Archive for the ‘MARGARET WENTE’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WHO IS TAKING JOBS? COMPUTERS MARGARET WENTE BLUBBERS – A SUGGESTION   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

One thing is clear, a computer could certainly replace Ms. Wente, and do so handily.

Computers are really good at things like searching around on the Internet for what others have said and then regurgitating it.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CLOUDCUCKOOLAND EDITORIAL SAYS IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING WHEN BYSTANDERS STAND UP TO BULLIES – BULLYING HAS BECOME A SUBJECT FOR CHEAP SPEECHES – MARGARET WENTE CHIMES IN   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Bullying in Canada is nothing more than a soapbox topic.

The soapbox gets pulled from the closet every now and then, as when Amanda Todd was so brutalized, to stand on for a cheap speech.

The fact is that complicit bystanders generally are teachers and school officials.

They are the ones in authority, and it is owing to nothing less than a cowardly shirking of duty that bullying happens in our schools.

You cannot blame the children when their local adult example is an example of indifference or cowardice.

It really is a very simple matter: are we to have civil society in our schools so that we have some hope that the generations passing through grow up as more responsible citizens?

You cannot teach civility or human decency when this goes on, as it does regularly.

Slogans and programs are pointless expenses are not much more than a cover-your-behind effort and an utter waste of time and money when a poor example is shown by those with the authority.

I know the difference that is made by a responsible adult from my own childhood experience, and I have never failed to intervene when there is genuine bullying or violence involved.

Also, we should not forget that there are more than a few teachers who are themselves bullies.

There were when I was a child, and the experience of a friend brought the fact powerfully back to me recently, a case of a horrible teacher going beyond bullying to vicious verbal abuse and the baring of teeth against a woman worker for a Board, in front of others, including a school superintendent, who did nothing.

And what powers do the higher authorities have in these matters?

Virtually none because they have abdicated to the teachers’ union and to bullying parents.

So, it is time, politicians and senior school officials and editorialists, to put up or shut up. It is very tiresome to keep hearing about a problem that is completely avoided other than buying some t-shirts or other slogan-laden promotional premiums.

Either take some genuine action or quit talking about the problem you deliberately avoid even as you speak of it.

And what do I think are the chances of that?

About the same as were the chances for zero-tolerance of violence in the schools. The policy, a sound one, was swept under the rug quickly with the firsts objections from affected parents.
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“Public shaming – reduces the big, strong men who threaten little girls anonymously or from behind automatic weapons to the wee, limp men they are.”

Again, an example of the soapbox pulled out, but the statement helps no one because it is utterly non-operational.

Someone has to lead and direct the effort.

Just saying “public shaming” is a bit like saying bullies should be told their behavior is unacceptable.

Yes, but who does the telling?

This issue has always been about leadership in the defense of human values.
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I see good old Margaret Wente is at it again with her predictably titled squib, “The best protection against bullying isn’t legislation.”

Of course no one is permitted to comment now on the dishonest words of the Globe’s only demonstrated plagiarist.

But it is fitting she too should chime in on bullying.

She’s been a verbal bully for years, often attacking what she doesn’t even understand.

And does anyone remember her filthy words about Palestinian mothers not loving their children a few years back?

The words of a genuine bully, surely.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE TO E.U. – EDITORIAL SAYS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO NATO – AWARD WAS A BIT FLAKY BUT THIS SUGGESTION IS MENTALLY UNBALANCED – PRIZE’S SAD HISTORY   1 comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Of course, the right-wing hacks who regularly write editorials at the Stackhouse Globe would say that.

A bloody military organization for a peace prize?

A military organization which, with the end of the Cold War, has no legitimate purpose beyond maintaining American hegemony in Europe and serving as a responsibility-diffusing “front” for brutal American policies like those in Afghanistan or Libya or Yemen or Syria?

An organization which in recent years has killed tens of thousands?

