Friday, March 11, 2016

March 11: a change of pace today.

This may be a short blog. I'm have computer grief, and am now starting over after having lost two hours of writing.
Luckily, the Irving press won't take much time.
Section A is lots of non-news - like the story that somebody most of us have never heard of is running for city council. And he promises to do good things. On the front page is a story about the city council and the future role of Moncton High as a cultural centre and library. And the story is that nobody knows what's happening.
Then there's a half page about how U. de Moncton is installing a bar.
The editorial is the usual 'something must be done'.
Norbert Cunningham attacks the schools because they don't teach what the word 'gerund' means, and that's why literacy in NB is so poor. Norbert, I learned in elementary school what gerund means. I promptly forgot it so now I don't know what it means, and I don't care. But I have still made some pretty good money out of writing.
This is a silly column. Students learn writing by reading. New Brunswick has no strong history of reading. Many parents don't consider it important. That's why this province has poor literacy rates.
By the way, Norbert, the word 'gotten'  (which appears in your column) has long gone out of use among people who are literate. It's an ugly word. It's still used in 'forgotten' and 'ill-gotten'. But 'gotten' all by itself is really not for highly literate people like you think you are.
By the way, did you know that gotten has at least two meanings?
All the commentary page is trivial.
Canada&World really has nothing to say about Trudeau and Obama. So it runs two, big stories, anyway. This is pure gush about what good friends we are with the U.S. and how Trudeau and Obama are getting along so well.
Mr. News editor, there are reasons for such meetings. What are they for this one? Why is Obama making such a fuss over Trudeau? To put it bluntly, what does he want from Canada? The length and high profile of t his meeting suggests he wants something big. Obama kills innocent people with drones every day. He has hugely increased the police state. He puts Americans into prison with no charge and no trial. He created a civil    war in Syria that has destroyed that country. He has moved U.S. troops and weaponry up to the Russian border. He is now supplying Saudi Arabia with cluster bombs to drop on civilians.
Nations do not  act out of friendship. So what's this love-in in Washington all about? Which of the games above are we going to be asked to join?
Yemen doesn't make the world section. In fact, for world news, there really is no world news.
There's a one-sheet newspaper called The Brief, a monthly that carries stories about New Brunswick that the Irving press doesn't. You can find it at
Among its stories that didn't make the Irving press -
1.The Canadian navy is now patrolling on the lookout for refugees fleeing to Greece. No, it's not there to help them. It's there to   take them back and dump them into Turkey, which means dumping them back into the war zone they were fleeing.
Sometimes, I'm so proud to be a Canadian, I could just throw up.
2. NB Power imports 400,000 tonnes of coal  each year from Colombia. It comes from a mine owned by three international mining companies ­owned by BHPBillton, Anglo-American, and Glencoe. These and other companies in Colombia have a brutal record of beatings, low pay, environmental destruction - and murder, with 3,000 union leaders murdered in the last 25 years.
Let's see now. NB Power buys 400,000 tonnes of coal from there every year. Gee! New Brunswick power is owned by the government of NB. And the government of NB is owned by wealthy individuals.
Is it possible that wealthy individuals in this province own  stock in those coal mines? ( Or to put it another way, can you seriously believe that wealthy individuals in this province don't own stock in those mines?)
3. Archives (either in NB or NS) have a slide show prepared by JDIrvingltd in 2012 that shows how New Brunswick would prosper if only all crown land in New Brunswick were turned over to JD and the boys to manage just as if they owned it. And there's a target date - 2050.
Makes ya feel warm all over, don't it?
And now - forgive me - I feel like changing the topic a little. There comes a point when talking about what is going on in the world is quite sickening.  We also need to see the pattern of what we're doing, why we think we're justified in doing it, and to understand the delusions we carry around with all that that.
This occured to me as I was reading a book about the mess in the middle east, and how it began. The book pinned the blame for thiis mess on the 1956 war when Israel, the UK and France invaded Egypt. The motives on all sides had nothing to do with religion. The UK and France wanted to re-establish their empires in the region.  Israel wanted to weaken a powerful neighbour. The U.S. and Russia joined forces to make the UK and France back off. That was because the U.S. and Russia were both looking at imperial expansion into the middle east for themselves.
The start was not in 1948 when Israel was created, and not even in the years before that when Jewish survivors of the holocaust flooded into Palestine, and launched a period of terrorism aimed at the British and Palestinians.
