Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29: It's official.......

...based on regularity of appearance and length of stories, the most important event in New Brunswick, perhaps in the world so far in this  year is the quarrel over recreation in Salisbury. Today, it's the banner headline (again), and takes up a whole page of the paper.

Yesterday, a big story was about Obama visiting a war cemetery in Belgium, and talking about how World War One was a war for freedom.

Bunk.

It was the result of two sets of alliances that more or less created themselves. And nobody on either side went to war to get freedom  or to take it. The core issue was the rise of industrial Germany, and the threat that was to British industrial prominence. If it were for freedom, what took the US so long to get into it?

In fact, once the war was over, the victorious leaders - including that preachy fraud President Woodrow Wilson- happily invented some countries and just took control of others to hand them over to the Imperial powers such as Britain and France, stripping them of any freedom they might have had so they could be robbed blind of their resources. That's how Iran developed a certain distrust of the west when Britain forced it to supply free oil for the Royal Navy for some thirty years.

When Iranis insisted on freedom and on controlling their own oil, Britain, with the help of the US (for a piece of the action) overthrew freedom in Iran, and appointed a dictator.

Obama knows that. So why did he babble about freedom?

Because it keeps us in line.

We are constantly reminded that we are good guys who go to war only to bring freedom or to build schools for little Moslem girls. That's the delusion that keeps us willing suckers who kill to make our rich richer.

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There's another big story that's been going on for over a century that  we almost never see in our news media. We should, because it has a meaning for Canada and for New Brunswick.

The country with the richest resources in the world, with those resources being frantically dug out, is Congo.

Congo is also the second poorest country in the world.

Think of that the next time the TandT editorial is in praise of how we will get rich out of our resource development.

The mining companies in Congo are heavily American and Canadian, and they will leave behind them a  moonscape as they dig with no regard whatever for environmental regulations. They hire militias from neighbouring countries to keep the locals in line.

Anyone who asks for a raise in his almost non-existent salary is likely to be shot, beaten to death, or tortured, then tossed into the jungle to die.

Nobody knows how many have been murdered over the past century. Estimates just in recent years run to six million.

There is also a war against women to maintain the terror. Women are frequently gang-raped (including babies) while the whole family is forced to watch. (I'm not speaking here of bandits. I'm speaking of the forces of law and order in Congo.)

The first president - the only elected one - was murdered because he was getting in the way of "resource development". All since him have been appointed by the resource companies, and have been notorious for corruption.

Yes, there are quite a few Canadians who are prominent in Congo mining. You might even know the names of some of them.

Mining and oil are two of the most ruthless businesses in the world. And Canada and New Brunswick are working hard to attract them here. They'll create jobs...duh....
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Page one has an untrue story "Water woes can lead to insurance cost hikes". The reference is to severe weather, the result of climate change. Of course, it's not true. We know that there is no such thing as climate change. We know that because the oil companies have told us.

We know it because Stephen Harper has killed almost all our environmental protection and our research. I mean, obviously we don't need it.

The final proof it's not happening is that our RCMP and those nice people from CSIS who spy on us to protect us meet with the oil and other resource companies  twice a year to tell them all about which people are endangering Canada by opposing development.
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Another story that lies is "NB Energy Institute pioneering water safety regulations." They're checking for the dangers to wells infected by fracking, for whether fracking causes small earthquakes, and for the impact of fracking on our water supply since it uses huge quantities of water for fracking, and since that water much be disposed of safely.

Come off it, guys. This is an outrageous waste of money. Hasn't Mr. Alward already assured us that  fracking is perfectly safe? Would he say that if it weren't true?

And I've seen statements by the industry that all over Canada and the US there has never been a single case of any problem with fracking. Would they lie to us?

I'm going to report Alward to CSIS as one of them there environmental freaks.
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NewsToday has a story that shows it's important where you get killed, and what your nationality is.
Police shot and killed a gunman in Brampton, Ontario.

How many people were killed by US drones? How many were killed by "company guards" in Congo? How many children in Africa died when they picked up the unexploded, small bombs that litter that continent? And Vietnam. How many died in Iraq from sickness caused by depleted uranium? Ever seen a report on any of those?

No. They're just the wrong colour, wrong place.
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                                                                                                                                                                       Bill Belliveau has a fine column on what should be a central concern of planners for the future - rail service in New Brunswick. The stupor of politicians (and the general public) in dealing with this issue is a depressing indicator of the future for this province.

