Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oct. 14: I will have room at the end to talk about Israel ......

….because almost all of today's Irving press is trash.

The only story worth reading is on A1 “Senior officer tried to hush up visit to Oland death scene, court told” Of course. This is Canada. Somebody in a wealthy family is accused of a crime – and officials intervene to mess up the case. The lesson is clear. Kill only poor people. Then Harper gets really tough.

The editorial cartoon has a picture of the world. It's called contagion. An arrow points to East Africa labelled Ebola. Another points to the Middle East with the label ISIS. A political cartoon should give people a jolt. It should not simply agree with standard propaganda and prejudice. A much better label for the Middle East contagion would have have been U.S. (and possibly Britain).

Three of the four commentaries are worth reading. The other isn't a commentary at all. Brian Cormier doesn't like people who take bits of food from his plate. Who bloody cares? Cormier lists himself as a communications specialist. He needs another course in it. The one that says you need to have something to communicate.

Alec Bruce has a very thoughtful commentary on the NDP, and its recent slide in the polls. I would add just a point to his analysis. The NDP is the only party which enters a Canadian election with all the major, private news media opposed to it, and offering their constant propaganda. As a result, Canadians have no idea of the problems this country is facing. The reaction of the NDP from its origin over fifty years ago was to move further and further to the centre.

I can remember furiously arguing this with David Lewis over supper. (He was then leader of the party – and a brilliant man). His case was that its ancestor party, the CCF, could not raise money to fight a campaign, and it would never have the sort of money only the wealthy can give. It needed union support – and they wouldn't give it unless the party moved to the centre. (Incidentally, the bagman for New Brunswick – a man I personally liked very much – was Romeo Leblanc. His main job was to get money from you know who.)

In both Canada and the U.S., elections can be won only by the very, very rich who provide the campaign money and who own the private news media. And as long as that's the case, we won't have a democracy.
The Canada&World section is a disgrace. Much of it is both local and trivial. Only three stories are worth reading.

B2 has the story of a Canadian Journalist who was jailed for no reason in Egypt. Harper didn't lift a finger. “Harper 'betrayed and abandoned' me, journalist says” Why did Harper behave that way? Simple. The Egyptian government is a military dictatorship set up by the U.S. to end democracy in Egypt. And Harper is a U.S. lap dog.

B6 has a reasonable story on the Malaysian air flight downed over Ukraine. I am, though, puzzled by the lack of any mention of machine gun fire (which could only have come from an aircraft.) There were lots of pictures of it, and machine gun fire (called cannon fire in its larger versions such as 20mm guns)looks quite different from shrapnel. There are also bigger questions.

1. Why was this investigation given to The Netherlands, a close American ally and perhaps even puppet state of the U.S. The majority of victims was, of course, Dutch. But, in any case, should this not have been assigned to the United Nations? It is, after all, a war crime under international law.

2. Why was the pilot instructed to fly over a war zone? Was that the regular pattern for the flight? If so, who was responsible for failing to change that pattern? Every country knows it should not allow flights over a war zone.

3. Why did it take fifteen months to investigate when the key evidence, the bits of shrapnel, were before them from the start?

4. When will the U.S. investigate the shooting down of an Iranian liner over the Mediterranean some years ago, killing all aboard? And why have most of the major news media never even reported it?

I do not suggest this report is wrong because I really don't know. What I do know is that there are irregularities here.

Also on B6 is the story that the U.S. is providing military equipment to the 'rebels' fighting Assad Syria. But that's not the real story.
1. the 'rebels' aren't rebels. Most of them aren't even Syrians. They're hired mercenaries.
2. The U.S. has been training and equipping these 'rebels' from day one.
3. There is also a substantial presence among the rebels, of the U.S. military and the CIA.
4. It has also, from the start, been a war to prevent Russia from have any economic dealings with the Middle East.

Oh, and in an amusing note, Obama says that “Russia risks slipping into a quagmire in Syria” It's possible. And Obama would know because he and Bush have created the quagmire. But what is happening now is even worse than it might seem.

Russia and the U.S. are now at war with each other. It's what's called a proxy war. They don't send their forces directly against each other. They use others. This has always been a proxy war since the U.S. started it many years ago, using the 'rebels' as proxies.

For decades, the U.S. has been using sanctions and threats to keep Russia out of world markets. The Russian economy needs access to those markets. So Putin has called the American bluff by intervening in Syria. The U.S. and Russia are fighting each other in Syria, using proxies, but also using their own forces – so far, only against the other side's proxies.

But it takes only one mistake, one accident, to make this a Russia-U.S. war. And neither side is fighting for anything that could be called democracy or freedom – though that is what it will be called.

Similarly, though unreported in the Irving press, the U.S. is going to challenge China's claim that two, artificial islands off the China coast are Chinese territory. The U.S. response is a threat to send major Pacific fleet units to within 12 nautical miles of those islands without Chinese permission. Will China call the American bluff?

There appears to me a desperation on all sides. And all of it caused by wealthy people on all sides who want even more wealth.

There's a good column on C4 by student columnist Sabrina Stace. It's about studying for mid terms – and it stresses the point of avoiding ---well----stress.

