Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sept. 24: Actor Michael Douglas is hoping to get back with his wife....

...that, for anyone who gives a damn, is the most interesting news in today's TandT.

The front page is wasted on baffelgab about the health system, and the new, "businesslike" structures being imposed on it. The trouble is that health is not a business. You cannot run it as if it wre one. You cannot run it without considering its place among all of those things a society needs. And you cannot pick a number out of the blue, and arbitrarily call that a 'sustainable' budget.

I can think of a whole lot of unsustainable budgets out there, all being run by the same business mentality that's runing our hospitals. We just paid Mr. Irving hundreds of millions of excessive charges for some ice-breakers for our navy. At that rate, we shall have the world's most expensive and least useful navy. I see nothinig sustainable about that.

We maintain a system of charging the rich zero to minimal taxes while creating more and more poor - and expecting the poor to make up for the taxes the rich don't pay. What's sustainable about that?

We cut back on basic staff in our health system while grossly overpaying the new business executive types who administer it. How is that sustainable?

So we have a whole front page about how those clowns pick a number out of the air, and call it sustainable. There is no such thing as a standard, sustainable number. What is sustainable depends on who is paying how much, on what we happily spend on other things like ice-breakers, on what we spend to make billionaires  happy, on how much suffering we want to impose on the rest of us.

It also depends on some moral standard for the things we choose to provide. But big business does not have moral standards. That's not just a prejudice. It actually has none. The dominant belief of modern big business is that you think only of yourself, ignoring the needs of all others, that if you think only of yourself, the whole society will benefit.

For examples of how the whole society benefits from that sort of thinking, take a look at what has happened to the US economy. Take a look at the piles of bodies in Vietnan, Guatemala, Iraq..Take a look at the suffering and chaos all over Africa.

All this babbling about a more efficient and systainable health system is intellectual nonsense, a crude interference of big business in our health system - probably with a view to destroying it - and all wrapped up in a style of reporting that amounts to propaganda for the very simple-minded.

How we treat our ill is a moral issue. I see not a trace of moral principles of any sort in our new hospital administrations - just as there are no moral principles of any sort in our corporation world. Perhaps the next Reverend Doctor who speaks at the Irving Chapel will discuss that unless, of course, he has more important things to say about the beautiful flowers that God has created for us, and that Mr. Irving provides.

If there were moral principles  in our new hospital administration, , it would consider needs first, then it would lead a campaign to make our health system sustainable by reducing the bloated profits we hand on a platter to outfits like Irving Shipyards.

The story featrures a picture of Health Minister Ted Flemming whose wide countenance and collar size suggest a need for some "focused health care" from a nutritionist.  (By the way, what the hell is "unfocussed" health care? Does it mean that if you go in with a broken leg, they give you a laxative or something?)

Section A, p. 4 features a free ad for Liberal leader Brian Gallant who says the major issues in the next election will be (drumroll, majorettes, firecrackers) the economy and leadership. (Well, perhaps also motherhood). Man, how's that for a platform? Boy, he lays it right on the line.

On unemployment, Gallant says, without fear of contradiction, that  the Conservatives should have a plan. Way to blaze it over the plate, baby.

His party will have some plans. Good plans. Damn right. Here's a man who has the courage to speak out in favour of good plans.


Anyway,the reality is that  the issue for the next election is neither the economy nor even good plans. We are now in the desperate position of having to to decided who will run this province. Will it be us? Or will it be Mr. Irving? If we vote either the Conservatives or the Liberals into power, then it doesn't matter a damn which of those two we vote for, Mr. Irving will be the boss.

Nothing much in NewsToday (as usual), though there is a good story just begging to be reported.

You've heard of the TD Bank? Well, of course. After all, one of our former premiers has a job there. Well, it seems TD's American operation has just had to pay 52 and half million dollars - and that was just to keep the issue out of court were it could have led to criminal charges.

There's a man in prison serving fifty years for running a Ponzi scheme - with, it seems, the cooperation of the good ol' TD.   He kept his accounts in the TD; and it, though it noted suspicious patterns of transfer of funds, did not report them as the law requires it to.

Worse, when investors inquired about those suspicious movements, TD officers lied to them.

So that's why the bank paid out 52 and a half mil to avoid going to court.

Over the past dozen years, banks in the western world have become notorious for unethical and illegal behaviour. That's why we're having a recession. Sorta makes ya  proud to see one of our banks in on the trend.

Too bad the TandT had no room for the story. But it really needed that space for the big story about Michael Douglas and his wife.

Clever column by Alec Bruce which, unfortunately, will be taken by most readers according to their own prejudices.

Norbert has a good one.

The editorial is trivial, and close to childish. Gwynne Dyer's column is right - I hope. Though there is, I think, going to be one hell of a struggle between those who want wars with Syria and Iran, and whose who don't.

Interesting letter from the editor "Time for NDP to spit out answers". I don't entirely agree with that - though I like the tone of the letter.. I think the NDP has two other things to do first. 1.to make the point that New Brunswick has to decide whether this province is run by the people or by corporations. 2.It has to introduce a moral element into our thinking of what government is about. I don't mean it has to be a religious element. I do mean that a sense of morality and moral purporse is essential to the survival of any society, whether religious or atheist.

Having established that, then you "spit out" answers - and always in the context of who runs the province and what our moral basis is. Without those two points firmly extablished,  the "spitting out" of answers soon gets lost in bafflegab counter-arguments.

The NDP and the Greens are both parties created out of moral principals. The Canadian Liberals and Conservatives are not. That is the point that has to be driven home.


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