Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31: The truth we have not learned.

The Fertile Crescent is a great arc of land that stretches from Yemen through the Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. Twelve thousand years ago, it was the birthplace of all civilizations in this world. And the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Not surprisingly, there are great similarities between these religions. Not surprisingly, the various religious groups prefer not to see their similarities but to poke away at their differences.

This region is the one referred to in The Bible as the Garden of Eden. However, the expulsion may have been the result of changing climate, weakening food production, and over-population - not to mention thousands of years of highly destructive wars, just like the ones we have thrust on the region. And so, many thousands of years ago, there began the long and desperate flights of refugees into Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Those pressures of food, changing environment, and over-population continue to this day all over the world. Over the thousands of years, the Fertile Crescent has become sand and rock and drying, cracked fields. We know what can happen. We know from 12,000 years of the history of the Fertile Crescent. We know what can happen. We are also seeing it in Canada and the U.S. today.

Norbert Cunningham, this is not a problem that can be solved by the big business world, no matter how wise their rumps that sink into upholstered chairs may be. Far from seeking answers, big business hasn't shown any interest even in looking at the problems.

Where are its studies of what will happen to our farmlands, our forests, our wildlife, our sea levels? We live in a city designed for automobiles. Can we still be doing that in twenty years? Up to 1945, Moncton was designed for a walking world.  Each house had its own lot And that was fine because eveything was close enough to walk to.

Big cities moved to public transit in the late nineteenth century. Most had no other form of transportation. Then, about the same time, came the railway suburb. One could live in a cottage within walking distance of a train station and have lawns and back yards.But that was only for the well-off. The rest, in the cities, had to live in tightly-packed row houses to be in easy reach of shops, and of public transit. But Moncton was then too small to need such restrictions.
Then, after 1945, came the city of cars. That greatly increased the number of sprawling suburbs, each cottage with its own lawn and driveway... A very small city like Moncton could get away with simply maintaining its old style of urban planning and sprawl. And public transit could remain an expensive sideshow.
But will this still work in 20 years? Forty years? And will the parking lot at the Mall still be above water? And the causeway to Riverview?

Where is the planning? So far, all  I have seen is yesterday's editorial that we should speed up climate change by burning more fossil fuel.

What are the changes we should plan for in the fishery? in plant and animal life? So far, what has been done is less than nothing. We haven't yet even made any effort to determine what we're dealing with.
Almost all of section A news is chatter. There are two items on page 1 that might be important. But I don't know. They aren't written as news stories. They're written as press releases, which means we only get one side of the story.
The editorial tells us that the most important project for the future of Moncton is the new hockey rink/events centre. This is nonsense. If this were a sure fire money winner, only a fool could believe the big, private money in this province would allow the government to build it and to get all those profits.

Besides, how can the editor define this as the most important project for the city when the city doesn't even have a basic plan for what it needs?

Norbet has nothing to say. His column seems to say, vaguely. that both Liberals and Conservatives in New Brunswick have to work on their political acts. Obviously,  his assumption is that these are the only  parties worth mentioning. Anyway,  we don't need more political gimmicks to win elections. What we need is parties that base their policies on principles. And we need a newspaper that tells us what's going on. Without that, we cannot vote intelligently and we cannot, in any real sense, be a democracy.

Rod Allen, again, treats us to his adolescent wit.

Justin Ryan writes on the importance of showing kindness to refugees. He's done it before. But it's worth repeating. We have to remember that we are all refugees - every human on this earth is a refugee. It's been going on for 25,000 years.
Alec Bruce makes an unkind, but quite accurate, statement about the failure of our universities to teach people how to think. I'll add just a bit to that. Most academics don't have a clue how to teach anything - and they don't care.  Academic reputation comes from research, not from teaching. And, oh, academics lust for reputation. To add to that burden, they increasingly rely on the wealthy for donations. And the wealthy are not much interested in thinking, either.
One of the biggest stories in Canada and World is about New Brunswick. "Study critical of region's continuous reflex to raise taxes." It's a story that asks no questions. It just says what it was told to say by the report. And the report is by.....? The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, of course.

And the story, as usual, doesn't bother to tell us that AIMS is a propaganda front which was created by, among others, the Irvings.

