Friday, December 2, 2011

Dec. 2: Ho-hum

This motning, I found a flyer - just one page - in my mailbox. It spoke of a senior's nursing home in Moncton in which an elderly man was kept in restraint in a specialized chair designed to keep him immobile.  He was kept in it for 545 days. When he was released, he could not walk - and he will never be able to walk again.

It's an easy way to handle troublesome, elderly people.
The flyer said that is also illegal; but that minister of justice, Marie-Claude Blais has said not a word about it.

It was signed John Heffler.

Across North America, indeed across most of the western world, there is a profound dissatisfaction with politicians and with news media. The blog is a product of it. The Occupy movement is a product of it. The wide use of tweeter is a product of it. The flyer in my mailbox this morning  is a product of it.

It is no coincdence that all these things are developing at the same time. Nor are they happening simply because of the invention of the computer.  (The personal computer has been around for a good forty years, now. But it's wide use for news and comment is much more recent.)

No, it's not computers are making us angry and dissatisfied. What's making us angry and dissatisfied are politicians and news media that are obvious puppets of large corporations and very wealthy individuals who use them to rob us - and to keep us in ignorance of what they are doing.

Just yesterday, we learned that Mr. Alward indicated he might be favourably disposed to a  federal proposal to pay EI  ONLY to high school graduates. That is surely a bizarre response.

1. Those who lack education are the ones most likely to get laid off and to need PEI.
2. It seems to assume that it is their own fault if they don't finish high school. In fact, every study I have ever seen shows that the children most likely not to finish high school are the poor. It's not being stupid or lazy that made them drop out. It's being born poor.
(This is a subject I feel strongly about because I was born poor; and I didn't finish high school. It was pure luck that got me out of that dead end. None of my childhood friends finished high school, either. They weren't stupid. They weren't lazy. They were poor.)
What this bill does is to turn the poor into a sort of race, an inferior people who deserve whatever happens them.

But our politicians don't call it that because racism is out of fashion. Today, few in the US or Canada would say, "Make the Blacks Pay. Make Jews pay. Make orientals pay.)  But it's perfectly acceptable to say "Make the poor pay. They deserve it."
3. The poor, the uneducated did not cause this recession. It was caused by rich and well-educated people. Surely, if someone must suffer, it should be those who caused the problem. But, far from them  suffering, we have been handing over even more money to them.

There's a topic for an editorial. But you'll never see it in most of our mainstream newspapers - and certainly never in The TandT.

So what's happening is that people are taking the responsibility for spreading the news. They have to do it because most of the news media are simply propaganda sheets for their owners.

Today's A section of TandT does have one important story It's about a new liquor store in Dieppe. So y'all get down there, y'hear? Do your patriotic duty The more you drink, the more the goverment can give tax breaks to the rich.

There's a noteworthy story  on the first page of NewsToday. It looks as though Defence Minister Peter McKay may have been caught lying to the House of Commons about the reasons for  a trip he took in an armed forces helicopter. (He claimed it was a training flight. Documents suggests it was simply for his personal convenience.) Now what?

Time was - not long ago -  that lying to the house was the most serious crime an MP could commit. He could attend the House drunk (John A. often did). He could accept bribes. (It seems clear that Brian Mulroney did; but nothing  has happened to him.) But lying to the House was unacceptable. The only proper thing for a gentleman to do was to resign. In fact, a British defence minister resigned just recently for a lesser crime.

Somehow, though, I suspect our democracy has slid so far down that Peter MacKay will not resign. And Harper won't force him to.

There is still not a word about the crisis in Pakistan which could well draw us into a war. In Pakistan, the government is the military. It acts for the US because the US supplies the military with what it calls "aid".  (Actually, it goes largely for bribery to the leading officers of the military and their friends.)

American troops and drones and manned bombers have reoutinely entered Pakistan, klling hundreds of civilians and Pakistani soldiers,  along with the occasional Taliban. As a result, the country is tearing apart, and is on the edge of civil war. It's made even worse by the American refusal to apologize for the lastest attack that killed at least 25 Pakistanki soldiers, possibly more than 30.

