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Canadian Scientists Protest Political Sandbagging of Evidence-Based Policy

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the reality-has-a-well-known-liberal-bias dept.

Canada 216

New submitter sandbagger writes "Stephen Harper and the Canadian government have made headlines several times for stifling opinions that dissent with their own. This also applies to respected, peer-reviewed science. Canadian scientists have chafed at being gagged and having evidence take a back seat when forming policy, so they're grabbing their slide rules and marching in protest. 'Hundreds of participants gathered in 17 cities for rallies on Monday. In Toronto some donned lab coats while in Vancouver protesters were seen wearing gags adorned with the Conservative Party logo – a reference to the alleged muzzling of federal scientists by political overseers. ... Dr. Gibbs and colleagues said they hoped the rallies would alert the public to scientists’ concerns that the federal government has shifted funding markedly toward commercially driven research at the expense of public-interest science. ... Dr. Gibbs said her group would consult with the Canadian research community and look to other countries in trying to craft recommended policies for science in government. In recent years explicit scientific integrity rules have been adopted by many U.S. federal departments and agencies, after accusations of censorship and politicization of science during the administration of former president George W. Bush. 'Canadian scientists are where American scientists were maybe a decade ago,' said Michael Halpern, a Washington, D.C.-based program manager with the Union of Concerned Scientists. 'They're trying to figure out how to protect themselves from a government that’s increasingly focused on message control over a more open discussion of the facts.'"

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216 comments

Sounds familiar... (0)

techprophet (1281752) | about 10 months ago | (#44879105)

I think we're rubbing off on them, my fellow americans!

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 10 months ago | (#44879279)

Not really. What's happening is exactly what happened in Australia, the UK and the USA. That is the Murdoch empire has been blasting the populace with carefully orchestrated propaganda designed to shift the political spectrum "right" and get poor people to vote against their own interests.

It will never cease to amaze me how pathetically effective this type of targeted propaganda is at actively getting people to do things that are not in their own interest.

The Canadian shift has taken the longest to occur, part of that is because it took Murdoch longer to penetrate and take over enough of the Canadian media because Canada still has ownership rules (at least until the propaganda machine gets those revoked as an affront to capitalism like they did in the US). Inevitably the Canadian people will fall to the far right just like everyone else under the sway of the Murdoch propaganda machine.

Re:Sounds familiar... (4, Insightful)

techprophet (1281752) | about 10 months ago | (#44879385)

It oughtn't be surprising: those least informed are most easily persuaded. If you went and told an englishman circa 1600 about science killing millions (a la hiroshima), but left out the part about it saving millions more (medicine, etc), they would be persuaded because they'd be presented with only part of the truth.

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879403)

Hate to break the bad news to you, but people who vote to have their own rights taken away in the name of "security" probably didn't deserve to be making their own choices in the first place.

Incidentally, if you actually, sincerely believe that the current ball of shit that is world politics is entirely due to Rupert Murdoch, you're either mentally ill or trolling. The man is a speck, a drop in the ocean compared to some of the money moving in defense contract circles. Murdoch is just a rich fuck who's making himself richer parroting what the people with REAL power are saying, ingratiating himself to the royalty. Rupert Murdoch isn't sitting in some little control room somewhere surrounded by intelligence agents plotting to take away your freedom, that's just paranoia talking. The politicians you elected are the ones doing that plotting. Even if he were, again, not important enough to make a difference. He's a media mogul, nothing more. I'm sure if the Democrats threw more money at him he'd dance just as well for the opposite side. The know nothings that Americans elect are the problem, not their media whores.

The one plotting to take away your freedom is your president, worry about that and forget Murdoch, you might actually accomplish something. Unless the extent of your activism involves schizophrenic rants about Rupert Murdoch being some sort of conservative Voodoo shaman?

Re: Sounds familiar... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879871)

yes everyone let's ignore Murdoch and focus on the REAL threat, anyone who isn't a republican!

Re:Sounds familiar... (4, Interesting)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 10 months ago | (#44880877)

Rupert Murdoch isn't sitting in some little control room somewhere surrounded by intelligence agents plotting to take away your freedom, that's just paranoia talking.

It's true his power is not absolute.

Even in Australia (where his control of the print amounts to almost 77% of papers sold) he has, since he backed Whitlam in1972, lost the federal election on 3 occasions (1973, 1993 and 2010). He only missed 2010 by a hair's breath (his influence did not extend to those independents who decided which party to back in the hung parliament). That's a success rate of well below 100% (it's actually only a touch above 80%). And yes, in Australia, Murdoch backs either side of politics as the expediencies of current business imperatives demand. Though in the US (where his power is much diluted) his media seem welded on to the Republican side.

In Australia, of course, he has just notched up another win, in an election that (given the (re)emergence of a popular figure on the non-Murdoch just before the election) was being touted as almost a test of his power to determine the government of Australia. In the event Rudd ran a pretty lousy campaign so the precipitous fall in his popularity cannot entirely be attributed to Murdoch's admittedly shameless propaganda: among other things dressing the incumbent and his deputy in Nazi uniforms (actually Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schulz) on the front covers of Australia's highest circulation dailies.

OTOH, it would be foolish simply to ignore Murdoch's influence. And I would stress to that the use of 'Murdoch' here is somewhat of a synedoche, it being perhaps more accurate to speak of the influence of the upper management of News Ltd in general --including of course Col Allan, whom Murdoch sent in specifically to fight the 2013 federal election.

erratum (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 10 months ago | (#44880893)

Oops, sorry that was 1974, not 1973

and

... on the non-Murdoch side ...

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#44879455)

Actually, it doesn't need to be blamed on Murdoch -- our government are the ones who don't want to hear facts and instead want to make decisions based on ideology.

