Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oct. 20: Transit lockout: The reason wny...

The story doesn't appear in The Moncton Times and Transcript. You had to be listening to the CBC that Norbert despises to be able to catch it. Mayor Leblanc has suggested that the solution to the problem of Moncton's transit system might be to privatize it. It might take a year or so to get it done. But that's okay. Mayor Leblanc has a car.

Now, the basic problem of the system is the same as the problem for mass transit systems all over the world. Ridership fluctuates wildly in the course of a day, so that buses often run close to empty. That usually means losses in operation which are made up by municipalities.

Automobile manufacturers don't mind that at all. They have often lobbied city governments to maintain terrible mass transit systems in order to boost car sales. The most notorious case is Los Angeles in which residents can expect to spend half their lifetimes in traffic jams on eight lane highways, crammed with cars.

So mayor Leblanc thinks privatization would solve all our problems..... Whoever made his head must have carved it out of a particularly thick coconut shell.

The city can't afford to run a transit system? A private company which has to operate a system PLUS make a profit can do it? Where is the common sense in that Mr. Leblanc?

Is it your thinking that private business is more efficient and effective, Mr. Leblanc? Wake up an smell the coffee. Look around you. That whole world economy is in crisis. That crisis is the direct consequence of the incompetence and dishonesty of private business. Indeed, big, private business in the western world survives now only on the the bailouts of of big government, and the power of big government in making the poor pay for the recession they didn't cause, and the power of big government to cut taxes for the rich.

And we have not yet begun to see the extent and depth of that collapse.

Privatization will solve the problem? What an idiotic statement!

But I think I understand now what this lockout of striking drivers and mechanics is all about.

For well over a century, big business has been pushing the myth that only it is efficient, that big business is what freedom is all about, that government is bad, government is, by nature, incompetent, that government regulation of business is bad, that competition is good (though the competition we have is largely mythical).
To get the general idea, read any of Norbert Cunningham's rants.

That idea has been pushed particularly hard since World War Two. You see, in the emergency of World War Two, a good deal had to be controlled by government - and big business had to accept it because it was necessary and it worked. But it was determined to return to its old world of piracy just as soon as the war ended. That's why corporate bosses created think tanks like AIMS and Fraser Institute.
The gospel this institutes hammered home was that only privatization was good, that ALL industries had to be privatized, from schools to energy to water supply --- to mass transit.

Where all this has taken us is deep into an economic crisis that gives no sign of getting better, that for countries like the US, Britain, Greece, Spain will almost certainly never get better. We are not watching declines. We are watching collapses.

But the gospel is still out there - government is bad; private business is good; everything must be privatized. It really is that sort of religion we call an ideology. We don't need proof. We just have to believe. It's the mirror image of Mao's and Stalin's communism.

And that, I suspect, is what the transit lockout is really all about. Break the union by closing down Codiac transit. Privatize to some friend of the government - with lots and lots of government 'incentives'.

Will it give us a better transit system? Of course not. In fact, it will give us a far worse one. After all, a private company has to make a profit. Obviously, it can't do that my operating the present service.  The only way it can do it is by cutting back the service - and pay its employees as cheaply as possible, thus taking money in the form of profits out of Moncton, and leaving us all poorer. Then they can do the same with the other unions and the other services.

Did mayor Leblanc figure this out all by himself? I doubt that very much. In my time in Moncton, I have seen no evidence that mayor Leblanc could find his own belly button using both hands. This was put up to him.

Meanwhile, it will mean many more months of severe hardship for some students, for the elderly, for those whose low wage jobs make car ownership impossible. But not to worry. Our mayor has his own car - with a reserved parking space.

The TandT did carry a front page SPECIAL REPORT on the lockout by Eric (Scoop) Lewis. It didn't even mention the mayor's statement - or anything else we haven't known for weeks.

