Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Highly recommended

I would like to recommend a book, and author, to anyone interested in Middle Eastern politics, or Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. And for everyone else, that's alright, because these books are stories of fiction.

The books is Sirens of Baghdad, the author is Yasmina Khadra.



The heart of the book is about life as we do not know, how an everyday Iraqi lives his life.

As the novel progresses, it becomes more and more unsettling as perceived realities are probed and dark times are examined from a distraught and broken mind. Building up and up, the book becomes more and more whacked, peaking in the last few dozen pages, no actually, peaking at the very last page and very last sentence.

A book of deep emotional reality, about a subject we as Canadians cannot relate to or ponder, imagine or comprehend. We'll never be forced to comprehend such things, where here, the loss of your home means a flood or tornado. Oppressive force just is not in our minds, not even remotely. The end of the world is some grand fictional apocalypse to us, the Bible is practised occasionally, every other Sunday, as a leisurely pastime, such luxuries are allowed for.

You can read the New York Times review right here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister 'Deplorable'

Well now here's a name that doesn't seem to come up all that often. Lawrence Cannon, our very own homegrown Foreign Affairs Minister, decided to join a large group of politicians who disagree with Wikileaks' release of documents.

Cannon called the action "deplorable" and that it "did not serve any body's national interests."

Careful, Mr Cannon.

It most definitely does serve national interests. And global interests. And after what has come out today, especially about the UN Leaders, proves that some of this stuff isn't just backroom comments and trying to strategically position yourself to leverage another country.

Mr Cannon, and for that matter, Mr Harper, had better damn well realize that if Canada was attempting to secure biometrics, that is, fingerprints and retina scans, of UN Leaders, Canadians deserve to know, even if it's only so we can vote your asses out of government for such a - deplorable - action.

From the Wikileaks site:

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in "client states"; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

Furthermore what makes these important is that these documents extend into 2010, displaying that nothing indeed has changed in Washington. That is to say, President Obama may have won our hearts during the election but at the end of the day, Obama not only allowed war crimes to continue under his administration, but has also continue to foster this kind of behaviour and attitude by giving such directives to US Embassies all over the world.

The US has blatantly ignored human rights abuses in countries they deal with, while hypocritically championing their bringing of democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, and supposedly bringing justice to these countries. Those of us that follow these kinds of things closely have been aware of corruption for a very, very long time. And for a very very long time I could not convince most people that the actions exhibited by the US overseas were either wrong, unjustifiable, or outright war crimes. Hopefully, with all these released documents, people around the world will maybe wake up a little bit. The US Government has been painted as a superpower empire out of control, masquerading their crusade in the Middle East as a war on "terror."

Why Mr Cannon is calling out Wikileaks over documents that are very unlikely to put Canada in a bad light, I'm not sure. Unless you've got something embarrassing to hide. If I were Canada's Foreign Minster right now, I'd want to know everything I could about this moral-less country we're allied with.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Appeaser

Forewarning: anyone who is not interested in international law, foreign policies, or the Middle East, will find the following quite boring. The most local I can get is that Cherenkov wrote briefly about this topic.

One of my favourite journalists is Robert Fisk.

He wrote a piece I will not reflect on so much as I will link to it, though I found the following very powerful and relevant.

Anyone who panders to injustice by one people against another people is called an appeaser. Anyone who prefers peace at any price, let alone a $3bn bribe to the guilty party – is an appeaser. Anyone who will not risk the consequences of standing up for international morality against territorial greed is an appeaser. Those of us who did not want to invade Afghanistan were condemned as appeasers. Those of us who did not want to invade Iraq were vilified as appeasers. Yet that is precisely what Obama has done in his pathetic, unbelievable effort to plead with Netanyahu for just 90 days of submission to international law. Obama is an appeaser.

If you would like to read the rest, Fisk's piece ran in The Independent on Saturday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going National with TGCTS

The National Post has picked up on The Great Canadian Talk Show's cancellation and story. With a few very interesting tidbits of information.



Most interesting of which, besides the anti-left spin that the author placed on the article (which I swear to God I will detest until the day radio ceases to exist), is that Winnipeg Free Press editor Margo Goodhand may have talked to the newbie RRC President, Stephanie Forsyth.

This is from the man who is dealing with the fallout, Graham Thomson:

“As I understand it, the president did get a communication from the Free Press...There were some concerns about Marty having taken shots at the Free Press ... I believe that the concern about the show was voiced by the president to one of our vice-presidents who is on the board."


Really?

Hmm well now I smell a rat, don't you? Here's the little thing Ms Forsyth and Ms Goodhand would be well to learn, journalists, as published authors, are available to criticism. I myself, receive criticism.

