Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7: It's hard to read this crap every day....

I've just noticed that Donald Savoie, at the head of his columns, is referred to as a policy expert. As a description. that is absurd. They never referred to Dr. Cleary as a medical expert. In fact, no critic of shale gas or of the Irvings, has ever been referred to as an expert. Nor is an editor qualified to make any such statement about anybody. No editor has the ability to judge who is an expert in history or economics or chemistry because no editor has the training to make such a judgement. Nor would it mean anything if they did.

To call someone expert implies that person is correct. And to think that betrays a profound ignorance of what advanced study is about. In the time of Gallileo, the "leading" astonomers and scholars of his day believed that the sun went around the earth. And they were the experts.

In Darwin's time, experts of all sorts believed that the earth was created in six days - and that man as a species had no ancestors. There are still serious scholars, influenced by religion, who claim that. Experts of all sorts are influenced by religious beliefs, moral values. social values.... There are even some - quite a few actually - who are influenced by the fame or money or both to be gained by thinking the "right" way.

There is no such thing as a polcy expert who can point the way to what is the right policy. Quite apart from all t he limitations of human understanding, our notion of what is the right policy is influenced by all sorts of factors, moral and social. It also requires a knowledge of what the future will be like - something Professor Savoie has not demonstrated.

I have seen no evidence that the editors of Irving press  have any understanding of the above. But Professor Savoie should.

He closes by once again telling us to put our shoulders to the wheel. Why is he bothering with us? What influence do we have on all this? The gas companies don't care what we think. They have given us no information - and certainly not a word on any dangers in the process. Ditto for the Tand T. Ditto for the government.

Anyway, why waste advice on us who have nothing to do with the running of this province? The government doesn't run it,, either. As professor Savoie must know, this province is quite blatantly run by Mr. Irving and his buddies. Mr. Savoie, why not give your advice to them?

That would, at least, be more honest than acting as a pimp for them.
In another front page story, a chief of Native Peoples calls for protests to be peaceful.  That's so true. There is nothing worse than violence like, for example, poisoning the land and fresh water, then using the fresh water to flush the poisons and dump them in , say, the Bay of Fundy.

Yep. Nothing worse than violence. Somebody should tell that to SWN and Mr. Alward and Mr. Irving, and all those leeches who cling to tnem.
Lots of great ads in NewsToday.

Your Business has a story by staffwriter Alan Cochrane., "Pipline project could benefit all of New Brunswick." Young Alan must have skipped some of his journalism classes  A headline isi supposed to tell us what a story is about. This story is NOT about how the pipeline will benefit us. It is not even a statement that it will benefit us. It is about how some people who want shale gas SAY it will benefit us. There's a difference.

Consider, for example, these two headlines.

"Mr. Alward is the most dyaminic a lovable presmier in Canada."
"Mr. Alward says he is the most dynamic and loveable premier in Canada."

See the difference?
Roughly half of the editorial and op ed pages are devoted to giving support to shale gas. When was the last time you saw a column on either page that was critical of shale gas?

Michael Sullivan has a good column on reality television shows. But it's a bit much to suggest, as ge does,  that this is because he's a conservative. Most such shows are supported by TV channels that are conservative to the core. And PBS, which he loves, has been under constant attack from American conservatives.

As to reality television shows, these are our equivalent to the old Roman enthusiasm for watching people kill and/or humiliate others in the Coliseum. Worthless and degraded themselves - and knowing it - they hugely enjoyed laughing at people even lower than they were.That's the appeal of Jerry Springer. It's a sign of one hell of a sick society - just like all those scandal mags at supermarket checkout counters.

A suggestion, though, Mr. Sullivan. Get off the conservative/liberal kick. You are talking about things that have nothing to do with either liberalism or conservatism. As well, I'm not convinced you are a conservative - or that there is anything conservative about the conservative party. It's important to know exactly what words mean.

You have a good mind. Let it free of those meaningless labels.
Alec Bruce has a column that could be a springboard ro develop some ideas. I don't agrree with the implications of what he says. But he does touch on points that need a lot more thought.

This province has economic problems that are, many of them, unique to it. The only reponses I've seen to those problems have been get-rich-quick schemes - usually promoted by the wealthy and benefitting only them.

