Forgive me for a long intro. Skip it if you like. It's angry at first. Then it gets damned nasty and, in the view of many people, unpatriotic. (For which I make no apology whatever.)
The news tells me that officers of the Canadian Legion are furious that the Canadian government has given some 10 million dollars in compensation to Omar Khadr. And, it seems, a majority of Canadians agree with The Legion.
These same people will turn out on Nov. 11 to remember those Canadians who served and those who died in service in Canada's wars. The trouble is that all those legion officers and a majority of Canadians have completely forgotten or ignored all that we said they served and died for.
I well remember appearing before a Senate committee, one of the greatest gatherings of hypocrites and fools I have ever seen. This was the result of pressure from officers of the Canadian Legion who were incensed by a film on Canada in World War Two. Two sections had disturbed the legion. One dealt with the killing of German prisoners by Canadian troops. The other was about Canadians and our allies deliberately bombing civilians (Dresden).
Both stories were true. I got confirmation of the killing of prisoners from a general who had witnessed it. He had stood by a small river, and watched Canadian troops escorting the prisoners. Minutes later, he heard heavy fire - and then saw the German bodies come floating down the river.
As for the bombing of civilians, it is now well known to military historians that all the allied powers switched to the deliberate bombing of civilian targets to disrupt services, to kill war production workers, and to generally shatter both morale and productivity.
I wasn't the idea of our airmen to do this. It originated with Winston Churchill when he was secretary of colonies in 1920. He put down a rising of the Kurds with mass bombing of villages to destroy their will to resist. Hitler copied him in the Spanish civil war with the bombing of Guernica. Since then, it has become standard practice to target civilians, to kill indiscriminately. That's why civilian deaths in Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria have far exceeded military ones. That's why Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities of virtually no military importance, were chosen for the first nuclear bombs.
There's no-one to blame. That's simply what war is. But we pump up what war necessarily is, and make it glory (when our side does it). Or evil (when the other side does it.)
We surround war with a halo of purity and, well, and propaganda.
We will hear speeches on November 11 about those who fought for ' their country'. Sometimes they did. But the Boer War had nothing to do with Canada. Nor did the Korean War. Nor did the Afghanistan War. Nor the bombing of Libya. Nor the wars in Iraq or Syria. These were wars we entered to create the illusion of a world united behind the U.S. to fight evil people.
It's a mass propaganda to make the wars of American billionaires look virtuous. It has nothing to do with defending Canada. It has nothing to do with national pride.
And that sort of thing is NOT what our veterans died for in two world wars. I wish the Canadian Legion could learn that.
This November 11, remember those who served in two world wars. But also what they fought for - and they did not fight for the Canada we now have that fights wars for wealthy Americans and for a U.S. that dreadfully abused a fifteen year old boy.
Let's hear less lofty rhetoric this Nov. 11, and more remembrance and respect for the reasons they fought.
Now I'll get nasty.
Let's drop the terms 'patriotic' and 'fighting for one's country'. Few people have any idea what they mean. These are words for masses that our leaders wants us to believe in - though very few know what they mean.
In a military museum in Montreal there is a medal that was issued to my great, great uncle who was sent west to put down a 'rebellion' by Louis Riel whose Metis joined with the Cree and Assiniboine tribes who rose to repel the intrusion of Canadians onto their land.
My great-great uncle marched off in 1885 to the cheers of crowds and the propaganda of newspapers that used the words patriot and fighting for one's country - but what a pile that was.
The west had been owned by the Hudson Bay Company only because it had stolen the land from the native people. The Hudson Bay Company then sold it for Canada. But it was never Hudson Bay Company land to sell in the first place. And, far from being rebellious, Riel was quite prepared to swear loyalty to the Queen. What they did not want was hordes of land speculators pouring onto the the plains and taking their land.
So it was that my great-great uncle got a medal for being a patriot and fighting for his country. Three cheers. Louis Riel who fought for his own lands and his own people was not a patriot. So he was hanged.
