Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sept. 06: Hey! What's Yer Values...?

Values? They're a crock.  Most of us humans don't have any values. We just have prejudices that we call values. Canadians have gone from murdering native peoples to holding slaves, to discriminating against Africans, Chinese, Jews, to hating whoever is the enemy of the moment.

No. It's not nice. But that's what humans are like. And we, alas, are humans. So let's try to get past being humans as we look at the North Korea crisis.

Isn't that Kim Jong-un just terrible? I mean he killed his brother to get power. And he has a really yucky hairdo. Got that? Now let's look at the U.S.

In the early 1950s, the U.S. imposed the heaviest bombing in history on North Korea. It destroyed virtually every building in that country - and massively killed civilians. One-third of the whole population was killed. (In World War Two, Canada and Britain each suffered the loss of about 1% of their populations.)
Then the U.S. imposed sanctions on North Korea to keep it in poverty and ruin.
And what has North Korea done? In the midst of all that poverty, it has managed to rebuild its cities. It also has national healthcare for all (which the rich U.S. does not have.) It's true that North Korea's health plan is not working well. That happens when the world's richest country imposes sanctions that keep you in poverty.

And in education? That fat little guy with the funny haircut runs a North Korea which now has the highest literacy rate in the world (along with South Korea). It's ahead of both Canada and the U.S.

But, oh, isn't Kim evil for threatening the poor little U.S.  with a nuclear bomb? And the U.S. has only 7,000 nuclear bombs to respond with.
Have your news media mentioned that for over 50 years the the U.S. have been carrying out invasion exercises on the North Korean border? And patrolling the seas off the North Korean coast? And even flying bombers over North Korean cities?   This is what's called provocation. Can you imagine the U.S. reaction if North Korea were to send its military to Mexico to practice invading the U.S.?
Yes, it's true that Kim is not a nice guy, and Korea is not a nice place to live. But he has quite a record of achievement in a country that's desperately poor. And, unlike U.S. presidents, Kim has not murdered over 20,000,000 people in the last 50 years. And he is not deliberately starving the whole population of Yemen to death as the U.S. is.

No. The country looking for war is not North Korea. (Kim may be fat and have a terrible haircut, but he's smart enough to know that a war with the U.S. would be suicidal.)  It is the U.S. that wants a war. And it wants it for the same reason it wanted one back in 1950. It wants a war because North Korea is the doorway for invasions of Russia and China.  

But we're just people. So we all think North Korea is the villain. I mean, those North Koreans look different, don't they? And they don't have our Christian values.      
Wars are a luxury we can no longer afford. That's particularly true if, like most wars,  they are wars of pure greed. Those days are over. That's the message from Houston. And, though our news media aren't telling us, the message from Asia is even worse, much worse than Hurrican Harvey, and with many times the number of dead.

We are facing a climate change that is bigger than any war we have ever seen. It needs every penny of our money, and every concentration of our effort. There's not a choice. We cannot fight wars - and survive.

But fighting wars is how we usually try to solve problems. There is every possibility this world is going to see a billion refugees within the next twenty or thirty years. They will come from Africa, Asia, Latin America and, quite likely, from the southern and western U.S. What will we do? In our current mood, it is quite likely we shall kill most of them. (But not the Americans. That's because the U.S. will annex Canada to provide space for its refugees.)

Even the irving press is starting to notice climate change. As I write this on Tuesday, it carries several stories on climate change - including the destruction of much of New Brunswick's wild life.

Our problem is not North Korea. Nor is it Russia or China. And obliterating all of  them will solve nothng. Our problem is a wealthy class that can think only of its profits, and that owns the politicians who govern us. It's a wealthy class that now has risen to real power in North America, Russia and Chna. And, so far, it has shown no concern about the destruction it is creating for us - and itself.
Here's the next one to watch - along with the North American epidemic of forest fires which can only get worse.

But don't expect the irving press to tell us anything. All the news for all of Canada and the whole world for today is on one page. (two sides).
On those two sides (Wow! talk about a newspaper getting cheap...) only one story is worth reading. "Canada faces risk over U.N. treaty". The thrust of the story is that Canada is no longer trusted by most of the world. For a couple of decades after World War 2, Canada was highly regarded around the world as a nation dedicated to peace.  That's why it was highly desirable as a member of the U.N. Security Council.

