Tag Archives: Media

There’s news, and then there’s news

Now this post isn’t about ‘fake’ news, or op-eds decrying whichever side in the ongoing media wars that swamp all the mainstream outlets, but more the result of my nasty suspicious little mind. I’ve lived too long on this Earth to be anything less than cynical and as an investor, cynicism is a very useful tool. So it is with me.

There are lots of stories in the news about Iran preparing to give the USA a ‘slap in the face‘. Which looks like an act of monstrous ingratitude considering the bundle of cash Obama sent them special delivery over the much vaunted Iran Nuclear Deal. Why would this be? Weren’t the USA trying to be nice to the Iranians? Maybe it’s time to turn that sand into glass.

But hang on. Considering recent attempts to improve relations between Iran and the USA there’s more to this situation than meets the eye. Especially when I did a little googling of my own and found that the Iranians are having severe internal troubles. In one instance recently they deployed large numbers of elite units to Ahvaz in the agricultural region of Khuzestan where massive riots have broken out over a collapse in public services. And Iran being the type of state it is, is looking to do the old “Look! Over there!” trick by blaming the eternal enemy, the USA, which is the whipping boy for all Iran’s troubles. Nothing to do with Iran’s rulers cocking it up at all. Some sources are talking about another internal ‘Green Revolution’ against the hard line Islamic state. The one in 2009 failed, but what about this time round? Oil revenues are way down, so how are the Iranians going to fund this war-talk?

Similarly with North Korea and their threats to drop a nuclear bomb on the USA. If their missiles worked reliably and could carry such a warhead without the Yanks shooting it down. Now flip the news and consider the following. The Chinese, long North Korea’s biggest coal customer are pissed off over the Koreans bumping off Kim Jong Un’s older half brother, who was under Chinese protection and have been stopping shipments of coal at the border. No coal sales (for the rest of the year) mean no money, no wages and no food for all the soldiers that the North Koreans need to keep their top down militaristic state staggering along. Which in turn means economic collapse and somebody, no names, no pack drill, might just end up getting stomped to death by an angry mob while his bodyguards are having a suspiciously long tea break (or even his own bodyguards). So the North Korean state has to divert attention from the privations of their population. Nowadays I look at these repeated threats of a missile attack as being just North Korea’s funny little way of putting out the begging bowl for foreign aid. Essentially saying “We’ve got a missile and a bomb, honestly. Send money, we’re broke.”

Thinking about it, perhaps President Trump should be talking to the Chinese about letting the current North Korean regime collapse and maybe negotiate the withdrawal of US troops from the DMZ and South Korea with some form of ‘hands off’ agreement from both sides while a reunited Korea rebuilds and gets the North Koreans used to a better standard of living. The smart move would be to let the Chinese gain ‘face’ (Which is more important to them than money) and lose a troublesome neighbour. Then apart from the row over the Spratly’s, perhaps there could be a cooling down of tensions in the region. At least as far as the Chinese and Americans are concerned. The recent dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the region could then be turned into a ‘goodwill visit’ and allow the Chinese to have a field day trying to steal some of the USA’s less valuable military secrets. It’s a thought.

Mrs S and I often discuss these matters over our weekend breakfasts, and find it useful to look at the news as a ‘join the dots’ puzzle, because while a lot of people get ‘offended’ by superficial stuff then run around like headless chickens with their knickers rammed up their arses, the smarter folk take a breath, step back and try and get a feel for the broader picture, which is often very different from the one many news outlets would have you see.

The X-files were right about one thing, the truth is out there, but it’s not about aliens or strange phenomena. No, it’s far more interesting and profitable than that.

Update: The North Korean regime are now openly mocking China, as well as pissing off the relatively friendly Malaysians. This may be a great miscalculation on their part. China will not like losing face to these upstarts, and I can already hear the squeaking of economic screws tightening from all the way across the Pacific. This may be peppered with gunshots as the NK’s lash out (A very bad move) leading to a Chinese invasion. The NK’s may even have a go at the South (an even worse move), but burning their bridges with their only real protector is about as dumb as it gets.

So; what to do? That’s one for the military and political tacticians with a nod to the UN security council. Let the Chinese invade to the 38th Parallel? By negotiated arrangement of course. Then let the Chinese do their thing and install their own new puppet of a civilian administration. Add a little Chinese style capitalism, some inbound western investment and leave to brew for a decade.

