Friday, February 17, 2017

Feb. 17: Greed and stupidity - the fatal combination.

Recently, I tried to estimate the number of people killed by the U.S. since 1945.  It's difficult because the U.S. has not been eager to release any numbers. But there are some numbers we can use with confidence.

I knew some very capable researchers who had been looking at the numbers for Vietnam. They came to something in the order of seven million. Iraq? According to the U.S. government hardly anybody was killed. According to highly respected magazine "The Lancet", that hardly anybody was one and a half million.

There are no reliable figures for Afghanistan - and virtually no reporting on it. But the war has been going on for some 15 years. Official figures range from 21,000 to 150,000. Neither figure is believable. This war, like all  recent wars, is carried on by the U.S. with very, very heavy bombing, aimed primarily at civilans. The U.S. has been bombing for 15 years, making this the longest bombing campaign in history.

The war in Syria, financed and sometimes fought by the U.S., again with heavy bombing of civilians, is anybody's guess for casualties. Something in the neighbourhood of a half million is suggested.

The U.S. dropped 2 and a half million tons of bombs on Cambodia, making it the most heavily bombed country in history. (The bombing was planned at the oval office after the Sunday church service.) Unexploded bombs are still exploding today with an estimated 4 million people killed. Laos suffered almost as  heavily. It was a deliberate attempt to destroy not just the people but, as air force chief Curtis Lemay said, to send that part of the world back into the stone age.

Nobody knows how many have been killed by drones. We do know that by now there have been many thousands of drone raids with a very high proportion of innocent civilians killed. Drones have been widely used in Africa and Asia.
Yemen has been bombed heavily, commonly by aircraft of Saudi Arabia, equpped with bombs from the U.S., and guided by American systems.

With troops, bombers, drones, assassination squads the U.S. has attacked some 70 countries since 1945. (Occasionally with Canadian  help).  Not one of those countries had threatened the U.S. or was even capable of threatening it.   (And no, there is not the slightest evidence that the government of Afghanistan had anything to do with 9/11. In fact, the strongest evidence points to our good friends in Saudi Arabia.)

How many dead have there been so far? I don't know. refugees from these wars are in the high tens of millions. How many of those tens of millions have died of starvation, disease, exposure, drowning. (Hundreds died of drowning, for example,  as they fled from the relatively short war in Libya.) How many children left orphaned have died? How many will die in the refugee camps of Europe?

Who benefitted from these wars? The American people? No. Their dead were relatively few - but the wars did nothing whatever to benefit or protect the average American. The only ones to benefit were the world's corporations that gobbled up ever more of this world's wealth and resources.

How many were murdered? A very conservative guess would be 20 million, the majority of them civilians. But we'll never know the whole number. And we can be sure the irving press will never tell us. In fact, on a daily reading of it, one would never know that most of these wars ever happened.

And you know what Canada's miinister of defence said this week? He said we have to prepared to offer help to the U.S. more in its military efforts.

Germany lost World War Two. But Hitlerism won. We have become everything Hitler was - and even more.  We torture. Our governments spy on us.  We kill for economic conquest. We are destroying democracy to give ever more power to the wealthy. And theres's no end to it all because there is no end to the greed of the wealthy.

We fought World War Two, so we were told, to defend four freedoms. Freedom of speech. Freedom of Worship. Freedom from want. Freedom from fear.
That's why our grandfathers and fathers were told they were fighting for.  And we have betrayed them on every point.

Freedom of speech in New Brunswick doesn't exist - because people are afraid to use it. And that's true of much of the western world.

Freedom of religion is dying all over the western world - unless you're a Christian, particularly if you're a Christian whose only interest is in getting yourself into heaven - without giving much of a damn about the rest of Christian principle.

Freedom from want? Want is actually on the rise. We've done almost nothing about it in the last seventy years. (Medicare was an exception. But billionaires are now busy destroying it.)

Freedom from fear? Please.

On Nov. 11, we should remember the sacrifice of those who served. We should also remember how we betrayed the promises we made to them. And members of the Canadian Legion should put down their beers for a moment to think of that.

As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy. And he is us."
My, that was long. Sorry.

But none of the above has ever made our local newspapers. In today's irving press, there is no killing going on anywhere in the world. Over half of the local news section  is used to tell us we had a blizzard yesterday. Actually, I think most people noticed that at the time.

Then there is a big, big story that Trump gave a 'jaw-dropping' press conference yesterday.  The story is from The Canadian Press, and it's full verbal attacks on Trump. It says he spoke "Flat-out falsehoods", "personal grievances".
The story is NOT a report of what Trump said. Instead, it's a personal attack on him.

That's bad journalism. A reporter tells us what hwppend. We decide if it's jaw-dropping or lying. A news story tells  us what happened. It does not tell us what to think about it. That's a fundamental rule of journalism. Too bad the irving editors don't know the fundamental rules.

