Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 1: Let's start by being nice....

Yesterday, there was a gatehering of people who represented 50,000 New Brunswickers opposed to shale gas exploration. The story in the Times and Transcript (A4) was unbiased, well-written, and included a listed of all the organizations that had signed the letter of protest it was presenting to shale gas exploration companies.

Congratulations to reporter Genabeth Roberts. - and a slap on the wrist to the photographer who did not take a picture of me.

Newstoday is a mixed bag. The lead story is certainly important. Apparently, there were serious irregularities in such procedures as determing who was eligible to vote in the 2011 federal election - errors that averaged 500 cases for each riding for all of Canada. Add to that the seemingly widespread use of robocalls and other illegal activites (none of which Harper has shown any interest in investigating), and it is more than possible that the present federal government did not win a  majority or anything close to one.

That's kind of serious in a democracy - and more than serious when we have a prime minister who refuses to even look at the issue. Will we see an editorial on this? How long can you hold your breath?

The auditor general's report that the federal government has been overpaying EI by $300 million a year seens a good choice for page 1 of NewsToday. However, there is another auditor's report hidden on the back page - that  our anti-terrorism fund seems to have lost track of 3.1 BILLION dollars in one year.

The government responds that it is counting and reporting every nickel it spends. I'm sure it has. But, somehow, some seventy billion nickels fell through the cracks. I think that beats EI overspending as a story.

Actually, the biggest story with the biggest picture is that Holland has a new king. Boy, I'll bet this will be a big night for people of Dutch descent in Moncton - both of them.

The columns by Alec Bruce and Norbert Cunningham are solid stuff. So are the letters to the editor. But -

What a disaster of an op ed page! This, in real nespapers, is the page for informed opinion on issues.
So we get Eric Lewis telling us its important for restaurant kitchens not to have rodent droppings. Who would have guessed.?

Brian Cormier has a column about how he doesn't enjoy martial arts. Who could possily care?

But the real sinkhole for the day is the editorial which is a mixture of bias, ignorance, and illogic seemingly written by the village idiot.

What it is really about is what the cuts in medicare are all about; it is about gradually destroying medicare  so that Irving and friends can make it a private system for their profit - at our immense cost.

Let's get real. The cuts come from Irving. It is, after all, Mr. Irving who announced that he had named himself a member of the government. He is the one who held a big conference of his buddies to plan the economic future of NB. He is the one who appointed his people to become official advisors to the Minister of Finance. The whole civil service has been reorganized to operate on a management system that he approves of. The recent budget calling for cuts to health spending was surely his.

Now read that half-wit editorial. "Health care is for service, not for jobs".

In fact, nobody has ever said that health care is for jobs - and, if I thought he had any integrity at all, I would challenge the editor to show any example of anybody who has said that.

Then he has a factoid. Health care in NB,  at $4300 per person, is $300 over the national average. So?
What does that prove?  NB is the most rural province in Canada. It is also a very small one. It also has a  high proportion of seniors. Those factors alone would explain the extra $300.

One might add that with private care, as in the US, the cost would easily be double what it is - and we'd have hundreds of thousands with no health care at all.

And they could save money by contracting some medical work to the private sector? Here we come to what these cuts are all about, handing over health care to Irving and friends. Apparently, the editorial writer never thought of another headling he could have on this story. "Health care is for service, not private profit".  ( Where does the TandT find these snivelling, wretched brownnosers who write its editorials?)

If we contract work out, we have to pay not only for the service itself, but to pay  for a profit. That is very expensive.  (In the US, the biggest cause of bankruptcy among seniors is health care.)

Anyway, Mr. Peerless Logic, if we contract out to make up for lost staff, then that must mean we need that staff. Didn't you ever think of that? And if you fire people, then contract the work out, where's the saving? What a maroon!

Oh, yes, he also says that while it's true that fired staff means we lose the income tax they pay, that's not very much. Actually, we lose more than the income tax they pay. Close your eyes, Mr. editorial writer, and think with every footpound of brain power you have. People use their salaries to buy food, clothes, pay rent. All those people they pay will also pay taxes on that money. And the people they pay it to will also pay taxes on that money - 365 days a year.

In other words, the government saves close to zero by firing people. Firing people to cut costs makes sense for the Irvings of this world. It makes sense, because they suffers no consequence for firing. If they fired every employee in New Brunswick, it would mean little because so much of their markets are outside this province. That kind of thinking is why business always argues that firing people and cutting wages are the best ways to handle a recession. That's why they just love this idiot Sixma Six system of managment.

A government cannot work on that same basis. It doesn't exist simply to make a profit for itself. It exists to serve the whole society. It has been proven for a very long time that firing people and cutting costs does not cure a recession; it makes it worse. We're watching that happen all over the western world. The way to cure a recession is by spending - intelligent spending. But big business really doesn't give a damn for solving the recession. Why should it? Look at its profits. While whole nations are crashing into poverty and almost certainly into violence, big business is making its biggest profits in history.

The editorial writer appears to be ignorant of all this.

Heatlh care is, indeed, for service. That's why we should listen to the people who understand the service and what it requires. That's why we should not be listening to people who don't give a damn about the service, but only about their own profit.

What's happeniing is not just an attack on our doctors. It's an attack on you, on your children. It's an attack to rob you of your money and your health - to help out people whose greed and indifference to your needs know no limits.

This will not be remembered as an impressive moment in New Brunswick history. We have a health minister who gives every appearance of being a bullying lout, a premier who is the weakest in my experience, a government and an opposition both weak on anything that could be called brains or integrity, business leadeers who effectively control the whole life of this province, and who give a damn for no-one but themselves....

...and we have editorial writers who appear to be ignorant, snivelling lackeys.

But the news section did get a couple of things right; there were two, good opinion columns; and the letters to the editor are really worth reading. A better than average day for the Truthful Times and Transcript.


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