Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jan. 6: A late but superb Christmas message...

A reader sent me this item.  It's magnificent. And, oh, I thank him for it.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/what-christmas-means/
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The irving press continues to splash in its journalistic gutter. It's latest contribution to the world of madness is Terrence Corcoran, a columnist for Financial Post who single-handedly dismisses all the warning of world scientists to say we can keep doing whatever we like the this planet. Yes, says Mr. Corcoran, the world is getting better every day; poverty  and hunger are vanishing.

Oh. Really?

Actually, the information we have says poverty and hunger are worsening - including in big economies like the U.S.

Then there's a commentary by a Conservative political candidate. (Hint - commentators are supposed to be people who add understanding to what is happening in the news. They aren't supposed to be free ads for political hacks.)

The editorial is another rant about keeping taxes down. (That can be tough - and heartless - to do when it comes to compensating by cutting down on essential services.) It would be useful if the editorialist would at least give us some idea of how much tax money we DON'T have because the wealthy won't pay it.
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I'm reading a massive Christmas book. It's about Hitler from his birth to 1939 and, at nearly 800 pages it is not for the faint hearted. I was particularly struck by the author's sketch of Germany's political and social mood in the years after 1918. It has a lot of relevance today.

What the author, Volker Ullrich, points out is that Germany did NOT start World War 1. Now, historians have know that for a long time. But world war one's victorious leaders and  news media didn't say that. They blamed Germany for starting that war.

(In fact, all the major powers of that war had been preparing for it for decades. In all cases, Germany, Britain, France, Turkey..., their capitalists feared, each of them, that they were in danger of losing ground to capitalists in other countries. It was not the people of any one country that started that war. It was not the common people at all. It was the major capitalists, all of them, who started it at the same time.

However, when the victorious powers drew up the peace treaty, they charged Germany with having started the war.  And they penalized Germany with massive payments intended to last for decades after the war.

And that's is what created Hitler and Naziism.

Those payments caused real and widespread suffering in Germany. And they created powerful resentments and hatreds. Hitler played heavily on those resentments and hatreds.

In a related issue, Germans looked for people to blame for losing the war. Now, Germany - like eastern Europe and Britain and the U.S. and Canada - have a history of anti-semitism.  But German politicians, like Hitler, played the blame game with Jews, the game that led to massive abuse and mass murder of Jews.

In fact, Hitler had not been anti-semitic before or during world war 1. Indeed, he had a close friendship with and respect for the Jewish doctor of 1912 or so who had saved his mother's life. Many years later, when Hitler came to power, his police and his private army were ordered not to bother that doctor or his family. In fact, during World War 2, Hitler arranged for the doctor and  his family to escape to South America.

Hitler's own passionate hatred of Jews ( whether real or political) didn't happen until the 1920s.

In short, the victors' treatment of Germany as the cause of World War 2 caused the poverty and racial hatreds of Germany that created a Hitler.

And, yes. This is going somewhere.

At the end of the Korean War, the western powers did to North Korea what penalizing Germany had done to create anger and hatred. We had no business interfering in North Korea. South Korea was not an innocent maiden being raped by her neighbour. It was, in fact, a brutal dictatorship supported largely by their wealthier citizens  who had collaborated with Japan in World War 2.

The American motive in that war had nothing to do with democracy. It had to do with breaking open the door for an invasion of China. And when we lost that war  (yes, we did lose it), the U.S. did what the western allies had done to Germany in 1918. It imposed heavy costs on North Korea in the shape of trade sanctions. 

The result was a North Korea that had suffered the greatest damage, by far, of any country for centuries, was left to rebuild in the worst imaginable poverty. Worse, the U.S, until recently, set up nuclear weapons in the south aimed at North Korea, and carried out constant and provocative military exercises.

Now, the U.S. has made it worse with even heavier sanctions. North Korea has made greater progress than anyone could have dreamed possible, but it remains mired in desperate poverty.

In short, the U.S. has inflicted on North Korea penalties exactly like those that created Hitler and World War Two.

It's an unhumanly treatment of, well, of humans. And, as we should have learned after two world wars, it doesn't work.  As matters stand, Kim Jong Un would be a fool to give up his nuclear weapons. His arsenal is much too small to be a serious threat to the U.S. But it's the only counter he has to the immense military and economic power of the U.S.

Yes, I'm quite sure that Kim Jong Un is a vicious and controlling person. Of course he is. We created him by fifty years of punishments and threats on North Korea,  just as we created Hitler.

And, as a final touch, any use of force in North Korea could well trigger a world nuclear war that would destroy all of us.

