Why is there a linear divide in 2019?

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I remember when Mortal Kombat first came out. A friend had it, was pumped, and wanted me to play it because I had been into video games, was very good at it when I was, and at the time, females weren’t being equated with being into the hobby (odd because I knew lots of girls my age who were actively playing it).

I didn’t like the gore. I thought it was overkill. I was really starting to appreciate the Bushido Code at the time, and thought the game was a spit in the face to it. You defeated an opponent; ripping out his head isn’t victory: it’s a serial killer’s MO.

I expressed my displeasure and got called names for my lack of enthusiasm.

I know the 11th edition is coming up. I have been exposed to the tenth version, and to me, it is a ridiculous premise: a character dies with wounds on one side of his face and the characters look sad.

Uh, excuse me? Don’t you people chop up opponents who are allegedly your pals as a course of habit? Including the dead guy?

And if given a chance, parents and children are chopping and tearing each other up and posing for selfies of the carnage.

Seriously?

Voguing after you commit indignity to a human body?

Stomping someone to the ground isn’t brave.

Some video games really taught generations how to function by rote: find a target, develop an antagonistic relationship with them, and then fight them, and then stomp them into the ground.

It explains Twitter. It is Mortal Kombat with words.

I don’t think video games induce violence, but I do believe that reinforce antagonistic dynamics that restrict ideas of cooperation as they reinforce intense and reactionary behaviours.

When I was a kid, I made my own computer games. They were crude, but always involved cooperation among players that involved thinking up very ribald and gross ideas and then turning it into a story where no one knows what the other person wrote until the end. I don’t think a single story did not have someone included some sort of scene involving various bowel movements. Kids are stupid, but always find laughs somewhere.

The stories were immature and obnoxious, but were great for laughs.

I did play Impossible Mission, and it did scare the shit right out of me when the little pixel guy screamed as he fell to his doom. My mom always knew I was playing that game by my facial expression of doom.

I managed to beat the game even though I never had actual game play instructions. You didn’t fight anyone: you dodged robots as you gathered clues to stop the evil scientist from taking over the world, muah ha ha and all that jazz.

I lost interest for games fairly early, though I did like the early online Escape the Room games where people from around the world would play it when it was release and cooperate with each other to solve it.

That I liked very much.

I always wondered why we don’t foster cooperation without creating pecking orders. Mutually beneficial outcomes while respecting others is the optimal solution, and yet people are always scheming how they can do a jig after destroying everyone else around them.

With Arc I, I am going to start questioning our base societal assumptions. I will be asking why we cannot let facts speak for themselves.

It’s a simple base, but one with more promise than the partisan guff we have conditioned ourselves to put up with for no good reason at all…

Memo to the Globe and Mail: "What happened to our ‘feminist’ Prime Minister?" We never had one.

Silly, silly questions.

The Globe and Mail has a column that seriously asks this question as a headline:

What happened to our ‘feminist’ Prime Minister?

SIllies, we never had one.

This is what privileged boys say to the gullible girlies to get what they want.

They will whisper all sorts of a sweet nothings in your ear, and then, once they get the goodies, behave the way they really do as they openly disrespect you and blame you for being naive. The second a certain cabinet minister stepped out of his line, she was kicked to the curb and brandished as being “difficult.”

But if you were real feminists yourselves, you would have seen the glaring warning signs a hundred miles away.

Even in the article, the blaring warning sign was there, and the columnist still doesn’t see the significance of the statement I underlined:

In September 2017 I was in the audience at the Women in the World Summit in Toronto, and listened to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talk about his feminist bona fides. Well, first we had to watch a video – many clips set to a pumping rock score – on that subject.

…Then he made a very interesting point about how it was relatively easy to recruit women into politics, compared with keeping them there, which he called “a challenge around retention.” Women would be elected, he said, and after a couple of years wonder if this business was really for them, “because of the nastiness, because of the negativity.”

What? Are the womenfolk so weak and feeble they can’t take the heat and we need a man person to make it all nice and comfy for us? We needed Justy to give us all pats on the head and lollipops and balloons?

And you didn’t call him out right then and there? That’s as misogynistic as it gets.

Y’all are so hopelessly oblivious and naive, it’s too funny…

Memo to Macleans: It's not journalism if you tell people when it is too late.

How worthless is Canadian broadcast news?

Every motherfucking newscast on every single motherfucking channel started with the Oh, wow! It is snowing! non-story.

Yeah, asshole, no shit. I can look out the window or go outside and I figure it all by myself. That’s not news.

