Saturday, February 23, 2013

Feb. 23: Big, big changes are planned...

While idly fiddling my way through Google, looking up local events, I came across the name of a woman, a senior civil servant in New Brunswick, who holds a Black Belt in Sigma Six. Wow I thought. This is not a woman to cross. She could take a guy out on a quick knee to the grown, then spin and hurt you very badly with a backward thrust of her heel.

So I checked Sigma Six.

It's not like that at all. As I went through all this, and compared it to events in the news, I suddenly realized that New Brunswick is going through a severe change which will inflict on us a moral rot coming from big business, government, and private news media.

The change is so severe that if the next provincial election were to return either a Liberal or a Conservative government, I would advise everybody to get out of this province as soon as possible.

You will, of course, also find the rot in any province (or state). The difference is that in no other province will you see the collaboration between big business, government and the private news media, and the arrogance that we live with in New Brunswick.

But this is a topic to be saved for Sunday.
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There is, however, a closely related story on p. A1. And I don't think it's a coincidence.

"NBseeks ways to improve literacy" It's an oddly written story.Instead of telling us about action being taken, most of the story is sad accounts of people who cannot read, or whose literacy is below par for most jobs. I kept looking for hints measures the government was taking to improve matters, but couldn't find any. So what was the point of this story?

Then, it casually mentioned something called Elementary Literacy Inc. which is, we are told, leading the charge with a grant of two and a half million from the government. And it has the approval of David Alward - and I'll just bet it does.

Curiously the article says nothing about the leading force in Elementary Literacy Inc., and generally tell us nothing about it. And it should. Because the Chairman of Elementary Literacy Inc. is - Jamie Irving, publisher of the Irving press and noted reader.

In other words, Irving now has what he has wanted a for years - a finger in the education pie. Yes, this looks another   variant on the old Public/Private/Partnership scam, and a first step to increasing privatization of our schools to make the Irvings richer - and us poorer. And, once again, Mr Irving has used his arrogance and his power to intrude on a political matter in a way that all us others in this "democracy" are not permitted to do.

So I think, on the same priniciple, I shall go to the offices of the TandT as founding Chairman of NB Ethics in Jouranlism, Inc., and demand two and a half million dollars to bring the Irving Press up to standard. I know far more than Mr. Irving does about journalistic ethics - and this is an area in which NB is far, far behind even the not very demanding standards of North America.      

This "news" story is just the first part of a soft sell. The long term plan is to have us turn our children and our tax money over to Mr. Irving.
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Shawn Graham has resigned his seat in the legislature. What a crushing loss! I'm sure there will be special services in the churches. However, resigning is also a useful way to kill any further investigation on why we all got ripped off for some 75 million dollars.
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The Faith Page has the usual mindless patter for a sermonette, the usual trivializing of faith and all it means.

I note, too, that the advertising for Jesus section has no Catholic churches,and lots of Protestant ones are missing, too. Then it dawned on me. Of course.  Even God has to pay for advertising in the Irving Press. And this gives us a chance to learn a new term, children. Go to Google and write 'definition whited sepulchre'.And then push search.
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There is one story in NewsToday that might be good news. Maybe. A New Brunswicker, Bernard Valcourt has been appointed the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development ( two portfolios that clash more than a little.)
Valcourt served in the cabinet of Mulroney. That would normally not be a good sign - but Mulroney, for all  his sleaze, was perhaps the only prime minister in Canadian history who really cared about our First Nations. Maybe some rubbed off on Valcourt.
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The editorial, quite correctly, deplores that fact that a large number of patients in this region of New Brunswick may soon be unable to get injections they must have to  avoid serious mental and phsyical damage. It seems that the only doctor who gives the injections lives in Ontario, making it a little expensive to bring him down here. Worse, there is no sign of any plan to replace him and his essential service.

However, the editorial writer manages to place the blame on the whole, health system. In fact, it seems the blame may rest on the new managemenat system being forced on the the medical profession by Health Minister Fleming with, as so often happens in New Brunswick life, the encouragement of people named Irving. This is one of the things I'll talk about on Sunday. (But if serious talks upset you on the Lord's Day, then go to church, instead.)
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Bill Beliveau plays the old game that only shale gas can save us. Higher taxes, he says, won't help us.
And that's it. Those are the only two possible solutions to NB's   economic problems. Well, if you're presented with only two options, it makes both of them attractive - however silly both might be. It's like being asked which of Cinderella's ugly stepsisters you want to date when those two are the only available women.
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Norbert has an interesting idea as he notes how a device like a smartphone can do jobs you would have needed four or five gadgets to do just a few years ago. That, he says, means less demand on the environment and an end to consumerism - so environmentalists should be jumping for joy.
Or maybe not.

Norbert - google - reductio ad absurdum.

There is no environmental saving. We don't use fewer gadgets today. However versatile they may seem, we use more of the them, not fewer. We also have to dispose of them at frequent intervals,and then buy new ones.

To say we're dematerializing the world is absurd. We are using more resources, not fewer.

A piece of advice, Norbert. Talk about things you understand or, if you are going into something you don't understand, then don't write a column acting as if you have the whole and final truth. Suggest the possibilities that some people (not you) have mentioned. Put them forward as something for people to think about - not as the final and true revelation.

Brent Mazerolle has a cute little story that could have been told nicely in one paragraph. Alas! He took it to twenty. It never  had much of a point, anyway. But at one paragraph it would at least have been cute.
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Tomorrow, we look at literacy and at health services reform, both  of which have all the marks  of New Brunswick leadership's chonic sickness - total absence of any ethics or morality. And a decided shortage of intelligence.

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