Tag Archives: Morality

Youtube Censorship

I used to have little ‘mature content’ playlist of rather gorgeous Burlesque performers on my sidebar and am sad to report that YouTube has deleted my selection of delightful prancing young ladies for whom clothing was a secondary concern. Apparently some snowflake decided it was ‘inappropriate’ and I received a missive this morning with the following;

The YouTube community flagged one or more of your playlists as inappropriate.

To which my response is; “Sorry, but you guys hosted the content, I just collated a list of it.” Even if the video’s are deleted, Some kind soul will upload more for those of us over 18 whose blood runs a healthier shade of red. I will find something else to entertain my one remaining reader under the ‘Not Safe For Work’ category on the sidebar. As the mood takes me.

As for ‘community’. Yerss, well. Frankly I never wanted to belong to any ‘community’ or be judged by censorious asshats. They can all just go fuck themselves with a barbed wire covered baseball bat. Which I’m told is something that may appeal to those at the extreme end of BDSM. Not my thing. But hey, if you’re a consenting adult, don’t let me get in your way. I hear that there’s a dominatrix or two that caters for such sexual eccentricities. Chacun à son goût.

YouTube is a resource which I have a membership of, nothing more. That membership was an accident of signing up for a gmail account back in 04′ and Google subsequently buying up Youtube. Not of any ‘community’, which would imply I actually approve of YouTube’s Hyacinth Bucket-level prudery policies. I never signed up for anything but a free email account, the rest of my ‘membership’ was a result of Google’s expansion. So no, I’d simply say this is the result of Google’s ‘Mission creep’ by very creepy people. And lawyers pressured by the prurient.

As for their YouTube ‘heroes’ or unpaid moderators. There’s nothing even vaguely ‘heroic’ about them. They’re generally the type of lowlife who become classroom sneaks, politically correct tattle-tales and virtue-signalling toadies. Committee fodder. About as far from the classical definition of heroic as it is possible to be. The fact that YouTube openly recruits immature (Under 18) people for this unpaid task should be a red flag. How can anyone judge someone else’s standards if they aren’t mature enough to understand their own?

Anyway. The pendulum has swung to extreme political correctness, and now it is beginning the long, inexorable swing back through sanity to the other extreme. Popcorn maker on, butter and salt ready. Catch you on the flip side.

Update: Three YouTube accounts I subscribed to; Ex Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Clarkson Hammond and May have been terminated for ‘copyright violation and deceptive practices’.

Would someone please explain…

To me what these globalist politicians are referring to when they talk about ‘Our Democracy’ vs the dangers of ‘populism’. Forgive my boyish naivete, but I thought Democracy was people voting for representatives or on an issue and whoever gets the most votes (Unless they’re using the electoral college system) wins and gets to do the stuff they say they’re going to for the voting public. Sometimes. Allegedly.

So how does the ‘democracy’ these privileged Davos-attending dimwits bang on about different from, let’s say for the sake of argument the ‘popular vote’, which is what democracy is, isn’t it? People belonging to a group vote for a person to represent their interests depending on how popular their ideas are with the electorate… No. Hold on a minute, I get it. These people are talking about the ‘democracy’ their rich friends have paid for, right? The type of ‘democracy’ where the voting peasantry (you and me) jolly well go to the ballot boxes and vote how and when they’re told to by the bought and paid for mouthpiece media.

Because the globalists are worried. Very worried. Because the peasants are revolting. And we’re not talking about poor standards of personal hygiene either. The populace at large are developing their own voice with their own direct information sources. Many no longer trust the lamestream because they can see how they’ve been lied to. Repeatedly. How ‘stories’ have been misrepresented to turn neighbour against neighbour, race against race, to make people afraid of speaking up for themselves lest they be accused of ‘hate speech’ or ‘thought crime’. Or fingered as the serial killing paedophile next door. Or have protesters and activists ‘go after’ their families and livelihoods. Mencken almost had it when he wrote

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Or fund a bunch of radical anti-social activists, primed with what is for the globalist faction, chump change, to run around gleefully making mischief and fucking up ordinary people’s lives.

