Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6: police hold seminar on cargo thefts; council to vote on land purchase....

..and even more of the news YOU need to know.  On p. 1. A Moncton man is happy with his job in film... Oh, and Donald Savoie says "Province must put shoulder to the wheel". My, that man has a gift for le mot juste and the original, colourful phrase. I should love to attend one of his lectures - with a blanket, pillow and teddy bear.

Two days ago, all news media were informed there would be an anti-shale gas demonstration near St.-Louis de Kent. Yesterdayafternoon, as promised, it was  held. It blockaded SWN trucks that were there to begin gas exploration. It was quite peaceful. Nonetheless, thirty or forty police arrived; the highway was closed to all traffic; and there were some arrests.

But there is not a word about it on the front page or any other page of the Moncton TandT.

Well, on A4 there is a long story that everything is going just fine in the St.-Louis de Kent region, and SWN is continuing its peacful and harmless work. At the bottom of the story is a sentence that anti-shale gas groups had planned a protest, but had cancelled it. (In fact, the protest began about noon, which mean it was well in advance of press time.

There really are times when it's hard to tell whether TandT editors are chosen for their ability to lie or for their utter incompetence as journalists.
Professor Savoie's second part of his grande oeuvre on the province's finances is as empty as his first one - and with all the pomposity of the first one.

He discusses the need for us to cut back - without a single mention of the role of big business in creating this situation. No, apparently, all this trouble was caused by us wasting money on child advocates, schools, medical care, and other frills.

There is no mention of how much Mr. Irving and friends suck out of this province in gifts, tax reductions,grants, special favours. And it's all the fault of t he politicians. Are you aware, Professor Savoie, that James Irving is a part of the government? He announced it himself. He appointed those who have been the official financial advisors to the government for the last two or three years.
He and his loved ones have forced their way into the schools, getting contracts they have no competence to carry out. It is almost certain the last two budgets were written by Irving flunkies.

But who has caused all this economic  trouble? Why, it's them there sick people and poor peop[le. And now, they gotta put their shoulder to the wheel. (brilliant phrase; what a gift that man has!)

Never mind that Mr. Irving has been making record profits for decades while most of the rest of us get poorer. Damn right. It's the fault of the poor. Cut off their medical service. Cut off child help. Close schools. Fire teachers. (We already show the way to save by spending the least in Canada on public and school libraries. But that's okay. Hell, the kids get astroturf fields to walk on.What more to they want?)

Mr. Irving and friends already put their shoulders to the wheel. The send their children to private schools to ease the cost to the public purse - and they probably have private doctors for the same reason.

Apparently, there are points "one of Canada's most respected" academics is unaware of.
1. The whole, western world is in recession. That is not entirely the fault of New Brunswick voters or of our wasting money on services to children.
2. It is well established that austerity is exactly the wrong way to go in this situation. Cutting spending will create the far worse situation we are seeing in Europe where it has increased suffering while sill delivering record profits to the very rich.
3. If you want to improve the economy, you have to get the noses of the Irvings of this world out of it. He has, outragerously, named himself a member of the government, stuffed it with his people, forced it to adopt his half-wit ideas on how a civil service should be run, and has demanded that everybody make sacrifices - everybody except him and his buddies.;

And Savoie disgraces the whole, academic world by acting as his yelping prophet.

Where the hell are the universities of this province? I'm sure there must be hundreds of professors who are not the sucks for Mr. Irving that Savoie is. But I'm never heard a word from any of them. Where are the economists who know Savoie is talking pompous nonsense? The scholars of Education who know that the Irvings are damaging the schools and our children? Where are the professors of Journalism who know what an incompetent, irrelevant and lying outfit the Irving Press is?

Those are the crises we face. The pillaging, destructive, anti-democratic interfering Irvings and their friends whose kiss-up political and academic servants remind me of the "democracies" of the Soviet Union and China.
NewsToday has a sample of bad (and possibly unethical) journalism, read the first paragraph of the story "Health workers confront premier". It says that Alward tried to convince an angry crowd of health workers "that his Tory government is taking a responsible approach to managing the costly system."

What's wrong with it? One word that a journalist should have been aware of and, certainly, that an editor should have caught.  Costly.

