Wednesday, February 10, 2016

feb. 10: Damn churches.

Cardinal Spellman of New York blessed the bombs and sprinkled holy water on the aircraft and their crews who nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was also a strong supporter of the  carpet bombing of Vietnam.  (Carpet bombing is just what it sounds like - bombing that makes no attempt to aim the bombs or to hit military targets. It simply lays a carpet, usually kilometres long and wide to destroy every living thing below. Typically, its dead are mainly civilians.)
Spellman was also a long time buddy of gangster Joseph Kennedy who became a wealthy man out of liquor smuggling, so wealthy he could buy his son the U.S. presidency. He also supported the  murdering, torturing dictator of Cuba that the U.S. had appointed to make Cuba a source of cheap labour.

The hit song after Pearl Harbour was about chaplains who worked with gun crews to feed the guns, singing "Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition."
Adolph Hitler was a devout Christian, a Roman Catholic. Most of the German soldiers who rounded up Jews, humiliated them,abused then, starved them, and sent them to the ovens were Christians. The British and, later, American soldiers and the Spanish and Portuguese who slaughtered native peoples of the Americas by the millions were Christians, blessed by their clergy for  doing the Lord's work.The favourite chaplain of Hitler's General Rommel was one who spent most of this time loading and firing with the artillery.The crusaders who murdered and plundered Jews, Moslems and Christians who were the wrong kind of Christians, were blessed by the pope.

George Bush Sr., in his CIA days, had a hand in the murder of almost 300,000 Guatemalan civilians. George Jr. lied so he could murder over a million Iraq men, women and children to make oil billionaires happy. Both are devout Christians and eminent members of their churches.

The most brutal of the leadership candidates in the U.S. is Donald Trump. He wants to expel millions from the U.S., ignore the desperate condition of refugees, bring back waterboarding and worse, and bomb just about everybody.
I don't know what his religion is. But I know who his most ardent supporters are. They're evangelical Christians, the real Jesus-jumpers of the church. These are the ones who parade with anti-abortion signs. But they're all for splattering the blood of foreign babies in the wreckage of their homes.

Blessed are the hungry, for they shall be fed. (Unless, of course,  they are part of the millions deliberately being starved to death in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the Christian U.S.) Blessed are the poor,  for they shall be comforted. Yes, I think of those comforting words whenever I hear the words Liberal or Conservative and while I'm sitting in the blessed hush of the Irving Chapel with its special music, reading the sacred words of The Fraser Institute or the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies on how we should make the rich as rich as possible so their wealth can trickle down to even the least of us.

Thus endeth the reading.

Christianity has a remarkable record of violence, all of it blessed by the churches. And, of course, you will also find that behaviour among Hindus, Muslims, and other religious groups. Certainly, we should be critical of ISIS. But we should also be honest enough to recognize that ISIS will have to become a lot worse before it can be compared to Christianity.
There's nothing much in the Irving press. Section A news is the usual non-news.

 You can have dinner with Dominic Leblanc for only $250 a plate or sit at a 'select' table for $2,900 and for a mere, extra $400 you can have a few private words with Dominic and the boys. Democracy in action.

Interim Conservative leader, Rona Ambrose, spoke to - what else? - the Chamber of Commerce. She makes Stephen Harper sound like Karl Marx.

Ms. Ambrose believes private business must control the national economy. That's like hiring a crocodile to babysit your children. Even a casual study of the last couple of hundred years of history shows that control by the private sector has led us from one economic disaster to the next with startling frequency. Think hard. Who started the current downturn?  Think Goldman Sachs. Think banking. Think bailout.

The editorial is the usual "Something must be done."

Norbert's column is a good one on gun control. His points are reasonable, and he packs them up with evidence.

There's another propaganda 'commentary' on how we need shale gas. Brian Cormier continues his long streak of commentaries that say nothing.

 Alec Bruce's column is good. I was with him almost to the end when he says that politicians do not create jobs in a private economy. That's a pretty sloppy sentence.

The fact is that the private sector does not create jobs in any economy. It never has. When the depression of the 1930s was broken and jobs were created, they were created by government - as with the TVA in the U.S., and in Canada by massive government control from 1939 on.

Use common sense. Private business does not exist to create wealth. It exists to get everything for itself - nothing else. Prosperity is bad for big business because full employment puts business under pressure to give decent pay if it wants to get employees. Many businesses, especially in the export field, much prefer high unemployment to save on salary costs.
Canada&World is, again, mostly trivia. In a world in chaos and on the edge of nuclear war, there's yet more on the Gomeshi trial. Yemen, where millions are being starved to death, still doesn't make it.