A3 has a long story about a Christian business leader addressing the annual mayors' prayer breakfast. His topic was the perfect storm awaiting us in reliance on technology, declines in morality, etc. He did it without once mentioning among those problems the corruption of politics, the anti-morality of big business, the lying
and propagandizing by most of most of our news media, the deliberate creation of poverty to enrich a few,....
Instead, he prefers to focus on the safe topics like the increase of rudeness, decline of church attendance. Though I am religious, I plead guilty to contributing to that decline in church attendance. And it's precisely because I detest listening to namby-pamby preaching like that. I'm sure, though, that the mayors found it inspirational. It reminded me of the first school principal I ever worked for. It was the first day of the Cuban missile crisis when it seemed likely the whole world would be destroyed at any moment. He spoke to a school assembly to deliver this message, "Now, wouldn't this be a better world if people were just nice to each other?" Food for thought.

Otherwise, Section A is a wipeout.

NewsToday has no news for today. There is, however, an extremely foolish story on language in the section. It presents a 'scientific' study showing that the French sector of health care is better supplied than the English sector.

For openers, the study is extremely unscientific -and very casually dismisses the lack of certain equipment in the French sector. It also ignores the number of anglos (like me) who use mostly the French sector. An article like this is of no scientific value. It will be resented by French who will feel they are being talked down.
 to. It will encourage anger and bigotry among those anglos who already have plenty of both. What a foolish thing to publish!

The editorial is just silly. It babbles about the great beauty of Wesley United church. Nonsense! It was a massive but quite uninspired pile of dull, red brick. It reflected the style of no age except, perhaps, the drearier years of the 1930s. The editorial writer should learn what the word 'heritage' means.

Brent Mazerolle wonders why so few show up at council to protest the bus lockout, while so many protested changes to traffic lanes on Salisbury Road at a local church. Hint, Brent - the church was local, and the protestors, almost by definition, had cars. City Hall is not so generally convenient, and those who would protest don't have cars to get there.

Read Gwynne Dyer. He writes about something that is almost certain to happen.

Then there's Bill Belliveau. But I've written too much already. And Belliveau's column demands special attention. I'll write it up on Sunday morning - instead of going to church where all I'll be told is that the important thing in life is not to be rude.


  1. You have a valid point in that it would likely be an unprofitable venture for a private company to take on the public transit system in Moncton. However, I'm not sure about the "incompetence and dishonesty of private business" being the reason of the global economic crisis. Wasn't it more the greed and dishonesty of the executives running Publicly Traded companies(not private)using your and my money to broker bad investments containing sub-prime mortgages ultimately creating the credit crisis? I'm not sure that any any private companies received any bail-outs whatsoever. Check out this video. It really helped me gain a better understanding of how this all happened.
    As a private business owner, I take pride in being able to create jobs, provide health insurance, and give my fellow community members a great place to work every day. It's too bad that you feel us entrepreneurs are dishonest. Besides paying income taxes with my paycheque, my business also pays a hefty corporate tax as well so I'm contributing not once but twice to the public coffers. Without people owning businesses, where would we all work? For the Government?

  2. Oh, I have no trouble with entrepreneurs as a group. And it's certainly not my view that most entrepreneurs are dishonest.

    What has happened is that the very large ones (who would like to convince smaller enterpreneurs that they are really all one, big, happy family) have been abusing their power, buying governments, escaping taxes, avoiding environmental protections, etc.

    Stephen Harper's political origins are really in the Alberta Social Credit movement of the 1930s. It was a movement of small entrepreneurs against big business. But changed into a movement all entrepreneurs against government. By way of the son of Ernest Manning (the last social credit premier of Alberta), it became the ultimate federal party of big business, the Harper Conservatives.

    Lehman bros is a private company. So were the banks in the US and UK which went down through unscrupulous and illegal trading. The recession didn't come from Canadian business - it wasn't big enough.

    It was the bailouts in the UK, US, and throughout Europe that were the killers. The only bailout in Canada was a relatively small one for a car manufacturer. (Can't remember which one.)

    The small entrepreneurs (and over 99% are small in relative terms) are very different from the super-corporations. The real entrepreneurs deal with far more risk, far less power to influence events and conditions.

    Exxon and Irving would like to convince them they're all in the same boat with the biggies. They aren't.

    Big time capitalism has long ago ceased to be capitalism at all.

  3. The study reveals that Canada’s banks received $114 billion in cash and loan support from both the U.S. and Canadian governments during the 2008-2010 financial crisis. The study estimates that at some point during the crisis, three of Canada’s banks—CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank—were completely under water, with government support exceeding the market value of the bank.