A news story is supposed to report fact, not opinion. One can say that Alward is a Tory - because he certainly is, and would never deny it. But whether the health system is costly is a judgement. Worse, it implies that it is too costly - and that word sets the reader's attitude for the rest of the story. It's a small thng. But It has a tremendous impact.
The editorial is the usual ignorant rant. It offers its view - with no evidence whatever - that most of the hue and cry over health cuts is coming from interest groups. Actually, Mr. Editor, it's allowed to come from interest groups. That's called freedom of speech. It's called democracy. Politicians do not have an exclusive right to discuss political issues. We're all allowed to. After all, Mr. Editor, you represent a speical interest group, don't you?

It offers the advice that 750,000 people do not need 22 hospitals. That's a remarkably dumb statement. If the 750,000 lived in Toronto, then they certainly would not need 22 hospitals. But I suggest the editor take a drive around this province. It is somewhat more spread out than Toronto. And it doesn't have a subway system. In fact, it has little in the way of any public transit at all.

Generally, this is pretty brainless stuff, written to support Mr. Irving's grand design for the future of our social services - and anything else that hasn't been privatized yet.

Alec Bruce, Norbert Cunningham and Beth Lyons are worth reading. Rod can see why he's an editor for Irving Press.
As a footnote for the day, there's a magazine called Literary Review of Canada (LRC). The edition for June, 2013, has a brilliant article on education - and one that has a special meaning for New Brunswick.

Though few Canadians know it, Canada has long had one of the best education systems in the world  in methods, teachers, and results. Though there is still work to be done, of course. But Canadian schools lead in closing the gap between successful and poor students And it consistently produces high results in international testing programmes. (You would never know that from reading the TandT.)

Our system is based on the public education system pioneered in Scotland, and has now spread around the world. It, more than anything else, accounts for the tremendous rise in knowledge and prosperity through most of the twentieth century.

But big business is not happy with it. It wants to impose business methods on the schools. It wants them to run on statistics, and just loves to impose tests that rank schools (tests that, in reality, are quite invalid and tell us nothing.) In Atlantic Canada, the pet dog for this thinking is Atlantic Institute for Market Studies which has been used by the Irvings to get their noses into the school system.

But the Irvings, as always, want more. They want to get their hands on our education tax money. Thus the gift of a two and half million dollar contract to an Irving to run a teaching programme he has no qualifications whatever for. In the long run, they want privatization of education - a step that would take us back at least three centuries.

It's already been tried on a large scale in Britain and the US with a gradual privatization of schools and the introduction of lots and lots of statistical measurement. And it has been a disaster wherever it has been tried. In the US, the quality of education has dropped to the lowest level in the developed world - and even below some in the undeveloped world. Britain is going through a similar drop.

Of course, that won't deter the Irvings. After all, they want profits and, getting them, they want more profits. And if that destroys our children for generations to come, who gives a damn?

So let's put our shoulders to the wheel and roll it over education and health to make the Irvings happy.

If you can't find LRC on a magazine rack, try the library. It's also possible Chapters would have it.

LRC also has a review of a book that is a true horror story about NB. The reviewer, a retired professor of the History Department at UNB says this is a wonderful read.

It's a true story set in the Shediac of 1805. Amos Babcock, in front of his wife and nine children, scalped his sister, then disembowelled her. (On learning this, I immiedately cancelled plans to visit the beach at Shediac. However, a check of my phone book reassured me that there are no longer any Babcocks in Shediac.)

It's "The Ballad of Jacob Peck" by Debra Komar. Try chapters. Try the library.

Too bad that the TandT, which constantly expresses its concern about literacy, never has a book review section to interest Monctonians in books like this.


1 comment:

  1. "Shoulder to the wheel", "yelping prophet", your polemics are always quite entertaining. Though in the case of the Babcocks of Shediac, the term "yelping prophet" could conceivably be applied to doomsday preacher Jacob Peck who allegedly fueled Babcock's dementia' and encouraged him in the commission of his crimes.

    Curiously, the Babcock name is involved in a sordid tale of abduction, murder and mayhem in Ontario in which a young woman named Laura Babcock, missing since June 2012 was romantically linked to alleged murderer and presumed serial killer Dellen Millard according to Toronto police. Toronto police, otherwise occupied with the antics of mayor Ford, justify their apparent disinterest in this young woman's disappearance and inactivity in her search by claiming the presumed victim "was known to be involved in the sex-trade business as an internet escort for several months prior to her disappearance", per their latest press release.

    A fascinating horror tale for some future novelist to recount and some future historian to review.