Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dec. 20: how to make a nothing into...

Wow! Big front-page story.  "Public like on-street parking". It seems the city has asked the public what it thinks now it has down-town parking."It got an overwhelming amount of response."

Uh, yeah. Who was asked? How many were asked? Was it based on a scientific sampling? Or just asking people to call in? What, exactly, does overwhelming mean?

The city spokesman answered none of these questions. And the reporter never thought to ask them. This isn't a news story. It's a pep rally for city council.

And, once again, we get this repetition of "what a downtown is supposed to look like." In fact, there is no such thing as what a downtown is supposed to look like. Yes, in the 1950s most downtowns had lots of retail business downtown and lots of cars parked. But that was sixty years ago. Is that Moncton's big plan for the future? To bring back the 1950s?

And even the teeniest of brains would realize that even if cars were packed solid all the way across the street, you still wouldn't have enough room for the supermarkets. big box stores, Canadian Tire, and all the rest.

The future of downtown is tied to the future of transportation, especially mass transit. And Moncton hasn't even begun to think of that.
Again, lots of stories about Christmas boxes and turkey - and I certainly commend all those donors and volunteers who make this possible.  But hunger is not a one day a year problem. There is something that is seriously wrong about a society that has so many people who go hungry. And this is not a problem we can solve with donors and volunteers. Here's a problem that shows we are, some of us, pretty good as individuals. But, as a society, there is surely something wrong with us when we let so many people go hungry for 364 days a year.

This is a problem we should be dealing with as a society, not as scattered individuals. For a start, we could demand that our various levels of government spend less on sweetheart land deals and tax breaks and gifts for billionaires, and rather more on ensuring that everyone's basic needs are provided for.

If you want a spiritual place to think about that, drop into the Irving Chapel. I'm told it's a great place for reflection.

NewsToday is its usual blah. Both Liberals and Conservatives in the NB legislature announced support for a pipline to carry tar sands oil to St. John. Women fainted. Others called for smelling salts. The NDP supported it. I fainted and called for smelling salts.

There was not and there has not been a single word of any risks involved in oil pipelines. We also live in an age when scientists warn of us that fossil fuels are doing enormous damage to the earth we have to live on. So here we are entering a major project that will speed up that damage.

But there might be jobs in this. There will be some. But there is no evidence there will be nearly so many as the government is talking about. In any case, there won't be any jobs as the environmental damage kicks in. _________________________________________________________________________
The editorial is of a type common to editorial writers who have nothing to say. This one is about mass transit. In effect, it says, "something must be done." Well, yeah. there's lot of that going around.

But Wow! Norbert Cunningham does it again. This time it's a superb article, largely on Netanyahu of Israel. There's no ranting, no wild accusations, just a solid, focussed analysis in clear and simple language. This one is fair, impartial, and well-informed.

Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire are both worth reading, as usual, though both not quite in full stride today. Alec has a point, but never takes it seriously enough to do anything with it.  Jody strays from her point of the lone-parent family. then wanders into male and female self-images.

Rod Allen continues to be a smart high school kid who thinks his precocious high school humour makes him one of the great comic writers of our time.
Letters to the editor?

Well, one says that safe shale gas would serve well,. Perhaps so. But that's not the point of the debate. The debate is over whether safe shale gas is possible.

There is a long letter from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business on how Labrador is learning to deal with growth. After two readings, I can't find anything it says that is worth saying; (it's extremely vague).

Then there's a similar one about the proposed oil pipeline, this letter from the Miramichi Valley Business Assoc. It claims that a pipeline would be a "fantastic" opportunity. Quite so. Fantastic means unreal, imagined, non-existent.

There is the customary religious argument letter, this one justifying genocide if carried out on the orders of God. After all, some of those people that God ordered the Hebrews to kill  used slaves and had sexual deviations. (So did Canada, Britain, France, the U.S....)  I think we had sexual deviations, too - way back. I mean, having sex is pretty deviant in itself.

Then there is a brilliant letter by Senator Percy Downe. This one is the real letter of the day. It's about how the very wealthy use illegal means to avoid taxes- and are seldom, if ever, prosecuted for it. Nobody in Canada, for example, has ever been prosecuted for illegally hiding money in overseas bank accounts.

It is a serious problem? Senator Downe refers to millions of dollars in such accounts. In fact, they can climb into the billions.

For years, the very rich have been getting much richer while the rest of us are getting poorer. According to theory (propaganda) that's good because as the rich make money, they invest it and create jobs. Oh. So how come we've been sinking into recession for over five years, exactly when the very rich are making record profits?  If that idiot theory were true, we'd all be wallowing now in prosperity. But, as you may have noticed, we aren't.

The story that cutting taxes for the rich is good for us is a crock. The taxes are cut. So we aren't getting the money to stimulate prosperity and to provide for basic needs. And we don't even get the low taxes we assess. So what happened to the money?

It wasn't burned. It still exists. But it exists in bank vaults overseas. And, when it comes out, it's as likely to go to some country where labour is so cheap it's just a notch above slavery -and where there are no taxes because nobody gives a damn about the people.

Can that be sustained? Of course not. You can't forever take money out of an economy without putting it back. What happens then, inevitably, is that you run out of customers and run into depression - and worse.

As financiers, people like the Irvings are good at making money - for themselves. But as leaders of a national economy, they are walking disasters. Yet political leaders like Alward and Harper consistently call on people like these to give advice on national financial policy. It's something these people are utterly incompetent to do. And that's where depressions come from.

And hungry children at Christmas.


  1. is in the Canadian news again on CBC radio's 'The Current'. is attempting to raise awareness at universities (the bastions of higher learning and supposed democratic principles) to remove the fossil fuel industry from their investment portfolios.

    Of course, as we all know, this will probably depend on who the various universities business sponsors are, and whether they'll withhold any additional funding if the universities show any real signs of shaking off their masters.

  2. And yet again, T&T and Food Depot trying to make people they service only Moncton food banks when indeed they serve 15-17 others in the southeast, as far out as Sussex, Sackville and Richibouctou outside Moncton. Monctonians have no idea their donations may be leaving the city. Not that it's a bad thing overall, but please T&T stop 'fooling' donors. Give directly to local food banks people, don't expect such an agency to ensure Moncton donations stay in the city.