Friday, 10 February 2017

REFUGEES

    In the 1680s a new word, refugees, joined the English language.  It was  needed to describe the 50,000 Huguenots (Calvinists) who fled Catholic persecution in Louis XIV’s France to find peaceful acceptance in England, Holland, Germany, and Switzerland who all benefited from the many skilled craftsmen given refuge.
The main source of refugees has been man-made.  Today it is over population.  Of the earth’s 36.48 billion acres only 7.68 billion are arable which allows us one acre per human to be shared with plants and animals.
But geology has also played a large role.  Earthquakes, volcanoes, and shifting rain patterns have all caused much misery.  Greenhouse gas emission of humans and their cattle affect geology as do natural cycles. 
FLOODS:   Floods create lots of refugees.  Perhaps the most widespread and best recorded floods have been the  amazing-and-intriguing similarities among all the Noah-type-flood stories.  We can start some 120 million years ago with the Hindu legend of Vishnu ordering virtuous King Manu to build a huge boat to save humans and animals from a coming deluge.  When the flood receded the boat landed safely atop the Malaya Mountains.  
The other tales are deemed to originate with  the Mediterranean breaching the Black Sea wall some 5,600 years ago which could have been sudden, gradual, or intermittent but which has been the source of many similar flood stories such as the Sumerian “Epic of Ziusudra” and the “Epic of Gilgamesh” of 2,700 BC, Deucalion of Greece warned of a deluge by Zeus in 2,100 BC, the Akkadian version of 2,000 BC, and Noah, who lived 9 generations after Adam, warned by God. Abraham took the Noah version from the Hurrians of Haran, who inherited it from the Babylonians, to Caanan and its invading Hebrews who monopolized it as their heritage.
THE SEA PEOPLE:  We still do not know the combinations and origins of those who made up the “Sea People” who terrorized  the Mediterranean in the 1200s BC.  Some may have been survivors of the fall of Troy  and of the Thera, Aegean, earthquakes that about 1600 BC destroyed the Minoan maritime civilization.  Pharaohs in Egypt recruited Scythian warriors fleeing from a drying Danubian climate to fight them off.   
ROMAN REFUGEE CAMPS:   Romans had refugee camps by Hadrian’s Wall, built 122-128 AD, along the Scotland - England border for the Picts (Scottish Celts), escaping persecution for trading food with them.
GOTHS: Germanic Goths stretched from the Danube to the Don and from the Black to the Baltic seas.  In the 300s AD, many fled the Huns sweeping in from the east.  Some were accepted by the Eastern Roman Empire to help fight the Persians but when 200,000 sought acceptance by the Western Roman Empire they were put in what became death camps as corrupt officials stole food and equipment.  Annoyed Goths united, revolted, and killed Emperor Valens and most of his army at Adrianople, then sacked Rome in 410.  Rejected refugees can get nasty.
ATHENIANS prided themselves with open acceptance of refugees but, when empathy led to sending expeditions abroad, disasters ensued especially in Sicily.  There is a limit to how far goodwill can be extended.
SILK ROAD REFUGEES: Communities along the Silk Road benefited greatly from innovations brought to them by various refugees.  In 1006, the Islamic conquest of the Buddhist kingdom of Xinjiang radically altered much of the 6,400 km (4,000 mile) silk road as waves of refugees brought religious tolerance of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Manicheism, and Zoroastrianism to large sections of it.
THE ROMA: Misnamed by Europeans, the Roma were the “Untouchables” of India who were liberated by the Ottoman Turks in 1038 and followed them into Europe.  They were joined by Hindus defeated by the Islamic invasion.  Noted for their craftsmanship, blacksmithing, and music, many Roma became gypsies, so named in the belief they came from Egypt.  They remain Europe’s most persecuted group.
SPANISH JEWS and MOORS: In 1492, Ottoman Emperor, Sultan Bayezid II, welcomed 250,000 Jews and Moors expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.  The refugees settled mainly in Salonika and Constantinople (Istanbul).  They introduced the printing press and financed government operations.  Pleased, the emperor offered them the dilapidated city of Tiberius which they restored, turning it into a garden.
UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS: After 1776 many who had fought to remain loyal to Britain were tarred and feathered, had their homes confiscated, and were ostracized.  The Royal Navy held on to New York long enough to let 100,000 escape to the Canadian provinces, the UK, and West Indies. New Brunswick was carved out of Nova Scotia and Ontario out of Quebec. The UK government gave £15,000,000 to settle the refugees in what was to become Canada, making it bilingual overnight.  A hatred of the new USA persisted for a century and helped Canada, with considerable Native and British help, defeat the US invasions of the War of 1812.
     One of the many roots of refugees is Greed.  Consider Standing Rock in the Dakotas.  It has been hit at least twice, once by gold, now by oil, but both times the Sioux suffered. 