Outcomes? Short term; very bad for the North Korean populace, so no change there. Medium term; very bad for the current North Korean regime. Which I don’t think anyone will shed any tears over. Long term; better for North Korea as it opens up to the greater world and finally discovers, like China, the delights capitalism can offer.

From the comments; just loved Elenamitchells nickname for NK dictator Kim Jong Un as ‘Spoonbanger’. Very apt.

Real snowflakes

More snow. More collapsing of the man made heat death myth of the world as the revelations of sharp practice at NOAA finally hit the mainstream. Yes I know the story of the ‘pausebuster’ academic paper being a total bodge job is in the Wail, but how many other mainstream media sources will publish? Or will said news be conveniently ignored because it doesn’t fit the globalist narrative?

The so-called ‘pausebuster’ academic paper claiming that the ‘pause’ or levelling off of global temperature rise over the last twenty years never happened was always a suspect report, and people have been calling its veracity into question since 2015.

Scanning the last two days headlines, the only outlets currently giving the story any airtime are the Washington Post, Washington Times and the UK Daily Mail. The rest seem full of anti-Trump hit pieces like those about a ‘muslim’ ban, which is nothing of the sort, merely a repetition of Barack Obama’s executive order suspending entry to the US from six particular countries. Oh yes, and a bunch of black clad fascists calling themselves ‘Antifa’, rioting and smashing stuff up like a bunch of thwarted toddlers. Is that the sound of lamestream media credibility cracking, yet again?

Anyway. Our real snow is about four to six inches deep outside at the moment. Not quite enough for a ‘snow day’ but deep enough to get out the 4×4 or AWD and go looking for a slope to go sledging on. Judging by the forecast we’re due for another two to four inches over the next day or so, so maybe that snow day will materialise.

Maybe the mainstream media in general will wise up and start doing their job properly again. Until then, on that topic at least I leave you with Mr Lowe and ‘I love the sound of Breaking Glass’.

Beaches

We’re enjoying our new home. Not only is it only ten minutes from the stores, it’s less than ten minutes from the closest half way decent beach, there’s a small but perfectly formed fishing lake less than three hundred metres walk away, and I have my own full size office. It’s not beach weather, but it will be in a few months. And although the sand is a few shades darker than I’m used to, it’s still the same texture.

Mrs S is still hors de combat and will be until mid February / early March, so I’m having to ferry her around and perform various personal functions she has trouble with, like the simple action of pulling on a sock or lacing up her shoes. I don’t mind.

Our new place has a lot more space than our old apartment, and needs a few more sticks of furniture. Selection of which is a work in progress. New desk for her. New bookcases (Yes, more bookcases) for me. A new Ottoman for the front room. Small stuff. All of which I’m okay with. Pictures need to be hung. Two large mirrors need locating. All thieves of time, but hey, she is injured and needs time to heal properly, so I’m happy to go along. It’s just part of the whole “In sickness and in health” thing I signed up to. No biggie.

What I am getting annoyed with is the hatchet op-eds she keeps on insisting reading aloud about Trump and what a naughty man he is for doing exactly what he said he would do on the campaign trail. Why she and the various pundits are so surprised I have no idea, but if the FT doesn’t get back to reporting some proper financial news soonish, our subscriptions will be shut down. I pay for proper financial news, what’s really happening, not some Journo’s half-arsed emotion-ridden ‘opinion’.

If I wanted to read trashy personal attacks on Trump I’d go to CBC, CNN, the Huffington Post or similar. Although it’s such fun to read various Grauniad columnists getting their panties in a bunch over stuff Trump is doing which they gave Obama a total pass on. But I do so love the smell of burning hypocrisy in the morning.

Well it amuses me. But as I’m real bastard son of a bitch it would, wouldn’t it?

Well, there’s always the Winter beach and sea. There’s also a friendly Bernese Mountain dog who patrols one particular isolated little place and ‘adopts’ any moderately sensible human. The first time we met I half expected him to try and jump in the back of my car, just like my old mutt used to. But no, he just ambled on his way home to get fed, fussed and the sand brushed out of his coat by his real boss.

A thought about the Savile saga

I was listening to Sargon of Akkad’s video the other day about the saga of debunked conspiracy theory ‘Pizzagate’, where wealthy people associated with Bill and Hilary Clinton are claimed to have satanically sexually abused hundreds, perhaps even thousands of children.