That the federal Grits have been caught with their pants down didn’t really register at all. There is no excuse for it.

But then comes a long and rambling piece in Macleans that is very instructive to the mindset of Canadian journalism.

It finally gets around to talking about this piece of legislation that has already passed June 21, 2018.

It made no headlines, and now that SNC-Lavalin is in the hot seat, now everything thinks about it.

This should have been news long before it was made into law: as in, who lobbied for it, for starters.

But no one was really paying attention at the time because everyone was too busy tweaking Trump’s nose to see the bigger picture.

They were too busy defending the Prime Minister and helping him along with the optics instead of ignoring the optics and looking at what is actually happening.

Now, the damage is done. Stop telling bedtime stories to the Middle Class because that’s why they think everything will work out in the end by some They who will save the day.

And that’s why we have predatory laws and an entire provincial economies dependent on corrupt companies — and people howling when things implode.

You cannot bank on a House of Cards.

Now, things are out of hand.

But Canadian journalists are too busy giving free publicity to feel-good slacktivism.

Who the hell cares besides their parents? That is a cheap and easy no-brainer. (And memo to CBC: That’s not “news for kids”: this is press releases geared at children to help Corporate America sucker in the next generation of empty-heads. Shame on you for being so willfully deceptive).

Canada has serious problems all simmering and waiting to explode on cue. That’s more than obvious now, but there is one thing in the Maclean’s piece that is true:

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No, this country doesn’t innovate. It willfully ignores innovators hoping not to rock the boat because everything is so rotten, one innovation can be compared the rest and then it all hits the fan.

Journalism cribs and steals, and then wonders why it implodes.

Stop picking political sides, for starters. They are all the same. Stop pretending being on the Left is more enlightened. The hell it is. People don’t believe in God they way they used to, and now the predators took a new mask to wear.

Radical centrism is the method of seeing the rot on the left and right, above and below, and it is way past time to stop pretending and playing along with those who cannot function unless they do harm to others as they take the spoils all to themselves…

Washington Post discovers asset-squeezer strategy. Regular readers here must be laughing themselves silly.

The Washington Post has a huge conflict-of-interest in this whole Jeff Bezos dick pic escapade, but let’s take a look at this laughable article they spewed:

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Yes, children, this is something I have been talking about for a long time because this practice has been going on in journalism for a very long time.

I saw when I was a journalist covering the newspaper industry in the late 1990s, early Aughts.

Hedge Funds are doing it now, but this is nothing new. Hollinger did the same thing: buy up newspapers, squeeze the assets as jobs were slashed, but not professional asset-squeezers are doing it.

Why?

Because that is the only way you can make a newspaper profitable. You buy a newspaper. You let go of the staff who aren’t pulling in new sources of revenue. You sell the printing presses. You contract out the printing. You sell the real estate because developers are hungering from prime location. You squeeze the assets until there is nothing more to squeeze at your threshold level.

If there are B-list pickings, sell to another asset-squeezer. If not, you close down the property.

These are professional vultures, and vultures do not bother with living properties. They look for dead ones.

The Post isn’t very hip to the world, my friends, because it’s been mused here for ages…

Actrivism, Part Eight: Armchair experts have no idea what goes down or what's up. It is the reason I became an Actrivist.

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Growing up in the 1980s, I was a huge fan of the Eurythmics. I had all of their albums, including remixes, and had to special order In the Garden.

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I never got to see them in concert, but concerts were never my thing as a teenager. I did go, but usually, something extra had to compel me. I went to see Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine in Orlando for New Year’s Eve, for example. I have seen rock concerts in Belograde, such as Zdravko Colic’s.

While some kids went to see Madonna, I went to see Alan Ginsberg perform is poetry in Europe.

I had a big LP collection, and a lot of old and obscure nuggets from every era, but The Eurythmics were my favourite musical act.

Except I was the only kid in my neighbourhood who admitted to liking them.

Other kids always made it sound as if I was some sort of oddball for liking the band. I didn’t buy it. They wouldn’t be putting out multiple albums and having tours around the world if I were the only one, and I said it. They were a Top 40 act, and as special as we all like to feel, I don’t think their record label would go through all that trouble and expense just for me.

And I used to say it.

For years, I would have people ask me, “Do you still like The Eurythmics?”

Hell, yeah, I do.

To this day. I can still listen to Annie Lennox sing or Dave Stewart play the guitar and I am in a better mood.

