Thursday, November 21, 2013

Nov. 21: Not brilliant, but.....

not as bad as usual.

Anything that can be called news is pretty feeble. The headline, for example, concerns the use of the word "holidays" rather than "Christmas" for this period. Please, folks, try to get with it. The common use of "holiday" has been a fact of life in North America for over sixty years at least, as Christmas has been detached from any religious meaning.

Take a look at the TandT's own p.3. The big story is Moncton's Santa Claus parade. What does that have to do with any religious meaning?

The parade will be held on Saturday which is in November. Why so early? To remind people to go to church on Christmas Sunday? Think hard.

P. 4 has a big story about downtown merchants haveing a series of events for the "season". It features an unintentionally amusing and revealing statement by the Executive Director.

 "It is our way of inviting people to shop downtown. What better place to enjoy the true spirit of the season than right here in downtown Moncton?"

Damn right. I always feel  holy when I'm in downtown Moncton, and see local merchants dressed as the Wise Men.

Did I say this goes back at least 60 years? Go back further. Go way back. Read "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Notice the lack of any scenes featuring a church, the lack of any mention of Jesus? No, Scrooge's spirit of Christmas had everything to do with eating goose, giving presents, and partying. Dickens took his Christianity seriously. But he didn't think the Christian churches did.

The news section has nothing much - though a couple of the stories, each in its own way, are interesting.

The First Nations member of our Energy Institute has resigned because, he says, the government is usinig the Institute to push its own agenda.

Of course. Everything this government has done on the shale gas issue has been to push its own agenda or, more correctly, the agenda of its boss.

The member of Insistute who resigned is Fred Metallic. And he was a very qualified member of the Institute. He has a PhD, as real one, in Environmental Science. How different, how very different from the man Alward originally chose to lead the Institute.

Then there's the story about the Health Minister (somebody named Flemming) patting himself on tohe back for cutting back on health services. In this, as in every other money issue in the province, most of us get punished for the money we shovel into the pockets of the rich in the form of tax cuts or, to pick an example out ofo the air, hundreds of thousands given to a hockey team owner.

Times are tough? It's the fault of all them poor people.. Make the bastards suffer.
Apart from two stories above, there is nothing much in NewsToday (as usual). So I jotted down a few that might be of some importance.

1. The Nova Scotia auditor-general has blasted the former NDP government of that province for giving large sums of money, hundreds of millions, to people like Irving. There is no evidence, he says, that such gifts benefit the rest of us at all.  (TandT editors could have learned the story if only they listened to to the hated CBC - which has a  hell of a lot more news than I have ever seen in the Irving press.

It's a mug's game. Giving money to the rich has never benefitted anybody but the rich. And this myth that creating a super-wealthy class will create prosperity is pure bunkum. If it were true, Haitians would be rolling in wealth, the Congo would be crowds of shoppers loaded down with jewelry, the average American would would be partying in his mansion day and night instead of living on food stamps.

The rich have never been richer. Their wealth has been growing spectacularly for decades. But we haven't seen a cent of it. And we won't.

For the NDP, this is a time to remember that it was founded on principles. And one of those principles was not giving our money away to people whose greed knows no bounds. The NDP stands for principles or, like the Liberals and Conservatives, it stands for nothing.

Incidentally, I should love to see such an audit of New Brunswick spending - as on hockey teams, events centres, tax cuts, and other boon doggles..

2. According to The Guardian, some 90 companies have caused 2/3 of all global warming emssions.
And surprise, surprise, most of them are in oil, gas, and coal.

These same companies are also the ones that contribute large sums of money to groups who spread the propaganda that global warming isn't happening. 

Scientists say it is happening, and that we have, at most, 30 years to turn that around.

Of course, Irving Oil would never contribute money to anything so dishonest as denying global warming, and placing our children's lives in danger just so they can make money out of selling more oil.

3. The other story is from Reuters, and it's an especially sad one for me. I grew up in a Montreal district that contained large numbers of immigrants. My school friends were Italian, Polish, Syrians....
My closest friends probably came from the Syrian group.

They were a close community, hard-working, honest, focussed on their church (Syrian Orthodox) that stood not far from my school; and they adored their priest, Father Zarbatani, who was a man of unlimited commitment to his people.

And, oh, yeah, I rermember the girls, too - olive-complexioned with wonderfully dark eyes.

Christian girls in Syria are now being gang-raped, then murdered. Whole communities of Syrian Christians, just like the ones I knew in school suffer looting, then murder. After being a community living in peace with its moslem neighbours for 2,0000 years,Syrian Christians now fear they face their own holocaust, a systematic destruction of all of them.

Who is doing it?

It's the people we call  "the rebels" in Syria, mostly extreme Moslems - who exist because they are paid, equipped, and trained to kill by our good friends the Saudis, and the Americans.

Worse, the hatreds that exist are there largely because the US has created them. Those people lived together for millenia in peace. What created such hatred and slaughter?

It was created by over a century of western intrusion, thievery and brutality in the arab world. The result was hatred of the west, then hatred of the US in particular, and now hatreds of Moslems against Christians, and Moslems against Moslems.

It's a deliberate policy, one that had been used to build the British Empire - divide you enemies, make than hate and kill each other, -  and you will conquer them.

A by-product is what we are now facing, the destruction of Christians in Syria, made possible by American tax money and American weapons.

And, oh, it is painful for me to read this and to see pictures in my mind of the old schoolyard at recess, and friends with names like Bosada and Mefridge and Zarbatani.

Don't worry, though, you won't see anything about this in the sermonette on Saturday's Faith Page. No, it will be something wimpy  about how this would be a better world if people were only nice to each other.

I began this post with "Not brilliant, but....". So where's the but part.?

It's the editorial and op ed pages.

The editorial at least makes sense. Alec Bruce, Norbert Cunningham,and Rod Allen all deal - and deal well - with the Rob Ford saga. All are well worth reading.

I'll just sneak in the part that bothers me. Forty percent of Toronto voters say they will vote for Ford in another election. He stands for what they believe in.

And, apart from obvious concerns about the intellectual and moral qualities of Torontonians, you know what really scares me about that? What Ford stands for politically are the same things that Harper and the federal Conservatives stand for.

The final op ed piece, by Beth Lyons, is excellent - and (for you parents) it should be required reading for every teen-age girl who spends time on Facebook..

The Letter of the Day is a piece of federal propaganda to boost the Canada-EU trade pact. It leaves out at least a couple of important facts.
1. It's a deal with a continent that is economically going downhill - and fast.
2, The terms it offers to resource extraction industries will cause us severe and expensive damage.

But it's nice to see a federal politician from the maritimes who knows how to do basic readin' and writin'. (Well, of course, he almost certainly didn't write it himself.)



  1. Missing news.....

    Lac-M├ęgantic cleanup to get as much as $95M from Ottawa

    1. great!. We're not going to learn who caused it, or why 47 people died. If there has been an investigation, we're not going to hear about it; and nobody is going to get punished.

      But we'll pay for it.

      This has become one hell of a corrupt country.

    2. I *think* it is more about: a foreign company getting off Scott free, the shipper of the goods facing no penalty for mislabeling those goods, and you and I get the privilege of paying.