One of the crime scenes

Monday, March 10, 2008

How to Earn

Infamy is a group activity that usually requires a group effort. Without a compliant media that fails in its responsibility to inform the public, a group of thugs like the so-called Campbell Government would be unable to pursue its own hidden agenda, contrary to its own campaign platform, behind a screen of happy face slogans. If so-called journalists were half as interested in seeking out/and sharing the facts as they are in purveying the "official" government spin, the "people" very likely would have an entirely different perspective on both what is happening AND how their vote can affect this reality. The practice of simply ignoring certain issues and stories is just as important as the application of the appropriate spin to the stories that manage to get through the filters of the corporate media ownership.

Of course we don't suffer "censorship" like that experienced in the old USSR of Pravda, or in the Myanmar of today. In Canada we enjoy "Freedom of the Press." Of course that particular freedom is of much more value to he who is fortunate enough to own one (or say three dailies in the Lower Mainland - Capitol Region + TeeVee and weeklies.) On Friday, March 7, Vaughn Palmer once again proved why Robin Matthews has dubbed him - "Gordon Campbell's personal representative at the Vancouver Sun". His embarrassing piece titled NDP runs out of steam against health minister's counterpunching , is a textbook tour of how to trivialize, misdirect and turn the issues of the day into a "horse race" narrative that apparently even the dimmest bulbs in the editorial ooze can comprehend.

Shortly before question period in the legislature one afternoon this week, the Hospital Employees' Union put out a press release on the running controversy over nursing homes.

"Retirement Concepts," it began, citing the controversial private operator of a number of publicly funded homes, "set to slash care for seniors at Coquitlam nursing home."

The release immediately caught the attention of Health Minister George Abbott and the staff in his office.

Vaughn then, in loving detail, shares with us how well served we are by our Health Minister "BobbleHead" Abbott while not missing an opportunity to slag the NDP for being held ransom by the "special interest" public sector unions that have less and less of an effect on public health care each time the government has an opportunity to implement this part of its ideology. I imagine everyone else in the province is as glad as I am that the Corporate donors that fuel the Soup Nazi's war chest have no expectation of any favorable policy decisions in return for their generous support (unlike those "greedy" special interest union thugs).

He (Abbott) sees it as critical to the job of managing the issues in health care, putting out the fires that can otherwise flare up into news stories about a system in crisis.

Translated into English, the above means that managing the "spin" is actually much more important than actually, well, you know, managing the health care system.

"Just this afternoon we learned that another Retirement Concepts home, this one in Coquitlam, is set to cut care," Opposition leader Carole James declared as she pitched the second question of the afternoon.

"I congratulate the leader of the Opposition on being sharp enough to pick up the HEU press release," returned Abbott, who rarely misses an opportunity to counterpunch his critics.

Wow, George, I'm so impressed, what a zinger, you can make fun of the Leader of the Opposition for actually reading a press release. What's so funny? Or do you need to have people to do that for you, read press releases that is? Were you by any chance educated in BC? Or maybe Ms. James erred by reading ANY press release NOT CREATED by the 185+ OIC Informaton Masseuses in Gordon Campbell's employ? I call B.S. on you VP.

It may seem perverse that with a ministry as big and as complicated as health, the minister spends a significant portion of his day getting ready for what might come flying at him inside the legislature or outside in media scrums.

Bulletin: Vaughn Palmer wrote something that makes sense, because yes it IS perverse. But then, with a straight face (I assume), he goes on to say:

But Abbott sees the time spent as indispensable. The health care system touches the lives of more voters every day than most other government programs put together, and not always happily.

"I'd like to spend more time on policy and less on issues management," he told columnist Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail in an interview last year.

"But I have to deal with the world as it is, and when a television station or newspaper has a desperate interest in a story that is emerging in the media cycle, we have to be there to tell our side of the story."

I suppose George should feel relieved that our friend Gary Mason (Gyro Winner-2007) hasn't felt the need to share Sunday Morning in Bed with the Abbotts, yet, unless I've missed something.

Notice this part "our side of the story." I know the "official" line is that the Campbell Bunch are doing wonders at "improving" health care. I'm sure that Mr. BobbleHead has to stay awake late into the night to come up with ways to paint what I see everyday on the ground as "improvement." Closing wards, closing whole hospitals, contracting out services at higher costs for lower quality results, chasing professionals and other staff to other jurisdictions for bearable working conditions and/or wages and treating the elderly who built the province like inconvenient wastes of space (no matter that the space they are wasting might be hundreds of miles from their loved ones) are difficult to spin into GOOD things. To constantly claim to be replacing hospital beds and staff with improved home care while virtually eliminating home care for all except those who can afford private care isn't easy to do without some thought about how to "parse" one's statements.

