The Dilemma of Making Journalists, and Citizens, Accountable
to the Lessons of Human History
They are everywhere. Those signs, informing us that the patient in the emergency waiting room or the client in the large foyer of the bank is expected to be polite to ‘our employees!’ Those signs have become prevalent in Canada’s places of business.
So, I am not surprised when the same person who directed me to the CBC ‘news item’, written about in my first blog at this web site, reappeared to gently suggest that I reconsider my use of the word ‘idiots’. I used that word in reference to ‘journalists’.
I was not surprised because I have often received communications from persons whom I respect suggesting that I tone things down, ‘if (you) want to be heard!’
I cannot and will not remove my occasional language of anger and sternness. Here is the short version of my long life’s story to ‘the why’ I do refuse.
In 1970, I worked two summers in the Canadian province of Quebec. I was on an exchange program with the Ontario and Quebec departments responsible for each province’s forests. At the tender age of 18, I learned that, no matter the language of tongue, guys will be guys. Language does not strip away our base terms of human equality.
The favourite words flying among all the youth were the cuss words forbidden by our parents and teachers. In both English and French. Ironically, in Quebec, those cuss words, related to bodily functions and sex, were considered mild. If one really wanted to offend someone, curses against the Roman Catholic church and its symbols carried more significance. This was, partly, because the Quebecois words, related to church relics, had harsher pronunciations than that language’s interpretation of the English ‘f-word’. “(Fooh) toi” (“F– you”, in plain English) did not carry the emphatic weight of a “Chalice!” or a “Mon Dieux!” in the Quebecois tongue.
However, the real lesson of language’s significance became clearer to me two months after I had left that lovely part of Canada.
When the language of dissent is not listened to, the result is often long term suppressed rage. The silencing of the voice of legitimate concerns can lead to violence.
By October 1970, I was disillusioned by the terms of language set down by my parents and others. In that era of the protests against that War in Vietnam, violence, the taking of human life, was to be no longer really necessary. In my mind, violence against humans, under any circumstance, was disallowed after 1948. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that the human voice, of all languages and of too many select words, was being suppressed. This then hid the ragged truths behind injustice around our world, across my nation.
Those two months in the forests of Quebec, north of Quebec City, gave me an eye into the background of the reality of what happens when the oppression of speech is allowed. In a distant, hormone-filled ‘bush camp’, I learned that those human beings of French heritage in Quebec had been deliberately suppressed by the English conquerors of years long gone by. For example, government jobs in the province had been given only to those of English heritage in major centres like Montreal, even into the 1960’s.
It is too bad that the Quebecois cannot take that equation of what angered them and reflect on what justice is for Canada’s First Nations, the ‘indigenous people’. Canada’s ‘Prime Minister’, Justin Trudeau, will define the correct words for the rest of us to use to hide the history of ‘the coloured originals’. This is apparently done so that Trudeau does not have to deal fully and honestly with the issue of Metis, half-bloods, ironically, of mostly French, Scottish and ‘indigenous’ origin.
In Canada, the First Nations people were people who were allies in ‘victories’ or defeats of either the British, the French or the American. Even after they had sacrificed so much to defend the principles of a nation or of a ‘national’, they were defined as pariahs. The Canadian, and other nations’, sad history is that ‘the indigenous’ were relegated to small tracts of land, because of the colour of their skin. In Canada, I eventually came to understand that there was a deliberate attempt to starve these coloured people out of existence.
Both the French-speaking and the English-speaking rulers of Canada did this. So, when the Canadian province of Quebec insists that parts of our planet, this nation, be divided on the basis of ‘language’, I wonder when the damnable English and French ‘conquerors’ will submit to lines of geography? Based on the Quebecois insistence that language is so important to defining us all, the Canadian geographic enclaves of language should become circled cities of immigrants from all parts of our planet: cities and towns surrounded by lands where the original language of Cree, Sioux, Ojibwa, etc. are spoken and the Cree and Iroquois and on and on ‘nations’ are defined by geo-political history.
