Thursday, November 9, 2017

Novermber 9: Remembrance Day

I really don't want to write this one. Nov. 11, Remembrance Day, approaches, and I  know that some people will take this as a criticism of our veterans of foreign wars.

It is no such thing.

It is a criticism of us.

What was World War One about? It was about Germany's rise as an industrial power, a rise that threatened the profits of British corporations. But we couldn't say that. No. For the war effort to succeed, we needed a reason to make people support the war.

So Germany was declared to be evil. (Ever notice that everybody we've ever fought has been branded as evil? But our side never is.)

World War Two was much the same. This time, Hitler WAS evil. But that's not what caused the war. We knew about the horror he was inflicting on Jews. But we didn't give a damn because Canada was as anti-semitic as they come. (So were Britain and the U.S.) Indeed, far from opposing Hitler, Britain and the U.S. and France had supported him throughout his rise. He was the great hope of western big business. He would block the spread of communism which was evil. (Mind you, when Hitler invaded the Soviets in 1942, communists immediately became good, just like us. They were so good, they were the subjects of an American documentary film, "Why We Fight: The Russian War", a film that portrayed them as being just like Americans. However, when the war ended in 1945, they were declared evil again. Luckily, you can still see the film on Netflix.)

The Canadian generation that fought that war is almost gone now. And why did they volunteer to fight it? This history books tell us it was because they were patriotic. Well, okay. But that doesn't get us far. The volunteers who have fought in just about every war in history have been fighting out of patriotism. Canadians were patriotic. So were the Germans and the Japanese and the Italians.

All people have always killed each other out of patriotism -- without anybody really knowing what it means.

Up closer, as a child, I knew some of the volunteers. The boys from my father's boy scout troop of some years earlier, came by one at a time to say goodbye. There was Jack in his sailor uniform who thrilled me by showing me his jack knife. There was my uncle who joined to get away from his wife and family and enjoy parties. There was Bertie, a severely retarded kid of 16 who used to play with me - because he was severely retarded. He left school in grade three to join up, lying about his age. He was killed one day when he jumped up screaming for  his mother, and a machine gun cut him in half. It was his first action. Then there was the day my father went.

Most of them had one reason in common for joining. They were the generation of the great depression when  most families lived on next to nothing. It was hopeless. And government and big business did nothing whatever to help them. (That's why my father joined. He had a family to feed, and he couldn't do it on five dollars a week.) Those who had  jobs suffered horrible working conditions, and no security at all. The wealthy did well through those horrible years. They did it my cutting salaries, overworking staff, erasing benefits....Everybody else suffered in hopelessness.

Money, enough money to live on, was a prime motive from joining up. And, from my conversations with 'the boys' as they signed up and left, I realized it was also adventure.

Government realized it had better promise Canadians a better life. So, from the start, we got a constant flow of slogans and promises and plans for what a better world this would be. And this, we were told, was what we were fighting for - a world of decency and respect for human life, a world of care for basic necessities like pensions and job security, a world at peace through a sort of world government that would be called the UN.

In short, our veterans did not fight to create the Canada we have now. They did not fight so American corporations could conquer the world, keeping it in a constant state of war.. They did not fight so Canada could open up health care profits to wealthy corporations. The did not fight so North Korea  could be bombed almost out of existence so that American corporations would be able to invade China. They did not fight to help the U.S. fight Afghanistan for the benefit of those corporations. And they certainly did not fight so we could bomb Libya at the wish of American oil companies, or train Syrian rebels - also for American oil companies. Nor did they fight so Canadian corporations could sell weapons to Saudi Arabia to massacre some of the poorest people on earth. They did not fight so that Canadian mining companies could starve and kill their workers in Guatemala.

They fought for a UN that would put an end to war.

Instead, we have a UN controlled by US big money that encourages US troops in most countries of the whole world while the U.S. itself ignores international law to murder people by the millions, and to refugee them by the tens of millions.

We did get medicare after the war.But our veterans certainly did not fight so that Canadian  big business could muscle in on it so that Canadian big business could skim the profits   And, certainly, none of the guys I knew who signed up did it so that billionaires could hide their money (and avoid taxes) with secret bank accounts.

In short, we have betrayed just about every, damn thing we told our veterans they were fighting for. And it is disappointing, I must say,  that The Canadian Legion leadership does not seem to have noticed any of this.

We should most certainly observe Nov. 11 and the contribution to Canada of those who served. But even more, we should observe one more year of our betrayal of what we told them they were fighting for.

Canada is now bum boy for one of the the greediest and most brutal nations in history. And that is doing wonders for the profits of Canada's wealthy, even as it damages the future for all the rest of us. And even as it kills more Canadians as we rush to serve our new imperial master.

By all means, remember our veterans on Nov. 11. But let's can the dewy-eyed hypocrisy that is so common on that day. Let's remember our veterans who served. Let's also remember the promises we made to them.

And, no, remembering them does not mean we should privatize health care or education or run an oil pipeline to St. John.