If perhaps the Health Minister actually spent more time "managing" and/or administrating the ACTUAL delivery of health care to the people of BC, rather than waging a campaign to degrade it to the point where the ideologically attractive (to the BC LIEberals) privatization of health care becomes acceptable to the public through attrition, he wouldn't have to spend so much time "putting out the fires that can otherwise flare up into news stories about a system in crisis." When a government is striving to implement an agenda that is hidden from the public, the public to which it is generally unacceptable, managing the spin becomes more important than managing the government. Besides like all right wing nut worshipers at the feet of the god of free boot capitalism and corporate piracy, government doesn't work anyway. And if you don't believe them, they are more than willing to prove it.

Meanwhile, if you need to listen to somebody named Vaughn, listen to the fellow below or his brother Jimmy. Now they have something to say.

Stevie Ray


Anonymous Bongo said...

Really good essay. I can`t read Palmer..too creepy. He really gives me the creeps.

Monday, March 10, 2008 at 12:42:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi koot,

These so-called press people in BC are so very pathetic.

I watched Vaughn’s little show on Shaw a couple weeks back were they had the media gang on the program. Vaughn’s guests were the beady eyed baldery and the don’t say too much Justine hunter. They were discussing the budget and how wonderful and bullet proof finance minister Carole Taylor was, is and always will be (as the press have done at nausea in the past). Then the subject turned to who could possibly take the ministry over. Baldery open up to say well if there is a healthy economy the ministry pretty much runs it’s self!! WHAT! I agree with baldery, just about any one in bc could have run the ministry, all you have to do is (hold your nose) take direction from Campbell, have smart people in your office and go spin the truth to the all too eager to believe press a few times a year.

Well, these guy’s just cant get there spin right. Like this Campbell government the spin, half-truths and just plain manipulation must be hard to keep straight.

Another media gang show Vaughn hosted awhile back had Sean Leslie and Sean Holman on the program. The show was billed as the up and coming 2008 year in politics. About half way through the leader of the bc green party made a statement about the media focusing only on the financial side of the green house schemes and Holman’s response was like (as given in the past) that the green party like the ndp should never criticize the media if they know what good for them. Then with only a few minutes left in the program Holman was asked about the bc rail trial and his reply was that he was scared to write/say anything because he might be sued. So you have Holman threaten anyone that criticize him (including little old ladies) at the same time he’s scared of his own shadow when it comes to bc rail trial.

From thug to wimp

Very, very pathetic

Monday, March 10, 2008 at 1:54:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And at Retirement Concepts' Nanaimo Seniors Village assisted living facility, the staff have just been fired yet again -- for the fourth time.

VIHA will staff it instead. Good for the residents, bad for the people who've been working there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 12:39:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous lynx said...

Please let karma be a real thing and please let it one day find Mr. Abbott.

Great piece, kootcoot.

Interesting documentary on the CBC tonight:

Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 6:27:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi koot,

I left a note at Mary’s place in response to your kind words. (Mar.14-trans next week) about half way down.

I kind of like “quote collector”, thanks anyway.

Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 11:09:00 AM PDT  
Blogger BC Mary said...

Hi, all:

Here are 5 more quotes which were published by Sean Holman at Public Eye Online March 25, 2008:

Free speech with a potential cost

Last year, we reported on Campbell administration attempts to stifle political debate by suggesting New Democrat accusations against senior Liberals may be defamatory. And that trend has continued in the most recent legislative session. According to a reading of Hansard, the Liberals have made such suggestions at least five times. And that's not even including the heckles Hansard doesn't record. The following is a list of examples.

Hon. M. de Jong: I predict that we have just heard commentary in this House that won't be repeated outside.

- March 12, 2008

Hon. W. Oppal: If the opposition is so preoccupied by Ms. McDonald and is making the allegations against her, why don't they step outside and make them?

- March 11, 2008

Hon. M. de Jong: This is pretty straightforward, Mr. Speaker. If the members opposite want to allege bad faith on the part of the deputy to the Premier, they should go out in the hallway and do so. If the members opposite want to allege some kind of improper conduct on the part of the deputy to the Premier, they should go outside and allege it, free from the kind of immunity that exists out here. I have never seen such a despicable attack as what I see from this opposition today.

- March 11, 2008

Hon. M. de Jong: Again, blanketed in the security that the immunity of this chamber grants all members, the opposition continues to cast aspersions on individuals.

- March 11, 2008

Hon. R. Neufeld: You know what? It's easy to say words in here where there's immunity. When you have to go out in a hallway and actually accuse a chief from the northwest that he was actually going to do something illegal...I would challenge that member to go out there and do that right now, right after question period. Go out there and actually accuse that chief of maybe doing something illegal.

- March 5, 2008

Posted by Sean Holman at 09:35 AM
Permanent link
Comments on: Free Speech with a potential cost.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:18:00 PM PDT  
Blogger kootcoot said...

