Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jan.28: Let's go back....

...because it's been bothering me.  But I think I do understand Saturday's Faith Page.

The headline is First North River Church hosts pancake supper. There's also a whole bunch of breakfasts, dinners, suppers and teas. I understand it all now. Jesus came to earth as a PR rep for the food industry.

Look over the activities. It's obvious that to be a good Christian, you need to have a belly. It's also obvious that having a brain would just get in the way.

Then there's the list of church schedules. The most notable thing about that page is the headline which takes up a full half of the page. The schedules  take up less than a fifth of the page for a total of only five church schedules. That's when I realized.

The Celebration of Faith page is almost certainly just another page of paid advertising - no different from all those used car ads. How very devout from the family that owns its very own church named after itself.

All five of the churches  listed are Christian and Protestant. Ain't none of them there Catholics in metro Moncton - and certainly no Moslem sor Buddhists Confuscists. (Yes, those are all religions represented in Moncton - and most have more to say that anything I have ever seen on the Faith Page.

Sorry. But that boring, self-righteous and trivial drivel has been bothering me.

p.s. I have tried to make this blog available for sharing. let me know if it worked. If now, tell me what I should do.

The banner, page one headline is "N.B. rail line to be saved; expert." That's not a story. That's a one-liner, an opinion with little evidence to support it.

Then there's "Judge denies bail in domestic assault case." That is really another one-liner. The case has already been reported in detail at least twice.

A bestiality case was adjourned for a week because the defendant's lawyer was sick. So? This is trivial. Why is it a news story at all?

And the YMCA is setting up a programme to help children get involved in organized sports. Ever notice that this town has close to zero in intellectual stimulation for children? or adults?

A week ago, I saw a video of Harper answering questions on foreign affairs in Israel. It was embarrassing. At first, I thought he was lying. Then I realized he wasn't lying. No, he just didn't have a clue what he was talking about - and that must have been obvious to most of his audience. Canada has tumbled a long way down in foreign affairs over the last thirty years or so.

We're no longer a serious player at all. Harper made that obvious in parliament yesterday when Mulcair questioned him about the rioting in Ukraine.

Harper replied that the villain is Putin of Russia who is trying to force Ukraine back to its communist past.

Now, Putin in undoubtedly a heartless bastard- just like so many world leaders, including the ones on our side. And he is anti-democratic - just like our good friend the King of Saudi Arabia, just like Haiti where Bush crushed democracy, just like most of Central America where the US supports every dictator in sight, just like Iran where the US, Britain and France destroyed democracy some sixty years ago.

Dictatorship is at least as common under capitalism as it was under communism.

And Putin is trying to restore communism?  Hey, he's the guy who led Russia into a capitalist wage gap that is  worse than ours.

And, now that I think of it, I would scarcely rank Harper as one of the great democrats of our time.

For that matter, there's a related news story in today's paper. US Secretary of State Kerry, calling for democracy in Syria, has decreed that Assad should not be permitted to run in the election. Now, that's odd.

I thought the whole idea of democracy was to permit people to choose their own leaders - not to have a US official tell them who's allowed to run.

The editorial says the provincial debt is too high, and it's all the fault of them there greedy pensioners just sockin' it away. Once again, the failure to tax the rich and the giveaways to the rich have nothng to do with our budget problems.

But you never will read the Irving press being critical of the people who really rule t his province. That, I can only suppose, is because of a physical problem, a missing body part, really, that afflicts the editorial staff.

Norbert talks about the triviality that dominates so much news today. He's right. But it's amazing that he cannot see it under his own nose. He also singles out CBC for criticism. Really, Norbert.  I can get more news out of CBC in five minutes than I do out of the Irving press in a week.

Alec Bruce has a column on the dangers of domestic espionage in the US and Canada. He's right. And it's even worse, much worse, that he thinks.

We already know our spy agencies spy on foreign companies - and report their findings to Canadian and American companies. So much for capitalist competition. We also know they spy on us, and report us to big business. That gives Harper and others the power to blackmail any of us, to manipulate us, to threaten us.

I knew some people in CSIS and military intelligence many years ago. It's a field that seems to attract the real nutbars. One of them, an army intelligence officer, was in my class. Very odd.

For openers, he announced to us all on the first day that he was in military intelligence. Then he brought a small camera to class to "surreptitiously" photograph everybody in the class, and to take snapshots of what I wrote on the board.

I suppose we're all still in some file somewhere.

Louise Gilbert has some excellent advice for seniors who are finding it tough to afford food. Stay away from the frozens and the processed.

