Tag Archives: Media

What is ‘fake’ news?

Taking a short break from packing to watch the snow and ice outside, its quite bright today after a day or so of snow, hail and sub zero temperatures so the view is quite picturesque with more of the white stuff to come possibly tonight and tomorrow. Today’s interest was piqued by the current row about so-called ‘fake’ news and I was moved to wonder what makes some news ‘fake’ and who can be trusted to tell stuff like it is without so much spin it makes you dizzy reading the news, online or off.

On careful reflection I’d say that there is a Pacific Ocean of fake out there, especially from the big news outlets, who have repeatedly diluted their product by for example, uncritically publishing activist press releases as factual. Something comes in via Reuters and many news outlets publish it almost verbatim with very little fact checking when even a simple Internet search would demolish the contents blandly formatted assertions. Indeed, a new verb has been invented – to Fisk, which is a line by line refutation, with citations, of any given news article. How Reuters select their content and where they source it is down to them, but it does devalue their usefulness as primary source material. Yes, Dorothy, there is fake news and it’s endemic to the mainstream media.

Let’s take as our example the stories surrounding the recent US Presidential election. While on the road across the USA earlier this year Mrs S and I visited 24 States in six weeks. In our ten thousand mile adventure we listened to the news, spoke to people and used our eyes and ears. We noted the visible support for each candidate in a wide variety of neighbourhoods. The most visible support in terms of lawn signs and window posters were for Bernie Saunders. Second place went to Donald Trump. Yet we saw none for Hilary Clinton. In ten thousand miles of travel, not one lawn sign or window poster. With only one recorded Clinton bumper sticker out of thousands for the other candidates. Yet who got most of the positive coverage? I have sat and watched the raw footage and livestreams of Trump and Clinton speeches (The sacrifices I make, eh?) then watched slack jawed as newsreaders on the BBC, France24 and CNN cover a related story then try to tell me that black is white and down is sideways. To which I would respond vehemently;

Now President-elect Donald J Trump has been repeatedly demonised by mainstream newsreaders and pundits for being ‘racist’, ‘mysoginist’ and just about every ‘ist’ and ‘ism’ including committing multiple instances of ‘hate speech’. Yet if you bother to watch his speeches; yes his campaign speech style has been bombastic and repetitious, but all he’s said has been a railing against the corruption in Washington DC (Drain the swamp), illegal immigration as opposed to legal immigration (Build the wall) and telling other countries to pay for their own defence. He also went out and got his hands dirty, even assisting with the loading and unloading of supplies during the 2016 Louisiana floods. Clinton’s speeches, though neatly spun and well written lacked power and carried the reek of continued Neocon interventionism that has turned most of the Middle East into a near perpetual war zone, and been the source of a refugee crisis which threatens to undermine the native culture of Europe. Her absence from crisis hit places (even for a cheap photo-op) in the US and her invisibility during the later weeks of her campaigns also spoke volumes. There has also been the big question mark over her health coupled with various scandals (Email, Haiti, Foreign Campaign Contributions) that dogged her campaign. Which most of the media and associated punditry seemed to ignore and even in some cases actively deny despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary from sources like Wikileaks, who have carried on despite a well funded smear campaign against Julian Assange. (Link to Podesta and DNC Emails here. No it’s not illegal to look at them)

I’d also like to point out that the mainstream news media (Including Fox) have indulged in what is known as ‘churnalism‘ for years. Which makes me think TV news media is little more than a game of Chinese Whispers. A process which can be defined by the acronym LILO (Lies in-Lies out). Because unless there’s some real investigation and fact checking going on at each level, what’s the bloody point? It seems from this bloggers perspective that all the main media outlets do is give you their dramatised opinion of events, not what actually happened. Unfortunately, because of modern media marketing practice, spin, half truths and outright lies have become the norm in modern editorial policy. Only challenged by some of those sites now branded ‘fake’. Does anyone else see the irony?

When I was growing up in the UK, it used to be that the more sober broadsheets could be trusted to a degree because they spent money on correspondents and freelancers out in the field. Also, anyone with an ounce of news-savvy in pre-Internet days used to read both the Telegraph and the Guardian in the UK, because the respective editorial policies were in direct opposition, and the half truths and spin could be winnowed out in a kind of contrast and compare exercise. Personally I still read the UK’s Financial Times because the real stories are all about where the money goes. The Pink sheets are still fairly trustworthy because if they get it wrong, the City of London doesn’t like it. As they say in less refined financial service circles; “Money talks, bullshit walks.” Even so, I’ve learned to treat their Op-eds with caution, and where something sounds a little off, gone fact checking all on my own. I’ve also developed a healthy caution regarding media cited ‘Experts’.

