Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nov.23: Well, we'll see...

I've been able to sleep only eight hours of the last 48; and I'm deeling like Rob Ford trying to get over a  coke jag by having tea at a clergyment's convention. We'll see. Maybe this will have to be short.

Front page "Mayor clears air on leaks". he TandT has a habit of running the same story two or three times. In this, case, it says nothing more - and perhaps less - than it did the first time. And I have no idea what they mean when they say the mayor has cleared the air.

Mayor Leblanc seems to be trying to convince us that he is upset with leaks about payments to Robert Irving because such leaks "muddy the waters." On the contrary, the water was so muddy before,it was it was black as the pit. It's the leaks that have cleared it so we now know what is going on.

The city gave large sums of money to a private businessman, did not tell us voters, and had no intention of telling us.

Forget the crap about "giving away secrets". There is no secret to give away. Just about every city in North America plays that sucker's game - and whether it's for a diaper factory or a hockey team is irrelevant. Our money was given away, and our elected mayor who is supposed to be accountable to us didn't tell us.

As for the sucker's game part of it, there have been many studies of this. Giving money or tax breaks or whatever to business to lure it to a city seldom works in the long run.

For that matter, anyone who knows anything about capitalism knows that it is NOT a system in which the Robert Irvings of this world are supposed to go around like street people, shaking tin cans in our faces. When they do, it becomes a profoundly corrupting and undemocratic system which has no connection to the idea of capitalism.

And the mayor is asking for a police investigation? Really? Do we have a law that makes it illegal to tell the voters what their elected representatives are doing? If so, doesn't that kind of defeat the whole idea of democracy?

What's happening is that Leblanc is muddying the waters. From the point of view of the voter, it doesn't matter whether the money was spent for a diaper plant or a hockey team. The point is that large sums of money were given out - and kept secret from the voters.

But what you're going to see is the Irving press, the city, and Robert Irving working to confuse the issue by focussing on the diaper plant part of it.

Page A6 has an inspiring story that French schools in the province now have a programme to help students develop entrepreneurial skills. So says Mr. Alward. I hope he will check a dictionary to learn what enterprenurial means. Otherwise, what we'll produce is tens of thousands of children from K to high school graduation acting like the business leaders we have, and learning how to hit the goverments for grants, forgiveable loans and tax breaks.

But why teach all children to become enterpreneurs?The history of the last century and a half has been of the shift to very big business, and a sharp decline in the number of small entrepreneurs. Why train everybody to be something that most of them never will be and cannot be?

Sounds to me like a propaganda programme.

As usual, there is no significant world news. There are two stories about this anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.Neither says anything that was not said in two stories and three columns yesterday.

That's odd because there has been lots of research on that assassination, and not done by conspiracy freaks  but by serious and competent scholars. And at least one thing seems obvious. Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill Kennedy.

Indeed, that was obvious the day it happened. Oswald was not not an expert shot but, at long distance, he was credited with hitting the small target of a head in a moving car.

Nor did he have much of a rifle. I had a chance to use one many years ago. It is one of the most miserable weapons of the century, and by no means up to high accuracy.

The literature on the assassination - not the ones by people looking for instant best-sellers but by trained scholars who have spent years on it - makes it obvious that he was killed by people in the American government, highly placed people who wanted a much more violent world to extend American power. So they killed him

People like that are now more in charge of the United States than at any point in history. That my help to explain why we now see an Obama who is very different from the man he appeared to be at the time of his first election.

It would have been nice if somebody at the TandT who knows where Iran and Syria are could have explained the remarkable events of recent days in those two countries - and could have offered some explanation and understanding.
The sermonette on the Faith  Page is the usual one guaranteed not to hurt anybody's feelings or stimulate any thought. Among the announcements is one of a theological breakthrough, as the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women's Organization are holding a ham and scallop dinner.

I notice the Faith Page lists only seven churches, all of them Protestant. Nor do I see any representation from Jews or Moslems. Why not?

Somehow, I get the impression the devout owners of the Irving press  must charge for announcements on this page.

Typically, their idea of a Christian (or person of any faith) on this page is a cutesy-sute little girl praying - not a picture of anybody actually doing anything.


The editorial, predictably, plays the muddying of the water game that was begun with the news story about the city giving money to Mr. Irving. Again, you editorial writers. the issue is not whether it was for a diaper plant or for corporate boxes. They issue is whether we have a right to know how our money is spent.
Bill Beliveau wanders over three topics without saying much about any of them.

Norbert does the same.

Norbert ends with a quotation from Ronald Reagan, the least quotable of American presidents. It's an attack on big government. Careful, Norbert, if we didn't have big government, who would hand over our money to Robert Irving, or Nova Scotia's money to Irving shipbuilding, or Canada's, also to Irving Shipbuilding for overpriced contracts.

Norbert, don't you know it was the Ronald Reagans of this world that built the biggest and most expensive government in history to spend the citizens' money on  massive corruption in such areas as the defence industry? And the biggest  spying system in history to spy on American citizens and operate totture prisons all over the world? While driving American citizens into poverty?  Certainly, the Robert Reagans are your kind of guys, Norbert. But creators of small government, they ain't.

Do you ever think of what your're saying?

Brent Mazerolle tells a pointless story - which may be just as well.

David Suzuki's column is the only thing worth reading in the paper. And it's really worth it. New Brunswickers get little news of world events in their newspapers; so they often have no sense of being connected to the rest of the world.

But the fact is that the rest of the world, even places we've never heard of, affect us profoundly. Suzuki brings it right home with "Climate change issues involve Atlantic Canadians too"

This is a superb read.
In whatever, Sabrina Stace offers useful advice on choosing a career. Don't listen to what people tell you. 

My father wanted me to be a machinist or an accountant. My mother thought an office job would be nice. (it wasn't). My grandfather wanted me to be an  engineer - but that became impractical when I flunked out of high school.

By a fluke, I got to work for the Y for a couple of years, mostly with street kids. For the first time, I was in a world I liked. Then I became an elementary school teacher. (I was desparate and needed a regular salary.)  Loved it. Loved teaching at high school, too, and then at university. I still love teaching, and miss it terribly. And it opened doors for me in writing and broadcasting. Loved them all.

Nobody would ever have suggested any of those jobs to the vague, misfit kid I was in my teens. Nor would I have thought of any of them

Watch for the chances, Sabrina; and grab them. Nobody knows what you can do. Even you don't. So don't be shy when the chances come along.

And they will.
Well, I'm not tired any more.

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