Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17: Disgusting stuff

This might be a  long and wordy one. Forgive me. It's because I'll be away at the shore at some point this week - and without a computer. As well, writing it got me thinking about  a lot of things - and I have added them.

This first item is not a repeat of that I have written before about the Khadr court settlement. This is about some very bad journalism by the CBC (which is usually better).

Read the above  carefully. This a prime example of bad, journalistic commentary. And from CBC, of all people.  It's full of emotional language and bad history. I think that The Legion has a right to be angry - but Khadr is not the one who cheated them. Our veterans have been cheated by their own governments - and by the Canadian people have haven't given a damn about the cheating - and by the wealthy   who don't pay their taxes.  (We can't afford the tax money we owe to our veterans? Ten million dollars would be a pittance to a wealthy family I can think of who get hundreds of millions in tax breaks every year.)

As to the commentary above...

1. The Canadian government has been slow (and cheap) in delivering benefits to veterans. Very true. But that is scarcely Khadr's fault. It is the fault of the government.  It is the fault of us for not caring enough to push the government.It is the fault of those very wealthy who won't pay any taxes to anybody for any purpose. It's the fault of a Journalist commentator who dispenses emotional propaganda instead of reasoned argument.

2. Canadian veterans are not allowed to sue the government for it's neglect. True. But that's not Khadr's fault. It's ours.

3. The Canadian government makes it hard for veterans to qualify for benefits. See above.

4. If veterans earn more money on their own, the government  deducts it from their benefits. See above.

By the way, if Mr. Irving makes more money on his own, do we deduct that from his benefits?

5. Veterans devoted their lives to defending Canada.

This is pure emotionalism. I have known many veterans from the the age of six when the boys from my father's scout troop came to our house to say goodbye. In them, as in veterans I met over the years, I can't think of one who had devoted his life to his country. And that was especially common early in the war.

In 1939, there were no jobs. My father's weekly pay, in a good week, was five dollars.  He would make another dollar or so after work by shovelling snow for the city. He didn't join the navy to serve his country. He joined to feed us.
My uncle joined to get away from his wife and two children. He was at Dieppe and D-Day. But all he ever talked about was the parties in England.

Bertie was a big kid who left school in grade four. He was an older kid who played with me because he was severely retarded. He joined the army while underage. (He stole the draft notice of his draft-dodging brother.) He joined because he loved the clicking sound his army boots made on the sidewalk. A man who was with him in his first action told me about it.

"We were lyin' on the ground with German machine-gun bullets cuttin' the air above us. Bertie was cryin'. Hell, he was only 16. Then, he jumped up screamin', and the machine gun cut him in half. Craziest thing, he was screamin' for his mother..."

Another, older friend joined the army to fight in Korea. He can scarcely be said to have been defending Canada, not  unless those Korean were building canoes to attack us. (In  fact, the only country to attack Canada in the last hundred and forty years has been the United States (the Fenian Raids).

Nor can I see what attacking Afghanistan or bombing Libya had to do with defending Canada. Nor can I see how provocatively posting Canadian troops very close to Russia has anything to do with defending Canada.

6. And our veterans devoted their lives to defending Canada?  That's an emotional term that has no connection with reality. Of all the veterans I met, there was only one who spent his whole, working life in the army. And he reason  had nothing to do with patriotism. He just liked the regularity of army life.
7.  O0000H! And Khadr fought against our ally.

Again, this is pure emotion. Anyone who studies wars knows that allies happily cut each other's throats. Canada was an adoring ally of Russia in WW2.  But the day the war ended, Russians became evil and hated by us.

In the last 70 years, the U.S. has slaughtered tens of millions all over the world. It has created some of the worst starvation the world has seen. It has destroyed the lives of tens of millions who are refugees. None of those countries it has attacked could possibly be a threat to the U.S. (has Guatemala ever invaded the U.S.? Has Cuba? Venezuela? Yemen? Libya? Iraq? Iran? Vietnam? Syria? Chile?)

And the people of Afghanistan shot back when Americans invaded them? How very unChristian of them!

And Canada has happily joined in the fun with its 'ally', especially when that could produce perks for Canadian corporations - as when the U.S. organized the murder of  200,000 innocent Maya in Guatemala. Among the murdered was a Canadian lay missionary from New Brunswick. He was murdered because he supported the Maya who were being annihilated by the US and the Guatemalan dictatorship. But our news media have never even told us about that.

