Category Archives: Politics

O Canada, We Stand On Guard For Thee

Canadian flag, blowing in the wind
Canadian flag, blowing in the wind

This week, when we sing “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee,” will it be with a comprehension that at times we must defend our system of government against those we have elected? I fear we have become overly complacent about our democracy, at every level of government.

We seem not to consider that early reformers worked unstintingly to attain what we have today. And we give little thought to the possibility it can be eroded by insidious forces if we become too preoccupied to observe what is happening. If my perspective seems negative at a time when we celebrate our nation, I suggest we take a careful look at what I believe is a too cozy relationship between the BC government and the giant pharmaceutical companies.

The provincial government’s arbitrary firing of 8 Ministry of Health researchers is strikingly similar to the manner in which this land was ruled before it became a nation. At that time the Governor and his appointed Council determined who received land and timber rights. Usually it was the wealthy friends of the oligarchy. The Governor and Council made all financial decisions, without permission from the people. Even after the Constitutional Act of 1791, any laws passed by the Elected Assembly could be vetoed.

When Canada was granted a Senate in 1867, its original purpose was to allow Canada’s wealthy elite to veto any legislation passed by the politicians representing the common people. Almost without exception, those in power at every level want to retain the privileges of power for their inner group. This enables them to reward those who help them hold on to their positions of influence.

The provincial government’s decisions concerning research in the pharmaceutical industry are reminiscent of a time when significant favours went to wealthy, influential speculators.

In 2012, when the government fired the researchers, it apparently didn’t occur to anyone that Roderick MacIsaac, one of the eight, would commit suicide and bring huge media scrutiny. With pointed questions, reporters began dredging up embarrassing, highly disconcerting facts concerning the possible motivation behind this decision.

In thetyee.ca, Andrew MacLeod revealed that “the researcher who committed suicide was developing a way to evaluate a project that was one of Premier Christy Clark’s pet initiatives.” It entailed the utilization of Champix, a smoking cessation drug. The Tyee reported that both Health Canada and the American FDA had issued warnings about Champix. Also, according to Colleen Fuller, Chair of PharmaWatch, other countries were removing Champix from the market at the time the B.C. government decided to list it under PharmaCare.

The Vancouver Sun learned through a Freedom of Information request that “police were never given evidence by the government to investigate the wrongdoing which was used to justify the firings, despite the government telling the public an investigation was ongoing.” The police actually closed the file due to lack of information.

Just as in the early years of our nation when the Governor and Council favoured wealthy friends, the provincial government appears to be favouring large corporations, from which they have received huge infusions of cash. Media reports indicate major pharmaceutical companies have given the Liberals tens of thousands of dollars in recent years.

The fired researchers had been delving into areas that were troubling for the pharmaceutical companies. Were the ill conceived firings the government’s manner of appeasing the multinational pharmaceuticals and thanking them for their substantial campaign contributions?

And what was the motivation behind the government’s 2012 suspension of funding for UBC’s Therapeutics Initiative research contracts? TI provides practical, evidence based prescription drug information to physicians and pharmacists. The program has saved Canada hundreds of millions and prevented many deaths from inappropriate prescriptions.

Only a massive media storm and public outcry persuaded the government to restore fifty per cent of the funding. Was our government so desperate to endear itself to the drug companies that it was willing to penalize its own citizens?

In “The March of Folly”, Barbara Tuchman suggests “the problem may not be so much a matter of educating officials of government, as educating the electorate to recognize and reward integrity of character.”

Retaining power has become a primary motivation of some in government. This makes them susceptible to the allurements of large corporate contributions.

“O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

Will Duffy Case Spark Citizen Outrage?

I was listening to a CBC broadcast once again reciting the litany of

Parliament of Canada
Parliament of Canada

charges against suspended Senator Mike Duffy. Living in the serenity of the Similkameen Valley, I was tempted to think this court case in Ottawa is too far removed to impact me or my neighbours. Surely we are insulated against the alleged predations of Mr. Duffy.

Then I recalled Bruce Hutchison’s words in The Unfinished Country, “Like most capitals,” Hutchison contends, “Ottawa is a parasite, a kept woman, feeding on taxpayers from coast to coast.”