One such funder of radical causes is Hedge Fund Manager and Currency Speculator George Soros, who is known to donate to many anti-western causes. Why? I have no idea, save that organisations known to have taken his dollar are behind pushing a poisonous melange of ideologies that would normally be laughed out of the room. At least in any serious debate. MoveOn, Tides, 350org, DisruptJ and fellow travellers. They’ve all taken the Soros Dime and therefore not to be trusted. He’s even gotten the Russians so pissed off there’s rumours of an open arrest warrant on him, and the Hungarians have promised to get rid of all his NGO’s. Yes, and a ‘Stop Soros’ movement is emerging in Macedonia. But Hungary? Macedonia? Who cares about them? Apparently the Hungarians and Macedonians do, and maybe we should too.

We should also care that this meddling monster speculator is suspected of stumping up cash to help fund a series of UK High Court challenges to BREXIT, as Raedwald discusses here.

No such thing as ‘Revenue Neutral’

I often spend the early hours of the morning answering transatlantic queries that I could have sworn I answered six months ago. Like this morning, and the one before that. To confirm my suspicions I went into my saved emails, ran a simple text string search and, yup. Already told ’em that. In the same words no less. Sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with Goldfish level attention spans because I have the annoying (To my opponents) ability to recall what was said on a given topic for some time afterwards. And if I’m not sure of a critical detail I bloody well go and check. I make no claims to more than a slightly better than average intelligence, however, some so-called ‘qualified’ people make me despair.

Like with this stupid ‘Carbon tax’ we’re going to get foisted on us by the idiot fop Canadians made Prime Minister. Like with the carbon tax the NDP have just dumped on the Albertans. And these dumb fuck politicians say their new tax will be ‘revenue neutral’.

Well there isn’t such a thing as revenue neutrality. If tax is applied then it has to be collected. New taxes always have a collection cost. Administrative staff need to be recruited and paid, new (often very expensive) offices built or leased and furnished, electricity, sewerage and water for all those workers so they don’t have to work with their legs permanently crossed. Computer systems and support staff. Money to pay for the phone bills and software licences. Then there’s the kind of Ouroboros-like effect of taxing government employees to pay for their own wages, offices, phone and electricity etcetera, etcetera. With every new tax, the tax collection system has to be enlarged. Web sites have to be built with FAQ’s and phone lines to keep frustrated taxpayers on while they stare disbelievingly at the way taxation has just taken yet another bite out of their stagnated income.

In short, you can’t get more out than you put in. Which is a fundamental law of economics. ‘Revenue neutral’ is one of those ghastly hollow little soundbites used by virtue signalling left of centre politicians who don’t have to keep a vice like grip on the family budget. The politico’s and their hangers on (By contrast to ordinary people, for a given value of ‘ordinary’) have privileged little lives insulated from the effects of their actions. What they can’t see is the simple fact that any new tax, like, let me see, the insane ‘Carbon tax’ that Albertans have just been saddled with cannot ever be ‘revenue neutral’. No matter how many cheques are sent out to the people they’ve just sent careering down the slope to energy poverty. Someone has to pay for all the people to administer such a scheme. Ergo any tax take is not going to be anything like ‘revenue neutral’. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this anyway.

Don’t even get me started on the David Suzuki bullshit about ‘saving the planet’ as justification for the new Carbon tax. What does he know? He’s an Entomologist for Christs sake, not an atmospheric physicist. His field, before he found there was more money to be made in advocacy and media whoring, was the study of insects. Ergo, anything he has to say on a climate science can reasonably be assumed to be no more well informed than some random bloke down the pub. Atmospheric Physics requires some serious Mathematical skill, which very few people have, even then climate modelling has failed dismally to reflect reality. Although I do admire Suzuki’s ability for making millions out of scare story advocacy. He’s made a mint from speaking fees and public appearances. The fact that all his prognostications of climate doom have repeatedly been shown to be complete and utter bollocks make me that much more in awe of his talent for turning dross into cold hard cash. That and his much-cited demand to be escorted by a ‘bodyguard’ of the hottest girls on campus. You have to take your hat off to the sheer, bare faced chutzpah of the old con merchant.

