Monday, June 18, 2012

The fossil fuel industry does not need subsidies

"In 2011 the five largest oil companies made $137 billion"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Omnibus Scandalbus

Recently Canadians have begun to take notice of the Harper Conservatives' tactic of piling dozens or hundreds of pieces of legislation into one supersized bill, so that most of what is in it slips under the radar of public scrutiny and accountability. Much of the content of this legislation goes unnoticed and undebated, as has been well documented in the case of the 2012 omnibus budget bill, for example.

What many of us haven't noticed, unfortunately, is that they have brought this same tactic into play in another sphere of politics. This would be the always fertile branch of creative corruption and scandals.

Rather than throw all their transgressions and wrongdoings into one or two baskets, such as the Liberals or previous Conservative governments have done, so that the opposition can yammer on about them for years or decades, the Harper Cons have perfected an excellent new strategy.

The new strategy is called the "Omnibus Scandalbus". The Omnibus Scandalbus has room for all the Conservative MPs to ride in luxurious comfort (no need to upgrade your seat, Bev Oda!), while reflective windows and tight security protect the MPs from any prying curiosity seekers or journalists.

All questions for any passengers, from accredited stylists and party enthusiasts, are to be submitted a month in advance and will answered by a professional bus driver most knowledgeable in right turns and obstructions.

The Omnibus Scandalbus is a highly efficient means of scandal management pioneered by Harper's brilliant strategists, enabling the Conservative government to ride in air-conditioned comfort, while, all around outside, the cacophony of a supersized gaggle of scandals fades into the innocuous hum of background noise.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Japan PM to Restart Nuclear "Under Intense Pressure from Banks"

The PM of Japan has approved restarting nuclear reactors despite public opinion running at over 70% against the move.

According to this report in Bloomberg, the decision was taken under "intense pressure from banks". With the peak summer season approaching, there has been concern that electricity shortages could result in slowdowns at factories.

Meanwhile, there are new reports of radiation entering the global food chain from the Fukushima disaster.

Procedures to restart reactors are said to be beginning immediately.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quebec tuition fees among the highest in the world

Surprise, surprise! As usual, the media has been giving us the wrong dope. 

This time, it's the intrepretation fed to us by the corporate media regarding the student "strike" in Quebec that has been going on for the past few months.

From the very beginning, our media, even the CBC, has entirely ignored the details of the students' position, to the extent that most of us, myself included, have been led to believe that they are probably being unreasonable. Rebels without a cause, as Jacques Villeneuve called them.

That's because, as the media has repeated dozens if not hundreds or thousands of times, that "Quebec already has the lowest tuition fees in Canada / North America" by far.

What the media has failed to deliever is a comprehensive comparison of our tuition fees with those in other countries besides the U.S.

I myself tried to look up this info and did find that one or two Scandanavian countries have nominal tuition fees. But I didn't readily find anything about our major G8 partners like France and Germany.

Finally, a day or two ago, the following link was included with a CBC story (120 or so days into the student strike):

I also found another so-called comparison today ~ this also looks like a "promo" for charging higher tuition fees, but the reality of low tuition fees in may countries is evident:

So, bottom line, it turns out that the vast majority of developed countries in the world have tuition fees that are much lower even than Quebec's. Only the U.K. and a couple of other countries around Europe have tuition fees anywhere near as high as ours.

It is a known and proven fact that higher tuition fees work as a deterrent to low and middle class individuals pursuing an education (everyone's "I put myself through college..." stories notwithstanding)

So, what about it? Despite the extremely skewed presentation of the situation our media gives us, it seems that the Quebec students at least have a sound basis on which they are making their demands.

As a sidebar, we already know what a failure the U.S. profit-driven healthcare system is. U.S. healthcare costs being anywhere from 50-100% higher than all other countries, yet their life expectancy is substantially lower than Canada and many other developed countries.

Perhaps we need to rethink our approach to higher education?