But now, thanks to social media, you can find fans congregate anywhere and anytime. No one needs to feel like an outsider when it comes to pop culture preferences these days.

Yet, that kind of familiarity does have a downside.

You can find groupings of anything, and then a pecking order begins to form, where someone positions themselves as the “expert” of whatever the group believes.

And that’s a problem now.

But armchair experts were always a problem, and that’s why I became an Actrivist.

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I was a teenager when the civil war in the former Yugoslavia broke out. I didn’t have a lot in terms of experience in adult matters. I was a smart kid. I was an observant kid. I was a kid who studied, and had a gift of researching things and finding obscure sources because I had no trouble picking up a phone or pen and communicating to people in various position of power or access and asking them questions.

Of course, I got shot down a lot of times. I was even called rude because I wanted to know about serious things and went straight to the top. I wasn’t rude. I was curious, and there was no reason to say no to a simple request, or direct me to someone else.

But more times than not, I had big packages mailed to me, filled with all sort of things, and I read it from cover to cover. To me, this was exciting and fun. I couldn’t believe that none of the other kids in school were doing it. Anyone can smoke weed and get hungry and paranoid at the same time. Whoop di do. Not everyone can write to a foreign cabinet minister and get information on their military spending. Go me!

The fun and exciting reasons came grounding to a halt when war broke out and journalists were all parroting propaganda. I found out their source, and I was pissed. They learned nothing from the Gulf War and the babies and incubators hoax.

Maybe there was a reason for it. They didn’t have to learn because their mandate may have been something other than to inform.

But I didn’t know, and I knew I didn’t know.

I could speculate like an armchair expert. That is as easy as smoking weed. No effort, and something else alters your mood for you.

I could also research. That’s how I started.

And I wrote letters, got information, and had banker’s boxes that took up a sizeable chunk of my room — and living room, and dining room, and grandma’s room. These boxes had academic articles, newspaper and magazine articles, UN reports, government documents from around the world, think tanks, responses from reporters and editors, press releases and documents from PR firms, you name it. Every day the mail or courier came to my door. I read everything cover to cover.

I was, at this point, far more informed than an armchair expert. I was also far more informed than any journalist covering the war. I had one anchor from a PBS news program tell me she researched her topic by reading a couple of newspapers, and here I was with boxes piled to the ceiling — and one box alone had cassette tapes of information I got over the telephone.

Yet she got to spew uninformed bullshit, and I couldn’t catch a break.

This was, to say the least, maddening.

But everyday, I would get more information, not just documents, I got video footage of atrocities committed against Serbs. I obtained photographs that also contradicted what media reports were spewing.

If there was an Internet back then, I would have been a teenaged media outlet because in the course of my research about the former Yugoslavia, I stumbled upon other interesting intelligence not about that war or area.

I wasn’t an armchair expert. I was an actual expert.

Yet I was missing a key element all the same.

As much as I read books on journalism, all of it was bullshit. None of it actually aligned with the chasm of what I had and what was being reported. It was like night and day.

When I decided to become a journalist, I had a lot of information already. I knew how to conduct experiments as a psychologist.

But I still needed to know more so I could compare what I had with what the reality of the profession truly was.

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Being a journalist gave me insights that put a lot of those banker’s boxes into context. I learned a lot about the MSM, such as the veracity of a lot of their “experts” and pundits. Far from being unbiased and the most qualified, a lot of them were friends with someone in the newsroom — or their parents were friends with each other, but it was schmoozing, not c.v. that determined who got to speak in a public forum.

Insider knowledge helped a lot. These days, you can listen to a radio station and know that some experts pay advertising dollars and basically pay to be quoted. But even when I was a journalist, a lot of articles were just advertorials — another form of the same practice.

Armchair experts are easy to spot: they make guesses, and because they do not know how news is constructed, they make folksy guesses and make assumptions that are wrong and it shows.

The problem with social media is that it gives an illusion that things are all “out there” and all you have to do is point, click, swipe, or tell Siri what you want, and now you are an instant expert.

But you’re not unless you do things inside that system because what you read is created by other outsiders who also don’t know what’s going on. You have no scaffolding or perspective.

And people think it is all obvious and self-evident. It isn’t.

Quiz them to see just how little they know about the basic mechanics of easily accessed information.

Seriously.

And I have parents telling me that their grown children are much smarter than “we were.”

There will always be smart young minds around.

But even the smart ones need context to actually comprehend the significance of what they know.

