Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Feb. 10: www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1500596.htm

To the cheers of my French Catholic ancestors, and to the curses of my Scots Presbyterian ones, I urge you to read the site in today's title above.

It's a report on a speech by Pope Francis; and it's brilliant. He starts with the problems of hunger, and points out that there is enough food for all. But while we let millions starve, we waste food, and we overeat so dreadfully that our greatest problem is not hunger but obesity.

For this and for much of the hunger and suffering in our world, he blames our economic systems and the financial speculations of the very rich. We tolerate a system which tolerates and even encourages the richer of us to exploit and abuse the rest of us. And, of course, those richer also own governments.

We need to question our politics and economic projects in the broader perspective of what life is about.

The greatest problem we  have is inequity. This, with the stronger (and richer) bullying all of us, is the cause of daily suffering and the mass murder we call war.

Right bloody on.

(For contrast, while driving along St. George St. in Moncton I passed a Protestant church that specializes in signs with cutesie slogans. This week's special message is "Life is short. Pray hard." Wow! What insight! What outspoken courage!)

And I think the pope is more than right. Almost all wars are fought to make more money for some gang of the very rich. They are not caused by religion or skin colour or some genetic evil which afflicts other nations but never us. Religion and skin colour and genetic evil are used by our political and economic leaders to make us fear and hate and kill others. But they aren't what cause wars. It's our political and economic leaders who do that.

 The western powers couldn't care less about suffering and dying in Africa. and the Middle East. In fact, they've long been the major cause of it. What they care about is oil and resources. And they'll kill and starve and degrade to get them.

They couldn't care less about Ukraine. They've been letting Greeks suffer and even to starve for years without lifting a finger. In fact, they're helping international bankers to make it worse.  Obama couldn't care less even about the suffering in the US itself, the malnutrition, the homelessness - though helping them would cost far, far less than sending weapons and mercenary troops (contractors) all over the world. But American big money wants the troops sent, and it wants money spent on its war industries. So the hell with all those Americans who are suffering.

American big money wants the oil of the middle east, the resources of Africa, control of the whole Russian, Chinese, Indian, South American economies. That's why our news media remind us daily of how evil Putin is. That's why Obama is prepared to risk a nuclear war to get what his owners want.

Harper swaggers and talks tough - and rarely does anything. But he plays the fear and hate game, too. That's why we're sinking into the Ukraine swamp. That's why Harper is now pushing for his very own gestapo. That's why we have troops in Iraq.

If Harper cared about Canadians, he would , as the pope says, work on a broader sense of the meaning of life. But Harper doesn't care. Native peoples are not getting the funding they need and deserve. And they are suffering for it. They need, and have a right, to control their own affairs. And Harper won't allow that because he wants control to lay their lands at the feet of the very rich who pay for him.  Large numbers of Canadians are going hungry, and even more are malnourished. A great many are homeless. A very great number live in poverty. Harper couldn't care less.

His idea of "the broader meaning of life" is to spend millions on a huge monument to all those who died because of communism.  Really???? Yes, really. And there is no mention of the more millions we have killed and starved and tortured (including our own whom we sent into horror)  to please the greed of capitalism..

(I can't help thinking of the sign on that St. George St. church during the Afghanistan war - Pray for OUR soldiers. Obviously, the person who write that sign thinks that Jesus came to save the investments of billionaires.)

There was a time when many Protestant clergy thought as Pope Francis does. They were major founders of the old CCF party that was designed to fight the threats that Pope Francis now speaks of. But the CCF became the NDP which softened CCF policies. That's understandable. It's hard to talk sense to a population whose news media and political leaders constantly bombard them with hatred and fear.

Here, in Moncton, for example, "the broader meaning of life" requires a new hockey rink. That tells you something about our political and economic leadership - and our acceptance of its "values". The reality is that we have developed a form of capitalism which is utterly without moral standards. Now, I don't mean by that that everybody should get religious Moral values don't come only from religion. Indeed, there's plenty of evidence that our churches no longer have much in the way of moral values to hand out.

No. It's not simply a religious issue. Moral standards are a necessary condition for the survival of human society. Capitalism was never a great source of moral values. Dare I call it evil - just like them there Islams and Putins? But in the last forty years or so, we have developed a form of capitalism that refuses to permit the existence of any moral values at all. And no society can survive that.

The big news today in the first section of the paper is that a new diner is opening in town. Well, that should take care of the world's hunger and nutrition problem.

Norbert has two columns on  how social media have very little effect on how we think. And there's a good deal of truth in that. The bigger issue, which he might give some thought to, is that mass media like his newspaper do affect how we think. And their lies and manipulations are destroying us.

Steve Malloy's column is a troubling one. He gets the feeling from some of his francophone customers that they don't want English-speaking people in this province. Well, that happens, of course - just as you'll always find some people who don't want Africans or Chinese or Muslims or - well- us humans have a strong streak of  hatred and intolerance. I grew up in a district of Montreal that had a wide assortment of ethnic groups - French, English, Syrian, Italian, Polish, Armenian, Greek Jewish. To make the choice even wider, Catholics were  divided into French and English.

