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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘blogger

The Fleet Street Mafia Needs To Wake Up To The Fact That We Won’t Be Misled On Cannabis Any More.

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Rebecca Smith, The Daily Telegraph

Rebecca Smith, The Daily Telegraph

Rebecca Smith, health editor and Martha Gill, blogger, both of the Daily Telegraph have been getting a hard time in the comment threads of the pieces they published on cannabis yesterday and deservedly so.

Even casual use of cannabis alters brain, warn scientists. By Rebecca Smith.

Smoking cannabis will change you. That’s not a ‘risk’, it’s a certainty. By Martha Gill.

Rebecca Smith is by far the worst offender, publishing such gross distortions of the study she was reporting on that I have submitted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.  It’s dreadful that someone granted the title of health editor can be so casually ignorant of science, evidence and ready to mix up her opinion and wild speculation with just a smidgin of fact here and there.  Incidentally, I expect no satisfaction from the PCC.  Three years and nearly 100 complaints show that it is a deeply corrupt organisation that acts only in the interests of the press to find excuses for breaches of the Editors’ Code.  Its nothing to do with protecting readers from inaccurate, misleading and distorted reporting.

Martha Gill, The Daily Telegraph

Martha Gill, The Daily Telegraph

Martha Gill does a bit better because she points out what a vacuous and meaningless piece of research Rebecca Smith has made such a fuss about.  But Martha, apparently, writes for the New Statesman on ‘neuroscience and politics’.  She’s entitled to her political views, which are self-evident given the publication concerned but on neuroscience, the clue is in the third and fourth syllables.  It’s science, not opinion and Martha is woefully out touch with the evidence.  If she’s not careful she”ll grow up into a mumsy moraliser like Libby Purves or Lowri Turner.  She should try reading Professor Gary Wenk, Professor David Nutt, Professor Les Iversen, Professor Peter Jones, Professor Terrie Moffitt or Professor Roger Pertwee.  They and many others could give her a grounding in the neuroscience of cannabis: it’s almost undetectable toxicity, its powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective qualities, its anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects.  Her sweeping statement that “cannabis bad for you” is simply wrong.  For most adults, in moderation, it’s beneficial.

Martha is also detached from reality and distant from the evidence, as is all of Fleet Street, when it comes to the risks of cannabis.  The endless screeds that are written about the risks of cannabis use correlating with schizophrenia or psychosis are ridiculous when you consider the evidence.  Hickman et al, 2009, a review of all published research so, by definition­, not cherry picked,  shows  the risk of lifetime cannabis use correlatin­g with a single diagnosis is at worst 0.013% and probably less than 0.003%.  By contrast, correlation between cigarette smoking and schizophrenia is 80% – 90% (Zammit et al, 2003) but when  do you ever read that in a newspaper?

I’m sorry you’re getting a hard time Rebecca and Martha but you and the ‘capos’ of the Fleet Street Mafia need to realise that people have had enough of your bad science, sensationalism and scaremongering about cannabis. The internet means we can’t be bullied and misinformed by newspapers anymore which is why your circulation is plummeting and journalists are held in ever lower esteem.  We know you’ve spent years supporting Big Booze with its £800 million pa advertising budget.  Obviously it’s desperate to hang on to its monopoly of recreational drugs but if you want to stay in business you’re going to have to start treating readers with respect and with facts and evidence, not baloney.

The Daily Telegraph has become a broadsheet-sized tabloid since it broke the MPs expenses scandal and it is genuinely difficult to distinguish its headlines, writing and content from The Daily Mail these days.

Of course, there’s a lot of rubbish in comment threads but there’s also a lot that’s better informed and considered than in the articles themselves.

People like cannabis, they find it effective, they know it’s safe. 5% of the population uses it regularly. That’s three times as many people as go to Catholic Church regularly.

Expect to be pulled to bits if you try to go back to bad science and reefer madness hysteria.  The world has moved on.

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The Blagger, The Blogger And The Pot Plant.