Fifty years earlier there was a rebellion, the Mackenzie-Papineau rebellion in what is now Ontario and Quebec. This happened because the governments of those two colonies were not democratic. They were ruled, corruptly, by a handful of the wealthy and well-connected - much like New Brunswick today.
But 'patriots' were assembled to protect the power of the wealthy and well-connected.
In the Boer War, 'patriotic' Canadians 'fought for their country' by killing South African farmers to steal their gold mines for British millionaires. And Canadians cheered their patriotism. In the same way, Canadian pilots bombed Libya. How that reflected patriotism and fighting for Canada is beyond me. We have never been invaded by Libya (as we have been by the U.S.) Nor did the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Korea have anything to do with us. (The story we were there to defend the peaceful people of South Korea is bunk. South Korea was a dictatorship which frequently attacked North Korea - which also attacked the South. So I guess the North Koreans and South Koreans were being patriotic and fighting for their countries. But we weren't. We were fighting for the American Empire just as we had fought for the British Empire in South Africa.)
We should be more careful in using words like 'patriotism' and 'fighting for one's country'. These are deliberately vague words to prevent us from thinking about what we're doing. They are words used to sucker us into wars that we should not fight.
The officers of The Canadian Legion should, of all people, be aware of the real meaning of those terms. They should also, on Nov. 11, not only remember the dead but should remember what they died for. There were promises we made to them. We were going to work for a better world of equal opportunity and of ending war.
We have not done that. We have betrayed those who served and died in two, world wars. And The Canadian Legion, of all organizations, has encouraged that betrayal as we now fight imperial wars for thieving and murderous billionaires .
And The Legion might also look into what we did to a great many veterans in 1919. Demobilized patriots who had fought for their country found a Canada dominated by employers whose greed for profits meant dreadful salaries and few social services. So those in Winnipeg launched a general strike.
The wealthy were not pleased. They had the government call up troops and, on at least one occasion, facing strikers who had fought in World War Two, the Canadian soldiers were ordered to fix bayonets against our 'patriots' who had fought for their country.
The Legion Canadian Legion might consider that, and remember that they are supposed to serve the veterans, not just the wealthy.
One of the the great achievements (we are told) of Canada is that it won the right to declare war for itself. That was supposed to be a triumph of our development as an independent nation. Now, it seems that over a 100 Canadian military people are on exchange with military people of other countries. And it seems likely that some are serving in combat roles.
That's what is called being at war. And to be at war, the Canadian government has to declare that we are at war. It has not done so. In fact, the department of national defence refuses to say anything about it. And that means it is happening.
And that means Canada is illegally at war. And that is what our political leaders call 'patriotism' and 'fighting for our country.' In fact, they are actually fighting wars for the American Empire.
As we all know from our Irving press, climate change is not happening. So the following story is obviously a fake.
Hey, we need an oil pipeline. It will create jobs.
You're not likely to read about this in the irving press. It only runs big stories like "BC family rebuilding home lost in fire." (That's World News, of course.) Another big story in World News is that a boy in BC spray-painted his horse pink. The news YOU need to know.
We are facing enormous problems of climate change, extinction of species, exhaustion of food supply- partly by out of control population growth, partly by chemical abuse of the soil. New Brunswick has, however, solved the last of those problems. It fired the Chief Medical Officer who warned about it.
Do you still buy the irving press line that private business does a better job than government?
I've included the whole Americas section of The Guardian.
New Brunswickers should pay close attention to this next one. Despite the opinions of the professor Savoie's of this world, wealth does NOT trickle down to us from the wealthy. The wealthy of this world are doing what they have always done - gobbling up all the money and ensuring we get less and less.
In the long run that is destructive and dangerous behaviour. But the very wealthy have always been destructive and dangerous to a degree that nullifies any intelligence they they might have.
For most of my life, social circle was Jewish. I frequently was a guest speaker in synagogues. For fifteen years, I was a monthly speaker at a major, Jewish library in Montreal. I sometimes criticized Israel - as I might criticize any other country. It was no problem.
