Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25: What can words say?

Netanyahu yesterday thanked Secstat Kerry for the US role in killing a big meeting of Middle East leaders to discuss de-nuclearizing the whole region. How nice of Mr. Kerry. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia says it has a deal to get nuclear weapons from Pakistan. And ISIL may be getting them, too.

Isn't that nice? It will bring peace to the Middle East. Well, not right away. We have to kill everybody first. And don't worry. You'll know when it happens. Five hundred or so Nuclear bombs going off at the same time will be noticeable. Even here in Moncton.

Obama drops to his knees to give favours to Israel. And Netanyahul treats him like dirt.

If there is one thing this world does not need and cannot survive, it's a nuclear war in the Middle East. And, in the chaos that the US, with British and Israeli help, has created in the Middle East, a nuclear war is highly likely. Iraq is close to collapse in its war with ISIL. Of course it is. the US killed over a million Iraqis, stole the economy, created millions of refugees, and deliberately created mass poverty. What's there to fight for? Just recently, a large Iraq army, much larger than its ISIL opponents, fled rather than fight, leaving behind massive quantities of American tanks, artillery. even rifles.

That whole region is in chaos and madness. Saudi Arabia is obviously playing its own game - probably trying to become the dominant power in the region - or perhaps to switch sides to Russia and China.  How clever of Obama to prevent the UN from stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the region!

But don't worry. Just read the Irving press idea of n really important item for a big, front page story. It'll calm you right down. It seems the New Brunswick government is considering repaving some of the roads to be used by tourists to the province. Once you've read that, put pages A1 to A7 aside for bedtime. They're better than a sleeping pill.

The editorial? It says a tax on hotel rooms of 3% would be a great idea for Moncton and all of NB. Damn right.That'll change the whole world. Norbert Cunningham really has nothing to say He says prohibition of alcohol won't work. Who woulda guessed? But it's written decently. Norbert, if you want to study the subject in more than the few, crude sentences you offer, look up temperance movement in The Canadian Encyclopedia or check a book called Oliver Mowat's Ontario.  Both articles are by a great guy - Graeme Decarie.

Craig Babstock says courts are getting tougher on teachers who get involved in sex with their students. So? Surely we all know that tougher courts don't solve any crime problem. So what's the point of writing about it?

Steve Malloy and Alex Bruce are worth reading. But there are important issues the Opinion and Commentary pages rarely address. For example, it was recently that Stephen Harper announced that he intended to make it illegal for any Canadian to criticize Israel. The first thing that strikes one is the utter stupidity of such a statement. Apparently, it is his opinion that  Israel is the only perfect nation in the world. Not only is that a masterpiece of stupidity for anyone to announce. (I know a great many Jews, including Zionists and Israelis, who would never agree with that.) But it's worse.

This an attack on a fundamental right of any free people - to express their opinions It's an attack on the foundation of democracy, itself. It tells us worlds about the foolishness and dictatorial attitudes of Harper, himself. And it's a direct admission of Harper's lying on every Nov. 11 about how Canadians died to save democracy.

This isn't a blip on the screen. This is one hell of a serious matter. The whole Conservative party is stained by what Harper has done. Any honest mp in the party should resign. But not one did. They all, including smirky Goguen, applauded their leader. This is beneath contempt. Harper has never been an admirer of democracy. But no prime minister in Canadian history has so openly attacked democracy and the freedom of the individual.

With all due respect, I cannot understand a newspaper which would have not a single columnist with the ability to write on that.
Big news in Canada&World. Bingo halls in Quebec are in decline. Wow! "New Brunswick Tories begin rebuilding after election defeat." Gee! thanks for tipping me off. And another big story on the back page. 'Provincial Conservatives to stay Progressive', Who could possibly care?

The only big news is on B2. "Ireland backs gay marriage in landslide vote". This is huge. In a sense, it's not big because so many of us now agree that gays should have the right to marry. But -
this has happened in one of the world's most profoundly Roman Catholic countries. What this signals is yet another collapse of religion. It reminds me of the stunning collapse of the church in Quebec in the 70s.