It’s not what I want to hear about those who govern us. I would much prefer to think well of them. Maybe that is at the root of the problem. We assume our affairs are being tended to with integrity. This assumption lulls us into a state of complacency. The result is we don’t pay attention.

There have always been individuals prepared to take advantage of citizen apathy. The Pacific Railway Scandal during the tenure of our first PM, John A. McDonald, is an early Canadian example. More recently Vanessa Redgrave, former Premier of Alberta, became embroiled in a highly publicized case of misuse of public funds. Highly placed executives in the Portland Hotel Society lived lavishly on donated funds. Examples abound at every level of government and society.

Mr. Duffy’s attorney, Donald Bayne, has offered the explanation that “the rules about Senate expenses are unclear.”

It is apparently Duffy’s view, and that of at least some Senators, when rules are unclear it’s permissible to be reckless with our tax dollars. Although it would be unfair to believe all Senators have interpreted the rules too loosely, they have not chosen to rectify this situation that allows some members to live like High Rollers on the public purse. If they don’t understand that vague rules will lead to overspending on the part of some Senators, do they have the wisdom and integrity to represent us adequately?

I’d leave this alone if there were sufficient funds for a decent medical facility in our valley. If streets in disrepair in Hedley were redone with real blacktop. If we saw a police cruiser in town more than occasionally. If the aging infrastructures of towns and cities were being properly maintained. If disabled individuals and frail seniors received more services in their homes or in care facilities. If there were effective programs to support families with special needs children and youth.

The sense of entitlement has never been dealt with because Senators from all parties have become comfortable with rules that permit virtually any interpretation. It’s a system that will always remain in place unless we become sufficiently irritated to shake off our lethargy and firmly instruct political leaders to remove the lavish “public trough”.

Like many of my neighbours in this valley, I value the distance from our provincial and national capitals. I understand, however, that this distance does not impair the ability of the greedy ones in those capitals to be free wheeling with our tax dollars. I know also that I should not expect that the current revelations of shoddy practises will shame the Senate into enacting substantive change. The beneficiaries of our largess are not likely to do it willingly, or on their own initiative. The impetus will need to come from us, the citizens of this nation.

I have immense respect for those who write or call their elected representatives. Also for individuals who pen letters to editors of newspapers. Although it requires patience and perseverance, governments sometimes will change policies and actions due to significant public outrage and pushback.

Donald Bayne has asserted the Senate permits its rules to be interpreted in virtually any way a Senator chooses. His client should therefore not be punished for his extravagant interpretation of the vague rules. If we disagree, or at least feel strongly the rules need to be tightened, this is an opportune time to make our views known on this matter. Complaining to a neighbour over the fence won’t be effective. A brief note to our local political representatives and to leaders of the major parties could make a difference. Change comes when enough individuals act.

Vigilant Citizens Elect Better Leaders

Voting for Better Leaders Edmonton Journal photo
Voting for Better Leaders
Edmonton Journal photo

 

In a recent letter to the Editor, Mary Masiel of Princeton expressed her belief that Stephen Harper has done more damage to Canada than any other Prime Minister. Sentiments such as this are not uncommon, whether referring to the current Prime Minister or others before him. I consider her statement a reason to acquaint ourselves with the present leadership candidates. Only by being vigilant and informed will we be likely to elect leaders we trust and respect.

With the federal election on the horizon, many candidates are already in the political marketplace, shopping for votes. The parties are engaging pollsters to determine what issues are important to Canadians. They are beginning to tell us what they hope we want to hear.

Possibly one reason we are so often displeased with politicians is that we don’t pay sufficient attention to what they are saying and doing long before we enter the voting booth. And we aren’t asking enough tough questions and demanding substantive replies. If we have an inadequate understanding of a candidate‘s character, how can we even guess at what that individual will do if elected?

When we complacently vote according to party brand, we are essentially telling politicians, “we are not deeply interested in the affairs of our nation. You have our permission to do whatever you think is best.”

