Saturday, March 26, 2016

Today's Irving press has another, full page story on the attack in Brussels that killed 31 people. It has, surprisingly, a story on Yemen where thousands are dying of hunger and disease, and illegal cluster bombs made in the U.S.A. and dropped by Saudi Arabia - and by weapons illegally sold to the Saudis by Canada. We don't know how many have been murdered or starved to death in Yemen because, it seems, there is no western source that gives a damn. We know it's thousands. More likely, it's tens of thousands. But the story in the Irving press ignores our role in this. All it talks about is killing by those nasty people of al Quaeda. ( There's no mention have how many have been killed by hero American 'pilots' in their comfy battle stations guiding drones.)

Then there are two pages of ads and of people you never heard of holding up big cheques.

The last page of Canada and world has a story on a girl arrested on a porn charge in Nova Scotia, and a bitter story on an ISIS suicide bombing in Iraq that killed 29. That's followed by 2/3 of a page of ads.

There's nothing of the horrors of being refugees, of how many are dying of exposure or hunger or lack of medical care or drowning, of how many innocent people are killed   every day by U.S. and British drones, of the vast corruption, especially in U. government and industry, which steals the greater part of the money assigned to foreign aid There's no mention of the British and French troops who are making a bigger mess out of Libya

In short, there's really nothing here about Canada or the World.
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The big headline for Section A is that it's possible that a New Brunswick judge may be nominated to the Supreme Court. I wet my pants with joy. The story occupies half a page, plus a very pig photo of the Supreme court building for those who care. Page 3 has a story that it's going to be cold until tomorrow. It has a big photo of people all dressed up to walk on Main St. - so you can know what cold looks like.

The only story worth reading is on A11. Labour is angry because the provincial government intends to change the law so it can block 'unaffordable' wage settlements in both public and private sectors. Come on, kids. I have never even heard of a wage settlement that an employer, government or private, regarded as affordable.  I started teaching for the $2700 a year that a school board of corporate bosses decided was all I needed to live on. (Women teachers got less.) Salaries didn't get livable until we forced change on the board.

This is an attempt to drive wages down, and slip even more money into the pockets of the already rich. The end result? It will made 99% of us worse off.
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The editorial and Norbert are both quite reasonable. I would take his editorial (on housing) one step further. It is vital that we get out of the 1950s, and develop a  more compact Moncton. All other things aside, the cost just of clearing snow and providing water, sewage and electricity for all those kilometres of boring bungalows must be huge.

The Commentary page is dominated by a big photo of tidal bore surfers on January 1, 2014. I have no idea why. Under it is Murphy's column, the one that sets new standards for triviality every Saturday.

The column at the bottom of the page is one that I don't know what to make of. It's from Cardus which (as the newspaper does NOT tell us) is a think tank in the service of religious schools. And that means that it's studies are always favourable to religious and private schools.  (And it would be useful for the newspapers to tell its readers that.)

Now I take no side in this. One of the universities I attended was seriously Baptist. One that I taught in was Roman Catholic. In that experience, I learned that it's sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes doesn't make any difference. Cardus invariably tells us that religious schools are not only good, but superior all over the world. I've read some of their research.  I find it questionable.

To make it worse, this column is not about either religion or education. It is about payday loans. Is this about bringing religious principles into politics? I have no objection to that. I think politicians should have moral values.

In sum, the commentary seems worth thinking about. But I don't know enough about the subject to draw any conclusion - and I distrust think tanks that don't make it clear where their money comes from.

Alec Bruce has a thought-provoking column about the middle class. The last sentence is a bombshell. But don't you dare cheat. Read it from the top.
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The sermonette on the Faith page is different. This one is what, I think, the message of Jesus was really about - not about thinking only of ourselves and getting into heaven, but about bringing the lessons of the teachings of Jesus into our daily lives. It's about religion and the world now, rather than about stomping on heads of others while climbing into glory land.

It's about someone you would not  expect to hear about in a sermon. It's about Robert Ford, ex-mayor of Toronto, druggie, alcoholic, bully... I think Brett Anningson is a little too kind to him. I'm not sure that Ford 'tried' all the things that Anningson says he did. But pastors should be a little too kind. And this one is well worth a read.

I'm puzzled by one thing about the Faith page. Some time ago, church announcements disappeared. As well, church ads about services have almost disappeared. Why did that happen? Let's guess.

Is it possible that the Irvings, of Irving Chapel fame, decided to charge for that space - and that the churches backed off because of the cost?
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Here's the Yemen that doesent make the Irving press.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/25/saudi-arabia-campaign-leaves-80-of-yemen-population-needing-aid
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Around the world, justice systems are usually punitive - rather like Stephen Harper's lock 'em up and throw away the key. It's a destructive system, as you soon learn if you ever work in  a prison or spend time in one. And the rate of cures is very small. That makes it expensive - especially in the U.S. with the largest prison population in the world.

In Canada, a disproportionate number of native peoples are in prison, just as Blacks in the U.S. are. But, in Canada, there has been some effort by native peoples to use a traditional and restorative treatment. We don't hear much about it - so I was interested to see this article about a similar attempt in New Zealand.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2014/04/restoring-hope-20144183654220490.html
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There's another look at the off-Guardian.  I'm finding its material is pretty good. But the writing and the length of it must  seriously hurt its popularity.  It 's not enough to give an alternative point of view. You have to make people want to read it.

http://off-guardian.org/2016/03/22/brics-under-attack-the-empire-strikes-back-in-brazil/
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And here's a criticism of the Canadian budget I haven't seen in the mainstream press.

http://www.taxfairness.ca/en/news/breathe-easy-bank-presidents-budget-didnt-touch-stock-option-loopholes
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Here is a column by a Muslim Canadian who is somewhat critical of the west, but not nearly enough. She writes about terrorism. I would have gone much, much further than she has. Of course, "terrorists' have attacked westerners.  For that matter, our terrorists have been attacking and killing Muslims by the millions. What would you expect Muslims to do in response? Convert and become like us Christian terrorists?

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2016/03/after-brussels-how-should-muslims-respond-to-terrorist-attacks
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Hillary Clinton is one of the most detestable national politicians in American  history. (And the competition for that status is really tough.) Ralph Nader does a good job on her.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-nader/hillary-clinton-sugarcoat_b_9222616.html
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I have more. But it's time for supper. In any case, I'm learning that many of the sites of protest from around the world are interesting - but almost unreadable for most people. It's not just that their language is highly technical. It's also badly written for any broad communication. Any fool can write something that's complicated. A good writeR uses language that is simple and clear. In that sense, The Bible is excellent writing - though dealing with profound topics.

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