Incidentally, the rise of Donald Trump has been markedly similar to the rise of Adolph Hitler.
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The book about Hitler is "Hitler Ascent 1889-1939". It's a long and heavy read, but worth it. Particularly powerful is the chapter "Prelude to Genocide". It deals with 1938 when Hitler turned his thugs loose on the Jews, beating them in the streets and putting them into concentration camps where they were horribly abused. Particularly memorable is the the section dealing with Krystallnacht, the night Hitler's SA burned synagogues, and publicly humiliated, beat and murdered Jews in an orgy of horror.

And yes, Britain, the U.S. and Canada knew all about it. And they really didn't care. They didn't lift a finger to help those Jews who tried to escape because they were almost as antisemitic as Germany was. And that may help to explain the often extreme behaviour of Israel.
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For a change of pace, here are reviews of three books about Guatemala  where U.S. capitalism, with the full support of American politicians, created a hell, and where New Brunswicker Raoul Leger was murdered (without a word about it ever appearing in the irving press.) Note the third review in particular.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jan/06/the-best-books-on-guatemala-start-your-reading-here

The record of American capitalism in plundering, slavery, semi-slavery, mass murder is at least as vicious as that of the British Empire. And both empires made it a point to tell the world and themselves that God blessed them.
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And here, again, is the story that has gripped much of the western world - but not the irving press.

 http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/independent-jewish-voices-canada/2018/01/slap-was-heard-around-world
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After years of elaborate apologies and vague promises, what has Canada done for its indigenous peoples? The answer is nothing.

Despite the glib talk of our politicians it is no easy task to rebuild societies after centuries of destroying them. The world these societies were shaped in has been destroyed. They can't go back to the old life in a world that no longer exists. Somehow, we have to create a society (actually, several societies) based on their old values but adapted to the world they now have to live in.

I won't pretend that I have an answer to that problem. But I see no sign that our big-talking politicians have given any thought at all to an answer. So our aboriginal peoples have to continue in the cultural vacuum left to them.

 http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/activist-communiqu%C3%A9/2018/01/access-clean-water-luxury-some-first-nations-reserves
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The U.S. seems determined to use the demonstrations against the government of Iran as an excuse for intervention - as though 'the people' were rising against a cruel and corrupt government. But that is not at all what the demonstrations are about.

http://original.antiwar.com/feffer/2018/01/05/trump-neocons-exploiting-iran-protest-movement-know-nothing/
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While the media report unusual weather, they often don't connect it with climate change. In fact, the irving press has happily run 'commentaries' by writers who routinely denounce those who do make the connection with climate change as fuss-bodies and fear mongers.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/05/corporate-media-failed-connect-2017s-extreme-weather-climate-crisis-study
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Then we have the latest scandal from our scandal-ridden pharmaceutical industry.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/second-opinion-january-6-2018-1.4475921
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You think we can safely handle the radioactive fallout from a nuclear war? The reality is we can't even handle the fallout we have been getting for years from a nuclear power station. And we'll be getting it for thousands of years to come.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-fukushima-nuclear-meltdown-continues-unabated/5624458
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One of the greatest costs of war is the cost of rebuilding. In Syria, that is estimated to amount to 250 billion dollars. The destruction of the Korean War was even worse. Then there have been the many, many billion dollars to rebuild Iraq. And one can only wonder who will pay for the rebuilding of Yemen, the arab world's poorest country.

Oh, yes. The U.S. (very occasionally,) pays to rebuild the damage. It helped western Europe after World War Two. But there was a catch.  Most of that money had to go to U.S. contractors. And Britain got nothing. Of course not. The U.S. wanted the British Empire broken so it could take over.

As well, U.S. contractors have been notorious for pocketing most of the aid money. In Iraq, rebuilding a school meant simply repainting the ruin at a very high price. The same sort of thing happened with the Haiti earthquake.

The American empire has killed some seven or eight million people  since the 1950s. And almost as bad are the shattered ruins it has left behind.

God bless America? I doubt it.

http://www.countercurrents.org/2018/01/06/will-pay-250-billion-reconstruction-cost-syria/
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The U.S defeated ISIS in Syria? No, it didn't. It created ISIS in Syria.

https://www.unz.com/article/who-really-defeated-isis/
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The future looks dangerous. Like Nazi Germany, the U.S. has a political leadership that has risen by exploiting racial hatreds and fears. It has an economic leadership similar to that of Nazi Germany as it embraced Hitler when it saw he was going to win power. And we are now fighting wars for exactly the same reason the world fought world war one - wars to decide which national gang of capitalists would dominate.

And Canada will be sucked in because our capitalists want us to be sucked in.

And, in Yemen, we have exceeded the brutality of Hitler's death camps with the deliberate starvation of civilians, including children and babies. Millions are likely to die.  (And yes, both Canada and the U.S. have played a role in this.) Astonishingly, our news media have largely ignored this.

The German churches offered at least some resistance to Hitler. Ours haven't even whimpered.



             

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