... the hour is getting late.
It all went something like this:
Day 1: An endless battle against the networks, including the NATIONAL ICON, the CBC, (Shame!) simply to get the right to sue the bastards, Ai Ai Ai!
I am not going to waste time posting pictures of the CBC maggots, anyway, they are Legion as they say; if you want to see them you can go to Board of Directors, and Senior Management Team and look at all their smiling faces.
Adbusters is not just Kalle Lasn, in fact I wonder if the weakness in many of the ads does not spring from some flaw in his management. Other interesting people are not included here because I could not find any pictures.
0. Adbusters, Journal Of The Mental Environment, Subvertising, Culture Jamming.
1. Adbusters wins right to sue broadcasters over TV ads, Fiona Morrow, April 6, 2009.
2. Adbusters, Autosaurus, 1993, YouTube.
3. Adbusters, Buy Nothing Day, Meaningless, YouTube.
4. Adbusters, Buy Nothing Day, with Pig, YouTube (third try you see?).
5. Jah Iya: The Pledge To Resist - Not In Our Name, YouTube.
6. Adbusters, The Product is You, YouTube.
7. Adbusters, Logorrea, YouTube.
8. Jimi Hendrix Star Spangled Banner, YouTube.
9. Jimi Hendrix All Along the Watchtower, YouTube.
10. Jimi Hendrix All Along the Watchtower, YouTube.
11. Bob Dylan All Along the Watchtower - John Wesley Harding, YouTube.
12. Bob Dylan All Along the Watchtower, YouTube.
13. Bob Dylan All Along the Watchtower, YouTube.
14. Neil Young All Along the Watchtower, YouTube.
15. Albion Monitor Editorial.
Day 2: Looks like Dalton McGuinty stood up. Who can say if he will stay there?
16. Time to move, Globe editorial, April 6, 2009.
17. Metrolinx, the committee formerly known as Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.
Day 3: John Jones simply quits. The RCMP and other pigs are just not interested in ethics.
18. Police ethics adviser quits over sponsors, Christie Blatchford, April 8, 2009.
19. CACP, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
Caring, Courage, Equity, Integrity, Openness, Respect, Transparency, Trustworthiness.
A joke I guess, a bad one.
Adbusters wins right to sue broadcasters over TV ads, Fiona Morrow, April 6, 2009.
VANCOUVER — After almost 15 years of legal struggle, Kalle Lasn, editor-in-chief of Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, finally has something to celebrate. On Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal issued a ruling that allows Adbusters Media Foundation to pursue legal action against the CBC and CanWest Global for refusing to screen its anti-consumerist television ads.
“This is the first victory we've had in 15 years, and it feels incredibly sweet,” Mr. Lasn said in a telephone interview. “The court has basically given us permission to go after media corporations and hold them up for scrutiny. The case is wide open again. It feels like a vindication.”
Adbusters' legal counsel, Mark Underhill, said that the significance of the case lies in whether private broadcasters given a license to operate by Parliament have the right to determine who gets to speak on the public airwaves.
“We are arguing that Section 3 of the Broadcasting Act says that the broadcasting system is public,” he said. “It's not just about Adbusters' rights, it's about the rights of the people to hear Adbusters and others who might have alternative viewpoints in a public space.”
The case is still months, if not years, away from being heard in court, Mr. Underhill said. “We are essentially at the very beginning. It has taken all this time to be able to start from scratch.”
Adbusters launched a legal challenge after the CBC pulled its anti-car television ad, Autosaurus, from its automotive show Driver's Seat. The ad ran once in February, 1993, but was withdrawn after complaints from other sponsors – mostly car companies.
In November, 1995, the B.C. Supreme Court rejected Adbusters' argument that this infringed on the foundation's right to freedom of expression, ruling that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to the Crown corporation.
In 2004, Mr. Lasn hired prominent civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby and launched another suit in Ontario, arguing that CBC, CanWest Global, Bell Globemedia and CHUM had each refused to run ads created by Adbusters. Telephone transcripts included in the legal filing showed television executives anticipated a negative response from major advertisers over the ads. During the same period, several of the same ads were screened without issue on CNN.
The action hit a wall when Adbusters was ordered to dismiss Mr. Ruby because of a conflict of interest (he was working on a different CanWest case). Strapped for cash (Mr. Lasn estimates the case has cost $200,000 so far), and needing to find another lawyer, Adbusters transferred the case to B.C. and continued – this time citing CBC, CanWest Global and the Attorney-General of Canada as defendants.
In February, 2008, the B.C. Supreme Court under Mr. Justice William Ehrcke rejected Adbusters' claim that refusing to air the ads was a violation of the right to freedom of expression. The charter, he said, citing the previous ruling on CBC, did not apply to private corporations.
