Wednesday, July 15, 2015

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-john-oliver-rails-publicly-financed-stadiums-20150714-story.html

This is from the Los Angeles Times, and it's about taxpayer funded stadiums (and events centres).
They are, according to the report, boondoggles for wealthy team owners who don't want to pay for  the facilities.

The team owners invariably claim that the new venues stimulate business, create jobs, and produce tax revenue - and profits to pay back the cost. That's why American taxpayers have spent 12 billion dollars in recent years to build stadiums and 'events centres' to create prosperity.

But a study of the 12 billion that was spent shows that the building does none of these things. These are money losers. The billionaires know that.  That's why they try to suck taxpayers into footing the bill.  Moncton city council was amateurish, naive, maybe worse in approving the borrowing of over 90 million, with more to come, without investigating or producing any evidence that the events centre will   do anything but saddle rate payers and tax payers with an enormous burden.

And the Irving press has been amateurish, naive, maybe worse in its consistent support of this project without doing any investigation on its own. .

Moncton, you have been taken for a ride. And you're going to pay for it for generations until the events centre becomes a crumbling hulk, and our children's children  (and many of us) have to borrow the money to tear it down.

Ever notice that the Irving press columnists   seldom talk about the needs of people or of society. That's especially noticeable in the editorials.  Instead, the chatter is about big deals to make fast and easy money.  And the deals do make fast and easy money - but at our expense, and only for the very rich.
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 Last night, I watched a panel discussion about Iran on an American TV channel. It took me back to my teen years, a time when the greatest thrill was to cross the border to spend a day in Plattsburgh, New York or- super-wow, Burlington, Vermont. The U.S. was the most wonderful place in the world. Then,  when I was seventeen, we had become so rich we could buy a car -  and that meant we could visit the U.S.  Ecstasy.

The discussion on TV reminded me of that - because it was so different from all the illusions I had ever had about the U.S.

I don't know whether the TV commentators were fools or liars. They were discussing the Iran deal, and all agreed that Iran would have to be watched carefully because it had strong genocidal tendencies.

Genocide - the deliberate mass killing of people based on their nationality, religion, colour....
I could imagine Americans sitting around their TV sets, nodding their heads in agreement.  

"Gotta watch them there Iranis. They're all Muslims, y'know."

Have Americans been so brainwashed that they are unaware that the US has one of  the worst histories of genocide in the world? It's very existence, like Canada's, was based on genocide of native peoples.  It has committed genocide all over the world, from Latin America to Asia, to Africa to the Middle East.  All western empires of the last  500 years have been based on genocide. Hitler would have nothing to learn from us.

Since 1950, the US has destroyed an elected government of Iran, imposed a brutal dictator, looted the country's oil, hammered it with sanctions. But, oh, it's them there Iranis ya gotta watch.

During the break, there was an ad for Donald Trump, all about making America great again. Trump is doing well in the polls BECAUSE he is campaigning on a racist and genocidal platform. What great means to Trump is obvious because of his visuals of the flag and marching troops.' Great' means killing more people, and forcing American rule on them. He stands for the very things Americans are taught they fought their revolution against.

This is a nation in hysteria, put into hysteria by propaganda news, lying politicians - and by the billionaires who own the news and the politicians. I still remember those visits to Vermont and New York with fondness.  I know that most Americans get no benefit whatever from what it going on. They, like all those others, are being cheated and robbed by their own billionaires.  I don't blame Americans for what it happening. But I never want set foot in that vicious and lunatic country again.

Incidentally, what makes it possible for Americans to act as viciously as they have is the history they learned in school. In the US, as in most countries, history is used to build unquestioning patriotism. So, instead of learning what really happened, American students learn that the US has always been right and good,and  even the particular favourite of God with His blessing to rule the world. This is all lunacy
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There's an important story on B1 in today's paper. New Brunswick university students begin their working life with the biggest debt in Canada - an average of $35,000. Yes, government should help more. But the universities should do much more, too.

Our universities are still living in 1890 when university was a reward for rich kids, giving them four, holiday years of drinking and parties. Professors of that time knew nothing of teaching, commonly didn't care for it, and  saw their students as little as possible.

