Saturday, July 11, 2015

July: There is nothing in today's Irving press worth commenting on.

This is the equivalent of a class newspaper for grades six and seven.  Even the  Commentary by Gwynne Dyer is a pretty bland one for most Canadian readers. I'm becoming convinced that the Irving press accepts only those Dyer commentaries which are tame and remote - interesting for the reader who avidly follows world news, but likely to be skipped by general readers.

Bill Belliveau has a column in which he urges readers to vote Liberal - without giving a single reason why they should. He ends with an attack on Mulcair because Mulcair was once interview for a job with the Conservatives. But even that snippet is less than honest if one remembers that Mulcair was once a Liberal, too. Doesn't Belliveau know that?

Actually, all of that was quite common among anglo Quebeckers who opposed separation. As chairman of the major  Anglo organization in that struggle, I knew many like Mulcair. They knew that  change could come only through political means. So the important thing to them (which I didn't agree with) was to get access to political power through either the Liberals or Conservatives, because they were the only Quebec parties then in a position to challenge the PQ.

In my view, there is no party in Canada ready to deal with the problems facing us. And that's not entirely the fault of the politicians. No party is ready to deal with the problems because few Canadians would vote for one that was ready. We hopelessly uninformed by most of our news media. Often we are manipulated by them into fear and hatred that drive us down the wrong road.

We have, for example, just given away our fundamental rights in order to fight, we are told, a terrorist threat that, in fact, barely exists. In any case, our intelligence agencies spend most of their   time collecting info and you and me and native peoples, handing that info over to Parker and his buddies in big business.  In the US, people went through a July 4 holiday in a state of fear promoted by a barrage of CIA and intelligence warnings that many, many terrorist attacks were planned for that day. In fact, there were none. (But that won't matter. The hysteria will go on.)

Obama recently announced that the greatest threat to the US is Russia. Well, at least that's an improvement on to the old method of  spreading fear of an invasion by tiny and poor countries like Cuba and Guatemala. I don't doubt that Russia would be a threat if it were in a position to be one. But it isn't. In fact, the only great threat to anybody and everybody is, currently, the U.S. It is by far the most constant invader in the world, and the biggest torturer and killer.

But such is the level of hysteria and fear in the U.S. that Donald Trump is campaigning on that hysteria with a rant that all Mexican men come to America to rape white women. And h e's running strong in the polls.

It's hard to build a serious party based on reality in a continent that's based on the hysteria of hatred and fear. Harper has ridden on that wave of hatred and fear. And he's used it to deprive us of rights, and to make the rich very, very rich.

The same is true in the U.S. In fact, the greatest threats to Canada and the U.S. are their poorly informed but skilfully manipulated people. Oh, the US and us are, indeed, in danger of destruction. But not from foreigners. It will be destruction by our very wealthy. The rest of us are all Greeks and Central Americans and Africans and Yemenis no matter where we live.

The universities are not much help in this. I knew a good many Canadian military historians, for example. I put a question to one of them, a man the Irving press would refer to as 'eminent' and 'respected'. And he actually was eminent and respected. I asked him about a World War One story I had come across. It was about a Canadian soldier, captured by the Germans. The story varied but, essentially, it was that the Germans had held him up above the trench line in the early dawn so he would be machine-gunned by Canadians.

To my surprise, my friend's face reddened in anger - as if I had, out of malice, invented this story. I couldn't understand how he could even get such an idea.

So, I tracked down the story on my own. The whole story, almost certainly true, is that Canadians had murdered German prisoners. Holding a Canadian up to be shot by Canadians was the German retaliation.

But it is extremely rare for Canadian military historians to ever, ever be critical of our military. They tend to be super-patriots who just love attending regimental dinners, and getting cozy with generals.

When our National Film board released its very truthful account of Canadians in World War Two, veterans and the military in general were furious. In one scene, the film shows a river bank in France at which a Canadian general saw Canadian troops escorting a long line of German prisoners along the other side of the river.  Minutes later, he heard shots, and saw the bodies of those prisoners floating back down the river.

Of course Canadian soldiers killed prisoners. Every army in the history of warfare has killed, tortured and starved prisoners. I talked to the general (a major-general, I think) who witnessed this case. Every army (especially the Christian crusaders) has raped and murdered and looted. That's what war is about.

Another film segment talked about the deliberate killing of civilians by bombers. That caused a real fury in the legion, such a fury that Mulroney (I think) appointed a huge committee of Conservative toady senators to hold hearings.  I testified for it. (I well remember being approached before my testimony by a former bomber pilot who told me, almost in tears, that his grandchildren had asked him, "Did you really kill all those children, grandpa?" I was impossible not to feel sympathy for  his man who would have been in his early twenties when we told him he was doing this for God and country.

It was noticeable that those who criticized the films received heaps of interest and praise from the senators. They listened politely to me. But not one wanted to question me.

And, as for the military historians, most decided not to appear. And those who did appear, attacked the film.

In fact, aerial bombing aimed at killing civilians has been common since the first bombs in history were dropped by American mercenary pilots over Ethiopia about 1910. It was used to create terror, to kill workers, to make daily life a chaos. Every side has done it. It was and is the major purpose of bombing to this day. And it's not accidental. The bombers aim at civilian areas. They drop incendiaries and napalm quite deliberately to burn civilians alive. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both chosen for nuclear attacks though neither had an military importance. They were chosen BECAUSE they were civilian.

Nov. 11 is an important day. We should remember it. But we don't, really. We don't remember that we sent people to die without ever asking why they had to go. We're still doing it in Iraq and Syria.  We don't think of what we owe them for what we sent them to do. Instead, we turn it into a patriotic event at which we listen to speeches about how they died to defend freedom. In fact, no war we have fought since 1812 had anything to do with protecting freedom or Canada - or anywhere else.

We have very little information available to us. Virtually all of the North American press is lies and propaganda or, like the Irving press, mostly trivia.  The little history we know is largely a history based on myth.

We need to produce a generation of people who are informed and who are trained to think. The public schools are limited in their ability to do this because the big money in this province and others doesn't want people who think. Private schools are even worse because they're designed to train children to fit the ideals and values of some very unattractive people.

Nor can universities help much because, always desperate for money, they are really controlled by the very rich. That's why university presidents are such a submissive lot.

Oh - a naughty story connected with universities.  Anyone who has listened to George Bush Jr. speak realizes that this is man of little intelligence. He got a Bachelor's degree with a C- average. Now, in the U.S., that tells you something. American universities have notoriously inflated grades. That's why straight As are so common there . So George's C-, in Canada, would probably be a D-.

And he got accepted into a very prestigious U.S. university's Master of Business Administration programme which is supposed to require a B average even to be considered. How is this possible?

Well, it's not  uncommon for universities to accept unqualified candidates whose daddies are very, very rich, and willing to make a large donation. And it get's more amazing.

Though he was obviously not ready for the MBA programme, and though he was deep into drugs and alcohol at the time, he completed the degree within the normal time period. How was that possible? See the paragraph just above.

I have never seen that sort of thing in Arts and Science programmes or in Canadian universities.  So, if you have a slow child and you're very rich, send him or her to the prestigious American university of your choice.

Well, this has been quite rambling. I'm sorry. There really is nothing in this paper worth discussing today. Much of it is infantile - and most of the major world events simply aren't here.

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