Anyway, not to worry. I'd like to see some evidence first that the Irvings even pay taxes.

Russia and the U.S. have come to an agreement to work together against ISIS. But that wasn't important enough for the news editor at the Irving press. In fact, there's nothing of importance in the whole of Section B. I guess Mr. Irving doesn't want us to worry.
Or to think.
One of the stories missing from Irving press is the one of how an Israeli military officer took out his pistol, walked over to a wounded Palestinian who lay unarmed and wounded on the ground - and shot him in the head. He was charged with murder, which was soon reduced to manslaughter. A UN spokesman says the charge should be re-entered as murder. The leader of the Israeli opposition says he should be free with no charges. I think they're all wrong. I also think this is an important story.

The Irving press hasn't bothered to mention the story. That's too bad because this is one that could help to explain changes that have happened in warfare.
Most humans don't like to kill each other. In many of the worst wars of the last two centuries, at least, soldiers deliberately fired over the heads of enemies, or fired muskets with just powder in them, or have simply refused to fire at all. At the battle of Gettysburg in the U.S. civil war, it is possible that as many as 90% on each side avoided shooting at the enemy.  This held true in both world wars - and on both sides.

Something had to be done.

And so it was that basic military training became a training in having contempt for others. A starting point was teaching contempt for women. (The high incidence of sexual attacks within armies in recent years is not a coincidence.) In most armies, men are taught to see women as things to be used, and discarded.) They are steeped in contempt for their likely enemies who become subhuman. They are taught to abandon the standards of their families and their religions by being submerged in a world that consists only of their military comrades, of conformity with them, and obedience to the army. And there's much more.

The job can be done in a matter of weeks. And it works. Killing has risen very satisfactorily. ( So has rape and killing of civilians, including children.) Mind you, there is a problem in this. It is almost certainly related to the great rise in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that affects so many soldiers. Added to the natural strain of combat, the realization that they have killed people can cause PTSD for a lifetime. And that realization can sink home even many years later.
I well remember the RCAF bomber pilot (WW2) who approached me after I had spoken about the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilians by our air forces in that war. He said he had not done that, and hated to hear these stories that he had. Then, in tears, he told me how his grandson had said, "Did you really kill all those children, grandpa?"

Actually, he had. He told me some of the raids he had been on. These were raids designed to kill civilians. I think he knew that. But he couldn't face it. And I would guess he never recovered from it.

But I think he was also right. He was not to blame for all those killings. We were. We still are. Notice we never got any significant reports on who we bombed in Libya, Iraq, and Syria? And nobody has asked for any.

The Israeli officer who shot the helpless civilian is almost certainly a product of that training.

Then there's the reality  that Israeli thinking has been profoundly affected by what was done to them by the Naziis, and that we (Canada, the US, and others) ignored until well after the war. And that has resulted in a Jewish Israel that parted a long way from the principles of Judaism. It has been taught hatred and a willingness to kill, abuse, dehumanize, starve Palestinians, and steal their land.
There are a lot of people to be blamed for the shooting of a wounded and helpless Palestinian. So I wouldn't rush to lay all the blame on an Israeli military officer.
Below is a two-part series on the state of American democracy. What's here is true enough. But it's very, very gentle. The reality is that nothing is happening to American democracy. That's because it ceased to exist long ago.
A reader has informed me that Information Clearing House has not appeared for some days because publisher Tom Feeley suffered a stroke. Fortunately, it was not a major one.  We wish him a speedy recovery.
A reader has sent me a story in a site that is new to me. As I check through its material, it seems to me to be pretty competent. This  story is about a prolonged attack on a hospital by a U.S. gunship. I've been following this story - and what this site says corresponds with what I already knew. This could be a good one.
And here's a story about the horror that Honduras has become as the result of the replacement of the old government with a new one, courtesy of Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. As a result, mining companies have been allowed to swarm into Honduras, creating massive environmental destruction. Murder (commonly by the U.S.-backed government) is at the highest rate in the world. And it's quite possible, even likely, that some of those mining companies are Canadian, with stocks held by some of the  'best' families in the country.

1 comment:

  1. Its was one of several birth places of civilization, along with the Indus Valley in India and the Yellow River in China.