Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Jan. 27: some people annoy me.

Even good newspapers will occasionally run a trivia story. They do it because, when setting out the pages, they see an empty area. So they stick in a story (sometimes a photo). It's a story of no news value. It's just to fill the empty space. So it's called a filler.

All today's news in Section A of the Irving press is filler, with the exception of the story on A7 in which a professor says New Brunswick has to revive its mental health court ( a court to deal with people charged with crimes and who are mentally ill.) Putting them in jail does nothing to help them and, certainly, it does nothing for us except to add to the cost of a prison system that turns these people out as greater threats than they were when put in.

The editorialist does some deep thinking to come with a revolutionary idea. We should encourage tourism to New Brunswick. I mean, deep. Tomorrow's, no doubt, will be a reminder that we should always flush after using a public toilet.

The commentary below it is by the wealthy's propaganda machine, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

The second page of commentary begins, as always, with a huge photo filler. This time it's a photo of duck.

Brian Cormier has his usual, useless, cute little story about nothing in particular. I note he is listed as a communicator. Too bad he has nothing to communicate.

At the end of all that? The only real news story, and the only one of any importance, is the one about mental health court.

Then we hit section B, the big time, Canada and World. And the big, earth-shaking headline – the federal government will consider climate change when making decisions about the Energy East pipeline. Well, nice try. But, surely, it would have been a story only if the government were NOT to consider climate change.

I have some material later from a good newspaper on this. But surely there's a lesson here right from the top. The oil industry doesn't give a damn about climate change. The pipeline would pay back the investment in it only after some thirty years of turning heavy, Alberta crude into a huge mass of greenhouse gas.

That means that, for profit, this has to operate for forty or fifty years. We don't have forty or fifty years to play with. We don't even have thirty. The U.S. and other western countries are spending trillions to fight wars for control of oil. Of course, it isn't their money because their money is safely hidden away. It's our money.

So, quite obviously, the oil industry intends to do nothing about climate change. It intends to go on thinking of money, and nothing else. And it's quite obvious that nobody at the Irving press is going to write a word about it.

This is showdown time. Either we bring oil billionaires to heel now, or it's game over – for everybody including the oil billionaires.

Fast forward to B5 for the next real story. Rapes, torture, beatings and murders by UN Peacekeepers is an old story that only now is being told. Canada is being asked to take the lead in dealing with this. The reason for naming Canada is that Canada originated peacekeeping as its major role. It usually did an excellent job at it. But our governments have been abandoning it for a good 40 years as it doesn't serve the needs of billionaires. Canada's most disgraceful betrayal of peacekeeping was in 1993 when the U.S. invaded Haiti and overthrew the elected president. Canada sent peacekeepers to give credibility to the lie that the U.S. was bringing democracy to the country.

Justin Trudeau promised to return Canada to being a peacekeeper. So far, I've seen no evidence that he even knows what that means. Certainly, bombing people in Iraq and Syria has nothing to do with peacekeeping. Nor does sending troops – in ANY role – to Syria.

B6 actually has 2, real stories. One is about Denmark seizing valuables from migrants. The other is about Brazil's mosquito-spread illness that causes severe birth defects – and about how Brazil is losing the fight. This story is a little bit out of date. (Perhaps they got it at a sale of old stories.) The update is there is great fear it will spread to North America and Europe.
The Irving press has no story about the pesticide Mr. Irving is spraying on us or on his interest in the Energy East pipeline or on the role he is playing in dealing with climate change. But be brave. I'm sure it will soon have a story about him giving money to some safe cause, and naming the gift in his own, shy, way after himself.
For a fuller story on the Energy East pipeline, the story you are never going to see in the Irving press, try this source. It's a pretty good one.

To say this site is pretty good is a wild understatement. It far outclasses anything I've seen in private, western news media. And, unlike CBC, it doesn't have to worry about government revenge on it for what it says. I would advise readers to wander over this site for a bit to get a sense of it.
For a look at the blessings of capitalism, and how the wealth drips down from the rich to the poor, take a look at this piece on life in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The horror that is Congo began when the Christian wealthy of Belgium told their king to annex it as a colony. What happened then, and is still happening, is well over a century of murder by the tens of millions, torture and brutal punishments,
work, often dangerous work, for everyone including children for twelve hours a day, seven days a week, starvation…. And some of Canada's most respected investors – you know, from the better class of families---have been prominent in all of this.

In 1904, a British consul delivered a report on what was going on (which, of course, attracted British investors). Luckily, Roger Casement's report was also read by Joseph Conrad whose book about it, 'Heart of Darkness' became a classic of novels. I strongly recommend the novel.

Alas, it didn't change anything. Congo is still a major hunting ground for western capitalists, especially in mining.

The Guardian has an interesting article about how sexism is at the heart of the English language. “Heart” overstates it. But it certainly is true that language plays an important part.

