Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27: "Clouds can be a sign of rain: prof"

That's so true. I'm a prof so, of course, I speak as an expert (just like prof Savoie)  when I say clouds can be a sign of rain. Curiously, the Moncton Times and Transcript has never asked me about it. So I suppose we'll never see the front page headline that I have in the title of this blog.

So why does today's TandT headline read "Crime can derail protest efforts: prof"? I mean, that's right up there with "Walking in the rain can get your feet wet: prof", "Falling asleep naked in the sun can cause sunburn: prof".  Reading the TandT every day can make you retarded: prof".

In fact, that's not even what the story is all about. The sub head says it's about "Local observers  say that overall, shale gas opponents have been doing a good job at expressing concerns." Well, that's certainly true (despite an error in punctuation). But it is a different story from the one suggested in the headline - and still not the one that the news story is about.

In fact, the news story is a whole jumble of stories, some about arrests, some about peaceful demonstrations, some about arguments for and against shale gas. There's also another "prof says" that protest movement can be much bigger than they seem."

This isn't a news story. This is a yard sale of gossip, rumour, and speculation. So why the screaming, lead headline? There are several  possibilities.. Consider the following:

1. It does NOT say that crime can help the shale gas company by portraying protesters as violent and dangerous ciminals.
2. It does NOT say that it can also be used to justify a broader use of police powers.
3. It DOES, by insinuation, connect the protesters to the violence - pointing again to the arrests. But it does NOT mention that the arrests had nothing to do with protester violence - and it does NOT provide any evidence that it was protesters who did the most recent violence.

Now, put 1, 2 and 3 together, and that would equally justify a headline that would read "Damage done to shale gas equipment was done by company:prof". I'm sure they can find a prof to say that. In fact, I'll volunteer. (send a photographer).

My story would be just as valid as the one they ran. That is, it wouldn't be valid at all. So why did the the TandT run such a bizarre story - and run it as the story of the day? I can't even pretend to know.

It could be sheer incompetence. (I have faith in the ability of the Irving press to produce work of stunning incompetence. Indeed, it is commonly as incompetent as it is unethical.)

It could be an attempt to link the violence to protesters  (all of them) while at the same time appearing to take a balanced approach.

The only safe conclusion I can come to is that this story is trash, and should never have made it into print.

In NewsToday, the hot items are on the last page- as in the story which is really just a big, colour photo of a man who won Via Rail tickets to Montreal. In another top story - also mostly just a colour photo - the IODE has given pictures of the Queen to five schools.

The news YOU need to know.

In fairness, there's also a story on p. 3 about Edward Snowden, the American  spying contractor who revealed the US has been illegally and unconstitutionally spying on millions of Americans and many millions more all over the world - including , almost certainly, a great number of Canadians. Of course, the story doesn't tell us anything about that part of it.

No. The big story is that he doesn't seem to be at Moscow airport. So I checked my clothes closet. Nope. He's not there either. Watch tomorrow's front page:
"Snowden not in my clothes closet: expert prof".
On ed and op ed, good column by Alec Bruce and Jody Dallaire. Three excellent Letters to the editor:
"Editorial showed lack of compassion for poor", "Council made right decision", "Be constructive with solutions".

And that's it for an edition pretty boring and irrelevant even by Irving press standards. So we have a moment for something else.
As you may know, we are re-enacting the march of Atlantic colonies soldiers from Fredericton to Quebec in the War of 1812. The theory is that this will inform us about history, and will make us patriotic.

You want to get informed about  history and the war of 1812 with a re-enactment? Okay. Let's really re-enact it. And be sure to bring the kiddies.

First, invite Americans armed with sword and musket to cross the border, killing civilians as they go. When they are forced to retreat have them burn a town on the way, slashing civilian's throats as they flee their burning houses.

Oh, be sure to include native peoples. They were crucial for British intelligence of American movements. As well, Americans were terrified of them as warriors. Early in the war, the American commander of Detroit, who had an army superior in position and numbers to the British and native peoples facing him, surrendered out of pure fear of the native warriors.

Line men up in blue and red uniforms. (Not pretty uniforms - filthy ones that they've worn for weeks, even months, without cleaning. Have them fire lead balls into each other at close range. The combination of filthy clothes with a lead ball  smashing itself  and the cloth into them will create hundreds of wounded for which there were no disinfectants. So, here you lay them on on the ground and hire doctors to cut off limbs without disinfectant or anaesthetic.

Then we all stand and listen to O Canada played on a dreadful school PA system, and go home feeling patriotic.

1812 was an invasion, not a parade. Not a party. There was death. There was dreadful injury. There were masses of  orphans and widows and impoverished.

It was not a tiff between friends. Nations are NOT friends. That illusion is for politicians who want to make us think so. But it's pure illusion.

The US committed mass murder of its native peoples (as we did when it was convenient to do so). Then it hit us and killed us for the same reason it killed its native peoples - to get more land. Then it invaded its Mexican neighbours - for the same reason. That's why so many places in Texas, Arizona and California still have Spanish names.

Then it sponsored another invasion of Canada by Irish veterans of the US civil war. One of the reasons "our friend" Britain encouraged confederation was to get rid of Canada so it would not get sucked into another war defending us. (But it soon had to change its mind when it realized it needed both Canada and the US to hold off a rising Germany.)

The US became a threat again in a dispute over the border between Alaska and Canada. Britain cast the deciding vote in favour of the US border claim because it had no intention of risking a war to help Canada when it so desperately needed US support for the Great War coming. (God bless our Gracious Queen).

To this day, the only country in the world in a position to attack Canada is the US. But it doesn't have to. It can simply ignore our laws - as it does in its use of our Arctic waters over the past forty years or so. And our business leaders tell us the US is our friend - because it's their biggest market. So we now have to fight American wars as we used to fight British wars.

The War of 1812 celebrations have nothing to do with  history - except that they misrepresent it and trivialize it into pretty shows.

Nor do the celebrations or the listening to O Canada have anything to do with patriotism. But that's another story.

Oh - an important note. My birthday is in two months. (You'll want that time to plan.)


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