Question becomes, how far do we use ‘history’ to justify this ILLEGAL discrimination? Do we go back to the boundaries of ‘indigenous occupation’ in recognition of the declining ownership of geography by the Ojibway and others in their own battles with the Crees and others throughout human history? This does NOT remove Canada from the LEGAL duty to bring real justice to the ‘indigenous’ and Metis of our nation but it must not be done in a manner where continuing discrimination and racism is perpetuated, not ended. I will expand upon this in other parts of this web site and in my pending books.
The issue of language as a definition of who has greater rights has become absurd. The issue of words allowed in what we write has also become irresponsible.
We look to past history more and more as an excuse to justify continuing the exclusion of specific words which come from individuals. We then try to deny the duty to listen because we claim to be offended by select words. We not only put up the signs. We put this practice of selective listening into our daily living. And, most contemptibly, into the most important parts of our societies where the language of the oppressed should be a responsible source for beginning to understand questions like ‘why the anger?’
We do NOT look to the past to see what the censorship of short words of anger or criticism did in our human history. But, we will allow marches of white supremacists in a nation’s capital and claim that this is necessary to allow ‘freedom of speech’. Yes, I reference the reports of those marches in America’s capital by August 13, 2018 ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/washington-readies-for-todays-planned-white-supremacist-rally-near-white-house/2018/08/12/551720c4-9c28-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.890685e915c1 ) .
The irony of this recent incident and why I have such disdain for the ‘integrity’, more appropriately, the lack of it, in ‘journalism’?
In 2016, I wrote this in an email sent to many, including potential book publishers: “… History lessons. 1933. Torgny Segerstedt. A rare journalist of integrity in 1933. I suggest that you look up the Swedish movie, The Last Sentence (2014). I always say the book is the better read. The movie is a sensationalised, ‘for the screen’, summary of the story of a man who warned of the eminent danger of Heil Hitler.
Segerstedt was a newspaper editor who was told by the Swedish government to shut up, especially after 1939. This was because the King of Sweden would rather be ruled by Hitler than by the Communist Russians.
Aw, newspaper editor Segerstedt wrote sternly but somewhat politely and no one heeded him. Indeed, the hand of Nazi Germany stretched out into Sweden and began to threaten Mr. Segerstedt and his friends. Even his Jewish mistress.
It took 12 years before, as Segerstedt predicted, masses of millions of citizens were murdered as masses of soldiers died to end all of this.
So, I have been warning, into Canada’s courts, and into the publishing houses of bumbling journalists and editors, that the same Nazism is at my door and yours. …”.
I still suggest that the person interested in what responsible journalism is look up the background to this rare man from Sweden of old. But, I also suggest that you continue to read this blog/essay to understand why I have such disdain for our promoted media. And some growing contempt for a majority of blobs around our world who will sit in front of News Channels and decide that they are ‘informed’ by what amounts to good propaganda when it comes to the LEGALLY COMPELLED conduct of our courts, and even our journalists, when it comes to the lessons to 1945 and the laws which came out of that era.
Yes, more breathless, winding writing to force the reader to slow down and think about what I have just said. Why do I say it?
I was not surprised, although I was dismayed at the tender age of 18, when a politician’s body was stuffed into a trunk in that province in October 1970 just two months after I had left ‘la belle province’. I was astounded when tanks and soldiers appeared on the streets of my nation in that month. Canada, after all, was a supposed leader on this planet in the protecting of the principles of equality and peace. We were, at that time, a nation much lauded in our United Nations.
I had no sympathy for the violent options chosen by members of the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) before and escalated by the fall of 1970. However, I was just beginning to learn about the racism of South Africa and the struggles which East Indians still faced.
Oh, by 1970, I knew that there was incipient racism inside my nation. My parents had warned me of the wrong of this. I will eventually, in books or other places, get to the stories of a closeted uncle who was racist and another who also wore the uniform of the Ontario Provincial Police. What I heard and saw inside the confines of small, farm-house dining rooms in provincial Ontario, even after the fires from the 1967 race riots in Detroit, had already educated me to the depth of racism that remained, and remains, inside my nation. My education had begun by the age of 15. My experiences at the age of 18 merely opened my eyes wider.