Wasn't it just terrible that (or if)  Khadr killed one of those nice Americans who were just in AFghanistan to bring peace and joy?

That CBC column is all emotional crap, completely out of contact with reality. It reminds me of most of the North American news media.

Yes. Our veterans do deserve far better treatment than they have received from us. But that is not Omar Khadr's fault. That is the fault of us - all of us, including the wealthy who don't pay taxes.
Not long ago, I wrote about the possibility that the major capitalists of the world - notably the U.S., Russia and China  (with all their hangers-on) - might soon unite to rule the world as a supreme aristocracy. The article below suggests this might be underway.
The beauty of aerial bombing is that it saves the lives of soldiers. That's important to keep the folks at home pleased with the way things are going. U.S. enthusiasm for war drops when the body counts come home. But bombers can kill millions with small risk - especially in countries too poor to possess adequate air defences. That's why bombing has become THE major means of warfare for the U.S.

Of course, it indiscriminately kills huge numbers of civilians. But who gives a damn?

The writer of this article is an authority on the safest type of bombing (for the bombers) - the drone.

Oh, and watch for the Americanization of the Canadian armed forces as Trump puts the heat on Trudeau. Already, Canada is  training the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. seals, hired killers who (illegally) invade other countries to assassinate - and to kill a hell of a lot of innocent people (by mistake).

Or, as the Canadian Legion might put it, to devote their lives to serving Canada. Yes.
The irving press hasn't paid much attention to the chaos in Venezuela. That's understandable. It needs its whole staff to work full  time on the big stories - like people arrested for spitting on the street, and little boys flying kites.

But the Venezuela story is the story of Latin America, and how US corporations have, for more than a century looted, invaded, killed, done enormous destruction, created monstrous poverty all over the region.

And Canadians can be proud because Canadian corporations have been with the U.S. ones all the way. The want a continent in poverty, hunger, sickness and decay. It's good for profits. (Sometimes, I'm just so proud to be a Canadian!)
Ever wonder why the U.S. was so angry at Castro - and still is? After all, Castro overthrew a ruthless dictator who tortured and murdered his own people in very large numbers.   And Castro's first stop after winning power was to visit the U.S. for cooperation in rebuilding Cuba. Isn't it strange the U.S.  has been mad at him?


The ruthless dictator of Cuba had been appointed and financed by the U.S. because U.S. investors wanted a Cuba that was wretchedly poor, had no social services, and wages among the lowest in the world.

Castro was evil because he brought education, food, opportunities to the people of Cuba.

And the murderous dictator that Castro expelled? Well, I expect that, given a chance, the New Brunswick Chamber of Commerce would have given a dinner in his honour.

And we are getting sucked into wars that benefit only billionaires. And, much as some like to babble about it, and, much as we lie about it, the soldiers we send are not "Fighting for their country". They are fighting for a small number of the greediest and most ruthless people on this planet.
Here's a possibly important story that I must have missed in the probing pages of the irving press.
This is what our major news media do repeatedly.
At last,  one nation - South Korea - is taking an intelligent approach to North Korea. It is holding talks with North Korea to cool tensions between the two countries.

This is an important story. That's why it's front page news for The Guardian. Today's front page news in the irving press? An American woman vacations in New Brunswick every summer because she likes it. Wow! Stop the presses!

We desperately need current events classes in our schools. But the irving press would never allow them - not real ones. New Brunswickers grow up and live, like most Canadians, without any access to the information they need to cast an informed vote.
Here's an opinion that applies to Canada and the U.S. as well as to Britain. The difference is that The Guardian expressed this opinion. The irving press never would.
Another story the irving press would never cover....

These mining companies are common examples of brutality and murder. If the mining owners were Muslims, we would say they are evil. But they aren't Muslims. So we praise them.
Here is a sample of the price we pay for news media that keep us in ignorance.
Israel have been dangerously abusing Palestinians by cutting off their electricity to as little four hours a day. (Try running a hospital on that.) But you won't find that story in much of the western news media. No. If you want to understand Israel - the good and the bad - you have to go to an Israeli paper - Haaretz.
The US has the worst  (and the most expensive) health care system in the developed world.  (And Canada is no champ, either.)  In the U.S., it's because private health care is, by definition, a disaster, and it's hopelessly expensive for the average person.

