Books And Authors I’ve Read (60 – 100)

Hogwart's Library

Hogwart’s Library

list index

60. “Too Close For Comfort – Canada’s Future Within Fortress North America” – by Maude Barlow

Too Close

From the back cover of the book, the following:

“Not since 1984, when Brian Mulroney went to New York and told a blue-chip business audience that Canada was “open for business,” has there been such a push toward continental integration and a common market for North America. The big-business community is eager to use the fear of terrorism to erase the border between our two countries as much as possible. The only conceivable way to do this is to convince the United States that the border is safe by harmonizing Canada’s foreign, trade, military, security, social, and resources policies with those of our southern neighbor.

“What would this mean for Canada’s sovereignty?…”

So, Is Donald’s Trump proposal to build an Israeli type wall on the Canadian border a “Look over there!” ploy? Or just fascist Donald’s way to get more attention, which he clearly can’t get enough of?

nuggets: 1. Corporations have huge influence in both the White House and the Prime Minister’s office (pg 3). 2. pro US hawk and Iraq invasion supporter, John Manley, made deputy PM by Chrétien ‘because of’ his closeness to the G.W. Bush admin (pg 7) 3. re the 2005 Independent Task Force on the Future of North America: Business plans for a North American union include Canada giving its water to the US and a North American currency union. The de facto end of sovereignty has been reached when a nation doesn’t have its own currency. (pgs 6-11) 4. Maude casually asserts that believing that Adam and Eve were real makes you deviant. That’s the anti-religion streak in the Left rearing its ugly head. But the Left is cagey. It’s all for equality and human rights when everyone is looking and they need to be that way to make political gains. (pg 27) 5. “While many in the big-business community do not buy into End-Time religion, there are some who are willing to take advantage of believers to further their own interests.” – Maude. That’s the neocon approach. Leo Strauss, the father of neoconservatism, which isn’t modern conservatism, like Marx believed that religion was the opiate of the masses. But unlike Marx, he felt that the people ‘needed’ it. That would conduce to a type of nationalism that neocons could use. (pg 56) 6. the integration (and thorough corruption) of the military/intelligence industrial complex into the US government. most of US weapons industry sales in the third world are to violent, repressive regimes (pgs 77-84) 7. “In essence, Canada’s energy policy is set in Houston and Washington.” -Maude (pg 199)

61. “Age Of Propaganda – The Everyday Use And Abuse Of Persuasion” by Anthony Pratkanis & Elliot Aronson

I see that there’s an updated version of the book. I have the original version. A blurb from the publisher follows:

Age Of Propagada “Americans create 57% of the world’s advertising while representing only 6% of its population; half of our waking hours are spent immersed in the mass media. Persuasion has always been integral to the democratic process, but increasingly, thoughtful discussion is being replaced with simplistic soundbites and manipulative messages. Drawing on the history of propaganda as well as on contemporary research in social psychology, Age of Propaganda shows how the tactics used by political campaigners, sales agents, advertisers, televangelists, demagogues, and others often take advantage of our emotions by appealing to our deepest fears and most irrational hopes, creating a distorted vision of the world we live in.”

62. “Food, Sex & Salmonella – The Risks Of Environmental Intimacy” by David Waltner-Toews, DVM

nugget: “We want sweet food but do not want cavities or calories. So they gave us cyclamates, until the 1970s, when tumours in rats caused cyclamates to be banned. And saccharin, which may or may not cause cancer. And the latest, aspartame, which was approved by the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration of the United States against the advice of his scientific advisory panel. Four months after he had approved it, the Commissioner was working for the advertising agency that handled the aspartame account. Side effects of the sweetener reported by consumers since it hit the market are mostly neurological, such things as headaches and mood changes. What is ironic is that there is some evidence now that people who use artificial sweeteners may actually gain weight. Their bodies crave carbohydrate, so they something artificially sweetened. While the taste buds can be fooled, the brain is no so easily misled, and demands more, the real stuff this time. Our brains need sugar to function properly. Hence people eat more and gain weight.” (pgs 110, 111)

63. “The Defence of The Undefended Border – Planning for War in North America 1867-1939” by Richard A. Preston

Defending The Undefended Border

Floyd Rudmin taps Richard’s research for his own book, which entry follows this one.