Great Hansard Gleanings, Mary!

It seems so wrong to attach the Hon. honorific in front of Ding Dong DeJong's name, OXYMORON.

They sound like a bunch of elementary school kids trying to bully each other. Let's go outside and settle this.....jeez.

It seems to me that Mr. DeJong has such a rude mouth that he has even transcended the limits of what he can say in the House, and has been kicked out on occasion, like a bully kid sent to the principle's office back in Grade 3.

Nice work if you can get it, the salary, perks and future "connections" for hanging out with the gang acting like rude spoiled kids. And remind me what this silliness has to do with "democracy"?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 3:44:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 10:02:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi kootcoot,

this was sent by the ndp and i remembered that you injoyed reading the last ones.


In Quotes: What they're saying this week

On the homelessness crisis in British Columbia

Things getting worse is on the right track?

"There's no question we're on the right track."
- Housing Minister Rich Coleman, reacting to reports that there are at least 11,750 homeless in B.C. (in the Vancouver Sun), March 24, 2008

On privatized medicine under Gordon Campbell

They say Nero fiddled while Rome burned

"The Liberals have mostly continued to practice wilful blindness as two-tier care expanded in obvious violation of the law."
- Paul Willcocks (Times Colonist), March 24, 2008

On the disparity between the rich and poor

Campbell feels the rest of us should eat cake

"While Campbell continues his endless party for the rich, paid using our chequebook, he has dismally failed the people who employ him -- the people of this province -- and most importantly, our children, disabled and seniors."
- Jillian Skeet (letter to the Vancouver Sun), March 24, 2008

On the ethical breaches in the Premier's office

Luckily, there's leadership from the opposition

"The good news is that our political system has worked as it should. In light of Premier Campbell's serious lack of judgment, I'm of course referring to Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. More specifically, we are indebted to one MLA, Maurine Karagianis, for blowing the whistle on this affair.
"The NDP member for Esquimalt seized on the issue after the 2005 election, and she has not let go since. Thanks to Ms. Karagianis, a special prosecutor was appointed by the Criminal Justice Branch to deal with the allegations against Mr. Dobell."
- Norman Spector (Globe and Mail), March 24, 2008

On the lack of commitment to public services

The next Olympic event: Competitive snow removal

"Having had the displeasure of participating in the mess on the Coquihalla Highway on Sunday evening, I'd like to pass on some thoughts...
"In a province that believes it's mature enough to host the Winter Olympics, it would be quite sad if the world had to witness how we maintain public infrastructure."
- Bruce Hawke (letter to the Kamloops Daily News), March 25, 2008

On the gas tax

The Campbell government doesn't (heart) the Heartlands any more...

"Yet the Liberal government has chosen only to impose unequal punitive consumption taxes (carbon taxes) on B.C. industry and on the basic living essentials of residential home heating and personal transportation. Why?
"With our harsher winters and lack of public transit, residents of the Interior and north already face far greater expenses for home heating and transportation than those living in temperate Vancouver and Victoria, and thus we will be forced to pay even more in carbon taxes."
- Jim Kennedy (letter to the Vancouver Sun), March 26, 2008

... but the Heartlands doesn't (heart) Campbell, either

"Who doesn't believe that we should have a cleaner, greener world, but we shouldn't do it on the backs of rural British Columbians?
"We don't have a multimillion-dollar transit system. We drive from community to community -- we've got old-style transit: the automobile."
- Williams Lake Mayor Scott Nelson (in the Province), March 26, 2008

... nor do ferry users

"Ferry travellers will be again squeezed on fares when the B.C. Liberal government begins collecting its new carbon tax."
- Vaughn Palmer (Vancouver Sun), March 27, 2008

On the failed Upper Pitt River hydro project

From bad governments come bad decisions

"This is one idea that should never have made it past the back-of-the-napkin stage.
"But instead of nipping a bad project in the bud, the government let it grow into a big gnarly weed that had to be yanked out by the roots.
"In the process, they gave themselves and emerging small-hydro technology a black eye."
- Mike Smyth (the Province), March 27, 2008

On post-secondary education

B.C. Liberals get a failing grade

"The provincial government is chronically underfunding the community colleges. Students are very concerned. When you cut these programs you fail your community."
- Vancouver Community College student union organizer Tiffany Kalanj (in the Province), March 28, 2008


Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 10:42:00 AM PDT  
Blogger kootcoot said...

Thanks anon-0-mouse at 10:42, I do enjoy these. If you would like, just email me next week's collection at and I will post them on the front page. I'm sure the NDP won't mind having such gems spread around even more.

Make up a handle and I'll even credit you as the contributer.

Thanks again, for my personal enjoyment.

Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 11:53:00 AM PDT  

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