Monday, February 28, 2011

The Cathy Rushton Red River Censorship running total

Like they tell you in hockey officiating, "[penalties] are like items at a grocery till. Just keep ringin'em up."

As such is the same with Red River Censorship's Vice President Cathy Rushton. Ahem.

1. Despite there being zero formal complaints filed about TGCTS, "...we've had any number of complaints about [Marty Gold] from people who's opinions we care about."

2. Mislead the entire KICK FM Board to believe that Mayor Sam Katz had complained about the show, without producing a copy to the rest of the board.

3. Mislead the entire KICK FM Board to believe that Federal Minister Vic Toews had complained about the show, without producing a copy to the rest of the board.

4. Stated she was "not big on censorship at all, but..."

5. When the Winnipeg Police Association contacted Red River College upon hearing of TGCTS's cancellation, Rushton dismissed their concerns as "an example of [station manager] Rick lobbying for support."

6. Stated she "...did not want to create the impression that this is about censorship."


(1) Ruined Livelihood
(1) Ruined reputation
(1) Interference with freedoms of expression and opinion
(1) Successfully prevented freedom of speech
(1) Successfully implemented full censorship in Red River College
(1) Less media outlet in Winnipeg
(1) Less person holding people such as herself to account
(6) Board members mislead by her personal vendetta to silence Mr Gold
(3) RRC students mislead by her personal vendetta to silence Mr Gold

Cha-ching. Let's see how much more expensive this gets for you, Cathy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What can men be, after this?

"What are these people? What can men be after this?" he exclaimed incoherently, in bitter despondency, almost despair. At that moment he had no desire to live.

"Is it worth it? Is it worth it?!" exclaimed the boy in his grief.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Canada's Egypt response embarassing

My website. Where rejected op-eds go to die. So without further introduction, for your weekend reading pleasures;

February 2nd emergency debate is embarrassing in the wake of a free Egypt

For 18 days the people of Egypt protested against a 30 year old dictatorship. They courageously gathered in Tahir square in Cairo, and in other centres, to protest systemic corruption and oppression. The people of Egypt wanted what we take for granted; freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and a government whose fate is decided by it's people.

Those 18 days, nearly unthinkable to Egyptians, was a bumbling display of meaningless rhetoric from Western governments, including Canada. For countries that supposedly represent freedom and democracy, no leader was willing to publicly state that President Hosni Mubarak should step down. For the Obama Administration never explicitly stating Mubarak should step down is not surprising, but Canada most certainly could have stood apart.

Never before has the Western non-committal support of democracy and human rights in autocratic states been so evident. A grand pool of weasel words and phrases was drawn from by leaders and politicians to state various country's stance on Egypt, like "we urge" and "meaningful reform" and my favourite, "ensure the legitimate needs of the Egyptian people are met."

Carefully crafted statements that meant nothing more than "we support human rights, but we are not willing to back it up by calling for someone's resignation." As such, a similar message was the response from the Canadian government.

As Canadians who live with truly free elections, liberties, human rights, and who do not live in fear of our police or government, we cannot imagine what life is like for people in countries like Egypt. And as Canadians, the least we could have done was denounce the Mubarak regime and lend full unanimous support to Egyptians and their plight.

On February 2nd, Liberal MP Bob Rae requested an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the situation in Egypt. Now that Mubarak has been deposed, the debate is an embarrassment for almost all federal politicians in this country.

This is a situation where political correctness and the fear of straying from it prevented all but a select few opposition MPs from outright stating Mubarak’s regime was illegitimate. Only NDP MP Paul Dewar and BQ MP Jean Doiron were able to articulate what Canada stands for, and only those 2 MPs were able to raise the question in voters minds why the Harper Government did not do so.

The statement from Prime Minister Harper following Mubarak's resignation was even more embarrassing: "Canada respects President Mubarak's decision to step down..."

If we are a country that represents freedoms of all kinds, if we are a country which supposedly sets examples for developing countries, the refusal to call for Mubarak to step down on February 2nd and Canada instead "respecting" a dictator incapable of respecting even his own people, is unacceptable.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Preeeeetty cool

Want to see a solar flare?

