Tuesday, February 11, 2014

feb. 11: Don't ever cross Charles Theriault of Kedgewick..

..and I beg him not to hit me. It's not my fault this is a new keyboard, and I can't figure out how to get the accent on the e in his name.

M. Theriault is a man of determination, and it was very unwise of the Irvings to annoy him by cheating us all on a lumber industry that is particularly important to Kedgewick. So, when he realized Irving has a special deal whereby, in effect, we pay him to take away our trees and then sell them for his profit - and he's looking to extend that deal  for another twenty years - well, m. Theriault didn't just write a letter to the editor; he did a well-researched and professionally presented series of videos - 19 of them.

This is an excellent series ( which also takes a closer look at Frank McKenna, something that should have been done a long time ago.)
so take a look at '

This will bring up episode 19, and also a list of all 19 videos.

We have been ripped off for millions with perhaps billions to  come. Now, think about the deficit that threatens to sink all of us us. This sort of thing, not lazy, poor people is what has us in debt.

The video is time well spent.

Newspapers are often, and willingly, used for propaganda. There's a good example in The National Post ( a sort of national version of the Irving press). This story was not in the TandT - but I thought it worth knowing as an example of who the press can be used for propaganda.

In the 1970s and 80s, the Guatemalan government with training, weapons, leadership and other help from the CIA, slaughtered an estimated quarter million Guatemalans - whole families, whole villages - in a deliberate policy of terrorism. It seems the local people complained that resource companies and others, some of them Canadian, were confiscating their land, polluting rivers and fields, taking people as forced labour at very low wages, raping women and even little girls - the usual stuff.

The US has never admitted doing so. And the American news media, with the exception of The NY Times, have never mentioned it.

But the US wants the world to know it does not tolerate war crimes. No. (Well, it did jail Lt. William Calley for ordering the slaughter of some  800 villagers, including babies, in Vietnam. Lt. Calley had to spend a whole night in jail. before being given a presidential pardon.)

Now, a Guatemalan special forces officer who commanded the killing of 160 civilian villagers - men, women and children, and  using rifles and sledgehammers, and thoughtfully raping the women and girls first has been captured in Canada.

He was sent to the US for trial (he had become an American citizen), charged with not telling the citizenship review board about his murders, and sentenced to ten years to be followed by deportation to Guatemala for trial on the murders.

Now, an intelligent reporter would have thought, gee, that's unusual. If he committed war crimes (and he certainly did). then shouldn't he be sent to the independent war crimes tribunal at The Hague? Why all this runaround?

Well - the trial at The Hague would be public, and would raise questions about other people involved in the killings - including George Bush Senior who was head of the CIA for much of that period of slaughter and terror.

But a trial in Guatemala would be nice and private, with no awkward questions asked. And the US could righteously pose as the enemy of war criminals - and forget all about the charges that should be laid for both Bushes, Obama, Prime Minister Blair, just about all special forces and assassination squads, drone attackers - and so on.


There is an interesting story on A6 "Professors split over evaluations". At most universities, students fill out a form at the end of each course, giving their evaluation of the prof as a teacher. This began, I think, back in the 1960s, and I was an early and militant  supporter of the idea.

Over those years, I have been evaluated some  200 times. Of those 200 times, one evaluation was bad. And deservedly so.

However, despite all the good evaluations, I never found it made the slightest difference in my career. The reality is that most professors and administrators don't have a clue what teaching is about, and have no great respect for it. Most have teaching methods that date back a thousand years if, indeed, they can be said to have methods at all.

And the students know even less. Well, of course. They've never taught. They have no background in teaching, no training in it. How on earth can they judge a teacher? I have been an airline passenger many times. But I have no qualification whatever to evaluate a pilot.

As evaluations of teaching, the university evaluations are useless; and the ignorance of what teaching is among faculty and administrators is appalling.

"Professors split over evaluations"?  Hell, most professors don't know enough to be split.

Incidentally, the same is true of the teaching and school evaluations dished out by Atlantic Institute of Market Studies.

NewsToday is one and a half pages. This is the section with the big stories - like Nova Scotia is thinking of banning e-cigarettes in public. Another big nothing is that Gallant is working toward a position on shale gas that is not a whole lot different from Alward's.  Of course. He has the same paymasters.

He says he's in favour of responsible development. Right. And has Alward ever said he's in favour of irresponsible development? This is childish.

The only item worth reading is "Scrap schools no-failure policy: Cardy" And that makes sense.

The idea of promoting every child every years despite his or her grades originated with the notion that it hurt their self-esteem to be failed. No doubt it does. But promoting a child who knows he or she failed is worse. They aren't fooled. They know they failed. And they know this will now continue until they get an undeserved certificate. I've know more than a few such kids - they've been branded, and they know it all their lives.

It would be far better to put some money into  helping them, rather than just waving a magic wand that has no magic in it.

But, oh my, it is depressing to read a paper whose NewsToday tells us almost nothing about the rest of the world. That produces a society in which people perpetually walk around with their noses in their own bellybuttons.
The editorial was mindless drivel. It's theme was that the recent shale gas public meeting was wise to concentrate on the financial benefits of shale gas rather that environmental issues because the financial side has been neglected.

Like hell it has been neglected. Alward and the TandT have talked about almost nothing else.
And underlying it all is the even bigger issue of what continued use of fossil fuels means to our future, the one that our children will have to face.

Harper couldn't care less about that part of the story, and neither could Alward. Harper, in particular, has cut virtually all research on environment change, and on alternative forms of energy. And there's almost no time left to get started.

Let's start with telling the truth, shall we? It'll be a nice change. The people who mostly want shale gas development are corporations, including out own, beloved, Irving. They want it because they can can make  billions out of it.

Will we make billions out of it? I really don't think so. No. What will happen to our shale gas is what is happening to our forest.

A  second truth - the TandT and the government have lied to us every step of the way on this issue.

And the public meeting was sponsored by the Bar Association. That's good. The Bar Association has nothing whatever to do with wealthy people and corporations.

Glad to see Norbert admitted to being wrong about Canada having a coalition government in World War Two (and it was really only a semi-coalition in World War One since it wasn't a coalition of parties, but of one party and some members of the Liberal party.)

Anyway, now that he knows what a coalition is, he will surely write a column about how Mr. Irving was out of his tree some two years ago when he announced in the Irving press that he was in coalition with the government. Norbert can now point out to him that a private citizen (whatever his posturing might be) has no right to be a coalition member of any government. Mr. Irving, private citizen, has no more rights than the rest of us peasants. To make his announcement was arrogant, intrusive, unconstitutional, and-democratic - and that brings us back to arrogant.

Now, you tell 'im, Norbert.
On op ed, Alan Cochrane, as usual, has nothing to say but, as usual, says it anyway.

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