For me deciding who to vote for begins with the underlying principle that I will not give my heart to any political party. Then I look at the leaders. In this regard I like Peter C Newman’s words in Home Country, “I stopped believing in magical leaders.” Like the rest of us, political leaders are flawed, and we should not decide who we will support on the basis of party brand, charisma, or extravagant promises.

With this understanding, I hope to find particular qualities in a party leader. Wisdom and sound judgment seem a good place to start. Without these, a leader can cause serious damage, especially to those having little political clout. RB Bennett, Prime Minister in the early years of the Great Depression (1930-35) seemingly lacked these qualities.

Bennett approved the construction of work camps for young men

R.B. Bennett (thecanadianencyclopedia,ca)
R.B. Bennett
(thecanadianencyclopedia,ca)

unable to find employment. The administration of these camps was generally appalling, the pay abominable. The men embarked on a trek to Ottawa to make the government aware of their serious grievances. Instead of giving them an audience, Bennett ordered the RCMP to halt the march in Regina. The crackdown was harsh, with some bloodshed. With wisdom and sound judgment, the discouraged young men could have been given a hearing and their legitimate grievances dealt with fairly. Fortunately Bennett lasted only one term.

I also hope a leader will deeply and genuinely care about and respect the citizens of the country. As a student at SFU, I was caught up in the Trudeaumania that swept through Canada in 1968 when Pierre Trudeau first ran for the position of Prime Minister. Like many Canadians, I thought he would bring a creative approach and positive solutions to complex issues. Instead, when his popularity waned, from the comfort of his plush railroad coach he gave the finger to 3 disheartened placard carrying citizens. He also raised gas and other taxes after promising during the election campaign he would not. Newman’s opinion is that “Trudeau didn’t understand Canadians and their concerns. What is worse, he didn’t appear to care.”

Another quality I look for is integrity. When Jean Chretien made his promises public in the famous Liberal Red Book, I thought he intended to fulfill them. Apparently their sole purpose was to garner votes.

Fortunately Canada has had leaders who exemplified good

Sir Wilfried Laurier
Sir Wilfried Laurier

character and values. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Liberal Prime Minister from 1896 to 1911, is still considered by many to have been a true Canadian statesman. JS Woodsworth, the main founder and first leader of what later became the NDP has been called the “conscience of Parliament.“ Robert Stanfield, leader of the Progressive Conservative Opposition from 1967 to 1976 continues to be regarded as an honourable politician by political writers.

If we want good governance in Canada, it is essential that we elect individuals of good character. To accomplish this we will have to be diligent, proactive and vigilant.

Angelique Wood Chosen By NDP

With the selection of Angelique Wood as the NDP candidate for the Central Okanagan Similikameen-Nicola constituency, I find myself

Angelique Wood
Angelique Wood

dealing with an inner quandary. She is my neighbour, only two doors away. Also, I observed her efforts fairly carefully during the three years she was the RDOS representative for Area G. Her work ethic is impressive and she has an evident love for the Similkameen Valley and for Canada.

Given that I have a positive opinion of her, why would I hesitate to vote for her? It certainly isn’t that I favour one of the other two major parties.

I think former PM Jean Chretien best epitomizes why I might hesitate to vote for any party other than the Greens. Some years ago, I was in a line of people patiently standing in a hot sun waiting for the privilege of shaking his hand. When he finally appeared, he sped along the line with the determined visage of a Kentucky Derby race horse. He showed no warmth or interest in us.

His inner voice might have been saying, “I really would rather not be here. These people mean nothing to me. The only reason I’m here is that they are potential votes. Let’s get this done and leave.” This is only conjecture on my part but that certainly is the message his visage and body language conveyed. Only our votes mattered in his relentless drive to be re-elected.

Although I went away unimpressed, I still had some faith because of his famed Red Book boldly outlining Liberal Party promises. I agreed with my wife Linda when she said, “if he puts them in writing, surely he means to follow through on them.” How naive we were. How easily deluded. Experiences like this have made me cautious, even skeptical, when listening to politicians, especially those who could soon be governing our nation.

Does my lack of enchantment with political parties mean I won’t vote in the upcoming federal election? Certainly not. Does it mean I hold Angelique Wood accountable for the arrogance and failings of Jean Chretien and other politicians? Again, certainly not.