    In 1874 a US Army expedition under Lt. Colonel George Custer found gold  on the Dakota territory that the Sioux had been allowed to retain under an 1851 treaty.  Thousands of white prospectors flooded in with no respect for the Sioux who refused an offer from the US government to buy the land.  In 1875 President Ulysees Grant ordered the army to cease protecting the Sioux.  A reservation was imposed and the army was ordered to attack any Sioux found off it.  In June 1876 the army planned an attack on a Sioux-Cheyenne gathering.  Custer initiated the attack only to get himself and 265 of his men killed.  Soon the Sioux suffered defeat and harsh terms while the whites carted off 1,245 tons of gold, exhausting the supply in 2002.
When the last holdout, Sitting Bull, a true independent spirit, legend and hero, finally led his band into Canada he found a true friend, Inspector James Morrow Walsh of the NWMP, but whose resources were inadequate. Previous refugees from the ‘long knives’ (US Cavalry) had settled peacefully in Canada but with an influx of 5,000 more Sioux amid rapidly-declining bison herds, starvation faced all tribes and Canada, having fought back 7 previous US invasions did not want to risk yet another due to a Sioux attack from Canada, allowed thousands to drift back to bleak US reservations including Sitting Bull.  In 1885 he suffered the humiliation of performing in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, later to be arrested and shot while in prison in 1890.
Today the $3.8 billion, 1,200 mile Dakota Access Pipeline, originally routed to pass north of Sioux lands was moved to them after objections from ‘white’ land owners.  As it endangers vital water, there has been thousands of  protectors from numerous US and Canadian tribes + US veterans protesting to support the Sioux, all molested by dogs, pepper spray, water cannon in freezing temperatures, and arrests including many journalists  The pipeline was put on hold by the Obama administration for further study but reinstated by the Trump.  Once more, the Sioux desperation, and protests, will continue. 
THE LONG MARCH: I was one of the millions fleeing the Soviet advance in the snow of February 1945.  Over 3 million Germans, mostly women, children, and elderly, perished.  We younger POWs, having had Red Cross food, were healthier.  Except for a score or so killed by our own aircraft, we survived, helped by German farmers and their barns along the way, then by German military boxcars.
THE MIDDLE EAST:   Long a crossroads of innumerable African, Asian, and European groups, we can easily rotate among all that is admirable, good, callous, disgusting, and frightening in human actions.  Refugees appear in large numbers wherever we look.  As the Palestines and Jews had lived peacefully together within the Ottoman Empire, and as both had helped the British, French, and Australians defeat the Turks in WWI, the UK promised both of them their own homeland.  Since WWI, oil had become the new wealth and as the Middle East had lots of it, France acquired Syria and Lebanon while the UK ‘protected’ Mesopotamia.  Russia was left out due to its Red-White war.  As the US had not joined this theatre of war, it could not share the spoils so, after WWII, it latched onto the horrors of the holocaust and, under pressure from Harry Truman, the UN in 1948 recognized only Israel - but on Palestinian land.  When the new Israel seized much more land that what the UN had allowed, it started a wave of expulsions that still continues.  With overwhelming military might, including German reparations and annual US military and financial support, Israel has forced on Jordan-Lebanon immense problems with refugees.  In various uprisings, Palestine’s feeble rockets have killed a dozen Israelis compared to thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli aircraft, naval ships, tanks, and artillery.  The two-state solution has been a farce with the US  vetoing all UN resolutions condemning Israel except for the last one from which the US abstained and the vote was 14-0 against Israeli aggression.  With the new administration welcoming Netanyahu and promising stronger support the area may be doomed to match Syria in blood-letting.
SYRIA: Syria became independent of France in 1946.  A series of factions and rulers, with interference from the CIA and Russia plus intolerance of peaceful dissent, has led to a civil war that has taken 400,000 lives and produced millions of refugees, accepted by 29 countries, some of which are overwhelmed and have closed their borders. 
DAESH, AL QAIDA, TALIBAN et al.  Even though we created them, their actions demand we eradicate them, and try to rescue all those refugees who have suffered because of them. 
REMEDIES?  We have only one world within reach.  It is heavily overcrowded which leads to automation that destroys jobs.  Unhappy people are enough to fuel revolutions.  We have tried scores of regional empires and 2 world organization, 3 if you count multi-nationals.  We do need to try again, study all world constitutions, and devise one that guarantees FAIR PLAY.  Not easy, but essential in a nuclear or climate-change age.  

