Tag Archives: Observations

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.

Told you so

Back last year, when the Brexit vote was first mooted all the prophets of doom were running around screaming about the economic damage leaving the EU would do the dear old UK, I cautiously espoused an opposing view here and here and here.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeNow Mark Carney, Chairman of the Bank of England has seen the light. Seven months late, but that’s why I put not my trust in Princes and watch the truth of real numbers. The City of London, like any other financial market, floats on a sea rich and royally reeking of bullshit, but, and it’s a massive curvaceous booty to boot, the numbers say that the EU is overstretched financially, and with the exit of the UK beginning in March 2017 will likely lurch into a deeper crisis than the one it is in already.

In the UK however, all the future indicators are positive. Countries are queuing up to do deals with one of the major trading hubs of the western world. For too long the UK was trapped as a satellite, bound into a fairly restrictive single market without all the global links it needed to really catch fire, financially speaking. Now those markets look set to burst wide open, and for a few years there should be an expansion as old and new relationships are exploited. More jobs, an expanding economy, and maybe even a loosening of the bondage ties of EU mandated directives. Of course there will be winners and losers, but for the guy who is quick off the mark, the rewards will be out there.

These are exciting times. At least for an investor with their eyes wide open. With a pro-UK man in the White House for a change, a deal maker at that, and with a possible new and more positive relationship with Russia in the offing I’m feeling quite sanguine. For too long the world has been fighting itself like a dog in a sack, now the sack can be opened, and the dog can go chase all the juicy bones out there. Sure, it won’t be all plain sailing, but this is the beginning of a new era, and with luck the morbidly obese bureaucracy of the EU will be a distant fading memory in a couple of decades time.

Wonder what they’ll do with all those grandiose insults to architecture the Eurocrats were so fond of?

Errm…

Was perusing some data in the early hours, after a pain wracked Mrs S turned me out of my pit. Not her fault, she got hurt badly, and I have to put up with the side effects. It’s only three months until she’s skipping like a spring lamb once more. (Only!)

However, our new bookcases are now up, secured, and being filled with fiction, faction and fact. From Douglas Adams to Emile Zola and many points in between, stopping at (Amongst others) Aristotle, Juvenal, Plautus and Plato, all change at Freakonomics for Terry Pratchett to P J O’Rourke with a minor halt at Bertrand Russell and a shunt into Germaine Greer and Mary Woolstonecraft. I think there’s a Grays Anatomy in there somewhere keeping our two dozen or so dictionaries, grammar textbooks and thesauri company. Not to mention the various trade textbooks (Usual suspects; A+, Windows 7, Linux, HTML, XML etc.) Make of that what you will. Did I say we like reading? My cookbooks live separately in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding I was looking at the available UK Cancer statistics, as you do when you’ve nothing to do at four in the morning and you’re trying to bore yourself to sleep, and came across this interesting chart from the UK’s statistics web site (See screengrab below).
cancer-statistics It’s for cancers of all causes except the one excluded.

Now we’ve been bombarded with government ‘health’ advice about cancer since I was a boy. Surely some of it should have sunk in? Or is the steady increase in Cancer not entirely due to our lifestyle choices? Or are the majority down to genetics and ‘pure bad luck‘. Some say not. Some of them have an agenda. There’s more dross written on diet and health than on any other self help topic. Mostly by people who have only a sketchy understanding of how the human body actually works. Frankly me dears, most of it can best be described as ‘Guff‘. Yet there’s a whole industry based on it. Go figure.

Now I’m intrigued by this steady increase in Cancer diagnoses. As well as the continual, slow but steady increase in diagnoses of other fatal ailments. With ‘healthier’ lifestyles becoming the norm and smoking being but a pale wraith of its previous self, you could be forgiven that perhaps there is another life-claiming villain ready to leap out of the closet and shout “Boo! Har-har, it was me all along!” at everyone. And there is.

When it comes to carcinogens, the love that dare not speak its name or Elephant in the room if you like is Diesel emissions. Diesel fumes are a carcinogen (A ‘Group One’ Carcinogen no less). So says the World Health Organisation, based on reports from the IARC. That stuff coughing out of that bus, train or lorries exhaust? Can you smell Diesel? Yes? Run. Get away from the source as fast as you can but don’t breathe whatever you do. Especially if you live in a major urban conurbation. The particulates are often invisible, and they’re everywhere, along with cited evils like tobacco smoke (both first and secondhand), mustard gas, sunlight, Chinese salted fish, vinyl chloride, soot and wood dust. What sort of wood dust isn’t included in the literature. So maybe going back to nature won’t help either. However, compared to Diesel fumes they’re lightweights.

It’s funny. A few years ago, we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars so they could use ‘Bio-Diesel’ or whatever marketing ploy the politicians fell for. Now we find that riding a bus in rush hour traffic may be as deadly as a forty a day habit. Who knew? I’m not even a smoker and this dark little irony has kept a smug smirk on my fizzog all day long.

Oh well, I never really wanted to live forever. Oh dear, the bookcases are full and I’ve still got more books to sort. Another visit to IKEA is called for.

HR 5181

hr5181-posterRemember that number, because despite the stated intent, this is another attempt by mainstream politicians to control news. Otherwise known as the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” this bill passed a vote in the US Senate by 92-7 on December 9th, and now has the current US incumbents hurried scrawl on it.

Now on the first pages this bill states that it is designed to counter ‘disinformation and propaganda’ from the ‘Russians’. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Especially after the patent falsehood much touted about in the news that the Wikileaks file releases were Russian in origin. The incriminating DNC and Podesta releases were not Russian in origin. Their origin was, as Wikileaks have repeatedly stated, from unnamed insiders.

