Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jan. 7: How time flies when you're having fun.

It is now 2 p.m., and my breakfast copy of the Moncton Times and Transcript has yet to arrive. However, there is enough news around so we can get along without it.

We'll start with an issue the news media rarely mention. Israel as a Jewish state. I dislike the idea of that because the implication is that Jews are not only a nation, but a race. In fact, there is no such thing as a race. And the term is inevitably used as Hitler used it – to make it official that a certain people are intellectually and morally superior to others. In fact, all us white folks in the west – Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, U.S. have used the word 'race' with that meaning. (You have not met really obnoxious arrogance and racism until you meet officials from those countries in places like China. In Hong Kong, I taught reporters, both Chinese and British who worked for The South China Morning Post. The Brits got paid more than the Chinese for the same job – though I found the Chinese to be better students. And it was clear the Brits saw themselves as a superior lot.)

Judaism is a religion. Zionism is the belief that Jews have the right to take over a country on the very flimsy basis of a belief it is a land God gave to them. There's a lot wrong with that.

In the first place, the only people on earth who live in their original homeland are Africans. (I thought my original homelands were Scotland and France – and Canada. In fact, DNA shows that I'm mostly Irish and Spanish with a hint of western Asia barbarian.)

If Canada and the U.S. seriously believed in the concept of homeland, we would go back to where we came from, and leave it to our aboriginal people.

As well, the Jews of the middle east are a different people from most of the Jews of Europe, Canada and the U.S. They don't have the slightly olive skin of the Sephardic Jews who lived in Israel. Indeed, they look quite European. That's because, many centuries ago, some Europeans were converted to Judaism. And they dominated among the ones who came to the Americas. Oh, yes, they commonly commonly have a trace of Israeli origins – about as much as I have of a west Asian barbarian.

This is more important than it seems because the concept of Zionism as a race encourages Jews to see themselves as superior to others. Thus their brutal treatment of Palestinians. Inevitably, the concept of race leads to racism. And modern Israel is heavily racist.

And that puts it quite out of step with the religion of Judaism. I can certainly understand the desire of European Jews of the 1940s and later for a homeland. But it was bad for us, and bad for Judaism, to take the land of other peoples (who included Sephardic Jews) and hand it over to others as Israel. It would have been far better, for us and for them, to welcome them to Canada.

My that's a long lead-in to a group called True Torah. These are Israeli Jews who are very, very orthodox Jews. They would agree with what I have said above. They're included here in a site from PBS.

To reinforce the above, here's a story from Israel's Haaretz.

Israel's Haaretz, unlike our own, dear Irving press, is one of the best papers in the world. So here's its opinion on Netanyahu's treatment of arab Israelis.

Last night, I watched Donald Trump on TV. It was scary. I really couldn't tell whether he was lying, was hopelessly ignorant of American and world issues, or was insane. But it was one of those.

I don't think he'll win the presidency. But it scares the hell out of me that so many Americans approve of him. And it scares the hell out of me that most of the other Republican candidates and Hillary have values and ideas that are not really very different.

The U.S. is a country facing very serious economic problems, dominated by big money, in a very advanced state of racism with all the threat that poses to social order, a country in which the very rich are systematically robbing everybody else (much like Canada), in which every person has been taught a fairy tale of what their history is and what kind of people they are, and in which citizens have more guns than any other country in the world – guns that include machine guns, anti-tank guns, and (quite seriously) artillery.

It also has deep and dangerous social problems including severe poverty combined with lack of help, a crumbling public education system, perhaps the world's highest level of murders, mass murders, police murders, general crime, the biggest prison system in the world (and a very bad one)….it goes on.

And of all the leadership candidates, only one (Democrat Bernie Sanders) has noticed these problems exist.

I wrote a long time ago that the American empire is in danger of collapse. And I fear the collapse may come even earlier than I had expected.

Then there's a story about the Keystone XL project, the one to send Canadian oil by pipeline through the U.S. Obama, as you will remember, refused to allow it. (I don't know whether the Irving press will have it. It's now 3:10 pm. And I'm still waiting for my breakfast paper.) The American government is getting sued for that by Canadian big oil. For $15 billion.

But that's not the important part of the story. The important part is that Canadian big oil is……


Of course. Free trade deals have been a way for major corporations to close down factories in their homelands, the re-open them in really cheap salary countries. That's been obvious. But they are also designed to kill the power of governments to protect their own people. To put it another way, they are designed to take away the power of all of us to protect our own people and ourselves against irresponsible business practices.

That should have been clear when Mulroney put this deal forward. Mulroney spent his whole life kissing up to the very rich. That's why he now lives in a huge mansion in Montreal. Oh, he did get caught for accepting bribe of a suitcase full of money while he was prime minister. But Stephen Harper was gentle. He accepted Mulroney's apology for using 'bad judgement'. And no more was said about it. After all, if you can't accept a bribe, what's the point of being in politics?

Obama turned down the pipeline because he thought it too dangerous for the nation that had elected him president. Most of the American people seem to have felt the same way. But NAFTA makes it possible to punish Americans for wanting to control their own country. $15 billion.
5:06 p.m. Just got my Irving press paper. (I went out, and bought it.)

The only parts worth reading are the commentaries by Alec Bruce and Justin Ryan – as well as Aurelie Pare's health column on C6. The editorial continues with its usual fretting about how to make a buck for some business, while ignoring what the people of this province need.

World news is both limited and trivial. There's a story about North Korea's claim to have an H bomb, but it doesn't really say anything – except that Canada can't do anything. (Ever notice that when our side has a bomb like that, it's a 'deterrent'? But when the other side has one, it's a 'threat'.)

Skip the story, and just read the last sentence. “Activists suggested a very specific role for Canada: lobby hard to push NATO to give up its own reliance on nuclear weapons as a strategic deterrent.”

It doesn't (not even on the sports page) have the story that Kingston, Ontario and Windsor, Nova Scotia are fighting over which is the birthplace of hockey.

Forget it.

Hockey was being played before there was even a Canada. In Britain, it was a popular game called 'shinty'. When I was a kid, we still called a pick-up game shinty or shinny. There are 18th century paintings of Dutch children skating and with sticks on the canals. The name hockey, incidentally, comes from the French hoquet. And some form of the game probably goes all the way back to a caveman walking on a frozen creek, picking up fallen limb and wacking a small rock with it.

The modern game, with standard rules, the one which has a continuous history as an organized sport, was first played in Montreal in 1875. It was, like almost all organized sport of the time, to be played only by gentlemen (rich people who didn't take money for playing.) Lord Stanley saw an early game in Montreal. That's why his Stanley Cup was dedicated to amateurs only.

Canadians are the best hockey players in the world. Most of the Swedes in the World Cup were actually Canadians.

New Brunswickers might be interested in an article that Paul Bennett of coalition of rural schools/la coalition des ecoles rurales sends on. It might come as a spark to light up the New Brunswick confusion. There is hope.

It might also be useful to read this opinion about the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, our very good friends, and the ones we are selling $15 billion of armoured cars to. And the author, Robert Fisk, is among the greatest of journalists.
(By the way, I could use guidance here from a weapons expert. As I understand it, armoured cars are rarely much use on a battlefield. Their guns are feeble; their armour is thin; and they are poor at going crosscountry. What they are good at is attacking civilians on the paved roads of a city. If so, is it possible the king is worried about uprisings in his kingdom?)

I have more. But I think it's time to quit for the day, and turn on the TV for Thomas the Tank Engine.

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