georgesweanor@comcast.net         www.yeoldescribe.com







Thursday, 26 January 2017

TRUMP vs WOMAN POWER

      Donald, if you are open to advice, do realize that alternative facts will not silence all those women and we men who support them.  The rapidly-swinging pendulum needs wise regulations you should learn to like. 
When over two million women, in 600 USA locations and 70 in other countries, including Yellowknife in the Yukon in its six degrees below zero weather, can turn out to voice dissent, there is much more here than just your locker-room behaviour.  Usually a source for good, women are again organised and must be heeded. 
To guide all of us now, we need a deep understanding of History and Biology.  To permit evolution, Biology has given us two sexes plus all those in transit between the two.  History tells us that both sexes have allowed Power and Greed to misrule long periods, yet interspersed with empathy and fair play, so Hope does persist.
                                                                           HISTORY
Since WWII the pendulum has accelerated.  Our knowledge is exploding but its wise use is stumbling. How can we ensure a satisfying future for all living things?  Actually, Donald, it  is millions, if not billions, of years since we trapped ourselves into the command “Go forth and multiply”.  So, perhaps, we should first seek a strong grounding in what archaeology and written history (note ‘his’ rather than ‘our’ story) tells us.  For your background, here is a mix, including a few extracts from Merlin Stone’s “When God Was A Woman”:
She shows that artifacts from Scotland to India, reveal that the God they worshiped from as far back as 25,000 years ago was the Queen of Heaven who was known as the Sun Goddess and went, in different cultures, by a score of names including Ashtoreth (with her male consort, Baal) in Canaan and Palestine.  Clay, stone, and ivory replicas of God are all female.  The earliest known writing is from Erech, Iraq, dating to just over 5,000 years ago.  These also indicate God was female.  Then, numerous passages from ancient texts, as well as the Bible and Koran, trace the dominance of women being replaced by the dominance of men.
As the female is the creator of all life, and as she also invented agriculture, thus permitting civilization, it was natural to exalt her, which left men in a secondary role.  In some societies, paternity was not important so women could take on many lovers.  Women could spend months in the temples of the local Goddess where men were encouraged to visit for sexual pleasures.  Some queens would select a male as a consort, pamper him for a year, then murder him to choose another.  Murder evolved to castration which was also abandoned.  
The first male gods arrived in the West about 4,000 years ago, brought by Indo-Europeans who suppressed the worship of a female God.  Initially, they were nomads who had mastered horsemanship, who had 2-man wheeled chariots drawn by horses and who had iron weapons. They fought among themselves but were overpowering to the bronze age cultures they encountered and imposed themselves as the ruling classes.
About 3,500 years ago, Abraham, an Indo-European Levite, led his followers from Ur, Iraq, to Canaan to become the priestly class of the Hebrews who were mainly wandering Semites.  Levites led in discrediting the Goddess and her serpent, considered the fount of wisdom, and to substitute Yahweh (Jehovah).  As paternity had been  unimportant there was no way to enforce the rights of the local men to inheritance and property. 
When Moses (1393-1273 BC) led the exodus out of Egypt and when Joshua succeeded him, the Levites had a struggle to convert them all to Yahweh.  In seeking the promised land in Canaan they chose Jericho, founded 8,000 BC, an easy target as an earthquake, not trumpets, had crumbled its walls.  They slaughtered the entire population, then went on to do the same to other poorly-armed goddess communities.  They spared only young female virgins to serve as wives because those coming out of Egypt were predominantly male.
The book goes into detail on the long struggle to wrest control from Goddess societies.  The eating of figs from the sycamore fig tree was considered communion with the Goddess.  This was turned into the forbidden tree of knowledge with the serpent, now evil, tempting Ashtoreth, now downgraded to Eve, into eating its fruit and persuading Adam to do the same.  This placed the blame on women for the downfall of man.  To lock in paternal succession rights, a woman, not found to be a virgin on her marriage bed, had to be stoned to death and, while men could have multiple sex partners, a woman was stoned to death if she did.   
  A big setback for Goddess societies came from Constantine, 274-337 AD, who saw a vision of a cross before he defeated a rival in battle, causing him to convert to Christianity and to close Goddess temples.
