Ministry of Peace

(Also euphemistically named the Ministry of “Defence” or “ Defense” in the U.S.   Continuing along the line of my last post about the Ministry of Truth, in Orwell’s 1984, the ministry responsible for perpetuation of continuous war between the three superstates was – of course – called “The Ministry of Peace”)

In this week of the 9th Annual Ottawa Peace Festival, do you ever question what we are “defending”?

I’ve had a long fascination with history, and much of recorded history is war. My birth in the early days of World War II was an event that might have never happened, had my father not been diagnosed with Tuberculosis by military doctors when he and his only brother Claude went together to enlist in the fight against Hitler. My only uncle on my fathers side, Major Claude Abell of the North Novas is buried in a military cemetery in Cape Gris Nez, France, one of the approximately 42,000 Canadian servicemen and women that did not survive that war.

As a young boy, I listened to the radio show about the heroic Horatio Hornblower, of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy, based on books by C.S. Forester. I was drawn to study weapons, and their role, from the siege weapons of the Romans, through the long bow vs crossbow battle of Agincourt immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry the V, to the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the Battle of Britain, and the howitzers, machine guns and mines that were a part of modern warfare. I was a Queen’s Scout – an organization that arose out of the Boer War, and an army cadet, where I learned to parade, to salute, to shoot, and to read military topographical maps.

It was not until my college undergraduate studies in the early sixties, that I began to seriously look at the political side of war. This included a very thorough study of Hitler, the situation, tactics and forces that brought him to power, through to his final sociopathic rant against the German People for letting him down.

This was also the 60’s, of the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. The U.S. was embroiled in the Vietnam War, wars raged in Burma, the Congo, Guatemala, in fact in some 56 countries around the world, but mainly in Africa, Asia, and Central America. Cast on one side as a fight against godless communism, and on the other as wars of liberation from colonial oppression, these became proxy wars between the superpowers – funded, armed, and heavily propagandized by the United States and the U.S.S.R. – often with direct or covert involvement of armed forces from the superpowers and/or from their respective allies.

When opposition to this extension and deployment of U.S. Military forces arose in the context of the Vietnam War, a huge political polarization occurred, which tended to drown out any discussion of paths to peace and reconciliation. It also resulted in a right-wing backlash that bedevils the U.S. and Canada to this very day. The result has been over sixty continuous years of a World at War, with the poorest and most vulnerable nations the inevitable victims, with millions of civilian deaths and hundreds of millions displaced – living in poverty and misery.

(cf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts)

There is no moral high ground in the real history of this period of continuous warfare from the 1950’s – inaccurately called the “post-war period” – to the present day. The more I study and come to understand the root causes and progression of these hundreds of conflicts, the more disappointed and sometimes furious I become with the leadership of what is inaccurately called “the Free World”.

And we have such leadership because we, the people, buy into their fear and division tactics, and let them get away with wrapping themselves in the flag, even as they work against our best interests.

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The Ministry of Truth (or Look at the Bloody Dates!)

(Note – update as of 27 Sept.  The page referenced below has changed somewhat since yesterday, and I confirmed that with someone else, to make sure it was not my imagination.  Some of the missing data was restored, even though the headings continue to be deliberately misleading.   RA  26 Sept 2015)

As is typical of my prose, this blog was triggered by a real event – an observation of a CBC website, (http://www.cbc.ca/news/multimedia/canada-s-deficits-and-surpluses-1963-to-2015-1.3042571 – which was originally published on April 21, 2015 and was then updated on September 16, 2015.

I saw the earlier version, and recorded data at that time. So I was shocked to see the “revision of history” that occurred in September, conveniently one month prior to a national election in Canada.

When Orwell wrote the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four – only 4 years after the end of the Second World War – he imagined three Super-States in a world of perpetual war. Control was maintained through total public surveillance in what was a police state, with complete control of media and total manipulation of the public by a government and political system set up to provide a life of luxury and privilege to a very few. Critical to this whole scheme was a cult of personality around the Party Leader. Critical to the whole structure was the Ministry of Truth.