That's still pretty largely true. The major change is that the wealthier members of the board now have even greater control over the university.  They, too, know nothing whatever about education. But they effectively run the universities because they know who to hit for money.

For professors, there is no prestige in teaching. The emphasis is on doing research - whether it's useful or not. Accordingly, they teach as little as possible - and commonly do it badly. That's a very expensive way to educate people.

In short, universities are really not educational institutions. They need radical rethinking of what they are, and how it should be done. (The university boards of governors and the university administrators will be of little use in this. They have never shown interest in it or any understanding of education.)

Universities could be much, much more effective and cost-efficient by dropping the intellectual snobbery, and making teaching at least equal to research..
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The editorial and Norbert are both about job creation. As always, neither has any useful advice. (Norbert even comes close to being hilarious when he suggested that New Brunswickers are famous for their lively and open political discussion. Come off it, Norbert. This province has the most passive people I have ever seen.)

Hint - our economy is run by Irving. He said so in this very newspaper about five years ago. That means the politicians have nothing to do with it. But Irving has no competence to run a provincial economy.

So let's stop this nonsense about what Alward did or what Gallant does. Find out what Irving does. Most particularly, look at what the Irvings cost us, and look at their tax contribution (if any). Let's get off this "let's pretend" game that either the Liberals or the Conservatives have ever run this province.

Brian Cormier has hist usual trivial and irrelevant commentary, this time about the olden days of drive-in movies. He bills himself as a "professional communicator and writer". Okay. But now he has to work on learning something to communicate and write about.

Alec Bruce, like Norbert and the editorial writer talks about the economy. He has nothing useful to say, either - but is better in making it look as though he does. As usual, he hints that environmentalists are a part of the problem. He doesn't mention that nice Mr. Irving who does only good things.

The only commentary worth reading   - and very well worth it is - "FIPA unduly frees foreign investors from inquiry by affected Canadians".  This is about an agreement that permits foreign investors to do anything they like with our country - like destroy fresh water, poison the air. And if we try to stop them, they can sue us for billions in a court that is not a real court at all. It's a court made up of corporate lawyers employed by big business, and who meet in secret. We would never know what happened in the court, and would probably not have any chance even to testify.

And this is part of the Harper trade treaty with, among others, China.

In effect, this is the end of the nation-state and the end of democracy. That's no exaggeration. We  will have no right to control what happens in our own country. You demonstrate? Your own riot police will club you. You get violent? Your own soldiers will shoot you. That's what happened in Guatemala. That's what will happen here.

This might well be the most important commentary ever to appear. Read it, by all means. And take it very, very seriously.
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Premier Notley (NDP) of Alberta appears on B3, hoping she can get Quebec to allow passage for the Energy East pipeline. In return, she will fight climate change and protect the environment.
That is nonsense. You cannot fight climate change and protect the environment by encouraging the use of oil.

Extracting oil necessarily destroys the local environment. Check google some day for pictures of the Alberta oil fields. The polltion has already destroyed the land and the fresh water and, of course, much of the wildlife.  And burning the oil is what is causing climate change. It is not possible to make a rule that the burning of fossil fuel must not result in climate change. This sort of nonsense reminds me of Alec Bruce's view that gee, we gotta develop fossil fuels because we need the jobs.

I certainly understand the difficulties in all this. The whole world is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. There's no easy answer. And I can't pretend even to have a hard answer, let alone an easy one. . But there is a reality.

We can't have it.

We will not survive. The planet will not survive. Nor do we know how much time, if any, we have to solve this problem. And, so far, after these many years of warnings, we have done almost nothing. The fossil fuel industry has consistently lied to us about the danger we face, and has lobbied hard for the right to do even more damage.

The industry is like the child who cries to be given a loaded gun. And, just like the oil industry, we have gun manufacturers who insist everyone has a right to carry a gun, including children. Greed makes us humans both foolish and dangerous.

I know fossil fuels are important to our economy. I know our daily lives depend on them. I know it's one hell of a problem to deal with.

I also know we can't have them. Pointe finale!                    

1 comment:

  1. You can read it free here. Whick probably why T&T printed it. It was free.
    http://www.troymedia.com/2015/07/12/fipa-license-to-treat-canadians-unfairly/

    ReplyDelete