Monday, October 5, 2015

Oct. 5: I cannot think of a title for this one.

In a corner in Moncton's Victoria Park is a monument to the people of this city who have died in our wars. It's nothing fancy or showy.   But its very simplicity is what makes it a moving visit. For this Remembrance Day, a name has been added. L.J.Boudreau didn't die in Korea in 1953. He died in Canada in 1980. But he lived and then died with a malaria that he contracted in Korea. So, with the support of The Canadian Legion, his name was added to our war memorial.

Many of our war dead were killed by war - but not during the war. A childhood friend who was some years older than me went to Korea. He was wounded badly, returned home, but was never the same again. He, too, died about 1980.  There were a great many more like him we should remember on November 11.

The story of L.J.Boudreau is front page in today's Irving press. It reminded me of my many visits to that war memorial in Victoria Park. And, in today's story, it reminded me of another neglected group - all those we still send to war and will send to war. On Nov. 11, we remember those who died. I would strongly suggest to the Canadian Legion we also remember those we are sending to die now and in the future. I suggest there are wars we and The Canadian Legion should not support.

We have aircraft now bombing Iraq. Why? It is very likely an international court would find that bombing a war crime. Iraq is no threat to us. Nor is Syria. Nor was Afghanistan.  It was all very well to stand along the highway to show rrememberance and thanks as the coffins of the Afghanistan dead rolled by.

It would have been a lot more intelligent to show them respect before they went by questioning why we were sending them.

What was patriotic about killing Afghanis? What is patriotic about us killing anybody in the middle east? It seems to me that if Harper wants to kill people in order to please the American government and the oil industry, he should bloody well go do it himself.

The wars of today are blatantly economic. They aren't war. They're murder to make a few people richer. After all, you don't bring democracy and freedom to people by bombing them, murdering millions, and making tens of millions into terrified and starving refugees.

In fact, we have never brought freedom and democracy to people. (We supported dictators in North Korea and Vietnam.  We overthrew elected governments in Egypt and Ukraine and Haiti and Guatermala.) Nor does God give us any licence to do decide how other countries should be ruled.

This November 11, it would be nice to remember those who died AND to remember those we might send to die in the future. And The Canadian Legion and the churches surely have a responsibilty to remind us of that.

Patriotism by itelf is not good. Hitler was a patriot. So was Mussolini. And the Germans and Italians and Koreans and Afghanis who killed Canadians were also being patriotic.

Of course, we should be proud of Canada. But we first have to do things to be proud of.

On A3 there are two, count them, two, big stories about debates between local Candidates for federal election , one for the Moncton region, one for a neighbouring region. As is usually the case in these TV debates, nobody had much to say. And the studio arrangements and the hosting were painfully amateurish. They reflected no credit on the organizers, Rogers and the Moncton Times and Transcript.

And that's really it for news in Section A.

Undauunted, we move to the Opinion page. The editorial, of course, isn't worth reading. Norbert's column is well-written. But it's all about a topic on which he has nothing, really, to say. The star performance is a letter to the editor, "Seek cheaper option for Canadian air force". The writer shows far more understanding of fighter aircraft than either Harper or McKay do. The F-35, which is supposed to serve us for generations to come, is already out of date. Add to that its extremely high price and its continuing problems, and you wander how Harper and McKay could have considered this dog in the first place. Of course, money could be crossing a table.

Craig Babcock talks about a police practice of setting up criminals to commit crimes. It's worth reading to see what's going on. But you won't get the full story behind this. In the US and Canada, it is standard practice for domestic intelligence gestapo to trick people into crime, then arrest them for terrorism or whatever. In the U.S., it's likely that most "terrorist arrests" are done that way. And our gestapo did it just recently in BC to a couple were were, to say the least, below normal intelligence. They were actually supplied with the material to make a bomb, then shown  how to make it, then given a target. Then, before the bomb could be set off, they were arrested.

In short, the police often create crimes, presumably to keep up us too scared to ask what happened to our rights to privacy.

The guest column is a political speech.  Alec Bruce is - damned if know. It's a lot of nice words that don't really say anything. In an odd touch, he says that Mulcair is losing votes in Quebec - and suggests it is because of his hubris and arrogance.

Come off it, Bruce. He's losing those votes because Quebec has a large number of bigots who hate Muslims - and Mulcair has defended the right of a Muslim woman wearing a niqab to take the oath of citizenship. It's not a secret. Harper has been playing for the bigot votes, and he's getting them.
The Canada&World section has nothing much to say about anything. Yemen and the pounding it's getting from American-supplied bombs, and the starvation doesn't make the Irving news - yet again. The banner headline isn't about Canada or World; it's about a New Brunswick by-election. That, I guess, is the big, world story for the day.