In the UK there used to be a body called the press complaints commission up until 2014 which dealt with complaints where a media outlet was thought to have harrassed, misrepresented, faked content or grossly distorted a given story. It has been superceded by another watchdog-like body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, where reporting that harms people can be complained about here. The Media Council in Canada here. Australia here. And New Zealand here. For Europe generally, try here. The USA does not have such a body. All complaints have to be pursued separately by complainants via the court system.

Honestly? I don’t think there is any one definitive and completely trustworthy source of news. Looking for honest reportage nowadays is like prospecting for gold. Similarly, facts are rare and only found in small nuggets or grains, and you almost always have to go looking for it yourself. Or for a more scientific metaphor, you have to sift through a lot of Pitchblende to find a little Radium.

There are calls for some overarching authority to control the worst excesses of ‘fake’ news, not only in the mainstream, but also in the emergent media. Yet what paragons of even handedness are to be elevated to this positions of ultimate media arbitration? Do such people even exist? Who would appoint them and why? I would posit that the best solution lies with the feet on the street and that is to stop feeding the media beast. Unsubscribe, walk away, learn to research, and look after those closest to you. To get a little biblical (Psalm 146 Verse 5); Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Or to put it another way;

And here’s Ezra Levant reporting on a classic example of the CBC and associated media fakery of a 3000 strong protest of unemployed Alberta Oil patch workers, small family farm owners and First Nations against the proposed Carbon Tax;

The media people referred to the protesters as ‘pigs’ and ‘deplorables’ just because of 20 second bit of crowd-mockery. At least those peaceful protesters now know whose side the CBC and like minded media is on, and it isn’t the side of the ordinary Canadian.

Out and about

Downtown Victoria Thursday had a strange vibe to it. I was waiting to be served in one store, and heard one guy rambling on about how much he hated the new US President-elect. How racist and misogynist Trump was, and how nuclear war was just around the corner. Seriously, this guy was absolutely frothing at the mouth. For half a second I thought he was going to take a pop at me, a total stranger, simply because I fall into the demographic profile of those being blamed for the Trump victory. Over fifty, male, Caucasian. Apparently to some we are the new Emmanuel Goldsteins.

So I applied the rule I learned long ago and looked away as if the meeting of hostile eyes was nothing, because there’s no more worthless activity than trying to have a reasonable discussion with anyone while their emotions are running that high. I mean I was pissed off with Trudeau getting elected Prime Minister, because his policies and the idiotic Carbon tax look like sending Canada’s economy even further into the tank, but then I’m not childish enough to go around looking for a fight just because things don’t go entirely my way. I’ll just keep my distance and make my own plans. Pick up, move on, adapt and if I have to, improvise.

Then I took a casual look at the CNN feed on one of the TV’s scattered about the place, and heard similar language coming from a talking head about what they thought Trump was going to be like. Talk about selective reporting.

Frankly what the pundits were saying didn’t gel with any of the speeches I’ve actually heard Trump making. The TV coverage was all opinions about opinions, half truths and projection, yet the guy I heard mouthing off in the store was taking this lamestream garbage as gospel. When Trump talked about dealing with the US immigration issues, and deporting the illegals, the talking heads were translating it as all immigrants, illegal or not. Which is a lie. When they talked about a worsening of international relations, Trump was talking about removing American interference and making other nations pay for their own military interventions. He most certainly wasn’t talking about shooting down Russian aircraft over Syria or actively promoting or engaging in ‘regime change’. Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadaffi may not have been people you’d like to invite to dinner, but they kept the lid on highly unstable areas.

These media folk have an agenda so obvious that it might as well be posted in letters ten feet high. Which is why they’ve been blowing their credibility faster than a thousand dollar call girl. The pieces of the jigsaw are all out there for anyone who cares to look. No wonder the Trump camp are calling these hacks ‘Presstitutes’. Lazy cut and paste Fark and Churnalism have been delivering nothing more than a sugar coated ball of poison via TV and news media. And it is poisonous, because you only have to look at the results. Anger at total strangers like me just because of their skin colour and age? And this is Canada for heavens sake!

Which begs the question, is the once trusted ‘profession’ of Journalism dead? The guys over at Rebel Media say that it may well be.