Citing numerous quotes and writings, Stone goes on to show how Saints Peter and Paul told women they must submit to their fathers and husbands.  They were followed by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and so many others who also maintained the inferior status of women.  Hebrew men thanked God for not making them women.  Muslims adopted the Hebrew and Christian persecution of women.  Stone continues through the suffrage struggle to the current situation where equality is still denied in much of the world.
Yet, it was a mixed bag.  Other researchers show:  In Egypt 6 of the 14 top deities were female. African, Asian, and Polynesian were mostly male.  The quarrelsome Celts did have many female warrior gods.
In the 2014 World Economic Forum, ranking of countries for gender equality, Iceland and the Nordic countries took the top 5 places with scores from .86 to .80, Germany was 12th (.78), France 16th, Canada 19th, USA 20th (.75), UK 26th, Cuba 30th (.73), Poland 57th, (.71), Ukraine 56th, Russia 75th (.69), Mexico 80th, Japan 104th, Turkey 125th (.62), Egypt 129th,, Saudi Arabia 130th, Iran 137th (.58), Pakistan 141st, Yemen 142nd (.51). 
Since WWII there has been a dramatic increase in the number and variety of jobs  available to women.   Currently, women are globally 50% of the workforce, but hold only 12% of board positions and are paid 77% of what men get.  Culture still plays a role.  In Japan, women who become pregnant are expected to return home for the more important job of raising a family.  In Saudi Arabia, with the recent lifting of some restrictions, women are flocking into the workforce.  In Europe, Norway leads with 36% of its work force female, the UK 23%, Germany 19%.  Elsewhere, India has 3%, Australia 20%, Canada 36%, USA 52% (4% for CEOs).  Other USA statistics: 61% of mothers with children under 3 years of age are in the workforce, 70% with children under 18.  This necessitates children being raised by for-profit daycare businesses instead of  stay-at-home mothers.  This does increase mental alertness but decreases mother-children bonds.
Women are now exceeding men in education.  Rankings (with the bracketed percentage of those with advanced degrees being women) of the top ten educated countries are: Finland (60), Canada (65), Iran (60), Chile (60), Estonia (67), Spain (60), Brazil (60), USA (57), Argentina (51), and Saudi Arabia (51).    
       The World Conference on Human Rights has recognized women’s rights as human rights.
                                                                       BIOLOGY
     Biology has been unfair in determining who contributes what.  The male is given an appendage that gives him much lengthy pleasure in anticipation  and greater temporary pleasure in performance and this encourages him to chase about the world impregnating as many females as he can catch.  The female is allowed less pleasure yet is saddled with carrying and nourishing a foetus for nine months then raising it for up to 20 years.
 Most men realized their good fortune and went off hunting, gathering, fighting, and creating and destroying civilizations, leaving the female to forge strong bonds with her children and to become quite creative while protecting them.   I have heard many men admit “they are smarter than we are”.  So, resentment does exist today as men see women taking over male jobs: doctors, dentists, lawyers, journalists, politicians. mechanics, scientists, astronauts, warriors, and, Daniel, protesters that you would be wise to heed.  Did you notice that Malia Obama joined the protectors against the Dakota Access pipeline you reinstated?  You do claim to love women.  How?  Only 4 of your choices for 20 cabinet-level positions are women.
Yes, Donald, your locker-room talk is shared by many men and, today, even by some women.   Women do use your sex words against you, but are they just another tool to attack your other faults that many of both sexes consider are too numerous.  Many of we men prefer to leave women on their pedestals of care, love, and empathy, but women also have disillusioning faults that may require wise regulations.  Many women tell me they prefer working for men as women can be more cruel, jealous, and vindictive.  We want no return of murderous female tyrants like Bloody Mary, Queen of England, Isabella of Castile, Isle Koch and Irma Grese of Nazi extermination camps and too many more.  Also, in my long association with thousands of men, I learned to avoid joining them after work in the bars as too many of them were there because they lamented they loved their wives much more than they were loved in return, so felt rejected.  For love, read sex.  This results in widespread marital infidelity causing wise wives to accept it - if it is minimal. 
So, as we humans have not yet, as a species, evolved sufficiently to behave or to understand Life or the universe we find it in, we must concentrate on improving empathetic co-operation to enjoy the many pleasures that either do exist or that we can forge to make this temporary existence sustainable and well worth the trouble.  That old advice about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the required base.
These women, with we men tagging along, have many more issues to promote.  Listen to us, Donald.
               
