Saturday, January 10, 2015

Jan. 10: Damn!

I got the name of our province's chief medical officer wrong. It's Cleary. There's a reason for that which exonerates me completely. But it's too long and complicated to explain. Trust me.

The banner, front page, read all about it story, is about a man who's personalized licence plate was called back because it had an offensive word on it. So the man turned it in, and was given a new one. Gee. I bet The Guardian and Al Jazeera and the New York Times really wish they had an editor who could pick out the big stories like that.  And there's another huge story right after it.

Apparently, the Anglophone East education council has been paying the cost for members to attend conferences on education. Sometimes, it sends as many as one person a year. Boy, that can add up in a century or so.  Some parents are upset because they don't think conferences are worthwhile. (They've never attended one, and they wouldn't understand it if they did. But they just know.)

On A3, a new French restaurant is opening. From the chef's background, I don't doubt it's good. But it's not a news story - and if I were a reporter I'd be humiliated to have to cover a "story' that's really a free ad.

Norbert has a column attacking a professor at UNB who appears to be teaching racist views. Norbert thinks he should be fired. On first reading, I agreed with him. Then I thought about it.  On any day, in any newspaper of the western world, I can read foreign news and find thoroughly racist treatment of Muslims, Russians..... In war reporting, news coverage is almost invariably racist with abusive nicknames for the other side. Remember nips? chinks? huns? I can think of a whole list of abusive terms pinned on the other side, and encouraged in the news and ordinary conversation.  (When Britain went to war with Argentina, it had trouble coming up with a name for the enemy. Finally, it settled on "argies". Boy! That just shows the superiority of having universities like Oxford and Cambridge.)

From what I've read, I'm sure I would find that UNB professor obnoxious and objectionable. Certainly, I've met and worked with many objectionable ones. I had a particular dislike for Christian evangelicals and for communists.   (The two are much the same.) But university is not a place to hide those things. On the contrary, it's a place to face them and confront them.

In addition, much of what is considered objectionable today was mandatory not long ago. Racism was taught into the 1920s and even later. In fact, it was respectable and even required. But we survived it. Anti-semitism, too, was still respectable into the 1940s. . How soon we forget! I'm sure that at Crandall I could get fired for teaching evolution. I did my MA at a Baptist university where the philosophy professor was constantly in fear of losing his job because he was a Jew.  When you start saying people have to be fired for what they think, you open a real can of worms. And you effectively destroy learning.

And to say, as Norbert does, that we owe it to the tax payers, is nonsense. What we owe them is to make sure that our universities help their students to face up to issues, not to hide from them. Besides, taxpayers can be as racist as bigoted as anybody. (Hell, taxpayers are anybody.)  Let students learn what bigots think. Discuss it openly so they can learn how to deal with it. A university is not a nursing home for the mentally feeble. It's a place of controversy, of challenge, and of learning.

In all of my teaching experience I learned that many, many parents tell me they want their children to learn to think. In fact, many, many parents don't want that at all. They want them to think as they do. And I often thought, "If that's all they want, why even bother to send them to school?"

The purpose of university is to teach people what the real world is, and how to deal with it. It's not to hide them from reality.

There's a very good op ed column on health care by Dr. Camille Haddad.  The column deals with only one threat to health- the aspect of federal funding. But it's part of a very, very serious issue.

Much of the world is living through a massive shift of wealth from just about everybody to the very rich. And the rich don't like to see money wasted on us peasantry. That's why you hear this talk about how people are unemployed because they're lazy. Right. So the Great Depression started in 1939 because the whole world got lazy at the same time.

The grand scheme is to  privatize health care so it can be "run along business lines". In fact, the grand scheme is to privatize all social services. That will lower the taxes of the rich even more - and give it the profit of providing health care. As well, both the US and Britain are rapidly privatizing public education. It's easy to learn about this. Just read the reports of our propaganda "think tanks" funded by the very rich.

Oh! be sure to read the 'letter of the day" in letters to the editor. It's one of the most ill-informed and ranting letters I have ever seen. What would possibly possess an editor, even an Irving press editor, to print that as "letter of the day"?
Then we have the so-called NewsToday section - the really big stories and the foreign news. It opens with a big, big story on the drop in gas prices. And, yes, I've noticed they have dropped. And the story speculates on the that drop will affect New Brunswick.

Well, to answer that question, you have to  know why it's dropping, and how likely it is to keep dropping for very long. But there's not a word about that. So this whole story is just idle speculation.

We know why it's dropping - though our news media have worked to keep it a secret. It's dropping because Saudi Arabia opened the taps to flood the market. And why would they do that? I mean, a dropping price hurts Saudi Arabia. Why should the Saudis hurt themselves?