The school shootings in Oregon are a big story - again. In fact, it actually appears twice today. It has nothing to say either time. But the sensationalism will draw the same  crowd that just loves Anne Landers, or horoscopes, or finding out the birthdays of celebrities most of us never heard of.

B3 wastes a page on a gay priest being fired. (This was yesterday's story.) The rest of the page is devoted to Pope Francis saying that marriage is forever. Duh..Mr. editor...that's been the church's position for many centuries now. What big news do you expect to break next? That the Roman Empire is falling?

Moving on to even bigger news, B4 has a big story from Ontario that three children and their grandfather killed by a drunk driver are being mourned by the family survivors.

B5 has a real story. The director of a hospital in Afghanistan which was run by Doctors Without Border has claimed that the American bombing of that hospital was a war crime. Of course it was. The invasion of Afghanistan in the first place was a war crime. The invasion of Iraq was a war crime. Sponsoring a civil war in Syria is a war crime. drone bombing are war crimes. Attacks by special ops are usually war crimes. The U.S. has been committing war crimes on a daily basis for over sixty years. And, along with Britain, France, Spain has been committing  war crimes for centuries.

So we got all righteous when we hanged Saddam for war crimes, and when we enjoyed videos of Ghadaffi being killed by a bayonet being shoved up  his rear end. And Tony Blair has become an obscenely rich mass murderer. And George Bush Jr. is a wealthy man, much respected in his Chistian church.

B4 has another story about Christian devotion. The Canadian government is asking the Christian churches of Canada to sponsor refugee immigrants from Syria, but (mostly) only if they're Christians.
There are millions of refugees out there, and most are not Christians. Would Jesus have kicked children back into the water if they weren't Christian?

The churches should tell Harper to shove that order where the sun don't shine. But they won't. To understand why they won't, take a look at the bilge that appeared on Saturday's faith page. Take a look at those soppy ads for the Irving Chapel.

Perhaps we can send preachers to go to the refugee camps, ringing a bell as they pass among the hungry and sick crying, "Any Christians here?"

Oh, and the last page has a story about the Oland murder. Of course. It says nothing, and  has no news value whatever. Oh, but it's a big, Canada&World story.

The number of refugees is growing. There is not the slightest possibility that Europe can absorb them all (or even many of them) without very serious civil unrest. Very large numbers of them will be forced to stay in refugee camps until they die of the diseases that such camps breed.

The situation is beyond dangerous. At best, the middle east will remain a disaster area for as long as any of us lives. And you can watch for a breakout of fighting in Russia as muslim regions renew their dislike of Russian rule. The government set up by the U.S. in Afghanistan is corrupt, and has little support. The U.S. has failed to beat the Taliban. All that money and all those lives lost have produced nothing for the U.S.

 Ukraine is on the edge of breaking. The government overthrow that led to the present government was organized by the U.S. with the intention of moving into an area close to Moscow, and with an intent to attack Russia. Ukraine. always in bad shape, is now in desperate poverty, including in the western part - the ones on our side.

The U.S. has many politicians and military leaders looking for a war with Russia. Such a war would also certainly include an attack on China - which is why we read yesterday that the U.S. has based a U.S. nuclear-power carrier in Japan. It's also why the U.S. is urging Japan to militarize.

Looking at the U.S. record over the last sixty years, there is no reason to believe it can defeat either Russia or China in a conventional war. Any such war would become nuclear.

I have no illusions about the goodness of Russian or Chinese oligarchs. Both their oligarchs and ours are making insane decisions. And the word insane I use in its full sense.  And the root of this insanity?

It comes from those with wealth and power, the oligarchs. And they, such is the nature of the beast, want more wealth and power and, getting that, they will want still more. They are responsible for the deaths of millions, the destruction of nations, the horror of tens of millions of refugees.

Left to it, they will eventually destroy themselves, too. But there's no point in talking to them about that part of it. They're insane. They have no sense whatever of morality or concern for others. For these oligarchs, no religion exists. And to a considerable degree, they're right. Religion, in the western world at least, has largely ceased to exist. (Thus Harper's priority for only "Christian" refugees. Thus Bush's devout membership in a church that welcomes a mass murderer and torturer like him.)

Thus the eagerness of oil corporations to finance huge campaigns to block any attempts to deal with climate change. It's insane. But greed creates insanity.

Think it over next time you're attending Sunday service at the Irving chapel.


  1. "When you go to war, you are not fighting for your country, you are fighting for your government" Howard Zinn

    1. And we're not even doing that. Nor are we fighting for the American government. We're fighting for a handful of super-billionaires.

    2. And we're not even doing that. Nor are we fighting for the American government. We're fighting for a handful of super-billionaires.

    3. You're right. I forgot there are no nation states under global Neoliberalism and soon we won't be one.