Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21: Shame, shame, shame....

The first page of today's TandT features a story from a research group. "N.B. health waits a "shame": report." It's about long waits for some medical services, especially in NB.

There are lots of things that are a shame. This one is a shame on the newspaper.

When big business began making an organized and serious attempt to take over government more than fifty years ago, it discovered a wonderful way to do it. It set up think tanks, groups of supposedly impartial researchers who would publish reports damaging to institutions they didn't like. And they didn't like anything publicly owned- with medicare leading their list of hates. So they have churned out report  after report about the failings of medicare, always with a  hint that private medical care would be better.

Getting publicity for their findings was no problem since most news media are owned by the same kind of people as the corporation bosses who are hostile to institutions like medicare.

Politically, most think-tanks are right wing - which is simply a jargony way of saying they would prefer government to get out of the way, and make health, education, jails,  police, etc. into privately owned companies. This has been done all over the US and Britain - commonly with disastrous results. But the think tanks don't do studies on that part of it.

There are, it's true, a few left-wing think tanks. But they don't have the money of the right-wing ones. In any case, I have never seen the report of any left-wing think tank in our news media. It must happen sometimes; but if so, it's rare.

Much of our news comes straight from billionaire supported tanks like Fraser Institute. C.D.Howe, and Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. In other words, much of our news is pure propaganda. And I note the 'news' reports from these outfits almost never contain any criticism of their pronouncements.

In this case, the news story does say it's right wing - but that comes nowhere close to telling readers what it's really all about. And right-wing think-tank reports are always treated at least as seriously as reports by real and impartial researchers.

I have no idea of whether this report tells the whole truth. And if it's complaints are true, I have no idea whose fault it may be that hospital wait times in New Brunswick are long. And, in fact, the report does not examine that.  No matter.  The think tank has its recommendation ready. And there was never any doubt what they would be.

Privatize part of the health system.

If we do that, the story goes, those who can afford it will get private health care, thus freeing up medical staff to deal more quickly with the rest. Too bad that's not true.

If you subtract doctors and some facilities from medicare to serve the rich. then the rest of us will be even shorter of doctors and facilities. It will not make waits shorter. It will make them longer (except, of course, for the kinds of people who subsidize these think tanks.

Incidentally, it is my impression that some years ago, big business stuck it's big, red nose into the health system to redesign it to it would work on a business model. Well, gee! If it's working on a business model with advisors from business, how can there possibly be any problems?

Wow! Wow! Wow! On C2 there's a story -  with a picture - of a new restaurant combining Pizza Delight and Scores.

On A4, a church is looking for donations for a garage sale. Here's a paper that's out there digging to get the real news that YOU need to know. (I don't believe I've ever seen such am item in print as if it were a news story.)

Newstoday is largely pictures of the royal Him and Her.

The lead story is - hold your breath - a report advising the province to  save money by closing schools and hospitals. This comes from another big business "think-tank", though the paper doesn't bother to tell us that. This time it's our own Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. And it's just packed with names of people who have devoted their lives to helping us common people, names like Irving and McCain.

So there it is - pure propaganda disguised as news.

In any case, cutting such budgets to soften a recession doesn't work. It never has. This is exactly what happened in the dirty thirties - billionaires making record profits, and telling us we had to cut their taxes, raise ours, and cut spending. But that didn't end or even ease the depression. It took war to do that. And it took big government. And it took forcing business to bloody well do what our elected government told it to do.

Norbert has an interesting column, though it rather falls on it's face with the closing remark called The Last Word. It blames the current government spending for domestic espionage and invasion of privacy  on young people who don't value their privacy. ??????? Really? So that's why governments all over the world are setting up monstrous spy systems and record files?

Please, Norbert. There should be some connection between The Last Word and your column.

Alec Bruce has a change-of-pace column on the decline of marriage as an institution. It could use a follow-up on the meaning of that decline.

Brian Cormier has his usual and irrelevant bedtime story. In signing off, he defines himself as a communications specialist. I'd like to see him write about exactly what that means. It surely can't mean writing irrelevant little stories every week.

1 comment:

  1. Rhymes with 'shame, shame, shame'....