Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nov. 14: Let's skip section A.

Today, the best part (and the most part) of Section A is the car ads. NewsToday leads with a big story about everybody's friend, Frank McKenna. He says a pipeline deal is good for N.B. Well, what else would you expect him to say? McKenna decided a long time ago where the power is in this province, and who to kiss up to. Ever seen a headline for a story about a pipeline being bad for N.B.? No. And you aren't likely to. After all, we can go on burning oil forever. There will always be lots with no risk whatever of contamination, and the pollution will be good for the weather. We know that burning fossil fuels is changing our world. We know that it's poisoning us. We know its going to have chaotic effects on our food supply. But, hey, what the hell! Burn it while we can. Right? Let Irving have enough money so he'll never have worry about food and climate change. After all, he's the J.K. Irving who, on p. D2, won an award for his "passion and belief in the need for action to reduce poverty and help children to advance their learning." Barf alert! Much of his intervention has been to interfere with people in the schools who know what they doing without Irving's help. (What exactly, are Mr. Irving's qualification to be a leader in education. I attended Acadic shortly after him; and nothing I heard of him suggested distinguished studies.) Indeed, most of his education initiatives seem intended to move the schools toward the privatization of schooling drive, a system under which in the US has had disastrous effects on education - but which produces great profits for the Irvings of this world. Oh, yeah, "..he was humbled by the award." Another oh, yeah. The keynote address was by Framk McKenna, another man who is dedicated to helping the poor - and has succeeded nobly in relieving his own poverty. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ There is a small and already out of date story on Syria.Read Gwynne Dyer on op ed to catch up. Completely played off the world stage by Putin, Obama has agreed to the peaceful settlement of the Syrian gas issue. We'll see. There are still plenty of people in US business circles, in the French government, the Saudi government, and in Israel who would just love to see an attack on Syria. There are also those Al Quaeda mercentaries, armed and paid for by the US and Saudi, who want the war to go on. Incidentally, there are several stories on Syria that the TandT hasn't had room for. 1. While we have heard lots of venomous reporting about that terrible Mr. Snowden who released secret US documents,we have heard almost nothing about what was in them. Well, it seems one item in those documents is that US army intelligence said months ago that the Syrian rebels had sarin gas, probably through Turkey or Saudi - both US allies. ooooh. gotta jail and torture that terrible Snowden for life for endangering the safety of the American people. 2. The US has huge stories of chemical weapons - though it long ago signed agreements to get rid of them. Wouldn't this be a good time for it to set an example? 3. Syria, as part of the deal, wants the US to stop supplying the "rebels" with money and weapons. Sounds reasonable. After all - a) it is illegal under international law for the US too provide such supply. b) It is illegal in US law to supply help to terrorist groups. Will the US agree to that? Almost certainly not. And this could well be the deal-breaking excuse that Secrtary of State Kerry has been looking for. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The editorial is peurile waste of time. There are far better ones, more thoughtful, more important, and better written in the youth columns of the Whatever Section. Good column by Bill Belliveau. I don't see Quebec's Charter of Values reviving separatism, though. But I do see it severely dmamging Quebec, while neglecting all its real problems. It's really a re-run of the old "preserving a culture" theme - which was always the basis of separatism. But, you cannot preserve a culture. It's a living and therefore a changing thing. The only way to preserve it is by killing it. Bsides, I h ave never known of anyone who could define a culture. The Parti Quebecois tried for years to define a Quebec culture, and produced ideas so laughable that nobody ever mentions them any more. Indeed, the major purpose of the separatists was to change a culture that had existed for centuries. Want to preserve traditional English New Brunswick culture? Okay. Close down all these cities, and move people out to the countryside. Ban power transport and all uses of energy. Require cnurch attendance at least every Sunday (and it should be limited to Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian and Methoidst churches. Brent Mazerolle is, as ever, trivial - unless you really, really care about why butterflies lick each other's eyeballs. Norbert produces another rant with no substance at all. He wants shale gas, but he is willing to allow others to disagree. How generous! Of course, the only ones allowed to disagree are thoughtful ones, not the "wildly panicked ones." Apparently nobody of the pro-shale gas side is panicked or ignorant or unthoughtful, etc. Dr. Cleary, our Chief Medical Officer and winner of a very prestigous national award for speaking against shale gas , is we must presume, not one of the wise and thoughtful types like Norbert. No. We have to focus on the economic problem. Don't worry about shale gas. It might destroy health, lives, the lands and waters themselves. But don't worry about it. Focus on the economic benefits. Hell, Norbert, it that's the case, why don't we just rent the province out as a testing ground for nuclear weapons? that would sure create jobs and balance the budget. And we have to raise taxes, Norbert? And will that include raising them on the rich and on large corporations? Well, we know your answer, don't we, Norbert? And, of course, we have to cut down on minor services like education and health - but not on gifts to corporations and tax breaks for them. This province is being bled dry by corporations. Not once does Norbert mention that aspect of the problem. And in a article calling for "radical" solutions, he does not mention a single one. This all ends with a paragraph that says nothing whatever - and then a promise that he will annouce his political platform for 2014. I can't wait. This is a oolumn so ignorant and illogical that I can see why it's called odds and ends. It's bloody odd; and it never ends. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ One thing that has struck me about Christian churches and their various, related institutions, is that they have little serious discussion about the world that our faith is a part of and which our churches are supposed to guide us in. Judaim is quite different. I used to speak at least 60 times a year to various groups. At least half of them would be synagogues. And when I spoke in any Jewish institution, I always knew that I was expected to give a serious talk. And the turnout was always large (usually in the hundreds) and attentive and inquiring. Christian churches liked it to be a bit lighter, and rarely turned out in great numbers. (of course, most of them didn't get great numbers even on Sunday.) When I was a YMCA camp director, I could run just about any programme I liked, no matter how trivial it might be. When I ran a YMHA camp, it was made clear that this was to be a learning experience for the campers. I think of that whenever I see the Faith Page in the TandT. There, of fourteen announcements, I see almost all are of pie sales and pancake breakfasts. Only one, "Equality conference" seems to deal with the real world, and in a serious way. The sermonette is the usual trivial, if harmless, advice. We live in a world of rampant greed that has created massive poverty and massive killing and torture in wars. Would Jesus have anything to say about that. Nah. let us enjoy these lovely pancakes made by the ladies of the church. Praise the Lord. And don't rock the boat. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ On a more hopeful note, I see that the Irving Chapel contiunues its good work, and invites us all to enjoyt a stroll in its garden of God's creation.And they have a speaker who is a REVEREND DOCTOR. Nothing but the best. Let me suggest something which he has probably already considered. Last Sunday, many churches had memorial services for those killed on 9/11. Perhaps the Irving Chapel could squeeze in just a moment of prayerful thought of the 47 people to died in Lac Megantic, partly, so it seems, due to a regretable error in reporting accurately to the Transport Safety Board on the volatilivy level of the cargo. After all, those 47, like all those lovely flowers, were part of God's creation. God proposes. Man disposes.

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