I’m actually deeply impressed by the founders of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) precursor to the NDP. Before being elected to Parliament, J.S. Woodsworth was superintendent of the All Peoples Mission, working with the poor in Winnipeg. Later, in an address to Parliament he said, “the economy should be planned for public benefit rather than allowing businesses to gouge customers.” Pierre Berton referred to him as “the conscience of Canada.”

On the provincial scene, in 1944 Tommy Douglas and the CCF won

Tommy Douglas photo courtesy of Douglas-Coldwell Foundation
Tommy Douglas
photo courtesy of Douglas-Coldwell Foundation

47 of the 52 seats in the Saskatchewan legislature. According to Vincent Lam in his biography of Douglas, the province at that time had the second highest provincial debt in Canada. The CCF, he says, recorded a surplus in each of its 17 years in power and steadily paid down the debt.

Speaking at the 1983 NDP National Convention, Douglas said, “We are not just interested in getting votes. We are seeking people willing to dedicate their lives to building a different kind of society. A society founded on the principles of concern for human well being and human welfare.”

Lam says “voters continued to elect the CCF in election after election, because they delivered what they promised.”

Lam states further, “the need for a Universal Public Health Care program was a well used plank in the Liberal federal election platform since the early years of the 20th century, one that was never followed by action.” It is his opinion that Douglas and the CCF can take credit for having the commitment and political will to make universal health care a reality in Canada.

I believe many Canadians long for politicians who will represent the wishes of the people to the leader, not the wishes of the leader to the people. With the Party Whip system, employed by the Big Three parties, this is difficult to achieve. It is for this reason I often vote Green.

I do recognize that we need people of integrity, ability and vision to sit on the benches of the governing party and the opposition. It is my opinion that Angelique Wood embodies some of the qualities and zeal of the party founders. Although I have never voted NDP and am troubled by their spending commitments, I do feel she established a strong track record in the RDOS. I may yet be persuaded to affix an x beside her name on election day.

RDOS Director Says Goodbye

With a degree from the Emily Carr School of Fine Arts, how could

Angelique Wood, visionary & pragmatic
Angelique Wood, visionary & pragmatic

the outgoing Director of Area G possibly have had the understanding and practical experience to deal with the difficult issues confronting the RDOS? This is a question we might be tempted to ask about Angelique Wood.

Living on the same street, two doors from her home, I’ve had the opportunity to observe her at fairly close range. Professor Ashley Montague, formerly of Rutgers University, has said, “if you want to know what a person is going to do, don’t ask them what they believe. Observe what they do.” After being her neighbour several years, I’ve concluded that although the lady is certainly a visionary with ideas, she has a distinct pragmatic streak as well. She is quite capable of chopping her own wood, attending to plumbing problems, and building a work shop.

Over a cup of hot ginger tea at our kitchen table, I asked Angelique what had motivated her to get into politics, what had surprised her, what she had learned.

Prior to coming to Hedley she worked at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, one of the biggest in Canada, largely devoted to aboriginal and ethnic art. She also sold aboriginal art for 7 years.

When she bought a small home in Hedley in 2005, it wasn’t her intention at first to live here. However, she found Hedley increasingly alluring. After deciding to make this her home, she got involved with the museum. She painted the basement floor and installed glass shelves in the Tea Room. In 2007 she joined the Fire Department and got her air brake endorsement.

Turning to her time in the RDOS, she said, “I came to the role thinking that most politicians must be corrupted. I found though that I was working with 17 individuals who cared very much about their communities. Many were brilliant in their careers. They came with ideas to improve things. There was an atmosphere of respect.”

Over time she came to the realization most people don’t feel anyone is listening. To counter this, she and fellow Hedley resident Kim English created a forum. They invited speakers from other communities, politicians from the Similkameen Valley and interested citizens.

“We brought together a lot of grass roots leaders,” she said. We wanted them to understand how to communicate with elected officials. We wanted to get people thinking, and talking to each other. We wanted them to be aware of what was happening in the rest of the universe.”

She emphasized that “we need to nurture each other and make our organizations strong. People need to feel safe enough to express their views.”