They've basically cut funding for basic research, decided that anything which doesn't directly benefit industry is a waste of money, and told government scientists they're not allowed to say anything related to their researcher without a government rep being on hand to manage the spin and ensure the message is consistent with the crap the government tells us.

They don't want pesky facts getting in the way of what they want to say.

Rupert Murdoch has surprisingly little influence on our news from what I can tell.

Re:Sounds familiar... (2, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44879595)

Please, nobody is better at ignoring hard evidence than the left. Bad as all politicians are, right wing ones are still a lot less scaring than our new overlords from the left.

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879725)

Really?

The right wing ones tell us that spending money to fix underlying social problems isn't as effective as prisons so we have huge expenditures on prisons and huge social problems. Yet in countries which spend money on fixing the social problems they have fewer people in prison.

Right wing politicians tell us that as long as a company is making profit it must be good, even if the banks are taking us to the cleaners.

Right wing politicians try to tell us what we can do with our bodies (eg abortion) because God told them so, and so therefore they must be right.

Right wing politicians have classified pot as a narcotic and make all sorts of claims about how dangerous and addictive it is without any evidence whatsoever other than their fervent belief in that.

Right wing governments will tell you abandoning safety and environmental regulations will actually make us safer and have a cleaner environment as if some magic will happen.

Right wing politicians tell us that tax cuts for the rich will somehow magically improve the rest of our lives when in fact there's no evidence for that.

Right wing governments will tell you all sorts of crap, specifically because it's in line with what they believe, but seldom because it's something they can prove.

Sorry, but you're an idiot if you believe that right wing politicians don't ignore evidence. The lies a right wing government tells you are just a different set of lies than what a left wing government tells you.

Which is why policy based on actual evidence is a much better choice.

Show me the proof, not what your ideology (left or right) has told you must be Immutable Truth.

If there's no evidence to support your claims, and the things you said were supposed to fix things aren't working -- then clearly what they've been claiming isn't based in facts or reality. Merely ideology and what they want the world to behave like.

Which is exactly what we see these days.

Re:Sounds familiar... (2, Insightful)

daath93 (1356187) | about 10 months ago | (#44880121)

Obama and the left gave banks most of their goodies a few years ago. Clinton deregulated the banks. Funny how you forget all of that.

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880159)

Since fucking WHEN is Obama and Clinton left wing?????

You woldnt know a left leaning politcian if it bit you on the ass

Re:Sounds familiar... (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44880705)

Nobody needs to be radical to follow a doctrine. Obama, Clinton and Democrats in general are politically aligned to the left. They defend increasing control over the Economy, the Welfare State, Affirmative Action and many other ideas that practically define what is called political "left".

Re:Sounds familiar... (0)

daath93 (1356187) | about 10 months ago | (#44881217)

Wrong, they are left leaning. You are left fucking wacko.

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | about 10 months ago | (#44880497)

Obama and the left gave banks most of their goodies a few years ago.

The $700 billion bailout through TARP was authorized by Bush, not Obama. (While the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act [wikipedia.org] was passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress, it was not a purely Democratic measure. In both houses, it received the support of the majority of congresscritters from both parties, and indeed needed support from both sides of the aisle to pass.)

Clinton deregulated the banks.

Well...

The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act [wikipedia.org] (GLB) repealing part of Glass-Steagall was passed while Clinton was president, certainly. Of course, the original bill was introduced in both House and Senate by Republicans - who controlled both houses at the time - and supported by a majority of mostly-Republicans in the House, and exclusively by Republicans in the Senate. The final bill produced by the conference committee was passed by veto-proof margins in both House and Senate; Clinton couldn't actually have stopped it.

Left unsaid in your comment is the implicit suggestion that the subprime mortgage crisis was precipitated by GLB, or that GLB made the crisis worse. While GLB has a number of flaws - and I would not say that it represented good public policy - it is debatable whether or not the subprime mortgage crisis can fairly be laid at its feet. There are credible arguments made that even prior to GLB's deregulation there was nothing in law that prevented investment banks from merging, from investing in the risky instruments that helped precipitate the crisis, or from keeping their books in the ways they did to conceal the problem until everything came crashing down. Some respectable individuals have even whispered that GLB may have slightly softened the impact, as banks that merged investment and depository institutions actually performed better during the crisis than investment-only firms.

Funny how you forget all of that.

Funny the...interesting...way you choose to remember all of that.

Re:Sounds familiar... (2, Interesting)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44880823)

This started way before the GLB. It started decades ago with government interference in real estate contracts and financing. Thomas Sowell explains the process in detail in his book "The Housing Boom and Bust", which I highly recommend if you really want to understand what happened.

The left... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880519)

The left like convicts believes they are entitled to get stuff they didn't work for.

The left believe that corporations that employ people are evil and that people should live off the government.

The left believes abortion is a women's choice and the result is millions dead because of selfishness. An entire generation that was suppose to be there to support us in our old age has been eliminated and populations are declining and being replaced with immigrants.

The left will believe in climate change religiously but when scientists say pot is bad for you they will argue tooth and nail because the left is basically a bunch of pot heads.

The left have fanatical beliefs that they are the only ones who care for the environment but you don't see them carless shivering in the dark.

The left give the rich their money and then want to tax it all back.

The left believe in making dramatic policy shifts based on evidence. In the 70s we were told that science has proven that we were on our way to another ice age. The was science saying the earth was getting colder and ice core samples proving that was the case. Problem was the science was wrong.

The left would have the government run our lives and bankrupt us.

Re:The left... (5, Insightful)

Lendrick (314723) | about 10 months ago | (#44880915)

The left like convicts believes they are entitled to get stuff they didn't work for.

