Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21: Damn!

"If Rural NB Wants Better Public Services, It has to Pay More"

That's the headline on Norbert Cunningham's column  today. Yeah. They want bread? Let them eat cake. It's smug, arrogant - and servile.

In this case,  the service referred to is a community centre.

Norbert. We, all of us, spend $10 million dollars a year so that the ownder of that wretched newspaper you write for can get free spraying for the forests we gave him at a bargain basement price. This is also the owner who has received many, many millions of tax forgivenous.  (But how wonderful him to give to charities.)

The gift of forest has given him such a stranglehold on forestry, that small woodlot owners have to sell at a far, far lower  price. That is what is called jobs lost. Billionaires do not, despite the half-wit views of   your newspaper, create jobs and wealth for us. They create jobs at the lowest possible salaries and as few as possible. But they give themselves magnificent paycheques, and they avoid many of those nasty taxes that us peasants have to pay.

Moreover, we are paying 10 million a year for spraying that may have disastrous effects on our forests, their wildlife, and us. And when our chief medical officer pointed that out, she got fired. And nobody at your paper had the guts or integrity to find out who ordered that firing.

"If Rural NB Wants Better Public Services, It Has to Pay More."

Norbert, Grow some.

P.S. Explain to commentator Steve Malloy (on the next page) what 'social media' means. (It ain't just arguing with people on Facebook.
Some reliable studies place the rate of Illiteracy in New Brunswick at 53%. There's a good deal of truth in that - but literacy studies vary a great deal in their standards. Some require evidence not only of being able to read - but to actually do reading, and to do it with pretty serious literature. That's why some studies rate Canada at 100% literacy. Those studies are absurd of course. It's not a hundred percent, not even if you include those adults who still read the Dick and Jane Reader of grade 1.  "See Dick. See Dick run. Run Dick run."

I researched dozens of studies to get a sense of reading by people who can read, who do read, and who do serious reading.

And guess who leads for the world?

Nope. It isn't Canada. We're well down the list. The U.S. is even lower. And BRITAIN is within  sight of the toilet.

The winners? Get ready.
North Korea and South Korea. The older people of those countries do suffer illiteracy. Of course. They grew up in a dreadful war and then, especially the South, in total rebuilding of the whole country. That's an amazing

accomplishment. Gee. Funny that story never made our papers. The only stories I ever see about the North feature a fat little man with a wacky haircut. And millions of citizens who spend all their time clapping hands for him.

Take a look at North Korea, in particular. It suffered the most intense bombing in history. It had to rebuild the whole country from scratch. It's a very poor country.  But its accomplishment in education - and rebuilding - is amazing.

But all our news media have taught us about North Korea is it's evil.

And why is our literacy rate so terrible?  It's not because of the schools.

When I was an elementary school child, I read heavily from the start. That was because my father read - so I read Kipling and Service from age 6. By high school, I was deep in cowboy novels. That put me way ahead of my friends, most of whom were functionally illiterate.

Then I moved on to a new school - and a class that was half Jewish. One of my new, Jewish friends looked at my book, picked it up, threw it in the garbage, and gave me books of plays by Sean O' Casey, G.B.Shaw - and Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And that changed my life.

Kids in poor communities are much slower in learning how to read. They aren't stupid. It's that the atmosphere of poverty discourages reading.  The very poor become resigned to poverty.  They know the dice are loaded against them. So they, like their parents, give up. There is no room for expectations. Thus my illiterate friends. But This is not for all poor communities.

My Jewish friends were as poor as I was. But Judaism encourages learning. It runs through the whole society. (It's no accident that so many of the apostles of 2,000 years ago, most of them poor, could read and right. Judaism requires discussion and debate in the synagogue. And to do that, you have to read the Talmuhd and the Torah.   (Lucky for them they weren't living as Christians in New Brunswick.)

I had a similar experience with Chinese students. I found a profound respect for learning among them. Indeed, I had to threaten one of them that I would put him in hospital if he didn't stop studying at dangerously late hours (sometime all night with no sleep.)

That may be the reason for the success of North Korea and South Korea. So, rather look down on other groups, we should be learning from them.
The following item appeared on CBC News.

Yes, we have nukes by the thousand.. Now we have rocket satellites in space to kill with. That means we'll soon have nukes in space, too.

This is insane.

We knew, in 1945, that a war with nuclear bombs would destroy the planet. That's  a big reason why we needed a UN, and the gradual creation of a world government. And we didn't do it. So we now have bombs - more of them, and far more powerful.

(Okay. That's a problem because the other side is evil. Right. We aren't evil. The U.S. has fought at least seventy wars since 1945, and killed millions. But that was to spread democracy and basketball.)

The UN was effectively destroyed by the major powers, especially the U.S., from the start. Instead, NATO became a device for American dominance of Europe. And the U.S. embarked on its quest for world dominance. (google Project for the New American Century, a more recent American plan to rule the world - and the reason for the wars in Afghanistan and the middle east.)

There will be no winning of anything as a result of this. Whatever excuse you may think of for carrying on as we are, the reality is it CANNOT happen. As in the case of dealing with climate change, there is no room for choice.
This article deals with British universities, but much of it would apply to Canadian ones. I find my own university for most of my career has gone wild with more and more bureaucrats wasting time and money by copying business methods. That, I guess, is the result of the dominance of major businesspeople on thier boards.

One of the sillier offshoots of this is the struggle to look good in the Annual MacLean's issue on ranking Canadian universities. It's a crock.
The U.S. problem is not Trump.  Yes, Trump is ego-driven and fundamentally incompetent. But he's not the problem For years, American democracy has been crumbling. The major cause the big money that owns the government, and that has been driving for years to make the American people incapable of standing against them. The big money has pressed from change that take the U.S. back to the nineteenth century, that impoverish millions, that want to conquer the world, and that don't give a damn for the American people.

(That's something to think about as they also spread poverty by not paying taxes and as we are busying negotiating a new NAFTA deal that will almost certainly make it impossible to enforce urgent controls on big business.)

Trump did not cause all that, though he's no sweetheart. And Clinton would have been worse. The U.S. is now big business running wild all over the world without respect for any nation or its laws.

But the problem is  not Trump. The problem is that a fearful and angry public voted him into office. The American people, both Democrat and Republican have an intense dislike of what is being done to them. They are against the government, any government. But they have no idea of what an alternative should be - largely because their news mediahas never even told them there are alternatives. (see the irving press for an example.)

That means big trouble. And it almost certainly means very big and very thoughtless violence.
There are Muslim terrorists who hate the U.S. That's because the U.S.  (and Britain and others)  has spent close to 70 years murdering them.

More killing is not going to make them love us. The "war against terrorism" is a dead end for all sides.

In fact, the origins of Muslim anger go way back to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Afghan fighters who fought off the Russians were trained, eqipped, and financed by the CIA. Yes. It was not Osama bin Laden who created All of bin Laden's ideas were copied from that American intervention. And we are  now paying the price.
And here's  a reminder of why North Koreans dislike the  U.S
Cimate change? Nah, says Mr. irving. Ain't happenin'
Here's another sample of President Truman's plan to use nuclear weapons against North Korea in the Korean War.
And there's a lot of truth in this one. A lot.

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