www.yeoldescribe.com                                                                      georgesweanor@comcast.net





Tuesday, 3 January 2017

THE PAIN IN SPAIN

      As with all great empires that have come and gone, it is easy to sit back and smugly point out the foolish mistakes they made and how they could have avoided the tremendous upheavals that often included: enormous bloodshed, tribulations, currency devaluations, descent from wealth into poverty, loss of world status, steep drops in educational levels, and so on.  Yet, how good are we at using the lessons from their mistakes to influence our current actions?
As with all life there is a pattern in nations of birth, growth, expansion, self-confidence, decay, and decline.  Must is be always so?
Spain’s greatness was relatively short-lived - about 200 years.  Spain had a long history of being a province of empires like Carthaginian, Roman, and French.  It did not come into its own until its unification started in 1469 when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile and joined their treasuries.     When Columbus, backed by Isabella and her enlarged wealth, sailed in 1492, Spain had a balanced and prosperous economy.  Craftmanship was outstanding so its products were eagerly sought by other countries.  Work was so plentiful that workers from Italy and France were imported.   Saragossa, Barcelona, Granada, Valencia, and Cadiz were busy industrial and commercial centres.            There were half a million Moors, known as Moriscos, in southeast Spain who produced excellent olive oil, wine, fruit, and grain, both to feed Spain and for export.  Jews also contributed much to the economy.  There was a fair degree of tolerance.  What destroyed all this?
Portugal had led Europe in exploration.  Since the Phoenicians did it in 600 BC, no one had circumnavigated Africa until 1488 when Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope and in 1499 Vasco da Gama reached India.  In 1493, with increased ambitions, Ferdinand  persuaded Pope Alexander IV, himself a Spaniard, to amend the 1481 papal bull, that gave all new lands south of the Canary Island to Portugal, to allow Spain to exploit anything west of 38̊W.  In 1494 this was amended to 46̊37 W by the treaty of Tordesillas.        
  Spanish prestige, pride, and world status expanded with the building of Spanish colonies and with the wealth of 200 tons of gold and 18,000 tons of silver looted Mayan, Aztec, and Inca  sources.        Spain became a power to be reckoned with.  It had colonies in the Netherlands, France, and Italy, and growing interests that led to wars with Protestants, Muslims, Turks, Dutch, French, and English. With 300 tons of silver and much gold pouring in annually from America, why worry about the expense of a large army and navy?
Ferdinand and Isabella married daughter Joanne to Philip of Habsburg, (their son became Charles I), daughter Isabella to the King of Portugal, and daughter Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII.  The Golden Age of Spain in Europe held, at least in the eyes of Spaniards, until 1659 through the reigns of Charles I (1516-1556), and three Philips:  II (1556-1598), III (1598-1621) and IV (1621-1665). 
THE ROT SETS IN:
Expulsions:  With increasing pride, pure (?) Spaniards grew to envy and hate the Moriscos whose hard work had made them prosperous.  In 1609 Philip III expelled the Moriscos to North Africa and confiscated all the lands which were never again as productive because the victorious Spaniards were too proud to work the land like the Moriscos.  Jews had become too prosperous, so they were expelled as well, and forced to leave their wealth behind.  Spain went on to attack North Africa, taking Oran and Tripoli.
Collapse of the Middle Class in Aragon and Valencia followed as Jews and wealthy Moriscos had loaned money to Spaniards to buy land and hire more Moriscos.  There had been a growing Christian Spanish middle class.
Inquisition: Staunch Catholics, Ferdinand and Isabella had worked with the church to consolidate their power.  They revived the 13th century inquisition as a great tool to rid themselves of enemies and to confiscate fortunes.  Some 2,000 were burned at the stake.  Pope Sixtus IV tried in vain to halt this. When Philip II tried to extend the inquisition to France and the Netherlands it proved disastrous.