In many ways the churches deserve to collapse. Check out the Faith Page on most Saturdays for that. They have been way behind in teaching their moral principles to the general population and in terms of daily life (including politics). And they have been far too much into preaching self-righteousness to people who need to know more about how they should live now, and what they should be doing in this world.

The problem is that we need moral guidance - but the only source of it is within the churches. And they aren't letting it out. The great issues are not about who or what you believe in or whether you are getting into heaven. The great issue is how we live, how we treat others.....Should we be killing people in Iraq and Syria? Should be allowing privatization in our public schools? (After all, the very idea of public schools is rooted in Protestant and Judaic morality).  Should we allow health care to become a 'for profit' business?. Is it moral to encourage the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East? What should our priorities in government and spending be?

Sermons are, or should be, moral opinions. And church-doers should be discussing these things at least as much as they eat pancake breakfasts.

Churches are our only source of moral guidelines. But most have largely abandoned that role. The result is a New Brunswick ruled politically and economically without a trace of morality.

Okay. I don't go to church. I'm not likely to. Not until they have something worth saying. But I know that my political and economic values - or morals - come from a childhood and youth spent in church. You certainly won't develop any morality with a degree in political science or business administration.  Nor do I think contemplating in the pews at the Irving Chapel will help much.

The churches have some thinking to do. So do we all.
The news editors at Irving press must be a rare collection of gems. We get news stories that seem to be chosen at random. Or maybe we just get the cheaper ones from news services. (After all, a newspaper has to be run like a business.)

There was an important item which didn't make the Irving news, but that might connect with us. It's from Peru where workers have been on strike against Southern Copper Corporation. It's not just salaries. It's also about pollution and the destruction of farmland and waters that the people of Peru need to live.

It's really an old story. Canadian and American mining companies have been having a grand time in Central America with puppet governments set up for them so they can pay starvation wages, and destroy lands and waters to their heart's content. Free trade has been a big help in this.

Occasionally, the local people protest or go on strike. But that's okay. The mine owners' can bring in the army to beat them up or kill them. So far, four have been killed in this one. If necessary, they can call in the CIA to stiffen the army. That's what happened in Guatemala where some 300,000 men, women and children (and a New Brunswick lay missionary now buried not far from the Irving Chapel) were slaughtered.

Wealthy Canadians are very prominent in world mining. I'm so proud.

In a related story (also missing from the pages of the Irving press) is the story of the beatification of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador. (Beatification is the step before sainthood.)

El Salvador, much like Peru, was under a US sponsored puppet government. Working conditions in American/Canadian industries were appalling and very low paid. So a revolution took shape against the government. Now, the US speaks highly of its revolution; but it doesn't encourage revolutions in countries its businessmen are looting.  So the army and hired assassins were turned out to murder those who weren't happy enough. Some 80,000 people were murdered.

Archbishop Romero spoke openly and often to defend the victims and to protest the violence. It came, not from  his politics, but from his sense of morality. He publicly condemned the government for its assassination programme. (The archbishop was certainly no smirky Goguen.).

In 1980, he was murdered while leading a service in a hospital. Of course, nobody was ever charged.

We are not nice people. Worse, we are terribly uninformed about what is happening in the world. There was nothing in the paper about how explosive things are in the Ukraine where western bankers are bleeding the country dry - but those same bankers are angry that Russia says it wants Ukraine to pay it billions of dollars that it owes. As well,there is nothing about Greece which cannot pay its loans without mass suffering and even starvation. But the western bankers insist. There's no mention of the extent to which China and Russia are developing commercial contacts with the US's private empire in Latin America. There's no mention of the drift of big, western money into China and Russia.

In 1871, when Germany united, the world was set on a path that led to two world wars, the collapse of European empires, and the Canadian drift to being an American colony.Now, the US, too, is collapsing. But don't worry about the very wealthy. Their money is safe and will find profitable homes.Big money doesn't really need countries any more.

1871 changed the world forever. And we're still on that path.

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