Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec. 10: o-o-o-ooh. Big, blank space in today's news.

Remember that treaty Harper just signed with the US? The one to integrate our border security? Good. Now check Google news. It has a story about that agreement from Postmedia. (And Postmedia is the most pro-Harper, right wing  paper in the country.)

A leaked cable from the US government says this is a step in the gradual economic integration of Canada with the US. Doesn't sound like much? Well, it is.

Economic integration, which would include a common currency and common access to resources would make necessary closely linked national budgets. For a start, goodbye medicare. Hello, food stamps. Welcome, overpriced defence contractors.

It would mean that Canada would, for all practical purposes become ten American states.

The US has wanted to add Canada since it invaded in 1812; (indeed, since it invaded in 1775). In this next year, we will be celebrating our victory of 1812 - even as we accept our defeat in 2012.

Through the nineteenth century, the US openly spoke of expanding all the way to the Arctic. That's why it never recognized the Canadian claim to the north. They called their policy Manifest Destiny. It has now resurfaced as Dominionism - an obvious command from God to domination. (Check any speech by any Republican leadership contender.)

Harper has  taken a giant step in signing away Canada. There's been almost no discussion either with the public or with the House of Commons. Take a look at the condition of the US - the millions who are starving without any significant government aid, the soaring poverty, the civil unrest, the savage cuts in social programmes to save on taxes for the rich, the destruction of public education.....  Take a good look. You're looking at Canada - very soon.

This is the way that Canada ends. "Not with a bang, but a whimper."

And Harper still has four years to go.

The TandT had no room for that story. But it had big spaces for a gushing story on A1 and A4 about the memoirs of a publisher (who has, not accidentally, connections with Brunswick Media). He began life so poor - get this - so poor that the only way, as a child, that he could get onto a golf course was by being a caddy.

I pause to brush away a tear. How we must all feel guilty about our own youths when we all had full membership in any golf course of our choice! It brings backs memories of me at age eleven, when I paid a fourteen year old caddy seventy-five cents for carrying my heavy bag of expensive clubs around eighteen holes, then toddled off to the club bar for a scotch.

There's also a story that salaries of ALL public employees, including the head of NB Power should be public. Agreed. So should the salaries of all senior executives in private business. That would give us a balanced view of the salaries of all those who live on our tax dollars.     

Reuters has its usual, half story about the growing chill in US/Russian relations. The major cause of it is a US plan to build a "missile shield" on the Russian border. But the story barely mentions the missile shield and gives not hint of what the missile shield is all about.

Older readers may remember the days we were told it was good for major powers to have nuclear weapons because the danger of mutual destruction would ensure that nobody would ever use a nuclear weapon. That was always a questionable theory (not to say a hare-brained one). Now, consider this-

The anti-missile shield is designed to block any Russian nuclear missiles that might be fired. Okay. But if both sides having nuclear missiles was supposed to prevent a nuclear war - now, think about this.  A missile shield would mean that, in effect, Russia would no longer be capable of using nuclear weapons. That would mean the US would be so far ahead in weaponry that it could launch them without fear of retaliation.  Goodbye, fear of mutual destruction.

The US would never use such weapons? Actually, it is the only country in the world that ever has. Twice.

There is no mention of Pakistan, though it is on the edge of war with the US, and is openly discussing a war over water supply with India - both India and Pakistan are nuclear.

The editorial is about how Moncton will rise again, and come to the rescue of a multi- millionaire who needs a  hockey rink. Ah, the city with a heart. (What the hell. It's Christmas.)

Michael Murphy, a candidate for the Liberal leadership and a former Shawn Graham cabinet minister, contributes a very sensible column on the shale gas policy he would follow. I wish I could believe him.

The student columns are, again, solid. Jana Giles make an important point about the necessity to be organized. I feel particularly strongly about that because I had to learn the hard way, losing ten years of my life in the process. One of the single, most important things students can learn is getting organized. Nothing affects their futures so profoundly as learning to make a habit out of being organized. It's important to teach it in school. It's even more important to teach it at home.

Alex Corbett has a thoughtful and quite original take on the connections between drama and football. ( and gets a plug in for a play he's appearing in. My daughter saw it with her class, and loved it.)

Christina Korotkov has a thought-provoking piece on reading. I well know the problem she describes. Wordy writers really turn me off. But she goes past that to see a value to them.

Jessica Melanson has an amusing and well-told story. And - she's writing in her second language.

Our schools are turning out some pretty good writers.

Oh, I could wish our students writers would have a chat with our sports writers. The word 'classic' means something of such high quality that it sets the standard for all to follow. Then sports reporters got hold of it.

It began with major golf tournaments.Okay. The Master's is a classic. It's a bit of a corruption of the word. But it's a big game. Okay.

But now, every second string elementary school basketball game for the grade four classes in a two-school town is a 'classic'. Enough.

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