Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27: poisoned words

Journalists can seem to be very sloppy in their use of words. Sometimes, it's because there are lots of words they think they understand - but don't. But it can be also part of a campaign to denigrate some groups by referring to them with a chosen word, thereby making it a sort of swear word.

The words conservative and liberal have come to be nothing but either swearwords or words of high praise. Almost nobody knows what those words mean. But both words are freely used (as in last Friday's edition of this paper) as either high praise and symbols of wisdom and virtue - or as terms of contempt denoting stupidity, naivete.

In an another, obvious case, a Moslem who kills one person is, invariably, a terrorist. Prime Ministers and presidents (Blair, Cameron, Bush, Obama) who kill Moslems by the million, and who torture in numbers we shall never know, are never referred to as terrorists.

A Moslem who blows up 3 people is an extremist. American presidents who oversaw the extermination of a quarter million Maya in Guatemala have never been called extremist.

Another favourite swear word is bureaucrat, a word that appears in today's lead editorial on the city council. It is always used in connection with civil servants, and always in a deprecating sense. It's bad to be a bureaucrat - bad, bad, bad. In fact, the word has ceased to have any real meaning except bad. It's become an expression of disgust because it fits in with the bizarre idea held by some people (like editorial writers of the TandT) that government is, by definition, a bad thing - and so people who work for it are worse.

That shows an ignorance of what a bureaucrat is - and and ignorance of the history of business.

Ignorance 1 - a city councillor is not a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats are the full time managers who work for city council/

Ignorance 2 - By the seventeenth century, kings needed educated and skilled people to run their countries. The bozos of the aristocracy just weren't up to it. So the kings hired educated people who knew how to organize government departments, and make them effective. (From your school days, you may remember the Intendants who were sent to govern New France. There were among the original bureaucrats.)

As business grew, it modelled its own structure on that of the government. So private business has a bureaucracy, too. But you'll never see that mentioned in the TandT.

However, the people at the TandT aren't lying. They just don't know any better.
Norbert has a column in which he is critical of the press for its treatment of Mayor Ford of Toronto. He is critical of it for being unethical. There's some truth to that. And I have strong views on the importance of ethics in journalism. That's why I could wish Norbert would write a column on the ethics of the Irving press.______________________________________________________

Steve Malloy is, as usual, a pleasure to read because he actually thinks. In today's column, he talks about a student captured on a video while angrily scolding a teacher for her lack of teaching skill. Many people, as Malloy says, will condemn the student for his behaviour. I wouldn't. I've seen lots of teachers who could use a scolding - though not so much at public school level as in the universities.

But readers should remember that this case happened in the US where the education system is in a shambles - not because of bureaucrats but because of massive interference in the schools by private business - and because of politicians who think artificial turf playing fields are more important than books.

Big business very much wants control of the schools so it can make money out of them. It now has achieved that control in the US and; oh; the US is going to suffer for generations from the damage this is causing to children. British business is playing the same game.

Our problem is not the teachers, certainly not the large majority of them. It's not the bureaucrats. Our problem is a kiss-up government that allows business fronts like Atlantic Institute for Market Studies to interfere in the schools to open the door to privatization and private profit. Our problem is a government so ignorant of education and so submissive to the Irvings, that it gave a two and a half million dollar contract to an Irving who is quite unqualified to fill the requirement (raise literacy levels), and whose appearance opens the way to even more private interference in our schools and the lives of our children.

We have one of the best education systems in the world. The US - quite seriously - has one of the worst. Those are official, UN figures. It has one of the worst because of massive interference by private business. For us to copy the US is insane. To do it to make the Irvings and their friends richer is cowardly and irresponsible. Or, on a kind day, one could call it shamelessly wimpy. Why not just sell them into slavery, and have done with it?

Duh - we really need artificial turf for our high schools. Duh - we should let Sigma Six statisticians who know nothing about education set our school standards. Duh - Mr. Irving likes Sigma Six. Duh - that's why Mr. Fleming is doing such a wonderful job in health care.
Lots of letters supporting Crandall University in sticking to its religious beliefs by refusing to hire gay staff. I quite agree. Indeed, as it happens, I am founding a church dedicated to indiscriminate and unlimited sex. Obviously, we regard prudes as unacceptable members. We love prudes because, like Baptists, we love the sinner, but hate the sin.

We shall certainly need a university; and we look forward to cooperating with Crandall in hitting Harper for six million. We assure everyone that we have no intention of insulting or discriminating against virgins. They cannot be members of the church. But we shall be seeking them out for short term employment as burnt offerings.
The Your Investments page has a column worth thinking about. "Economy could crimp N.B. tourism".

It certainly could. We could well be at one of the massive turning points in history - like the collapse of Rome or the age of world colonization. The Western Empire (running from the days of  Portugal, Spain, France, Britain to the US) is in sharp decline; and it is most unlikely to regain its old power. We're seeing that in the decline in our economies. Nobody knows how long this will last or how it will end.

Wow! Could this crimp even the NB economy? Gee! I think it might. Maybe our provincial and municipal governments should be thinking this is not a good time to build an events centre or to put a new high school out in Royal Oaks, or to encourage suburban development at all. 

There are huge crises developing about the wealth gap all over the western world. And, yes, things that happen all over the western world could affect even Moncton. All the planning I have seen is based on the belief that tomorrow is going to be a lot like yesterday. What if it isn't?
There's not much news worth reading. Most of it is just trivia. But at least one story is worth paying attention to. It's on p. A 6. DEC member George Crossman is suing the DEC for illegally dismissing him from his position. It is not at all clear why the DEC dismissed him; nor can I understand how a public body can dismiss a member elected to it.

Either the DEC is run by blockheads (this part isn't clear, yet); or some unsavoury game is being played. I met with them once about two years ago. I was impressed by the then chairman, but also noted several people who seemed to me to be unusual to find on such a committee. Some of them, I suspect, had political agendas that came from higher powers. And those agendas boded no good for the schools.

This story is worth keeping track of.  George Crossman may be doing us all a big favour.


  1. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford of the Etobicoke Ford clan, needs all the defenders he can find in the media, so it must be heartening to him that Norbert, lackey of the Irving clan and mouthpiece of the Irving press, takes up his defense.

    Responding to media allegations surrounding current drug use, consorting with drug dealers and criminal gang activity in Etobicoke in the 1980s ranging from drug dealing to robbery to kidnapping, to implication in homicides involving neo-nazis and drug dealers, Toronto Mayor Ford, accompanied by his brother Councillor Doug Ford, declared the following on their Newstalk 1010 radio program:

    "They drew first blood, not me"...

    "Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But somebody wouldn't let us win! And I come back to the world and I see all those maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting. Calling me baby killer and all kinds of vile #$%$! Who are they to protest me? Who are they?"...

    "Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can't even hold a job *parking cars*! "

    The mayor is resolute in his determination not to seek legal remedy against his media "slanderers", not to step down and not to follow the advice of his former chief of staff, fired for having made the recommendation, that he seek psychiatric help or go to a rehab clinic.

  2. deep down, he's a real sweetheart.

  3. "Economy could crimp N.B. tourism"

    How about we get a little closer to the truth?

    "The government is *crimping* NB Tourism"

    Governments are using the supply of energy and that energy itself as a cash cow. How about 57 cents on the dollar's worth? (every dollar spent on premium fuel includes 57 cents tax) Enough of a "crimp" for you?