I'm a leftist. I'm upper middle class, and I believe that my taxes ought to be higher so as to help people who need it. I also believe your taxes should be higher in order to help people who need it. The world isn't so simple that we can just lump all poor people into one label (that is, "lazy") and say that they, as a group, deserve to starve and die. That is immoral. It is far more immoral than raising the income tax on the wealthy by a few percent.

The left believe that corporations that employ people are evil and that people should live off the government.

I'm a leftist. I am aware of the fact that corporate profits are up while wages are down. I don't believe that people should live off of the government; I just wonder where all those jobs are now that the "job creators" are doing so well.

The left believes abortion is a women's choice and the result is millions dead because of selfishness. An entire generation that was suppose to be there to support us in our old age has been eliminated and populations are declining and being replaced with immigrants.

I'm a leftist. I am aware of the fact that the reason abortion was made legal in the first place was because people did it anyway, and many many people died from it. I also think it's funny as hell that you're this big conservative yet you expect young people to take care of your selfish ass in your old age. Save up some money like a good fucking responsible self-sufficient capitalist and pay those immigrants to take care of you, dipshit.

The left will believe in climate change religiously but when scientists say pot is bad for you they will argue tooth and nail because the left is basically a bunch of pot heads.

I'm a leftist. I'm no expert on climate change, but I know that people who study the climate for a living are more reliable sources on climate change than people who really really want climate change not to be true. That said, like every other leftist, I hope we are wrong about climate change, because if we're right about it, we're all fucked. Also, unlike with climate change, there's a lot of actual scientific debate on the merits of pot.

The left have fanatical beliefs that they are the only ones who care for the environment but you don't see them carless shivering in the dark.

I'm a leftist. My car gets 45 miles to the gallon, and I'm in favor of pushing for stronger efficiency and emissions standards rather than stopping them. Every leftist in the world could shiver in the dark, but that wouldn't solve our emissions problem. Change needs to happen on a global scale, or we're fucked.

The left give the rich their money and then want to tax it all back.

I'm a leftist, and I don't even know where the fuck to go with this one. We gave the rich their money? Are you fucking high? We want to tax it all back? Are you really, really fucking high? Fuck, I'd settle for having the investor class taxed at the same rate I am rather than at 15 percent.

The left believe in making dramatic policy shifts based on evidence. In the 70s we were told that science has proven that we were on our way to another ice age. The was science saying the earth was getting colder and ice core samples proving that was the case. Problem was the science was wrong.

I'm a leftist, and I understand that science starts out wrong about a lot of things, but when their observations don't fit their hypotheses, they refine their conclusions to fit the data rather than dogmatically repeating the same claims over and over again in the face of overwhelming evidence the way conservative economists do. You don't like science? Get rid of your internet, your clean water, your electricity, all of your other modern conveniences. It was science and research that brought you that stuff, not willful fucking ignorance, you moron.

The left would have the government run our lives and bankrupt us.

I'm a leftist, and I would have the government raise taxes by a few percent on the wealthy so we can provide health care to our entire population like ever other goddamn civilized first country in the world. In those other countries, people can still choose their doctors and hospitals, just like they can here. Most of them can even buy private, supplementary insurance. And somehow, despite all that government inefficiency due to the lack of a profit motive, total medical costs in those other countries are vastly less. Did you know that the most common cause of bankruptcy in this country is due to medical bills? Maybe if we ran our government a bit better rather than entrusting it to conservatives who have a vested interest in running it badly (they say government is bad, so what better way to prove that than by running it as poorly as possible?), we could actually have less bankruptcy in this country.

Re:Sounds familiar... (-1, Troll)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#44880689)

Sure there is evidence, my friend. The world is a giant laboratory and in it we can easily find enough evidence. Evidence that leftists are more than ready to ignore. Always.

Leftists defend state control over the economy regardless of the fact that it has been proven, by the economic calculation problem that it is simply impossible for centralized control to work.

Leftists defend political and economical models that have been empirically shown time and time again ineffective and unsustainable at their best and catastrophic at their worse, but who cares about those last dozen tries or so, THIS time it will work, right?

Leftists ignore that there isn't any other economical system that got even near Capitalism in improving the lives of common people.

Leftists blatantly ignore that all countries that have the freest economies have consistently improved the quality of live of the normal citizens, while those that have tried leftists "solutions" are either broken or breaking at this point.

And above all leftists defend that the collective know what is best for the individual when all examples in human history show that there is no such thing as "collective". There is only people ready to make use of class warfare, bigotry and naivete to gain power and live the lives of kings while the very people they pretend to care about die from hunger.

Right wing ideas are not the "Immutable Truth" even because this concept is utopic. They are wrong many many times, but they are right at least part of the time. Left wing ideas on the other hand, are all based on lies that come directly from the core of its doctrine and as such are the "Immutable Farce".

Leftists are above and beyond anything else a bunch of self-serving hypocrites.

Re:Sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880897)

Better rent an auditorium, before your straw men get all wet.

Advice, good and bad, scientific or otherwise, might be validly compared to a cafeteria -- you accept that which you're willing to pay for, leave the rest. Buy into all the "credible" advice you receive and you'll end up both broke and crazy.

Re:Sounds familiar... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879729)

Since when was ignoring evidence the same thing as forcibly preventing the people who *are* qualified to talk about evidence from talking about it? Ignoring evidence is politics & persuasion as usual. Suppressing evidence goes well beyond that.

Re:Sounds familiar... (5, Insightful)

PmanAce (1679902) | about 10 months ago | (#44880273)

If you are referring to Obama and the democrats as being on the left side of the political spectrum then you are grossly mistaken. The democrats are more like center-right...it's just that you don't see it like that in your duality "democracy". Being non-American and an outside observer, this is very evident.

