Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oct. 25: catch-up day

And the day when I kick myself for not connecting the dots on Trudeau and the election. A friend sent me an article on Trudeau. I thought it excessively cruel to Trudeau. But it was also full of information I already knew – but which I had not thought about.

Harper came to power because the Liberal party had collapsed. Paul Martin had been a lacklustre prime minister – to put it kindly. Then came Dion and Ignatieff who were worse. The Liberal party had lost any sense of direction, of purpose, of image. And there seemed no-one of talent in the party. The last time that happened was in 1919 when a young Mackenzie King re-organized it to create the party whose rule dominated the twentieth century.

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau had been doing not much of anything. Like all francophone children of his social class, he went to an excellent and every expensive school. Then he got a BA in Literature, and a degree in education. Then – he taught snowboarding in B.C.

Oh, there was some political activity, but not much. Then he taught high school for a bit. So why did the party come after him to run in 2008?

That might be because the party was in desperate shape. It had little that could be called policy and nothing that could be called philosophy. (It still doesn't. In fact, as the election showed, only the Greens had something that could be called policy or philosophy. It was narrow, but it existed.)

So why go after Trudeau who had never shown any sense of philosophy or policy?

Because he was cute. And his name was Trudeau. And it worked. In just five years, he was party leader and, in two more, prime minister.

What values does he stand for? What does he think the role of a government should be be? We don't know. The election, after all, was fought on issues of images and playing little games with promises of goodies like tax breaks. We are back, at best, to the 1990s. Here's the article. Go to “The Triumph of Drivel”. I really do think it strays into being malicious – but the essential points are dead on.
Iraq has given Russia permission to bomb ISIS bases in Iraq. That's more important than it might seem.
It means Iraq is snubbing the U.S. And that suggests that Iraqis did not welcome the U.S. invasion of Iraq or the destruction of their country. It also suggests that the U.S. is losing the battle for dominance in the Middle East. And that latter part of it could get a lot worse because a British report called the Chilcot Inquiry is due to become public.
It is known now that Tony Blair and George Bush came to an agreement a year before the Iraq invasion to carry out that invasion. Particularly damaging here is a leaked statement by General Powell confirming this. This was before they invented the excuse about 'weapons of mass destruction' – whatever that much mean. Aren't most war weapons designed for mass destruction? Blair leaves us now with just one reason for that war – Hussein was a bad man.
Maybe he was. So were George Bush and Tony Blair. They're the ones who killed over a million Iraqis. They're the ones who financed Hussein's invasion of Iran.
Many people say that Tony Blair made Britain a poodle for Bush. And many people are right. Against the wishes of his own party, he sent British to die in Iraq. He made Britain, in effect, a colony of the American Empire. He made himself an extremely wealthy man. He and Bush also created the opening for ISIS to develop. He did it by making the U.S. and Britain so hated throughout the region, and by so destroying any government at all in Iraq that he opened the door for ISIS. And now Blair has publicly apologized for that. So why has this man, who built a fortune out of lying and killing, decided to apologize?
Because the Chilcot Inquiry is coming down. And it will make Bush and Blair look very, very bad. It may, in fact, even suggest that they should be facing charges for war crimes. (I doubt though that they will. In all war crimes trials I know of, only the war's losers have been tried – and usually by the side that won.)

Of course, Blair lies a good deal in his apology. He says he and the US tried to “help” Libya without sending in troops. Very true – sort of. They sent bombers. Then he says they tried to 'help' Syria without intervening (except, of course, by creating, arming and paying mercenaries to overthrow the government.) Tony Blair is a very nasty bit of goods. I shall never forget his appearance beside Bush when Bush addressed congress after 9/11. He had a big, wolfish grin on his face.
Blair was a major factor in causing the deadly shambles that is now the Middle East. I am not confident the Russian intervention will makes things better. Bombing and killing by the U.S. has certainly made nothing better. I see no difference resulting from Russian attacks. The only difference it does make is to reduce the stature of the U.S., and so to create more unrest in other parts of the American Empire.
According to a UN report on freedom of speech, that freedom has virtually ceased to exist in the U.S., along with freedom of information. Anyone who reveals things that the government doesn't want Americans to know either has to go into hiding – or face life in prison. Not a single person involved in the world's greatest torture system has even been charged with anything. Torture of anyone is a war crime. It's also against American law. And it's also illegal all over the world to torture minors.
Not a single person has been prosecuted for this – which may have something to do with the fact that the trail leads straight to the White House. The only person in prison for any connection with this is a woman who told the public about this and other crimes. (And the American and Canadian press have largely ignored her.
Access to information and freedom of speech are essential to any democracy. The U.S., for this and other reasons, is no longer a democracy. Harper has been taking us down the same path. Will Trudeau change this in any significant way? I doubt it very, very much.

Oh, have you noticed our reports on the Syrian rebels almost always call them 'moderates'. What's a moderate rebel? Until the Syria war, I had never heard of moderate rebels. They must be something like midget basketball pros. And who decides that these are moderates? It's the US, of course. Why do our news media, most of them, follow the lead of government and call these people moderates? And now that they do it, can somebody tell us what the word means in this context?

Readers may wonder why this blog has so many full-width lines on it. So do I.


  1. Funny: Warren writes drivel condemning drivel and you contribute more drivel.

  2. Too true. I've always envied Justin because I never had a chance for a career teaching snowboarding.

    1. I'm afraid I find your arguments thin and unconvincing, while those of the article you reference are even shallower, smacking as they both do of intellectual elitism. In other words, the Sheldon Cooper look-down-your-nose approach to assessing someone else's abilities based on a shrivelled-down set of values.

      Highly disappointing to read. As if a person's worth or ability could or should be based on a recitation of their conventional training and career. It tells me precisely nothing about the person other than they successfully jumped through a few hoops society obligingly placed in their way as a rough measure of something or other. And Trudeau managed that with a BA and BEd from UBC in any case.

      I remember you from my Acadia days, as you have a memorable visage. In my case, my career as an engineer led me interview dozens of prospective candidates for jobs on my team. Paper qualifications never once revealed the quality of the person before me.

      I suggest therefore that a bit more charity should be extended to those who do not meet the rote qualifications you hold so dear.

  3. By the way, rumleytips, if you will read my blog, then close your eyes really, really hard and think, you might realize that a) I criticized Warren for being too harsh on Trudeau; and 2) I dirercted criticism at ALL of the parties, not just the Liberals.

  4. You still have failed to undersand my point. I did not simply pick on Justin. I criticized ALL the parties However, I recognize the value of your political opinion as an engineer. Of course. Who would know better how to pick a political leader?
    So you recognize me from our days at Acadia? And you didn't approve of me? I'm glad to hear it. Are you, by any chance the self-righteous one from Cape Breton? It's so hard to know when people don't give their names.