Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday musings

Well, I am back home on the Island and here we go!

You want some examples of how screwed up the Canadian province of Quebec is?
Here goes.
All the provinces have health care as their responsibility, not the Federal Government. In spite of this, the Federal Government transfers massive amounts of cash to each province to assist in the paying of these services with hardly any accountability required. Last year the provinces formed a common bargaining group to deal with the multinational pharmacy companies in the purchase of drugs. Recently this common front was able to achieve savings in this area but of course Quebec decided they wanted nothing to do with this saving. Instead, as is usual when the Quebec tries to back out of agreements where it is not the “big cheese”, it does so by quietly sending a letter of withdrawal the provincial group in the literal “dark of night” with no media fanfare to embarrass them.
Big babies.
Then the Quebec government had decided it wants to take over the field of Employment Insurance. A field that the provinces signed over to the Federal Government in a Constitutional amendment in 1940.
Of course the Separatist government assumes that the funds to pay for the program would flow from the Federal Government to Quebec.
It would become the responsibility of the Quebec government to fund the program and that would be raising taxes or borrowing the money from international money markets at higher interest rates than what would be charged to the Federal Government which has a much higher credit rating than the province. A quick path along the road of Greece or Spain, no question about that at all.
And of course the final example occurred over the past few days. The previous government in Quebec drafted an action plan for economic development of the north of the province as an engine of growth for the entire province. The Separatist government, which harshly criticized the plan while in Opposition had quietly adopted the same plan with minor changes after assuming power in the last Provincial election. So there was a job fair held in Montreal by potential industries that wanted to be part of the action plan. Immediately protests rolled out with smashed windows and other violent disturbances as the protesters hit the streets. They wore red tags like the student protesters of last summer did (remember how they were aghast at the prospect of paying tuition fees and wanted it all paid for free by the state?) and carried banners linking them to the Idle No More movement. Indeed one person said that there should be no development of the north of Quebec as all the resources belonged to the First Nations peoples. Of course no could reply when asked who was to pay for the social programs, cheap tuition, free day care if no money flowed from the Project Nord as it is called. Probably they assumed that the rest of Canada would continue to foot the bill.
Big surprise coming along the track on that concept I think.
More and more people outside of Quebec are displaying less and less willingness to compromise with what is considered spoiled demands from an “immature” province.
Maybe pundits are correct when they say that the upcoming generation of Quebecois are more concerned with their economic well being and future prosperity in Canada and that the aging Separatist fanatics will slowly fade into oblivion as they die off.
One has to wonder if Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is getting better – as reported by his people or in fact is worse or even dead these days based on the news that the country devalued its currency 32% on Saturday vs the American dollar. For a country that is considered wealthy based on its petrodollar economy, this was disturbing news indeed. The next month or two will tell the tale one suspects.
According to reports, this past week the Government in Zimbabwe had only $217.00 in its bank account after paying government employees. How far has this once proud and prosperous land fallen since falling under the thrall of Robert Mugabe. And of course the world stands idly by.
Like it does about North Korea, Syria, Somalia .... and the list goes on.
You wonder why I am so disheartened by the impotence of the so called United Nations? That bloated self serving waste of money and space?
What a sad state for what was originally visioned as the greatest hope for the planet in terms of governance and the ability to stop armed conflicts.
The White House in the United States this week released a photo of the President shooting skeet targets to show that he uses weapons in his life. As if this will stop the National Rifle Association from opposing his proposals to change gun laws in the land. The President should really try to stop being all things to all people. That tactic never works. He should realize he has a mandate from the electorate and proceed with his agenda. If it proves unpopular and does not work, then a future President and government will change or remove those laws. It is typical of the malaise that plagues all branches of the government where instead of doing the business of the people, special interest groups rule the day.
The American Defence Secretary is speaking out about the upcoming budget cuts to the military if a new budget is not passed by the lawmakers in time. Dire warnings of becoming a third rate military power and the economic penalties civilian employees face as a result of reduced work weeks are waved in the face of politicians and the media. One has to wonder how real this is and maybe with a wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan, that the budget should be reduced anyway. To use the logic that “things always were funded and run this way” is not always correct or honest at times.
Really amazing how far science has advanced in the last 20 years or so. In England a skeleton over 500 years old was unearthed and by genetic DNA testing of the remains with the DNA of a descendant of who the remains were purported to be of, determined that indeed the remains were those of King Richard the Third.
Truly amazing what science can do.
And yet science cannot finds the remains of Jimmy Hoffa.
Truly baffling.
Data released by the German government showed that the German trade surplus hit a five year high in January. Strange how Germany is doing so well while many other European countries are, to be kind, struggling economically. Greece, Spain, Portugal, France – the list is long on this score. Could it be the the era of governments pandering to its citizens by implementing costly social programs funded by ever increasing borrowing with little hope of repayment is over? While the Germans put in many social programs, in the main they were properly costed and funded, A testament to Teutonic practicality you could say. While many of the younger generation say that the ills of the worlds economy are the fault of the free spending boomer generation, many are not that different in their expectations either. Many went to university for year after year pursuing degrees in fields that in all honesty are not relevant in the working world but rather expensive pastime degrees promoted by their professors who have bullied the education system and the taxpayer into believing that what they say is really important. One wonders how these so called educators would fare if they had to work for a living, say in the construction trades, clerical or flipping burgers?
I forget, they are too vital to a civilized society to actually have to get calluses on their hands– aren't they?
Just ask them I guess.
In France, the painting that inspired the Statue of Liberty was defaced with a black marker by a deranged woman who scrawled the letter and numbers AE 911 across one corner. The AE stands for a group of conspiracy “people” in the United States termed Architects and Engineers 911 who believed that the Twin Towers destroyed in New York not by terrorists aboard hijacked airplanes but rather by explosive charges apparently set off by order of the American government itself.
Forgetting the complete weirdness of such a theory ( the same type of delusional thinking is being promoted on YouTube by some folks that believe that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in America is a plot by the President to disarm the population and that the murdered children really were not killed and are safe and in hiding!) what sane person can justify destroying something priceless for any reason what so ever? Just as pathetic as the religious nuts who destroyed the giant Buddhas in
For every step mankind takes forward, it seems there is some barbarian determined to drag the process back two steps towards the Dark Ages.
So watching the news on Friday and Saturday we got to see video casts of the latest winter “STORM OF THE CENTURY” - like come on, why does, sadly the American media (aped by the Canadian media) go into overdrive in their descriptions of any and all events? It is as if the talking heads think and speak only in exclamation points. Yes it was a big storm but guess what? These storms have happened for a long long time in the history of the world, so media, get over yourselves and start responsibly reporting the news, OK?
But in this 24/7/365 news world, this is probably a forlorn hope.
However, getting back to the storm, it is hard to believe that it is only early February and much of continental North America still has a couple of months of winter left.
Here on the Island we have our planted bulbs sprouting above ground and the Spring bedding plants are already on sale at the local greenhouses.
In fact I have heard the hum of lawnmowers already!
Said it before and will say it again, I sure do not miss winter at all.
That's it for this week,
take care out there,

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