Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A really bad day, even by the standards of the irving press.

(I  have had unspeakable grief with this column - with parts disappearing, other parts  duplicating themselves. I've tried to correct it all, but there may well still be mistakes.)

The issue reported below wil seem unclear to those who haven't worked in a university. So, in clearer terms, a professor whose salary was paid by a donation from a wealthy person (a senior executive of Royal Bank of Canada) was threatened with loss of her income when she wrote a blog that he didn't like. It is quite common for people who have money and influence to buy professors with fancy titles and super pay. But they often insist the professors should stay bought.

I was approached early in my career to pimp for the oil industry. Perhaps to write a gushing history of what great guys its executives are.

It happens. Always be careful which professors you trust, no matter how eminent they may be.

September 2015

UBC launches academic freedom investigation

An internal investigation is looking into allegations that UBC professor Jennifer Berdhal’s academic freedom was violated after she posted a blog entry about the University President’s sudden departure.

Prof. Berdahl says UBC Board Chair John Montalbano contacted her and suggested that the article harmed the reputation of the Board, raised questions about her academic credibility, and jeopardized her funding from the Royal Bank of Canada. Montalbano is vice-chairman of RBC Wealth Management, and in 2014 he and his wife established the Montalbano Professor of Leadership Studies: Gender and Diversity position held by Berdahl.

The storbelow come from a site that is commonly regarded as suspect, though my experience is that it has often proven more truthful than our private news media. And, you know, it's tough to find stories about Syria told from a Syrian point of view.

In all of this turmoil, Canada sits in a dangerous position. We cannot possibly defend ourselves against an American attack. And, yes, Virginia, such an attack is possible. 1812 did not change American attitudes. The RCMP was created largely because Canada wanted a military presence on the prairies. But that would have displeased the U.S. which had not given up its hope of annexing our west. That's why we sent an army there – but called them police.

There was another threat to attack Canada shortly before World War One. It didn't happen – but only because Britain gave away some disputed territory so the U.S. wouldn't invade. Now, the U.S. wants Canada to help fight its wars which benefit only big business, and U.S. oil is already moving into our north – which the U.S. doesn't recognize as ours.

Harper's policy has been to act as a colony of the U.S. while, at the same time, avoiding the price of cooperation as much as possible. That's why he accepted sending our army to Afghanistan – but pulled it out early. That's why he sent fighter bombers to Libya and then Iraq – but sending as few as he could get away with. That's why we've had ships and soldiers in the Ukraine region.

The trouble with Harper's game is there comes a time when you get a toe in – but then can't ever get out again.

I've spent a lot of time on general commentary because there's to little in the Irving press to talk about.

The lead story in Canada&World is about how police have found the body of a very young girl in Alberta who was kidnapped and murdered. We certainly should expect to be informed about it. But in a world of 100,000,000 refugees, one with thousands of very young children being murdered by bombs, by drowning, by exposure, by starvation, by lack of medical help every day, and with, probably even more becoming orphans in a world at war, the story of one girl in Alberta, though certainly as important as it is sad, is not the lead for a section of world news.

This is a story that is featured for the same reason that some people get all excited to read the latest scoop on who killed Natalie Wood, or why Harry left Jane. This is what is called sensationalism. It's a means of selling papers to people who love to be shocked. It's bad journalism. And it's distasteful.

And there's really nothing else in the section worth reading.

The first page of section A is passable. But that's it for news.

The editorial is passable in attacking the government for its dangerous neglect of daycare centres.

Norbert's column advocates keeping Syrian refugees out of New Brunswick. He also should do a bit of reading about Syria before passing on his ignorance to readers. 1. Syria is NOT a strict Muslim country. That's why ISIS, which is strict Muslim, is attacking it. In fact, Syria has, for a thousand years and more, had a sizable Christian population.  2.Syria is not and has not been fighting a civil war. That's a myth spread by papers like the Irving press. The so-called rebels have, in fact, been mercenaries hired and armed by the U.S., Saudi, and other friends.
So, okay, all you refugees. Go die somewhere else.

Brian Cormer's column is NOT a commentary. It's a story told over a beer, and there is no good reason to read it. Alec Bruce, for reasons not explained, tell us how he hurt his toe. The guest commentary is a reasonable one by a retired professor of medicine. But he's writing it as project for Atlantic Institute of Market Studies – a propaganda house for big business. Somebody should have a little talk with him.

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