Over the last decade we've gotten spoiled by rapid upgrages, from 56k to high speed and crazy bandwidth that allows us to stream HD videos. Somehow this little snippet still seems pretty spectacular.

50 more years of advancement...yeah there's going to be some sweet videos from space coming down the pipe that's for sure.

I'm even thinking, Viking I and II, really were quite monumental, then the Mars Rover Pathfinder landed when I was about ten I think, which made Viking seem like a child's toy in comparison.

So much of space exploration is trial and error, so many things can go wrong, and with the amount of money needed for R&D, we'll take what we can get. Vanera IV for example, a 1960's Soviet probe to Venus, barely survived the trip to the surface and stopped transmitting after boiling temperatures nearing 300C and atmospheric pressure more than twenty times that of Earth's simply crushed the thing. More recently, Beagle 2, an innovative little probe (by little I mean it weighed less than 100 pounds, which is really something) by the European Space Agency, made it into Mars orbit but what happened after that point is a total mystery.

That said, this video of such a massive solar flare that will bring us a few nights of lovely nighttime light shows is amazing...the Sun is huuuuge, this explosion is happening on a scale we down here on Earth can't possibly comprehend. Whatever kind of combobulation we can send towards our neighbourhood star will produce images and videos that will be mezmerizing.

Sorry I'm a space geek. You can now return to your regularly scheduled blogospheric programming.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Almost-justice for Ecuador: Landmark ruling on oil pollution in the Amazon

Unexpectedly, the Lago Agria Court in Ecuador has ruled against oil corporation Chevron (formerly Texaco) for 30 years worth of indiscriminate oil pollution in Ecuador's Amazon. I say "unexpectedly" because this case is just two years shy of it's twentieth birthday. I've written a few pieces on this before and strongly believe this, and other such cases, should be included in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The lawsuit began in 1993 in New York. It has endured loopholes and all sorts of arbitration and appeals and every single crooked legalese trick that can fit up an oil corporation's sleeve. Turns out you can fit almost twenty years of tricks up there.

Though the Ecuadorians were attempting to secure 27 billion dollars, the court ruled for 8.6 billion. Chevron has, of course, appealed the decision. According to Reuters, Chevron has 15 days to publicly apologize for the atrocity at which point the fine will double to 17.2 billion dollars.

However, the case is almost-justice because of yet another trick still up Chevron's sleeve, as international arbitrators have stepped in to suspend any enforcement of the ruling.

This photo is from the Chevron in Ecuador website. I just discovered it but will definitely be an information source on this issue.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence on pollution, negative effects on the environment and forest, contamination of food and water supplies, and crude oil's carcinogenic properties, Chevron has denied that contamination from oil is the source of the aboriginal peoples of Ecuador's woes. Apparently, adding crude waste to water means the water is still perfectly drinkable. Of course oil doesn't hurt anybody. I'll remind everyone that BP and the White House are saying that seafood from the Gulf is okay to consume. Chevron on the other hand, said that the ruling is "...contrary to the legitimate scientific evidence"."

Unbelievable. Isn't it?

Ecuadorians have not only gone through the horrifying effects of widespread oil contamination, but also several insulting rulings in the past few years. One of which involved a documentary film maker turning over hundreds of hours of footage to the defendant, Chevron.

The oil industry is arguably the most difficult to hold to account. With any sliver of luck, this ruling, and enforcement of the ruling, will lead to other lawsuits in places such as Nigeria, and the "untouchable" oil corps realizing that they are entirely responsible for the mess they make and the lives they destroy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fisk's best piece yet: democratic rage

From The Independent, following today's defiant and rather silly speech by Egypt's favourite dictator.

This revelation by Fisk, at least to me as I have not yet read this, was that Mubarak, just 5 days into the protests, ordered his army to extinguish the protesters with fatal force. That was, the day the tanks rolled in to the jubilation of the people.

"...the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks ..."

"Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people."

Not sure how he came up with this paragraph. Perhaps all that inspiration from Tahrir Square is showing through by the rather extraordinary worldwide journalism effort.

"But this is a Middle Eastern epic, one of those incremental moments when the Arab people – forgotten, chastised, infantilised, repressed, often beaten, tortured too many times, occasionally hanged – will still strive to give the great wheel of history a shove, and shake off the burden of their lives."