This was an interesting read, although I didn’t enjoy Preston’s treatment of First Nations people. He doesn’t seem to care about them. The book is full of specialist minutiae, but if you’re an active reader, you can just jump on your computer and search terms and so on that you don’t know. Preston, I might add, puts himself in the camp that pooh pooh’s the idea that the US would ever invade Canada, which is interesting because he makes no solid case himself for his trust in uncle Sam. He wrote just before the era of democracy- and national sovereignty-killing free trade agreements dawned or he might have seen things a little differently. (The US has used other means to conquer Canada, but that doesn’t mean that Canada is safe from uncle Sam’s muscle.) Corporatocracy led by the US was already in formation 1977, but still new enough that people would not have grasped its full contours in 1977. The American empire is now seen as a new type of empire, which it is, and that has a lot to do with the rise of Corporatocracy, which is rule by corporations. But corporations need states. And so on…

nuggets: 1. “The commonly-held belief that American military force will never again be used to threaten Canada or to override Canadian wishes is… fairly recent.” (pg 3). 2. “President Ford warned oil-producing states that nations have often gone to war to obtain vital natural resources (a pronouncement that was, incidentally, made in Detroit close to the Canadian border)…” (pg 4). 3. Reviewing past American pronouncements by US officials, like Henry Kissinger, that were bellicose and threatening, Preston muses that “It would be interesting to know what plans American government departments or agencies prepared and held in readiness during the October 1970 crisis in Quebec, and to know further what is envisaged for the protection of American interests if Quebec separatism again leads to turmoil.” (pg 4). 4. The dominant theme for Americans and the British, in relation to North America, was whether the tense Anglo-American relationship would take the form of a military confrontation (pg 11). 5. Some British official discussed the possibility of a pre-emptive invasion of the US (pg 14). 6. Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State was an annexationist (believed that Canada should be annexed) (pg 23). 7. The British tie to Canada, with its military component, “was the cause of American hostility to Canada and if the British commitment” to the defence of Canada “were reduced, that danger would be decreased also,” said British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. (pg 35) 8. Canada a political football, which is why there was the view that America might invade Canada to peeve Britain, should the provocation be sufficient (pg 35). 9. Canadian Confederation seen as a good idea for defensive reasons (pg 37). 10. “Lt.-Gen. Sir John Michel, GOC in North America, reported that the United States,” in 1866, “was fully occupied with Reconstruction. But Michel added that, if present Canadian weakness continued and a dispute with Britain arose, American troops could occupy Montreal within ten days. Michel’s disturbing revelation was not made public… just when the possibility of a major American invasion seemed to have declined, Fenian disturbances increased on the border and continued for several years.” Fenians were Irish and sought to right the wrongs done to Ireland by attacking Canada indirectly, by provoking the US into attacking Canada, if I’m not mistaken (pgs 38 & 39). 11. “The Governor of Maine, the state most exposed to a British-Canadian attack, saw Confederation as a threat.” (pg 40). 12. US purchase of Alaska was partly an effort to offset British power in North America “and to bring pressure on Canada for annexation.” – R.P. (pg 40) 13. “American vengeance” toward dispossessed and fleeing American Sioux Indians after the defeat of General Custer in 1876 is mentioned (pg 64). 14. There was an annexation movement in Nova Scotia (1868-69) (pg 57). 15. US Senator Ambrose E. Burnside of Rhode Island “was an ardent advocate of the absorption of Canada.” – R.P. (pg 84). 16. Richard Preston seems to have as little affection for labor as he does for First Nations people (pg 118). 17. Britain’s ‘benevolent’ neutrality toward America’s war with Spain turned American hostility toward Britain into affection (pg 141). 18. Britain stuck with Canada for as long as it did for Britain’s sake only (aka “Imperial Defence”) (pgs 160 & 161). 19. Governor General Earl Grey said that once Americans had squandered their inheritance, they would seek to tap into Canada’s (pg 199).

64. “Bordering On Aggression – Evidence Of US Military Preparations Against Canada” by Floyd W. Rudmin

This was an interesting book. I forget how I came upon it, but it’s serious research, which is why self-important types pooh pooh its findings, as Rudmin himself points out. I think that disparaging research like this, and the idea that the US might militarily invade Canada, is a way for such ones to do the opposite of what they seem to be doing. They seem to be saying “Ignore what people like Floyd Rudmin are saying about the US invading Canada.” What they want us to do is notice it. And them. Which isn’t to say US planners would want to see a genuine interest by the Canadian and US people in that subject that then leads to open, robust discussion of it. That could lead to discussion of all sorts of things, not in itself something that bothers elites who like us to see their power. But with that, We might be asking lots of questions and, answering them – and answering for the trouble-making they do – isn’t work that interests trouble-making imperialists. It’s not like they’re accountable. They may be responsible, but not in any positive sense. They are society’s deciders and they have decided that the hard, important task of civilization-building that they are engaged in just can’t be interrupted by us or interfered with by us. Conveniently.

There’s a few places online where you’ll find a discussion/explanation of “Bordering On Aggression” by Floyd (no thanks to Google). See for example his CounterPunch article titled “Secret War Plans And The Malady Of American Militarism.” CounterPunch, I see, carries a few of his articles.

