Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Jan. 09: Have you done your bit to starve a child in Yemen?

There are days when writing a blog makes me feel ill. This is one of them.


Children in Yemen are dying at the rate of hundreds a day of starvation and cholera. Add the dying adults and it comes to thousands a day. In the end, the count will be millions.

The death rate is no accident. This has been staged by Saudi Arabia, Britain, the U.S. - with Canada in the wings. (Canada's major contribution has been to sell
 armoured cars with machine guns to the Saudis to help out in their indiscriminate slaughter -even though Canada is a co-signer of an international agreement NOT to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia. The reason other countries don't sell weapons to the Saudis is that Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world. But what the hell, Canada can be flexible for a good cause to make this a better world for Saudi billionaires.)

Can you imagine the stir there would be if a Kim Jun Nu were to do this? Can you imagine the indignation in the U.S. Senate, the threats to nuke North Korea?

The U.S. played a major role in  helping the government of Guatemala to murder 200,000 of its native Maya, not to mention assorted priests and nuns. There wasn't even  a whimper in the irving press - or most of the other North American news media.

In fact, these mass murders have long been a characteristic of capitalism. A Winston Churchill, for example, had nothing by contempt for foreign peoples or for poor ones. So he thought nothing of killing them, including the quite innocent, to please  his wealthy ( and white) friends. Thus his bombing of helpless Kurd villagers in 1920 and his deliberate killing by starvation of over a million people in India late in World War Two.

This behaviour has been typical of  capitalism for centuries as in the slaughter of native peoples all over the Americas, the enslavement of tens of millions of Africans and millions of more deaths by neglect on their voyage into slavery. Remember the American story of how, over a 100 years ago, the American Admiral Peary convinced the Japanese to open themselves to trade? Well, he didn't just appear. He fired his guns at the people in the coastal cities.

Millions on every continent have been killed to satisfy the greed of capitalists. That's what the tensions in the middle east are about.  That's what the brutality of life in much of Latin America is about. That's what Trump's threats to North Korea are about.  That's why millions, men, women and children, died in Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia.

This brutality certainly wasn't invented by capitalists. It was common among all the aristocracies of empire going back to ancient times.  Almost all of the millions killed in all wars that were ever fought were killed to please the greed of the very wealthy. The reality is that all systems require controls. But we are actually removing controls from capitalism.

The game is simple. Either we control the capitalists or they destroy us. Yes, it would be stupid of them to destroy us. But greed will beat brains every time. The wealthy in Canada and the U.S. have been engaged  in looting the rest of us for a long time. Through devices like tax avoidance, secret bank accounts, bribed governments, they have been making the rest of us poorer.

And their newspapers have been covering it up with propaganda. I noticed a fair bit of that in today's irving press.  Today's commentary page has two (count them, two) commentaries that are really from propaganda houses for big business.  Then, of course, it has yet another editorial on the government spending too much money. The real questions are 1. why don't we take a realistic look at what we need? and 2. Why don't we raise hell about the issue that the wealthy are hiding the money they owe us?

Uncontrolled greed is one hell of a destructive force. It will, as it always has in the past, destroy itself as well as the rest of  us. It's a foolish course for all of us. But the very greedy are very, very foolish people.

Since 1945, we have abandoned all that we said we were fighting for in world war 2. And we have thrown most of the world open to the greediest and most foolish people among us.

That's why children are starving to death in Yemen. And that's why those children and millions more around the world, including Canada and the U.S.,  cannot get food or adequate education or, in many countries, any medical help.

And that's why we're getting close to the wall of darkness that has come over every civilization in the past.

Look at those children in Yemen. We have done that. It wasn't Hitler or Mao or Joseph Stalin. It was us. For seventy years, the U.S. has been galloping along leaving a horrible trail of destruction and suffering and death while most of our news media have blamed everybody else but billionaires and their friends.

Oh, I know what would be a good idea. The rented preacher-of-the-week at the Irving Chapel could take the congregation down the road to the grave of Raoul Leger to hear why he was murdered while a missionary in Guatemala. (and why our New Brunswick news media have never mentioned it.)