The best journalism reads like poetry.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cathy Rushton RRC one-ups her own Katz "complaint" by going Federal

I sure am glad I waited to write again about Red River Censorship because it turns out there is a disturbing trend of what comes out of Cathy Rushton's mouth.

This time it wasn't that Mayor Sam Katz had "complained," it was Federal Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews.

Last week following my blog post, Cathy Rushton had emailed me about this "mistake" and begged me, a blogger, to "correct the record." Since obviously the blogosphere is an official place to make such corrections.

Rushton won't actually correct the record with the College. No no, she's more concerned about what I, Progressive Winnipeg, write about her instead. And for a moment I was willing to at least consider her "mistake" as true, but TWO different politicians? This, a mistake is not.

How many other politicians "made complaints?" Probably none. In fact, no complaints about The Great Canadian Talk Show have thus far surfaced. But if you ask Cathy Rushton? I'm sure there's tooons of people who "complained."

How fucking disgusting is that?

How many people do you have to drag through the muck? Why would you even DO something like this? Did she hate Marty Gold THAT MUCH, to be willing to make up falsities about reputable politicians? Not just local politicians either, but FEDERAL MINISTERS?!

And of all people, why VIC TOEWS? At least Mayor Sam Katz was on the show and had been challenged and grilled by Marty Gold on the airwaves. Vic Toews however, was never on the show. Ever. So what's he doing "complaining" about a show that he likely has never even heard of?

This is so sick, so disgusting, and such a clear violation of every rule in the book, such a clear violation of ethics and morals, that Cathy Rushton should be fired immediately.

That a Red River College staff member, that a Red River College Interim President, was willing to go to these lengths to make sure people around Red River College were aware that "all these different politicians complained about Marty Gold" and that "oh even Vic Toews complained about Marty Gold" cannot be tolerated in ANY institution.

And this College teaches "journalism?"

What kind of journalism would that be? The kind based on facts or the kind where you make stuff up and make wild claims about people with good reputations? Just to carry your own personal grudge.

So what have we got? A petty grudge between Rushton and other people in the College (since I'm sure she didn't do this all by herself) and Marty Gold. A person who is then willing to canvass ME to "correct the record" because she is more worried about her own personal image than the mass tarnish she has brandished on everyone else. Rushton it seems, would rather Marty Gold remain where she left him after dragging him through the mud. And for that matter, the people who worked with him, and the volunteers who supported that program like myself.

Rushton has nothing to hide behind. How many more lies will come from her? Is she willing to step up and set a good example for her own journalism students? Is she willing to actually correct the record and reinstate TGCTS?

Right now the more pressing question is: is Stephanie Forsyth willing to fire such a unethical, immoral and selfish person, and reinstate TGCTS herself.

Time, time. Time will show us Rushton's next fib. Have you heard the story "The Boy Who Cried Wolf?" No? Reeeaaally? Well let me tell it to you....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Republican obsession with Islam

Watching CNN for a good chunk of this afternoon waiting for the anticipated response of dictator Mubarak, I honestly had to keep it on mute for most of the time. Between jabs about who was best suited as Egyptian "President" to resume America's pro-Israel anti-Muslim military-aid relationship with Egypt, and what the "Muslim Brotherhood" was up to, I just couldn't stand it.

Here is a country that is so hell bent on preaching virtues of freedom and democracy that even corporate news anchors buy into the White House's silly charade.

Thankfully the rest of the world has things like Al Jazeera English, whose coverage of Egypt has been unrivaled, and the presence of journalists such as (yes I'm plugging Bobby again) Robert Fisk of The Independent:

And then there was the absence of the "Islamism" that haunts the darkest corners of the West, encouraged – as usual – by America and Israel. As my mobile phone vibrated again and again, it was the same old story. Every radio anchor, every announcer, every newsroom wanted to know if the Muslim Brotherhood was behind this epic demonstration. Would the Brotherhood take over Egypt? I told the truth. It was rubbish.

Fisk also asserts that who American media are calling "the opposition leader," Mohammed ElBaradei, is also "rubbish," to speak Britishly.

For anyone following the protests in Africa and the Middle East, Al Jazeera English and Middle East veteran Robert Fisk are must-go-to-s.