Me, I’ll go with my late father’s advice; “Don’t trust everything you read in the papers.”

Surprises and stuff

Time is being taken up by family stuff at present. Nothing amazing. Eldest is back from Vancouver and catching up with sleep to reset her body clock and rest before we pack her off to the fabled land of Oz. She’s taken up smoking in the last five years and picked up a couple of tattoos, although nothing inelegant or indecent. Nothing to fuss ourselves over. I cobbled together an ashtray for her so she can sit out on the front step for a ciggie and not leave fag ends all over the front porch. Job done, no fuss. She’ll pack in when all her friends do. Or not. I’m certainly not going to alienate her by nagging. Besides, if she’s trying to shock us, well, only if she brought her latest boyfriend to the door on a leash with him wearing a nappy and full bondage gear and probably not even then. We’re just feeding her up and letting her rest so she’ll have the energy to hit the ground running when she gets off the plane in Sydney.

In some ways it’s strange to see the gawky teenager I first knew morphed into a mature young woman who’s got a reasonable handle on who and where she wants to be. Trotting the globe with friends all over the world. Making her own way with minimal assistance from us. Mrs S of course sighs heavily, because for a mother, her offspring always remain children, no matter what. Her wistful sorrow at seeing her eldest all grown up and independent is almost palpable. Me, I just try and keep things turning over, smoothing the path as best I can. Not a road I would have chosen had I but known, however, this is where we are, and this is the role I must play. For the moment.

What else? Bill and Kate Windsor have been in the area, but they never call, so we’re quite relaxed about that. Although I was quite impressed when young George showed good taste when approached by a Trudeau. Even if some of the First Nations are throwing a snit and snubbing the party. Who cares?

The media luvvy super-rich are building more bunkers to hide in if everything does go pear shaped after a Trump Presidential election win. However, how they’ll get out if someone welds the doors shut or parks a truck over their multi-million hidey hole is another matter entirely. Not that things will. Go pear shaped I mean. We hear all the same scare stories that “We’re all doomed” if we don’t vote for the elite’s preferred candidates, or do what we’re told, yet do these disasters ever materialise? At least in the size and scope promised. No. The world stumbles on.

Meteors hit near Australia and Cyprus. There’s a ‘black moon‘ eclipse due in a day or so, but does all this really mean anything? Are we in the ‘end of days’? No. It’s just astronomy. Business as usual and nothing to get fussed about. Even if Deutsche Bank has been caught with it’s Lederhosen around it’s ankles. The world is not coming to an end. Despite all the prophesies. If the world does end, I’ll give five thousand to the first person to find me and say ‘told you so’.

Five thousand what, I’m not saying.

A Saturday Post

Apropos of nothing, a quick rework of an old Moody Blues number for the early 21st century.

I’m just a wandering on the face of this ‘net
Reading ’bout so many people
Who are trying to be free
And while I’m surfing I read so many lies
Language barriers broken
I think we’ve found the key

And if you want the winds of change
To blow through and through
And you’re the only other person to know, please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

A thousand pictures can be drawn from one word
Only who are the artists
We don’t have to agree
Ten thousand miles can lead so many ways
Finding out who is driving
What a help it would be

So if you see this world of ours
And the turns of the screw
And you can see exactly what to do, Please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

How can we understand
Lies by the people for the people
Who want us to enslave ourselves
And you can see the frightened
People who are frightened by the
People who are stealing this world, stealing the Earth.

I’m just a wandering on the face of this ‘Net
Reading so many people
Who are trying to be free
And while I’m surfing I read so many words
Language barriers broken
Now we’ve found the key

And if you want the wind of change
To blow through and through
And you’re the only other person to know, please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

How can we understand
Lies by the people for the people
Who want us to enslave ourselves
And you can see the frightened
People who are frightened by the
People who are stealing this earth, stealing the world.

Words are the travellers crossing our world
Reading so many people who are bridging the seas
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.
We’re just the bloggers in the Scriblerus band.
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band…

I think I got the syllable counts right whilst keeping the spirit of the original alive. Comments, questions, whatever.

Site update

In keeping with this sites general tone of irreverence and total disrespect for authority, apart from my wife (Sorry Dear), I’ve elected to properly codify the various recipes that are in use on a day by day basis in the Sticker household. Accessed from the main menu item labelled ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists‘ I’ll be posting useful food related stuff for those of you concerned about the state of the world and wanting to eat well while the powers that be screw everything up.