The Wages of Sin: Plunder from the Americas did not stay in Spain.  It caused 300% inflation and the belief that true Spaniards no longer had to work for a living.  This combination caused prices to soar and workmanship to plummet.  The gold and silver was bled off to the rest of Europe to pay for goods previously produced in Spain.  Philip II imposed a 10% sales tax to make up for the drain, but this destroyed the middle class that could no longer compete with the rest of Europe.
The Mesta (Sheep-raisers’  Union): was so powerful that it was able to lobby successfully for Cañada, a wide  strip of land the full length of Spain.  It was taken out of cultivation to permit herders to take sheep north in the summer and south in the winter.  Herders exceeded the bounds of cañada, ruining  much adjacent farmland that resulted in many farmers leaving Spain.  This, plus the neglect of Morisco farms, forced Spain into importing food.
Wars:  Charles I  spent his “royal fifth” of the wealth of the Americas faster than it came in, what with wars against Protestants in Germany, Turks in Hungary, and in taking Tunis.
Philip II put down revolts in Aragon and among the Moriscos, extended Spanish lands in France and Italy, embarked on the conquest of the Philippines in 1565, destroyed Turkish sea power at the battle of Lepanto 1571, occupied Portugal in 1580, and sent the disastrous Armada of 132 ships to punish England for, among other things, helping the Protestant in the Netherlands.  He could not repay loans made by German and French bankers.  He died poorer than he was on starting.
Philip III and IV were not strong enough to prevent strife among nobles (who paid no tax) and the corrupt government they built.  The Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 ceded lands to France and Philip IV, in trying to curry favour by marrying off his daughter to Louis XIV of France,  could not pay the huge dowry demanded.  Spain’s strength and fortune were spent, but the empire did struggle on for a few more years.
       Some lessons we have learned, some not:
Like Spain, we in the industrialized world have been living high on wealth not tied to productivity, but stolen from future generations who are left with huge national debts.  We now recognize this and we have taken steps to bring the current deficits down, but little dent has been made in the overall debt.  In fact, with many countries, it has increased. 
Unions, that did much good, grew too dominant and have been curtailed, but can still cause trouble in working against, not with, management.  Do multi-nationals pose a similar problem?  What are the long-term results of exporting work to lower-wage countries as Spain did?
Like Spain, we destroy good agricultural land.  In North America railroads can get by with 410,000km (260,000 miles), but highways take well over 7.2 million kilometres (4.5 million miles) out of production.  A prime example is Canada where only 5% of the country is first grade agricultural land and half of this is within 200 km of Toronto, yet this is an area that is rapidly being cemented over.  And, it can be annoying to navigate areas with 22 lanes of traffic.
Like Spain, other European powers  spent  much blood and treasure fighting themselves, as well as in foreign wars.  They are now joining with themselves and others in collective defence with reduced military expenditures, but problems remain, particularly with integrating Russia.  We still suffer from procrastination.  We often recognize problems when they are small, like the Nazi party of the early 1930s, but wait until much blood and treasure is required to save ourselves if not the world.        We still live in a dangerous world where greed, ambitions, hatreds, and ethnic animosities pose threats we often dismiss as not our problem, even though weapons of mass destruction no longer require the resources of great nations.  We do need a strong United Nations with its own troops, donated by member nations,  trained to a high standard of ethics.  Paying impoverished countries to provide poorly trained troops can cause more problems than they solve.  The U.N. has done well, but can do much better.  We must avoid the fatal Delian League mentality of letting Athens, or in today’s world, the United States, from taking a too-dominant role. 