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The extraordinary wit and talent of my friend Cannaseur.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 24, 2011 at 12:49 am

Simon Heffer’s Disgusting Prohibitionist Rant

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Fat Cat And His Drug Of Choice

Journalists in the old media and politicans are panicking.  They are trying to crack down hard on us and our rights to opinions and self-expression.  In the age of WikiLeaks and the internet, their self-serving oligarchy is undermined by real freedom.

Cameron’s and Miliband’s arrogant and dismissive rejection of Bob Ainsworth’s proposals for an end to prohibition, shows they have no proper response to his arguments.  Today, another member of the ruling elite penned a truly ignorant and repressive opinion in The Daily Telegraph.  See here for the full article.

As well as trying it on with the discredited idea that cannabis causes psychosis,  Heffer says, with astounding spitefulness and stupidity:

“We have a serious problem with drugs in this country because we do not punish drugs crime severely enough. Legalisation is not the answer, but getting nasty might just be.”

It is an utterly disgraceful article. Heffer should be ashamed of himself for spreading lies and misinformation, I suspect deliberately.

The facts are that the harms caused by prohibition are well documented and proven.

The facts are that the allegation cannabis causes psychosis is just the latest scare story. In the 1930s the prohibitionists used to say that cannabis makes white women promiscuous with black men. This is just the latest smear of equivalent value.

Public opinion is hugely in favour of an end to prohibition. You only have to look at the polls and the huge volume of comment and opinion on the web.

The oligarchy of politicians and the media is on the point of collapse.  Those who value truth and freedom can console themselves that the darkest hour is just before dawn.  Journalists like Heffer and Andrew Marr, for example, are desperate to hang on to their corrupt position where they control the news agenda and contrive media coverage in cahoots with their friends in parliament.

A peaceful revolution is coming where fat cat journalists with no more talent than the lowliest blogger will be turfed out of their comfortable sinecures as the irrelevant dinosaurs that they are.

Heffer and his chums on both sides of the House have had their nasty little stitch-up going on for too long.  Dawn is approaching and his sort has no future

Climate Change Jolly In Cancun

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Cancun Conference

My blogger-in-arms, Tory Ardvaark, calls it a “cocaine and hooker-fest” and he’s probably right.  Johann Hari,  my colleague on The Independent, says that the “next crash will be ecological – and nature doesn’t do bailouts”.  See here.

So, who has the more incisive angle on the gathering next week in Mexico’s top holiday resort?  It’s a strange choice of venue and does raise questions as to the real reason that so many will be flying there on government expenses.  As destinations go it must be a CO2 hotspot.  Maybe it’s even got it’s own hole in the ozone layer to match the nasal damage that so many visitors will be suffering?  Hopefully, condoms will protect them from any other consequences of their debauchery.   As for the conference though, it will probably be a waste of time, just like Copenhagen.

That idiot, Professor Phil Jones, at UEA’s Climate Change unit has got an awful lot to answer for.  His absurd and dishonest behaviour has discredited climate change science.   I think that while it would be stupid to ignore the idea of man-made climate change, it would be equally unwise to listen unquestioningly to those corrupt scientists who are mainly concerned with securing next year’s research grant.  Both extremes of the argument are as unreliable as each other.

Thankfully during my lifetime and my childrens’ we won’t see catastrophic effects from climate change, even if the scientists prove to be right.  Hopefully, by the time my grandchildren are around, science will have got its act together a little more  – what  shall we say – scientifically?   Of course, it may be too late by then.

The only thing that is certain is that Tory Ardvaark is right.  They’re going to have a hell of a good time down Mehico way and the drug dealers and pimps will be coining it.

Who Rattled Andrew Marr’s Cage? I Think He’s Worried.