Whether it’s being bombarded by news of stuff like the state of Hilary Clinton’s obviously failing health, potential election rigging in the US presidential elections, lamestream media bias, the tardiness of implementing the Brexit vote, or the various petulant ‘We didn’t get our way so we’re going to make life difficult for everyone‘ proposed measures against the UK by the EU, and the lame irrational mutterings of retarded social activists and their fantasies. I think we’d all feel much better with a hot, nourishing feed inside of us. Even if the world is, as some would like us to think, going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Well someone’s got to think about the really important stuff like keeping properly fed. Hell, it might even be organic. Vegetarian not so much, but then you can’t have everything.

By the way. First comment moderation is currently on. Any sensible, amusing and on topic comment will be approved within twelve hours or so for you first timers. After that you’ll be free to post all you want. Hate stuff and irritating whining will probably get binned. Comments coming via anonymous proxies may not even get flagged up for moderation, as these are currently being sent straight to cyber-oblivion.

Reading Chesterton

Many of the Scriblerus group writers remember some G K Chesterton from pre-PC English Literature courses. A number of us are fond of quoting from one of his most famous poems ‘The secret people‘, specifically the verse below when talking about the lack of real democracy in the European Union and elsewhere;

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

For my part, as an antidote to the idiocy of the world and alternative to both Internet and TV, I have elected to rediscover some of his more obscure works like ‘Eugenics and other Evils (1922) and ‘What’s wrong with the world” (1910) Which I am currently reading through in my odd unquiet moments, when family and other matters beyond my power to fix become too distracting. Yet what I’m seeing is the many parallels between what G K was writing about in the early 20th century and more recent events. To quote Mark Twain “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Chesterton’s works still resonate. Especially in today’s economic and political climate.

Good grief. Reading Chesterton Bill? You’re not about to embrace Catholicism are you? No, definitely not. I’ve embraced a number of Catholic girls (Cough) before I was married of course, but never been tempted by their religion. Having read about many of the world’s religions my observation is that they are either attempts to influence random events like the weather or roll of dice, or to stop people chopping each other to bits over power or property by hanging an imaginary Sword of Damocles over their head so that everyone else can get on with their lives. Without getting chopped to pieces by the protagonists, that is. My belief is that if you occasionally bang people’s heads together hard enough, sometimes you get an echo of sanity and they will either compromise or fix a given problem without the notion of a God or other authority figure. Because it is in their common interest to do so. Most of the time, unfortunately, this is wishful thinking on my part because it implies that the intelligence required for this kind of thinking is more widespread than it actually is. Which is demonstrably not the case. Other people will have other opinions on this matter, which they are quite entitled to. So long as they tolerate me, I’ll tolerate them.

Talking of tolerance; Hilary Clinton has reportedly stated that if she is elected US President she will shut down ‘All Alternative Media’. Mostly this is thought to be stuff like Breitbart and Infowars put out. However, if a blogger decides to voice similar sentiments, who is to say they may not be arrested under such legislation for ‘thought crime’? Which of course will take the US one more step down the path towards being a dictatorial banana republic. And if you listen to the bigoted outpourings of the SJW crowd, who insist that everything is racist, sexist or homophobic or whatever buzzwords they choose to define their whole existence as being against, and which only they get to define, then people will end up going to jail merely for having a different view of the world, or contradicting their ‘betters’. The word ‘betters’ in this context being so packed with irony that it’s already beginning to rust.

Shutting down dissent is as good a reason as I can think of not to vote for Clinton. But then I’m Canadian now, so who cares what I think? However, I certainly think old G K would have had something to say, especially about laws restricting what opinions you are allowed to have.

There goes….

In the days when I used to try and do stand up comedy there was a saying. In order to get some audience reaction, which any comic needs, an appeal is made for any member of an identifiable group or faction. Depending upon the response, the comics stock reaction was “There goes my act..” or “Oh good, I can tell that one…” and proceeded to deliver a particularly risque joke.

Now we hear about a fairly obscure (well I’ve never heard of him – but that means nothing) comedian being fined CAD$42,000 for making a gag that ‘offended’ a disfigured boy sent to sing badly in front of the Pope. Sorry, but I’m having a really bad case of WTF! right at this minute. Forty two thousand dollars? Almost a years salary for a dumb gag that didn’t get much of a laugh and would therefore be dropped from the act anyway? Over a five year old claim that the singer was supposedly ‘dying’ and hadn’t yet? Okay, the gag was tasteless and obtuse, but seeing as it highlighted a false claim for sympathy, it was apt, and therefore fair comment. On that basis the claim for damages should be thrown out.