Mind you, I don’t think Suzuki had much sway over Harper, but his resurgence as influence over a half wit drama teacher who looks like Mick Jagger was his real father has to be admired. As for when Trump takes office at the end of this week and the pseudo-environmentalists like Suzuki lose their influence within the US, I will be listening to the outraged wails with a grim smile on my face.

Socially contructed

Mrs S loses her leg splint today. I may borrow it when my rugby injured knee starts it’s periodic grumbling. Outside it’s cold and bright, and there’s a massive cloud band over the Juan De Fuca Straits to the sparkling lights of Port Angeles in the USA and the peaks of the Olympic mountains peering over the top. Our new apartment has more much space and my office a cracking view.

Meandering through the morning news, trying manfully to sort the faction from fact, I kept on bumping into the weird idea that gender is a ‘social construct’ To which my response was “WTF!” Especially over a so-called ‘pregnant man’ getting death threats. Because she’s not a man, she’s a surgically altered female on hormone treatments. In order to carry a foetus to term she still must have her Uterus still in place. If she truly was a ‘man’ she would be having an Ectopic or ‘non uterine’ pregnancy, which are usually fatal if untreated.

Open any worthwhile reference book on human biology and read the sections on the male and female Endocrine and reproductive systems, along with certain structures in the brain like the corpus callosum, which tends to be thicker in women than men. This will inform the reader who has an above room temperature IQ, that men and women are quite distinct but complementary members of the species Homo Sapiens (Or Pan Narrans, if like me you are a Pratchett fan).

You are biologically male or female, and no amount of surgery and hormone treatment can turn a man into a woman or vice versa because the glands will always be wrong. Or until some clever dick perfects a genetic technology that can change XX chromosomes to XY and vice versa, which isn’t likely. Then there’s all the new bits that need to be added, like testes and their biological support mechanisms, or a uterus and ovaries. Which is just the obvious stuff. Never mind all those more subtle differences in the brain, circulatory and endocrine systems. The differences between male and female are more than just sex organs, the skeletons are quite distinct, the biggest giveaway being the angle of the pelvis, even if you miss the obvious brow ridge structure of the adult male skull. Or the laryngeal prominence of the male ‘Adams apple’ which is a thickening of the throat cartilage that happens around puberty. Or… well I could go on and on (and on), but you get the picture, yes?

Where the ‘gender is a social construct’ nonsense falls in the biological stakes is at the first hurdle. From even the most cursory analysis the whole concept throws its jockey and then stands looking over the fence neighing with laughter, if you’ll forgive my horse racing metaphor. Even the most casual glance shows that the whole idea is arrant nonsense. Because anatomy and physiology trumps ‘social’ every time. And while surgeons can give the appearance of gender fluidity, it will always be an echoing shell of misery to the patient. Personal anecdote here; having looked after a couple of Transexuals back in the day, both of whom I found out had committed suicide (Nothing to do with me Guv, honest), I’m convinced that these are deeply unhappy individuals for whom life has no respite. I have sympathy for that unhappiness of course, but that sympathy is tempered with a soupcon of “You made your own bed, chum.”

As for the people in liberal arts academia who push these strange ideas, they too should be objects of pity rather than scorn. They cannot fully come to terms with the realities of their own sexuality and as a compensatory mechanism try to project their deeply flawed philosophy on the rest of us. It’s an academic fad, a fashion, an aberration. Yet the real harm these rather unhinged ideas do to individuals, rather like the pregnant ‘man’, will last lifetimes.

You know, the Communist Chinese and Soviet Russians used to complain that the west was “Decadent” meaning that our culture and morals were in decline. Consulting a gently grazing Thesaurus from my bookshelf, I find that one of the synonyms for decadent is ‘lost’. Poor bastards.

As usual, Python got there first.

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?

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.