I have first-hand experience in that department: as much as I knew, there was far more I learned by actively working in the profession I was studying. I didn’t fall for the lures. I wasn’t taken in by cognitive dissonance where I began to explain away and justify things just because I had to do them as a reporter.

I was the subject of my own experiment, and with that, I learned a new way of learning and gathering information.

And learned armchair experts are worth the experience they have — which is none…

Memo to Wired: Journalism is dead, even if the corpse goes back to its partisan, patriarchal, and propagandistic roots.

The idiots at Wired are trying for a cinematic moment with this piece of bullshit wishful thinking:

Journalism Isn't Dying. It's Returning to Its Roots

No, garbage pukers: journalism is dead. Own it, you deluded losers.

Journalism is a zombie moseying about aimlessly, still hoping everyone will give up their social media accounts and come crawling back to them.

Not happening.

The zombie has gone back to its roots, but that means they are returning to:

  1. Partisan reporting

  2. Propaganda spewing

  3. Patriarchal structures.

Oh, like that’s a good thing.

Is this journalism’s MAGA?

Make journalism great again!

Journalism was never great. It always needed discipline, but it got away with it because it was the only communications game in town.

And if you need proof that journalism is dead — Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post and they defended their overlord, and nothing took.

He took to Medium to defend himself — and then people paid attention.

Do you morons understand the reality of your situation?

The man owns The Washington Fucking Post and he went to a social media platform for pretentious nerds — and nobody reads Medium, and yet that took off more than what The Washington Post puked.

He could have written his response there.

He chose a wobbly social media platform.

So, Wired, go fuck yourselves, and stop pretending you matter anymore…

Getting back into the swing of things: Yes, this girl is back in town.

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I am almost there!

2018 took everything out of me. It literally was life and death for me — and in a holding pattern.

2019 is starting very differently for me. It has been an enormous adjustment. My filters needed some serious changing, and that’s a ball that is in my court, no one else’s.

It is a strange feeling being derailed, but you can either mope and waste seconds of your life for no good reason, or you can pull yourself out and get back into the swing of things.

I choose the latter.

You can make excuses, or make things happen.

Again, I choose the latter.

And yes, it is a conscious choice. It is easy to whine and wallow and bury yourself in self-pity.

It is your life to waste.

Life is short. I don’t want to waste a second of it.

Chaser will debut this week — and it is not going to be something big, but it i going to be about learning to adjust perceptions with an old murder case.

From there, we will see.

But I also want to introduce lighter elements here.

I am writing a book, but that is a feedback loop, and I am waiting for feedback. It is exciting and I love writing books.

I also love teaching.

I am an artist, and usually, the art comes with teaching. This is the first that it connects to my writing.

But next week, I am moving forward, as things get resolved and reset…

You mean there is no difference between the federal Liberals and the Conservatives? You don't say, Toronto Star! Duh.

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I love this oh-so-serious headline from the goobers at The Toronto Star:

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No shit, Sherlock.

I can’t see a difference. Do you actually think there is a difference?

Because you have the same kind of people who made it using the same means and vying for the same job telling the same bullshit stories and you are going to try to snow Alexandra Kitty by saying they are, like, totally different?

Jebem li ti sunce zarko.

Give me a break.

It is no different than getting into a slap fight because you use Crest and someone else uses Colgate — and then you have some dumbass who gets plummy and slaps you both because he uses Rembrandt.

It’s fucking toothpaste. They are all the same. They are all owed by big companies, have to go through the same motions, strategies, and standards.

Politicians are just toothpaste.

Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or a moron.

They are all slapping each other the way kids slap each other in musical chairs: they are clawing for power. Why people get excited about them in 2019 is a mystery.

It is the same old trick, people.

That’s why this new generation bitching for socialism are losers of epic proportions.

You motherfuckers haven’t read a single history book?

You are too stupid to see it is the same old confidence trick?

Are you really that worthless as a thinker?

You’d think you would have radical centrists and political atheists who didn’t degrade themselves in public with some garbage tantrum about this old system being better than that old system.

Jebem ti slavski kolac.

It’s fucking toothpaste.

You are willing to destroy people over something you know absolutely nothing about.

And the Toronto Star is no better, playing tattle tale.

Yeah, they are all alike.

They play the same games.

It’s the same old song with them — and the press.

Garbage in and garbage out…

Watching the confirmation bias as a legitimate way of doing the news.

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I was watching my local news station where they were talking about this attack on Beach Boulevard on Friday.

Oh dear. Gracious, how dreadful.

