Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21: The Queen must be doing a great job....

....she got a pay raise of 20% for a total of  over $57million Canadian dollars a year. I'm so happy. It's even higher than the 16% paid to corporation executives in Britain. And way more that the average of 1% for the common people who line he streets to wave at here when she passes. (Oh, the $57 mil is in addition to her investment income.

One (of many) things The Moncton Times and Transcript fails to do is to link world events to Moncton. They really do affect us (the Great Depresion, World War Two, Korea, Afghanistan). But there's rarely a hint of this in the news.

For example, Russian ships and troops are headed to Syria at a time when Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and (indirectely) the US, Britain and France are supporting a rebellion in that country. The Russians are sending reinforcements there to protect a naval base that is important to them. American politicians are openly speaking of invading Syria as a prelude to attacking Iran.

At the same time, the US has despatched a major naval force to the Pacific, and is stepping up its Asian land bases in order to limit the influence of China.

Could this possibly affect Moncton? Well, possibly. We'll forget, for the moment, the possibility of nuclear war or of being dragged in to find a large, conventional one facing an allied Russia and China. (Oh, and remember they would be facing a NATO that couldn't beat Afghanistan.

Let's just think what will happen to the price of oil in such a case, and what effect two dollars plus for a litre will do to local consumers and to the the tourist industry. Think what it will do to national priorities in spending.

Wow! What a great time to borrow a hundred million for a new "civic" centre with a big parking lot!

Or let's assume the Syria/Iran thing blows over. Okay, then all we have is the economic collapse of Europe that is following the the economic collapse of the US. (Oh, and we have the violence coming in Europe and the US as the rich continue to give each other raises even as they cut off food stamps to starvng children.)

Wow! Won't that be great for tourism in Moncton? And what a great time to borrow a hundred million for a new 'civic' centre!

Notice there are moe panhandlers on the streets? Gee. I wonder if that could have something to do with with worsening economic times.

But don't worry. I'm sure the Alward government and the Moncton City council have been watching this; and they have plans all ready.

and Norbert, oh, Norbert. He has a comment on climate change, and the lack of action by world leaders at the Rio Summit. There's been no action since the first summit twenty years ago, and not even a pretence at action this time. And you know whose fault that is?

No, he didn't name school teachers or bus drivers this time. No. It's all those protesters. They're the ones (though for reasons that are unclear).  And you know who will save us?

Captitalists. That's who. People like that nice Mr. Irving who have done so much to freshen the air in St. John - the same people who have been blocking any action to deal with the problems of pollution and fossil fuels  - the same ones who have been polluting New Brunswick with shale gas drilling,  the same people who control all those politicians at Rio. They will fix all our environmental problems. They have the know-how. I mean, these are the people who created the problem in the first place. Trust them.

There is a letter to the editor from an admirer of the wit and insight of Norbert. He is, it seems, the spokesman for the silent majority. (I don't know if such people are a majority. But if they are, they could bring peace to the world by actually being silent.)

To provide balance, read the feature letter to the editor by a teacher. In contrast to the rantings of the TandT, this is what a real and concerned teachers sounds like; and it talks about the high rate of dropouts in grade nine. It's a particularly difficult problem for the teacher because it's a social one. Children from financially secure families rarely drop out of school. It's the children of the poor who do. I taught in a school in which the majority were relatively poor. (I was a student in a school in which the majority were very poor.) Poverty creates problems that a teacher can do little to remedy. It's a problem we all  have to work on.

And living in a society which grovels at the feet of the rich while pouring contempt on bus drivers, minimum wage workers and EI recipients is not the way to work on the problem.

The good columns are the usual ones - Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire. Today, Jody really nails it.

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