Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jan. 12:public sector, private sector and other myths

Interesting story on p. A14. Mr. Ashfield, the minister responsible for cuts to employment insurance says all the complaining about the cuts is due to misinformation. Quite possibly so, with all the misinformation and lack of information coming from Mr. Ashfield. The information he gives in this story is so vague and irrelevant that one can only assume Mr. Ashfield is running two bricks short of a load. I think that's a requirement for be a cabinet minister under Harper.
There's a report in Section B on the meeting between Harper and First Nations' chiefs. To save you time in reading, nothing happened. Harper made no significant concession. Specifically, he has refused to even consider changes to Bill C-45, the immediate cause of this crisis.

The reporter writes of the C-45 issues as secondary. (He later writes it is the main point of contention for the Idle No More novement. The reporter should make up his mind.) The rest of the report is in the same tone - "frank talk", 'listened with respect", "achieved some movement".

In fact, nothing happened. And nothing is going to happen. Harper will make sure of that. He wants native peoples out of the way so that oil and mining companies can have a free hand to make maximum profit while doing maximum damage to life in this country.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Irving, who is not unconnected to environmental damage in Canada and other places, has donated his home to an organization which tries to protect waterways. Great timing, Ken. Just when Harper is wiping out most of our legislation to protect waterways. Have you thought of having a chat with Harper about it? You know, private sector to public sector?
There are four - count them - four pages of baby pictures. Now, I can think of other things that space could have been used for.

1.Just before Christmas, we had a lead story that Main St., thanks to parking meters, was going wild with shopping. Well, it sure never looked that way. But, now that the season is over, could we get some figures? How did it compare to the malls? to other shopping streets?
2. Highfield Square is built on severely contaminated land. It is against the law to build on contaminated land. The government has the authority to demand that owners of contaminated land clean it up. So why didn't the government order the current owners of Highfield Square to clean it up? Indeed, how did anyone get permission to build a shopping centre on contaminated land in the first place? And right in the middle of the downtown district. Is it possible that the owners, stuck with a piece of land made worthless by its contamination got rid of it by getting the city to buy - while also sticking the city for the cleanup.
This is a story that makes a bait shed smell like a flower shop.
3. Why was the province so determined to move Moncton High to a suburban development? Is it possible the developer worked out a deal?  Nah. Not in New Brunswick. So exactly why was the government so adamant - and the city so weak?
4. How do the development and the school fit the plan for the future of Moncton? Is there a plan? Could we see it? Please?
5. Speaking of the plan, home insurers are raising rates because of recent development of extreme weather conditions due to climate change.
Most Moncton housing is pretty fragile. How does the cities development plan deal with that? In fact, how does it deal with anything except a new hockey rink?
The Faith page continues to be a great promoter of atheism.
Is Christianity the only religion in Moncton? I mean, along with land sales to the city?

The editorial is about immigration - and says nothing useful. It was only yesterday, I believe, that the paper carried a report that immigrants to New Brunswick find it hard to be accepted. That sounds like a factor to discuss. But I guess the editor doesn't read his own paper.

He also dismisses France's successful use of child care and other social services to attract immigrants. He says it costs too much. Oh? We can afford millions in loans to big business that don't get paid back. We can afford gifts to big business. We can afford to cut taxes to big business and the wealthy. But we can't afford to support day care to get the immigrants we desperately need?

Has their ever been a gift or grant or tax cut to the wealthy that the Times and Transcript has said we can't afford? Exactly how much to the very rich and corporation pay in this province - you know, in some comparison to us common foolk?
Norbert's column is well written - if pretty trivial. It also repeats a bad habit of writing about two, unrelated topics in one column. And without saying much about either of them.

Bill Belliveau's column has some things you should know about Harper's record in dealing with native peoples (and others.)  It is puzzling, though, to read what appears to be a criticism of native peoples for their capacity to disrupt the government's natural resource agenda. Since that agenda is largely about  making huge profits for the already rich while destroying the environment in the process, it seems to be that disrupting it would be a rather good idea.

Good op ed piece by Brent Mazerolle. It's not about a 'big' issue. But it involves and important understanding.

Excellent letter to the editor "Shale gas movie is worth seeing".It's showing at the Empire in Trinity.
Four little words

Our society is based on the concept that this is a society of individuals, with all of its individuals having an equal voice in the operation of Canada.  Well, we were all taught it was based on that. That was until big business told its hired communications companies to figure out words that would blur that. And they did it with just four words.

We are no longer a society of individuals. Read the papers. We are now a society of two sectors - the public sector and the private sector.

No, no, no. You are not a member of the private sector just because you work for a big company. Nor have you any significant role in it if you run a small company. Private sector effectively means senior management and ownership, because that's where decisions are made.

Nor do you belong to the public sector if you simply work for it. Public sector really means the leading politicians.

Government, then, becomes not the representative of us individuals. It becomes government by two groups - the bosses of the public sector and the bosses of the private sector.  (Yes, I know we elect the public sector. But we have to get information about it largely from newspapers, radio and TV owned by the private sector. And no party can mount an effective campaign without the financial support of the private sector, and without news media that tell the truth. Result - we get two, major political parties which pretend to oppose each other but are really the same.)

Once  you get people thinking in terms of a public sector and a private sector, the next step is easy. We don't have individuals any more. We have two sectors. So government becomes government by those two sectors. The rest of us are just spectators.

For instance, about two  years ago, Mr. Irving announced he was in coalition with the government (that is, he declared himself a member of it), and that he was calling a conference to plan the economic future of New Brunswick. He, of course, would decide who would attend.

Whoa, baby. In a democracy, planning the province's economic future is what we individuals elect a government for. Mr. Irving and his hacks, including the university presidents, have no capacity to do any such planning, As well, no group has any business or right to force such planning on the government we, as individuals, elected. It is particularly objectionable that this was done by a special interest group.

But it was done. And the premier, who should have defended our democratic system, accepted it without a whimper. We now have a collection of Irving flunkys as official advisors to the minister of finance.

In other words we now don't have the democracy of individualism. We now have a system in which your role (if any) in government is not determined by individual right but by being a member of the higher levels of the private sector.

That's what you can do if you know how to play with words - and if you have enough unthinking journalists so you can get away with it. What has been created is an idea of a public sector (not individuals but a sector) having rights. The private sector doesn't have to be elected to get control of public affairs. It is there simply because it is the private sector. In other words, we are governed by a merger of state and corporate power.

And that is not called democracy. That is called fascism.

(yes, I know there are many definitions of fascism, most of them simple-minded. I also know that Alward does not look like Mussolini. The fact remains that we are governed by a merger of state and corporate power. The fact remains that this is not what democracy means. That fact remains that this is a commonly accepted definition of fascism.)

In announcing that he was in coalition with the government, that he was now a member of it, Mr. Irving effectively ended even the pretence of democracy in New Brunswick. And it was all done just by drumming four words into people's heads.

And the university presidents scampered like rabbits to join the pretence that they, with the private sector, had a right to decide on the economic future for us and our chldren. So that gives us a private sector, public sector, and academic sector (though the latter only as a stooge of the private sector).

Public sector. Private sector. Both with the right to govern. No more people. Just sectors.


  1. Good commentary on how the two sectors have merged here in New Brunswick.

    Also, very troubling to understand the death of democracy has already taken place in this small pond.

  2. I *think* you will find that Mr. Ashfield has no idea what "real changes" are going to happen to EI.
    Sadly Mr. Ashfield only knows about the intent behind the changes, but once the changes are made it becomes the bureaucrats within EI who implement/interpret them.
    Much like the blind leading the blind.

  3. Very interesting. Andie C.