Capitalism is based on greed.  It's not designed to help those who aren't serously greedy.
Much of the below is true in Canada as well.
We're suckers for all the above because we're taught to believe in terms that we really don't understand - but are designed to help the most exploitive among us.
Notice how the ugly word capitalism is commonly replaced by the happier term, free enterprise. Notice how the act of murdering civilians 10,000 miles away is called 'defending one's country'. Oh, and those who take part in the killing are 'patriots' who are 'serving their country'.

Nobody knows what most of those terms mean. But they sound good. And, while nations are happy to praise their veterans  (after all, praise doesn't cost anything), few are willing to treat them very well. Our news media lie to us and/or use loaded language.

All these cutesie expressions are used to manipulate us. The purpose of it? To make the rest of us do the real work for the wealthiest, and to get as little as possible in return.

I'll talk about this next time. But first - answer this question - who won the Korean War? And another. When did the U.S. decide to attack Afghanistan and Iraq?   (That's crucial because it raises another question. Why did Canada send troops to Afghanistan? Exactly how were they "fighting for Canada"?)


  1. Well put, Graeme. We seem to play awfully fast and loose these days with veterans' pensions. I ran into a lady at the dog park last week. It turns out she had been in the RCAF for a dozen years. Nothing strenuous, nothing remotely dangerous. She was essentially a uniformed clerk. She developed a not uncommon foot problem for which she received a medical discharge - and a pension. She was quite happy with the government largesse and how attentive it had been to her in her post-service years. She is working and has been employed since her discharge. Her foot disability had no impact on her civilian employability. Had she sustained the problem while a civilian there would have been no pension. Like ordinary Canadians she would have adapted. That might have meant a job where she wasn't constantly on her feet although I think she was a desk-jockey in the Air Force.

    I told her that I thought military pensions should be limited to those who have sustained debilitating injuries, physical or psychological, while on active combat duty. My father suffered horrible wounds when he was blown up in WWII. An uncle was shot down three times on Whitley bombers. The third time he parachuted into German captivity. The remainder of his crew didn't make it and their loss damaged him in ways worse than many wounds. He escaped from a work party, made his way back through Germany and into France to the allied lines and returned to Canada with severe PTSD, a hopeless drunk. He was given no pension until my dad battled his case with veterans affairs. Finally, in the early 90s my uncle was granted a pension with about 15-years retroactivity.

    When that lady spoke of her pension for "her service" it touched a nerve in me.

  2. The zerohedge story on Klaus Eberwein's death is suspect. The "crooked Clintons" statement from the demonstration at their foundation headquarters and attributed to Eberwein was originally reported to have been made by another person:

    "'The Clinton family, they are crooks, they are thieves, they are liars,' says Haitian activist Dahoud Andre." (BBC, 2 Nov 16)

    The commission before which Eberwein is stated to have been set to testify is investigating the management of PetroCaribe funds while he was director general of Haiti’s economic development agency:

    "During and after his government tenure, Eberwein faced allegations of fraud and corruption on how the agency he headed administered funds. Among the issues was FAES’ oversight of shoddy construction of several schools built after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. ...

    "The commission is investigating the management of PetroCaribe funds, the money Haiti receives from Venezuela’s discounted oil program." (Miami Herald, 12 Jul 17)

    The Clinton Foundation connection was introduced and "widely reported" by various conspiracy theory websites and bloggers. Zerohedge is just one of many.

  3. Enjoy your time at the shore Graeme. I just wanted to say, that we stand on the sides watching what our government is doing. They are now a seperate entity from us, with all the powers to do whatever they wish, while kicking the Canadian public to the curb.

    It is their show and we are the audience watching that show. Until the Canadian people take back their government and country, we will always be beholden to a government that makes decisions and policies that ultimately destroy our sovereignty and can only lead to government tyranny.

    But Justin Trudeau, has revealed his summer song choices on spotify, so all is well in the land of the manipulated young voters,(who else would Trudeau's musical revelation be for). I await our mindless leaders next PR stunt.