Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23:There are none so blind....

....as those who will not see.

For over 80 years, war has meant the mass slaughter of civilians. It's the result of using weapons that cannot be precise killers -   bombs, drones, napalm, agent orange.... And it's also the result of the decision that killing civilians has proven an effective method of winning a war.

To that we are now adding robot war. Drones whose pilots are thousands of miles away are great killers. Targets (based on information that may or may not be reliable or on reports of other drones) are now widely used by the U.S. against 'suspected' terrorists. They kill very large numbers of innocent people, of course. But that doesn't make our news media so it really doesn't happen. Not really.

The U.S. is not the only country that can make drones. Other countries will have them- and they will bomb as casually as the U.S. does. Canada is an unquestioning ally of the U.S. Indeed, one might even call it a stooge of the U.S. And that makes Canada a target for drones.

And that's just the beginning of robot warfare. In the near future, we'll see unmanned tanks and unmanned  artillery, and even robot soldiers. We'll see a world that can go on fighting even after we're all dead.

We're actively planning for a nuclear war, too, with thousands of missiles around the world ready for action. Of course, we're smart about it. We'll strike first, and destroy the enemy missiles before they get launched. And if any escape that, we'll destroy them with counter-missiles.

Neat, very neat - with one, little catch. Any missile we destroy necessarily releases its radioactive fallout, with more than enough of it to end all life on earth. But that will come as a relief since the spending of such huge sums of money to develop robot weapons and warriors will mean the economic ruin of every country that tries it. It's already happening in the U.S. where poverty is rising in the face of enormous military spending - spending so great it can never be repaid.

That's one reason for the rush to attack Russia and China, particularly China, so the U.S. can get away with without ever paying its debts. However, it is more likely that such a war would mean no Russia, no China, no U.S., no Canada....

For all but those who will not see, wars can no longer be fought. The wars since 1945 have been remarkably ineffective. We don't have fewer wars, we have more. We don't have fewer enemies; we have more. And except in the movies, our side hasn't won anything.

Nobody can possibly win anything from more wars. We cannot fight them with any possibility of success that is worth the price.

We cannot do it. But most of our major leaders insist that we must - including Stephen Harper who pretended to be Clint Eastwood as he said, "Get out of Ukraine, Mr. Putin."

We cannot fight another war. We cannot fight it and survive. But we have billionaires who want another war for their own profit. They own most of our politicians. And they own almost all the news media that keep us in a dreamwalk to the gates of hell.

And so we go on preparing for what cannot be done.

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The same thing is true of climate change. The greatest deniers of it have been the very wealthy like the American Koch brothers. Of course. They make billions out of oil, the major cause of climate change. They have planted propaganda in their news media.

Result - our governments (which such people own) have done very, very little. In fact, the current push is on to extend  oil production with more pipelines, more exploration wells in the fragile Arctic, more warnings that our society must have oil.

Moncton City Council is certainly assuming that oil will go on for a very long time to come. The proposed, new hockey rink won't be open for some years. But all the planning is for people to get to within walking distance from it by car.

The reality is we can't  have more oil. It doesn't matter how much our economy needs it. We can't have it. But all the planning and the pipelines suggest no target date to cut emissions. If a pipeline to our East coast is built - and you can bet it will be built - that means a commitment to oil for generations to come.and, by then, it really won't matter.

You feel we need it? We can't have it. That's a childhood lesson we should now, of all times, be remembering.

But world war and climate change are not even a significant part of our federal election campaign.
Harper, like Trump, is banking on the spread of hatred and fear. with Trump stirring hatred and fear of Mexican  rapists, and Harper aiming at almost invisible Muslim terrorists.

The election issues in Canada and the U.S. are largely trivial - a sure sign of societies in collapse. And the reporting and commentaries from most of our news media have been contemptible - with the Irving press even beneath contemptible. Just check  any day's editorial and commentaries for examples.
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Then we have the Faith Page with its weekly equivalent of somebody piddling against a tree stump.
Yesterday's sermonette was yet another Tweety bird Sunday school story about talking to God.
You know, in a world reeking with starvation, mass murder and theft sponsored by our wealthy and their governments, I rather think Jesus might have come up with a more compelling message. But I've noticed the sermonettes are never about Christianity in relation to social beyaviour. No. They're always just you and God - with a word for Jesus occaisionally tossed in. It's about you going to heaven with the implication that if you aren't, like the sermonetteers, self-obsessed, if you waste your time thinking about how you should treat others, then only the 'true believers' will go (naked) up to heaven to enjoy the view of you being tortured by tarantulas on the way to hell.

War, mass murder, greed, deliberate starvation are religious issues. (Yes, I know we have separation of church and state. But that does not mean we are forbidden to make  religious observations about the state.)

I've noticed that all the sermonettes seem to be written by fundamentalist Protestant clergy. But no United Church, no Presbyterians, no Anglicans, no Unitarians, no Roman Catholics, no Jews, no Muslims. I've know a great many fundamentalists from my preaching days. Just about all of them had a quite unChristian obsession with themselves.

I guess that fits in with the Irving philosophy.

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In short, the churches seem to have abandoned their role of establishing moral guidelines for their followers. And self-interest and greed are now the only forms of morality that have high status in our society.

Any society needs a moral context which encourages us to think of others. All we have is self-obsession for the many, and unbridled greed for a few. And greed is one hell of a dangerous element in making judgements.

We are now faced with at least several things we cannot do - abuse our climate, make war,, and abandon morality. It seems clear that much of our polical leadership and all of our very wealthy intend to do them, anyway. So, if you go to a political meeting, don't go as if it were a jovial, family reunion with everybody wearing the same sort of T-shirt. Don't go to cheer. Go to demand they speak clearly about those things we cannot do.

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