New Brunswick needs long term planning based on realistic assumptions of what North America will be like twenty years from now - and even more. I have seen no hint of such thinking going on. We need that before we spend a cent more on wildly optimisiic and costly boondoggles like a thirteen thousand seat hockey rink.

We have to invest a lot more in education - and we have to get the interfering noses of big business out of education and, for that matter, out of government. We have to get far more active in redesigning the whole population distribution in this province - and the public transportation system. Similarly, we cannot cut medical services until we first solve the problems that make the services costly.  That's where redistribution of population and reorgnization of public transport come into it.

What's wrong with Mr. Flemming on hospitals is that he listens only to Mr. Irving. And Mr. Irving doesn't give a damn about human needs. He just wants to cut costs with wild swings of a blunt axe. And there is no blunter axe than Mr. Flemming.

We need planning. What we're getting is short term scams from brains of low wattage.

To the writer of the letter "Aggressive rhetoric thwarts our right to know", I would suggest he buy a good dictionary. Look up words like cohesive and facts. (He obviously have no idea what they mean.)  I applaud his demand that we have a right to know. So how come hehas not complained to the Irving press that is has hidden information concerning one side of the debate. He might also, when involking the word "rhetoric' , to mean (wrongly) ranting speech - well, he might also want to tone down his own language.

I see no evidence in the letter that he has  made any attempt to find out what the dangers of shale gas might be. Doesn't that make it unwise of him to accuse those who disagree with him of "burying their heads in the sand'?

I am more than a bit dismayed by the failure of t his paper to cover much of anything outside local trivia. In Quebec, a province which has driven over half a million people out because they do not speak French, the provincial soccer association, with the support of the government, has forbidden Sikh children who where turbans from playing on public fields - and from playing in any league.

There is no suggeston or evidence that turbans constitute a danger. They are illegal purely because they are not "Quebecois". This is pure racism, and more is coming. In a few months, the Quebec government will dictate laws defining how people must act in conformity with Quebec "culture." More racism.

This is not happening because Quebec is French. It's happening because Quebec is intensely racist. Not is it the only part of Canada that is racist. Harper's Conservatives are running a campaign against Native People to appeal to the large body of racist voters across Canada. BC had a viciously racist policy to Japanese and Indian Canadians. Anti-semitism in Canada was a powerful force well into the 1960s. New Brunswick was notorious for its racist treatment of African-Canadians. Nova Scotia still is.

We are and always have been racist people in this country. Funny how it has almost never made the news.


  1. "Why waste advice on us who have nothing to do with the running of this province". What a shameful statement to make, proving the very point of Prof. Savoie's series of articles which is to inform the people of New Brunswick of the issues facing them, and some possible solutions to right the ship. If anything else, these articles should spark discussion and encourage thé average New Brunswicker to realize that he or she can make a difference and shoud make their voice heard.

    And Prof Savoie IS an expert in public policy and governance. Actually, an internationally recognized expert. Who has stayed in and contributed to New Brunswick despite being able to work anywhere else in the world. Your nit-picking on the T&T description of him as an expert as well as a previous statement that he has "never met an oil exec he didn't like" (paraphrasing) shows that you have some obvious bias to him, and would disagree if he said the sky was blue. It makes me wonder if you've actually met or spoken with the man, or if you're just a nay sayer to anyone with an opinion differing to yours.

  2. Please read my comments again. And this time, think.

  3. Gladly.
    "To call someone expert implies that person is correct. And to think that betrays a profound ignorance of what advanced study is about. In the time of Gallileo, the "leading" astonomers and scholars of his day believed that the sun went around the earth. And they were the experts."

    An expert ( Audio (US) (help·info), also called cognoscente[1]) is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual's opinion. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment.

    Nowhere is it said that calling someone an expert implies that they are correct. Prof. Savoie fits the above crietria. He is an expert in public policy, governance, and regional economics. The T&T was justified to call him an expert. I'm surprised that you, a former professor would say that.

    It seems that he just doesn't fit your world view.

  4. Quite so. The dictionary does not say an expert is right. That, O think one, was my point.

    You used it to suggest Savoie was right. I said the word often carries the implication that an expert is right. And you have used it with that implication.