The prize for the EU was a bit flaky, but the Globe’s suggestion is genuinely mentally-unbalanced.

But then the Peace Prize has almost no meaning any more in view of its shabby record.

Other winners include Barack Obama, who is now busy slaughtering thousands of people by drones; Henry Kissinger, a genuine war criminal; Andrei Sakharov, father of the Russian hydrogen bomb; Simon Peres, political father of Israel’s nuclear arsenal; Menachim Begin, an old Irgun terrorist with lots of blood on his hands; Al Gore, the biggest phony pitchman since Oral Roberts; Mother Teresa, a religious zealot of questionable ethics; and Aung San Suu Kyi who plays the professional victim for American foreign policy besides being a bit off her nutter.

By the way, the Globe editorially now seems an out-of-date Cold Warrior. I hesitate to say it, but the tone really has become almost un-Canadian. Look South to the land of Captain Ahab chasing after White Whales for its origin.
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I’m nominating John Stackhouse next year for his diplomatic finesse in dealing with the embarrassing Margaret Wente.

He managed to make both plagiarism and hypocrisy quietly acceptable.

No one was hurt in the ugly battle (not counting the Globe’s reputation), and everyone went home keeping a job.

That’s about as much an achievement as some of the actual winners have under their belts.

And ethically it’s in keeping with the tone of this editorial where, as in Orwell’s Oceania, “war is peace.”

We just add “lying is truth” to Globe slogans.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MARGARET WENTE, CAUGHT RED-HANDED, DEFENDS HERSELF IN A SPECIAL DUNCE-CAP-IN-THE-CORNER COLUMN ON CHARGES OF PLAGIARISM – JOHN STACKHOUSE’S POOR RESPONSE TO THE ISSUE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Defends herself?

Is that what you call these less-than-honest words?

Words which add up to shabby hypocrisy?

Actually, this piece is interesting for what it reveals – unintentionally, I’m sure – about Wente’s methods.

Her past “journalism” – and, despite being an opinion columnist, she has engaged with what would fall under that rubric – follows exactly the same pattern as this limp, self-serving rubbish.

Again, just look to efforts like her “reportage” on Vancouver’s injection sites or the end of the Iraq War.

As far as her opinion columns, she has always taken the thoughts of others – carefully selected others – and basically written dust-jacket blurbs for their books or articles, without an ounce of original thought.

Finally, John Stackhouse’s leadership on this matter has been about as poor and shabby as this Wente effort.

But Stackhouse is the man who has given us a new low level in Globe editorials, so that is hardly a surprise.

When the nation’s leading paper – and, yes, despite the efforts of John Stackhouse, it remains that for now – appears to condone plagiarism, what can anyone say about all those thousands of mediocre students who regularly depend upon the nasty practice?
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“I’ve noticed that right wing conservatives in the US (as well as in Canada) attempt to vilify their political opponents instead of engaging in meaningful debate. It appears that the same tactic is being used by the left wingers posting here.”

There are few things people hate more than blatant hypocrisy, and here we have hypocrisy over plagiarism.

And all that is over and above her day-in-day out practice of defending what cannot be defended and pretending at intervals to report on things she has not investigated.

The woman has abused her privileged platform once too often.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MARGARET WENTE HURLS MORE IGNORANCE: CALLING FRENCH STUDENTS PROTESTING IN MONTREAL THE GREEKS OF CANADA – JUDGING A COLUMN BY ITS HORRIBLE COMMENTS – ALBERTA DOLLARS?   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Finally the vast majority of the demonstrations have been peaceful. The subway smoke and the class invaders are not a protest problem they are a criminal problem and need to be dealt with in a criminal way. To associate a bunch of thugs with the 115000 students who have demonstrated peacefully is wrong.”

Yes, and it is an especially sensitive matter in Quebec because the previous generation there, before the Quiet Revolution, had low opportunities for university attendance. So in their eyes, this is more than a financial concern.