It began about the 1880s when Jewish Europeans, after hundreds of years of discrimination and abuse,  slipped into to Palestine with the hope of creating a Jewish state.   (Israel, by the way, was NOT really  their homeland); these were Ashkenaze (European Jews) who were descendants of converts to Judaism. Yes, some had traces of Israeli ancestry. Of course. There had been a certain amount of intermarriage with the Jews of Palestine - about as many traces as there are that I have of West Asian blood. That does not give me much of a claim to west Asia as my homeland.
It was just after World War 1 that Britain offered Israel as a homeland for Jews. The reason?  The British were anti-semites, and anxious to get rid of their Jews. The deal was not completed until after World War 2. But the reason for it had not changed.
The British, Europeans, Canadians and Americans all agreed to a Jewish homeland for the sole reason that it   could get them rid of all their Jews. Racism runs very deep in the western world.
Later, the U.S. would seem to have changed its  mind, and to  just love Jews. That's why it spends billions every year on aid (mostly weapons) for Israel. But the motive was to establish a reliable ally in a region rich in oil.
One wonders. Would those Canadians who talk about the Jewish right to a homeland agree to give Canada back to the native peoples who were here long, long before Moses climbed Mount Pisgah for a view of the promised land?
And, if Canadians and Americans were so concerned about Jews having a safe place to live, why didn't they give them land in North America? We have lots of it.
Forget the emotional and/or religious reasons why wars are fought. The real reason, almost always, is to make money for people who are already rich and influential.
Of course, there was the fear that Jews would dilute our Christian culture. The U.S. today has exactly the same feeling about the 'muslim' 'culture, and the Mexican culture. Canadians have throughout history been concerned about preserving their culture against Hindus, Blacks, Chinese and, in Quebec, people who speak English.
Culture. Everybody talks about it. Nobody has the faintest idea what it means.
Whatever it may mean, the idea that North America and Europe have Christian cultures is absurd. Christians have been at war for a couple of thousand years. Sometimes these were wars against other religious groups though I am not aware of any biblical passage that approves of killling anybody on that basis. As well, the two world wars were largely wars of Christians against Christians. What could possibly be Christian about that?
We even salute those who who killed and/or died for "God and Queen". How can one possibly kill for God?
We have lived for most of two thousand years in societies that ignore the fundamental needs of most people. And any attempt to counter that, like Medicare,  comes under attack from the wealthy. Our largely Christian government in New Brunswick leaves the homeless and the hungry up to charitable groups. What's   Christian about that?
We live under an economic system based on greed with huge differences between most people, who are relatively poor and insecure,     but  lavishes ever more wealth, beyond what is spendable, on a very few who use that wealth to control the lives of the rest of us, and  to keep us in need.
Protect our Christian culture? What Christian culture?
Culture is the sum total of all our attitudes and values and prejudices and perceptions. It's the sum total of all the ways we react to the world. No person on earth could possibly know all of his or her culture - not to mention all the things that aren't in our culture, but that we kid ourselves are.
And our culture changes as we change and as the world changes. Want to go back to your real, ancestral culture? Okay. Undress. Go naked into the woods, and kill something for supper with you bare hands.
What's driving me in  these tangents is that we are not getting anywhere with values and methods we have - or think we have. The world is not prospering. A very, very few are, while most are gettinig poorer. Capitalism is not spreading wealth. After a century of great wars to end war, war is flourishing.  Patriotism has become an emotion to be used against us. (Donald Trump appeals to patriots and Christians.)
Wars are not working. It's hard to think of any war in the past century that has solved anything. In fact, even the most massive war efforts by the country with a bigger military budget than all the rest of the world put together has lost almost every war it has fought in the last fifty years, and has, in the process, created more hatreds and more violence.
Capitalism is not working. As well, the determination of the oil industry leaders to squeeze every penny they can get out oil has us close to the point of no return in dealing with climate change.
We cannot make the middle east safe by killing people.
We cannot avoid war by provoking it - as the US has done in moving troops and equipment to the Russian border.
And whatever all our values may be, they are obviously being suppressed by us - or we are lying to ourselves about what our values are.
As I look at the demonstrations of our values, I am struck by how much these were the values of Adoph Hitler.
Did all those Canadians die so that Bush and Obama (with the help of Britain and Canada and a few others) could torture on the greatest scale in history? Did they die so that billionaires could get richer while most of us get poorer? Did they die to that billionaires  could control our governments?
Can you seriously pass on your children into this world equipped with the 'culture' we caused so much damage and cruelty with?


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