Monday, February 10, 2014

Feb. 10: Mea culpa - I missed the big story on Saturday - and the TandT had it.

A Fredericton man, Randy Buchanan,has built a solar heater for his house at a cost of $300.
That's not just a gee whiz story.

We are in a a fuel crisis. In fact, we're in two of them. One concerns the environmentally destructive effects of our reliance on fossil fuels. The other concerns the rising cost of fossil fuels, a cost which is already far, far greater than you might think when you get the delivery bills.

The US has spent over a trillion dollars on oil wars, a spending which is having a devastating effect on the US economy and ours - and there is worse, much worse, to come.

Mr. Buchanan, at the other end of the problem was feeling that in the cost of heating his house.

So he made his own solar heater. It will use no fuel but the heat of the sun, have no effect on the environment, and cost less for the whole thing than half a tank of oil for his old system.

This is more, much more, than a cutesie story. This tremendous saving - for Mr. Buchanan and for the world - was done by one man. Now, let's compare that to the accomplishment of one man who has billions of dollars and thousands of the world's best scientists at his disposal.

What has Mr. Harper done?

1. He has been firing and continuing to fire government scientists by the thousands.
2. He has slashed government grants for research - particularly on anything having to do with the environment.
3. He has destroyed almost all environmental protection across Canada.
In general, Mr. Harper loathes environmental studies of any sort because they threaten the profits of his buddies in oil extraction - and all other sorts of extraction.

Could our provincial government step in to build on what Mr. Buchanan has done? Not bloody likely.

The provincial government would have to assign the job to its boss, Mr. Irving. But why should Mr. Irving want to find a way to cut down on the use of fossil fuels? He makes his simple living out of the stuff.

And if he did take it on, he'd want a start-up grant of at least $200,000,000, plus a monopoly on sales. (Or perhaps no sales. The deal would require renting solar heating units from Irving - at a cost that would maintain the sort of profits he was getting from oil.)

None of the above is an exaggeration. Much of it is already happening.

We live in a thoroughly corrupted political and economic system at all levels, one dominated by people who think only of themselves and their masters - and are too greedy to think of the consequences.

That, not balancing the budget, is what our coming election has to be about. Otherwise, we are trying to balance the budget using the same people (in government and business) who unbalanced it.

And they have no interest in balancing the budget. All this talk of budget-balancing is simply their way of cutting off services to people who need them so more money can go to those who don't.

Edward Snowden, the man who broke the story of how the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been spying on their own people, and on people, including allies, around he world.

There are the usual yahoos in, say, the NSA, who would love to put a bullet in his head. Obama, more indirectly, would like to put him on trial, a secret trial, in which he would have no chance to defend himself.

His enemies say he has harmed US interests, that he is a traitor. Nonsense. There is no evidence that the vast NSA spy operations have ever caught anybody doing anything wrong (except for a taxi driver who tried to launder some money - something patriotic banks do every day.)

In fact, Snowden was doing his civic duty in revealing that people in the government were acting illegally.

Anyway, The interview is now available in English. It's quite interesting.

However, I am not at all sure it will ever appear on TV in the land of the free and the home of the brave - or here in the land of the sleeze.

So, in case you can't find it, it's on the web at

My thinks to a reader who woke me up on both of these.

It tells you something about western society when a man who wants to see law and order (as some people are fond of putting it) gets threatened with a secret trial or even assassination for saying so. Meanwhile, the people who are defying law and order (the spy agencies and the governments) get  hailed as national heroes.


Read section A only if you really, really cannot get to sleep.

The banner headline is about raising the minimum wage. Okay. Sounds good. And how would they do it?  Well, the leading idea seems to be to tie it to the cost of living. Wow! - until you think about it.

Those on minimum wage are now living in poverty. If you increase it in step with the cost of living....well, they're nowhere ahead of the game. They're still in exactly the same poverty they were before.

"We want an increase in quality of life, bringing prosperity for individuals and collectively as a province."  Really? So why don't you legislate a change that will do that? This one will have no effect whatever.

Those worried about the declining giraffe population in Denmark will be fascinated by a story on A 2 that tells of a giraffe being killed at a zoo in that country.
NewsToday is one page of news, seven  of ads. Mercifully, there is only on column of the always ghastly business page.

The only news that happened was in Canada. The rest of the world must have been on a break.
The stunning news in on the editorial page. Norbert lavishes praise on the NDP leader, Dominic Cardy for being the only leader to have proposed an intelligent solution to our debt problem. Cunninghan seems shocked that an NDP party could do this. Actually, if he would check the records, NDP governments generally have the best record in Canada for producing balanced budgets.

I't's those 'sensible' conservatives who have run up the biggest bills.

The editorial is a good example of why New Brunswick has economic problems. Among other things, it is always looking for the miracle deal, the one big thing that will be a bonanza. In today's editorial it's the stadium that we really must get more shows for. Or it's Magnetic Hill which will have us all rolling in money. Or it's an events centre which will just pour money into our pockets.

New Brunswick has for years been looking for the the big one that's going to make us all rich. And that's a fool's game. It's what has left us wide open the con artists we can capitalists It's why we're giving our forests away to Irving. And shale gas and pipelines? Why, we'll have to dig holes in our backyards to keep all the money we're going to make.

The language of the press and of most of our politicians is the big hit,  the magic solution that will make us all rich in no time.

That's why the only people in this province who get rich are the scam artists who take us in on these schemes. And they get government handouts to help them loot us.

The economics of the Liberals and Conservative are pure hokum, and almost always have been. New Brunswickers need to understand that a government is not a business. It has entirely different functions - one of which is to regulate business.

Glad to see you're starting to think, Norbert.

Finally, I'll be looking this evening at a video on how we actually pay Mr. Irving to cut down our trees and take them away to where he can sell the lumber for a profit. I may have a few of these to pass on to you.

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