Now child abuse rings exist: that much is certain. Those who do get caught are usually those whose political connections fail when their activities are exposed or the evidence is so overwhelming that their activities cannot help but be prosecuted, or solitary ‘outliers’ like Marc Dutroux. The small fry. However, I’m also fairly certain that there are those who commit these atrocities, for there is no other word that fits, who have enough political clout do get away with it. Top figures in show business and politics are often accused, but only the retired or out of favour who have no more political influence seem to be punished for relatively minor offences.

Like with the UK prosecutions of Dave Lee Travis, Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall, the offences some were accused of were relatively minor, or in the case of the late Jimmy Savile, whose only verifiable accusation was of one star struck fifteen year old girl who offered him oral sex, only to be turned away when he found out she was underage. Which, forgive me if I’m sounding too forgiving here, doesn’t quite fit the profile of the ‘serial abuser’ we have been presented with in the mainstream. Despite the ‘thousands’ of accusations from Ambulance chasing law practices.

Now having been a long time reader of the one time Anna Raccoon site (All my best to you and Mr G. Suzanne, if you’re still breathing) I’ve read her first hand accounts of events at the Duncroft Girls Home which was at the centre of key accusations against Savile, and I tend to believe Anna’s version because she went back and checked her sources one by one. Anna talked to old contacts from those days when she was resident at Duncroft and pointed out many key disparities in the related accusations against. Anna cited times, dates, places and key details. She researched. She used primary sources. Which raised the following thought; if Anna is correct, and after careful consideration I think she is, then the whole Savile saga, associated accusations and prosecutions of retired show business figures from the notorious ‘operation Yewtree’, has been on the one level a cynical asset stripping exercise against their savings and charitable trusts, on the other a smokescreen. It’s interesting to note that the Metropolitan Police web page for Operation Yewtree now comes up with an ‘Error’ message.

Like with the old Russian folk tale of Troika riding passengers being thrown to the wolves one by one, I strongly suspect these retired showbiz types have been thrown to the ravening wolfpack of paedo-hysteria, allowing the really guilty to carry on their repugnant activities relatively unmolested. Mainly because certain abusers are wealthy or have political influence. And I can cite one confirmed real life example in the case of Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, whose notorious private Caribbean island (St James) is known to be a haven for under age sexual exploitation. He is only at liberty because he was able to buy off his accusers and make a plea deal with the Federal authorities (See previous link), serving jail time for only one offence. A purely anecdotal item of evidence being his private jet being referred to by locals as ‘the Lolita express’ for bringing in ‘fresh meat’. The Clintons, amongst a whole raft of other rich and powerful people, are known to have been regular visitors. Were they involved? No-one’s saying, and any evidence is purely circumstantial.

Similarly, Hollywood child actors have spoken out about their real life sexual abuse by Production people and hangers on, or ‘mentors’ (Los Angeles Times 2012 report here). If the article is to be fully believed, the casting couch is not only for screwing nineteen year old starlets desperate to get into the movie business, but also used as an opportunity to sexually violate child actors of all genders. Apparently this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Yet a huge media storm was whipped up against Savile and other contemporary celebrities, some of whom were totally innocent, some not quite so. Some of whom were judged by today’s standards for what was common at the time. For my examples I cite a little folklore; In the 50’s 60’s and 70’s giving an attractive woman a pat on the bottom was considered cheeky or presumptuous, but not abusive. Unwanted attention usually received a well-deserved roundhouse slap. These were the social norms at that time. That being said, I’ve formed the opinion that showbiz careers and charitable work, reputation and legacies were and are being ‘thrown to the wolves’ to divert public attention away from real scandals. Likewise the suspiciously highly publicised 2013 raid on one time pop icon Cliff Richard. Interesting that Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, then Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, was later disgraced by a allegations concerning male prostitutes and drug abuse, was involved. Did I mention anything about smokescreens? Hmm. No wonder there are parliamentary party officers known as ‘Whips’.

Which is one of the reasons why I think the whole Savile affair had that stench of political and media prestidigitation about it. We the audience might catch a whiff of smoke, see subliminal flashes from concealed mirrors out of the corner of our eyes. However, like with a large scale stage illusion, the truth eludes us because our attention is deliberately directed elsewhere. On the other hand perhaps it’s possibly what the larger public really wants. A show. At a subconscious level perhaps the real unpleasantness of child molestation, the mundane, ugly little truth that most sexual abuse is too often committed by members of the child’s own family and close social circle is too hard to contemplate, so the candidate for the two minutes hate is served up instead of the real culprits, simply because they do not fit the currently accepted ‘normal’. Both Jimmy Savile and Cliff Richard are lifelong bachelors, and therefore an easy target. Because staying single all their lives can’t be normal, innit?