Re:Sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880469)

Actually, I am the best at ignoring hard evidence -- And I'm a Fascist!!

Et tu!

Re:Sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879759)

How does he not end up swimming with the fishes is what I would like to know.

Or the NSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880211)

If you look at New Zealand (current PM replaced leader of party after 'email leaks scandal' drove out the previous party leader). The current PM of New Zealand is now ultra NSA friendly. Pushing through surveillance laws against fierce opposition.

Harper is a right wing military man who keeps tight control of the party to prevent others challenging him. Are you sure he wasn't assisted in getting into power by the Stasi? An email here, a tip off there? Canada is in 5 eyes, if you read the PRISM leak, it shows US/Canada as *one* entity in the surveillance world, as if it makes no difference which side of the border you are.

Once you have domestic spying you have the spooks picking the leadership. I don't see Murdoch with anywhere near the same kind of power.

Miniter for industry (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 10 months ago | (#44880955)

Speaking of Australia and conservative messages. One of the first acts of our newly elected conservative government was to remove the cabinet position of "Minister for Science", the new PM [sourcewatch.org] ( a self confessed psuedo-skeptic) has absorbed it into the industry portfolio. It's the first time since the 1930's Australia has not had a Minister for Science. The message is loud and clear, Science is a tool for bussiness, it's not a tool for environmental management and it's certainly not an impotant subject worthy of a minister, like say, the Minister for sport.

part of that is because it took Murdoch longer to penetrate and take over enough of the Canadian media

Actually Rupert has been synonomous with Aussie/UK newspapers since he busted the Fleet St unions in the 80's. If there's a recent shift then the Aussie shift has been the slowest since Canada and the UK have had conservative governments for a while now, whilst we've only just flipped the government a couple of weeks ago. We also have coss-media rules, meaning that since Rupert controls most of the Aussie print media, he is automatically banned from owning a significant portion of radio or TV. Their main print rival is Fairfax (Age/SMH) who (surprisingly) gave their editorial vote to the conservatives this time around. The only significant publisher to give the left the thumbs up was (oddly) "Bussiness week".

We also have our own rat pack of rich independent miners headed up by the world's richest spoilt brat, Gina Reinheart. Rupert just prints whatever keeps his customers happy, and here in Oz independent miners are amoungst his biggest customers. For example "Australia's most popular column" is written by a mining shill who goes by the name of Andrew Bolt, sort of a right wing "shock jock" who can write with something other than a crayon. Murdoch doesn't actually agree with many of Bolt outrageous propoganda. Bolt is Gina's personal mouthpiece, Rupert keeps him on the payroll because Gina pays the bill. Gina loves him so much that she bought him his own Sunday show on channel 10. She also tried to buy herself a seat on the board of Fairfax but she failed the board's "character test".

Re:Sounds familiar... (3, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 10 months ago | (#44881183)

Yeah it def happens in australia. When John Howard was in, my sister worked in climate research, and the government was regularly threatening researchers that if their research kept demonstrating potential hazards from climate change funding could be pulled or worse. She was pretty much told "The official government line is climate change is not real, and if you scientists dont start conforming we'll pull your funding". When the press started getting involved and her collegues started recieving death threats from crazed climate denialists (Apparently science is some sort of "communist plot") she left the country to go work in the UK.

Similar things happened to a friend of the family in the 1980s who was researching the effects of forestry on the water table, and after a report he wrote warning that the water table was getting salty due to logging in the Karri forests, his report was officially censured and he was ordered not to tell anyone. He also resigned.

Incidently this is why I sometimes want to slap assholes who claim climate scientists are doctoring reports for grants. Nothing could be further from the reality. Scientists in Australia, the US, and UK all report recieving threats from politicians that if they dont "tone down" the reports they could lose funding. As a result I believe the situation we are in, and this is a belief privately held by many researchers, is a lot worse than the official models show.

Re: Sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879485)

With a newly elected Conservative Government being sworn in Australia, having NO science minister or department, the same may be happening Downunder if we're not careful.

Gov't? (5, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#44879107)

Don't they have corporations in Canadia to tell the scientists how the studies should turn out?

Re:Gov't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879163)

They do, but there is a time delay as they wait for their American owners to tell them.

Re:Gov't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880111)

Don't they have corporations in Canadia to tell the scientists how the studies should turn out?

Oddly enough, mostly owned by US companies these days.

These are the last vestiges of ones not under corporate control.

The government is trying to remove some of the bias reality shows towards science and evidence instead of bluster and belief so they can continue to say "Everything Is Alright, We Have It Under Control" and not have the rest of the government say "oh no we don't" and confront them with evidence to the contrary.

This is largely being perceived as political spin control bordering on blatant propaganda and lies. It's political meddling in science to allow them to focus on their message.

Re:Gov't? (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 10 months ago | (#44880747)

They do, but the RCMP must have time to coordinate with NSA

the Related Links on this story are (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#44879111)

> Canadian Government Muzzling Scientists
> Canadian scientists protest Tory's sandbagging of evidence-based policy

Re:the Related Links on this story are (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#44879301)

Harper seems to have erased your links. The bastard.

First sentance should read : (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 10 months ago | (#44879141)

Stephen Harper and the Harper government...

He demanded it, and it should be used in all articles, not just positive ones.

All Policy Should Be Faith-Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879151)

You can't trust politicians, and scientists are just a bunch of whiney atheists. Its time to let our clergy take over.

Re:All Policy Should Be Faith-Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879209)

Ya know, I'd sort of prefer this over the current corporate rule.

Re:All Policy Should Be Faith-Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880271)

No, you wouldn't. Once they have your money, the corporations will leave you alone.

Re:All Policy Should Be Faith-Based (1)

sjwt (161428) | about 10 months ago | (#44880785)

The corporations are only interested in metaphorically buggering you.