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It's Called Competition

 

Andrew Marr’s rant against bloggers rather surprised me.  His Sunday morning show is a fixture for me.  I think his intemperate and short tempered polemic betrays an old-fashioned journalist’s insecurity and fear of the new media

Someone in his privileged position has only to sneeze and he will be published in front of millions.  I admire his work but there are thousands, equally capable and with equally valid opinions who are now able to express themselves widely on the internet.  The real question is when will the “dead mens shoes”, “who you know not what you know” culture be overturned?   Let’s not be shy here, I know my writing is generally better than most that’s published in the national press, yet I only enjoy that audience occasionally.  Those, like Andrew Marr, who already have their foot in the door, shut it firmly in the face of their challengers and competitiors.  It’s a closed shop, much worse than any trade union restrictive practice.

I do agree with him completely about anonymity. It is a matter of pride to me that, wherever I can, I use my own name when writing, commenting, abusing, complimenting, agreeing or yes, occasionally, even ranting.  I also agree, in this one instance only, with that obnoxious little billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, when he said “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity”.  I think he’s absolutely right on this and I hope more people will follow his and my example.

Overall though Mr Marr, I think your rant about bloggers says more about you than anything else – and you’re right to be worried.  I hope you stick around but there’s plenty of dead wood in journalism and broadcasting that needs chopping out.  Editors are the lazy ones, the real culprits.  It’s easy for them just to sign off the same old names time after time.  They have become far too powerful and need taking down a peg or two.  They should be scouting round the blogosphere for new talent instead of sitting on their backsides getting fat and lazy.

The World Cup Beckons

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The Big Match

I despise football.   I really do.  It’s everything it stands for – the appalling, vulgar display of tasteless, oafish, dare I say “chav” behaviour.  It’s a thin, insubstantial sport populated by overpaid primadonnas who behave appallingly and set a terrible example to youth.

What a pompous old git I am!

It’s a completely different thing isn’t it when it gets infused with the spirit of international competition?

It’ll never be rugby though,  so those that want to see the original, totally uplifting South African story go to the 1995 Rugby World Cup finals.   That was a similar occasion but with a proper sport.  In fact,  go to Invictus, the absolutely fantastic movie which tells the whole story.

I have been taken up by it though.  Africa has a wonderful exuberance and I was caught by the romance of the first match, delighted that South Africa managed a draw.   Then, who could resist a chance to see the French go down?   And go down they did!  Well, they scraped a draw against a 10 man Uruguay side when they were the favourites.  Lovely to watch!

So it looks like I’m hooked in.   There’s nothing else on anyway.  It’s been a welcome relief from the tribes of harridan, conspiracy-obsessed bloggers in the US.  As a Brit, a Welshman living in England, I am grateful to live in a country which has a sense of perspective.   We are not of Europe.  We are certainly not of either the Middle or Far East.  Thank God we’ve got more history than the Americans.  This is still the land of the free.  Nowhere else comes close.

And tomorrow Barack Obama is going to find out whose arse is “gonna get kicked”.  Then maybe he’ll mind his manners and remember who his friends are.

En-ger-land!

Idiotic Israelis, Insane Islamists

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It astonishes me the bigotry, intolerance and crass stupidity demonstrated by so many who write for one side or the other on the terrible conflict in the Middle East.

Many of them are erudite and eloquent, passionate and caring – but only of their own cause.

I thought (maybe I’m wrong) that part of the idea of blogging was to comment on each other’s writing and participate in debate.

No chance!

So many of these obviously intelligent people censor comments that they disagree with and deem anyone who disagrees with them as a fascist, racist or xenophobe.   The vitriol I’ve attracted from some is almost unbelievable. They can’t understand that in one article I can condemn the evil behaviour of the Israelis and in the next I condemn the great evil that Islam has become. I can call some Israeli behaviour fascist.  I can call some Islamists perverters and defilers of Islam.

Some of these bloggers write (rant) at the most incredible length. They probably don’t have the benefit of my experience from which the most important thing I’ve learned is that even those people who agree with you will get bored if you go on and on and on and on and on…

It’s just a tip which you can ignore if you want but if you can’t get your point across in a couple of hundred words then maybe you should think again!

One individual (who I won’t embarrass by linking to), told me today that offering a link to my post on the subject was “an advert”, referred me to his “comments policy”, suggesting that I am a “xenophobic bigot”.

I explained to him that my comments policy is “please do”!