Norbert kicks and screams about an events centre. Mostly, it's calling names, and it shows no understanding of the range of issues facing a city like Moncton. Nor does it show the slightest interest in what the people of Moncton need. Once again, it's about making money for the favoured few.

Norbert also says we should plan for the future - 30 or 40 years or more. Okay, Norbert.
Whaddya think gas will cost in 30 or 40 years?   Think that might cut into your audiences?

Ditto for medium distance transportation.

And if the US recession continues (as it almost certainly will), do you think you 'll be able to get big enough audiences from, say, Salisbury?

And if predictions for climate change hold true (as they seem to be doing), shouldn't city council prepare to have money to deal with that?

And if an events centre is such a gee whiz, goldurn, sure fire money-making bonanza, then why don't the rich build it with their money. Do you seriously think they're being big-hearted in letting us pick up the tab?

Forecasting the future is a risky business, at best. In today's shaky world, only fools would even try it.

We have no idea what we might need that money for, and there's been no serious thought. All we get are these "visions" from businessmen of profits for themselves using money from us.

Grow up.
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On the Faith Page, I think I can safely say I don't agree with Rev. Jackson's religious views - but I certainly have no quarrel with his sermonette for today. I, too, would not take Richard Dawkins, eminent as he is, as an authority on religion.

But why are we discussing this? Who cares? And who's going to change his min?  The reality we have to deal with is we live in a world that is as unChristian, perhaps as unreligious as a society can get. And millions - more than millions - are paying one hell of a price for it.

And our churches, instead of applying their faith, instead of learning where we are going wrong, instead of doing anything significant to ease the suffering or to change our direction, are obsessed with ceremony and arguments about minor points belief - filled with people whose only spiritual concern is getting themselves into heaven to walk on golden streets or whatever.

Apart from Bible study (and that only rarely), I have yet to see an ad for any church in this town that tried to understand the nature of this world, and our role in it. If Jesus were to attend the special events of our churches, he would just get fat on pancakes and overdosed on coffee.
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For    Isabelle Agnew on F3 who is stressed by trying to choose courses, doesn't St. Thomas have course evaluations written by students after each course?

These won't really tell you who the good teachers are. After all, students don't know any more about teaching than most people do. But the evaluations can tell you what they liked about a teacher, what they didn't like, who's helpful, who's an arrogant, self-worshipping   jerk. And in many cases, that information can give you a pretty good idea of what courses you want, and what you don't want.

On the same page, I think Jane Giles is right. Most high school students should not be reading Shakespeare - if only because it's a  waste of time and most of what they learn will be forgotten within months.

There are exceptions. A fellow who was in my high school class - but some years before I was in it - went on to become a great Shakespearean - Christopher Plummer. But that was a kind of special class. Most classes would be better off to read more modern playwrights, writing in a language they know, and about situations they can understand - Sean O'Casey, Henry Miller, people like that.

And never, under any circumstances, even think of reading Canterbury Tales.

Yes, Shakespeare was brilliant. Yes, his poetry was magnificent (Full fathom five they father lies, Of his bones are coral made....) But to learn a different form of language, combined with situations that have only a tenuous connection with our daily lives is too much for most high school students

They will simply forget it with that same blazing speed with which I forgot trigonometry.  However brilliant Shakespeare was, there is no point in teaching students the things they will soon forget.

Aureli Pare (F2) does a stunning job with a difficult topic The topic is, well, what it is is......I mean, I'm no prude,  so I'm not afraid to say her topic, that is, the thing she talks about is....you know....
poop.

The student columnist for F7 is Jessica Melanson who worries that she doesn't yet have a career in mind.

Jessica, don't worry about it. You don't even know what you're capable of doing yet.  You might have some big surprises. When I was (about) your age, I thought I had found my niche, delivering the mail in a big office. I wore a necktie to work. I came home with clean clothes.

But even I knew I didn't have the brains to go anywhere in that world. So I plunged into jobs I had known nothing about - street gang worker, activities organizer for a YMCA, camp counsellor, camp director and then, needing something steadier, an elementary school teacher. I was amazed to find I could do it - and I really, really liked it. And so I ended up as a university teacher - and loved that.

You have no idea what you have in you. Jump into a few things. Learn some of the good stuff you can do.

On the same page is remarkably similar article by Mike Elliot. It's a well-told story about his discovery of himself
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