Other people are free to discuss any particular news outlet's methods of journalism. Or, "journalism." These sorts of things become abundantly clear when you start digging yourself, and end up with more information than appears in the broadsheet press. You then call the reporter, err "journalist," responsible for the story and learn that they know as much as you know but...all these...important things are...mysteriously left out.

Marty Gold stated in the National Post article that this is 110% a freedom of speech issue, and I, 110%, AGREE!

You can email Graham Thomson at gthomson@rrc.mb.ca to press him on this or phone him at 949-8377. In addition you can call Twylla Krueger at 632-2264.

If the new president of the college is so lackadaisical as to not do her own research in the show, not listen, not talk to Marty, or students, if this decision to axe TGCTS mysteriously came from nowhere under the guise of student access, and Mr Graham Thomson can't answer questions in a strait forward manner or truthfully, then what is it?

Nobody wants to say why TGCTS was really cancelled.

Instead of seeing TGCTS as a benefit to the community, as a complement to mainstream journalism, and accepting criticism of their writers to make things better, instead of working together, instead of feeding off each other, we've got a story where somebody didn't like TGCTS and someone wanted Marty Gold to shut the fuck up, and somebody got what they wanted.

Whether that was Margo Goodhand or Stephanie Forsyth, or both, remains to be seen.

The word "controversial" is in the title of the National Post article. The word is aptly chosen. For the way journalism and the media at large work today, anything resembling putting facts on the table for discussion and not covering anything up is seen as "controversy."

RRC President Forsyth would be much revered for stepping in and re-instating TGCTS, as a model of free discussion of ideas, topics, and an alternative to gatekeeper-style journalism. After all, isn't presenting opposing points of view seen as a valuable thing at post-secondary institutions?

Join the Facebook group here.

And again, Graham Thomson's email is gthomson@rrc.mb.ca

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Red River Censorship

The Kick FM website has been completely scrubbed of any link, or reference, to TGCTS or Marty Gold.

Wiping out the record of the hard work the community at large has put into that program by bringing forward their concerns and opinions is obscenely absurdly disgusting.

You think the Station Manager was given marching orders? I think.

In addition to this, there is now no student programming between 4-6pm on weekdays. It seems censorship is alive and well to supress those who contribute to RRC.

The Kick FM Station Manager has put up Twylla Krueger of College Relations's phone number on the website, for inquiries about the cancellation of the Great Canadian Talk Show. The phone number is 632-2264.

Perspective

Though it has only been two days thus far without The Great Canadian Talk Show on the airwaves, reaction to the show's sudden knee-jerk cancellation has been nothing short of astounding. As I write this, I am setting new site traffic records, and the day is all but half over.

More details will come this week. However details is not in the cards for today's post.

So what's it going to be? Feel like some perspective.



Fresh perspective?

First, James Turner, respected crime reporter for CBC sums up Marty Gold's four year program at Kick FM quite nicely. You can read that right here.

"I’ve been a quiet fan of the show for some time now, for the sole reason that regardless of one’s feelings about its host, it was information about Winnipeg that you just couldn’t get anywhere else.

In my view, the show’s recent coverage of the civic election was must-listen radio for those interested in civic issues."


Well said, James. The truth will stand forever, regardless of how low your opinion of Marty Gold can go: you would never have heard about Assiniboine Avenue if it were not for Marty, "Kim the traffic reporter," and myself, because the Free Press pretended the problem didn't exist. You would never have heard about Ross Eadie's claim of NDP-backed financing and simultaneous denunciation of NDP faith for the new Protestantism - independent - because Melissa Martin forgot to mention it in her articles, or anything about the approximately ten formal complaints made to elections officer Mark Lemoine about it.

You will never hear a word uttered about Upper Fort Garry or the boondoggle that is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights....because the Winnipeg Free Press sends Gordon Sinclair Jr to wax sensationalism and drop a few tears unto his Remington keys to sway opinion.

After all, opinions can be easily swayed if you control information. Winnipeg was none the wiser until The Great Canadian Talk Show came along.

And there are those who would claim the show is right wing buffoonery.

From a comment left on Chris D:

This show was no alternative for the truth. It was a springboard for radical anti-social right wing nutbaggery. The kind of “get off my lawn!” paranoid vitriol that makes us laugh at the United States almost daily. Gold has let guests lie on air without ever correcting them or enforcing a shred of journalistic integrity.

Now this fellow has Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell and Fox News all mixed up with Marty Gold. You'd never hear Marty suggest a mosque being built at Ground Zero was a terrible insult to a country, you'd never hear him suggest evolution was false, or make a case for abstinence, or lobby to ban masturbation, or call Africa a country, or make a mockery of a day of national pride by holding some protest march under the name of a hero who's been dead for more than a century.