I have sometimes seen Angelique up very early in the morning, doing yard and garden work before attending to RDOS affairs. She feels a compulsion to get things done. It was a surprise to her that the wheels of government turn very slowly. “I learned that even working 40 to 70 hours per week, I could not speed up the functioning of government. Getting agreement of stakeholders takes time. It’s important to stay focused on what you want to accomplish.”

She reflected on this a moment and then added, “ A lot of what you do as a politician is listen. Often when people have a problem, they are frustrated. Sometimes they begin with yelling. It takes patience to wait for them to calm down. Then we can begin working on their issue.”

“Where did you make progress?” I asked.

“We signed a protocol agreement with 3 of the 4 Indian bands,” she replied. “We wanted to open lines of communication between the bands and the RDOS. We came to understand we need to work together.” She said the USIB is considering signing.

Angelique also cited development of a joint tourism strategy as an important step. This agreement includes both Area G Indian bands, Keremeos, Princeton and areas H,G and B.

What was gratifying? This question triggered an emotional moment and she picked up a kleenex. “The most gratifying thing about being an RDOS Director,” she said, “is the many people who have said ‘thank you. You did a good job’.”

Meriam Ibrahim Still Needs Our Help

Late yesterday Linda and I read an online report stating that an appeals court had released the Sudanese Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim and her children from prison. This morning we read that the Sudanese National Intelligence Security Service had re-arrested Meriam and her 2 young children and her husband at a Sudanese airport.

We listened to the CKNW news this morning, hoping to learn more. There was no mention of this situation. I called the station’s news room, told Gord McDonald what I had heard and asked if CKNW was going to shed more light on this issue. He promised to get it on their news.

I admit that often when I feel something is wrong, I hesitate to express my concern publicly. Sometimes I question my own thinking. Is my concern valid? Will others consider it foolish?

At times our timidity prevents us from drawing attention to a government or corporate policy that is hurting vulnerable individuals. Hurricane Rubin Carter believed that “the most powerful enemy of justice is inertia.” A racially charged trial cost him 20 years in the Trenton State Prison for 3 murders committed by someone else. Surely there must have been individuals who realized that the process was flawed and that this innocent man needed people to speak loudly on his behalf.

When we allow the media to guide our thinking, we tend not to question whether a matter is being dealt with fairly or justly. And even when we realize that something should be done, we expect someone else to do it.

If the problem isn’t resolved rapidly, we are diverted from it by the next issue being reported by the media. The case of the Nigerian girls who were abducted is a prime example. Is the Nigerian government still looking for them? They assured parents they would find them. But now the media has lost interest and the government no longer feels international pressure.

We become complacent so easily. We are quickly diverted. We are fearful and hesitant. This permits base, corrupt, dishonest individuals to carry on with their nefarious schemes. An ancient Israeli poet once asked, “if the foundations are destroyed, what can good citizens do?”

In the game of life, we cannot be bystanders. At this writing, it is not known where the family has been taken. Whatever country we live in, each of us can ask our national government to press Sudan to release them. Meriam Ibrahim and her family, and many others, desperately need our help in drawing attention to their plight.

 

James Douglass: “JFK And The Unspeakable” (part 1 of 3)

Jim Douglass, author of"JFK And The Unspeakable"
Jim Douglass, author of”JFK And The Unspeakable”

James (Jim) Douglass was born in Princeton, B.C., lived in what later became known as “the Hedley Pub”, and spent time in jail for participating in a number of high profile protests against the US war effort. He also wrote “JFK And The Unspeakable”, a best seller detailing the reasons and cover-up of the Kennedy assassination. With that on his resume, he isn’t likely to get a government job. Fortunately, he has no plans or desire to apply.

In a two hour phone interview with him from his home in Birmingham, Alabama, Douglass spoke freely about the early years in Hedley, his work on behalf of the Peace Movement and his 6 books, including the best seller.

Initially his father was Manager of the Nickel Plate Mine in Hedley, and they lived in what was then the Mine Manager’s residence. In 1942, when Jim was 5, the family moved to New York where his father became Vice President of the Kelowna Exploration Company. The family continued to value its connection to Hedley, however, and frequently returned in summer. Jim recalls playing tennis on the court across from the Colonial Inn.

