Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Feb:2 No Irving press

I   won't discuss the Irving press for today. It's just propaganda, ignorance and trivia. The one exception is the column by student  columnist, Jana Giles. She's critical of online courses. I quite agree with her. Learning how to teach, and improving teaching, can only be done by face to face classes with discussion and reaction on both sides. And not just teachers and students, but teachers and students and other students.

Teaching into a camera and learning from a screen destroy that essential contact for both sides.
But we'll open with a topic the Irving press has refused to look at - the firing of Dr. Cleary as Chief Medical Officer of New Brunswicks. This item came to me from a reader. It's what the Irving press could easily  have learned - but didn't want to. And it's a stunning example of how manipulative and self-serving the real government of this province is.

'The Council of Canadians, Kent County, has confirmed that in her presentation to the N.B. Commission on Hydraulic Fracking,  Dr. Cleary emphasized four points:
1- she described the shortfalls of the N.B. version of an Environmental Assessment (EIA)
2- she clarified that the office of the CMOH is not regularly privy to the EIA reviews, such as they are.
3- she advocates for an alternative assessment process the Health Impact Assessment (HIA), something that has been adopted by some of the more enlightened jurisdictions world-wide.
4- A HIA is based on a full range of health determinants endorsed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the WHO.
She also requested a tour of the shale gas industry in the province, but she was fired instead. Now we know why. You have a large readership, perhaps you might mention these interesting details some time.'

So, what do you think of Tony Gallant and the Liberals now? And we still have the pesticide issue to look at as well.

How do you explain the nature of people who would put us all at risk? Easy. It's called greed. It's also called indifference to human life.
This is the reality of the world we live in. For a sample on a world scale,  try this. It's photos of women in the 1960s in - well, in some of the pictures they could be women in New York or London - or Moncton, New Brunswick. These are women who lived in a society in which democracy was developing; women had wide measures of equality, commonly attended universities, and routinely entered the professions. But these women weren't in New York or London - or even Moncton. They lived in Afghanistan.

It was then a society that was rapidly modernizing and democratizing.
Then the Russians interfered with a long and bloody invasion. Then the U.S. (with Canadian help) interfered - and the U.S., 15 years later, is still interfering and killing.

The reaction was the usual one. A people in terror fled back to their old institutions - family, tribe, and religion. The latter, as it commonly does in these situations, became an extreme form of itself, taking shape in the Taliban.
Those women were destroyed by Russia, the U.S. - and Canada. And the Taliban is now gaining ground in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Brilliant move, Messrs. Bush and Obama.

Always notice. Groups like the Taliban, ISIS, al Queda did not exist until we interfered.

The opinion column below is frightening enough - but there's so much more and so much worse to come.


It is going to get worse, much worse. The numbers fleeing are going to rise dramatically. People are going to be pushed back to sea in their sinking rafts and boats. In fact, it's already happening. Asian countries, for example, have their own refugees, and it's common  practice to push them back to sea. Australia has admitted doing it. And so they're sent out to die of exposure.

Europe is not standing the strain, and many countries aren't even trying to. Britain is very reluctant to accept any. Germany expects most of them to go back home in the not-too-distant future. Home to what?

Poverty stricken Greece is being forced to hold on to huge numbers of them because its neighbours  won't allow them in. In Denmark, the government takes all valuables from them. In Sweden, large gangs of masked men patrol the streets, looking for refugees to beat up.

In almost any country they go to, they're likely to find themselves facing the winter, hundreds of thousands, many of them children on their own, living in tents crammed together on muddy fields. There is virtually no sanitation, no education for children who have already missed years of education, very little food, very, very little medical care.

And there are many, many more to come because we have to make our oil billionaires happy by getting control of the oil fields. Yes, even as we can see our climate changing, we are going to burn more and more oil.

Europeans have all the bigotry and hatred that other people  (like us) have. Despite Europe's pretence of being Christian, it is not. And I could not help noting that most of the Irving press reports about refugees coming to New Brunswick emphasize that they will be good for the economy. As Jesus might have said if he were an Irving press editor "Love your neighbour: there's money in it."

In the context of this disaster, Canada's help has been relatively small and self-centred. And the proudly Judaic/Christian U.S is doing virtually nothing. (In fairness, much of its money is tied up in making the bombs that kill those people who can't afford the cruise to Greece.)

What has caused all this fighting? Was Syria preparing to mount an invasion of the U.S.? Or was it because the U.S. wanted to bring democracy to Syria?
Actually, the U.S. has NEVER fought a war to bring democracy to anybody. (And even the story of the U.S. revolution as a democratic one is an overstatement.) It's about oil and it's about profits. Nothing else. These wars are no more moral than Hitler's war. Our slaughter of Muslims is no more moral than Hitler's holocaust inflicted on Jews.

In fact, there are many similarities between us and the German-Italian axis of the 1930s and 40s. For a start, our economic system is not capitalism. It is, essentially, fascist in its 'partnership' between government and business.

Hitler and Mussolini were not aberrations. They were the way the world was going, and has been going ever since 1945.

And will Canada be involved in this war? It already is. Justin might change the pawns on the board to make it all seem nicer. But he won't refuse to play the game.

And there is much worse to come.
And a final thought. I went to a school that was mostly immigrants and refugees. They were different from me in lots of ways - first language, family customs, skin colour, religion. But the differences were no obstacle to friendship. And then, working most of my life in Montreal, I could actually feel the vibrancy and excitement they brought to the city.

I taught students of many religions and of  no religion from all over the world. There were really no great differences between them and as groups, they added to the cultural life of the city.

So refugees, if we get enough, might change Moncton as they changed Montreal.  Lord knows, this is a city that could use some change.


  1. Thank you, Graeme. If there is more to come on the issue of her firing, and I think there might be, I will let you know.

  2. I'm going to disagree with your statement that "our economic system is not capitalism". It is and has been for over a 100 years now. Any government under capitalism is a capitalist institution itself designed to manage us (the worker) as a resource for capitalists. The idea that government serves us is an old myth. Government will always choose the interests of capital over people hence austerity as one example. This also applies to religious institutions who have gotten very wealthy from serving kings and capitalists and the only product they had to sell was a deity myth.

    1. I don't think we disagree. I was getting picky, perhaps, by including the concept that true capitalism should involved risk for the investor and payment of taxes.
      But I think you are too kind to our religious institutions.