Sunday, February 8, 2015

Feb. 8: Excellence. Ignorant rant. And the irrelevance of Christian churches.

Back to the Dec. 7 (Saturday) issue of the Irving press where page A4 has a big story about "This week's J.D. Irving, Limited Reading is Wild Readers of the week"

And, no. I have no idea what that sentence means.  But I am struck by the modesty of the owner of the newspaper who, so far, told us about his reading week only twice in two day, and, in great modesty, has permitted his name to appear in the headline only both times

. As a former elementary school teacher (and a former elementary school student), I've never liked the hyped up reading races. Yes, I read heavily in them. But I did that every week, anyway. And they certainly never made a dent on my illiterate friends. I know of no evidence that they develop literacy. But it is heartwarming to see Mr. Irving's name in a headline that screams of his saintly generosity.

A7 has a must-read story about a woman who threw a vodka bottle thought a car window. It doesn't say whether the bottle was full. But we'll probably get that information in the next story of this important news in Monday.

The editorial is based on the wildly idealistic notion that politicians enter politics in order to help everybody. And this, says the writer leads to an oversized bureaucracy which achieves little. And the editorial concludes that we have an impossible dream that government can do everything for everybody.

Now, that's a load. I've met and known a great many politicians. Most of them, particularly in the Liberal and Conservative parties, were in the game purely for themselves and to kiss up to people with big money. One of the few exceptions I knew was Warren Allmand (minister of Northern Affairs, and then Solicitor General in the Trudeau government. I had and still have a great admiration for his political work in  helping others, and his selfless effort to bring peace to Ireland.)

Concern for others was (and is) more common in the NDP and, I suspect, among the Greens.

The editorial's conclusion that government can't do everything is silly because 1.Nobody has ever said it can do everything. 2.And, by any definition, the government of New Brunswick could do a lot more. Read the paper every day. It's there. This a a province that leaves it to volunteers to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and raise money for health, education; and pats the wealthy on the head with gifts of forest, lush contracts, the world's lowest taxes, and lets them control most of our news sources.

There are tiny and poor governments that do more their people than Canada does, and they do it very well.

Norbert writes on much the same subject, using as a base his usual ignorant rant about bureaucrats. Yes, things should be done to better organize our civil service. But it's not the bureaucrats that organized this mess. It's the self-serving politicians supported by Norbert Cunningham who did it. Again, this column is just an ignorant rant.

Brent Mazerolle sticks his neck out to write a column on a subject of which he knows little. And he does a first-rate job. of it. Some of the details aren't quite right. But he doesn't pretend to be an expert. He uses common sense and, evidently, he has a lot of common sense. This is well worth a read.

One quibble - he refers to ISIL as "evil".  That's an emotionally loaded word, used to make us fear and hate. It's an essentially religious term that has been twisted into a propaganda word to make us fear and hate.

In this case, the term refers to "Thou shalt not kill".  Well? What is it we do in war?
Okay, let's say Moses got a bit of it wrong. It was supposed to be thou shalt not kill by burning alive. No. Won't do. Canada, with it's few wars, has killed far more people by burning alive than ISIL has. The US has killed infinitely more.

How about "Thou shalt not kill unless billionaires really want control of some oil country? No. I don't think so. or thou shalt not kill innocent civilians?  m-m-m-m - we've killed far more innocent civilians than ISIL can ever hope to. Oh - "Thou shalt not kill Americans? Nope. Been there. Done that.

We all have evil in us. You, me, Stephen Harper, Mr. Irving...all of us. We all have evil. We have all done evil. To use the word as a general description of one society, as our news media do, is to use an emotionally-loaded word to spread hatred and fear. And that is evil, too.

Gwynne Dyer is back to his normal superb with a column on the violence in Nigeria. His last paragraph might slip by. Don't let that happen. It's dynamite, and it's true.  He says that the Nigerian government is based on a  model set up long ago by its European, colonial masters. Very true. It was designed to make the colonial masters powerful and rich at the expense of everybody else. All that came with "freedom" is that new masters took over to rip everybody else off.(something like New Brunswick.)

That problem is common throughout the former European colonies - and also true of all the American colonies that we don't call colonies.

Bill Belliveau is brilliant in his column on A13 "A spooky anti-terrorism bill". While Canadians doze, parliament is passing a bill that is effectively the end of democracy in Canada. Read this one. Belliveau is the best here that I have even seen in him.

