Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jan. 20: Watching you....

Who are the dangerous people that our intelligence agencies like CSIS, the RCMP, the department of defence and others are watching? Why, they're watching you. You are actually paying taxes to support people who are spying on you.

And what does you mean? Terrorists? the criminally insane? Oil companies that spread pollution and sickness and death? 

Well, no. You aren't any of those, of course. They spy on people who are worried about the effects of global climate change, people who want to protect what is left of our fishery,native peoples who don't want mines that spill poisonous trash into their rives,  people who don't want their drinkinig water poisoned or their land destroyed. Dangerous people like that - some of whom even deny basic decency by flaunting beards.

They are all acting within the law. But the law is irrelevant. The Harper government has no interest in upholding the law. (Indeed, they are more interested in getting rid of it -as Harper has done by destroying the bulk of our environmental laws, and cutting the budgets for the few that survive.

Harper is not interested in protecting the law. Nor is CSIS. Nor, too often, are the police forces of this country. They're interest is in protecting the status quo, which includes the power of the super rich to abuse this country and its people.

Now, throughout the history of this Canada, there is very, very little evidence of abuse of the law by environmental groups or native peoples - and the latter only when driven to desperation. So what do our spy agencies do with their information?

Well, since 2005, they have been holding meetings twice a year with senior executives, good ol' boys  from our leadng corporations. The corporate bosses get full information on who the leaders of certain groups are, what the groups are planning, what they're, what public relations moves they will make....

Your tax dollars at work. Figure that big business doesn't want big government? Well, it talks the talk, but it doesn't walk the walk. Big business just loves big government to fight its wars, to beat down opposition to what it is doing, to give it cushy contrtacts, to tell it state secrets. Big business loves and wants big government. It just doesn't want to pay for it. So we do.

Figure they'll hold meetings twice a year to to tell you, say, what shale gas companies are planning?  In fact, do you think they'll even spy on the super-rich? Dream on.

All the information above does not, of course, come from our private news media and, Lord knows, not from the Irving press.  The information was gathered under the access to information act, and published by The Dominion, an organ of Media-Co-op. It appeared on Oct. 10 of 2011.

As a kid at boy scout camp, I used to play in an annual softball game with RCMP officers. It was a thrill to see their T-shirts with the motto "maintien le droit", maintain the law. But that was a long time ago. Now, it's 'maintain the status quo', protect the super rich so they can get richer..

What has happened is that, in practical terms, we are not equal under the law. What has happened is that government, instead of controlling big business through legislation, now has merged with big business. They are one and the same.

And the correct term for that is not democracy. The correct term for a government which is a merger of government and big business is fascism. We are re-living the first half of the twentieth century. We already have a Mussolini in Ottawa. At this rate, it is only a question of time before we have a Hitler.

Once moral rot sets well in, no society survives. There always has been a certain amount of moral rot, of course, in any human institutions. But in governments across Canada we now see a moral rot so profound in both governments and business that------well, among other things, it means that New Brunswick should wake up pretty damn soon. As things are, we are close to dead meat.

Then there's our Health Minister, Mr. Flemming. He really has been working up a sweat recently to get his name and comments in the news. My, this is sudden. It's also been pretty ham-handed.

By supporting shale gas, Mr. Flemming has publicly insulted his Chief Public Health Officers and, indeed, the whole medical profession or this province - not to say the world. Now he has added to it with the double-billing story in which he has been making public accusations, without having yet examined the whole file. Now, he is having a tantrum over ER service, and is doing so in a way to antagonze the doctors even more.

What's this all about? That queston drove me to take a look at his google biographies. Interestingly, his background does not seem to include any medical training.  And, though trained as a lawyer, he seems to have been most active and successful as a businessman. And that might give us a hint to what is happening.

I think it likely that Mr. Flemming has been told to cut health spending. Now, when you are dealing with such a question, and one which also involves people's lives, you work WITH the professionals. You do not insult and attack them publicly. That is particularly important because the professionals in this case have a powerful moral obligation to do what is best for the patients.

Mr. Flemming's office should have conducted a full study of options with the professonals to see whether cost-cutting could have been achieved without harm to the patients. Is there a way of re-thinking or re-orgnizing the handling of emergency cases? But this does not seem to have happened.

Of course not. Mr. Flemming's background is largely (and very successfully) in business. In business, cutting is simple. The bottom line is bad?  - so slash something, anything that is easy to cut while still turning out a sort of decent product.

The concept that a health system is not a corporation dealing with things, but a profession dealing with human life, is probably not familiar to him. When you are dealing with people, you do, of course, sometimes have to cut costs. But, unlike big business, you cannot simply cut. You have to cut without doing damage to people. They, and not the balance sheet, are your bottom line.

And as a businessman, Mr. Flemming does not consult with the hired help for advice on how to run the business. He is boss. They obey. That's it. That's why he seems not to understand that he is not the boss, not in that autocratic sense. He is a leader, yes. He sets a suitable tone for dealing with professionals who are concerned essentially with people who need care. That means that those human needs must be a factor in his leadership.

This is not simple, bottom-line commercial leadership. The is a profoundly moral issue. But Mr. Flemming appears to understand none of that, particularly the last part.

The nature of the business world promotes arrogance in leadership and, dare I say it, a certain amount of moral and ethical vacuity.

Mr. Flemming does not seem to understand the role of a cabinet minister. Nor can I see any trace ot a moral foundation to his thinking.

So - we have a government determined to cut costs so that it won't have to annoy the rich with higher taxes. Flemming has been told to cut costs. So, as if he were a corporation boss, he intends to do it by going to war with the whole health profession.

This suggests, at one's kindest, an utter incompetence for his duties as a cabinet minister.

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