georgesweanor@comcast.net
www.yeoldescribe.com





Saturday, 17 December 2016

THE TRUMP RIDE OF THE DISUNITED STATES


  Donald, me lad, I need a word or two with you.  I had thought that, while fighting Adolph and Benito, I had been sufficiently scared by experts, but you are well on the road to be even scarier, enhanced by human-made over-population, global warming, nuclear stockpiles, and Greed.
Now, Donald, you claim to know more than others, so need no advice.  But, I am stubborn enough to try.
I do get confused when your rhetoric and deeds are often at odds with each other and the lies you embrace exceed those you have accused Hillary of cherishing. So, Donald, where can I find some vestiges of Hope?   You will control a country of millions of praiseworthy humans, many of whom have contributed much to the betterment of the world.  But, why Donald, are so many millions claiming you are not their president and who pledge to obstruct your governing just as your Republicans denied the enactments of so many of Barack’s worthy reforms?
Is what you will rule really the democracy it claims to be?  Well-meaning politicians must spend more time raising funds for never-ending electioneering than governing, thus enriching the media with voter-insulting ads whose veracity and information leave much to be desired. 
And, Donald, there is the Electoral College designed in the late 1700s to keep the Uncouth like you far from the Oval Office.  Instead, it has welcomed in George W. in 2000 after Al won the popular endorsement by 544,000 votes and, just now, let you in when Hillary beat you by 2.8 million votes.
Donald, do be humble and grateful that Geography has been exceptionally kind to your country but regretful that it has been an aggressor-nation from Day 1.  Just ask all the Native Tribes, Canada, Mexico, Polynesia, the Caribbean, Colombia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Palestine, Yemen, Indonesia, Formosa, the Philippines, Iran, the USSR, Pakistan, Libya, China, Russia, African Americans, and a few others.
Yes, Greed and the power structure, rather than the general population, has been responsible but you are a prime member of the One Percent Club as are those you choose for executive positions.
The support these interests give to aggressors like Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and a bevy of dictators does defile the Swamp that you are determined to drain.  As well, there has been skullduggery with Bashar and his varied rebels in Syria, yet he praises your hawkish rhetoric against Terrorists (anyone who disagrees).  Think, Donald, with your terrifying cabinet choices, you are introducing into the swamp even slimier creatures that are already increasing the fears that you are forcing not only on the World but on your own fellow-citizens.  
Now, Donald, just as you will face, your predecessors have inherited the faults of their predecessors. Some of whom have been guilty of robbing hundreds of thousands of their lives, health, family welfare, and have mis-spent their taxes.  Your go-it-alone and cavalier attitude towards force that includes nuclear weapons that, like the Global Warming which you dismiss, is quite frightening as it can guarantee our human extinction.  Ignoring scientists and those most familiar with the finality of nuclear  weapons and other threats to head up your energy department is an immense boost to Depression and the suicides it causes.
Why, Donald, are the Ku Klux Klan and the Alternative-Right (Alt-Right) rejoicing in your victory?
Could you join me in being filled with great unease when I see so many similarities between the Europe of the 1920s and 1930s and the USA of today?   Yes, differences are vast but similarities are ignored at our peril.  Prior to 1914, Germany was a leading nation in human rights.  The Versailles Treaty created such a deep economic collapse that strong men like Hitler and his entourage were welcomed by sufficiently-disillusioned voters to allow them the power that put large numbers of dissenters into concentration camps.  Even so, few Germans believed that Hitler would actually use the believed-invincible military superiority he had acquired.  After all he did create millions of jobs, built autobahns, and made Germans think they were again respected by the world.  We know little of the real shock and deep fear that did sweep across Germany when Poland was invaded and Germany became opposed by the unbeatable resources of the British Commonwealth, the French Empire, and the USSR, all later aided by the weight of the USA.  All of these opposing nations had to create large military forces but they had the land, populations, and resources to do so.  That Germany, after we made it a terribly-crippled nation with lost land, manpower, and resources, rebounded to be a powerhouse reveals human tenacity and resilience that shatters the worship of military power.
Today, the US has the greatest economic and military clout to force others to do its bidding and it is blessed with a secure base, if we overlook the divisions within.  But is has a small percentage of the world’s population, wealth, resources, and creativity.  It must tread carefully to maintain the dominance it has as it moves towards evolving this dominance into co-operation with more than just a few strong allies. 
Surely, you must worry, Daniel, about all those hate groups, armed militias, enormous homicide and incarceration statistics, all supported by a civilization-denying explosion of uncontrolled guns, that warn another US civil war is quite possible.  This on top of a criminally-large military-industrial complex whose main reason for being is the profits of world hegemony and whose enhancement you support including world-destroying nuclear weapons.
It also is with much unease that I see for-profit jails and schools welcome your presidency.  This, too, spreads a deep depression that there is no hope for humanity so why strive to live? 
And, coinciding with your victory, is the belief of school districts that they must arm their teachers,  so the nation can no longer be called civilized.  
And, Donald, it is not only our species at risk but also those species like raccoons, ants, and bacteria  who could accept the torch from our failing, dead, hands.
As if this is not enough to give you nightmares, there is that gnawing fact that millions are not blessed with the restraint that Barack, Michelle, and Hillary are showing in accepting their defeat and are determined to carry on the fight against you.
Donald, many of my Republican friends tell me to “give you a chance”.  I would be quite happy to do so - if you give me some reason to believe you have the best interests of our world and its species at heart and your actions reflect this.
Yes,  I agree it is hypocritical to complain that possible Russian interference increased your election votes.  Has  not the US has interfered in 81 world-wide elections and Russia 36?  But such interference demands voter intelligence  which is impaired by a shallow and less-than-honest media.
But we can fear the huge Exxon Mobil - Rosneft oil deal that I expect you will consummate when you lift the US sanctions on Russia for retaking Crimea and interfering in Ukraine, the original Russia.   Yes, Russia does belong in Europe.  But is not this deal too dangerous in creating a dominant fossil-fuel giant that could do enormous harm to our insufficient actions to curb global warming?  Rosneft is 60%-owned by the Russian government and 20% by British Petroleum.
And also there is your monetary interests in denying the Dakota pipeline water protectors their basic rights, so long abused by the likes of the Alt-Right.  
Finally, Donald, it is no secret that you crave monopolizing the limelight.
Well, you are now front and centre in the limelight.  You can relax as you bask in it, and actually do a little penance for all those you have cheated as you climbed the stairs.  You can now afford moderation, equality, empathy, and even respect for women.
In your quest to “Make America Great Again” you will be successful only it you prefer humanity-beneficial categories.
Gosh, Donald, that would make your limelight even brighter.
Make it so!

