Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sept. 1: Did I miss something?

It was the scariest thing I have ever seen, a monster gathering of braying jackasses to choose the man who could be the next leader of the most powerful country in the world. A centrepiece was the appearance of Clint Eastwood.

Now, I like Clint Eastwood flics. Call me lowbrow, but I like 'em.

But, oh, it was embarrassing to see a man so awkward and stumbling on stage that I often wondered if he might be suffering an early stage of dementia. What was worse was his colossal ignorance (a kind word in this case) of the record of the party he was defending.

He actually accused Obama of blundering by invading Afghanistan, saying he should have taken note of what happened to the Russians when they tried that. And he advised that the troops be taken home immediately.

Hello, Clint. It was the Bush Republicans who invaded Afghanistan. I'm no great admirer of Obama. But he did not invade Afghanistan. Similarly, the crack about bringing the troops home tomorrow shows a stunning ignorance of how difficult that would be to do. (For a hint, look up old footage on Youtube for the horror of the retreat from Vietnam.)

And the recession was no caused by Obama. It was caused by a Republican government following exactly the same economic policies that Romney advocates.

And the audience, the people who chose the next Republican leader, was such a collection of ignorant yahoos they thought all this was hilarious and that it really showed how silly the Democrats are. (Not that it matters a whole lot. Democrat policies have not been very different from Republican ones.)

All this made front pages all over the world - even on the Times of India. But The Moncton Times and Transcript, as always, seems to have had its nose buried in the boss' bellybutton.

On the good side, the lead story on A1 is an important one. We are facing one hell of a mass transit problem in Moncton and across the province. We probably have very little time to come  up with an answer. And, so far, our political leaders seem to to standing around with their faces hanging out.

And, a very important story just below it. Starting today, muncipalities will have to respect our right to information regulations. (Don't cheer yet. Our federal and provincial governments were supposed to be respecting them a long time ago.) However, I must go to city hall ASAP to get the appropriate forms to find out what pollutants are under Highfield Square.

The only story worth reading in NewsToday is on B3 "Haiti struggles to cope with cholera".

It's simple enough. Cholera kills. In the last two years, it has killed 7,400 Haitians and sickened 600,000. The cure is simple enough - clean water. But Haiti is short on clean water. Most recently, it has been short because of an earthquake which devastated the country. The world promised help. But, mostly, what it sent was troops and police to deport the elected and popular president. Contracts for little things like clean water went mostly to private contractors who were buddies of the US government, and who spent most of the money on themselves. But there wasn't much clean water even before that, anyway.

For a hundred years, Haiti has been ruled either directly by the US government or through dictators it sponsored. The result has been wonderful for billionaire owners of fruit farms, clothing factories, etc.- though almost none of those owners have ever been Haitians. The people of Haiti got virtually nothing - very little education, no health care, incredibly low pay, vast slums, filth, no sewage, no services, and robbery, rape, torture and murder by the dictator's soldiers.

Haiti has been living a hundred years as the very model of the free market capitalism that Mitt Romney advocates. And it is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. And today its people are dying from something that could be cured by water - clean water.

Got a joke about that, Clint?

The editorial, dealing with feeding the hungry in Moncton, is pretty vague. But one statement is both alarming and confusing. A food bus was serving 300,000 meals a ---a what? And it was serving the equivalent of 300,000 meals. What on earth is the equivalent of 300,000 meals? It ends with the bland assurance that the closing of the food bus service will make no difference. Really? So why have an editorial on it?
This is an editorial is the best tradition of the TandT's mission to say nothing of any use to anybody.

"Bill" Beliveau was pretty bland and shallow. (But that's better than the usual Liberal propaganda spiel.) Norbert is sticking with trivia. Brent Mazerolle seems to start from somewhere - but goes nowhere.

The op ed piece by Harold Nicholson of Transport Action Atlantic is well worth a read. I was particularly struck by the wisdom of the statement that private business is NOT the solution to our transport problems. Despite the babble of TandT editors, private business is frequently NOT more efficient than government, and is commonly MORE expensive than government service. It is a massive problem, and one with profound economic consequences as well as social ones.

I know almost nothing of Transport Action Atlantic. But this opinion piece is a warning worth taking seriously.

A reminder that the current events group will meet at the Moncton Library on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. The topic will be language and culture in New Brunswick.

Oh, there's a letter to the editor that seniors should all be re-tested to keep their drivers' licenses. Thirty years ago, I would have applauded this. Today, I denounce it as prejudiced and ignorant. I guess that just proves how the years have added wisdom to me. Today, as a senior driver, I drive safely and sensibly at 10K, and exactly straddling the middle of the road.

And - a very



    At least they have a web site, AND they don't charge you to see it, BUT membership is $35. Membership to a group that no one has heard of?

  2. Does anyone out there know more about this group? I'd be interested in getting some sense of who it represents.