Now to Israel – and that brings two images to mind for me. From age 15 on, most of my friends were Jews. They were very different from the Christians I had known. They were extraordinarily compassionate, and intellectually active. They led in movements like the nuclear disarmament movement; they turned out in large numbers for talks on current events. It was particularly striking when I had to give talks close together in churches and synagogues. The churches wanted a light talk with a few laughs. The synagogues wanted something serious and intellectually challenging.

This had nothing to do with racial characteristics. Judaism placed a heavy emphasis on learning and discussion. Christianity does not. (Pope Francis is an exception.) This spilled over into education. Education was and is important in Jewish society. In every year I taught in Montreal, Jewish students dominated among leading students in the provincial exams. No, Jews aren't born brilliant. But they're raised with a tremendous respect for learning.

Then I think of my Palestinian students, almost all of whom did quite decent work, too. And I think of one, a tall, lank guy who was an excellent student, and the time he sat in my office, talking about going home to Palestine.

It was a tale of despair, of a homeland that was a barren concentration camp, forever kept poor and with no control of it's own life by an Israel that routinely stole its lands and homes, killed its people. Everything was hopeless.

And, oh, the mutual hatreds were intense. Some Israelis, perhaps a majority, see Palestinians as an inferior people – much as Hitler felt about Jews. Of course. When you abuse and kill people, you have to believe that you belong to a superior race. That's what Britain thought about the people of Africa and Asia and just about everywhere else. That's what our ancestors thought (and what many Canadians still think) about our native peoples. France had contempt for Algerians, Spain and Portugal for the native peoples of Latin America. We're taught to hate. Now, it's Muslims who are on our list.

How how does all this explain the hatred between Jews and Palestinians? Well – that has something to do with ----us.

In the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s and even later, nobody took second place to the U.S. and Canada as Jew-haters. And very, very few cared about what Hitler was doing to Jews – and that was an attitude reflected at the highest levels of education, business, immigration practices, Hollywood….. Montreal didn't have a Jewish (or Black) schoolteacher until 1960, though Jews had been living in Montreal since the 1750s. Much the same was true across Canada.

In the late 1930s, Prime Minister MacKenzie King visited Hitler. He knew about the state-sponsored attacks on Jews, the arrests, the beatings...but he came home with nothing but praise for Hitler. From the 1930s to 1948 it was virtually forbidden for Jewish refugees to enter Canada. In my childhood, almost all Jews in Montreal were poor, and lived not far from the very poor district I grew up in. The writer, Mordecai Richler, grew up there, and he once shared with me some of his more unpleasant thoughts about Christians in those days. (Mordecai was never a hater, though.)

The same was true of the U.S. The U.S. now has a Black president. Well, it's about time. Now, name me a Jewish president – or a Jewish prime minister of Canada.

I knew Jews who had survived the camps. They had been abandoned by most of the world and most notably by Canada and the U.S. in the most horrible persecution in history. Then, in 1945, their hatred just had to find a new target.

The world decided to create a Jewish homeland. (And please don't tell me that bilge about Israel being the Jewish homeland. In the first place, it was taken through war by the tribes that became Israel. In the second place, most Jews have no significant connection with Israel at all. Israel is no more the homeland (in any historical sense) of Jews than Canada and the U.S. are the natural homelands of us European and African and Asian intruders. In fact, even our native peoples don't have their original homelands here – but at least they were the first humans to get here.

What we did was to give Jews a land that wasn't ours to give. It was already settled by Muslims and Jews who had lived there together in peace for almost two thousand years. And we kicked out most of the Muslims, and stuck them on a barren piece of coast. We could have given them part of Canada or part of the U.S. (and we would have been the better for it), but we preferred the Palestinians to be the generous ones. This was guaranteed to create hatreds on both sides.

For their part, the Israelis knew from the start they had nothing to thank us for. The U.S. has given massive help – but they know that's to maintain U.S. influence in an important region for billionaires. And they know that Harper supports them only verbally, and only to get the Jewish vote.

Jews have been placed in a hostile world. The lesson of world war two is that they have no reason to expect friendship from anybody. They have to look after themselves. That has made them military-minded and anxious to expand their borders for both economic and military reasons. That, as has always happened in history, makes them see Palestinians as an inferior people who can be killed and/or kept prisoners in poverty until it's time to push them out.

Palestinians understand that – they hate right back. This is the way people react. They hate so that they can feel free to kill. In that respect, Israel has some resemblance to Nazi Germany – and the British Empire, and every other empire there ever was. I was often struck by that when I talked to death camp survivors.

If there are good guys and bad guys in this, Canadians and Americans are among the leading bad guys.

As a by-the-way, Israelis don't depend on Harper's promises of support. They know how outdated and feeble Canada's armed forces are. World ratings of military strength leave us well behind countries like Switzerland and Portugal.

Our military badly need rebuilding. They also need a sense of purpose. Since 1945, they've simply been a branch of the U.S. services – offering token support in wars that have nothing to do with Canada. The reality is much as it was in 1812. We still live beside an imperialist and aggressive country with a much bigger population than ours.
And some good news. Donald Trump has said something that is mostly, (well, partly) intelligent. Check it out.

Finally, the only purposes of the Irving press are to make profits for the owner and, more important, to keep New Brunswick in ignorance of just about everything. It's deliberate. The vice-president of the newspaper chain is an Irving with  a degree in journalism. It is not possible he would not see the failings of these papers. Nor is it possible  that editors could be so ignorant of journalism as not to see what this is all about.

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