This is where so-called ‘Human Rights Tribunals’ are in fundamental conflict with the rest of the society. Such bodies are currently being abused to enforce an egregious middle class morality that George Bernard Shaw was railing at in plays like ‘Pygmalion’ as far back as the 1920’s. Shaw himself I have no love for because he was an outspoken proponent of the evil philosophy of Eugenics, but he did write exceedingly good satires. If Shaw were alive today he’d be writing stuff about how ridiculous ‘hate speech’ laws are.

Hmm…

A lot of stories are bubbling under the surface about the Clinton campaign south of the 49th parallel. Concerns have been voiced about a possible stroke risk to the candidate in question, especially in light of the public ‘symptoms’ which include repetitive coughing, occasional stumbles and small changes in facial appearance. Then there’s the prescription of blood thinning medicine Coumadin – might be something, might be nothing, US Doctors prescribe heavy duty medication at the drop of a Stethoscope. The other stories concern the deaths of those who have been associated with that family and their business over the last three decades, which at the very least do seem statistically anomalous. From the rather convenient deaths of key witnesses over Whitewater and the known murders of people reputed to have witnessed certain drug deals to the latest 2016 tranche of demises.

Now by comparison I’ve lost most of my old friends through one cause or another, and we led a very robust lifestyle. Most of my close old mates died in drink drive incidents, SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) RTA’s (Collisions), dumb accidents (Getting paralytically drunk and falling into a frozen canal), with only two by actual suicide and none by murder. Four have succumbed to various cancers and medical conditions around the big five-oh. With a few of us still soldiering on man (and woman) fully with only the occasional health glitch. So the number of violent deaths of people associated with the Clintons over the past three decades do seem to stand out, at the very least, as being frightfully unlucky. At least in comparison to the US Actuarial life table.

However (Adjusts tinfoil hat), if the deaths are proven to have a suspicious conspiracy element, I’m minded to think that no major criminal mastermind has time to fuss with all that detail, all they have to do is give a well timed shake of the head, laboured sigh or loaded sidelong glance at an article and their minions do the rest. These bosses delegate all the tedious details, and just like in any other major organisation, trust their subordinates to do what they think they’re told. Off the record, of course. Like a certain meeting at Phoenix Arizona airport’s tarmac with the U.S. Attorney General and the FBI, where no recording devices were allowed. Where the conversation was about about ‘golf and general social chit-chat’? Mm-hm.

Which is all rather academic if you’re the poor sod who ends up dead of an ‘overdose'(Shawn Lucas Died 2 August 2016, awaiting autopsy report), shot in the back during a ‘robbery’ (Seth Conrad Rich. Died 6 July 2016), a crushed throat reported as an untimely heart attack (John Ashe. Died: June 22, 2016), murdered at her home in Honduras (Berta Caceres. Died: March 3, 2016) or does a header under a London Tube Train (John Jones QC. Died: 21 April 2016) is just a casualty. If these people had even the most tenuous links to the Republican presidential campaign, the lamestream would be all over it like a cheap suit.

Then there’s Joe Montano, ex DNC chief who died Aged 47 of a ‘massive heart attack’ July 25, 2016. Not to mention anti-Clinton writer Victor Thorn, who ate a bullet on August 1 2016. Which is a lot of people dying in a relatively short time frame with one common denominator. That’s a lot of coincidences in just over two months. Not that any evidence of a connection between these latest deaths or anyone associated with the Clinton Foundation will be found of course. Well, naturally. But if I had any links to their dealings I’d make damned sure my life insurance was up to date and my affairs were in order.

And people keep telling me that Donald Trump is ‘dangerous’? Well, maybe some of his public statements are ill considered, poorly presented or appear rash, but at least people who have done business with him and his companies don’t seem to die in suspiciously violent circumstances.

Update for clarification: assertions that Hilary Clinton is suffering from Parkinsons disease have been mooted, which are plainly quite ridiculous. The early onset symptoms of Parkinsons are quite unmistakable, and having carefully watched recent videos of her moving around a stage with the sound turned off, have seen nothing to justify such a remote diagnosis. No stoop, no pin rolling gestures, no visible tremors which generally precede ‘freezing’ of thought or motion. Far more likely is a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, or mini stroke) or the obscure but debilitating Subcortical Vascular Dementia ( Subcortical Arteriosclerotic Encephalopathy) or Binswanger’s Disease, either of which are a better fit with her observed lapses and coincide with a known family history of strokes. Could be wrong, but the reports of blood thinners being prescribed would rule out Parkinsons because the treatment for that is Levdopa and perhaps some form of anticholinergic drug.