Memo to CHCH: when people in the neighbourhood tell you it is a “good place”, they are trying to salvage the real estate value. That’s not a good barometer. You don’t buy their bullshit stories.

Because how many domestic homicides are met by neighbours by a declaration that the body bags were once “really nice people” and “such a good family.”

They aren’t going to tell you that they saw the husband beat his wife and children senseless because then people will wonder why no one stepped in sooner.

Remember Kitty Genovese? Or Angel Torres?

Their distress was ignored by people around them. Genovese was attacked, raped, and murdered in 1964 and her screams didn’t even compel people to cal the police. She was utterly alone, and the injustice of apathy puts her at Person #34 of People Everyone Should Know. She is the reminder that too many times you can fight, scream, and let the world know that evil has arrived, and everyone around you will blow you off.

Angel Torres was an elderly man who was lying unconscious on the street, and people walked over him.

If you interviewed those people, they would tell you they didn’t see anything, fiddle dee dee.

And then they go and rant on the Twitter about how the world should be to their exact specifications and why isn’t the government doing more for people.

But confirmation bias seems to be a way of presenting the news. Someone gives you a story, and you run with it, not concerned whether they have a reason for spinning a certain angle.

I worked as a journalist, and I have more than once been asked to cover a person whose story did not sit well with me. There were people who claimed to have an illness, and they presented me with a narrative complete with an act. La belle indifference sometimes bothered me. Other times, it was the layout of their house that told me nothing was modified to accommodate their disability and they lived alone and claimed no outside help.

I looked after a severely disable relative who literally could not move and was a prisoner in her own bed. Whenever doctors, nurses, ESM, or PSWs came to our house the first time, they asked if we were a nursing home. We had to modify the house, but even before then, we had to install a stairlift, rails, a ramp, bathroom modifications, and countless other things to give that relative independence. That’s not cheap.

At the time, I didn’t have those issues to think about, but I still knew things were off. I could have just run with the story, but I didn’t. The sad, sickly voice, the doe eyes, limping and the like seemed to confirm the person was ill, but was there evidence that refuted it?

There was one way to find out. I would watch the person after the interview when they didn’t know the audience they solicited still was watching. Sometimes, the off performance was shocking. No walking aids. No limp. I once went as far as asking someone to call the person, and tell them it was a wrong number — no sickly voice, just a strong robust one.

Talking to others who knew the person confirmed they also thought something was off, but they couldn’t put a finger on it.

Most times, stories like that don’t run.

And they should.

In my first book, I recount many stories of people faking illnesses for attention or money. It happens frequently. So did fake hate crimes, robberies, kidnappings, and assaults. When we take someone’s words as the gospel truth and look for only confirming evidence, we are gambling our credibility.

I have interviewed people who were genuinely sick, and while I looked for confirming evidence, I also looked for refuting evidence — and there was none. Everything aligned: from their demeanour, symptoms, and even household modifications.

So when neighbours tell you how everything was just warm and fuzzy, you go to the archives and see what’s what. You call the police and ask questions about the area. You find out about the crime stats of the area — any if they align, then mention the crime was atypical, but even then, you don’t really know. Maybe there is a meth lab. Maybe someone is trafficking weapons or people. Maybe child porn is being produced there. Sometimes one skirmish is a sign that something dangerous is going down there and it is about to explode.

It is not about preserving real estate value or maintaining a folksy image. It is about digging deeper. Sometimes people get dismissed when they shouldn’t be. Other times, there is a mask that needs to be snatched off.

People can see a homeless man spewing obscenities and then think he is some sort of dangerous monster. Others, see a poet, a soldier, and a gentle soul who has something to say and contribute to society despite it all.

You don’t know. You never do. That’s why you dig.

You try different paths and see where they take you. It’s what I did as a journalist. I always learned something new. I am an explorer by nature, not a stenographer, and it is the reason my career was an odyssey and a journey of a thousand revelations, and not some platform to vogue without purpose or meaning…

"Fact-check" is a bullshit term? You don't say!

The New York Post thinks it is revealing something by noting that “fact-check” is just a way for partisan operatives to pretend they are neutral.

Of course “fact-check” is meta-propaganda. It is a sham of epic proportions. Anyone who uses the term “fact-check” is not to be trusted.

Why?

Because there is no empirical methods to it. It is no different in methods than regular journalism, which itself has no empirical methods.

It is like using a sniff-test to determine if water is polluted. It is not an actual way of accurately determining if water is contaminated — and having two people sniffing the water is no better than one.

