Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dec. 12: A collector's item...

Some day, the edition of The Moncton Times and Transcript for this day, Dec. 12, 2013, will be worth big money. I've been thinking of buying a bunch for all those to whom I  give Christmas gifts. Some day, they'll appreciate it.

Check out the editorial cartoon. It's the same as the one for Dec. 11. I've never seen that in a newspaper before. I've never even heard of it.

The name at the top of the page for the responsible editor is Rod Allen.

I can't even begin to imagine how an editor could do something so sloppy and careless.  In fact, I can't even imagine a word to describe how amateurish this is because I've never seen it even in amateur papers.

Has the  bottle of Christmas cheer been going around the TandT office a little early this year?

Urban mail delivery will end soon. Eight thousand jobs will be lost. Well, that sounds like a good way to fight recession and unemployment. Meanwhile, Our provincial governments and, sometimes, Ottawa, pay private companies to  hire people on the reasoning that this creates jobs in recession times.

Seems to be a bit of confusion in thought, there. If it makes sense to subsidize private companies  in order to create jobs, why would it not be the same for public companies?

What's this really all about?

What it's about is that Harper approaches government as if it were a mom and pop convenience store.If it's not making an obvious profit, you have to cut costs. It works for a mom and pop store. But for a country, it just creates 8,000 more people who don't have jobs. Not really a great  way to fight a recession.

The federal government did this at a time when parliament could not discuss it or provoke discussion across Canada. Harper's timing has a reason. He knows that any discussion would show that what he's doing doesn't make sense. It would also highlight the fact that Harper has been working for a balanced budget   simply by cutting services, some of them vital. For example, he has saved a chunk of money by cutting research into climate change.

And, yes, that balances this year's budget. But, oh, my, we're going to pay one hell of a price for it - and soon..

However, it's important to cut something so we can give out contracts to build a new navy at grossly inflated prices. That way we can make a rich New Brunswicker really, really rich. And then  the money will trickle down to all of us.

Right. The very rich of New Brunswick have always been very good to us that way.

But not to to worry. I suspect the fix is already in. Harper is going to sell/give Canada post to a private corporation. So start saving your money now for a higher price of postage.

There's a disturbing story on p. C1 about the use of IPads in schools. Researchers have found that a third of students use their IPads in class to play games - and that 99% of the students said that IPads in the classroom are distracting.

The researchers, for reasons that are not clear, dump most of the blame on teachers. They also seem to think that schools should be making heavy use of the new technology simply because it's the new technology.

But this isn't like the switch from quills to steel pens. IPads are useful, sometimes. They can also  be a terribly glib approach to learning. In fact, there is very little evidence that the computer generation is more literate or knowledgeable that preceding generations.

We need to learn a lot more about what computers do to us before we leap to build an education system around them.
The most important story in NewsToday is on C3. "Fish feeling anxious over climate change".

It sounds comic. It isn't.

The great debate over    climate change is ended. It ended a long time ago. The deniers (like Harper and the oil industry) will continue to deny. But the evidence is overwhelming. Its hard to find a scientest anywhere in the world who will dismiss climate change and it's inevitable results.

But Harper hasn't budged. His policy in claiming that the North Pole is Canadian is based on the expectation that climate change will open that region to resource exploitation. But he still pretends it isn't happening by refusing to meet emissions control targets, by encouraging the development of more fossil fuel deposits, by destroying environmental controls and cutting off climate research.

There is,  in Harper as in big business, an obsession  with short-term, quick profits with no thought whatever for the future. Is it greed? Is it stupidity? It's probably a little more complicated than that. There is greed, of  course. And there is stupidity. And there is a complete lack of moral values, and of any sense of social responsibility. It almost comes down to a mental illness - and I used the word "almost" only as a courtesy.

Big business and its servants ,like Mr. Harper and Mr. Alward, are the most dangerous threats we have ever encountered. They are now, in fact, establishing pracitices that go well beyond Hitler's Nazism in both structure and in the damage they do..

And, as they do it, they are ignoring the greatest threat we have ever seen, the change in climate.

C4 has the story of how the US congress plans to impose sanctions on Iran in January. The purpose, of course, is to make sure the negotiations with Iran fail, and the US, Irael and Saudi Arabia can destroy Iran with bombing.

The article doesn't mention that the US has no right to impose sanctions on anybody. This is an act that imposes dreadful suffering, shortages, and poverty on the  victim. If anyone were to impose sanctions on the US, it would be considered an act of war.

But it's okay for the US to hit other nations that can't hit back.

Get used to it. We are just getting into a period of unending war - mostly to maintain profits for American big business (with "good" Canadians riding on the coattails.)

C11 has the story that the US and Britain are suspending nonlethal aid (like computers) to the Syrian rebels because so many of them support extreme and terrorist Islamic views.

But they will continue nonlethal aid like food and blankets.

Isn't that a bit strange? I mean here's a story about two kinds of non-lethal aid. If they are both non-lethal, why use the term non-lethal at all? Why not just refer to technical aid and humanitarian aid.
Why the emphasis on non-lethal aid?

Because the US and Britain, along with their good ol' buddies in Saudi Arabia and Israel are continuing the lethal aid that they have been supplying to the "rebels" from the start. That's why.

In fact, the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Israel (and Canada) have flooded the whole region with weapons, guaranteeing one hell of a chaos for Africa. It's good for our "defence" industries.

On the editorial page, only Alec Bruce is worth reading. Norbert again comments on the economy, again without mentioning the role of the very rich who own most of our economy and who pocket half of its total wealth.

Rod Allen manages the feat of writing a column in praise of Mandella which is mostly a column about Rod Allen.

There is a jolting column by Jody Dallaire who writes about the practice of income-splitting to save money at tax time. It seems there are no great savings unless the income is $90,000 a year. Even luckier, though, are the top ten percent who make $150,000 a year. It seems they get back a third of all the refund money for tax-splitting.

Did you know that, Norbert?

Oh course not. And you still won't.

There are two, excellent letters to the editor. "CBC critic should hoist U.S. flag" and "Climate consensus took many years".


  1. One can only wonder WTF is going on with our government? I *think* everyone can agree that those who make minimum wage don't pay a lot of taxes. Conversely, our government(s) are busy giving tax breaks to business and the wealthy. So now it seems the answer to "our" economic woes is to eliminate 7000-8000 jobs that are not minimum wage jobs and where the bulk of the tax money comes from. Makes perfect sense(?) to me.

  2. Next up: After laying off 8000 workers Canada Post is seeking relief from pension plan obligations.