It was a post from a reader that got me started on this - not something in The Moncton Times and Transcript because there's nothing much in the TandT. But let's go back to the closing of diplomatic relations with Iran. Why did Harper do it? He gave two reasons.
1.He was refusing to have relations with a country with a terrible record for abuse of human rights.
We maintain the closest relations with a country which is the world's leading torturer. We have even allowed them to practice torture on Canadians, without protest. We took part in a war on Libya in cooperation with the US; and it was a war that was illegal under international law. The US has killed civilians by the million just in Harper's lifetime. We heap praise on China which, I am reliably informed, has been known to abuse human rights quite severely.
Harper is clearly lying. He doesn't give a damn about human rights.
2. He said the failure of the Iranian governments to protect embassies makes it too dangerous for Canadian diplomats to be stationed there. Okay - so how come everybody else isn't packing up? In fact, Harper has now endangered Canadian diplomats in Moslem countries all over the world by his move.
Now, Harper's not dumb. He may be "Liar, liar, pants on fire". But he's not dumb. So what's going on?
This week, (and barely hinted at in the TandT), he's in New York where he's going to meet with Netanyahu. Obama is in New York, too. But he won't meet with Obama (and Obama won't meet with Netanyhu.) None of this makes any sense. Netanyahu's only concern is bombing Iran. It is scarcely likely that Canada can play a significant role in that. Right now, only Obama can.
Oh, and Harper won't, while in New York, be speaking to the general assembly of the UN, even though some organization has named him "World Statesman of the Year". (God help us.)
What's going on here? Whose game is Harper playing? Who are we going to play flunkys for? - and let's not kid ourselves we can be anything but a flunky where the stakes are this high. Nor is Harper a world statesman of any sort. The last person we had who came close to that was Lester Pearson.
Then there's the curiosity of Harper deciding to bunk in with the Brits on embassy space. It's worth reading Alec Bruce on this. Really, if it's money he wants to save, he should have kept a closer eye on the purchase of fighter planes.
But don't expect to get any news on this in the TandT. It's source for Harper news is PostMedia - and PostMedia is National Post - and National Post in The Moncton Times and Transcript with more expensive pimps. You can count on it always to kiss up to Harper.
On the use of words, take note of Norbert's column. He says the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed by Islamist "extremists". Now, Norbert is a man who takes words seriously. And I have no doubt that people who kill are doing something extreme, and can reasonably be called extremists.
But extremist isn't just a descriptive word. It packs a meaning that is emotionally loaded - and usually ugly. It also implies that in being extreme, the person described is wrong. So, let's see. George Washington led a revolution. That's pretty extreme. American presidents ordered the bombings of Cambodia and Vietnam that killed millions of innocent people. George Bush Sr. was head of the CIA when it slaughtered a quarter million people in Guatemala. About 1920, Winston Churchill ordered the bombing of undefended, civilian villages in the Kurds in Iran. Ever see the word extremist attached any of those people in your newspaper?
Of course not. That sort of language becomes an unconscious form of propaganda. We kill innocent people by the million. We aren't extremists. We're defending democracy. They shoot back. They're extremists and terrorists.
Of course, in the end extremists and terrorists lose. Look what happened to General Custer. And not a minute too soon.
Norbert adds a very sad note about the Roman Catholic church. Agree or disagree, it's worth thinking about - and not only in respect to the Roman Catholic church. We, perhaps particularly in the western world, have lost any sense of right or wrong, of good or evil. As Norbert says, the decline of the churches is continuing- to which we might add that, either because of that or as a result of the decline - right and wrong have ceased to exist.
We have governments so corrupted by power and money that how power and money are gained, and how they are used, is irrelevant. Anything which creates more power and money is acceptable. If it means creating mass poverty around the world, that's okay. If it means murdering innocent people - not to worry. If it means lowering standards of living in Moncton, destroying the environment and the future for New Brunswick, that's fine.
Do what you like. The churches won't criticize you. Hell, for a big enough donation, some of them will name a church after you.The message of Christianity, in particular, is reduced to sermons that are careful not to mention anything that is really happening (as an abstract thought, it's wrong to be greedy. But that's never mentioned n regard to our economic system which is based on greed.)
In the place of right and wrong, we get abstractions. We get emphasis on some point of bigotry and discrimination that is based on a very naive reading of The Bible. You can, for example, discriminate against gays. If such discrimination were against Jews or native peoples or Africans, it would be unacceptable. But pointing a finger at gays will make any drunken lout into a man of God. (Interestingly, Hitler, in Mein Kampf, based his condemnation of Jews on Catholic teaching. The British Empire justified its killing and exploitation on the word of God. So did our ancestors who either killed or displaced the native peoples.)
We have, long ago, lost any sense of right and wrong. That may explain a lot about the serious decline we are facing in the world.
de Adder's cartoon makes good deal of sense. Be very cautious in the language debate (as Dr. Parrott was not.) There are bigots on both sides. There are fools on both sides. And they are the ones who grab the headlines in these debates.
I watched, up close, as such a debate destroyed Quebec both socially and economically. And it was all tarted up on both sides with words that had emotional punch but that nobody understood. Culture is the one that always sticks in my mind. And both sides are guilty of that one.
If only for very practical reasons, New Brunswick must accept language duality. Luckily, the words practical and right (in the moral sense) are almost interchangeable. New Brunswick has to concentrate on doing the right thing. It's done a pretty good job so far. There needs to me more -but fighting between English and French isn't going to help. Indeed, it could destroys things for everybody.
The French language, for reasons that we have no control over, will always be under pressure in New Brunswick. And that would be true if the whole province were unilingual French. Movies, TV, radio, and popular music would guarantee that. Both francophones and anglophones need to understand that and accept the reality. It's the not the fault of anybody on either side. It's just a reality.
Nor can dualism be simply a law. It has to be an attitude, a spirit, willingness on the part of all of us. Laws create two sides. We can't afford that. And we shouldn't even want to afford it. If any issue cries for an understanding of right and wrong, this one does.
I see I've rambled a bit in the last couple of blogs. Sorry. There's just so little in the TandT worth talking about.
I have submitted my "right to information" request concerning Highfield Square. Still no response. So today, I shall drop a note to my two council members and to the mayor. I'm sure they will be eager to ensure that the system works smoothly. After all, it's not a question that should require a whole lot of research.