Re: All Policy Should Be Faith-Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880839)

I thought the scientists were taking over from the clergy....

Re: All Policy Should Be Faith-Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880881)

Nobody expects the scientific inquisition! Our three weapons are fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to peer-review. And these nice white uniforms. Damn!

Canada is the 53rd State (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879171)

Canada == America

as is pawned or owned

Re:Canada is the 53rd State (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#44879335)

No.

Just.... no.

Sounds inefficient (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 months ago | (#44879181)

Couldn't they just solve this problem with some sort of "laser"?

"laser"? (4, Funny)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#44879187)

This is Canada, they use a chicken cannon.

Re:"laser"? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 10 months ago | (#44879363)

This is Canada, they use a chicken cannon.

Not since the government pulled funding to Air Farce.... [wikipedia.org] now you can only use a chicken cannon on New Year's Eve.

Re:"laser"? (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 10 months ago | (#44879761)

OMFG.. Chickens! With fricken LASER CANNONS!

(Yes, I've seen chicken cannons and chicken catapults, they're humorous, too)

Re:"laser"? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 10 months ago | (#44880097)

OMFG.. Chickens! With fricken LASER CANNONS!

(Yes, I've seen chicken cannons and chicken catapults, they're humorous, too)

Nothing beats an air drop of frozen turkeys.

Re:"laser"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880491)

...and sing "God Saved the Queen"

Re:Sounds inefficient (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 10 months ago | (#44880609)

Boot to the head

So.... (3, Interesting)

rs79 (71822) | about 10 months ago | (#44879215)

what is this muzzled science? Why isn't that obvious let alone seemingly never mentioned.

getting the word out in this day and age isn't exactly the problem it was 20 years ago.

god knows I'm not sticking up for that cretin harper, but seriously, what's the deal?

Re:So.... (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#44879495)

what is this muzzled science?

So, imagine you have a lot of government scientists who do research in various fields.

Now imagine that the government has told them they can't attend conferences and discuss their research without a government minder being present to be sure what the scientists say is 'on message'.

And now imagine that being 'on message' is ideologically driven, and often divorced from evidence and facts -- but purely based on the beliefs of the government.

Basically they've told the scientists to STFU, and stop telling people things which contradict with what they're saying or risk being censured.

It has never been different... (2)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 10 months ago | (#44880391)

See, for example "Nix V. Hedden" (1893 wherein the US government declared tomatoes to be a vegetable, for the convenience of collecting taxes, even though those pesky scientists said it was a fruit.)

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880631)

I am tired of this BS argument. Lots of scientists will scaremonger like hell in order to get more funding. Nearly every scientist that I know (IAAS) has a project on the side either studying the climate or cancer (preferably child cancer); this is what they must do in order to support their main research, since it probably has no funding.

Harper is right in saying that scientists should have no say in regards to policy. They are publically funded to report the facts and that is all. They have no right to extrapolate those facts into political points.

Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881251)

In the US, when James Hanson was screaming that he was being muzzled, NOBODY from the Bush administration was muzzling him. He was engaged in a political act (arguably a violation of the Hatch act that is supposed to block federal government employees from tainting their taxpayer-funded work with politics) of pretending Bush was "anti-science" (which by happy accident helped Al Gore (One of whose organizations had awarded Hanson some funding) in his efforts to unseat Bush). At the time, the policy Hanson claimed was muzzling him was a policy that required government scientists to alert their supervisors BEFORE holding press events and to provide those supervisors with a "heads-up" as to the content. (NO content was being blocked, this was just the usual case of insecure management level people hating being caught flat-footed by press questions about what some underling has said... and being seen on-camera with nothing to say and no information)

As to your point about suppressed travel (the reason my subject line is "Bull") there have been MANY cases of government employees (in many agencies, not just in science) scheduling such travel as a form of junket/paid-lavish-vacation. Every dollar spent on this stuff either [a] was taken at gun point from a taxpayer (if you are a conservative) or [b] was taken from a much more important poverty/health/housing program (if you are a liberal). Both conservative and liberal government leaders have been embarrassed to be sandbagged by journalists with pictures/videos of partying government workers. The meetings just never seem to happen in unpleasant places and cheap run-down hotels... in the US (for example) the GSA is sitting on empty available office spaces in nearly every major city and that space could be used to host any needed government meetings at no cost. Tell me... is Obama "anti science" now that he is restricting the travel of his NASA people????? (I KNOW you'd say Bush would be if HE was doing this...)

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879981)

They're climate scientists that don't like the focus that Harper puts on papers that support the oilsands and other non-green initiatives. Most of those studies can be boiled down to: "yeah, it's not great for the environment, but it's nowhere near as bad as everyone likes to piss and moan about."

The deal: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881307)

Scientists wants to keep their jobs, so have to do what they're told, or else they lose all possibility for a job, ever?
Basically, shut up or starve.
It's always been like this.

Gone (4, Informative)

Smiddi (1241326) | about 10 months ago | (#44879219)

Here in Australia the Minister for science role has been scraped, effectively removing scientific opinion from the decision making process.

Re:Gone (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#44879269)

Here in Australia the Minister for science role has been scraped, effectively removing scientific opinion from the decision making process.

Sorry, it is called... ummm... "budget consciousness" (already took the decision to scrap the carbon tax, why would they need to hear other opinions?)

Re:Gone (2)

Zaldarr (2469168) | about 10 months ago | (#44879391)

Wrong. Much as I dislike Abbott, the title Minister for Industry also covers Science, though there is a bit of confusion: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-17/dennis-jensen-hits-out-at-science-confusion-in-new-ministry/4962898 [abc.net.au]

Re:Gone (3, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 10 months ago | (#44880199)

Wrong. Much as I dislike Abbott, the title Minister for Industry also covers Science

Does that mean science takes a back seat to industry profit, just like in the U.S.? You know, stuff like letting food and drug manufacturers "self regulate" or exempting fracking from environmental laws.

