Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feb. 14: Take what you want....

There's an amusing story on p. A4. Horizon Health Network, a publicly funded corporation, spent $5000 for ten tickets to a Progressive Conservative fund-raising dinner. The PC party (which is also the government of New Brunswick) will return the money, since a publicly funded corporation should not be giving money to a public party. Makes sense. After all,they could be using public money to buy favours. Or they could be seen as being under pressure to fork over money to the party. But -

Isn't the same thing true of privately funded corporations? After all, this is a province with most political funding coming from private corporations and wealthy individuals. Are private corporations not interested in buying favours?

In fact, now that I think of it, aren't most private corporations in t his province heavily publicly funded through tax breaks, loans, energy discounts, public/private "partnerships", lax enforcement of regulations?

I mean, it's nice for Premier Alward to be moral. But moral is something you either are or aren't. You can't be selective in what you choose to be moral about. Either you accept money from people who receive public funding and who might expect favours in return. Or you don't. Either you're a hooker or you aren't. There's no middle ground, Mr. Alward.

Most of today's paper, though, reminded me of a recent visit to a tourist souvenir trap. It had the usual stuff. There was a tray of plaster nudes of women lying on the backs, legs in the air. On their bellies were the words "put your butts here". Next to them was a tray of religious medalliions.

Over each aisle was a sign. "Take what you want. But pay for it." That tourist trap and those signs came back to me on almost every page of today's Times and Transcript.

On p.1, we learn that Riverview, already a prime example of 1950s urban sprawl, has approved more of the same. (Like Moncton's disaster-in-the-making, Royal Oaks, it's located by a golf club; so it will presumably not be affordable for low-class bums. Just high-class bums.) Expensive both to build and to maintain, as well being hopelessly dependent on the automobile, both developments were obsolete years before they were thought of. But they'll cost money forever.

Take what you want. But pay for it.

There's news that Harper is introducing legislation requiring communications companies (like telephone companies) to hand over information about their customers to the police without any warrant. That includes the daily movement of individuals as traced through their cellphones. There is no need for the person to be a criminal or even suspected of being one. This is not need even for their to have been a crime committed by anybody. There's no need for a judge. The police will be able to ignore the basic right of any free people, the right to privacy. Like the US, we're going very quickly down the road to becoming a police state.

You think our police wouldn't do that? Have you forgetten that our police have already turned over two. innocent Canadian citizens to a foreign power for torture?

Will Canadians take that sort of legislation from their government? You bet they will. And they'll pay for it.

As always, the TandT relies on Reuters for heavily biased foreign news. Like most of the western media, Reuters is beating the drums for war against Syyria with accounts of a people hungy for democracy, and a government beating them down.

There is no hint iin the paper that the 'rebels' (like those in Libya) have no great interest in democracy, or that they are being financed, armed, and even reinforced by countries like Turkey and Libya.

There is every likeliehood that we will be drawn into a conflict with Syria and then with Iran, neither of them a threat to anybody. But we will get drawn in with hysteria about nuclear weapons that don't exist, and humanitarian concerns. And Harper will grieve publicly for innocent civilians killed in Syria while ignoring the far, far greater number of innocent civilians killed by our side in Vietnam, Guatemala, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Will we take up that drumbeat for war? Of course, we will. Harper has already promised. So get ready to see Canadian kill and be killed to keep the world safe for billionaires. Take what you want. But pay for it.

With the environment becoming the most serious crisis we face, Canada is reducing its spending on environmental research and protection. It now leads the world in per capita poisoning of the planet, largely so it can make rich people richer in sales of oil and shale gas. We're all going to suffer for that. Somebody has to pay when the rich want even more.

And newspapers like those of the Irving media will continue to feed us bias, propaganda and, mostly, trivia. The price? New Brunswick has the lowest level of serious discussion I have ever seen. It has the most subservient and irrelevant politicians I  have ever seen. The great issues of environment, urban living, social care, intellectual life, political honesty are ignored in favour of quick-buck trivia like summer rock concerts, and coddling billionaires. And all of this is encouraged by the Irving print media that dominae the province.

Well,take what you like. Take anything you like.

But be ready to pay for it.

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