And I might add, Wente, in getting it wrong, is only performing at her expected level.

She amuses and supports herself by tossing bloody hunks of meat into the beast compound.

She has virtually never honestly analyzed a serious problem.
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“Without the rest of Canada supporting it, Quebec is worse than Greece. At least Greeks have a glorious past. Quebecers have always been lazy, useless socialist twits.”

These words are a perfect example of what someone like Wente brings floating to the surface, much like toxic residue.

One could cite many such comments here.

Surely this provides hard evidence for the level and quality of Wente’s appeal, but that’s what one expects from the work of a professional propagandist: members of the Politburo clapping their bloody paws together, hooting and bellowing, following her words.
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‘The tuition protesters must be doing something right if Globe and Mail orders this piece from one of their “Commentary writers”.’

And not just ‘one’ of their commentary writers.

But the amazing Ms. Wente, utility-infielder political hack in the great tradition of 19th century scurrilous scribblers, the kind of folks who used to call Lincoln an obscene ape.

Considering Ms. Wente’s track record, it is hard to understand how anyone takes her seriously.

Just some egregious examples were inaccurate reporting on Vancouver’s safe-injection site courtesy of one prejudiced source; even worse, her garbage on the Middle East, including the trashy notion of Palestinian mothers not caring for their children; and, her all-time whopper, her dangerously dishonest columns from conquered Iraq, a catastrophe that cost a million lives.

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-iraq-wars-trashiest-piece-of-propaganda/

One can only hope to understand her having any audience from the scientifically determined fact that her kind of conservative views tend to appeal to lower intelligence.

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/why-republicans-have-no-sense-of-humor/
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“Entitled Quebeckers brought to you be Albertans dollars!”

Again, the kind of toxic waste Ms. Wente’s words always bring floating to the surface of any issue.

Albertan dollars?

I thought our currency was national?

Of course, someone in Texas might equally say:

“Blowhard Albertans brought to you by Texas dollars!”

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HARD TRUTHS ABOUT EDUCATION – LIBERAL ARTS – THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF LOW STANDARDS – GRADE INFLATION – MY KID’S IN COLLEGE – HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Liberal arts students have been sold a bill of goods by universities…”

Typical Wente: what is at best one aspect of a situation – a partial truth – is offered as an explanation for it. In this case, what she is writing about is more an effect than a cause.

The truth is that, starting sometime after WWII, North American high school graduates have sought “higher education” in increasingly great numbers.

Every family in the United States loves telling others, “My kid’s in college,” and it is the same in Canada, only parents are more likely to say, “My kid’s in university,” the word “college” never having achieved quite the same meaning.

There are several genuine reasons for this.

After WW II, with developments like veterans’ benefits for education and the crash expansion of many state and provincial universities, new waves of post-high school students were created.

We had a second boom in post-high school education when the post-war baby boom swelled demand for higher education in the 1960s.

In truth, many of the expansions may have been excessive, but an institution once built will want to be filled.

Family and personal pride played, and still play, a great role with many families proud of their first member ever to graduate beyond high school.

There is also a decades-long trend in grade inflation in our elementary schools and high schools. An “A” average today may not in many cases equal the strength of a “C” average of 60 years ago, but it will get you across the threshold of some academic institution.

Entering here too is a new sense of democratization in North American society. What was once an institution for people only of superior intelligence has become something serving the average and sometimes even the below-average. Indeed, we saw an extreme example of the forces at work here in the recent case of a mother insisting she should attend classes with her retarded child to assist.

The opening of new state or provincial institutions or branches of existing ones – always expanding the number of places – now typically responds to many regional political pressures. We also have the phenomenon of former polytechnical schools aspiring to becoming universities.

And we have waves of earlier graduates hoping to land university teaching posts.

College or university has also become a place to spend some time with job markets having no resemblance to those of 60 years ago.

