Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 5: Wow!


Section C Faith Page has a sermonette that IS a sermonette. It takes religion out of the churches and into the the streets of real life. That, I think, is what all of the world's great religious thinkers did. And it's what most churches don't do.

I don't know who David Morehouse is. I have no idea what his Journey Church is (and I suspect I would not be interested in it.) But this is about the real world. And the real world and values in the real world are what a Faith Page sermonette should be about.

This one goes right into the action with Donald Trump who has massive support from the Jesus jumpers of the Bible Belt. Morehouse points out that that there are no Christian moral values in anything that Trump says or does - and he makes a pretty solid case.

Maybe this will serve as a badly needed kick in the rear for other writers of this column.
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The headline story of today is "Centre will boost economy:report". But you don't find out who did the report until paragraph ten. That is bad journalism.
The report is from the Conference Board of Canada. And what is this Conference Board of Canada? Well, it's a think tank, a very large one which must have a huge operating cost. And who pays that cost? Well, like Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and Fraser Institute and the C.D.Howe, that's not clear.

In any case, saying Moncton's events centre will boost the economy is a worthless statement because it pretends to foretell the future.   And nobody can do that. The economic future depends on what happens in  the middle east and in China and in the national economy. This isn't news. This is propaganda.
Besides, anybody should know that if the events centre were a sure winner, there is no way that private business in this province would allow taxpayers to own it.
The rest of section A news is the usual trivia.

The editorial is all ga-ga about the Francophonie Games coming to Moncton.It's a "great leap". This is a whole column of pure gush. And, in fact, Moncton has not yet been named as the host for the games.

Norbert has a barely comprehensible column about seniors have to pay more for care. Norbert seems to think we should trim the services, instead, so they're "more efficient" whatever that means. Either way, it's the same thing. The government debt has to be reduced. So we have to nail the elderly and the poor and the middle class. And we mustn't ask the wealthy to pay taxes, because then they'll get mad and move away.

That's been the consistent line of both Norbert and this government. It's the method of handling the economy in the years of the Great Depression, and it didn't work then, either. In fact, it has never worked anywhere. This is standard Norbert. Hit the elderly and the poor. Fire teachers. Privatize everything in sight. This is the economic thinking of centuries ago. Way to preserve the past, baby.
I suppose Brent Mazerolle's column has a topic. I'm not sure what it is. And I can't see anything in this worth reading - or writing.

Alec Bruce has a very cautiously worded column on planning the energy future of New Brunswick. It's so    cautiously worded that it can get a little hard to follow. But it's worth reading - and thinking.

And the guest column is very interesting on a proposal getting attention in Ontario. It's to scrap most of our welfare programmes in favour of a guaranteed annual income for everyone. The commentary is concerned primarily with the health aspects of the plan. But it can have much broader implications.

So it's no news worth reading. And only two commentaries worth reading. Par for the course. But a big problem remains. Almost half the province cannot read well enough to understand even the good journalism in this paper. So this is like offering radio news for the deaf, or TV news for the deaf and blind.

Wouln't this paper do a service to itself as well as to society to have a regular, small section written for the only marginally literate? It would be a lot more useful than a reading week  to encourage reading.
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Canada and World is mostly about Canada with a little bit about the U.S., and a teeny bit about Syria.  Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa don't exist. There is nothing at all that could be called compelling.
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Yesterday, I suggested that Moncton city council should long ago have been exploring how it will deal with climate change. There is nothing wild or extreme about that suggestion. Many cities around the world are now working on the problem to get changes made before it's too late. One of them is New York.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/02/remaking-york-city-wake-climate-change-160201142512946.html

Among things council might think about are stopping urban sprawl, making denser population possible in the core of the city with imaginative housing that can handle the density without compromising access to the sun and space, and that would provide shopping in easy walking distance. That combined with a far more efficient public transit system, possibly electric, would do much to reduce automobile use.

There are cities which do this without creating overcrowded slums.
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Here's another story  about Israeli treatment of Arabs. This happens every day, but never makes most of our news services.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/israeli-home-demolitions-reach-record-high-160304110916044.html

Israel keeps Palestinians, even those living in Israel and holding Israeli citizenship, as if they were sub-humans - destroying homes, stealing land, cutting Palestine off from needed supplies, holding the people down in poverty and hopelessness.

Perhaps our news media will some day notice that a great many Jews in the U.S. and Canada are critical of what Israel has become.
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As you know from reading the Irving press, oil pipelines are perfectly safe.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/year-major-oil-spill-peru-160305151737783.html
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Statistics on unemployment look good? Be careful. Numbers don't tell the whole story.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/04/242000-americans-job-last-month-heres-why-not-celebrating
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The sites below give us some sense of what the refugee crisis is like. We really don't get much of that in the Irving press. Millions have had horror inflicted on them;  millions of lives have been destroyed and more, the children, whose lives will never get a chance to start.

This is not something that has happened because of any religion. If it were, it would have happened many times before. Religious extremism is a product of what has happened. It is not the cause.

The cause, as in most war, is pure greed. The crusades were a product of greed for land. The greed this time is for profit - and not just for profit, but for global control. We talk of going there to fight extremism or evil or to be patriotic or to support our 'friends'. But that line is for the suckers who believe what they read in their news media and what their politicians tell them.

All of this killing and mutilating, displacement of millions of people and destruction of childhood comes from the greed of a tiny number of quite immoral and inhuman people who don't care what destruction  they cause. They could, with equal happiness, be destroying us. (In fact, they have done it on more than a few occasions.)

We call it capitalism. It's not capitalism. It's just power and greed that we have allowed to go out of control. And, by allowing that, we have created this refugee crisis. What we incorrectly call capitalism in monstrously destructive. And it has long ago turned on us, too. That's why we have been made to pay the price for the years of economic decline caused by thieving bank presidents and their like in other industries. That's why we allow the wealthy to avoid taxes. That's why we're seeing big capitalists chip away at our health and education services by privatizing them. That's why we have think tanks to lie to us. That's why the news media owned by the wealthy lie to us. That's why millions in Yemen are dying of deliberately imposed starvation. And that's why the Irving press never reports on it.

It's going to get worse. We have allowed these people to bully us, to steal from us, to abuse our labour, to buy our politicians, to have enormous yachts while we have millions living in filth and hardship. And the more we accept this, the more it's going to happen.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/05/great-syrian-refugee-crisis-exodus-epic-inconceivable-witness-lebos-islamic-state

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/mar/05/these-people-are-you-and-me-richard-flanagan-meets-syrian-refugees-video

As a footnote, a war created entirely by this greed (disguised as a rebellion) has cut the population of Syria in half, orphaned nobody knows how many children, destroyed any chance of education for most of them, has impossibly separated families, has forced tens of thousands into a Europe that won't accept them.
And Canada is carrying its 'international responsibility' by helping in the destruction. To put it more accurately, Canadians and most of their political leaders are kneeling to kiss the rear ends of American oil barons. So much for the true north strong and free.

Very little sense of this has come through our news media. And there's been no mention at all of the latest disaster for Syria. It is suffering the worst drought in 900 years. It's a good thing that climate change isn't  happening.

It was refreshing to see a Faith Page today that put the test of morality and faith to Donald Trump. Now, it would be nice to see one putting the same test to the oil industry.
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The following, I'm afraid, is quite true. And we are part of it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44371.htm
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But not all the news is bad.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-greece-community-idUSKCN0W522W

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