Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22:The worse part of democracy.... elections.

They are almost always trivial. In the U.S., the big issue is whether Mexicans are sneaking across the border to rape American women. That's the dernier crie in the U.S., and the issue that actually could propel Donald Trump into the White House.  (However, I don't think he'll quite make it. The big money in the U.S. would kill Mexicans just as happily as it has killed Iraqis, Afghanis, Syrians, Libyans, Yemenis and Guatemalans/ But there's no profit in killing Mexicans. So big money in the U.S. is going to Hilary Clinton because she'll do what she's told to do. She and hubby have become multi-multi-millionaires out of the presidency by doing what they were told to do.

In Canada's election, the biggest issue so far is whether Harper knew about the Duffy affair. I'm quite sure he knew all about it. But I really don't care. The real issues are his abuse of democracy, his contempt for democratic process, his selling out of Canada to the very wealthy, his destruction of the environment, and his determination to destroy it much, much more to make billionaires all over the world happy.

Then there's foreign policy - something Canadians almost never discuss in an election year. But we are involved in a war in Iraq and Syria. We have troops in Ukraine though, presumably, not yet in a combat role. And we had troops in Afghanistan. Why?

What is Canada's foreign policy? Is it all simply saying we're 100% behind Israel (while actually doing nothing?) Is it for Harper to make an ass of himself by telling Putin to get out of Ukraine? Israel knows it isn't going to get any real help out of Canada. And Putin must have found it hard not to laugh when Harper threatened him.

What is Canadian foreign policy? Is it just a cheap way to get the Canadian -Jewish and Canadian-Ukrainian vote? It can't be because we sent troops to die in Afghanistan - aircraft to destroy Libya - and aircraft to kill in Iran and Syria. And that was long before the election.

So why did we send them? Nobody has ever told us why.

The reason, of course, is that we are bumboys for the U.S. Empire which, incidentally, is the only world power that is threatening us by pushing ahead with oil exploration in the Canadian Arctic. But shush.. not a word about this duriing an election campaign.

On the front page, Premier Gallant is taking taking bows for Irving spending money for maintenance on his refinery and "creating" 3,000 jobs - for, wow! - 60 days. In the same article the Conservatives reply that Gallant is taking credit for something he didn't do.

And the West is angry it has to support the East.

Now, it's all very sweet to see the kiddies quarreling. But it would be more useful for all of us to look at the nature of our economy and to learn what changes have to be made.  Uncontrolled capitalism does not work. It never has. On the contrary, it has created misery and death all over the world, even on the rare occasions it let us have some of the money.

There are things to discuss - like the massive transfer of unreported and untaxed profits to foreign banks - like the failure of the very rich to pay even the small taxes they are asked to pay. We're not going to solve anything by just waiting around for the Irving refinery to make repairs, and provide jobs for a few days each year.

There's a crisis in the universities. It's going to hurt all of us as most Canadians will find university impossibly expensive. But I can't say I've heard about it in the election debates.

Oh, rethe issue of the West beinig taxed to pay for help for the East, check A6 - "Harper says election campaign not the time to wade into such a complex issue."  Gee golly, Mr. Harper, I can't remember  you wading into this issue when parliament was meeting. So what is a good time?

The only real election news in the whole paper is about Mike Duffy. And I really don't think Canada's future rests on yet more information about a man who was never a role model in the first place.

Oh, there is a report on childcare - which is an election issue. But - it tells us to put it off because we don't know enough. The story on this report tells us close to nothing. It says we need more info from Statistics Canada - advice which nicely ignores the fact that Harper pretty much destroyed statistics Canada. Anyway, we do have data drawn from government experience with daycare - most notably in Quebec. But there's also lots of evidence of the social and health value of daycare. Heck. We can afford to give away a forest to Mr. Irving. It should be possible find money for our children.

The key to understand this report is to note that it comes from Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, a propaganda house for Irvings and would-be Irvings. That's why it's a major story in the Irving press but would never make it into a respectable and honest newspaper.  At the least, a newspaper should tell its readers something about the source it's reporting from.

Oh, what didn't make the paper is the news that the month of July 2015 was the hottest in the world since record-keeping began in 1880. But we won't talk about that or its implication in an election. No. Let's hear more about Duffy.

Read the headline for the editorial. "Codiac Transpo seeks the answer to tough question."
That's all  you have to read because the editorial has nothing to add to that sentence.

Norbert continues his fixation with the great question facing Canadians today - should we allow exotic pets?

The page is saved by a letter to the editor, "Events centre parking idea is unreasonable." It's a very intelligent letter, much more intelligent than the majority on Moncton City Council.

The guest commentary, "Four things we can do to improve healthcare across Canada", seems well-informed - but very few will read it. That's because the writer doesn't know how to reach a newspaper audience.  I expect the Irving press gets these guest columns on the cheap - but there's a price for being cheap.

Bill Belliveau has an interesting column on why people vote as they do, and how they're voting is largely emotional. I think he's right. And I think he's right to suggest a very large majority of Canadians vote on emotion because they don't bother to keep informed on what's happening in this world.

And, in all gentleness, my experience is that Atlantic Canada is the worst I have seen in this respect. The whole region is like a village in which nobody wants to have an opinion if it, in any way, might be different from anybody else in the village. It reminds me of Mao's China, and of Hong Kong in its British Empire days.