That decision was overturned on Friday, when the B.C. Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the original ruling that the charter did not apply to the CBC, and in consequence, overturned the decision to throw out the case against CanWest Global.
A spokesperson for the CBC, Jeff Keay, said that the corporation will review the ruling before determining its next course of action.
CanWest Global declined to comment.
Albion Monitor Editorial.
One of the oddest things about American culture is its love of celebrity.
News simply isn't real to many unless there's a famous face involved. Rock Hudson's death brought home the horrors of AIDS to Main Street America, although many thousands had earlier died. The pounding nightsticks seen in Rodney King's beating may have been disturbing, but it was the O.J. Simpson trial and Mark Furman's foul language that first proved to Joe Citizen that racism flourished inside the Los Angeles police department.
Thus it was through Kathie Lee Gifford that America discovered sweatshops. If you haven't already read Santa's Little Sweatshop, I'd encourage you to scan the part about Gifford, at least. It's a sad tale.
As pointed out there, it's sad not just because children are working long days for slavery wages. It's saddest because the media focus never strayed from Gifford's embarrassment. We saw Kathie Lee cry on the nightly news. We saw her testify before Congress. We saw her smiling alongside the New York Governor and the President. We wallowed in her public shame, then exulted in her equally public redemption.
Funny thing, though; in the excitement over Kathie Lee, the press seemed to have forgotten about the people suffering to make those clothes.
It's easy to see why the sweatshops were overlooked in the hubub. The cameras stayed on her weepy appearances for the same reasons helicopters followed O.J. in the Bronco. Would the football star blow out his brains when the car stopped? Would the talk show host blubber while testifying before Congress? Would she wear sackcloth and ashes? Stay tuned and find out!
That's much more dramatic stuff than the comments of Wendy Diaz, the 15 year-old Honduran girl who made Kathie Lee clothes. Diaz told a few members of the press and later Congress that she started working at the factory at age 13 and earned 34 cents an hour. And she named names: Eddie Bauer, J. Crew, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, were the companies that she slaved for.
But you didn't see Wendy Diaz on the evening news, and only New Yorkers read about her in their daily paper. The same day Diaz spoke, Kathie Lee had her own press conference. "We're looking to shed light on the cockroaches," Kathie Lee said. There were no soundbites on TV news from the girl who dared to name the cockroaches. There were no photos of the child transmitted across the wire services that day -- although there were pictures of Kathie Lee and Governor Pataki.
And just like it was easy to see why the cameras loved the Kathie Lee melodrama, it was easy to see why the reporters avoided Wendy Diaz. What if her remarks condemning Wal-Mart were immediately followed by a Wal-Mart commercial? That would be darn embarrassing for the network. Better to ignore her completely.
As I was finishing the sweatshop story over Thanksgiving weekend, I was also struck by the similarities of how the press covered "Buy Nothing Day."
The brainchild of Vancouver, B.C. artist/activist Ted Dave, Buy Nothing Day is an attempt to draw attention to what many believe is the primary environmental problem in the world: overconsumption by people in the affluent, industrialized West. If Wendy Diaz and everyone else in the world had lived the U.S. and Canadian lifestyle, we would need the resources of three Earths to produce it all, promoters say.
If you heard about Buy Nothing Day, it was probably because of a Washington Post story that ran on November 29, Buy Nothing Day itself. Writer Don Oldenburg did a fine job; he plainly told the story without bias. But the story's impact was diminished because it appeared on the day after Thanksgiving, with the newspapers predictably crammed with holiday ads.
Still, it was good that Buy Nothing Day received the coverage, right? Yes and no.
The Washington Post article was widely reprinted -- it appeared in both the SF Chronicle and Press Democrat. Oldtimers will tell you these are called "sourpuss" stories; the more recent term is "mechanical balance." It means that no matter how one-sided the story, you've gotta find somebody who disagrees. As an example, imagine that ex-terrestrials land a spaceship and offer solutions for poverty, cancer, and every other human woe. You can bet that there would also be a short article about someone unhappy: "'I don't care who their parents are -- alien kids are banned from California schools,' orders Governor Wilson."
The nonprofit Vancouver group behind Buy Nothing Day, Media Foundation, tried to buy ads on the TV networks, but only CNN Headline News agreed, according to the group.
In refusing to sell airtime for the 30-second ad, Richard Gitter, Vice President of Advertising Standards at NBC said: "We don't want the business. We don't want to accept any advertising that's inimicable to our legitimate business interests," according to Media Foundation.
ABC told the group, "Promotion of this event would be in violation of our policy on advertising of controversial issues." Likewise the Foundation quoted Matthew Margo, CBS Vice President of program practices, as saying, "We can't run your ad. It's an advocacy ad."