The Netanyahu family of Israel has become wildly corrupt as well as malicious and murderous. Haaretz has this story. So has The Guardian. But most North American news media don't seem to have it. Ever heard of the Israeli lobby? It's a very powerful group who have a powerful  influence on what news we're allowed to have.


The story below is much, much worse than it might appear. It seems, for example, to concern itself mostly with British killings of civilians. In fact, including ISIS and the U.S. would greatly increase the count. (As well, any official figures of civilian deaths are, to say the least, unreliable.)

The fact is that civilians have become the major targets of war, especially aerial war.


I occasionally get angry e mails from a retired Canadian mining engineer who says I lie about the brutality of Canadian mining companies. So here's another story to get him in a stew about. (Don't expect to find this story in the irving press.)


Recently, I watched an American football game on TV. It featured, of course, the usual hysteria of fans, and the heavy play to patriotism with a U.S. flag that covered the WHOLE field. And the usual and quite dreadful singing of "Oh, say can you see..." accompanied by flare rockets. And lots of marching soldiers. I mean, you know, football is all about patriotism and killing and stuff.

We have just seen Santa Claus get the same military and patriotic treatment.


I don't think the writer of the column below understands the terrible trials that employers face when a minimum wage is cruelly imposed on them. I mean, a couple of dollars an hour may no seem much; but it adds up. And the companies need all they can get to pay millions of dollars to their boards and executives.

Just recently, Sears has had to lay off thousands of workers who worked there at low pay and now have been dumped with no compensation, no pensions, no nothing. But there's a reason. Sears needs that money to pay millions in severance pay to its hard-working directors and execs.


And the warning to the NDP is a serious one. Yes, I know that moving to the right means more votes. But it also means making it impossible to accomplish what the NDP should be accomplishing.  In a democracy, politics should not be a game to play simply for the winning. It should be a dedication to bettering the lot of the whole society.

Yes, climate change is happening. And it has already begun to have a far wider impact than we realize. That impact will include the severe dislocations of whole nations, the destruction of social structures, wars....  It is happening. And, yes, the world's thousands of scientists know more about it even than billionaire oil kings.

And this is not in the distant future. It is now.

And the biggest threats we face to human survival in this are the refusal of the oil industry to recognize what is happening - and it's economic power to buy off the politicians who should be protecting us.


What a surprise!  Not.


Haiti has been brutalized by American governments and capitalists for a century. And it's going to get worse.


Think hard. Thanks to climate change and wars, the world has tens of millions of refugees now. What will happen in the not-too-distant future when it has a billion and more?

Yes. It's going to get much, much worse. What will we do then? Oh. I know. Look me teacher. Look at my hand waving...We'll all build walls.

In all the fuss over Trump, one thing has not been noticed. For all his wackiness, the reality is that his policies have been much the same as those of Bush and Obama.


Funny how our news media and our churches have never noticed that capitalism is a direct attack on Christianity. (Tell me where Jesus said the drive to get rich is good. Tell me where He demanded higher pay and other rewards for Himself.)

That is why capitalism should not be allowed to run wild. When it does so, it attacks the fundamental values that most of us claim to believe in.

 When Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital, he based it on Christian principles. (Unfortunately, those who adopted it as communism made it as bad as capitalism had become. It seems to be a very human fault.)


Here's an old story. But it's one the irving press has never run, and never will.


Gosh, It was a thrill last night to see all those football fans standing up while four men sang "O say can you see..." on a football field covered with a giant American flag, and soldiers standing heroically at attention.

Here is an article on the situation with the two Koreas. It's an optimistic one - which is a nice change. It's also an intelligent one - in sharp contrast to an opinion column in today's irving press which I shall discuss toward the end of this blog.


Picasso's painting of the Nazi attack on Guernica is history's greatest example of an artist's attack on war. That Nazi attack has become the standard model for most war as fought by us even since. (In fairness, though, Churchill  beat Hitler to that sort of an attack over fifteen years earlier. Hey. Credit where  credit is due.)