And, certainly, there were some people who made other groups feel unwelcome.

But I haven't seen much of that in Moncton. In particular, I haven't seen it from Acadians - though it seems more common among anglos. So I wouldn't let one incident chase me away. And consider this possibility - the person who gave you a hard time might have been from Quebec. I'm met a couple of French-Quebeckers here who seem to want to bring the language wars to New Brunswick.
Monday's paper leads with a story that Harper and Obama are deeply divided on the issue of Jihadism. I wouldn't take that seriously. Harper talks tougher - but it really has nothing to do with Jihadism. It has to do with getting the votes of all those Canadians who have been propagandized by the hate and fear created by our news media.

And Obama is not more moderate. But he has to look more reasonable because much of Europe is getting nervous about his hard line.

I wish there were more to say about section B. But it's hard to talk about a world news section of only 4 pages, and who's biggest story is that Sam Smith won four Grammys.

Our premier, we learn, is taking a pay cut, along with his cabinet ministers. What an inspiring example for all of us!  Well, not actually.

The cut is so small that, after taxes, it will be negligible. And they still get to keep all their perqs. Obviously, this is a pitch to all of us to expect we are going to face cuts, probably in education, health, and other services. And, oh, our premier is suffering, too.

However, Gallant and his crowd can stand a cut. Most of us can't. That's one fault with his proposal. It's pure show biz. And it signals a much worse part.

Gallant is buying into the big business myth (supported by the Irving press and the whatchamacallit committee on over the edge at the U de Moncton.) Make the poor and the middle class suffer for this recession.

The trouble with that theory is that it won't work. Making us poor won't boost the economy. It never has, and it never will. What it will do is make the rich even richer on money that can only come from us. In other words, it will make us poorer to make us poorer.

And the rich, who controlled the economy that led to the recession, will pay little and make even bigger profits. New Brunswickers in particular - remember - it was Mr. Irving who announced just after Alward's election that he was planning the New Brunswick economy, that he was self-appointed to work with the government, and to appoint advisors to the Minister of Finance.

And Gallant every day looks like another Alward, another Graham........

B4 for Tuesday has a (sort of) amusing story, "Obama, Merkel say Russian aggression helps to reinforce  Western unity"

What's amusing about that? Well, there's a reason why she's in the US to visit Obama. It's because Western unity on what she calls Russian aggression doesn't exist. That's why she went to Washington. Germany, France, The Netherlands, possibly Britain, don't want to risk a war with Russia. They don't like Obama aggressiveness. That's why she's there.

As well, of course, she knows that there has been no Russian aggression. Russia doesn't particularly want Ukraine. There's nothing to want. It's broke. It's likely to stay broke. And a Russian invasion would certainly increase the risk of a nuclear war. Putin is no sweetheart. But he also is not a fool. He's involved for only two reasons.
1. Russian speaking Ukrainians are being killed. He can't just let that happen without making himself contemptible in the eyes of Russian people.
2. The Russians have an important naval base in Ukraine. It's been either Russian-owned or under Russian lease for much more than a century. He can't possibly hand that over to Ukraine.

As well, The government in Ukraine is illegal. The last, legal government was elected, but overthrown under US direction and with US money. That information been public for a long time. It was made public by the senior White House official who did it. Too bad our newspapers never get around to mentioning it.

Why does the US care about Ukraine?

1. It's on the route for the Russian oil that fuels much of Europe. US oil companies want their own monopoly of Europe's oil supply.
2.It wants rocket bases as close to Moscow as possible. Remember way back when Russia was going to base nuclear rockets in Cuba? The US went into hysterics. Well, Russians feel the same way about nuclear bases close to them.
3. The very, very wealthy, and all the politicians their money has bought, want a war with Russia to control the Russian market, and as a prelude to a war with China. This sets up a strong risk of nuclear war.

And that is insane. Unlimited greed can do that. Especially in a capitalist state that has no moral code of any sort. The asylum has been taken over by the inmates. And the whole world faces a risk so horrible it is not possible to imagine it.

So far, Obama has been the front man for insanity. Merkel is very, very scared. Most of Europe is scared.
It wants peace talks.

To make it worse, Europe gets nothing out of this deal. Neither, for that matter, does Canada. But we're all offering ourselves up on a great platter to a billionaire class of the greedy and, I can safely say, evil.

Fight your enemy by all means. But don't let the news media and the politicians tell you who your enemy is.

And what will happen?

Well, Obama now pretty well has to accept the peace talks. So - he'll set impossible terms, or set up an incident of some sort.....

And then...................


Just as a matter of passing interest, under Harper's bill to create a gestapo,, almost everything I've said above would make me a terrorist suspect - and just being suspected would be enough to put me in jail.

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