Did the paper miss any stories? Well, yes, and more than I have room for. But....

According to Bloomberg Business week, the CEO of Bayer pharmaceuticals is very, very angry at India. You see, Bayer makes a drug effective against some cancers. But it costs $69,000 for a year's supply for one person in India. So the Indian government has licensed an Indian company to make the drug and sell it at only a small profit. So now, a person in India can buy it for $210 a year. Bayer is suing.

"Nexara isn't for Indians...we developed it for western patients (white folks, I presume) who can afford it."

So, of course, the American government is investigating India for discriminating against US trade and investment.

(And spare me the stories about how those drug companies spend so much on research. In fact, much of the research comes out of universities, and costs the drug companies little, if anything.)

Tony Blair, who helped Bush lie Britain and the US into the Iraq war - and who has become incredibly rich for the favour he did for big business - has announced that most wars in the 21st century have been caused extremist religious groups.  Bang on man.

That's why Iraq and Libya and Somalia and Haiti and Afghanistan invaded the US. They were jealous of the saintly lives of people like Bush and Rumsfeld and Obama.
And, sadly, Pete Seeger died yesterday. He was 94.

I guess most readers today have never heard of him. But he was a major force linking the worlds of music and politics.

A veteran of World War Two, he had grown up in a union family, the sort of family that did so much (unacknowledged) work to make the US the prosperous nation it became after World War Two. Those unions have now been almost entirely destroyed by big business in the US. It's not a coincidence that poverty is now at record levels - and at the same time that business profits are at record levels.

Seeger, with his five-string banjo and and bubbling enthusiasm, injected songs like We Shall Overcome, This Land is Your Land, I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night  to inspire at least two generations to make North America a better place to live.

Seeger was not just a popular singer. He was a powerful social force. He was a cause of change for the better. I guess that's why the Irving press never mentioned him. They save their obituaries of praise for the greedy and the destructive.

It was, for example, Pete Seeger (not big business) who added much of the joy and enthusiasm that carried Martin Luther King to victory in the struggle for equal rights for African Americans.

For a generation born to into depression and war, he gave us the hope that things could be better, and we could make them better.

No. He was not a hippie. Nor was I. The Hippies were the shallow, pampered brats who would later vote for the two Bushes and the Harpers of this world to create the greedy and brutal mess we have.

The Hippies were the ones who handed over the world to the scum who now rule it - people who are too ignorant to run a society, and to greedy to run it properly if they did know how to.

We were the ones who thought it could be a better world, and we could make it that way. We were the ones who rejoiced in the courage and inspiration of Martin Luther King as he fought to bring racial equality to the US.  (And he did it, all you lovers of law and order should note, not by obeying the law, but by challenging it.)

I shall never forget the evening when Seeger struck the chords that we recognized as "We Shall Overcome" He said, in a soft voice, "Join me."

With a thrill of an electric current passing through us, we stood, joined hands, and sang that song with its mix of melancholy and wishing and power....

We shall overcome.
We shall overcome.
We shall overcome some day -ay -ay.
Oh, it's deep in my heart I do believe
That we shall overcome some day.

We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all the free some day -ay-ay.
And it's deep in my heart I do believe
That we shall all be free some day.

Goodbye Pete        Thank you.

Pete Seeger and his earlier group, The Weavers, are on Youtube.


  1. Now you know why Harper doesn't answer questions under public scrutiny. He wants to be prepared to address only the issues that he's honed up on. This is to limit the public's knowledge of the fact that he, Herr Harpo, knows next to nothing about everything.

  2. Come to think about it ... how come you very rarely see any articles about any of the "other" religions in NB. We supposedly live in a multicultural society, yet we read little coverage about anything but the traditional religions.

    Maybe a nice article about the church on the Irving property in Rothesay ... what religion is that?

  3. The temple to the Irvings is Presbyterian. My mother, from the Scottish highlands, grew up a severe Presbyterian - and, oh, there is nothing more severe than a severe Presyterian.
    She believed in predestination - meaning whatever you did, God had preordained you would do it.
    One day, when I was five, she caught me playing cowboys on a Sunday. Playing anything on a Sunday was pure hellfire.
    She grabbed my ear, headed up the stairs with me following my ear to the kitchen where 'the strap" hung on the wall.
    But I knew she loved a religious argument. So I yelped, "It couldn't help playing cowboys today. God preordained me to play cowboys today."

    He hesitated, nodded, said, "you're right. You're absolutely right."
    Then her hand reached again.
    "And I was preordained to spank you for it."