The irving press of my province hasn't paid much attention to the scandal about how the very wealthy avoid paying taxes. No, not even as we hand out money and land to them. They take. But they never give  (unless is a relatively small gift, and they get praise for it as phil-an-thro-py. (God bless the rich for their generosity. They're SUCH Christians.)

I'm not at all sure I can get excited about this next opinion piece on the victories of U.S. Democrats in the recent elections After all, if Trump's excesses have turned off voters, it's not at all clear what Democrats stand for. (Except what they have always stood for - kissing up to the very wealthy with all the corruption that brings.)

The one Democrat who has some idea of what the future should be is Bernie Sanders. But he's very much a lone figure.

The unfair distribution of wealth in this world is not just unspeakably immoral; it is a also fatally destructive of our society. It is greed turned loose - and that is well on the way to destroying us.

Locally, we can see it in the giveaways and tax breaks to our local wealthy. And we can see it in the neglect and suffering of everybody else. Indeed, it would surely make a good sermon for the Irving Chapel.

Nobody in a position of power in this province is going to help us. We have to do it ourselves. And, certainly, our newspapers and our Liberals and Conservatives aren't going to be any help. (Neither will the NDP and the Greens be much help until they recognize the nature of the challenge and the nature of the response that's needed.)

The people of Yemen are among the poorest on earth. They are deliberately being starved to death by a pair of the richest nations on earth, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Children, in particular, are starving, and now falling to the diseases of poverty as well as to the starvation. It is quite possible, even likely, that they will die in their millions.

God Bless America.

And where the hell are our Christian churches on this? (And where are our news media? Seen anything in the irving press?)
The greed of capitalism. Yes. There is such a thing. We're seeing it in a small  way here in New Brunswick as private capital moves in on our medical services.
We're also seeing it, but not noticing, as some New Brunswickers (mentioning no names) threaten all of us by avoiding paying taxes.

In a war marked by a brutality we haven't seen since the naziis, the U.S. is playing a leading role in murdering innocent people, including children. This is the the war against Yemen and, yes, the U.S. has become the Naziis of our time.

Interestingly , this is not the first time that the American government, urged on by its leading capitalists, has supported the Naziis.  It supported Hitler through most of the 1930s. But you won't find the story in the irving press.

The central figure was actor Charlie Chaplin who detested Hitler and all he stood for. On the eve of the outbreak of World War Two, he made a film called "The Great Dictator". It was a call to rally against Hitler and all he stood for.

American capitalists were not pleased. They like Hitler and his Naziis as barriers against the communist Soviet Union. So Chaplin was attacked viciously by the press. (And, yes,  the press did lie in those days just as it does today.)  The attacks continued even after the U.S. entered the war. He was accused of being a "pre-mature anti-Nazi".

It was so bad, he had to flee the U.S. He would not return until the late 1950s when he was asked to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. And at that, he still wasn't welcome. Big business (and its news media - as servile then as they are now) still accused him of being "a pre-mature anti-Nazi".

Is it possible a war with Iran is coming?  It's very possible. But I can't find any stories on it - though it's potentially a real, horror story.

After World War One, Britain got control of Iran's oil fields. Like all good capitalists, the British did a brutal job of pillaging the place.  Iranians got almost nothing. Indeed, Iran was forced to supply all the oil for the Royal Navy for no charge at all.

Soon after World War Two, the Iranians kicked out the British, and took back control of their own oil. Britain, no longer in shape to force its plundering on the world, called on the U.S. to help out. The U.S. did so happily, not to please the British but so that American oil billionaires could do the pillaging. It destroyed the elected government, and installed a brutal dictator - the Shah of Iran.

For some years, the news media were happy. But then those terrible Iranians did something evil. They kicked out the Shah, and set up their own, elected government. Ever since then, Iran has been evil in the American news media.

The U.S., working through good guy Saddam Hussein of Iraq (before he became bad guy Hussein) fought a horribly brutal war against Iran. But it lost. And that made Iran even more evil in the western news media.

Now, Israel and Saudi Arabia are being set up to do the dirty. This one may be very ugly. (Israel is a nuclear power.)

Don't waste your time on our news media reports about this war. It's not about good and evil. It's about greed. And it's not nice to report greed.

This story isn't getting much coverage in our news media. But it could be a very big one.

This is a short, much too short, account of the impact of climate change in northern Canada. But it's an account I couldn't find in any Canadian news medium. I found it in Al Jazeera.

Israel has done enormous damage to the principles of Judaism. This may turn out to be Hitler's most lasting triumph.

Israel's Haaretz has a story which, unfortunately, I cannot send on - though  I've been following this one for some time.

In its early days, Israel set up up the so-called "Israeli lobby", an organization particularly strong in the U.S. and Canada. Its job was to police any news about Israel, and so to ensure it always reflected well on Israel. It became very powerful in giving us a one-sided view of Israel.

It worked very effectively in Canada. In fact, it got me fired from a radio station for being critical of something Israel did to Palestinians. But it has been declining in success among American Jews. They are becoming critical of Israel's racist treatment of Palestinians and other non-Jews.

The situation is becoming critical as Israel seems now to have given up on its Jewish audience in the U.S.

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