There's not much in Canada&World - except for B4.

It has a story on violence in Europe as refugees try to get in - and as Canada and the U.S. extend no help whatever for the refugees that we as much as anyone have made.

Then there's the very disturbing news that Islamic State had demolished an ancient Syrian Monastery. It was an historic site, and it was demolished because it was Christian. They are also looting such sites for archeological treasures that wealthy collectors will pay big money for.

The story is, of course, indignant - but annoying because it's so one-sided.

All armies loot or help in the looting of archeological treasres. For a sample of that, drop into the British Museum in London to see room after room of treasures stolen from Greece, Egypt, Rome, China...Much of that looting was done by the man Port Elgin was named for. Iran was looted in the same way when the U.S. invaded it. And the buyers were certainly not extremist rebels. They were the heads of some the 'best' families in the world.

And that takes me to a topic which I shall try to keep brief.

Armies, all of them, have always murdered civilians regardless of age or gender. It's been done for rape. It's been done for religious or racial hatred, Richard Lion Heart made it a point of his crusading to murder all Jews he came across.

(The U.S. army has been no slouch in the rape department. That's why so many Vietnamese are of mixed blood. Note to Donald Trump - Mexicans could take lessons from the U.S. army on how to rape.)

But indiscriminate killing, while it happened in war, was not the purpose of war for most of  history.
There were exceptions, as in the slaughter of the native peoples of the Americas and Jews and gypsies in Europe. This was deliberate genocide.But in most wars, killing civilians and women was a side-effect, not a purpose. But all that changed with the advent of the airplane.

The airplane was a highly mobile destroyer with bombs and machine guns. But it wasn't very accurate. So, by necessity, it became an indiscriminate killer. As such, it was a useful weapon to spread terror - and Winston Churchill used it for that purpose in bombing Kurd villages in 1920. The Germans followed that in the Spanish civil war of the 1930s with similar attacks, notably the deliberate destruction of an undefended, civilan city, Guernica.

(Encyclopedias say this was the first, deliberate  bombing of civilians. And encyclopedias are wrong. Churchill had done it 17 years earlier. As well, Both Germany and Britain in World War One had bombed cilivan areas - though on a very small scale.  Even earlier, about 1911, American mercenary pilots hired out to Italy bombed villages in Ethiopia.

World War Two began with both sides attacking cities by air. Accuracy could be achieved (somewhat) only by daylight bombing. But daylight bombing was suicidal. So both sides switched to night bombing. And it was wildly inaccurate. Bombs were lucky to hit within ten kilometres of the target. But there was really no choice. And civilian casualties rose markedly. The Germans, for the same reason, switched to night bombing.  The result was heavy loss of civilian life in both Britain and Germany.

By 1942, accuracy had improved, even at night. But both sides had come to the conclusion that war had to be fought against all the people. And the major target became civilians. And the bomb had become essentially a device to create terror. It reached a peak late in the war with the bombing of three, essentially civilian targets, in Japan. There was the fire   bombing of Tokya which killed a  hundred thousand civilians, followed by nuclear bombs on two cities of no significant military presence.

This deliberate killing of civilians had become the normal purpose of war. It was, like the genocides of native peoples and then of Jews,  an act of terrorism inflicted deliberately on civilians. The result was a war with civilian casualties much higher than military ones. And that has been the purpose of war ever since.

How many wars has the U.S. fought since 1945? Very few know because many of them have been secret, operations. But just in the ones generally known , I've drawn up a list of Angola, Guatemala (twice) Haiti, Cuba, Vietnam, Barbados, Korea, Iran, Colombia, Chile, Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan (drones) Yemen (drones) Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Syria  (paying, training, and supplying weapons to Muslim mercenaries)

How many military attacks has it carried out on how many countries in that time? Nobody knows. Most are secret, carried out by special ops or by drones or simply by hired killers. The most discriminating killings are the ones by hired killers. Aircraft and drones kill whoever has the bad luck to be there. Ditto with Agent Orange and napalm.

In all of these, aerial bombing was used extensively against civilians, and quite deliberately against civilians. General Curtis LeMayl of the air force set the tone with Cambodia and Laos when he said, "We'll bomb them back to the stone age." Both countries were bombed so heavily (mostly in cities) that scenes like 9/11 occured every day. And, as in 9/11 most of the dead were civilians, women, children, mother and fathers, babies...

Hoow many American military have been killed since 1945?  A hundred thousand or so.

How many civilians, how many babies, how many children have they killed in that time?   So many millions that nobody knows the number.

And why were all these wars fought? Were Cuba, Haiti, Cambodia, Laos, Angola, Iraq, Iran, and Guatemala and Vietnam such threats to the U.S.? Or were these wars to bring freedom and dmocracy? (Not bloody likely.  In most cases,  the U.S. destroyed whatever democracy there was.)

And forget the God and country crap. It was done neither for God nor country. It was done to make U.S. billionaires the controllers of all the world's economies. Neither ordinary Americans nor people of any other country will get any benefit out of that.

And now we're on the edge of the final touch - the war fought by robots. Hey, that's an easy one to vote for. No need to worry about the draft that caused George Bush Jr. so much trouble.

Add to that governments, news media and entertainment media who have molded us to live in a fear and hate that justify any barbarity.

So what does all this mean to us? I'll write about that tomorrow.

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