Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oct. 23: Enforce the law!

Damn right. Enforce the law! That's why we should be closely examining the oil train accident that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic.

That's why Professor Lapierre should be facing charges for accepting payment under false pretences - as in his years of university teaching and in his special contracts. And, if there are people implicated as, for example, government or business people who knew of his false pretences then they, too, should face charges.

Mind you, I don't want to pick on anybody. Now you take Mr. Irving. He seems to have been a strong advocate of prof. Lapierre. He donated the money that gave the prof the Irving Chair in Ecology at U de M. Giving the money for a chair is a pretty big deal, leading one to expect a pretty thorough study of credentials for a donating  such a chair. So it's a little bit difficult for one to understand how such a donation could be made to a quite unqualified person. They most do some pretty lax checking at Irving industries.

So any ciminal examination of prof. Lapierre would require a close examination of precisely how the donation was made - and why.

It's important to enforce the law.

Norbert believes in enforcing the law - but only sometimes.

On native peoples, for example, he would simply fall back on an old formula that has been followed by every Canadian government since John A.  That is, he recommends completely ignoring all our obligations under treaties we signed (which means ignoring the law) and making native peoples just like all the rest of us. That, for example, is why Harper is taking over control of native education.

It's been done, Norbert. And, apart from being illegal,  it's never worked.

The reason it doesn't work is that, contrary to what Norbert says, all people are not the same. I don't mean that they have racial differences. I mean they have social differences.

A poor child going to school often does poorly. A rich one often does well. Jewish and oriental children will often do better than Christians and westerners. This has nothing to do with race; it has to do with religious values, social expectations, self-confidence....

It's not the schools, Norbert. In the US, white and African-Americans have been going to the same school systems for well over a century. African-Americans are still far poorer, less represented in skilled jobs, and have a stunningly high presence in prisons.

Much of the turmoil and suffering in the middle east and Africa and, to this day, in Central America, has been due to our interference in existing social systems. Islam did not create terrorism. We introduced them to it, and our behaviour has made it worse. That's what happens when you disrupt a social system.

As to your simplistic view of law, would you obey a law that forced you to live on food you thought was poisonous?  Law should never be thought of as forcing people to do things against their own interests. In Germany, it was once law to turn yourself in if you were Jewish. Would you rant at those who disobeyed that law?

Native peoples don't want shale gas. They think it's poisonous. Think, Norbert. The purpose of law is to protect us. It is not to force us to do what the very rich want us to do.

As to your headline, "special status" has not failed. In fact, it has never been tried. Read some history, Norbert. Your suggeston of "getting everyone in the same boat" has been tried for over a century. It hasn't worked.

It has possibilities, though. Why not tell the Irvings to go live on native reserves, and to send their children to the local schools?

Norbert is going to write another column on the subject tomorrow. Lord love a duck.
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The editorial, of course,is  respect the rule of law. Yep. Respect the rules that are made by the rich to benefit themselves. In fact, even the editor can't really believe that. If he did, he'd be raising hell about the lack of progress in investigating Lac Megantic, at the utter refusal to investigate prof. Lapierre. And he'd be furious and the US and at us for flagrant defiance of international law in illegal invasions of countires, the overthrow of governments as in Haiti, the use of chemical weapons as in Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. And the very wide use of torture -  including in US penitentiaries.
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Read the op ed page for important advice on how to feed a baby. Take the writer seriously. He's a reporter for the TandT.So he knows things.

 Below him, Brian Cormier writes a fascinating story of how he's trying to decide between renovating and moving.. The news you need to know. Thatnks to both writers for helping to better understand the world we live in.

NewsToday is a whole page of fast-breaking stories such as "New N.S. premier, cabinet, sworn in." and "Minister expects balanced budget/" It's only one page since nothing happened in the rest of the world.
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Except for a couple of stories, Section A is a sleeping pill.

I would suggest, though, that readers check Youtube for videos of the police actions at Rexton. The videos(which the police tried to stop) tell rather a different story about what happened. Far from marching on "warriors" ,the police were marching on women, some kneeling on the road and holding up feathers. They got pepper sprayed.

The 'paramilitaries" were working with the police-as were security guards (which strikes me as extremely unwise since  security guards commonly have little training).
As for the paras, they were very heavily armed with army rifles, semi-automatics with 40 shot magazines. That's not a weapon to move a crowd back. It's only function is mass and indiscriminate slaughter. The militarization of the police in uniforms and weaponry is a very worrying development in a democractic society. This is exactly what has been  happening in the US where police are being redesigned to fight the general population. This is what a police state is.

Norbert, yesterday, said he was impressed with the courage of the police (an army of them and all armed) marching on the protestors. I was more impressed by the courage of those women who knelt on the road, and who faced the pepper spray.

So far, that scattering of  crude, even antiquated, weapons that the police have shown to the papers is a long, long way down from the firepower I saw on the police side.

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The law was enforced in Hitler's Germany and in Stalin's USSR. It is enforced in the US where people can be jailed indefinitely with no charge and no trial. The law is enforced in Saudi Arabia where women are whipped for minor offences

Enforcement of the law is not always "a good thing".

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