There are, perhaps, 3 items worth reading. An NDP report says the party did badly in the federal election because its policies were too cautious. They certainly were too cautious. But there's no easy solution. If it had not been cautious, all the propaganda news media across Canada would have panned it.

There's a story on Sanders and Trump winning in New Hampshire. But for all it has to say, a few lines would have done.

Then there's a dreadful story about a million Syrians under siege with no water, no food, no electricity, no medical help. Too bad it doesn't mention who created this war. It was the Christian United States which did it by subsidizing a phony rebellion in order to make  American oil billionaires richer. It was also the Christian United States with extremist Muslim Saudi Arabia that created and supplied ISIS. Religion can create some really murderous bastards.

C3 has a good column by student Sabrina Stace on the arts (specifically the theatre) as a stimulation for thought. I'm not sure Mr. Irving would like that. I don't see much evidence that he likes people to think.
I'm amazed that people and news media pay almost no attention to the threat of nuclear war, though it is much more likely today than it ever has been. We get all excited that North Korea has the bomb. Hey, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, India, Pakistan, Israel have thousands of them. Nobody seems to care.
There's a story the Irving press has studiously avoided - but it's  a very serious matter. Almost two years ago, the city of Flint, Michigan stopped taking its water from Detroit, and switched to a  heavily polluted river that it knew was polluted. It also ran it through substandard pipes.  It knew about this almost immediately - but said nothing until people starting dying. The water is so bad that there are so far over 12,000 seriously ill. There are uncounted children with serious brain damage that will never be cured. Even a bath or a shower can be fatal.

The city does have access to a large supply of clean water. But the people  can't have it because it's been leased to Nestle which takes out 200 gallons a minute.  (Nestle, bless its (very) little heart, gave out some free water.)

Experts agree there are grounds for serious criminal charges against city officials. But American courts have never given more than a slap on the wrist for such crimes. So much for 'tough' environmental laws from our governments. So much for holding public officials and private business to account. So much for the thousands whose lives  have been ruined by this, the thousands more to come, and the very many who have died and will die.

You won't read about this in the Irving press. But, what the hell, you don't have to think. You don't have to know about it. Instead, just fill the blank spaces in your head with commentaries like those of Brian Cormier. That'll keep them blank.
The U.S. is boosting its military strength along the borders with Russia. Yesterday, it announced the sending of a tank brigade  (about 5,000 soldiers). The purpose of course, is to bluff Russia into backing off in Syria, by assembling all its puppet states (like Canada), and perhaps to bluff Russia out of Ukraine.
This kind of idiocy is what creates wars, with this particular idiocy quite possibly creating World War Three,  the final, nuclear war.

(The U.S. is fond of telling the world that  nuclear weapons are a deterrent to war. It's been saying that since 1945. If so, I don't see the fuss over North Korea getting a nuclear bomb. On the contrary, it means North Korea is doing its bit to deter nuclear war.)
The following item is from a very competent and well-informed journalist.
My, this has taken a long time when I should now be preparing my gourmet supper of pork and beans. But I'll go back for just a moment to the start of this one.

I am not suggesting we should give up the idea of separation of church and state. Of course, no church should be interfering with the state. But right now, the church is the one that has to break up its kiss-kiss relationship with the government. For example, the government of Canada tried to interfere with the  right of Muslim women to dress in accordance with their beliefs. The government of Quebec does it all the time. Our good friends and allies in Saudi Arabia routinely interfere with the mosque.

The church, mosque, temple.. has a right and a responsibility to lay out the moral standards that members need if they are to vote in an intelligent way. That's not telling them who to vote for. It's an important discussion of what their social standards should be.

A society with moral standards and priorities, for example, would probably not have committed a hundred million dollars to build a new rink for the wealthy owner of a hockey team. It would first have looked at the social needs of the people of the city.

But, as nearly as I can tell from the Faith page of the Irving press, the churches have no moral standards, just inane platitudes. They should be encouraging people to think when they vote, and part of that thinking means understanding our moral values. Our medicare system arose out of such moral thinking. It's not an accident that the creator of our medicare, Tommy Douglas, was a Christian clergyman.

There's really no danger in this because the major religions are much alike on basic moral standards. (Yes, I know ISIS kills innocent people. Christians right now are killing a hell of a lot more innocent people than ISIS could ever hope to kill. And it was Christians who killed over 5,000,000 Jews. (And now it's Jews who are murdering Palestinians and stealing their land.) The fault is not in religions. It's in people - like you and me.

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