Re:Gone (3, Insightful)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about 10 months ago | (#44880231)

Yes but that's not good either, we need a dedicated Science minister, not an appendix to industry.

Re:Gone (1)

ras (84108) | about 10 months ago | (#44881287)

Quite true. The Minister for Industry is in charge of Science, and in particular the CSIRO. Which is how we end up with the minister in charge of CSIRO having no mention of educational attainments on his Wikipedia Page [wikipedia.org] (does he have any?), and is climate skeptic [wordpress.com] .

Re:Gone (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 10 months ago | (#44880149)

No, there is no "Minister for Science" but there wasn't under the previous mob either... "Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research." The new mob have the wholly expected stance on science; science that does not turn a short-term profit for "Industry" is not science worth having. So, science for educational purposes, pure science research, environmental science, any climate change related science, etc. don't get special (any) attention.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881311)

So they got rid of all the advisers who were pushing nuclear power, spaceflight, GM crops, advances in plastics and petrochemicals, etc??? wow. that's too bad... oh, wait, they just got rid of the guys pushing "green" (unaffordable/inefficient) "science"? oh, ok,

Congratulations! Economic improvement and better human conditions are in your future!

In the west in the 1950s, scientists were looked-up-to as heroes and intellectual giants who were inventing new plastics, new chemicals, discovering new secrets of the atom, finding new ways to help engineers build faster planes, bigger rockets, more-capable ships and submarines, etc and the standard of living for the average person was rising rapidly. Then the leftists luddites stepped-in and started making things up about the chemicals (like DDT) and spooking people about all things nuclear (starting with "ban the bomb" which would only have disarmed the west, and then moving to anti-nuclear power) The modern leftists version of "science" has killed uncounted thousands with Malaria (which DDT had nearly eliminated while never having harmed a single human being) and so completely stalled progress in nuclear power that all current plants are primitive designs from decades ago and electricity is now more expensive than it used to be. Their anti-plastic moves are leading to policies that ban clean, healthy plastic bags in grocery stores (and have lead to an up-spike in bacterial problems as shoppers move to cloth bags which get contaminated and are not sterilized between uses) The list luddite "accomplishments" is much longer. The simple fact is that we have so many political people with science degrees now who have the political view that "the ends justify the means" that you can get somebody to write a "scientific" paper that finds a problem with nearly anything (these are NOT actual scientists doing actual science... they are political hacks manipulating statistical "studies" for public policy reasons.)

Evidence-Based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879257)

What the hell does evidence have to do with science? according to the current government, scientists using facts and evidence are wrong and should stfu if their results differ from the feelies of the regime. its called the scientific method, and scientists should know this :P

If you don't like Canada MOVE to China (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879291)

where you are sure to get the word, according to YOU, out. It was good enough for SNOWDIN so it damn well should be good enough for a beer guzzler great white norther such as yourself.

Now let's see you blow yourself up real good.

Wrong, Bush muzzled the other side in this issue (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879351)

In this case, a friend's husband is very pro-global cooling, because he is logical and looks at facts. He is being shunned and muzzled by the people that buy the global warming religion. Canada is in the right to shut-up that guy because not believing in global warming doesn't lead to reducing consumption which makes it morally wrong. The facts don't really matter. The belief in global warming is better for the environment so that is what is morally right.

In Canada, nobody can hear ACs post (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 10 months ago | (#44879405)

Mostly because they use the NSA spy program to identify the ACs and send the mounties to snowboard them.

(caveat - they don't waterboard except in summer)

EBM/EBS are corrupt (0, Troll)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 10 months ago | (#44879415)

"evidence based ----" has become a code phrase for corruption, political control in govt sponsored "science". Look at "climate science" which is rapidly sinking on the shoals of physics, statistics and total lack of prediction. Look at medicine, bankrupting the country with a lot more sick people. I can get a much better science based result plus a 98% cost discount myself. Atlas is shrugging.

Re:EBM/EBS are corrupt (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 10 months ago | (#44879625)

Except of course it isn't, save in the minds of the ideologically deranged.

Re:EBM/EBS are corrupt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880183)

The only segment of the scientific community that I've ever seen refer to themselves as "evidence-based" are the environmentalists, and I have also never heard any other segment refer to what they do as "public-interest science".

Both of those terms are political in nature, not scientific. They're meant to put themselves in the best light possible while stifling dissent because, of course, anybody that doesn't agree with them must be against "evidence" since they're the ones with the evidence. And of course their science is in the public's best interest because that's what they do. It's not like they're trying to get into politics or anything...."Dr. Gibbs said her group would consult with the Canadian research community and look to other countries in trying to craft recommended policies for science in government."

Re:EBM/EBS are corrupt (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 10 months ago | (#44881107)

Thanks for your thought

Re:EBM/EBS are corrupt (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44880889)

The only people shrugging are the worthless executives who take credit for Atlas's hard work.

Yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879627)

Because the left never tries to shut down the voice of dissent. But, hey, way to talk about Fox News and Bush in relation to a news item about Canada.

Your tactics are old, tired and sad.

Bottom line: The government monopoly on force is *not* required to fund scientific discovery.

Man-made rules trump Nature-made rules (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879669)

I'm really perplexed by this, and I think the world is going to continue to get suckier and suckier the longer it goes on. At some point, we all will have to accept that Nature has it's own way of self-assembling as well as self-regulating, and that it is far superior to what man is capable of. Science has a place in politics, but politics has no place in science.