As a young man, Jim’s life began moving in quite a different direction from that of his father. “We had a good relationship,” he says, “but in discussions we were always at opposite ends of the spectrum.”

Hedley View "It's the most beautiful place in the world."  Jim Douglass
Hedley View “It’s the most beautiful place in the world.”
Jim Douglass

In 1966 he bought a house in Hedley so he and his family would have a place to stay, while he wrote his first book. “I still consider Hedley my home,” he told me, “it’s the most beautiful place in the world”. His daughter, Jennifer, now lives in the house.

One summer he coached the Hedley youth baseball team and remembers a tied game in which longtime local, Derek Lilly was on third in the 9th inning. “I told him not to steal”, he said, “but there was a wild pitch and Derek stole home, scoring the game winning run. He was a splendid athlete.” Jennifer remembers with evident pride that he was an organizer of the May Day parade one year. This later became the Stamp Mill celebration.

Douglass prepared diligently for his far ranging and unusual career. After receiving a BA from Santa Clara University, he completed an MA in Theology at Notre Dame. He also studied theology in Rome. While there, he lobbied Bishops attending the 2nd Vatican Council, asking them for a statement condemning total war and supporting conscientious objection.

It was while he was teaching theology at the University of Hawaii that the trajectory of his life took a dramatic turn. “It started when Martin Luther King was assassinated. In response to his death, several students in my class refused to be drafted for the Vietnam War. They burned their draft cards and they challenged me to live the theology of peace I was teaching. I joined the Hawaii Resistance and shortly after, I was sitting on the pavement in front of a convoy of trucks carrying National Guardsmen going to Vietnam.”

In 1977, Jim and his wife Shelley cofounded the Ground Zero Centre for Nonviolent Action adjacent to the Trident Nuclear Submarine Base near Seattle. According to his daughter Jennifer, “the cloak of leadership in these protests was placed on him.” His acts of civil disobedience concerning the Trident protest netted him some 15 months in prison. He was also jailed for resisting the Persian Gulf War.

In the midst of various protests he returned to Hedley to write three books and most of a fourth. “There were fewer distractions,” he said.

James Douglass: “JFK And The Unspeakable” (part 2 of 3)

Insightful Bestseller About JFK Assassination
Insightful Bestseller About JFK Assassination

In “JFK And The Unspeakable”, Douglass takes us step by step through the thinking, motivation and actions of John Kennedy. “The president’s inaugural address,” Douglass says, “reflected his horror of war, (which came from personal experience), and his passionate resistance to a totalitarian enemy.” Douglass also explains the reasoning, motivation and culture of the CIA and Pentagon which led them to the conclusion that the President of their nation must be eliminated.

Using declassified documents from the Warren Commission hearings, interviews with some employed in the security agencies at that time (including Abraham Bolden, a black former Secret Service agent), plus a variety of other sources, Douglass has unravelled a web of intrigue that is unfortunately still being ignored by the media.

The CIA and the Pentagon began to seriously turn against their President when he refused to commit American forces to an attempted invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles in April, 1961. The attempt was sponsored, planned and backed by the CIA, and Kennedy had reluctantly sanctioned it. However, he had informed Allen Dulles, head of the CIA, that if things turned out badly, American troops would not be deployed to ensure success.

Douglass says the CIA overlords schemed to entrap Kennedy so he would have to support the invasion if it floundered. However, even though Fidel Castro’s forces over powered the invaders, JFK remained adamant in his refusal to send in troops. “That was the first instance in which Kennedy refused to do what his military advisors wanted,” Douglass suggests. “There would be many more.”

Kennedy understood that the CIA bosses had attempted to deceive and ensnare him. The conflict between him and the Agency deepened when he began to redefine and reduce its power and budget. According to Douglass, the President’s determination to deal with the CIA placed him in direct conflict with a Cold War institution that had come to hold itself accountable to no one. His later firing of Dulles, Bissell and Cabell would intensify his conflict with the Agency.

