Friday, December 11, 2015

Dec. 11: The Turkish Trap.

The Irving press will take very little time.
A1 has the ongoing storyabout child molesting by priests. It seems not to have occured to the reporters or their editors to ask what the archbishops were doing through all these years. Their standard practice of simply reassigning known offenders to other parishes strikes me as possibly criminal.

Norbert Cunningham has another rant about the schools, blaming them for all the province's social ills. He displays his ignorance of education in every sentence. He blames the schools because the French immersion programmes don't produce enough bilingual students. Norbert, it's not just classes that make people bilingual. It's living in a society that the requires the other language. That's why Acadian schools produce bilingual graduates and anglo ones less so. In Quebec, the situation is reversed, and it's the French schools that don't produce  too few bilingual graduates. And that's why Dutch schools produce trilingual graduates.

As for high illiteracy rates and poor grades across the board, that's a result of children growing up in a society in which many, many parents don't come from a tradition of respect for learning, and so set a terrible model for their children. It's a society in which adults will flock to the library, but only for a stimulating evening with crayons and colouring books. It's a society which makes no effort to stimulate the intellectual life of children - except by building hockey rinks. How many organizations in this city sponsor film clubs? Discussion of current events? Books? Nor have I ever seen an announcement on the Faith page for a church discussion of such things.

I know that kind of society well. I grew up in one. It took almost ten years of my life to realize I could read big books, and could get good marks. I didn't even begin to understand that such intellectual activity existed until I went to a bigger school for grade ten. My first university course, at night, was Canadian history. I got a D-, largely because the teacher took pity on me.

No, I hadn't studied as much as I should have. But it was more than that. It was growing up in a district in which having an education was regarded as snooty, and trying to rise above one's station. It was growing up in a society in  which adults avoided learning like a disease.

(Incidentally, I later got a doctorate in History. But much of the path that got me  there was pure luck.)

New Brunswick  has plenty of intelligent people. But they live in an intellectual desert in which the only form of life is that withered cactus called the Irving press. That's why our children don't do as well in school as they could.

Norbert, please confine yourself to writing on subjects you know something about.

Brian Murphy has a good column, essentially on our slowness in dealing with social problems, and urging all of us to be more active.

Alec Bruce is excellent on climate change.
Canada&World really has nothing to say about anything. - unless you are really, really interested in knowing about the cost of daycare in Toronto

Oh, B4 has a gem of a story about the Conservatives charge that pulling our pilots out of Iraq will give the world the impression they're cowards. They're so right. We really should be killing people to show the world we're brave. So why don't we send the Conservative MPs over there?
Good column by student columnist Mhairi Agnew on the importance of studying in school. Quite true.  But you are not likely to study at all unless you have first learned to see learning and discussion and reading as normal and desirable practices for everybody
I note that Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. are sending what seems a high proportion of jet fighters to Syria. That's odd. They say they're fighting ISIS - and ISIS doesn't have an airforce. Oh - silly me, Russia and Syria have airforces.

In connection with that, the U.S. and its allies have no right under law to be in Syria at all. The world has worked for over a century to establish international laws that govern war, and to lessen the suffering. It was with those laws that we tried and hanged Nazi leaders. One of the things you cannot do is to send warriors of any sort (including drones) into a country that has not invited you,  with no legal reason to be at war with the country, and without the invitation of its government.

Since 1945, the U.S. has routinely trashed all those laws, taking the world back into a barbaric stage. That's what's called American Exceptionalism.  Funny how none of our news media have mentioned that.
Below is the story of the year. It comes from an interview with an American expert on air combat. It first appeared in Harper's Magazine. But it seems not to have appeared in our news. Even a feeble bunch like the staff of Irving news could easily have found this story. But they didn't. (And they wouldn't print it if they did.)

Briefly, it is virtually certain that the two, Russian bombers shot down by Turkey were caught in a trap planned long ago by Turkey and, almost certainly,  by the U.S. I had thought this was the case from the start. It made no sense to me that those bombers could have been shot down in 19 seconds, and that Turkish aircraft could possibly have coincidentally been in the airspace at just that moment. (In fact, I've never heard at all of an aircraft being shot down by a country not at war with them, And in 19 seconds? Not believable.)