The role of the Ministry of Truth was to revise history. The protagonist, Winston, is employed to rewrite records, alter photographs, and dispose of original documents which were incinerated in a “memory hole”.  Any dissenting opinions were punished by the Thought Police.  If Orwell were to drop in on us today, he would see that in some of his inventions, he was very wrong. But in Canada at least, the Ministry of Truth exists. It goes by other names, but the effect is the same. History is being rewritten, and inconvenient truths dumped in a memory hole.

Where does the Ministry of Truth kick in?

So what do we see when we go to that CBC website?  We see a smiling picture of the current Prime Minister, Steven Harper, and two big black boxes signifying a $13.8 Billion Dollar Surplus and a $1.9 Billion Dollar surplus.

If you click on the little arrow to open the display, you see the same box duplicated again (so it appears twice now), followed by two black boxes beside a picture of Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, again with two black boxes and almost identical amounts of 1.4 Billion Surplus and 13.2 Billion Surplus. Chretien managed a Black box of $10.6 Billion and a Red Box with a $38.5 Billion Deficit … but I bore you with details. You can see it for yourself.

LOOK AT THE BLOODY DATES!!!!

So what went into the memory hole? SIX YEARS OF RED INK!  Harper’s surpluses are for 2006-2007 – when he was a minority government, and for 2014-2015 – a time period not fully finished and therefore not presumed accurate – only a forecast.  The heading of the CBC piece claims to be the deficits and surpluses from 1963-2015, but SIX YEARS ARE MISSING!  Until Harper’s Thought Police come to get me, and scrub my websites, here is the missing data:Canadian Deficits 1963-2014

From 2008 until 2010, Harper ran a deficit – a BIG deficit, in fact the second largest in real dollars in Canadian history – $94.7 Billion.

From 2011 until 2013, Harper ran another deficit – another BIG deficit. $71 Billion in red ink.

Over the period from 2006 to 2014, the “Harper Government” added $158.9 Billion to taxpayer debt.

Of our total debt of approximately $600 Billion, Harper is responsible for almost 25%.

No wonder the Ministry of Truth wanted to put this in the Memory Hole.

Salvaging Capitalism/Saving Democracy – Chapter 14 – A New Face for Government

Chapter 14 Salvaging Capitalism

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do
something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse
to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And
what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.”
(Edward Everett Hale {April 3, 1822 – June 10, 1909} American
author, historian and Unitarian clergyman.)
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to
be broken.”
(Warren Buffett, from “www.brainyquote.com”)

Chapter 14 – A New Face for Government
The cures that can salvage capitalism and save democracy in the
process are conceptually very simple, but for a government to put
them in place, and/or for Capitalists with the moral persuasion of
Adam Smith to put them in place will take a concerted effort. …

Download the chapter with forward and author end notes.

https://rabellblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/chapter-14-salvaging-capitalism.pdf

Chapter 15 – Responsible Corporations

Get both chapter 14 and chapter 15:

https://rabellblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/chapter-14-and-15salvagingcapitalism.pdf

Blind Men

Do you ever wonder why we have so much argument, and so little discussion these days?

I think it is mainly because we don’t see the whole picture, and feel the need to defend our position, in a very “territorial” way.

It’s as if learning more and actually understanding more would somehow diminish our own sense of worth.

The last two lines of this classic poem sum it up well: “Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong!”

So how could the argument have been easily solved? And do we all, on occasion, behave somewhat like these learned men of Indostan?

The Blind Men and the Elephant
John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Spin Doctor

Living in this world can be complex and downright dangerous at times.  There are lots of funny things going on around us that cause us the blahs.  
One of these is a disease that seems to affect all media communication called “Spin”.

Spin is widespread and is communicable like any disease, that is, people exposed to Spin often both get the disease and transmit it unknowingly to others. It is possible to develop a level of immunity to Spin, although new strains seem to show up with regularity, especially in election season – which itself appears to have grown like a massive tumor to 365 days a year (except in leap years).

“Spin Doctor” tries to track some of the more dangerous varieties of Spin, give you tools to recognize the symptoms, and help immunize you against infections by this dangerous virus.

Strangely enough, even the term “Spin Doctor” is a form of Spin – Bafflegab.   Doctors are supposed to cure us – right?  So why call someone who makes us sick a doctor?  I guess it is because they  “doctor” bad ideas to make them look better – sort of like cosmetic surgery.   I would prefer to call them Spin Masters,  because their intent is to control the way you think.