In both the case of Wendy Diaz and Buy Nothing Day, the same thing happened. The press refused to embarrass their advertisers, even if it meant altering the news itself. Had the Buy Nothing Day stories run a week earlier, as most events are publicized, maybe consumers would have bought less. Joe America might have realized the sweatshop story was really about Wendy Diaz and not Kathie Lee Gifford if her face was broadcast just once on the evening news.
It is the same moral that I've made in more than twenty editorials, here: News and advertising do not mix. Your interests weren't served by the way these stories were reported. But the sponsors and advertisers were pretty happy, I'd imagine.
The world changed a little bit because you didn't hear Wendy Diaz, or news about Buy Nothing Day. Wide coverage of either story may have made consumers more sensitive this season about who made those bargain Christmas presents, or the consequences of shopping till we drop. But heck, you don't need to hear that message, now do you?
Only the Albion Monitor is going to produce a shocking story like Santa's Little Sweatshop during this time of year, and only because we're non-commercial. And we can produce these features only because of reader support.
If you live outside Sonoma County like our many readers in New York City, you can get a Monitor subscription for just $9.95 a year. Readers in Sonoma have free access by having a monitor.net Internet account.
Starting this month, we're proud to say that we'll be carrying weekly columns from Alexander Cockburn and Norman Solomon -- but only for subscribers. We'll also have shocking news stories about children with AIDS, and the impact of new drug policies voted into law last November. But these features will only be available to subscribers -- sorry.
We're also proud to say that search options are finally available, where subscribers can read any of the approximately 1,000 stories we've published since August, 1995.
There's lots more to come. We hope you'll join us as our publication schedule accelerates after January 1, and we bring you even more of the news you're missing.
Hope to see you then.
Jeff Elliott, Editor
Police ethics adviser quits over sponsors, Christie Blatchford, April 8, 2009.
Concerns over role of companies like Taser International in funding lavish conferences were rebuffed, he says.
The technical adviser to the ethics committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has resigned over corporate sponsorship - including that of Taser International - of the group's annual conference.
John Jones, an expert on police ethics who has advised the committee for three years, quit Thursday after the committee's efforts to stop the practice was rebuffed by the board of directors.
"I said in that case, I can't remain a member," a saddened Dr. Jones, the author of Reputable Conduct: Ethical Issues in Policing and Corrections, told The Globe and Mail in a phone interview yesterday from his Ottawa home. "[Such sponsorship] doesn't pass the smell test."
The CACP is composed of police chiefs and senior police executives from across Canada and represents most of the country's 220-plus forces.
Dr. Jones and the members of the ethics committee were in Montreal in August for two days of meetings around the CACP's annual conference when they learned about Taser's sponsorship and that of others, including a joint Bell Mobility-CGI-Group Techna donation of $115,000, which went toward the purchase of 1,000 tickets at $215 each to a Celine Dion concert on Aug. 25.
Each registered CACP delegate received one ticket as part of his $595 registration package; if his spouse was also registered for the spouses' program, she or he received another. Virtually all meals were also sponsored.
The ethics members raised the sponsorship issue with the CACP executive committee in mid-conference - "expressed our surprise and dismay" is how the genteel Dr. Jones put it - but later followed up with a formal request for the committee co-chairs to speak to the full board of directors.
That meeting happened in November, and by December the CACP's executive director, Peter Cuthbert, replied by memo on behalf of the board, basically thanking the committee members for their concerns, but repeating that the board was satisfied the association was abiding by its sponsorship guidelines.
It was at the committee's first meeting of the new year last week in Ottawa that Mr. Cuthbert's memo was read aloud, prompting Dr. Jones to walk away from his voluntary position.
While he said he was told by senior members of the committee that Taser gave $200,000 to the 2008 conference, Mr. Cuthbert is adamant the manufacturers of the controversial "conducted energy weapons," as the CACP prefers to call them, contributed only $25,000.
But he also said that over the past three years, Taser has kicked in a total of $75,000 for conference sponsorship.
Mr. Cuthbert was insistent there is nothing wrong with the sponsorship practice, and said that part of the association's job is to bring to the attention of the chiefs "the products and tools that are available to a police service." He then suggested that Taser was only one maker of "conducted energy weapons," but, when pressed, admitted he knew of no other and said, "I guess Taser is the only name out there."
According to Mr. Cuthbert, the total corporate sponsorship of last year's conference - by, among others, Power Corporation, the Canadian Bankers Association, Loto-Québec, Microsoft, Motorola and the RCMP, ironic given that it means the Mounties shared the platform with the very product whose use has brought the force into such disrepute in the Robert Dziekanski incident - topped $500,000.
The RCMP sponsors only the professional development part of the conference program.