Still, I did not know what people of obvious racial differences faced despite Gandhi’s marches to establish real equality inside both India and South Africa. I understood why some young French people in Quebec aligned with violence. I understood, but I never condoned it.
Principled equality and a leader of peaceful options? My Canada? I had been in Quebec. I had heard the inside story of discrimination based on language spoken. I had never seen nor heard this issue discussed with much vigour in the Canadian media.
Until this murder occurred.
And that is the saddest statement about the standard of ‘journalism’ which remains in this world into 2018.
I have learned, over time. Now 66, I am not so naive. After 48 years, I know that the primary reason we fail those principles of equality and peace, internationally, is because we have become societies which still believe that ‘the news’ sets the standards for what our daily behaviours should be. We do nothing about challenging the conduct of the very people who are principally responsible for ensuring that our societies are NOT wandering back into the states of 1929: the journalist.
Strong words must be used to awaken our nations to where the problems lay in reaching a truly just society.
Therefore, I am NOT going to retract my public pronouncement that it remains my view that international journalism has, collectively, become a state of human idiocy. After all, when the lessons behind us should change our behaviours, but especially the behaviour of ‘journalists’, we, and they, demonstrate that we have all become idiots to our, daily, personal responsibilities.
Some might say that I am hypersensitive to my life’s lessons. I beg to differ. My life’s lessons have given me an eye to what are the primary factors which led to World War II. Those are factors which reappear, dangerously, inside all of our ‘democratic’ nations. The evidence appears with increasing frequency in the past three decades.
In my daily realm. In yours, even if you remain silent to it. Or ‘dumbed down’ to it.
My position remains that ‘journalists’ may be the primary source of modern idiocy which leads our nations to a complete failure to uphold those lessons to 1945. But, if we fail to change our own behaviours about what language is allowed to register justifiable dissent, we will repeat history.
That repeat of human history will not necessarily be through the sudden explosions of atomic bombs around this planet, although, with men like Donald Trump and some like-minded nutbars in Israel, Russia, China and Korea, that is too real a threat. It will be, regrettably, more likely the ‘natural demise’ of the human race through the stupidity of our journalists and the cowardice of our scientists.
The cowardice of the scientists, as I reference in my August 2 blog, might have some merit, some lame excuse because of the ‘upbringing’ of scientists. Human history shows scientists to often be a lot of bespectacled, back-room, social misfits. Scientists are more likely to be focussed on their equations than in thinking about their general duty to all human responsibilities.
However, as a former, practising ‘professional forest scientist’, I do not see scientists as having any lesser responsibility because of their failed social conscience. I do not because of what came out of the lessons of human history and what happened, yes, to my rights, even when I was a ‘real scientist’, because those lessons remain ignored in all parts of society.
The stupidity of journalists, however, is that they fail their critical duty to protect the truth via freed speech and to expose the debate about why our societies are, indeed, failing the lessons of human history. This is an unforgivable thing to me. I will not, therefore, allow anyone from our societies to censor my view that journalistic idiots are the main cause for the threat to the survival of vast populations of our human race, if not a threat to the extinction of our species via our complacent stupidity.
I repeat in my writings of recent years that I will take anyone’s advice, as to how offensive my words used at any time are, ‘into consideration’, as the lawyer in me says. However, I will also continue to deal with this issue of ‘human civility’ in language which some would prefer I not use. I refuse to forget the aspects of human history which others seem to have forgotten when it comes to ‘language’ any writer might use.
Enough people did not call Hitler and his band of thugs, and their complicit friends, ‘idiots’. Very few ‘journalists’ used strong language to talk about the incipient rot that was evident in our world by 1935. Those who did were told to ‘tone things down’ because the nations involved did not want their economies impacted in the trade of things with a re-arming, ‘pre-war’ Germany.
This is something we should have learned from. Instead, I have witnessed 46 years of incipient lying and manipulation from ‘democratic processes’. I hope, therefore, that I am allowed language which I know might offend many to challenge the sources of incompetence to that human history which we put much emphasis on but really do little about in our daily practice of ‘social responsibility’.