What he said

Read this article penned (or rather keyed) by the ever logical Mr Willis Eschenbach over at Wattsupwithat.com. Which is a fine analysis of exactly how many people get killed by the Police in the USA and more to the point, why. It makes interesting reading. Especially the information that two ‘white’ people die in Police related incidents for every single ‘black’ or African American. That’s right, double the deaths that the BLM activists are all worked up about. Not percentages, but actual cold hard numbers.

Back in my foot patrol days I recall a conversation with my old beat buddy Asif. It’s still clear in my memory even ten years on. We were bitching about the job, and what we were thinking of doing with our lives instead of pounding pavement, collecting abuse and blisters for the sake of parking tickets. I suggested to him that he might make a first class dog handler in the Police Force. Seriously, never met a better man with animals. He loved dogs (Especially German Shepherds) and would have been brilliant at it. Asif, as his pseudonym implies, is not ‘white’. Lovely bloke, but his own worst enemy.
He demurred, responding; “Yeah, but the Police beat up black people.”
To which I half-jokingly replied; “The Police beat up everybody. It’s their job.”
To my shame I was never able to convince him otherwise. He had this peer group driven belief that the Police arrested by skin colour alone instead of criminal behaviour and nothing would shift it. Sad really.

On a more serious note, I think there’s traction here for the various Police Unions in the USA to start some class action lawsuits against media and other organisations that exaggerate and twist the facts over Police related deaths. The proceeds from which should pay the college funds for the dependants of officers killed in the line of duty because of such propaganda. Hey, Gloogle, Farcebook and Twatter have billions. Maybe they should form a financial trust for the families of officers killed in the line of duty, seeing as it’s their platforms that are used to transmit much of the anti-Police rhetoric.

Just general stuff

Well that’s the beginning of our next big trip sorted out. Two new touring jackets and helmets, body armour etc. Matching his and hers ordered. Pricey, but I’ve got the money having made a good deal over the weekend, despite being out of the country. After that I pulled my assets out of stocks and shares because I’m concerned the US market may be close to peak, and don’t fancy losing all my gains if there’s a Wall Street Crash event while I’m busy elsewhere. So, a little profit taking has been done, and I’m standing back for a moment to catch my breath and see what’s going on in the background.

One of the people I’ve begun listening to a lot is Mark Blyth (See sample talk below)

He actually seems to have his finger on the pulse, talking clearly and concisely about macroeconomic matters and their consequences. He’s rational, logical, amusing, down to earth and makes an otherwise difficult topic, so often clouded with politically motivated bamboozlement by the doctrinaire, sound so simple. Save, don’t save, export, trade balances, assets, liabilities he covers a great swath of the worlds economic ills and their root causes. One to follow.

crow and half mastSo, we’re back from the northwestern USA, having seen a lot of flags flying at half mast in memory of the five murdered Dallas Police officers. Every Police station, city hall, fire department and quite a few businesses we saw were flying the stars and stripes thus. Which leads me into a puzzlement. How does whipping up others to kill Policemen advance the cause of the BLM activists? That’s a completely counter intuitive strategy, rather like fucking to increase virginity. Add to that the knowledge that a good many of the class warriors stirring things up are northern European in appearance. In short, what we used to call ‘rent-a-mob’. Turning up at any protest to scream and shout mainly because it gives their miserable lives a perverse sort of meaning.

Not that we saw much of their antics. Near the place we spent last weekend, we observed a great many people blundering around peering intently at their dumbphone screens, headphones on, almost oblivious to the outside world. Apparently many are engrossed in an online game called ‘Pokemon Go‘. Even to the point of playing while driving. Which may qualify them for a Darwin award. One man in New York state is known to have wrapped his car around a tree while playing (I’m surprised he’s the only one reported thus). Stories are emerging of players wandering aimlessly into busy traffic and various Police forces have issued safety warnings. There have been no reported fatalities as yet, but it’s early days. The shallow end of the gene pool always gets emptied first.

As for the Nice attack, words fail me. Well, apart from thinking how pointless it was. Like with Paris last year, we’re not changing next years travel plans for it.

Gosh, is that my cynicism? I was wondering where I’d left it.