But Israel maintains groups, very influential ones, called Israeli lobbies, who got control of Jewish organizations to enforce uncritical support for Israel. The result was I was fired as a radio commentator to be replaced by a leading Israeli lobbyist. I was also replaced by an Israeli lobbyist at the Jewish library.
Israel has vastly changed with resulting damage to the Jewish community and to Judaism. And it has become a persecutor of Palestinians as Hitler was a persecutor of Jews. But if you want to learn about what's gone wrong with Israel, you won't find it in most of the western press. The best source is the very honest and very intelligent Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Canadian corporations, like American and British ones, have been guilty of dreadful abuses , of miniscule pay, of beatings, of environmental destruction and even of murder all over the world. But almost none of this ever reaches the pages of any western newspaper.
Raoul Leger, a lay missionary to Guatemala who lies buried just a short drive from where I am sitting, was murdered by the Guatemalan army working with U.S. special agents while they were in the process of murdering 200,000 Mayans as well as any priests, missionaries or nuns who tried to help the Maya.
The Canadian government fully knew about it. It knew Canadian companies were involved. It did nothing. The irving press never even carried the story of his death. Perhaps the worshippers at the Irving Chapel will take the short walk from the Irving Chapel to Leger's grave to think about that. (Well, No. They won't. They need that time for coffee and fellowship at the chapel barn.)
Not everybody admires the Canada that is the pet poodle of the U.S. empire.
And t his is too true.
Amazing how the rich are always the ones begging for government money. Wouldn't it be nice if you could ask the government for help with the rent the way Mr. Irving asks for million dollar grants and tax forgiveness?
I despise the Liberal and the Conservatives. I have sympathy for the Greens, but don't think that have any realistic sense of what is needed. I have always supported the NDP - but, oh it has been tough to see it become simply a more honest version of the Liberals. And very tough to tolerate its wimpiness in New Brunswick.
However, the writer of this piece is a pretty shrewd commentator. So things could be looking up for the NDP.
There are lots of stories about Trump in the news. I haven't included any because they don't matter. Trump is certainly an ass. But he's not the problem. The problem is that the U.S. is one of the most heavily propagandized in the world. It has long since lost touch with any reality. Democrat or Republican doesn't matter. And I see no sign of more imaginative or intelligent thinking.
Americans generally accept the lead of billionaires - and greed trumps need. (No pun intended.) Watch for the real disaster that has yet to hit that country.
The irving press is carrying virtually no news about the horror that is Yemen, about how our side (patriots fighting for their countries) are murdering and starving innocent people on a grand scale.
Onward, Christian soldiers.
To be an activist in any social cause (like environmentalism) frequently means death in South America. The killers? Could be hired by government. Could be hired by foreign corporations. They're all in it together. But don't wait to read about it in the irving press.
This story tells something about the behaviour of the ultraconservative Jews who, though a minority, have been given enormous power by the Israeli government.
Only in Haaretz.
Here's a story of many years ago that many North American news media still haven't even mentioned.
Only in Haaretz. It's a good paper.
This is one damning attack on the intolerance of the Israeli government. Again, the irving press would never consider running this story. And, again, the story is by Haaretz, a paper that has the courage to challenge the powers in its own country.
71% of Canadian oppose Omar Khadr's settlement from the Canadian government. Mr. Irving asks for tens of millions at a time. And nobody says a word.
The Canadian government was wrong in ignoring Omar Khadr. Our news media were wrong for not having any independent and intelligent analysis of the case. Canadians were wrong in supporting this illegal war in the first place. And, obvously, Canadians - probably the same ones that babble about 'patriots who fight for their country' - haven't understood the idea of human rights that Canadians were told to fight and die for in World War 2.
This November 11, let's cut out the self-righteous crap, and think seriously about we have failed all that we said our veterans fought for. And then let's get busy on fixing it.
And it's supper time. And I'm hungry.