But no more.

It has long since been obvious that Canada is now a puppet for the U.S. And the U.S. is one of the most highly distrusted countries in the world. Trudeau has made it worse, far worse, by his call for action against North Korea. And worse still by his refusal to support work toward nuclear disarmament.

And do the Canadian people benefit from this? Not at all. The beneficiaries are Canadian corporations that depend on American support for...well, for example....operating mines under near-slavery conditions in South America. That's why the private news media in Canada have never bothered to mention the slaughter of 200,000 Maya in Guatemala.
Oh, Norbert Cunningham has his usual half-wit, kiss-up column in which he attacks the government for its inadequate operation of medicare. Come on, Norbert. You also attack it for running a deficit. So how can you also attack it for not spending more on medicare? And how can your paper support the slow murder of medicare by privatization?

We don't have the money for medicare because some people don't pay taxes. And worse. Those people constantly expect gifts from the government. (You never criticize that, do you Norbert?)
The following article is about universities in Britain. But it also applies in Canada and the U.S. I was once offered a university preidency - and the terms and 'benefits' were staggering.  But I realized the businessmen who controlled the hiring weren't offering to hire me so much as to buy me.

And that's a strong reason why, as I have three children in university, the costs are staggering. And that's why many families can't even think of it.

And this is why, when Mr. irving quite improperly called on university presidents to help him plan the economy of New Brunswick, they all scrambled to get in line.
Why we can't afford to waste our time, money and energy on wars to make the very wealthy happy.

We have very little time to cope with climate change. And killing North Koreans and starving the people of Yemen to death are no longer viable alternatives.
These climate change fires and floods and hurricanes are not just happening on the west coast of North America. They are happening all over the world. Dozens have died in Houston? Nobody knows how many thousands have died in Asia. And we can expect very bad news from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Florida...

I'm sorry, Mr. Trump. This really isn't a good time to spend money and energy on killing North Koreans or building a wall along the Mexican border. And it's not a good time for Mr. Trudeau to be kissing up to Mr. Trump.

Atlantic all-time record storms, two in less than two weeks. But, hey, we gotta build more pipelines to sell more oil. Yeah. That'll create jobs.
And here's something you won't find in the irving press.

The only clear, military victory the U.S. has won since 1945 was over a small, Caribbean island. For a look at the record, see the next item.
The next one is long. But it's an interesting summary of  how the world's largest and most expensive military has done since 1945. For a start, it has created a shambles in the middle east and Afghanistan - and it has done so to the advantage of nobody except the various, extreme Muslim groups like ISIS and alQuaeda.
And remember to hit your library to get a copy of Gwynne Dyer, "Don't Panic". It's about the Muslim 'threat'. Dyer points out that extreme islamists are a very, very small part of the world's Muslim population. And those who practice terrorism were (and sometimes still are) organized and equipped by the U.S.
They are not a serious military threat on their  own. But they've learned that we panic over even small hits - so that's what they do. And, yes, we panic every time and, in doing so, make the situation worse.
Trump is now embarking on a mission to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants who had lived and grown up in the U.S. Speaking of  this same group 7 years ago, he said how well they have adapted to being, and how they should be treasured.
It would be nice to see an intelligent commentary - like this one - in the irving press.
Here's an article highly critical of North Korea. I think it's largely true. It is a terrible place. And the writer is honest enough to see that we have had a large hand in making North Korea the terrible place that it is.
I'm sure it's quite true that North Koreans are kept in ignorance and are manipulated by its leaders.