If the paper has an opinion about it, that goes on the editorial and comment pages. Too bad those are cluttered up with the Norbert Cunninghams and editorial drones of the irving press.
Here is the same story in The Guardian. But it's offered clearly as an opinion. (Too bad The Guardian also has a story on the same subject that is as bad as the one in the irving press.
This is a long story.But I found it was one that roused an excitement in me. And read it to the end because the last part is on the impact of oil on huge and productive undersea world.
Our news media  haven't told us much about CETA, our new trade deal with Europe. We are  told regularly that it's "wunnerful, wunnerful, wunnerful". Actually, it isn't - unless you happen to be a billionaire. Actually, it's takeover of power that's a fundamental blow to democracy. But it's good if you're a billionaire.
The holocaust that murdered over 5 million Jews has had a long term effect.  Judaism, in my experience, has a long history of compassion for others, and for intelligent action. My experience of the Jewish community in Montreal was one that impressed me with the breadth of its concern for others and it's intelligent and generous action in dealing with that concern. When I was 1 7 or so, I was a preacher at a very poor, mission church in Montreal's read light district. One thing I learned early was that if I needed to get free food for some of the congregation,  I should go to the Jewish-owned stores, not the Christian ones.

But when Hitler turned loose his holocaust, he destroyed not only millions of people, but he destroyed much of the character of Judaism.   I see little of that Judaic principle of compassion in Israel. And none at all in a Netanyahu.
We are the ones who ignored the holocaust while it was happening. Now, we are the ones who are making the Palestinians - who had nothing to do with it -  pay for it.      

It's a terrible thing to see today's Jews acting like Christians.
It is quite possible that Trump has created a disaster for himself as well as for the rest of the country. And his personal disaster will be a disaaster for the whole world as real power shifts to a group that General Eisenhower rightly defined as the greatest danger facing the U.S.
The following story may not look important. But it gives a hint of a great change that is happening. Big money has always had enormous power. But we are entering a new phase in which big money has more than just influence with government. It owns government. And it is moving to destroy any power that government  has over it. CETA is an example. We are moving into a stage - almost certainly a fatal one - when big money will be the ONLY power. Here's a sample of it.
Alastair Cooke is a pretty good source. He takes a look at the plan to overthrow Trump, a plan laid out by White House insiders. The trouble is they're even worse than he is. And there's no remedy in sight because American people have no sense of what their government is about, of who controls it, and no concept of any alternative. They're been overcooked by blind patriotism.
This is not a short term crisis. This is a crash.
The popular western view of the Ukraine crisis is pure bunk. The crisis was not created by Russia. It was created by the U.S.
This article examines the idiocy of our common reaction to Yemen's recent attack on a Saudi warship. Evil. Evil. Evil.  ( Saudi has for the past year been murdering uncounted numbers of Yemenis. But there's no criticism of the Saudis.  Us humans are remarkably stupid.)
I have yet to find an intelligent article on why Latins are crossing from Mexico into the U.S. It's actually something that could be stopped without building a wall.

The reason they try to cross the border is because their countries are poor and brutalized and evironmentally destroyed  by American capitalists. The capitalists can do that because they have the support of the American army which has been invading their countries, murdering either is mass killings or with special ops, destroying democratic governments for well over 150  years. That's South Americans flee to the U.S., to escape the terror and poverty and suffering that American capialists  inflict on them.

(They don't know that American workers are next on the list.)

In the face of all this, Canada's minister of defence has recently said we must give full support to American military actions. Yes - as we sent troops to Afghanistan (to stop it from sending its mighty navy and air force to attack the U.S. As we  sent our air force to kill those vicious Libyans. As we send troops to Iraq and Syria to train and guide those who fight those terrible terrorists (who are actually supplied and paid for by the U.S.).

Canadians are loyally  helping our great friend to fight countries to0 small and weak to attack us. And we do it to help the only country that ever HAS attacked us.

It's good for business.
Israel, for such a small country, has managed to become a major violator of human rights and international law. I have only rarely, very rarely, seen a news item critical of Israel's behaviour. That's because the "Israeli Lobby" has taken over control of many Jewish community organizations, and uses them for propaganda, and for attacking anyone who criticizes Israel.

I know that well. For fifteen years, I spoke on current events every month to a Jewish group that numbered 200 to 300. I was sometimes critical of Israel. For the most part the group agreed with me. But the fix was on.

As soon as I retired, I was replaced by a local boss of the Israeli lobby. (But he soon lost most of his audience.) Earlier he had me fired from a daily radio job I had done for 15 years. And he got the station to replace me with him. (He soon lost that audience, too.)

It's not a sin to criticize Israel. A recent polll shows that well over half of Canadians are highly critical of its behaviour- and fewer than a quarter support it.
And here are some facts about Canada you won't read or hear about in your local news media.
News of the fighting in the Iraq city of Mosul has been scarce in recent weeks. This may explain why.

U.S. aggression has created enemies for the U.S. all over the world. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to see how the U.S. can sustain the disaster what was always in sight but has been blindingly obvious for the last 16 years. With or without Trump, it looks very much as if the U.S. is dead meat.

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