I would just add a little to this. We kid ourselves we are different from (and superior to Moslems) because we Christians don't control what women must wear. But consider this -

Conservative Muslim women must cover their faces because the face is considered a part of their sexuality. Okay… Some years ago I went to see a performance in Montreal by the African Ballet. The women dancers normally performed topless – because that's accepted in their society.

But the Montreal city council got all excited, and ruled they would have to wear bras. Why? Because in the Christian world bare breasts are considered sexual and not to be seen – just as faces are in some of the Islamic world.

It ruined my evening.

This reminds me of the earnestness of some people in believing we must keep Muslims out in order to preserve North American as a Christian society. And I wonder……

What Christian society? We have an economic system based on greed and self-interest. Where is that written in the Bible? We allow wealthy “Christians” to avoid taxes so they don't have to help the poor - except by tossing occasional coins which our newspapers will praise as 'philanthropy'.

We elevate those who are rich to positions of influence and power. (Inevitably, like the aristocracies of Europe did, they suffer from inbreeding with a strong tendency to low intelligence and mental illness. Prince Charles is a good example. So is the sex-mad prince whose name I can never remember.)
But they keep getting promoted to influence and wealth and power because these become rights for them, simply because of the name.

What's Christian about that?

The U.S. has been at war almost constantly since 1945. It has murdered and tortured millions. And it has done so largely to satisfy the wants of its billionaires. How is that Christian?

All the western powers are very slow to love their neighbours even within their own borders. Just check the numbers of citizens of western countries who are homeless, hungry, poverty-stricken. The U.S. can't feed its hungry because it needs the money to give lavish contracts to war industries.

What we call a Christian world is largely governed by greed and corruption. As I write this, Christian Britain and the Christian U.S. are supplying the bombs for Saudi Arabia to bomb a nation that is starving to death, and one of the poorest and most helpless in the world.

Just check out the Faith Page on Saturday. It's obvious there's nothing Christian about New Brunswick.

In any case, Canada and the U.S. were not originally Christians. There were other religions here. We largely destroyed them. Then we set up schools to deliberately destroy the children of those religions.

Sorry, Jesus. It was a good idea. But it just never caught on. We inherited Heaven. But we made it Hell – with the full approval of our Christian churches.

Here are a couple of items to explain that Yemen war, and the dangers it poses for the whole world. (Unfortunately, the Irving press has not been able to even mention this. It needs all its space for publishing photos of ducks and of weird people holding up big cheques and with maniacal grins on their otherwise uninteresting faces.)

Onward Christian soldiers.
The following item is about our past in the schooling of native children. Much of this already known. I include it because this is a site I just discovered. The use of language is looser than it should be – reminiscent of adolescent rebellion. But the general site looks interesting.

The article mentions that native children in government schools were subjected to severe, physical punishment. That struck a note for me because I began teaching when 'the strap' was widely used, though only against boys. It was applied five or ten times to the palm of each hand. (I taught with a man who changed his clothes, and put on running shoes to be in top form for strapping. He became a missionary.)

I gave the strap several times, but soon realized it had no effect. The last time I used it was on a boy who muttered under his breath to me “f--- y--”.

I shouldn't have done it. He was a good kid who thought I wouldn't hear it. So I never strapped again.

Finally, Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians, to destroy their homes, and to illegally take it over for Jewish settlement.

It was wrong, dead wrong, for us and the U.S. and the U.K. to refuse refuge in our own lands for the Jews in the 1940s. It was wrong to take land from Palestinians and Hassidic Jews (those Jews native to the region) – and to create Israel. Such mistakes haunt us for generations, sometimes for centuries.

We just love the wealthy. Check your supermarket for the gushing drivel magazine that's all about how gracious Kay is ( Kay or Kate), and how delightful baby what's-his-name is, and isn't it all just wonderful?…..

I suspect more 'Christians' read that than read The Bible. And, in my experience, the ones who do read it skip lightly over the parts that require them to do anything – unless it calls on them to denounce others for sin. I wonder if we'll ever see a sermonette on the Faith page that criticizes the wealthy – you know, like the ones Jesus whipped out of the temple.


  1. Interesting story about the strap, did you ever teach at Parkdale School in Saint-Laurent?
    Other than that I love to read your blog each day. Very educational and entertaining.
    Excellent writing.

  2. Parkdale School, grade 7, was my first teaching job, 1957 t0 1960. Then Malcolm Campbell High 1960 to 1963. Then back to school for five years followed by teaching at UPEI and then Concordia U.

  3. Parkdale School, grade 7, was my first teaching job, 1957 t0 1960. Then Malcolm Campbell High 1960 to 1963. Then back to school for five years followed by teaching at UPEI and then Concordia U.

  4. That's nice to know, you were my home room teacher in grade 7 at Parkdale. Thanks for that year at Parkdale it was one of my best.

  5. Wow! I remember your name well - but can't quite picture you. Was that 1957-58? I don't think you went to Malcolm Campbell after that. At least, I can't remember seeing there. Drop me a note by e mail.