For some, the truth goes in one ear and out the other. For folks like this, it gets plugged at the first ear. Talk to the hand I suppose.

This silliness to brand an informative show with such brash ignorance is again lost on the truth. Funny how the truth wins out all the time, in the end. Marty Gold was a platform for all political ideas and candidates. If the person sitting here at this computer writing this very blog post from somewhere to the left of centre can tune in and even actively participate in this show, it can't be all that radical. I abhor bigotry.

Nowhere else had candidate Judy-W for over 3 hours of long format interview. Nowhere else can even make that offer. Nowhere else would Jenny Gerbasi have the opportunity to defend her actions before being cut to make sure a commercial break was on time. Nowhere else was Scott Fielding even asked about Berry Street. Nowhere else WANTED to interview these people, and these candidates.

Hell, during this election? Candidate Ian Rabb had to worry about what the Free Press was going to write about him, for no good reason other than the Free Press is clearly more interested in tabloid election stories (unless it involves Ross Eadie or the NDP) than actually allowing candidates the chance to explain their views and platforms.

I happened to be in the studio that day. Here's a perspective shot of Mr Rabb.



Nowhere else would you have heard such extensive post-election coverage and analysis. Almost as if by the time the Friday paper had rolled out two days after the election, it was, there was an election? What election? Everything is same old same old, who cares right?

Well, Ian Rabb, despite his tabloid-worthy past, got a hell of a lot of votes. What does that mean for Fort Rouge? Who knows, it wasn't in the paper. Jarret Hannah was such a nice guy to not force a recount of Charleswood, but what does it say that a Liberal came that close in Toryland? Who knows. What electiooooon, it's all the saaame Sam Katz blah blah.

How about the vote counts and the polls? Can we see them? Can you put it up online?

Where did you hear that kind of discussion?

The Great Canadian Talk Show.

Who decided these things were worthy of attention and analysis?

Marty Gold.

Nobody else is calling for things like a Civic Ombudsman. Nobody else is calling for council meetings to be streamed online, nobody else is raising the issue of posting poll-by-poll results. Nobody else is bashing 311 into it's desk with a phone. (See: figurative language). Nobody else stood up for Eliminator RC, the people of Point Douglas and Elmwood.

There is, literally, nobody else in the media who stands up for the kinds of things I just mentioned on a daily basis. There is nobody else in the media who will give (other than a select couple) bloggers the time of day. Hell, despite the success of this blog, I'm STILL not mentioned on the Free Press blog list.

Marty Gold and The Great Canadian Talk Show gave voice to anybody who wanted it. Including people like myself, who would have never gotten as far as we have without that radio program.

Not just me, either. Red River College students. Board operators. It IS a training facility. That studio, that host and that talk show, that's REAL experience that Red River College simply cannot get without Marty Gold. Have you sat in on a show? It can get pretty hectic, what with multiple guests in studio, people calling in, hitting breaks, playing the right splitters, turn this guy's mic down turn that guy's mic up.

In particular, "Young Josh" former RRC student and Dave Shorr both highly credit The Great Canadian Talk Show as irreplaceable experience. The board ops that have moved to other places in this country owe similar thanks to Marty Gold for providing them that opportunity to learn skills they can get nowhere else.

This day and age, many people are acutely aware of how the media spins things, covers things up. Many people have suspicions of government corruption but they can never know for sure, nothing is ever investigated. Many people wish their newspaper of record would not take sides, would publish something of substance, many people wish CJOB didn't ask lame questions when the Premier is on or screen calls. People KNOW calls are being screened.

People know about The Filter. If you've never experienced The Filter directly, you can sense it somehow. They aren't telling you everything. There's something else going on. It's fishy. It doesn't seem right.

Marty Gold's radio program was right. It felt right. You can try as hard as you want, but you can't sense The Filter, how can you, when Judy-W is on for 90 minutes and she's allowed to talk and expand on her points? How can you, when three or four sources are cited for one story or incident?

The plug was pulled, without rhyme or reason. No formal complaint was EVER made against the show. RRC states it is because they want to remove volunteer programming, yet this program, was the ONLY program cancelled.

You can read some of the details on and support the fight back.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What Happened to the Great Canadian Talk Show?

Spirited Kenny has put a few words up about what has happened to the Great Canadian Talk Show, for those of you who are wondering.

You can read about it HERE, as well as local news blogger ChrisD.ca.

Please join the Facebook group RED RIVER COLLEGE KILLS FREE SPEECH ON 92.9 KICK FM.

More details will come during the week. Please join the Facebook group. If you would like to say something or have something to add, or something to offer for the cause of keeping Free Speech alive, send messages to myself through my email, and I can direct them to the appropriate parties.