We can only guess. 1. Did they do it to drive shale gas out of competition? Quite possibly - though I can't see that having more than a very temporary effect.
2. Did they do it at the request of the US to damage the Russian economy? Far more likely.  That's a quicker job, and it would let Saudi Arabia go back to raising its prices quite soon, just like the good old days.

There's also another story on the shootings in France. But that's not the part I want to talk about because I ready have. The interesting point is the use of two words - terror and massacre.

The words terror and terrorists are used every day in the news media - but they apply only to whoever our current enemy is. We should get real. Terrorism has been an important factor for both sides in any war in human history.  Since 1914, it has become the major strategy of warfare - for everybody.

The deliberate use of terror in World War 1 is found in the British use of bombers in that war, and the German use of zeppelins. Bombs were wildly inaccurate in those days. It wasn't possible to hit just military targets - so both sides decided to deliberately bomb civilians. Churchill thought that was a great idea. So, as colonial secretary in 1919, he authorized the bombing of Kurd villages in Iraq. That was terrorism. The idea was to terrorize the civilians into quitting.

Germany developed it further in Spain, then used it in the blitz on London. They knew they couldn't hit military targets. So they didn't try. Instead, they bombed large civilians areas to terrify the people, destroy their homes and their will, and disrupt production. The V1 and V2 rockets of 1945 worked on the same principle.

Our side began the war by aiming at military targets. But they soon learned they couldn't depend on hitting within even five miles of a target. So they switched in 1942 to the deliberate killing of civilians. The US did it, too.  In fact, the nuclear bombs were dropped deliberately on cities that had no military targets.

By the wars in Korea and Vietnam, bomb accuracy was no longer a problem. But the US stayed with killing civilians, utterly destroying whole cities with cluster bombs (that were almost useless against military targets, anyway), incendiary bombs, chemical poisons The USAF commander boasted that he had killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and driven Cambodia back into the stone age. And he had.

Such mass killing became standard for the US army, too, in Vietnam. A lieutenant led his men into a village that had no military in it. He and his men slaughtered some 800 people - men, women, children, babies.
The news media and the military ignored it. Finally, it was up to a persistent reporter to break the story. That forced the army to act. The lieutenant was charged with murdering 120, found guilty, and sentenced to jail. The next day, the president issued a pardon for him. He was a free man.

We all use terror. The war in Iraq was massive terror inflicted mostly on civilians. The drone attacks in Yeman and Pakistan and other places are acts of terror with high civilian killing. But I have never known any of our news media or our politicians to use the terror to mean us.

The story also contains the word massacre - done by the terrorists, of course. I have never seen 'massacre' used to describe an operation by our side. But massacres have been common - as New Brunswick should know from the story of the lay missionary from Buctouche who was murdered as part of the killing of over a quarter million Guatemalans, a massacre directed by the CIA with help of the Guatemala army and of Israeli special forces.

No. Our news media lie to us. And we lie to ourselves. I read there is a big vigil in out neighbouring city of Dieppe for the 15 or so victims of the French terrorist attack. That's commendable. But when was there a vigil for the lay missionary murdered in Guatemala? For the millions of innocent people killed in Vietnam? For the more than a million, much more, killed in Iraq?

The news media routinely lie to us, and we lie to ourselves, It's prefect circle.

B5 has a frightening photo of American congressmen who are leading the fight to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the US. If they win, that pretty well guarantees no action for years to come on the issue of climate change. The Congress is generally very heavily in favour of whatever big business wants. And a major war is right at the top of the list of what big business wants.

That's pretty much all that's in the paper today.  However, there is a bright spot on the Faith Page.

It looks as though the old, 2 page format is gone forever. It's now just one page. I mean, it's important to have faith - but it just doesn't generate enough ad revenue. And God is undoubtedly a businessman. And He looks at that page - and he sees just two, church ads. That's a very weak demonstration of faith.

However, the sermonette is the best (and only good one) I have ever seen. Rev. Morehouse actually deals with a real situation, the scandal about Dalhousie dental students, and talks about it in a Christian context. That's what Jesus did.

Most people won't follow Rev. Morehouse's advice - though it is sound advice and presented with both intelligence and faith. Read this one. For sure.

(I apologize to readers in France, the US, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, etc. There was just nothing much about the rest of the world in this day's paper. Hey, this is a paper whose lead story is about a man who turned in his licence plate to get a new one.

1 comment:

  1. 2014 will go down around the globe as the year of state-sanctioned false flags and/or hoaxes.

    ...such as the Ottawa Parliament Hill shooting in which CBC has been caught falsifying evidence for.

    (Operation:Determined Dragon culminated with its last drill at Parliament)

    But it appears 2015 is off to a quick start as the alleged Paris terrorist attack in my opinion looks to be one as well.

    All designed to control the sleeping masses minds...