Then, any reasonably bright high school grad could get a job with prospects quickly and quickly find another if the first proved unsatisfactory. Neither is the case today. A good job advertised is as scarce as a gold nugget and will attract hundreds of resumes.

Indeed, today people submit resumes for jobs like janitors or store clerks, unheard of 60 years ago when such jobs were quickly filled by sight..

The resume has something of the effect of a bidding war on a house for sale: the ones with more pluses get the only chance at success.

Institutions and companies and organizations have increasingly demanded academic study beyond high school.

In some cases, this reflects genuinely increased needs for expertise with new technology and systems and concepts, but in many cases it is just an extension of the grade-inflation process and a process of pseudo-professionalization of what are really vocations, not professions.

Companies today know that half the high school graduates are indeed not at all good prospects ( the same half that 60 years ago dropped out and landed a good job in a steel mill or auto plant or a police force) and instead of wasting great resources sorting through them, they allow the higher education system to pre-sort them.

Thus, by inertia, we’ve allowed costly higher institutions to sort out to some extent what we might have done more economically at the high school level.

This process is effectively never-ending, with master’s degrees replacing bachelor’s and doctorates replacing master’s degrees on top of bachelor’s degrees replacing high school graduation.

A perfect example of this is found in elementary school teaching. Once, not too many decades ago, a high school graduate spent eight months getting a certificate and could then teach. Today the prospect must have a general bachelor’s degree and a certificate.

No one, other than those with sinecures in the public education establishment, believes that the average elementary teacher is any better in skills or knowledge, and indeed there is an argument for their being worse since today there is virtually zero evaluation or assessment of teachers in their classrooms.

Now McGuinty talks of two-year certificates: a case of pure grade inflation and pseudo-professionalization.

And we have pseudo-professionalization in many fields from nursing to police. You can get a degree in the United States at least in playground supervision or circus or television.

The idea of a good liberal education making a flexible person ready for a now ever-changing job market remains a true generalization, but like all generalizations, the devil is in the detail. A student of mediocre abilities remains a graduate of mediocre abilities, regardless of any degree. And a second-rate university luring students with easy entry requirements and soft grading is not doing a great deal to equip them for the tough demands of a globalized world.

The universities want to fill seats since education has become commoditized and government support per student is less than it once was in real terms. The fact that so many still want to go, despite their private knowledge of their academic limits, is what is driving the system. Sadly many will earn only debts and not prospects. Again, education provides a good example with Ontario graduating about 12,000 certificate students a year for what is said to be 7,000 places. Those with experience in public education will doubt even that number.

In some sense, we’ve created the worst of all possible worlds of education. It has tended to copy that of the United States now for many years, the American system being the world standard of a system without almost any standards, only elite schools still holding to old ways and not even them in many instances.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MARGARET WENTE AGAIN DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE – THIS TIME MICHAEL IGNATIEFF ON QUEBEC – TWO PEOPLE WITH PUBLIC POSITIONS DEMONSRATE REMARKABLE IGNORANCE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Quebec is not leaving Confederation.

There is not the tiniest bit of evidence for saying that.

So why do people keep saying it?

Because it’s such an emotionally charged statement it gets people’s attention, quickly.

Ergo, Ignatieff pathetic comments: words from a man who has proven, over and over, he is not all that perceptive, and a man who sure wants attention.

The man spent most of his life writing books – and as any good professional writer will tell you – that is a lonely business. Indeed Graham Greene wrote of the writer having a splinter of ice in his heart.

Further still, writing books is not necessarily the same thing as either having genuine new ideas or of being a perceptive analyst of current affairs.

The Toronto Liberal Party insiders who lured Ignatieff back to Canada with the promise of his leading the Party never understood these facts.

And, clearly, Ignatieff did not understand them either. He does not truly know even himself.

He has proved a remarkably unperceptive and narrow academic with little ability to relate to society.