Unless you subscribe to it, you cannot read Israel's Haaretz. Luckily, though, you can look at the story heads and at the first few lines of each story. And that is well worth the time taken.

This last part is largely for a New Brunswick audience. It's about the quality of the irving press, and about the implications of that.

Today's horror story is on the commentary page. It's called The future of the two Koreas. It's by a political science professor at university of Prince Edward Island. And it's a typical piece of irving rubbish.

It's a simple-minded good guys/bad guys effort. By the author's choice of words, South Korea is always good, and North Korea always bad. This is typical of what's called fake news.

It does NOT mention the central issue in this quarrel. Why is the U.S. so determined to crush the North? Why does China defend the north? It's kind of important to know that. But no, not a word.

It's not hard to explain. The U.S. wants to defeat North Korea because the U.S. would then have a base from which to attack China. And China, which doesn't want to be attacked by the U.S. doesn't want the U.S. to get control of that base.

That has been the story of the Koreas for almost 70 years. To get its way, the U.S., for decades, had nuclear missiles in South Korea aimed at the North. The good professor also neglects to mention that the U.S. and its allies pursued the most savage war in modern history (by population size) killing at least 3 or 4 million North Koreans, over half of them civilians.

He does mention that North Korea is impoverished. He doesn't mention that this had a lot to do with the deliberate destruction of the North Korean economy by the US, a destruction that is still going on. Nor does he mention that for almost seventy years, the U.S. has maintained a policy of provocation and threats against the North.

He does mention that the UN approved the U.S. economic sanctions. But I guess his teachers never mentioned to him that that U.S. was then (as it usually is now) an errand boy for the U.S. (It's recent refusal of a U.S. action was very, very unusual.)

And he does mention, briefly, that South Korea was a dictatorship when the Korean war broke out - and for years after.  So why were the U.S. so eager to help a dictatorship, and a brutal one at that? And how come it took so long for the South to become democratic? The reality, not apparent in this commentary, is that the U.S. was quite happy to deal with a brutal dictatorship.

"The north treats the U.S. as its existential enemy and threatens to attack it with
nuclear weapons..."  o-o-o-h,  how evil. And how twittish this account of it.

Of course the North treats the U.S. as its enemy. The U.S. has been threatening it with troops and nuclear weapons for almost seventy years. What on earth does this professor think it takes to become an existential enemy? And it has threatened the U.S. with nuclear attack?

Come off it. The U.S. has been threatening nuclear war on North Korea since the 1950s, and threatening it with a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. North Korea has threatened to respond IF ATTACKED. The professor's summary of all this is more than a little misleading.

The prof then concludes that nobody wants a war in that region. Lord love a duck. The U.S. has maintained a powerful army, navy and air force in the region. It has routinely carried out provocative military exercises on the border. It has maintained Korea's economy in a state of hopeless poverty. It  has threatened nuclear attack.  It wants North Korea for the same reason it has wanted it since 1950 - the conquest of China.

This whole commentary is garbage. And I guess there was no editor at the irving press with brains enough to realize what trash this is. UPEI really should set up a committee to examine such articles by its staff before they are sent.

Norbert Cunningham has his usual column about the incompetence and worse of our governments. Quite so. But, Norbert, if you want to get serious, how about a column on the wealthy people who support those clowns and put them into power? And how about your role in pushing us to vote for them?

And Canada and World News? Well, people are living longer (unless, of course, we are starving them to death as in Yemen). A bird in Ottawa is still in Ottawa though it's a type that is supposed to fly south. A man with no coat has gone missing. Calgary is featuring a nudist swim period at a city pool.

And that's pretty much it for the world.

It's a worrying time. The western world, especially countries like Ukraine and Germany and the U.S., are showing strong signs of a return to the fascism and naziism of the 1930s. But dinna fash yoursel'. You can always escape reality by signing up for a course in political science at UPEI.

There is a late, late story. China now has a nuclear bomb that can hit any target in the U.S. WITHOUT BEING DETECTED OR INTERCEPTED.

We live in a world in which many people think we can fight wars as if this here still 1944. We can''t. And it's no longer possible to win wars. But that will be slow to sink in.

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