Snow ho bloody ho

Just looked out of the kitchen window and it’s snowing for the second time in four days. WTF is going on? This is Victoria for heavens sake. It’s not supposed to snow in this part of BC. The road out front is pretty much clear, but as I don’t have to commute, that’s not much of a problem.

Still packing and wondering where the hell did I buy this? Every so often. And more to the point, why? As far as the festering season is concerned Mrs S and I will be on a pretty tight schedule, bouncing back up and down Island like we’re riding a Yo-yo on bad knicker elastic. Shopping is done. Cards sent. Presents bought. I think we may be ahead of the curve. However, it looks like a busy Yuletide.

One of the associated exercises to do with moving is that you have to run down the amount of stuff in the freezer. Which often gives up pleasant surprises, but also the occasional booby prize. Nice surprise of the day was a Liver and Bacon Stew, which will be served with mustard dumplings, a little mashed potato and cut green beans. Culinary disaster lurking at the back was my attempt to do something spicy with cauliflower that ended up having the effect of paint stripper on the palate. Well, we’re moving, so the cauliflower will join a couple of other pots in the recycle bin. Reminder to self, cayenne pepper has to be used very sparingly. Anyway, I’ll stick the recipe for mustard dumplings on the ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists’ pages as it comes under the heading of tried and proven.

Sooo. What’s going on in the big wide world out there? Apart from the snow, which has now stopped after leaving an inch or so on the ground, further startling the locals, bringing the comment from some of the perpetually offended that the whiteness of snow is part of the ‘racist patriarchy’ (Derisive snort).

In the headlines the F-35A debacle took yet another blow in the shape of President-Elect Trumps disapproval which has made Lockheed-Martins share price nosedive. Frankly, I’m not surprised. The F-35A is five years overdue and counting. So why aren’t the orders being cancelled? Or doesn’t it count because it’s only taxpayers money? I think that the F-35A’s major problem is that it tries to be all things to all men and fails.

Then there’s the whole transgender fad sweeping through university campuses and educationalist circles. Oh well, it’s a fashion, and will die when the penny finally drops, along with the removal of funding for Gender Studies courses and various worthless NGO’s. Somehow I get the feeling that some very convincing schizophrenics are embedded within academia, at least judging from the flood of neologisms and other strangeness bubbling therefrom. Please note; Coining Neologisms is one of the symptoms of Hebephrenia, part of the grab bag of behaviours indicating disorganised schizophrenia. Inventing new ‘gender pronouns’ for the sake of it certainly raises psychiatric red flags about the mental stability of the inventors. Insisting that everybody else use them also has that certain ring of ‘the lunatics are running the asylum’. To which I would respond; “if only they could be persuaded to stay there and leave the rest of us alone.” (Heavy sigh)

Newsflash! (Or rather not) If anyone wants a decent job when graduating, a ‘Gender Studies’ (Or similar) degree is going to be worth less than used toilet paper. I’d also add that if anyone tries to address me as ‘Ze‘, there will be ructions. And vitriol. Possibly even legal action, because referring to people by the incorrect gender pronoun may soon be an official ‘Hate crime’ in Canada. Which is absurd. But then George Orwell distilled my thinking on this topic when writing his essay Notes on Nationalism (1945);

“One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

I know he was talking about academics voicing the belief that American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution during the early to mid 1940’s. However, it’s a damn good quote and illustrates that even if someone can wallpaper their walls with University degrees, it does not automatically follow that they know everything about anything. Only that they know a lot about a little. A sentiment which was later echoed by Bertrand Russell in ‘My Philosophical Development‘ (1959) as “This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.”
Not: “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” For heavens sake, if you’re going to quote someone, at least take ten minutes to check the bloody attribution. To find that the usually trustworthy Goodreads gets it badly wrong is somewhat galling and devalues their brand.

Anyway; back in the real world, the snow has stopped and the outlook is for five days of sunny but cold weather. Which means black ice and watching obvious newcomers slipping and sliding all over the place. To which I have been known to comment; “Welcome to Canada.” However, it’s all part of the learning curve of immigration and learning that what’s really great about this cold weather is being able to watch it from inside a nice warm living room. TTFN.

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.”