Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dec. 1: bo-ring...

There are times when even the lies and evasions and banalities of the Moncton Times and Transcript can't rouse.

I suppose that when I was new to the province, and naive, I might have been roused to anger by the obvious collusion of the Irving press and the government in telling us that the Alward government is going to complete drawing up regulations for the gas industry this month, and it will be taking into account the recommendations of Dr. Cleary, the province's Chief Medical Officer and Professor Lapierre. The gas industry tells us it cannot comment on the government's guidelines until it sees them.

We should know the rules about the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, an event otherwise noted in the paper mostly in advertising supplements.

And perhaps its just as well to make a separation between the ignorance, lying, lack of ethics, betrayal of the government and gas industry -  and the hypocrisy of Christmas. After all, simple hypocrisy does less damage.

The gas industry is waiting to hear what the regulations will be? Like hell they are..Can you you believe that the collection of twits we have in Fredericton are even capable of writing regulations? It is far more likely the regulations are well known to the gas industry, and are being dictated to Mr. Alward with the pen he got as an election gift ("From your friend, Jim."), the pen that writes only what Jim tells it to write.

Based on the recommendations by Dr. Cleary? Like hell they are. Dr. Cleary's report, the only one coming from an expert and the one with the support of the whole medical community of this province, is being completely ignored. And we are being treated like fools by a government and a newspaper that pretend otherwise.

The recommendations being followed by the government are those of Dr. Lapierre, a person with neither the mandate nor the qualifications to make the recommendations he did. I long ago lost a good deal of respect I once, as a bright-eyed new prof,  had for the integrity of universities.But U de Moncton seems to be unusually -----compliant. Untrustworthy. A tool of the wealthy. I recognize its importance to Acadians. That's why they must make it serve their needs, not the needs of rapacious corporations that don't give a damn whether or not Acadians even exist.

For all New Brunswickers, your chief medical officer has told you. We need much more research before we can even think of regulations. Without that research, we risk poisoning ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, our land, our waters - forever.

("Duh," says professor Lapierre, "we might get some jobs out of it. We gotta take risks.")

Sure. For a few jobs, with damn little of the money staying in this province, what the hell, it's worth risking the lives and futures of our children.  Meanwhile, almost all the benefit will go into the pockets of a few billionaires who make it a point not to risk their lives or those of their children by living here.

I mean, why should we listen to advice from medical doctors when we have the pledged word of billionaires? I mean, it's Christmas, the time of the birth of Jesus, and one of those billionaires even has his own church. It's just like the visit of the magi all over again.
That, and because we're close to Christmas and all, takes me to the Faith page.

Has it never occurred to any of the clergy who write sermonettes for that page that Jesus did not always talk about cute and goodsy things? Nor did He always talk about going to heaven and running in innocent nakedness through the clouds. No. He talked a good deal about life on this earth, and about the evil with which some treat others, about killing, about exploitation, about abusing the poor and helpless.

Has it not occurred to our churches that there is a moral dimension to the news we read every day? That we need moral guidelines for our political and economic decisions?

Apparently not. Jesus, we are told, will be with the poor on Christmas day. I'm glad. But will He be there when they are being made poor by corporations that rob them blind? By government that lies to them?

Just recently, we have fought in two wars. We have killed people. We have sent our own to be killed or crippled. Any moral questions in there? The closest I've seen to any church response was a cutesy slogan on a local church, "Pray for our soldiers in Afghanistan."

Damn right. Jesus doesn't care about any soldiers but ours. And He certainly doesn't care about deaths of Afghan civilians from our weapons, nor about the cripplings, the deaths by starvation and lack of medical care that we inflicted on them. I mean, when Jesus said "Love your neighbour", he meant love folks like us. You know, ones who go to the same church as us and move in our socio-economic circle.

What do our churches think of the morality of politicians (and newspapers) who lie to us, who put our health and even our lives into jeopardy to make a profit for their bosses? Do they see any moral issue in shale gas?

Nah. It's easier to tell cutesy stories about being good. It's easier to be good Christians by praying for our troops. I'm sure that's what Jesus would have done.

Or maybe someday our churches could wake up and realize there's a price to being Christian (or any other religion - something else the Faith page never mentions). You cannot be a Christian (or a Jew or Muslim or Hindu or Confucist) and still be respectable in a world dominated by greed, exploitation and cruelty.

Could we please get some faith onto the Faith page?

Oh, I know. The TandT could host a Christmas Eve vigil at the Irving chapel to watch for angels. Participants will get a free copy of Ralph Costellos's book, The Price of Honesty.
And that takes me to Isabelle Agnew who contributes an interesting column in the Whatever Section. As a new driver, she is getting used to the idea of driving within the white or yellow lines. Then she takes it a step further, and sees the importance of guidelines on the road - and their importance in every aspect of daily life. Guidelines are the way we learn to who to act so that we can live together as a society.

True enough. Generally, we should learn to respect guidelines. Generally. Not always.

The problem with the road of life is that there are all sort of yellow and white lines, all laid by different people and laid out for very different reasons. And some of them, many of them, are laid out for bad reasons - for greed, for power, for killing,...

And sometimes, we should damn well cross some of those lines.


  1. The clergy today are no different than most other people, maybe worse of...

    For the most part, they're living in a completely artificial bubble protected in their adulthood from having to go out there and eke out a living with their hands, or by their wits....yet these are the people that are supposed to be giving out advice...?

    What's wrong with this picture?

  2. I wouldn't be too hard on them. They're dealing with congregations whose major desire is to be "nice" and to be "respectable".
    The congregants forget that Jesus, in his own society, was widely considered neither nice nor respectable.