    And if it doesn't imply that he is right, why would the TandT make a point of calling him an expert? It did not call Dr. Cleary an expert. It has not called anyone opposed to shale gas an expert.

    I have a PhD in history. I do not call myself and expert in history.
    I have taught at all levels from kindergarten to university over a period of fifty years; and was named History Teacher of the Year for Quebec about ten years ago. I do not call myself an expert in education.
    I have done thousands of radio broadcasts winning first prizes for best editorial many times for Quebec and Ontario, and once best editorial in the year in Canada. I do not call myself an expert journalist.
    I have given over two thousand speeches, often to large audiences, usually paid, sometimes getting $2000 for fifteen minutes. I do not call myself an expert speaker.
    I have written several thousand items for magazines, joournals, newspapers, often for top dollar. I dod not call myself an expert writer.
    And, yes, I have been a professor. And what that taught me is to know academic bullshit when I see it.

  5. I did not use the definition of expert to suggest Savoie was right. I used it to show that his expertise in matters of public policy and governance warrant the label of "expert". He earned it, the T&T was right to use the label. Deal with it.

    Would you call yourself an expert "bullshit detector" then?

    Then I guess your assessment of Savoie's expert OPINION (which is what his articles really are) is "incorrect".

  6. You are confused, aren't you?
    You have just used the word words expert opinion as a synoym for correct.- which, as you previously said in your definition is incorrect.

    So not only do you fail to understand what I've been saying - but you don't understand what you're saying.

    My point is that a newspaper head gives factual infoormation, not opjnion. The editor who wrote that head is almost certainly in no position to decide who is an expert.
    As well, they have NEVER used the word expert to define anyone opposed to fracking. I assume, then, that our chief medical officer is not an expert.
    Oh, and get a serious dictionary. By the definition you have, Hitler, Stalin and Mao were experts. (Their ideas and policies were widely respected and followed. In fact, Hitler was financially supported by large numbers of American business leaders, including Henry Ford. Prime Minister Mackenzie King was enchanted by him. "Conservatives' commonly thought him a great man right up to 1939.

    It was experts, incidentally, including world famour economists, who created the present economic crisis.

    And I'm sure it's just a coincidence that professor Savoie always comes down on the side irving is cheering for.

    1. don't forget about Charles Lindberg, a flight "expert" (in regard to Hitler sympathizers)

  7. Really, Graeme? You don't like my définition of expert so you're going to call my dictionary into question? You got me,I bought a black market dictionary written by half literate back packers.

    And I am not confused in the least. Just because one is labeled an expert doesn't mean they are right. You are saying that because the Times & Transcript names him as an expert,they are implying he is right.(and by extension possibly endorsing him). I am saying you are wrong, and you are. What they are implying by calling him an expert is that he is widely recognised by the public and his peers as a leading intellectual in his field. Which he is. Why they don't call the other people you mentioned as experts I can't say, but in this instance, the label fits.

    Honestly, given the almost 40 highly acclaimed books criticizing government and the public service, I think you would be a little warmer to him.

    And finally, I always make it a rule to end a conversation when the other party invokes Hitler.

  8. There never was a conversation. And you never have understood the point I was making.
    As to Hitler, I invoked him because he perfectly fit your definition of expert. I was using your definition, not mine.
    Incidentally, the people who condemned Galilleo were also experts So were many of those who denounced Darwin.

  9. Todays letter of the day in support of shale gas was also letter of the day on Tuesday.I have never seen this happen before and I've been reading this rag for years. Care to comment?

  10. The letter of the day today in support of shale gas was also the letter of the day on Tuesday. I've never seen this done before. Care to comment?

  11. As for the entertaining dialogue preceding this post?
    "Nothing worse than violence. Somebody should tell that to SWN and Mr. Alward and Mr. Irving, and all those leeches who cling to them."

  12. Thanks to both of you. I never even noticed that.
    Hard to know what it means. The TandT is sleazy enough to double print a letter it likes. But it's also a remarkably sloppy paper in its makeup. So it's possible it ws an accident.

  13. Graeme, you have to know that Mr Savoie's followers will kiss his derriere and take his words for gospel, no matter what you say (and no matter what he says)...Like I read somewhere lately, some people think that because they have a PhD that they can't use the terms « I was wrong » and « I don't know » anymore...