It is only natural that Margaret Wente would choose to defend his empty observations. That’s the kind of thing she specializes in.

After all, they are pretty well cut from the same cloth, only Wente has no academic standing.

Two streams of humid air blowing against the realities and subtleties of their time.
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“Get off it Cons, Iggy is not really anti-Canadian in any sense. It is only your stupidity (based on Harper’s 15 sec. talking points) that makes it seem so in your own minds only.”

That would be a laughable comment were it not so sad.

You totally confuse the Right Wing with critics of Ignatieff.

Sorry, but there are many, many genuinely liberal-minded people in this world who do not think well of Ignatieff.

Indeed, there is a strong argument for consigning Ignatieff to the softer wing of the neo-conservatives.

His record during his time at Harvard is quite unpleasant, including, of course, writing in support of our generation’s biggest war crime, the invasion of Iraq, which killed about a million people, destroyed a promising society for a generation, and left about 2 million refugees. He also supported “torture-lite.”

Ignatieff has never qualified as a genuine liberal. He is a special interest man, and his aura of being a significant voice in human rights is just that an aura. His record is a poor one if you scrutinize the details.

Ms Wente’s entire background in writing of world affairs reflects the neo-con position, from endless apologies for Israel’s savagery to her almost putrid embrace of the same invasion of Iraq.

Again, here is a near-demented Ms Wente some years ago on all that death and destruction in Iraq:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-iraq-wars-trashiest-piece-of-propaganda/
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“He is entitled to his opinion, but its clear he was never a great choice for Liberal leader.”

But he never was a choice, was he, in the sense of the word choice we assume in a democracy?

He was parachuted into the role by a group of Party bosses.

Just as he was parachuted into his West End riding when he first showed up on stage playing his return-of-the-native act.

Now, what kind of a principled politician, or would-be politician in this case – principled in democratic and human values – accepts such gifts from a group of insiders?

To answer the question is to summarize Ignatieff’s credentials as a principled politician.
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“To be honest, in travelling across Canada, I have found far more of a sense of separation and even hostility in Western Canada. I have rarely heard from a Quebecker the kind of vitriol towards other Canadians as some of the comments/attitudes I’ ve encountered In B.C. & Alberta in recent years.”

Well said.

Your observation confirms my own over some years.

I’ve never heard such genuine low-life comments as I’ve heard in Alberta.

Stephen Harper serves as a kind of bellows blowing on hot coals in this matter.

Wente’s ignorance here is little short of phenomenal, exceeded only by the man of proven poor judgment she’s defending.

Again, here’s what a woman of genuine perceptive intelligence – one of Canada’s best political columnists – has to say:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1167952–michael-ignatieff-s-bbc-comments-on-shaky-ground?bn=1
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The following two postings are mine from the original column by Michael Ignatieff:

Please, go away, boring man.

You were a complete flop as a political leader.

And in your previous efforts to get some attention in the Globe, you’ve demonstrated less-than-Sterling abilities as an idea man.

Indeed, it was your poor judgment and blind ambition which are responsible for the Harper’s licence to act against much of what Canada has represented in my adult lifetime.

Now, you play the old “look out for Quebec” card.

Tiresome and inaccurate.
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“This is what this guy does best. Babble. Of course in their little world he is known as a deep thinker.”

His reputation as a thinker is immensely overblown, as all thoughtful people came to understand from most of what has come out of his mouth since accepting as an inheritance, as it were, the promise of leadership of the Liberal Party.

I cannot believe how trivial and unperceptive he has proven himself.

But, then, he did support criminal invasion and torture when still doing his blubbering in the United States, didn’t he?

Globe, you do readers no service giving this guy free space for advertising himself.

Indeed, there is almost a touch of black comedy here with a man proven to be so out of touch, and not just concerning Canada, still coming back repeatedly to offer views and advice.

The term “idiot-savant” comes to mind here, but I’m not so sure about the “savant’ half of the phrase.