The account below gives details that make what happened clear. The U.S. does NOT want ISIS defeated. Not yet. And this attack was a deliberate attempt to force a NATO war on Russia, or make Putin back down.

And this is worse than insane.


To make it worse, Russia has released its file on the attack. I'm not suggesting that file is true. But I do suggest that news media should give us both sides of any story.

Meanwhile, Russia has supplied the Syrian government with highly advanced anti-aircraft missiles. These will be used to shoot down planes that aren't supposed to be flying over Syria - like fighters and bombers from the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, and Turkey. That doesn't sound to me as if Putin is backing off.

The war in Syria is not about good guys or bad guys. God knows it's not about helping anybody. It's about power and profits for an oil industry that already has too much power and too much profit. It's a plan made by people so greedy and so indifferent to humanity that they are willing to put all of us at risk. All of us.

Yes. We do have enemies in this world. We do have people who are barbarous, and malicious and lying. And they are the real leaders of our side, and they are the owners of most of the world's news media.

The greatest threats to our survival are nuclear war and climate change. And the oil industry is the biggest cause of our failure to make progress on either.

Wake up!
In other news, the World Monetary Fund has forgiven a loan of some 2 billion dollars which Ukraine owes to Russia. That might have something to do with the fact that the World Monetary fund is dominated by big, western bankers. And the money isn't owed to them..  However, it has,earlier, driven Ukraine into poverty for generations by demanding full payment of money owing to western bankers. It did the same to Greece.
Don't worry about Donald Trump losing the race for president because of his ban on Muslims. The most recent poll shows fully   60% of Republican voters agree with him - and only 10% are opposed.
The Guardian has an excellent column on income inequality in the U.S. (The U.S. has the worst income inequality in the western world. And Canada is right up among the worst.)

Economists like to babble about market fluctuations and deficits. But the reality is that these are not that important a factor in spreading poverty. Poverty is deliberately spread by the very wealthy so they can get an increasingly large piece of the pie. News media like the Irving press help the wealthy out by saying our only salvation is to become poorer  by paying more taxes and cutting more services. Nonsense.

It doesn't work. It never has worked. We get poorer BECAUSE the wealthy get wealthier. Mass poverty is good for the wealthy. The whole slave trade was based on that principle. Get the labour as cheaply as possible out of your employees. Then use the profits to invest anywhere else in the world where labour is even cheaper.
Jews in Canada, the U.S. and Germany have been organizing to offer help to Muslim refugees. I'm not surprised. Judaism, despite the example of present-day Israel, has a long history of generosity and public spirit.

It's not possible to imagine the suffering of millions of people caused by the greed and power hunger of the oil industry. Millions of homes have been destroyed, families separated, children orphaned, many who have never been inside a school, uncounted numbers drowned, even more starving and living in tents as winter closes in.

Before we congratulate ourselves on  how generous we are, we might remember we are accepting only 15,000 in this, one of the biggest countries on earth. The U.S. is even worse at 10,000 (and maybe not that much.) Germany may be dealing with as many as a million.

Incidentally, we are in the Jewish season of Hanuka (Chanuka). The precise date varies from year to year. I don't know what it is for this year. It is one of the holiest of days for Jews, though it sometimes has been infected by the view of most Christians who have dumped Jesus in favour of Santa Claus.

I wonder if the Irving Faith page will mention Chanuka. Nah. Not is that page only for Christians, but also only for the simple-minded among Christians.

Then there's a great story in The Guardian about how Greenpeace managed to trap prominent university professors into writing articles about how climate change is good for us, and how the gasses from fossil fuels make us healthier.
Greenpeace tempted them with promises of high salaries.

This sort of thing happens all the time. I knew some academics who happily collaborated for the money. Most won't. But it pays to be cautious with everybody, including professors.
Again, I have more material to go. But it's getting late, and I also need to eat.

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