"Success" itself differs when viewed from a political standpoint vs. a scientific standpoint. Science is for everyone, it's universal. Politics are for politicians. Scientists are regular people that want to understand how the universe works. Politicians are regular people that want to manage how the universe works. One of them are a sensible people, the other are a silly people.

Until the sensible people have more ability to express their understanding, then our species is stuck, only evolving to the point of failing to manage ourselves in a sensible manner.

Why is it so hard to just accept Mother Nature as God, and let it rule...?

What protest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879691)

Hundreds of participants gathered in 17 cities for rallies on Monday

That's not a protest. That's at best one more person in the Tim Horten's line up on a Monday morning. A lab coat wouldn't even look out of place.

2015 can't come soon enough (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 10 months ago | (#44879781)

Harper has proven himself an ignorant, unworthy, corporate-serving and ego-driven jackass. Too bad he can't be thrown out of the PMO via non-confidence in the same way his party rose to power.

Re:2015 can't come soon enough (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 10 months ago | (#44880685)

Sadly the non-Harper vote will probably be even more split and Harper will get another majority with 30% of the vote next time. He'll call that an overwhelming mandate and continue on.

Grabbed their Slide Rules? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 months ago | (#44879843)

I would hope that the state of Canadian Science isn't still relying on Slide Rules. I learned with a slide rule but a good old calculator or crap, a cell phone these days with the right app kicks butt over a Slide Rule.

Re:Grabbed their Slide Rules? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 10 months ago | (#44880769)

Well, those slide rules are actually why these 'scientists' should be silenced, because next thing we know, they will be using astrolabes, tarrot cards, reading palms and consulting oracles to predict the future. The Canadian politicians are just too polite to come right out and say it.

"Grabbing their slide rules" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44879959)

As a Candian, I feel compelled to say that all of my fine slides rules are all in my museum collection.

Re:"Grabbing their slide rules" (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 10 months ago | (#44880781)

Excuse me, but don't you mean: "my museum collection, eh."?

I'm sorry, but there, I fixed it for you, eh.

Keep in mind ... (2, Interesting)

MacTO (1161105) | about 10 months ago | (#44879967)

One thing to keep in mind is that government scientists are pretty much in the same position as scientists who work in industry: they are there to serve the interests of their employer.

In the case of government scientists, their role is to conduct research that relates to policy or to support the civil service. For example: environmental scientists may be conducting research into acceptable harvest levels for fisheries or how to manage land in a flood plain. It is unfortunate when a government distorts that research to support their policies rather than using the research to inform policy, but that shouldn't be unexpected.

More concerning is the cutbacks to academic research, which has been more independent in the past. Academic scientists have not, traditionally, been tied to the interests of government so they have had much more leeway to express their results independent of external pressure.

Re:Keep in mind ... (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#44880101)

Their research is there to support the Canadian people that pay their salaries. It should be used for the people, not against them.

Re:Keep in mind ... (2)

Uberbah (647458) | about 10 months ago | (#44880171)

One thing to keep in mind is that government scientists are pretty much in the same position as scientists who work in industry: they are there to serve the interests of their employer.

No. The thing to keep in mind is that this is a tautology to pretend that grant-funded research and out-come funded research are equal.

Re:Keep in mind ... (3, Informative)

MacTO (1161105) | about 10 months ago | (#44880293)

The scientists being muzzled are employees of various departments of the federal government. While several departments of the federal government give grants for scientific research, the scientists who receive those grants may be employed by other bodies. One example are universities. Universities are heavily funded by the government, but they are managed independently of the government. In that case, the scientists are not in the employment of the government so they are not under the same degree of control. (Of course the government can refuse to provide further grants to that scientist, but that is the limit of their control.)

At any rate, the whole point of my original post was that grant-funded research is not equivalent to outcome funded research.

World Controllers taking action (1)

blackiner (2787381) | about 10 months ago | (#44880207)

But we can't allow science to undo its own good work. That's why we so carefully limit the scope of its researches--that's why I almost got sent to an island. We don't allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged.

Brave New World

The death of reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880325)

Lets see......
- individual's have been prevented from speaking on behalf of the government like every other department.
- evidence taking a back seat to what? What does that even mean? Example?
- shifting to commercial research? Because we don't do enough in this country and commercial research leads to jobs which leads to tax revenue which leads to funding for other research. Win-win
- please indicate how conservatives are controlling facts. List an actual case.
- The government laid off 14 scientists and the media declared the death of science.

ho8o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880349)

pstart7ing turn [goat.cx]

I wish... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 10 months ago | (#44880397)

I wish critical thinking were taught in schools, with a special emphasis on finding logical fallacies in things politicians say.

I wish more people understood why we have so few choices in elections [wikipedia.org] .

And I wish the Union of Concerned Scientists [ucsusa.org] had a political party arm so I could vote for them.

When are the US scientists going to rise up? (1)

18_Rabbit (663482) | about 10 months ago | (#44880481)

This is exactly what we need in the US. Unless and until they stand up to these corporate/government censors, public opinion will continue to be lead by whomever has the most cash.

I'm a Canadian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880511)

I'm a Canadian, and if there's one thing I've learned living in this country for more than 3 decades, it's that there's only two parties that run the country. The red party (liberals) and the blue party (conservatives). Oddly enough, this is identical to the US party colours. Both those parties do horrendous and idiotic things.

Canadians will claim to you that we have more than 2 choices, but those extra choices really bring about the choice of "do you want red or blue to the majority or minority governments".

