Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8: (Yawn)

The big, front page headline in today's Moncton Tiresome and Tacky is "Oulton College makes history". Wow, just like Julius Caesar and Napoleon and George Washington and John A Macdonald and premier Alward.

The story is that Oulton is the first private college in New Brunswick to offer a programme in practical nursing that is recognized by a professional association. New Brunswick Community College also offers one that is recognized. But NBCC is public. So, I mean, you can see the how Oulton's is breaking new ground.

Look, kiddies. By no definition is this a front page, break out the champagne story that will ring down through the ages of history. At best, it's a brief note for the back page.

The big story, which the TandT has studiously avoided, is that the records of "tax haven banks" have been revealed. Around the world they have trillions of dollars hidden away so that billionaire patriots don't have to pay taxes on them.

We have been robbed, and robbed on a massive scale. Education is suffering. Health is suffering. Employment is suffering. Basic necessities are being withheld. And all so the Scrooge McDucks of this world can sit on heaps of money - and give each other hall of fame awards for the tiny bits they throw back as philanthropy.  Oh, yes, and then demand more tax breaks and grants at our cost.

Is it possible that some New Brunswickers have such havens? Of course it is. It's no secret. It hasn't been a secret for a long time. There are reasons why New Brunswick is poor. There are reasons we have a crushing debt. There are reasons health care is being cut back. There are reasons why this city has soup kitchens.

So why hasn't this story appeared in the TandT? Brunswick News must be the only news medium in Canada - and one of the few in the world -  that has not made this a major story. (Well, we needed the space for "Oulton College makes history".)

The other big story on the front page is how some rich people are having one of their big and expensive parties to raise money for a charity. It occurs to few that if they really wanted to help they could give the money to the charity, and skip the big spending on dresses, fine foods, and wine. And the very rich ones could pay their taxes.

Mila Mulroney was very keen on playing princess with these "charity" affairs on which she and her ditzy friends would spend big money to have a good time - while her hubby was accepting bribes.

There's nothing in section A. And it hits rock bottom with its last page pictures of a reptile display and photos of a cat show, the latter cleverly headlined "Cat show goes purr-fectly".
To my surprise, the TandT does have the story of how RBC is firing Canadian employees to replace them with much cheaper foreign and temporary people - though the TandT story is a very incomplete one.

1. The employees being fired are those close to retirement, ones whose pensions will be greatly reduced by this, and ones who will find it difficult to get another job at their ages.

2. The bank's claim that it is working to find places for these unfortunate employees is more than a little thin. So far, only two or three out of the fifty have found new employers.

3. Fifty is only the beginning. RBC plans (or had planned) to continue this on a much larger scale.

4. Technically, the new employees are working for a contracting firm called iGate which specializes in finding cheap labour. But to bring foreign, temporary workers into Canada to displace employed Canadians is illegal. So how did the government allow this to happen? It does not seem to have occured to The Canadian Press agency to ask that question.

The bank's excuse is that this will offer a "more efficient" service which will benefit depositors. Sure. More efficient. That's businessspeak for "larger profits" for the bank which is already awash in profits.

New Brunswickers should pay very, very close attention to this story.

Such "more efficient" service is precisely what Six Sigma and the reorganization of the civil service and the cutbacks in health are all about. In the business world "more efficient" doesn't mean it does the job better. It means it cuts costs and boosts profits. That's why it won't work for services like health and education. To business, efficiency means making more profit. To health and education, efficiency means offering better service.

We're going to see more, not less, of cheap, imported labour from iGate. It has wonderful results for business.
1. As an immediate benefit, it lowers labour costs and boosts profits.
2. And, also in the near term, it creates higher unemployment for Canadians. And that makes it possible for employers to hire Canadians, increasingly desperate for jobs, at ever cheapening wages. In the US, as an example, most of those who are now finding jobs are finding them only at much lower wages.

It's a destructive policy. And, if you look at it long term, it's self-destructive. But looking at the long term is something big business isn't very good at.
Take a look at the wording of the North Korea story on p. C8. Notice that the tone of the language, and the statements themselves, place all the blame on North Korea. Obviously, this is another case of a tiny nation of very limited power trying to bully the most powerful nation on earth. And all the US is doing is playing games on the North Korean border to practice for a war with North Korea. Just funnin'.

'Course, whut can yu 'spect from foreigners. They ain't Christians like most of us.
The cartooon is a wonderful example of what constant brainwashing can co. I mean, the US isn't crazy like Kim.  It would never dream of attacking another country, or actually using any of its couple of thousand nuclear missiles.
Then there's Alec Bruce. I don't entirely disagree with his criticisms of the NDP. But-----and here I have to declare my politics. I don't believe in any political religion. I am not a socialist or a capitalist (or a communist or a libertarian or a liberal or a conservative).

All systems are created by people. And, like people, they all have weaknesses. All. (Funny how Christians so often fail to understand that message from the story of Adam and Eve.)

All systems work sometimes. All are vulnerable to political dishonesy, greed, ambition, and all the other, normal human failings.

As for the NDP, I am disappointed in Mulcair. That sets the stage for my reaction to this column by Alec Bruce.

It ridicules and disparages the NDP. It accuses the party of both having and eating its cake. (have you ever heard of a political party that did not want that?) He claims Robert Stanfield, former Conservative leader, had social goals similar to those of the NDP - and that is simply nonsense.The last Conservative leader who developed any social goals at all was R.B.Bennett.

He nitpicks the NDP's choice of words in its statement of goals while ignoring the fact that the only other party that has a coherent and believable statement of goals is the Green Party. Almost nobody in this whole country has the faintest idea what the words liberal and conservative mean. And almost all who call themselves liberals or conservatives - aren't liberal or conservative.

Capitalism, meanwhile, has long ago been distorted to mean greed and anti-democratic power.

I do not believe that Alec Bruce would write of either the Liberals or the Conservatives as he just did of the NDP. It is true that the NDP has somewhat drifted from its principles and, I think, has done it for political expediency. But the Liberals and Conservatives have had no principles for over a century, at least.

And, for all its faults, the NDP has never sold out to people like, say, the Irvings.
It may be important to read one of the letters to the editor "Important to stick to facts on fracking", because we appear to have one of the world's greatest minds right here in this city; and he says the chemicals used in fracking are quite safe. The writer evidently knows more about the chemicals used in fracking than all the medical people in the whole world.

He also says not to worry about the disposal of chemical-polluted waste water because the NB government will require it to be stored underground in waterproof tanks - which is quite safe.
Duh, yeh.
How big will tanks have to be to hold billions of litres of waste? And what material will they be built of to last forever and ever without any leakage? It must be something brand new, because no such material has ever existed.

But, anyway, why bother putting it in leak-proof tanks if those chemicals are perfectly harmless in the first place?

Great minds don't necessarily think alike.
But they should think.

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