Now I would like to offer something of a personal anecdote here; I’m married to a truly great woman. Well I think so and anyone badmouthing Mrs S in my presence can go to hell, my rapidly approaching knuckles that may also instantly accompany my disapproval may be thought of as a free of charge customer disincentive. Now I came relatively late to the joys of marriage, partly because I grew up fairly socially isolated and in my late teens and early twenties drifted into gang culture and went off the rails a bit. During that time I’d latched onto the idea that we were all going to be blown to hell anyway, so why bother with long term relationships? Hey, it was the time of the Cold War and Mutual Assured Destruction. Apathy was acceptable, okay? I also got rebuffed a few times in my teens and that also put me off relationships for a long while. If my wife hadn’t been so determined to bag me (Still don’t understand why), I would probably have remained, like Jimmy Savile and Cliff Richard, a lifelong bachelor. An object of suspicion and vile, small minded gossip despite being a rather averagely dull old frustrated heterosexual. Ibunt per gratiam Dei (There by the grace of God go I).

Another anecdote pops up from the deep storage of boy / young adulthood memory. Where I grew up there were a number of middle aged and elderly men and women who never married. All of them nominally heterosexual, just unable to form and maintain long term relationships for whatever reason. Nothing unusual. Quite average for a rural English village and environs. If memory serves correctly, I recall one fifty year old guy still bearing a torch for a childhood sweetheart who died in a car crash when he was twenty. Another sixtyish man who never got over his girlfriend going off with another guy. Another fiftysomething who was an estate worker who lived for and with his dogs and little else. Two brothers who lived out in the boonies with their parents and single older sister who never socialised. Several other fellow bar flies who liked their booze a little too much. A couple of ex-soldiers (One a full Colonel, the other a Sergeant) who never tied the knot but had long term girlfriends (The Colonel was actively shagging his ‘Housekeeper’ until six months before he died). A number of elderly women whose boyfriends had gone to war and never returned. Even one old lady who claimed to have been part of the SOE back in the 1940’s and lost her boyfriend during operations. Sad? Yes. Tragic even, but there are so many lives like this in the real world, and my own experience is that the majority of long-term unmarried people aren’t perverts, no matter what the perennially small minded might (and often do) think. I’d also like to point out that being in a long term formal relationship does not preclude all else. If it did there would be no divorces, no adultery. As for couples not being prone to perversion and murder; Fred and Rosemary West, anyone? Ian Brady and Myra Hindley? Bonnie and Clyde? The Starkweather homicides? Bernardo and Homulka? Fernandez and Beck? The Carsons? Coleman and Brown? Never mind all the accomplices who never killed or abused but were what might be called ‘enablers’. There’s a few others too. Just saying. There is no hard and fast rule that can be applied.

As an afterthought, the official UK statistics for child sex abuse can be found for up until 2010 on pages 43, 66 and 67 of this UK Home Office report. However, this report has been castigated for missing the many hidden victims of child sex abuse. The UK Children’s Commissioner has a number of reports indicating that the number of abused is much higher.

My one closing thought about the Savile saga is that there might indeed have been ‘no smoke without fire’ but were we ever sure where all the smoke was coming from?

Delays and general shizzle

I’m an early riser, and tend to do most of my business between 6 and 11am Pacific Standard Time. Simply because I’m currently dealing with issues over in the UK and have to talk to people in real time rather than wait 24 hours for them to bother answering an email. So this morning I got a shock when I got an urgent message from Youngest saying that she wasn’t going to be allowed to board her flight to Canada in a couple of days.

The problem is her expired Canadian Permanent Residency. Apparently she still shows up as a Permanent Resident of Canada when applying for one of the new shiny e-visa’s or Electronic Travel Authorisations. Which I find rather strange. If your permanent residency is expired, then the whole ETA thing should be much easier, no? If you’ve ever been a Permanent Resident Canada Immigration already has your details on file, so any identity concerns can be easily dealt with. It’s a simple yes / no algorithm. Is Permanent residency still valid? If yes, no ETA required. If no, fee please and fill in the online form. Any security ‘red flags’? No? Cool. Again, fee and fill in the form please. Got immediate family in Canada? Hey, good to see you back. Fill in the ETA form like everyone else. Append ETA visa to passport records which are already online via Canada Immigrations secure internal services, job done. But no, that would be too smegging simple. She has to formally ‘renounce’ her permanent residency which can’t be processed at least until Monday morning, possibly Tuesday, then she has to apply for another ETA, and without one the airlines won’t let her board her flight to Canada.