It’s bullshit.

“Fact-check” is a term of pure doublespeak. There are no standards, and has no value whatsoever…

Federal Liberal regime block probe of their sins. Did you expect transparency from the corrupt?

When Jody Wilson-Raybould gave her cryptic statement, it pretty much told the world what happened. There was no question that she set the narrative that broke away with the old Sunny Ways bedtime story, and dropped big hint that anyone with some sort of inside gossip — or general knowledge of how things work on Parliament Hill — could start nosing around.

Ms Wilson-Raybould, just like the Prime Minister, has a nepotistic advantage. And this clash goes back a generation. There is context and a history here. It is easier to decide to stand your ground when you have a family legacy and support than if you are the first in your family to make a name for yourself.

But Canada is a country ruled by nepotism. I don’t care if it is government, media, or industry. In a Zero-Risk Society, people look for the familiar and openly allow themselves to be oppressed and professionally stymied because when it comes down to the wire, they will always pick the label and not test the unknown commodity.

But duelling familial designer labels aside, even the press here in Canada have figured out that this matter is very grave and bad. I am not totally unfamiliar with SNC-Lavalin’s internal gossip there, and I doubt any government connection to this company could possibly be on the up and up. Why were they allowed to acquire Candu in the first place? Why did the government quietly push a law in their omnibus bill to let a company like that get away with criminal activity unscathed?

It doesn’t matter what level of government we are talking about — the narrative is always the same. Organized cabals take advantage of shoddy or nonexistent Canadian laws. An honest citizen becomes a whistleblower and gets blacklisted, shamed, abused, but the government runs interference that benefits the cabal, the police are stymied, the press has a little story to run — but nothing changes. No one goes to jail. The activity doesn’t stop. The whistleblowers are not protected. No law changes. No politician goes to jail. The extent of the rot is always hidden.

And not a single thing changes.

The fact that the Federal Liberals are blocking any probe is a de facto admission of not only guilt, but if someone looks, even more corrupt things are happening.

Where is the transparency? Why not welcome an inquiry or probe?

The answer is obvious, and if the country just had an internal corruption, usually no one here would be marching the streets, and it would blow over in a heartbeat.

But Canada has irked a few foreign interests, who may very well have their own operatives knowing what is happening, anyway. I find it interesting that this whole scandal has come when it has, especially one that proves without a doubt that “Rule of Law” and “Canada” do not belong in the same sentence (because we have child molesters all over coaching and nothing ever changes on a local level, let alone a national one) and of all things, it is the multinational company SNC-Lavalin that triggered this scandal. Usually, that kind of icky thing is safely kept under wraps. If one dirty secret doesn’t do its trick, there are a truckload of others that can be leaked.

I don’t see this problem as going away for the Grits any time soon.

Canada, as I have said before, is getting its ass whipped in this geo-political game of Go. The problem is your luxury brand item is no match for the down and dirty war going on. This regime is in over their heads and setting off every landmine in their wake. They are used to people giving them things, not having (a) earn things, or (b) having things be taken away as they get spat on and not drooled over.

The problem is there is no viable alternative to take the reins. It is truly none of the above. You need someone who thinks differently, acts different, and i an untested commodity who is unpredictable.

The masses will never go for that. You see the irrational howling in the US that a businessman won the presidency instead of a politicians with a luxury brand name. The United States turned into a nation of Sheldon Coopers because of it, making up all sorts of nonsenical bullshit stories to justify their fear of script-debunking.

But that’s a Zero-Risk nation: fearful, timid, and willing dupes who wish to have their freedoms curtailed if that means a mere illusion of protection and safety.

Canada is in the same boat, only more so. It is the reason organized crime flourishes in Canada with no consequence whatsoever.

The problem is the entire planet isn’t Canada, and not every country is a Zero-Risk one.

It is turning out to be a very 2019 so far…

A very uncivil war...

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The Wall Street Journal dishes on Vice and their thwarted blossoming relationship with the Saudi regime.: I found this passage interesting:

The talks with Vice about a business partnership are unlikely to move forward, according to the people familiar with the discussions. Vice said it was reviewing its deal with government-controlled Saudi Research and Marketing Group, or SRMG, to produce documentaries about Saudi society.

How nice. No special interests, just pure facts and objectivity here, kids.