georgesweanor@comcast.net
www.yeoldescribe.com

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

DEAR SANTA

        My list this year is long, but I have been a good boy.  Well, yes, I did yearn to be naughty, but my 97 years denied me the pleasure, so I am eligible.
But, Santa, I do worry about you.  Your splendid isolation up there at the North Pole will soon be open ocean forcing you to join the millions of migrants fleeing droughts, fires, floods, hunger, lack of shelter, persecution, and wars.  It is not the picture for which we all have strived.
Where can you go? 
Surveying the Polar regions I see the Russians have done the best job in making theirs habitable.  But your closest refuge is 817 kilometres away at Alert on the northeast coast of Ellesmere Island at 82:30 N in Nunavut, Canada.  Its airport, score of buildings, weather and communications equipment and its people may be somewhat like a metropolis to you but they are few and lonely and would welcome you.  The few military and environmental personnel are on one-year tours minus families.  I am sure they would help you make all those toys.  Scientists swell the population to 250 in the summer months.  You would still have isolation as the nearest other weather station is 480 km away and the nearest city, Iqaluit, 2,092 kilometres distant. 
        But, Santa, making and delivering toys is only a small part of what I need from you.  First, I must warn you not to be mislead if you flee to Alert, It is not typical. You have been isolated at the North Pole and, whereas you and your reindeer are to be commended for a job well done, allow me, who has spent many years in communities like Alert, to offer some advice.  Alert lacks even a hint of the masses of humanity, guns, greed, and ignorance that lurk out there.
Have you ever considered branching out to help those struggling in the fields of population control, finding a method of vaporizing guns, especially nuclear weapons, education including modifying mindsets to ostracize greed, expanding empathy and love to grow into a universal force, and engineering a benign energy source?
Sorry, Santa, I see I am presenting a task too monumental even for you.  You must forget your go-it-alone habit and open your arms to those anxious to help.  We could start with your reindeer who have been overworked and who have lacked an embracive sense of geography.  Do you not realize that, every Christmas eve, they miss most of the world’s children?
You do know how good deeds can expand from small beginnings.  You, as Nicholas the monk in Patara, Turkey, about 280 AD, became a bishop, well known for your generosity, so word of you was brought to the New World by Vikings, Dutch, and Germans to become the Santa Claus we love today.
But, really Santa, you are not unique but are joined by winter gift-givers from 67 countries around the world,  on top of the 14 who use you.  Do you ever think of joining forces and enlarging your scopes?
Just think, Santa, by joining like-minded groups you could compose an agenda that, of course, would be based on gifts to children but that could now include influencing young mindsets, schools, and behaviours. 
You do need to revamp religions to return them to being a solace and providing humane direction for humans in a cruel world.  Sadly, Religion has grown into one huge mess, In Christianity alone the original four versions have exploded to some 34,000 differing groups some of which go as far as condemning to hell’s fire those who do not adhere to their “right” version.  Islam can also be bad.  Offhand I can think of some 40 subdivisions, some commendable but then there are unsavoury extremes like Wahhabism that Saudi Arabia provides vast sums to promote by building numerous schools that mould and control young minds. 
Yes, it is an immense task including Agnosticism, Animism. Female Gods, all the way to Zoroastrianism. 
Santa, although you deserve to relax and rest on your magnificent laurels, we must ask you for even greater sacrifices.  Our environment and our species face extinction because too many humans know not what they do.  As the Jesuits claimed “Give us your children until they are seven years of age and we will have them for life.”
Over a few hundred years you have cemented your base.  The toys you make for children should tolerate no guns, no offensive weapons of any sort.  They would promote games and equipment that entailed co-operation and friendly interaction with others.
Santa, I do wish you a Merry Christmas  -   but I also ask you to leap into the Field of Education.


               Ye Olde Scribe                                  www.yeoldescribe.com