Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12: Words, words, words....

Oh, for the days of Winston Churchill, a politician who knew what words meant, and who used them with their correct meanings. For today's politicians, words are just fuzzy things designed to sound nice. And jouranlists write them down because they, alas, don't know any better than the politicians about the meaning of words. I think of this when I read of our minister of health in this province. He says he wants to make the health system more efficient.

Efficient. My car is pretty efficient. It gets the job done using very little gas. That's efficient. That also makes my car cheaper to operate. Now, they can raise or lower the price of gas - and I would then pay less or more. But that would make no difference at all to the efficiency of engine. The only difference would be to the profits of the fuel companies.

The Royal Bank has been outsourcing jobs to foreign countries. They say it's more efficient. Oh?

Are we getting better service as a result? Do we get better advice from the RBC now that those jobs are outsourced? Is the bank lowering its charges as a result? No. Not all all. In fact, they expect outsourcing will save it money and give it even higher profits. Outsourcing satisfies the RBC's greed.

But greed's not a nice word. So they call it efficiency. Mr. Flemming seems to be playing the same game. He's going to cut the health budget to save money. The order is already out. Lay people off.

But the primary purpose of health service, like a car engine, is to serve a need. Will that need be met by cutting the budgets?  Of course not. Probably quite the reverse. So why does the minister call this "efficiency"? There are two reasons.

1. It sounds nicer than saying he wants to cut our services.
2. He's using the word efficiency in the sloppy way that big business does.

To big business, like the RBC, efficiency doesn't mean a better product or faster service. To big business, efficiency simply means higher profits. And higher profits are made by - oh,cutting payrolls, that sort of thing. Applied to health and education, the civil service, that means chopping jobs and cutting services so that corporations can save on taxes - and make higher profits.

If Mr. Flemming had wanted to make health more efficient, he would have begun by examining the processes of  health care to see how they could be improved. But that's not where he started. He started with what his new, Sigma Six bosses told him. "Cut costs."

Sigma Six was pushed on this government, almost certainly by Mr. Irving. And it's applying business methods to a process that is not a business. And, like the RBC, it's covering the motive of greed by calling it "efficiency", a word that really means something quite different.

I wrote the above because most of  section A in todays TandT isn't even worth reading.

In NewsToday, RBC says it will find jobs for the 45 employees whose jobs were outsourced. Big deal. We are still left with 45 jobs that no longer will exist in Canada. And that is only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands that have been outsourced.
In John Baird, we seem to have an amazingly thick Foreign Affairs minister. He met with Israel's Justice Minister. That's okay, of course. But he met with her in her office in East Jerusalem - East Jerusalem which, according to the UN, is land illegally occupied by Israel. Baird says he doesn't see how that matters. Duh.....

Such an official meeting constitutes Canadian recognition that East Jerusalem is Israeli territory. And you can bet that the Israeli Justice Minister knew that when she invited him to meet her there. Baird is either complicit in defying the UN - or he's ignorant of the basic  principles that govern foreign affairs. Or both.
Page C3, "Report points clearer pircture of shale opinion in province". Fascinating.

It looks as though this is a report on shale gas that is more honest than any we have ever seen in Brunswick News before. It says, quite correctly, that people in NB don't trust their government or the industry to deal safely with shale gas and oil pipelines. Quite true - but not the sort of language I have ever before seen in the TandT. and -

- it comes from "one of Canada's largest oil and gas industry groups".

Isn't that nice of the oil and gas industry? And isn't it honest (if unusual) for Brunswick news to publish such a report?

Well, no to both.

The is obviously the beginning of a soft sell to win over support for the industry. Get ready for a steady diet of reasonable sounding lies and wooing - like a con man trying to win the heart of a rich and elderly widow.

(And there is no story about the massive spill of  tar sands oil in a pipeline through Arkansas. The oil has been pouring through a 22 foot break in the pipeline. Perfectly safe, though. It'll just run off into some nearby waterways.)

Also note the neighbouring story - that ferry service to Grand Manan is being cut to "make it more efficient". Oh? Really? Does that mean it will be more efficient for the people and the tourists of Grand Manan? Well, no. In fact, they will get less, not more, efficiency in their travel.

Here is a classic example of using "efficiency" to mean higher profits by cutting service.
Big editorial that the feds just must spend money to improve the railway line through New Brunswick. How noble of the TandT to speak up for us and our rail service.

Well, actually, it's not for us. It's for Irving who is railing huge quantities of tar sands oil to St. John. But, hey, what's good for Irving is good for ---Irving.

Good column by Alec Bruce on the problems of excessive reliance on data and statistics to make decisions. And that excessive reliance is precisely what has been forced on our provincial government in the form of the Sigma Six gestapo.

Norbert says nothing in particular about diet.

Steve Malloy continues to impress. This time, he wanders what seems far beyond his usual fields to talk about foreign affairs. But he does a good job of it - especially in the last column of his article. It is the only item I have seen on this topic in the TandT that is not simply a propaganda piece.

David Suzuki has an excellent column on the control over information, especially science information, that Harper has imposed on this country that used to be a democracy. He is deliberately keeping us ignorant of scientific findings we need to know for our own survival. Harper is in a mad rush to sell off our resources as quickly as possibly, and with complete disregard for its effect on our land, our air, our water - and on us. And Harper, who has a profound dislike for democracy, intends to make sure we never find out what's happening - until it's too late.

1 comment:

  1. I had to do some banking at my local RBC branch today, and found myself in a private office with two mid-level RBC employees.

    I thought I'd conduct a quick informal quiz while waiting.

    I asked if either of them ever engaged in idle conversations as to what happened in Cyprus, or if they ever discussed any of the financial rules dictated by the ECB as imposed onto the Euro membership nations.

    Both simply said it's never come up in their daily conversations...