The editorial page stinks. But the Commentary page would be a source of pride to any newspaper any where.
B3 has a jubilant article on how NB unemployment is steady at 10%. Don't waste your time reading it. The statistics for employment are pure  hokum. A friend worked at a senior position in Employment Canada. He showed me a case where a real unemployment rate of 16% was jiggled to be 6%. And just about every country plays the same game.

There is no foreign news to speak of - though an interesting one is becoming evident. Remember how our Conservatives publicly gave a talk to Putin? It put all the blame for the Ukraine affair on Putin. It threatened him with attack if he didn't accept the blame, and get out.

At the same time, Joe Biden was publicly making the same threats.

Think about that. Then think about how we are about to begin to talk peace in Ukraine with Putin.

Now, think hard. If you were to begin peace talks, would you start by publicly threatening the other side and putting all the blame on it? It wouldn't be a very bright thing to do because it almost compels the other side to refuse anything you offer. Our side in recent days, through major leaders, have made public statements that almost force Putin to say no - and to set up the risk of a nuclear war.

There are senior diplomats and politicians involved here.  It's happening at the highest level. So what does this behaviour suggest?

The US and Canadian governments want a war. They want Putin to say no. As in Iraq and Afghanistan, they want an excuse for war. Such a war, even without nuclear weapons, would destroy Ukraine. But nobody gives a damn about Ukraine. That's not what all this is about.

As a major factor in the US wanting to provoke a war, the European nations and most of NATO are very, very reluctant to see such a war. They want serious discussion of a peace. These speeches by the US dog and it's Canadian tail are designed to make that impossible.
The Faith page and the sermonette, C7, are the usual bland and trivial stuff. I guess that suits all those Christians who seem to live only for pancake breakfastss.

Look. The whole, "Christian"world is murderous on a huge scale. It carries on brutality, exploitation, murder, torture on a grand scale in Congo, Haiti, Guutemala - not to mention Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan - not to mention Canada and the US in order to satisfy the very wealthy and very, very greedy. And the churches don't say a damn thing about it.

What the hell do they think Jesus was talking about?

If I went to church wearing just underwear, I'd be asked to leave. If I went wearing medals for all the people I  had killed, there would probably be a special prayer in honour of my heroism.

Churches, which side on you on?

It's been like this for centuries. German churches, for the most part, praised the work of Hitler. (So, on occasion, did Canadian and American churches - but we don't like to talk about that. And we won't discuss how Canadian churches, for the most part, had no comment when the Canadian and US governments forbade Jews escaping Hitler from coming here. And we'll say nothing about Cardinal Spellman of Boston who blessed the bombs that were about to be dropped on Cuba. We won't talk about living in a society that will not feed the hungry or house the homeless. (In some California jurisdictions, it is forbidden for the homeless to seek refuge in public parks.)

Our churches' preaching produces people who hold up posters at abortion centres - but nobody who cares when we firebomb and napalm and kill and torture all over the world.

Canada, the US, all of Europe are run on economic principles that are a direct denial of fundamental Christian and Jewish (and Muslim and Confucist and Hindu) teaching.

But the churches are very, very patriotic. That's their problem. It is very, very difficult to believe in any religion and, at the same time, be patriotic. What does patriotic mean? Does it just mean killing people?

So, instead of discussing what Jesus said, the Faith Page gives us cutesie bedtime stories for church-goers who seem to have a fixation on the munchies.

I'm not asking the churches to defy our governments and business leaders..I'm suggesting they should at least encourage discussion of public affairs in the context of religious beliefs. Let people come to whatever conclusion they like. But they have to learn that in order to be Christians, they have to act like Christians.

I have no idea why the churches make themselves and their faith so irrelevant. I have no idea why they sermonize on topics that don't offend anybody, and that would stun a moose in heat.

1 comment:

  1. Critical thinking is not in vogue. If critical thinking was ever promoted as fashionable, you'd have everyone waking up, and we can't have that. The billionaires would lose their edge over the rest of society.

    So goes with many ministers, pastors and priests. They're just as much a victim to the propaganda of their TV news as their flocks are. It's been my firsthand experience in speaking with many anyway.

    But, I actually had one minister confide it was for political, as well economic reasons (a pay-check), they feared many in their congregation wouldn't be able to accept the actual truth if they dared broach it.
    Ironic, I know.