“In the Cuban Missile Crisis” Douglass says, “Kennedy took a step that the military considered an act of treason. He turned for help to his Communist enemy, Soviet Nikita Khrushchev. He asked him to withdraw the Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for his secret commitment to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey, alongside the Soviet border. He also promised publicly not to invade Cuba. The CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were furious. Kennedy and Khrushchev were becoming partners in peace making.”

A further crisis with his Cold War advisors resulted from the President’s address to the graduates at the Commencement Ceremonies of the American University in Washington, D.C. JFK called for World Peace and an end to the Cold War. This further incensed the CIA and Pentagon chiefs. “In their minds,” Douglass says, “Kennedy’s views placed him on the side of the enemy.”

Another issue in the minds of the CIA and Pentagon was the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed by Kennedy and Khrushchev. This development angered the Military Industrial Complex.

Finally, there was the President’s move to initiate a dialogue with the despised Fidel Castro. Also, National Security Memorandum 263 to end the Vietnam War.
“Those were the final nails in the President’s coffin,” Douglass says.

 

 

James Douglass: “JFK And The Unspeakable”

JFK’s progressive turning from a Cold War mentality to a desire

James Douglass talking about "JFK & the Unspeakable"
James Douglass talking about “JFK & the Unspeakable”

for peace had made him a serious threat to what Douglass refers to as “the most powerful military/ economic coalition in history.” At Kennedy’s earlier (July 20, 1961) meeting of the National Security Council, Dulles and the Chiefs of Staff had actually called for a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. Kennedy had walked out of the meeting.

The coalition of Dulles and the Chiefs of Staff had for some time been conniving and strategizing against JFK, knowing they could escape culpability under the cover of what Trappist monk and author, Thomas Merton, called “the Unspeakable.”

“The Unspeakable” was the government’s covert action doctrine of “plausible deniability”. Allen Dulles interpreted “plausible deniability” as a green light to assassinate national leaders…, and lie to cover up any trace of accountability. The concept of plausible deniability had been enshrined in law under President Harry Truman. It is this lack of accountability, Douglass contends, that made possible the JFK assassination and cover up.

And what about the role of Lee Harvey Oswald, supposedly the only shooter responsible for the assassination of JFK? Douglass traces his movements with meticulous care, pointing out that even after Oswald renounced his American citizenship in Moscow, the CIA cleared the path for him to return to America without being charged for aiding the enemy . He says “Oswald was clearly under the control of CIA handlers”. According to Judge James Botelho of California, formerly Oswald’s Marine room mate, “Oswald’s defection was nothing but a U.S. intelligence ploy.”

To conclude, Douglass’ grasp and recording of detail is quite phenomenal, well beyond my ability to represent adequately. I certainly agree with Oliver Stone who held up “JFK And The Unspeakable” at the end of an interview on the Bill Maher television show “Real Time”. “Everyone should read this book,” he urged. The following month, ten thousand copies were sold. Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, said the same on her blogsite. And before passing away, his father, who had always been at the opposite end of the spectrum in their discussions said, “Jim, I think you are on the right path.”

Hedley can be proud of Jim Douglass, its native son!

 

Vladimir Putin’s Move Into Crimea

How realistic is Vladimir Putin’s claim he simply wants to protect Russian speaking people in Crimea?  Isn’t this reminiscent of Adolph Hitler’s assertion to Neville Chamberlain he wanted only to unite all German speaking people?  Unfortunately for Europe and much of the world, Chamberlain believed the Fuhrer and allowed German troops to invade the Sudetenland.
 This served only to embolden Hitler and convince him the Allies didn’t have the will to oppose him. Surely it is foolish to assume power seeking individuals like Hitler and Putin will act in accordance with their words.
 

If we want to assume anything, a wiser assumption might be that Putin intends to breathe life into the former Soviet Union.  Like Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Hitler and others, Putin is not likely to be satisfied with one acquisition.  Crimea will almost certainly only whet his appetite for more.

 If there is an anaemic push back, he will conclude no nation has the will to stand in his way.  Only a determined, united opposition by the G7 nations will thwart his ambition. Appeasement didn’t prevent WW 2 and it won’t prevent another even more devastating conflagration.