Banning foreign propaganda is all very well if you’re fighting a war, and a war is what the Obama administration wants and needs (At least until 20th January 2017). It’s part of a desperate last gasp ploy to keep the current Neocon controlled incumbent in power under the US Emergency powers legislation. Anything to keep the West’s permanent war with Eastasia going.

Anyone who doesn’t believe this isn’t seeing the whole picture. NATO has troops in the Ukraine, with a whole new batch of US troops just landed. They’re supposed to be there to ‘protect’ the Ukraine from Russian incursion. Which hasn’t happened. Parts of the Ukraine, mostly those who identify as ethnic Russian, have seceded democratically, however the new Government didn’t like Donetsk and the Crimea deciding they didn’t want to be ‘Ukrainian’, so they are throwing bombs and bullets around at the pro-Russian local militias, who with nowhere else to turn, did deals with, surprise, surprise, the Russians. Who have had very little to do because their military is still a pale shadow of its Soviet heyday. To the point where the best capital ship they could field to the Black sea was a barely upgraded rustbucket of an aircraft carrier. Hells bells the Russians still fly old Soviet era Turbofan driven ‘Bear’ Bombers, the entire fleet of which could be knocked out the sky by a single Typhoon Eurofighter or a brace of F-22’s. All of the aforementioned is public domain if you can be bothered to go and hunt down the primary sources. Until of course the sources are shut down for being ‘Counterfactual’. Like Janes guide to all things military. Good luck with that.

The thing I find truly sinister about HR5181 is that it is designed to be applied against anyone, both within the United States and elsewhere. Not just the Russians, or the Chinese, but let’s say Alex Jones the rather histrionic host of ‘Info-Wars’, who, it has been publicly stated by Hilary Clinton, is one of the voices the present US administration would like to shut the hell up. This bill gives the ‘Intelligence’ and other agencies that power. Same for all those other irritating little voices on the jolly old Interweb who don’t believe much of the arrant nonsense peddled by the mainstream press. The voices who bother to fact check. The voices who don’t have huge overheads to service. This bill could be used to silence anyone who doesn’t buy the “It was those pesky Russians! Goldarnit!” warmongering narrative. The Russians might not be totally innocent, but they sure enough aren’t the lead player. That title belongs to US Intelligence agencies. Particularly the CIA. They’ve been meddling all over the world for over sixty plus years. Regime changes, assassination attempts, proxy wars. So did Soviet Russia, but when their empire collapsed in 1989, their actions more or less ground to a halt. The CIA’s never did.

Gifts that keep on giving

Pre festive amusement dropped into my inbox this morning about one of those products radical Vegans favour. Specifically an unfortunate effect of a product called ‘SoyLent‘, which those fans of Harry Harrisons 1966 novel ‘Make room, make room‘ will understand. The movie of the book made in 1973, brought the quote “Soylent green is made of people!” from the lips of Charlton Heston. (See YouTube clip below)

Apparently the artificial foodstuff concerned has an occasional side effect usually attributed to food poisoning. Specifically, if I may permitted the circumlocution and in the crudest of parlance, it sometimes causes ‘pebbledashing’, and if you don’t know what that unfortunate condition is, ask a grown up. No, it’s nothing to do with an architectural finish. I don’t want to paint pictures here. Although some avante-garde artists occasionally do. And make sculptures. I blame ‘care in the community‘.

Whilst veganism is a lifestyle choice, I’d argue that perhaps those radical adherents would be best minding their own business and stop trying to foist the unwanted on the unwilling portion of the populace. Like with promoting ‘foods’ predominantly made of Algae or Insect protein. Those are for dire emergency and short duration only, not as a staple part of the diet. As for ‘Food, intelligently designed’ like on the strapline of Soylent’s website, sorry, that description is misleading; it should read ‘Food substitute designed by the ideologically deranged’. Food isn’t something that should be ‘engineered’, that’s just pretentious bollocks for the gullible. Food is something that should be cooked with care and consumed with pleasure. This is one of the core values of having a life, all else is mere joyless existence.

Hi-ho, off to tag along while the girls go shopping… Think I’ll take a book.

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.

Ciao Italia

Well that was a busy Monday morning. A business deal was concluded before 8am and we had the movers in to take our first tranche of kit into storage. So I’ve been busier than a metaphor with two adjectives moving very quickly indeed.

Did I mention we had a little snow this morning in Victoria? Nothing much, hardly enough to wet the ground, but it’s still colder than usual for December, but fits in with the local cycles of warm and cold Winters we’ve experienced so far. All weather tyres on the car, check. The only thing I might need is a replacement battery for the old Satnag. Well, the car is hitting its sixth birthday, but still goes up hill and down dale without missing a beat.

Over the weekend I’ve been watching with amusement the next crack on the shins for the bureaucracy that should have been just a free trade zone, the EU. You know, with all the snappy terms for leaving the EU bouncing around like Brexit and Frexit, no one gave thought to the Italians, whose referendum on ‘reform’ came up with a big fat NO, with huge political gains made by the anti-EU faction. The obvious next contender for media neologism is “Ixit”, or even “Italexit”, which somehow lacks the big ‘E’, but as the Italians aren’t net contributors to the EU budget, any “Ixit” would not be as much of a blow to the EU as when Britain finally leaves or possibly even when France bails out.

Any vecchia strada su, we have our travel plans for Italy 2017 firmly in place and it doesn’t matter which way the votes go because we’re planning to insure ourselves up the wazoo so that no matter what happens, we go five star.

That’s all for now. Cleaners are arriving for the first stage of wrapping up this apartment this afternoon and there is more packing to organise. TTFN.

Update: It’s not ‘Ixit’ or ‘Italexit’, but the far more elegant ‘Uscitalia’.  Thank you Peter.