Censoring the writer for words used? The question all readers should really be asking is ‘does the writer have a right to use that word to expose the level of his anger at this situation?’
I hope that I have some justification for exposing my anger and the reasons for it. In language I choose.
I am not a man who uses ‘uncivil’ speech on a regular basis. Nevertheless, I feel that there is a historical base which leads to my intense desire to bring society to an understanding as to how we change our world. I will do so while using language which exposes some contempt, no, deep contempt, for parts of our society. I will not hide my contempt for those who hold themselves in a higher esteem than they deserve.
That includes journalists and cowering scientists. However, my deepest contempt will be exposed, at this web site and in my books, for partisan politicians and the ‘legal professionals’. These two illegally aligned factions in our society ILLEGALLY promote their self-esteem over their legal duty to all other citizens of our world.
Certainly, I was raised under the influence of parents and others. As I entered high school, these were people who insisted on ‘civil speech’ as a measure of respect for all others. However, the deep irony becomes this.
I arrived at Lakehead University to learn about forest science in 1971. That School of Forestry was full of European professors.
These were ‘professional foresters’ who had fled World War II and the subsequent communist invasion of some of their countries.
I had forestry professors who had arrived from Great Britain in the post-war fleeing of the bombed out remnants of the ‘English Empire’. These people had survived, and witnessed, unthinkable things.
Forest Statistics Professor ‘Tom’ Hazenberg (deceased in 2017: https://obittree.com/obituary/ca/ontario/thunder-bay/sargent-and-son-ltd/tom-hazenberg/2968429/ ) still spoke with his thick European accent. He, like many of these men in that University’s teaching positions, had the reputation of a tough, commanding lecturer. He did not avoid ‘common language’ in his vocabulary inside our class rooms.
Hazenberg’s harsh accent sounded like German to me. It surprises me to see that he was born in Holland in 1932. I still wonder how close he was to Anne Frank’s situation and how he suffered as a child experiencing the starvation as Canadians forced Germans out of that nation by 1945.
It was necessary to bring Europeans to educate Canadian students in Ontario’s newest School of Forestry of that era (founded in 1968… I entered its third graduating class in that School’s four-year program, in 1971). This was because Germany, Great Britain and even the Scandinavian countries had a much longer history of forest management and, hence, a longer record in that science. European, and even American, schools and nations were fuller of real forest data and forest management examples than the fledgling versions Canada had lamely started to accrue in the early 1900’s.
The most respected of these ‘immigrant’ professors at Lakehead University were quite belligerent. They were free with their use of cuss words. I began to also admire two government ‘professional foresters’ who attended public seminars at this School of Forestry.
These two government officials were also European-sourced foresters. George Brown was an outspoken forester from Kenora, Ontario. He had been born in Hungary in 1923. George Marek became my supervisor in Nipigon, Ontario when I joined the ranks of government bureaucrats in January 1981.
Marek was from Czechoslovakia. In the European tradition of ‘working heritage’ in that generation, his father had been a forester. Marek had trained in the same famous German forestry schools of the 20th century as his father had.
Marek was an especially shrill forester. He publicly challenged his superiors and the forest corporations of the day in many forums, including in ‘the press’. Both he and Brown titillated the student part of these public audiences at Lakehead University. People took note of the liberal use of profanities from these two in their angry outbursts at the high and mighty of the forest industry society. Sometimes their curses flew directly at their own government supervisors who sat on the higher stages of presentation at these forums.
These two people did not hide their anger. They were considered brave by most. They were considered belligerent by the powerful in elected, corporate and appointed positions.
I came to understand what history in these truly professional professors’ and government foresters’ personal lives had led them to be this brave.
Bob Day, a professor with English origins, was less prolific with this language in public but his language was salty inside every one of our silviculture classes had with that man. He had been a young man who had witnessed the bombing of his nation. I had the privilege of sitting in his office as he did a critical review on the very first essay from a Lakehead Forestry student that was published in an ‘esteemed forestry magazine’. Day assisted me in getting that essay he had liked published in the Canadian Forestry Chronicle.