And then who should bluster into this narrative but Big Tech’s Bad Boy:

Amazon Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday pointed to additional efforts on the part of Saudi Arabia to polish its image in the Western media. In a blog post, Mr. Bezos alleged National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. had tried to blackmail him and potentially colluded with Saudi Arabia to damage his reputation. The National Enquirer last year published a front-page cover of Prince Mohammed and nearly 100 pages dedicated to his kingdom’s reform efforts. Saudi individuals also have held talks about a possible investment in AMI, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

When asked on Friday in Washington whether Saudi Arabia played any role in the dispute with Mr. Bezos, Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, said: “As far as I know: flat no.”

Oh my, oh dear.

Legacy media tattling on digital media who are getting exploited by Big Tech. Because there is economic troubles and danger, all of a sudden, the knives come out, and they are cannibalizing each other.

Vice hooking up with a regime? Not surprising as its daddy is shedding a few assets, but everyone here has their own interests and survival they’re fretting about, and there are no halos in this batch to root for…

Actrivism, Part Seven: The first question should always be: What PR firm is behind the "trend" and who is footing the bill?

I

II

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III

Jeff Bezos is trying to claw his way out with a veiled Blame Trump. That’s right. The government grabbed you and made you cheat on your wife. But the deflection and gaslighting is nothing new.

Bezos is merely taking a page from Hillary Clinton’s old playbook: It’s a vast right-wing conspiracy!

Yeah, and your husband still did the deed all by his horny little self. The end.

Bezos is not used to having bad publicity. He is trying to do what every other philanderer does: blame someone else and make himself look like the victim. He isn’t a victim. He plays with the Big Boys because he is one of the Biggest Boys. His employees from Amazon to Whole Foods to the Washington Post are miserable to the point of open revolt. Anyone who falls for his garbage is naive.

And just to be clear, I am a regular at Whole Foods, which I like, and Amazon, which I have ordered countless books and other items from superhero statues to a carpet sweeper just in 2019 alone; so I am not against the company. I got my amplifier, radio, theremin, and ozone generator from Amazon. Bezos has piled up quite a few of my pennies over the years because I like the service and use it regularly, but I am not blind to a feint.

Because it doesn’t matter in the Bezos Scandal: he has enemies because he is a general in a corporate army. Globalization is a battleground. There will always be casualties, and generals like Bezos get lots of help, and when they lose one alliance too many, they implode. He cannot blame himself, so he blames others.

You went into the boxing ring willingly and had your guard down and got knocked out. That’s on you.

Globalization is monopoly and it is not a good idea. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t rely on one path because you are missing out on new worlds and new opportunities if you don’t pave others. Bezos may have had plans that hinged on always being on top, but that’s not a realistic or functional theory, and that speaks to his glaring weaknesses as a strategist.

It would be nice to have a list of all of the people Bezos stomped over on his climb to the top. Having a list of enemies would be a handy reference for the public because they wouldn’t be hero worshipping if they saw it.

But the Zero-Risk Mindset plays tricks on you.

IV

But notice how Bezos sat and stewed for a bit, trying to come up with a narrative to deflect attention away from his adultery. He is wealthy because he thinks.

And what he thought was: who is behind this?

Middle Class people don’t think in active terms, for the most part. That’s the reason they never breakthrough the barrier.

They never ask who is behind this coverage?

Especially if the coverage fellates their egos and validates their folksy and uninformed opinions.

Look at this New York Times piece of propaganda:

Thank God for Canada!

Our boring neighbor is a moral leader of the free world.

Oh, I am sure the homeless in this country, all the rape victims who’s reports are dismissed by police, and the First Nations people here are thinking the same thing.

But, I am sure SNC-Lavalin is thankful for such a helpful government!

Boy, talk about bad timing.

But why did the Times choose to publish it?

That’s a very good question.

We can look on FARA to have a quick sketch of the country’s use of US firms for their affairs. This list isn’t definitive, but it is a start.

If we started to investigate the origins and motives for such a piece of fawning propaganda, we’d have a better understanding of how certain narratives take root and grow.

I find Samatha Markle’s tweet about her sister interesting.

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“Stop the PR crap.”

It would be great to know all the firms that represent the Duchess of Sussex, for instance, and then compare their angle to the angle used by journalists.

Because journalists do not disclose this information to the public.

I stumbled upon this fact during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia as a teenager. Both my mother and I had seen actual press releases on separate desks at different daily newspapers.

Hello! You are coverage a war and you are using a press release as a source?

And then with a little more digging and research, I found out that there was more than one PR firm hired by both Croats and Bosnian Muslims to skew the narrative and optics to their side. Even a publication geared toward the intelligence community confirmed it.