Floyd was teaching at Troms, Norway when the above linked-to article was written. What he’s doing now and where he is, I don’t know.

I remember stumbling upon a discussion online in which Floyd was being harangued by idiots. He was making an effort to explain some things to them, but they were not interested in learning anything and possibly didn’t know that Floyd knew what he was talking about. They were simply enjoying flaming him, which he didn’t know enough to not encourage. At any rate, I jumped in and spoke up for him, announcing that he was a researcher and author who knew what he was talking about, as others, like Noam Chomsky, acknowledged. I don’t remember the exact exchange. Floyd then contacted me (I don’t remember whether that was via email, but I think it was) and said thanks. I offered to have coffee with him if he ever came by Toronto for any reason. He thought he might be and liked my suggestion. It never came about though. Such is life.

nuggets: 1. “Certainly, the use of US troops in Canada would have to be engineered to Americans to benefit Canadians, since the deep goodwill and respect for Canada in the United States would not allow for an unmitigated act of aggression.” (pg 55). 2. Fort Drum may have been actively encouraged by the Canadian government in anticipation of violence following a decision by Quebec to separate due to the problem of having Canadian soldiers fire on Quebec soldiers (pgs 68 & 69). 3. The Oka crisis of 1990 may have been fueled partly by American spooks (pg 88). 4. The U.S. war planning papers for Canada include the first strike use of chemical weapons (pg 110). 5. Ronald Reagan may have let slip high level plans for invading Canada ‘and’ Mexico when he was on the hustings. “T.H. White, the chronicler of US presidential elections, noted that when Reagan announced his candidacy on November 8, 1979, he held out “as the centerpiece of his future foreign policy a North American community of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, a proposal never again to mentioned in his campaign” (emphasis added).” (pg 64)

65. “The War On Science – Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada” – by Chris Turner

nuggets: 1. Bill C-38 is “best understood as a categorical dismissal of the primacy of basic science in government affairs and a declaration of open hostility to fact-finding in the environmental sciences.” (pg 25). 2. Joe Oliver uses Canadian law (audits to detect political spending that violates charitable status rules) to go after almost 900 NGOs and found one (a nuclear disarmament group) that was in violation (pg 28). 3. Harper wouldn’t allow Canadian scientists to talk about snow to reporters (pg 39). 4. Affected oil and gas companies directed Stephen Harper to make regulatory changes that they wanted and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers told the government how to make the changes, namely via an omnibus bill that “would severely reduce the amount of time that Canadians would be given to consider the changes and for Parliament to debate them…” (pg 85).

66. “Drone Warfare – Killing By Remote Control” by Medea Benjamin

nuggets: 1. “But the woman who I met – who had just lost her husband and four children, as well as both her legs – had never heard of Al Qaeda, America or George Bush.” (pgs 2 & 3). 2. President Obama “carried out his first drone strike just three days after his inauguration.” (pg 7). 3. “”We modeled the controller after the PlayStation because that’s what these eighteen-, nineteen-year-old Marines have been playing with all of their lives,” a robotics expert working for the Marines told author P.W. Singer in his book Wired for War.” (pg 86). 4. “When George Bush was president, the US carried out forty-five to fifty-two drone strikes in Pakistan; President Obama carried out six times that number in his first term alone.” (pgs 102 & 103). 5. Jody Williams, an activist, points out that there will be no ban on drones because drone makers won’t tolerate it and Jeff Hawkins from the State Department states that there is no support in the U.S. government for any restrictions on the use of drones (pgs 198 & 199).

67. “Blue Covenant – The Global Water Crisis And The Coming Battle For The Right To Water” – by Maude Barlow

nuggets: 1. Florida “relies almost entirely upon its dwindling groundwater sources for its water supplies. To keep its fast-spreading lawns and golf courses green, the Sunshine State is sucking up groundwater at such a rate that it has created thousands of sinkholes that devour anything – houses, cars and shopping malls – unfortunate enough to be built on them.” (pg 4). 2. “Most of the world’s megacities – those with ten million or more inhabitants – lie within regions experiencing water stress.” (pg 5). 3. “In the developing world, all that most governments can do is desperately try to provide water for their citizens. There is little attempt to address the environmental crisis that has polluted water in the first place. Most have bought into the tenets of the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and are attempting to export their way to prosperity, creating more environmental damage in the process. And most are helpless to police the big transnational oil, forestry and mining corporations fouling their water systems; some are in collusion with these companies to repress their own people.” (pg 31). 4. “Hyflux is the company that developed controversial NEWater, totally recycled sewage water that the Singapore government uses to supply its population with drinking water. The company is now working with the Public Utilities Board in Australia to sell NEWater to skeptical Australians and is poised to grow in India, Thailand, the Middle East and China.” (pg 73)