Okay, this makes me think there’s some mooks promoted way above their pay grade deciding on these regulations because these new ETA rules are so bloody counter-intuitive. I know there’s security concerns over immigration, but does this help? No. In fact these new rules actively discriminate against people. Yes that’s right, discrimination. Which is supposed to be illegal or some shizzle like that here in Canada. I’ve lost track. Just mentioning discrimination might be breaking the law nowadays. I now neither know nor care. I’m a citizen and will fight for my rights as such.

Fortunately Youngest isn’t going to be stuck in airports for the next few days, but is quite upset about having to stay home when she should be winging her way to us for Christmas and New Year. Fortunately she has a lot of friends in London and a nice cosy flat to wait around in. Better that than hanging around the industrial bleakness of most big airports. Especially Heathrow. The family has rallied round with money for ticket changes, so we’re all good there. She has wine, pizza and friends. It could be a hell of a lot worse.

Hey, it’s an unnecessary delay, but I console myself that everyone is safe. We’ll see Youngest on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. There’s nothing unfixable.

One other thing; CBC have gotten hold of my email address and are spamming me with fake news about Barack Obama telling everyone how the Russians stole the US presidential election. For which there is no real evidence. Check out Stephan Molyneux’s video of his findings at 3:00. Stuff it. I’ll try and unsubscribe from these unwanted CBC messages, and if there’s a little box plaintively asking why, I will simply tell them not to spam as I didn’t subscribe to their fucking service in the first place. How the hell they got my email is beyond me, because I never visit their web site or any of its affiliates. Don’t even get me started on ‘Fakebook‘ trying to tell everyone what is real news or not. When it comes to fake news, they are one of the worst offenders. May their share price plumb new depths. It’s just a paper stock based on nothing anyway. I wouldn’t put money into Social Media even if you had me at gunpoint. Because I think Facebook and the rest are crap investment prospects which don’t actually produce anything and sell your information to the highest bidder. My twice-killed-but-won’t-lie-down-account doesn’t get posted to, hasn’t been since 2011, so as far as advertising it concerned, it’s a dead loss. No-one reads it. It’s a zombie that won’t die until Fakebook does. Both stepdaughters and most of their real friends have stopped using Facebook too, and they were supposed to be part of the ‘Generation’.

Likewise I won’t trust Snopes any more, nor Politifact or any of the other so-called ‘impartial’ sites. Their brands are now polluted beyond usefulness by a demonstrated pro-globalist stance. Likewise Wikipedia isn’t to be trusted on anything mildly contentious. Hell, like with all the other big ‘news’ networks, if any of them tried to tell me the sky was blue I’d go to the front door and check for myself. The truth may be out there, but everyone has their own version of it.

Right, back to work then yet more bloody packing.

Update:  Joy unbridled.  Paperwork processed, ETA visa obtained.  Flight to be rebooked.  Anticipating having to zip over to Vancouver on Monday to pick Youngest up from airport.  Yay!

Oh yes, and a big THANK YOU to the front line troops at the Canadian High Commission for processing Youngest’s ETA request on a Saturday.  I’ll say this for the counter staff of Canadian Immigration, so long as they think you’re legal decent honest and truthful, they can move minor mountains quite quickly.    Even if the rules they have to implement are sometimes goofy.

Syria and Aleppo

Re: an exchange of comments over at White Sun of the Desert with the erudite Tim Newman. Tim wrote an excellent piece about Aleppo, Syria, with which I was broadly in agreement. Tim did take issue with my comment accusing ‘Western meddling’ of making things a whole lot worse, which I’m okay with. Because without reasoned disagreement all we’d have would be a pointless echo chamber. However, I’d like to lay out my reasons, in depth, for believing that Western interventions in the region are at least partly at fault, and that the mainstream press are only telling half the story, very badly. If not being highly economical with the truth. Watch this presentation to the UN from 9th December 2016 by independent Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett. Read her on the ground blog ‘In Gaza’ where she writes about her experiences in the Middle East here. Also the following Q & A session. Yes, it’s fifty two minutes long, but does make enlightening viewing. Food for thought.

