Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12:When the real headline is the bottom line.

There's a curious story that gets a banner headline on page of today's TandT. "B.B changes handling of young offenders"

It tells how young offenders have been held in open custody homes in or within reach of their communities. It also says these have been quite successful. But now it is moving to a quite remote facility.

The province's child and youth advocate says it doesn't sound like a good idea, and he'd like to hear what the motivation is. He points out that such a remote ,"closed" custody is contrary to the advice of the law, itself.

As I read the story, I grew impatient with the reporter, thinking "Why didn't you ask the government why they're doing this."

But that was wrong of me. He did ask. But, in the last line of the story, he "got no response".

Now, that should almost be the headline. What possible right does the department have to make such a move without even telling us why?

In an active, involved society there would be followup, lots of followup, to this. To plead some necessity for secrecy would be one thing. But just to tell us to get lost is quite another. ..NB is such a passive society.....

And the TandT does not put on the pressure it should. We still know nothing about the police raid on the Irving head office in St. John after Lac Megantic. In fact, we've never had the the full story on  Lac Megantic, even though so many died. And the story of the similar oil train accident near Plaster Rock just disappeared into the mist.

We have a press that is much too polite to the boss.

Just below that is a big story that really isn't a big story.A poll shows that the Moncton public is open to major city maintenance projects be designated as P3 projects. (And that is one extremely vague term meaning the work would be shared by government and private business (sorry, entrepeneurs).

The poll was taken by a polling firm working for - wait for it - The Canadian Council for Public-private Partnerships. Quelle surprise!  There are two objections to thisidea.

1.Such a partnership almost certainly raises costs. For openers, the private sector needs to cover the cost of the project - AND to make a profit ( which is something easy to do when you're on a contract from the NB government.0 The odds are strong this will be a more expensive way to do things.

Add to that another factor. There is a good deal of loose talk that this province has more than a touch of corruption about it, especially in the form of government giving away money to business. Now, I wouldn't dream of saying that's true. But telling private business to go find its own jobs would be a good way of putting down the loose talk.

2. Public-private Partnerships is a propaganda term. It's designed to give the impression that the Public and the Private sectors are equal.  It's in a class with Mr. Irving's statement of several years ago that he was now a member of the government - just because he said so, and without getting elected. Somehow, he has a right that we don't have.

It's also in a class, at the same period, of his holding a provincial conference of his choice participants to plan the economic future of New Brunswick. And the press took it seriously. Who the hell was he to plan our future ?  In a democracy, we do that.

The same can be said for all those business ( sorry, entrepreneur) summit conferences this province seems to be addicted to.

The propaganda is that government and business share responsibility for the development of this country.

NO. They don't. That is not the way a democracy works. We, all of us, share responsibility for that development. There is no such thing as big responsibility for Mr. Irving, and teeny-tiny responsibilities for us.

Watch the words those people use. They are carefully chosen for their propaganda value. Another gem of the type is "entrepreneur" - so much more sophisticated than business owner.

It's all part of the process of destroying individual rights by giving what we can call group rights. Or you could call it by its correct name - fascism.

"Newstoday" is pretty much a zero. Apparently, there was no news at all in most of the world. That's reassuring.

On abortion, Alward is sticking to his religious view that life begins at conception. And, since The Bible says though shalt not kill, he will not improve access to abortions.

It's always such a comfort to believe those parts of The Bible that a Christian can obey without actually doing anything - except possibly judging others. And there are always those, like Mr. Alward, who cannot tell the difference between self-righteousness and virtue.

The Bible also says we should publicly stone disobedient children. So how about getting on your horse and doing that, Alward?

The Bible also condemns all the central beliefs of capitalism including, most especially, the belief that greed and self-interest are good. So how about getting up on your high and telling Mr. Irving exactly what he's doing that is wrong.

And you're against killing babies? Good for you. So how about you and your Godly friends saying something about the unknown number of babies - certainly in the hundreds of thousands and possibly millions, killed by American armies and the heroes of special ops - including the thousands now being killed in Syria, and many, many more in Vietnam who died of horrible birth defects caused by Agent Orange or who were murdered by napalm or bombs, and who, like those in Iran and Afghanistan are still dying of exposure to deleted uranium and discarded munitions?

How about making sure than unwed mothers can get decent places to live with adequate food, and with jobs that pay a living wage?

And having limited abortion, how do you feel about all the babies and the mothers who will die in backstreet abortions?

But no. You'd rather just point the finger of righteousness, and reflect on your own virtue. Have you ever thought of studying for the clergy?
Norbert has some useful ideas for economic development. Unfortunately, he combines them with debt reduction ideas that were proven disastrous in the 1930s. Anyway, it's not possible to reduce the debt, and to develop national projects at the same time.

It's also impossible to reduce the debt while you still believe it's a good idea to give big business all the profit it wants. This, too, is exactly what we did in the 1930s.

Excellent column by Bill Belliveau on the importance of developing our rail system. This one is a must read.

Excellent article by Gwynne Dyer. I was astonished the TandT had no news story on Ukraine, though the situation is more dangerous than ever - not only because of the leadership of both sides, but because Ukraine is inherently unstable, and could well trigger a war - not just because of the Ukrainian government but because the volatile mix of people in Ukraine - Russians, Ukrainians, other ethnic groups, Nazis, far right wingers..... and combining that with the dreadful poverty the banks are going to inflict on all of them.

One curious thing about this column - and I noticed it in a previous column. Putin is commonly portrayed as cynical, interfering, and with an aura of evil. I don't doubt that he is all of those. But they don't come more bloody-handed and cynical and callous than the leaders of the west. And Dyer never mentions Western leaders in those terms.

I guess we just don't see evil when we are doing it.

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