Through Day’s personal history which I came to know, I came to understand how personal history is too easily forgotten by the next generation because words are silenced. That story will be told more fully in a pending book of mine, Of Trees, Traders and Traitors.
In short, Bob Day was one of the first of a rare group of Presidents of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association which came out of Lakehead University. There were three Presidents of this association who came out of Lakehead University in the 1970 era. Ken Armson and John Blair also dared to be outspoken about the lies from government and industry.
But it was Day who privately revealed to me in the fall of 1982 that he had came under direct fire from industrial ‘professional foresters’ for his public pronouncements in the press.
I was still in that school when the record was made in the Ontario press that professors of forestry in Ontario were daring to declare that Ontario’s abuse of its forests would lead to mill closures and economic distress. The public outcry began. The backroom manipulations and threats of lawsuits from big industry officials, themselves ‘registered professional foresters’, was suppressed. Day revealed this to me as he reviewed and helped get my protest letter presented in December 1982 to the The Professional Forester propaganda rag of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA). That letter was written in strong condemnation of the ethics of the very organization of a ‘registered body’ which was to control the ethics of forest scientist ‘professionals’.
This backroom history with Day and others was why I later came to agree with piano-playing ‘Tom’ Hazenberg when he said that no one really needs ‘registered professional forester’ designations: as long as the truth is protected in the public realm.
In the press, Day was initially civil. In the classroom and in the public forums, his curses began to flow more freely in my last year in those classes. This was because the press, instead of becoming an avenue of debate, had become ‘a source’, a reason for the corporate lawyers to appear in the face of those critical of government or ‘industrial scientists’.
Day faced threats for forest industry stock/share losses which began when investors began to listen to the projections made by these university forest scientists.
It took me until 2003 to start to uncover that these ‘legal professionals’ and industry ‘professional foresters’ were often people who gave to the same partisans who were in power and who were trying to suppress the truths.
It took me short years later to uncover that the overseers of our ‘free press’ were also donors to these same partisans.
It took me until 2007 to uncover that the very police man who sat in my Thunder Bay courtrooms during my civil application against Ontario’s Conservatives of the day belonged to a policing association which had donated to the same Conservative faction of Ontario which had sought my firing in 1982.
I knew, by 2016, that it was a Conservative mayor in Nipigon, Ontario who then used partisan-infiltrated courts to justify the disappearance of my accumulated documents of 40 years. Those were documents related to my experiences in the realms of science, politics and justice. They were a personal record, not unlike Anne Frank’s in some ways, of how the truth had been oppressed and silenced by this partisan manipulation of our quasi ‘processes of justice’.
So, what are the ramifications of a ‘press’ which digs only deep enough to expose what is convenient for them to report on? And then uses partisan ‘legal professionals’ and their ‘advice’ to guide how the journalist should behave into 2018?
I eventually understood why these professors of 1971 were prone to be braver to criticize the blatant lying that was becoming prolific inside the forest industry of that era. Oh, many calling themselves ‘forestry professionals’, especially in the forest industry side of things, will declare that ‘the science did not exist in Canada!’ to allow criticism of them. To me, that is equivalent to the cigarette manufacturer declaring for decades that smoking their cigs does not create a high risk of cancer.
Marek and Brown and Day, and many others, who were braver men than most cowering Canadian-born, and other nation’s ‘scientists’ of all stripes of today, were men who did not hide their anger from the public. They raged, with open cursing, at the complicity between government officials and richer and richer corporate officials. They dared to say that walking the forest was an integral part of any earth-based science and that the trained human eye is often a better record than the most complicated equations designed by computer geeks and forest-data nerds.
They dared to shout profanities, why? I came to learn that they had personally witnessed the ramifications which come from public lying and suppressing any truth. Indeed, by June 1981, in my first months of employ in Nipigon, Ontario, I had learned that Marek had barely escaped summary execution by a Nazi patrol inside his native Czechoslovakia. He had then fled his native nation to avoid the oppression of the winning communist regime.
Protecting the truth in all places, it became clear to me, was critical to ensure that real democracy existed. Those who would declare that we must use ‘certain words!’ or they will not listen are the most vile in human behaviour if we remember the world events after 1929.