Alas! So is the U.S. and much of the western world.
This is about the U.S. puppets that Canadian leaders have become.
Many journalists, probably most, make it a point to miss the point of most stories. The story of Hurricane Harvey is NOT about how people are helping out or how deep the water is in Houston. The real story is what this warns us about the future of the whole world.
This next item is by David Suzuki, Canada's leading authority on climate change. His work is brilliant.  I guess that's why the irving press doesn't carry his columns any more.
The first rule of North American journalism is 'never, never criticize Israel'. (Fortunately, Haaretz is more honest.)
Maybe we should rethink our priorities.
Back in the 1950s, we were assured that nuclear weapons would create a world of peace since nobody would ever use a weapon so terrible. And those of us who disagreed could expect police intervention to push us aside.

But it takes only one person to start a world, nuclear war.

Some years ago, a missile controller in Russia was told that American missiles were on the way. His orders were to retaliate immediately.  Luckily, the controller thought for himself, and he decided to wait before plunging the world into a nuclear war.

The number of nuclear weapons in the world now stands at close  20,000. The number of individuals who could order a strike is at least that many. And many more countries are on the edge of developing nuclear weapons.

The warning in that seems obvious. But Justin Trudeau is still living in the world of 1950 - and he refuses to support UN efforts to ban nuclear weapons.

We have come to an era in which we cannot possibly survive nuclear war - and with the power of climate change threatening us, we need all our money and energy to fight that.

So why do our business leaders and most of our governments believe that what we really must do now is to bomb and kill more people? Oh, and spray more glyphosate on our forests, and build more pipelines.
The rest is just some history by me that might help to understand our relationship to the U.S.

By the 1860s and 70s, Britain was anxious to get rid of Canada. The British were terrified of the prospect of defending Canada in the case of an American invasion - which then seemed quite likely. Then, late in the century, Britain changed its mind.

A war with Germany was obviously coming. Britain would need all the help it could get. But their colonial empire was not required to fight British wars. How could Britain change that tone?

It asked the colonies to provide troops for a war in South Africa, and it brandished the lure of loyalty to the Queen who, we were told, loved her subjects. Canadian big business immediately jumped on the bandwagon because it depended heavily on British trade.

And so Canadians died - and killed - in a war that had nothing to do with Canada, a war dictated entirely by the greed of British big business. Britain didn't need Canada for that war. But it set the precedent for what Britain really wanted - the help of its colonies in fighting World War 1. And that carried over to help Britain in World War Two.

After that, the British connection faded because Britain, itself, had become simply a pet poodle to the U.S - sending troops to help the U.S. in Afghanistan, Korea, Libya, Iran, Iraq.....

By then, Canadian big business was closely tied to the American market. So we clapped for the new Queen - but we didn't fight for her. No. We fought for the U.S. in Korea (as part of a UN force - but in what was really an American war.)
That had alarmed Prime Minister Lester Pearson - perhaps because he knew Canadian history better than our business leaders did. He tried to establish Canada as a peacekeeping nation, a move that built respect for Canada at the UN. But our business leaders soon put a stop to that notion. And so we sent troops to an illegal war in Afghanistan. Some are now in Latvia helping to surround Russia. Canadians bombed Libya - also an illegal war under international law. And Justin Trudeau has made it clear we will do whatever the U.S. tells us to do.
That's why we have troops in Haiti - supposedly to preserve Haitian democracy, but really to help maintain the control of American capitalists over Haiti.

Then there's, Latvia. And we have troops training the Ukainian army - you know, the army that Ukraine built up after the U.S. financed the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.

We also have troops in Congo to ensure that European and North American billionaires can continue to starve, murder, underpay, and generally abuse the people of Congo.

And we have troops in the middle east to help fight whoever the U.S. says is bad. That's how a Canadian sniper killed a bad guy at a world record 3,500 metres. According to official reports, his shot broke up an attack that was planned - though how anyone could tell that at a distance of 3,500 metres isn't clear.
Nor is it clear how we know the shot killed an insurgent. At that range, it's impossible to know who it was - or even whether man, woman, or child.
In any case, isn't Canada's parliament supposed to declare war before shooting anybody?

This is reminiscent of our CF-18s in Syria. That presence was quite illegal under international law and under the terms of the Canadian constitution.
Canada has become a colony of the U.S. empire. The wealthy of Canada like it that way.

The real crisis we and the whole world face is the crisis of climate change. But our political and economic leaderships just don't give a damn about that.

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