Monday, February 13, 2017

Feb. 13: A curse: May you live in interesting times.

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood was Picasso's painting of the German bombing of Guernica. This was in the Spanish civil war of the 1930s in the fascist general Franco over threw the elected government of Spain . It's a picture of the horror of bombing deliberately aimed at defenceless civilians.  (Guernica had no soldiers in it, and no value whatever as a military target.) This was an early example of the terror bombing that has become standard practice for ever country with an adequate bomber force.

Britain, France, the U.S., Canada made no complaint That's because they supported the fascists in that war, the same fascists we were later told  were evil. When Canadians volunteered to fight against the fascists in Spain, they were branded by the Canadian government as traitors, and a threat to Canada.

How soon we forget.
But the lesson of Guernica as a cheap and easy way of war sank home. The bombing of civilians, quite deliberately to terrorize them by the scale of murder, became standard practice in World War Two, culminating in the fire-bombing of civilians in Tokyo, and then by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The U.S. government had learned (in a lesson that would be rubbed home in the Vietnam war) that the American public would not tolerate any heavy loss of life in war. And though they killed millions of civilians in Vietnam, they were aghast that the Vietnamese had the nerve to kill thousands of Americans. And so it was that the war of the future would be a war of massive bombing of civilians, preferably in countries that had no significant defence against air attack. And so there followed the massive bombing of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon.   (Actually, it had already bombed and killed one-third of the whole population of North Korea.)

And now it has been delightfully refined with the drone bombers whose pilots risk only traffic tie-ups on their drives to work. And all get medals and march in parades and are heroes for defending the US (and Britain and Germany and other countries) against countries which didn't (and can't) attack them.

But, oh, those Muslims are evil. We know that, just as Hitler's Germany knew that the government of Spain was evil. But in real terms, the most evil people in  terms of inflicting death and misery over the past fifty years have been Christians - like the two George Bushes, and Obama, and, I'm sure, Trump.  (And it would have been no different with Clinton).

Hitler lost the war. But his ideas and values have survived in us.
Air pollution has reached severe danger levels in much of the world. But don't worry. Oil companies will bomb it.
This story about crossing the U.S. border is pretty disgusting. But there's a better one that I have lost somewhere. Thanks to the generous spirit of our liberal government, U.S. border guards are pemitted to enter Canada, and to investigate people before they even get to the border. That's what happens when you're a colony, and your government accepts that.
This is the kind of story we should be paying much, much more attention to. The handing over of powers to big business is effectively destroying democracy - and us. It gets laws passed that allow it to escape taxation which, ultimately damages education, health and the whole range of services that people require. Business is, and long has been, the force to decide who we will kill and, in the cost of killing, uses the money we need for basic services.

The people we send off to die in wars to make profits higher are the same ones we say are 'serving their country'.

The very wealthy are also setting deals which make it impossible to deal with environmental issues.

The wealthy, in short, are allowed to run free with no obligation except to themselves and their own greed.
Here's a story that has captured very little attention in the North American press.

What the writer doesn't understand, of course, is the importance of killing women and children and civilians in Yemen in order to prevent them from invading the U.S.
Here is a criticism that happens to apply to most of the brainless columns in the irving press and, indeed, most of the western press.
This is the article about the great change that is happening in our time. And it's another trade deal. We are on the edge of a world run by the wealthiest of business leaders. They always have been influential. They are now heading for total and independent power.

Think of that - a world run by people of no morality, and with a worship only of money. Nor are they people of any marked intelligence.

Quite apart from their greed, these people are too stupid to direct a society. Donald Trump is not just a clown. He's a sample of the world we are drifting into.

As a very small example of this, the government of New Brunswick has handed over hospital food services to a private company.  The irving press went wild with joy, and people who don''t know anything about the subject but who know which rear ends to kiss wrote ecstatic columns about how the food would now be better and cheaper. It won't be.

Even a fool should realize that operating the service PLUS producing a profit for a private company is going to cost us more. Even a fool would know that. But we get our news from damn fools, the worst kind.

In Britain and the U.S. similar interventions have led to renting prisons and police forces and schools from private contractors. And things are worse. Not better.
This is Guernica. We are the Naziis.
Hey! If you don't believe our billionaires and the news media and the politicians they own, who can you believe?
We are at a point of stunning change in world history. And I doubt very much that the wealthy will stop short of killing (us, among others) to get what they want.
Canada has elected a prime minister whose only talent is that he wears a suit well, and his only useful skill is that he can teach waterboarding.  (And the Conservatives are worse.)
The United states conquered The Phillipines over a hundred years ago. But it did not bring democracy, and it did not bring prosperity. It brought dictatorship, and it brought capitalism that produced a society deep in poverty. That's exactly what British and other west European imperialism brought to China for a over a century. That's what they brought to most of Africa. That's what the U.S. brought to South America.

Capitalism does not bring democracy or prosperity to anybody but the very wealthy. And we're not on the list.
Special operations troops are assassins who don't ask questions about who they're killing. That, in some circles, makes them heroes who serve their country.

Canadians will note that Canada is one place where they 'served'. That was probably to train Canadian assassins. But who knows for sure?
Our situation was not created by Trump. I'm not sure it has even been made worse by him.  The U.S. has been on the greatest, most violent and most greedy orgy of power for the wealthy for a very long time. It's so bad, I'm not convinced Trump can make it worse.
I found no items dealing with the drive to make abortions illegal. It has, of course, the support of self-righteous Christians who cheer for the murder of Muslim babies. And, like all the self-righteous, they are ignorant of the fact that legal or illegal, abortion always thrives. It has for thousands of years.  All that is happening now is that we are returning to the days when a great many women suffered death or severe illness from amateur and self-inflicted abortions. But those Christians don't give a damn for either the women or the babies. All they care about is their own self-righteousness.

And these are the same Christians who clap hands for their heroes who murder Muslim civilians by the million - and will be quite happy to murder Chinese and, maybe, Russian Christians.
And sometimes there's a good word for Trump.
The story of the killing of Muslim in a Quebec mosque may be more complex than we have been told.

In any case, expect U.S. pressure on Canada to get tougher with Muslims. We've been through this routine with the U.S. before. That's why we now have our very own gestapo - just like the U.S.
And if you want to know what's happening in Israel, you have to read Haaretz.
And this one is by General Eisenhower, in many respects the most underestimated president the U.S. has had.

"This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. . . . We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." - President Dwight Eisenhower  The "Chance For Peace" speech April 16, 1953
We are in very great danger. We are in danger around the world because of the greed of our business leaders. We are in danger of that just in Canada as well.   We need politicians with the brains and courage to recognize that. The NDP has to move markedly to the left. The Greens have to realize that the environment is not the only problem.

And the liberals and conservatives?  Sigh....

New Brunswickers have to shake off their fear, and think and speak openly. And there's not much time to do it.

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