My computer is now working again. Sorry about yesterday's mess. So let's start with what I wanted to say yesterday.
Harper and Alward are very, very upset. Big business is screaming at them that it needs people with trade skills - like welding. (This, by the way, is the same big business that is always saying government is too big. In fact, it can't be too big to please them when they want a favour.)
Now, thinking over the claims of big business, you would think the solution is easy. When things are in short supply, you raise prices. Okay, welders are in short supply. So raise their wages. I mean, they do that to a gross degree for senior execs and board members, paying them huge sums for their good work in wrecking the economic system.
Oops, sorry. Apparently that rule of capitalism doesn't apply to common workers.
Well, a big outfit like Irving could easily hire people to be trained by it (with a small wage during training); and supply their own skilled workers.
Nope. Irving doesn't pay for anything if he can make us pay. So the politicians are desperately looking for a way to increase the output of training that we will pay for. Their answer is to get more high school finishers to go to trade school rather than to university. Sound reasonable? Not if you think of the implications.
For thousands of years, the children of the poor stayed forever poor, unable to get training of any sort. The great change began in Canada about a hundred and thirty years ago with the development of the public school. Now, any child could get an education, and move up at least a little. The big bonus for Canada was that masses of children whose brainpower had been lost to us became valuable to our progress.
In general, though, the average person had no opportunities comparable to those of the rich who could afford the next change that was necessary - access to universities and to higher paying work.
But that change did come in 1945 when veterans were given a chance to attend universities. Suddenly, universities opened their doors. Families had a little more money after the war; and it was still possible to go to university relatively cheaply. Many children who would have become nothing more than factory hands were discovered to have brains at least equal to those of the rich kids who had previously dominated.
Much of the prosperity of the post war decades is credited to that burgeoning of talent.
It wasn't perfect. The rich still had great advantages; but at last the children of the middle class and even the working class had some equality of opportunity. But now things have gone sour. The universities never adjusted to their new role as they should have. And their costs have gone out of sight. That, combined with a new emphasis on trade skills, means equal opportunity for access to education is disappearing. It also means we will be losing some of the best minds in the country. But it's more, much more, than that.
Do you think Stephen Harper will send his son to learn welding? Will the Irvings train their daughters to be daycare attendants? Not bloody likely. Their children, whether bright or as dumb as doorposts, will go to university - sometimes learning something, sometimes not. No matter. They will still become business leaders even if they flunk out. We will have another aristocracy just as we had in the middle ages. And, like the one in the middle ages, it will be utterly incompetent to handle all the powers it assumes. (It has already proven itself incompetent of handling the power it has.)
If big business has its way, we shall have a society in which all the power and opportunity will go to those who were born rich. And the rest will always be far down the ladder. In the end - and that end is not far in the future - we shall have a profoundly divided society led by the greediest among us and led only for its own profit. And that will mean a rigid system of control enforced by secret police, fear, abuse.... Something like what we are developing now. Something like what has already happened in the US.
What to do, instead? Well, for a start, cut the absurdly inflated incomes of the very rich. Use that money to make life livable for the rest. Second, dramatically raise the wages of, for example, the skilled trades. Reduce this obscene income gap we live under.
Give every child equal opportunity. Make it possible for each child to get the education he or she wants - and has shown some capacity for.
Those ideas are just for starters. The universities need to take a long and hard look at themselves, and what they do.
The point is that big business has approached a serious problem and a complicated one with a simple solution that benefits only bit business. There is no thought for the consequences to society as a whole. That's the main reason why big business interference in government is usually disastrous.
Yes,it is usually wrong. The Iraq War was carried out at the demand of big business in the US. And again, it was proven that big pockets do not necessarily indicate big brains. The Iraq War proved to be the most disastrous war in American history, costing well over two trillion dollars counting veterans' benefits; and so becoming a major cause (along with cheating banks) of the world economic crisis.
Even worse, the strategic damage caused by that war is still growing. Iraq is near collapse as a nation, with the strong possiblity of a civil war with unthinkable consequences for the whole region - maybe the whole world.
It created a hatred of the US that has made Al-Quaeda a thousand times bigger than it was. There was no reason to invade Iraq. We know that, now, and should have known it at the time.In its consequences, most of which are still to come, it was a far bigger disaster than Vietman. And it was planned and demanded by a coalition of US big business leaders.
It's now Wednesday morning. I've read the paper; and there's close to zero in it.
On A3, there's a story about now New Brunswick nurses fear they are on the line for job cuts. Of course, they are. That's why the two hospital services have new directors. These are the hit men, the Sigma Six boys that have been pushed into the whole civil service. They are agents of big business. They're job is to cut budgets.
Will health services be cut? Of course. And that will open the way to privatization. Instead of curing people, the main function of health care will be to provide profits.
NewsToday has yet another story about the Pope. In this one, the Pope urges protection is urgent for nature, for the weak and for the poor. Fortunately, we have Pope Harper, Pope Irving, and candleboy Alward who know better.
Norbert contributes an interesting and informative column. Alec Harper has a column I couldn' t disagree with more. Eric Lewis contributes a column in favour of motherhood.
Well, that didn't take long, did it?
So let's sum up with some realities about New Brunswick.
Irving wasn't kidding two years ago when he said he was forming a coalition with the government. He is effectively in the cabinet and, through flunkies, the Department of Finance in particular. The imminent budget will be an Irving budget - guaranteed to make sure that we pay the price of the economic crisis, that he continues to collect goodies, and that we pay for them.
He also has the advance guard of privatization in several areas, notably health, education and, possibly, civil service.
He is part of a group which is putting the people of New Brunswick at high risk though shale gas extraction. The destruction of much of the environment is a certainty. Then, with their pillage of New Brunswick pretty much complete, the Irvings will move on, leaving only the Irving Chapel as a striking reminder of their perversion of religious values.
Alward has proven a stunningly weak premier. And the offering Liberal leader seems very much an old-fashioned, young lawyer on the make.
New Brunswick, you don't have much time to wake up. If you vote Conservative or Liberal once more, you simply voting for letting big business run the province - and you're dead meat.
Oh, yes. Because Cyprus cannot pay its debts as demanded by the European Union., the EU insists it must confiscate a large percentage of the savings that Cypriots have in their banks. New Zealand is in the same predicament, and it, too, is considering raiding the bank accounts of its people. (But don't worry about the very rich. Their money is safely offshore.)
All in all, it seems a great time to borrow a hundred million (and more) to build a hockey rink in order to please yet another Irving.
Oh, the Atlantic Press Council wrote that it cannot consider my complaint of prejudice in a TandT editorial. It seems that if even one letter disagreeing with the editorial is printed, then the editorialist isn't prejudiced. There's a disconnect in the logic of that answer. But disconnecting is what press councils are for.