Now I’d also like to post some other links to back up my assertions from the following links;

Proofs of ‘Western meddling’. Sorry they’re all secondary, but what isn’t on the Internet can’t be linked to.

Western Sanctions against Syria. From an independent perspective. And from the US Embassy in Damascus, with Canadian and European sources, just for balance (via the Intercept) the 2016 UN report ‘Humanitarian Impact of Syria-Related Unilateral Restrictive Measures‘. As the European link states, there are no UN sanctions against Syria.

Western involvement in the creation and sponsorship of Terrorist groups.  Not to mention the involvement of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and a whole host of others.  Our hands are not clean, but the good news (for a given value of ‘good’) neither are anybody else’s.

These sources tell a very different story from much of the mainstream. Particularly the BBC and Grauniad. The Independent not so much, but don’t ask me about the Tellytubbygraph or the Times.  The tabloids coverage (Including the Mail and Express) won’t help anyone get an unbiased picture either.  They sell drama, not news.

An additional note; I’m no defender of Assad. He kicked this whole sorry mess off by sending in the tanks. However, from the above links it can be demonstrated that well intentioned meddling by Western nations has been at the source of the current refugee crisis currently swamping Europe, and to a lesser extent, the USA. It’s also behind a good many of the terrorist outrages. Without Western intervention, both covert and otherwise, I would argue that the current Syrian refugee crisis would be much smaller, and subsequent terrorist atrocities would have less motivation. If anyone asks me, I’m also pretty well convinced that a non-interventionist ‘containment’ strategy on our part would have resulted in far fewer civilian casualties. But no, US and therefore NATO foreign policy has been to stick their greasy spoon in and stir, at least since the 1970’s. The Foreign policy of the Neocons and Neoliberals (In real terms there’s barely a cigarette paper difference between them) brought us here.

This view is not drawn from ‘fake’ or manufactured news sites.  This is real, visceral from the ground floor stuff, with attribution. So although I haven’t had time to read all the links from everything in depth, I’m fairly confident most of the quoted sources are kosher.

In my defence I’d say there is only so much that can be covered in the relative brevity of a blog post, but to document the whole story is a decade long project, and one I’m not well qualified to write.  Although someone like Ms Bartlett might be.

Not that present or future politicians would ever read any such book of course.  That would be too much to ask.

May, May not

Well, the snow is falling and there’s about four or five inches on the ground at the time of writing, with more prophesied before there’s a minor thaw on Saturday with a little more on Sunday night. Have taken the precaution of provisioning up just in case we get a power outage, although if it was going to happen we’d be shivering in the dark around about now. It may, it may not. Or as we say on Vancouver Island; if you don’t like the weather, go inside for an hour or so.

Overseas, I’m heartened by the news that Brexit negotiations are finally scheduled to start 31st March 2017. Not so amused by the passing of the new regulatory powers act which allows the security services to snoop unfettered and then lie under oath in English courts. Which can’t be good. Rather like one of those ‘Good news’ and the ‘bad news’ gags for the dear old UK. Which effectively means that you might as well have summary arrest and detention without any trial at all.

Sounds like no matter which way you turn, the powers that be want to increase state overreach both within and without the EU. Which is rather what Governments do; they’re just big make-work projects for the otherwise unemployable. On the one hand they’re invading and bombing other countries, on the other they’re restricting civil liberties because their vote buying actions have created a massive refugee crisis and attendant issues with terrorism. As an observation, I’m moved to consider that if western countries didn’t chuck resources at every Tomas, Ishmael and Ahmed that landed on their respective shores, the migrants would be more inclined to stay where they were and try and fix their own problems. It would also be a lot cheaper to help rebuild crisis torn countries from a foreign aid perspective.

Elsewhere I’m sad to hear about another one of my boyhood heroes dying, but John Glenn was 95, so he’d had a bloody good run at things. A full life, and still getting into Earth orbit in his eighties. So, no regrets, just a little sadness that we may not see his like again. Although this didn’t mean that some biased Newsweek ‘Journalist’ didn’t try to say that Glenn’s name was booed at a Trump rally. Which is kind of disgusting. What some people will try to make political capital of. It’s very sad.

Oh well, time to get moving, those Christmas cards won’t post themselves. Time to get suited and booted.

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.