There are better options, but nobody will select them. :(

Don't believe me? Proof:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_Canada

Actually the colors flipped in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881199)

Back in the seventies and the eighties, the colors in the US were red for Democrat and blue for Republican... but RED is universally recognized as the color of Marxists and the (left-leaning) US press corps started to think this might be harming (via subtle association) the Democrats, so they flipped the colors. It was a funny admission that the left-wing economics and politics they normally embrace were not very popular with some portion of swing voters (leftists everywhere else are not ashamed of red, but what the hell... the ends justify the means...) and at this point the press likes to pretend they did not flip the colors (that would be like admitting they stack the audiences and the questioners in the debates they run.... they do it, but they insist we not notice)

sense making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44880707)

Well Canada is heavily involved with oil sands, and that is 'probably' disastrous for the environment and climate. Scientific fact-finding is not convenient because then it 'probably' becomes clear that the future costs to our habitat and repair work for the populace outweigh current profits...

Re:sense making (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 10 months ago | (#44880825)

Oil sands mining is the world's largest environmental cleanup operation. They take polluted sand that some errant bacteria created hundreds of millions of years ago, wash it, and put the clean sand back, then plant it over with vegetation and the greens and still complaining about it...

Re:sense making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881111)

Oil sands mining is the world's largest environmental cleanup operation. They take polluted sand that some errant bacteria created hundreds of millions of years ago, wash it, and put the clean sand back, then plant it over with vegetation and the greens and still complaining about it...

That's one way of looking at it; however, we make the same argument about reforesting.

If your oil sand project is even five times more successful in reestablishing the previous ecosystem as reforesting, you should scrap the whole project. Ecosystems are funny things, and even the best attempts to reestablish one after it has been destroyed are elusive. We have never been able to reestabilsh even a simple virgin forest environment, even though we are successful in planting trees.

Normal leftist tactic (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881153)

In 2003 When GW Bush was riding VERY high in the polls, the left in the US was desperate to find ways to drag him down so their guy would have a chance in 2004. They came up with three big themes: "War on Women" (at tactic they'd used before) "Bush Lied Us Into War" (a lie, but they knew all their buddies in the press would say it over and over again) and "War on Science"

The "War on Women" has always been a lie. First, women are not paid less per hour as a form of gender discrimination (if they were, anybody starting a business could hire all women and wipe-out their competitors because of much lower labor costs). Women tend to get less per hour because they (statistically, not as individuals) make different life choices preferring things like schedule flexibility and also because they tend to take time out on their careers. It's also NOT a "war on women" to say "you do not get to kill your child" (one could easily flip it and screech that "pro choice" == "war on children")

Bush did not lie us into war; If you look at the actual words he said in his speech to Congress, he was truthful (he did NOT say Saddam had WMD, he said our allies had intelligence to that effect... and indeed he was in possession of just such intelligence reports from our allies at the time) The left KNEW those intel reports would never be made public within that election cycle, or indeed even during a 2nd Bush term. The "Big Lie" propaganda technique worked well however and now all the same stupid morons who think Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house as evidence she knew foreign policy (she DID NOT say this... the Saturday Night Live comic impersonator said this) are are convinced that Bush lied in his speech to congress

There was an organized effort to get left-leaning scientists in the Bush years to claim they were being muzzled... also a lie. A well-known global warming fanatic at NASA held something like 100 press events telling people he was being muzzled (the insanity of this should logically be obvious... but it is not if you are a left-wing journalist). This was the same guy who helped kick-off the climate scares in congress years earlier by participating in a rigged hearing (he and his friends in congress had arranged for the air conditioning to be off during those hearings so that everybody in the room would be hot, sweating and uncomfortable). The right is in many ways more pro-science than the left... the left is anti-nuclear (generally out of irrational fear and mis-trust of science), anti frakking (when all available science says its safe) the left hated the moon program (saw it as spending money on elite science-y stuff when it should be spent on poverty programs instead). The left is terrified of GM crops, no matter what the science says. The left has generally been anti-technology as well (opposed supersonic jets, hates hydro-electric dams, opposed nuclear-powered ships and subs, fought against many plastics and chemicals, fought against robots in factories, etc. Luddites to the core... they'd like us all to live in caves (and NOT to even warm ourselves with fire (which emits the EVIL global warming gas CO2)). The ONLY science that the left tends to like is any science that says "the world will end if people don't give more money and more power to big government". ANY "scientific" paper (no matter how thoroughly-manipulated the peer-review and publishing was) that supports left-wing beliefs is trumpeted as "SCIENCE" which everybody must bow down to... but of course any science that they do not like is denounced as phony or tainted. When Freeman Dyson (world-famous physicist) did not go-along with them on global warming, they screeched that we was not a climate scientist... but (as leftists ALWAYS do) they COUNTED on the public not knowing that their favorite NASA expert on global warming was, himself, also "just" a physics guy...

The right has disdain for this crap NOT because we are "anti-science" but because we are onto your political tactics and your selective love for only the bits of science that you can use to push your totalitarian re-distributionist fetishes. Wake me up when you guys on the left put away your giant puppets, your "die-ins", your rigged peer-reviews, your rigged paper publishing, and develop a true love for ALL science (including the nuclear stuff, the stuff about unborn children having their own unique genetic codes and feeling pain, etc... petrochemical science, GM crop science...) the stuff that DOES NOT neatly line-up with your political interests...

 

Obligatory Carl Sagan quote: (4, Insightful)

Rollgunner (630808) | about 10 months ago | (#44881155)

"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science." - Carl Sagan

Stephen Harper is a Jew lacky... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44881195)

He is destroying Canada for the sake of his Jewish masters. Mass immigration is genocide, plain and simple. Whatever is good for the Jews, is all that matters to these worthless parasites. Who prints all the money out of thin air? Why, it's the JEWS. And thus, the corrupt politicians do whatever the Jews tell them, including genociding their own people by FORCING them to accept millions of non-white INVADERS into their country. What's not to like?

Quick, better mod me down, can't have a factual discussion on Slashdot can we?

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