohol in the industrializing cities - and the churches played a leading role in the movement. Prohibitionism also laid the foundation of women's rights.

The old CCF party, largely created by clergy and unionists, was founded on Christian principles which laid out most of our present day social services like medicare, and encouraged the development of pension plans for all. It became the NDP, which still operates on principle though now in a somewhat diluted state..

Churches (especially Presbyterian) played a major role in the development of public education which provided opportunity for even the poorest. And they were not simply branches of the church as they are in Bible schools. Churches were also major recreation centres for children in such groups as Boy Scouts, Canadian Girls in Training -and they weren't just places to "hang out". There was real development going on.

There are still traces of this in the Catholic church with its social action movement which, among other things, played an important part in settling the Irish conflict with Britain. Pope Francis may well be the only world leader today who is Christian enough to take a position against the cruel and often murderous treatment of million by unbridled capitalism.

But, oh, most of the clergy are a pretty mealy-mouthed, even kiss-up lot. They completely ignore most Christian  (and Judaic) teaching. Just say  you believe in Jesus - and you're home free to spend eternity praising the Lord and clapping hands for Jesus.

That's it? For eternity?

You can't get Flix in heaven?

Donne-moi un break.

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