So, why am I so aggravated by what has happened to ‘journalism’ inside my democracies?
I have too many personal lessons ‘under my belt’.
I have the record of lectures from more professional scientists, starting in 1989, who warned of the pending global climate crisis and the impact it would have on Canada’s forests.
I have the lesson under my belt that my, and George Marek’s, predictions of 1981 of the harsh impacts that would come from partisan-induced abuse of forest in Ontario came, too ironically and too sadly, to bear by 1996.
I see the journalists focussing in on the ‘news’ of British Columbia and other parts of this globe where predictable fires have now got forestry and business officials scrambling to deal with the predicted realities of global warming.
I dare to call journalists idiots, why? The better summation of my reasons why comes in my next blog. In the meantime, think about this.
Despite the lessons from our human history, the standards of ‘reporting’ have, remarkably, changed to the worst in my personal experience.
It is time for the general public in all nations to ask why the owners of our newspapers and television stations should not be criminally charged for exercising criminal influence into our courts and institutions of ‘the vote’ given the depth of partisan entrenchment which appears in the record of not just my life, but also the lives of others.
It is time to ask why our institutions of journalism are NOT the independent voices which principled democracy compels and why THIS FACT spills onto our streets, dangerously. We repeat history with the contemptible theory, of journalists and their partisan ‘legal friends’, that ‘free speech’ is something which allows the preaching of the oppression of the rights of any other on the basis of some identifiable difference?
Sexism. Racism. Suppression of equivalency in the right to justice because of social status, often as imposed homelessness, as is beginning to arise in my case. Religious intolerance. Too many isms in our societies.
The international law of 1948 forbade even a hint of white supremacy remaining anywhere inside our nations of ‘democracy’. Our journalists cannot, or will not, quote those laws to the partisan lawyers who tell us what ‘the law’ will be.
No! If you read this web site, you should come to understand that the laws of 1948 COMPEL that ANYONE who dares to overtly or publicly demand the removal of the base rights of equivalence FOR ANY ONE person AT ANY TIME, THE LAW must stop them.
Journalists DO NOT ask our nations WHY Americans inside ‘government’ provide police to protect white supremacists INSTEAD OF arresting these people for their open violation of the rights of others and for their contempt for international law. However, when a black President of ‘great hope’ ignores international law and assassinates another human being without arrest and trial, do we wonder why a man, Ben Ferencz, who is the last surviving prosecutor from the trials of Nuremberg, dared to write a critical letter in an American newspaper? ( https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/opinion/l04binladen.html )
Why do we not take the sad lessons from Ferencz’s personal history. He admits to having witnessed and engaged in atrocious things as preparations began for the trials in Nuremberg in 1945. Yet he became an advocate for new human behaviours after 1948. He resigned from the private practice of law during the Vietnam War. He built an organization for peace that would use law, not violence, to maintain international peace and provide justice for the murder of citizens, anywhere.
Yes, I provide only access to the Wikipedia summary for this brave man ( https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Benjamin_B._Ferencz.html ). I do suggest that you look deeper at this man’s attempt to lead. Why the resistance inside so many nations to this man’s insistence that an international criminal court be put into place to stop this murderous behaviour from human beings, that is often based on identifiable features or registered loyalties?
And why do racists still remain a legal thing inside too many nations?
Stay tuned for my next blog which should educate YOU to why YOU should NOT trust the ‘free press’ anymore and why WE have to use ‘web media’ like this to make even our ‘journalists’ accountable to their incompetence and too apparent lethargy in understanding international law.
Incompetent and irresponsible ‘journalism’ is why DAILY violations against international law occur inside our own nations. This has made ‘democracy’ an irrelevant word in 2018.
“Democracy, an irrelevant word in 2018”. Those are the words which you, the reader, should be focussing in on, not my use of the word ‘idiots’, a word which too sadly applies in the case of ‘journalism’ in 2018.
Generating Real Democracy: How our ‘democracies’, ‘the vote’ and our institutions of ‘justice’ have been made irrelevant by partisan entrenchment. What we need to do about it.