Gee! Is it possible the US wants an excuse to invade Pakistan so it can take out the only nuclear arsenal in Moslem country? Gee! Just guess which country might be asked to contribute troops to make it look like a legitimate, peace-keeping venture. Guess who we might be remembering next Nov. 11.

Their nothing about the crises in Syia and Iran - not even a mention that China has threatened war if there is an attack on Iran. I know that's not as important as the question of Moncton sewerage. But such a war might have an effect on Moncton. D'ya think?

On the editorial page, the first editorial is almost good. But it loses it for the reason that editorials so often lose it. Editors assume that because they are editors they are therefore experts on a wide range of subjects. I've met a lot of editors. Very few are expert  at anything but editing - and a substantial number not even good at that.

This editorial suggests that students getting bursaries should be required to have exceptionally high grades from high school. However, as I pointed out at the start of this blog, the records shows that kids who get poor grades in high school usually get them because they're poor - not because they're stupid. Those who get high grades usually get them because they come from higher income families - not because they are especially gifted in any intellectual way. So, giving bursaries to students with high grades would simply mean giving more money to people who already have it. (Which sometimes appears to be the official policy of the Tand T.)

Norbert writes a column that starts well on the problem of climate change - then drops the ball when it comes to solutions. The reason some  governments (like ours) do not react to the problem of climate change is because the corporations who do most of the polluting that cause climate change fear that slowing it would hurt their profits. The problem, then, is not just climate change; the problem is the  power that big business has in what we fondly call "democracies).

For his final inanity, Norbert suggests we could  improve things by walking to work. Norbert, read the NewsToday section of your own paper. The Arctic and Antarctic are warming at the fastest rate in recorded history, releasing methane into the atmosphere which creates warming. (Methane - that's the stuff we're releasiing into our atmosphere under the name of shale gas.)

Yes, I'm sure if I walk to work that will solve the problem.

Ii began reading the op ed column by Bill Brewer with interest and sympathy. But then he falls into the trap that the government, assisted by the TandT, has set.

When Premier Alward suggested reducing the number of MLAs as a cost-saving measure, he knew damn well that the saving would take us not an inch on the miles we have to go to balance our budget. The problem is not the number of MLAs we have. The problem is the billions we have given away to the Irvings and the McCains and the Ganongs in grants, gifts, interest-free loans, and absurd tax breaks.

It's not the MLAs that made us poor (except in the sense that they allowed it to happen.. And in that case the answer is not to reduce them in number. The answer is to vote them out.) No, the cost of a few MLAs is not what makes us poor.  So cutting down by a few MLAs will save very, very little. And it will still leave us a legislature full of MLAs who purr when the Irvings, McCains and Ganongs tickle their chins.

So why did Alward suggest such a cut? Well - he knows people have no great respect for politicians. So most people will think getting rid of some is a great idea. That will take their attention away from the real problem, the enormous economic, social and environmental problems being caused by our Irvings, etc.

Meanwhile, Mr. Alward will still have enough flunkies left to do what his bosses want. And our deficits will continue to rise.


  1. Hello Monsieur Décarie,

    I'll have to agree with your point on education. I too grew up poorly. I had the chance however to be brought up by two intellectual parents who taught me how to love to learn. Yes I loved learning, but it didn't necessarily show up in my grades. C+ to B average.

    I even failed out of university. I'd love to go back one day though and earn my degree (I finished up in college instead).

    I have to disagree with you however on one point about Norbert. Although walking is not the solution to end all solutions, it is a start and a good way to educate people. Imagine if no cars circulated inside of city limits, even within the biggest cities of the world (have you seen the images of those traffic jams in China), how the air would clear up.

    Here, i've stopped posting as anonymous and here's my first name.

  2. We should certainly walk more, if only for our health. The problem is that for the last 65 years, we've been designing cities for cars. I would hate to live in Riverview and walk to work in Moncton. (In fact, I would hate to live in Riverview and have to walk to work in Riverview.)

    We should be planning our cities with a much greater concentration of people, with an investment in mass transportation that doesn't pollute, and with laws restricting the use of cars within a city. Some cities are already doing that.
    PS I didn't fail my BA. But I came close to failing it. My marks were so bad they wouldn't give me credit for a major.

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