One of Mr. Cuthbert's defences for the association accepting sponsorships is the CACP does "no buying, no endorsement, no promotion" of any products, including sponsors', and makes no "binding recommendations."
But in fact, just six weeks ago the CACP held a press conference in Ottawa with the Canadian Police Association to announce what they called "the police position on Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs)" and issued both a position document and a press release.
The groups said they were acting out of concern that "inaccurate and incomplete" media reporting about the weapons may have led to public misunderstanding and in effect gave CEWs their blessing.
In January, Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino, a CACP member, spoke at an association workshop on CEWs and gave the weapon an even more ringing endorsement, and denounced the "irresponsible journalism" surrounding the issue.
Mr. Fantino was at least more direct: he called a spade a spade and used both terms, CEWs and tasers, to describe the weapon.
When Mr. Cuthbert was asked if it wouldn't have been better for the CACP to have publicly praised tasers with clean hands, he disagreed, and said, "Other than that, I tell you, with the board, it was not an issue ... the board was very, very comfortable with this."
But Dr. Jones told The Globe that most of the ethics committee members had concerns about the sponsorships, not just Taser's, which is why it sent committee co-chairs, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Sandra Conlin, her force's ethics adviser, and Edmonton Deputy Chief Norm Lipinski, to the board meeting. That, he said, was a measure of the committee's concern.
Mr. Conlin referred The Globe to Mr. Lipinski, saying he was the ethics committee spokesman. He was out of town and didn't return The Globe's call.
Dr. Jones, who at 66 has spent several decades of his career lecturing and consulting about ethical conduct, particularly in policing, also recently resigned as an adviser to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
He rued how the CACP conferences have become increasingly "gaudy" affairs, with each host city trying to outdo the other, with members expecting bigger and better freebies. Indeed, Mr. Cuthbert's own figures - he said it now costs between $800,000 and $1-million to hold such conferences - back up Dr. Jones' perception.
Asked why the chiefs and senior police executives don't just finance their own conferences, Dr. Jones replied, "That's what we'd like."
He said there was "a shocking disconnect" between the lavish conferences for senior police and their increasing demands upon their rank-and-file that they refuse even a free coffee from the local doughnut store. "People now want their leaders to walk the talk," he said.
cblatchford [at] globeandmail.com
Time to move, Globe editorial, April 6, 2009.
The reinvention of Dalton McGuinty continues. Known for being risk-averse, the Ontario Premier responded last month to his province's massive economic challenges with a bold budget that undertakes much-needed tax reforms. Last week, he continued to play against type with an aggressive approach toward improving the Greater Toronto Area's inadequate public transit system.
For Mr. McGuinty, the easy part was the overdue announcement of $9-billion in transit funding, most notably $4.6-billion for a new light-rail line in Toronto. Much more indicative of the Premier's newfound impatience was a decision days earlier to remove Toronto Mayor David Miller and other municipal politicians from the board of Metrolinx, the regional transportation planning agency.
At a time when all levels of government are being urged to work alongside one another fighting the global recession, it might seem ill-advised for the premier of Canada's largest province to pick a fight with the mayor of Canada's largest city. But progress has been too slow, and Mr. McGuinty chose an effective way to signal that expeditiousness will not be held hostage by fruitless attempts to forge consensus.
The voices of Mr. Miller and other mayors must be heard as public transportation is expanded in the GTA. That does not mean, however, that the pursuit of a modern and integrated public transit system in the province's most populous region should be placed primarily in their hands, particularly considering the glacial pace at which they have guided it (amid reports of various turf battles) since Metrolinx was established by Mr. McGuinty's government in 2006.
There is nothing on their résumés to suggest, as Mr. Miller did last week, that the GTA's municipal politicians are uniquely qualified to “understand the connections between transportation and planning and the provincial government and environmental objectives.” And no less important a qualification is the ability to “get the job done” – something that Hazel McCallion, the Mayor of Mississauga, who sat on the board along with Mr. Miller, has acknowledged was not happening.
Getting things done is Mr. McGuinty's new mantra, so he turned the job over to the private sector, enlisting a group of planning, finance and law experts – headed in the interim by Robert Prichard, the departing Torstar CEO and former president of the University of Toronto – to expedite the process.
By taking Metrolinx out of the hands of other elected officials, while broadening its powers by bringing GO Transit under the agency's control, the Premier has effectively taken personal responsibility for its success or failure. That is as it should be.
Mr. McGuinty is eager to demonstrate his commitment to prepare his struggling province to compete in the post-recession world, and facilitating travel through its economic and population centre is a necessity if that is to be achieved. Money alone will not be enough. Leadership is required to get projects off the ground in short order, and that might involve ruffling a few feathers along the way. Good that Mr. McGuinty is no longer afraid to do so.