So yes, no wonder the side spending millions of dollars on publicity were seen as the Good Guys and the poor helpless victims, and not aggressors.

Just like Kuwait hired Hill and Knowlton and got Western countries to do its dirty work for them against all odds.

I knew about Hill & Knowlton. I knew about Ruder Finn in the Yugoslav conflict.

So was it just wars, or was this just the way things rolled in journalism?

I decided to find out for myself by going into the business and seeing how it would be vulnerable to various kinds of manipulation.

And how it interacts with the public.

V

There are PR firms, and Crisis Management firms, and it is not hard to spot when a person or company employs one. The messages fit a certain pattern. Their effectiveness on manipulating public opinion are fascinating.

People will let their children eat their boogers because it’s too much effort to discipline them, but suddenly, they advocate a certain brand of shoes, or spout a political philosophy, thinking it is posh.

No, it has been paid for by someone else.

You suddenly like a new hamburger chain? That’s not your discovery. That’s an effective advertising campaign. You get your directives from advertisers, and follow it until a competitor finds a new angle and the cycle repeats.

Whenever there is a new trend, there is some sort of push from a third-party.

That includes this latest socialism kick.

Who are these players? How did they get the money and the connections?

Who is paying for their expensive PR?

That is the question people should ask first. Find the moneybags and the PR firm and then you know exactly why you are being recruited to believe in anything from “social media influencers” to “socialism.”

Overnight sensations are not overnight: the fantasy of being discovered and then having instant fans fawning all over you is a myth. There is always someone in power with clout and media experience backing the “ingenue” for a variety of reasons. It is not organic.

I recount this type of scam in my first book: the “overnight sensation” trope has been used often enough. Lana Turner was said to have been “discovered” by accident, when she wasn’t. One young violinist was also the benefactor of a choreographed farce with a wealthy man pushing her from behind the scenes.

When you are a spectator, you are passive by default. You only see things once the curtain rises. You think it is all natural.

Take reality show competitions: they have scriptwriters and rehearsals along with NDAs to ensure people don’t spill secrets. You have “judges” look “shocked” at how good a performer is, and we don’t wonder how genuine the response is.

The same goes for newsmakers: we don’t question who is behind the scenes and what is the benefit. Do you go to a music concert just because?

What is the usual incentive? Once you figure out the incentive, then you know how you are vulnerable to PR.

It is one thing to like your music or frozen dinner because of an effective ad campaign, but it is quite another to choose your politics or religion that way, and yet that’s what people do.

When I worked as a journalist, I made mental notes of even why I was drawn to certain stories or issues: how much of it was me — and how of it was as a result of someone’s effective persuasion?

Being an Actrivist forced me to include myself as a test subject: okay, why am I taking this track? Why am I interviewing this expert? How did I find this person? What was my criteria for choosing this professor over a hundred others who all study the same thing?

And what percentage of the “criteria” was mine, and what was the other direct or indirect influences?

Am I being played here directly? Collectively? Deliberately? Inadvertently? Am I a the target audience, or am I a proxy to influence the publication I am working for — and/or the audience that reads it?

Because I broke down my methods to study them, I was very aware of subtle influences of all sorts.

That’s why it is always automatic with me to ask who is the kingmaker of any given story? Who is pulling the strings and setting the agenda?

Is this newspeg organic or contrived?

It is contrived. How else do you get a reporter’s, producer’s, or editor’s attention?

In a world of 7.4 billion people, how does one stand out?

By having the money and backing of someone with clout who is schooled in optics.

Even on social media…

Why so reactionary and regressive? Why an Age of Propaganda fears the future and keeps trying to live in the past.

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IV

People who do not have imaginations always crib from old playbooks from the past.

Welp, they think, it worked for some old rich white guy five hundred years ago in a world without indoor plumbing, human rights, or electricity, it’s just gotta work for me, too.

That’s the mindset of this current era.

Like socialism, that didn’t even work for the rich white guys who were rich and powerful through that system.

Don’t you passive motherfuckers have an original idea of your own?

Oh, that’s right. You don’t.

You want to steal bad ideas and pass them off as your own, and then have people you don’t like foot your bill.

What could possibly go wrong?

These days, there are almost no original ideas.

I listen or read the babble-puke of what some They ought to do, and I ask, “Who told you that?”

Because you know it wasn’t their idea, and certainly one that is well beyond the expiration date.

Blech. Rancid ideas stink and are as rotten as year-old eggs.

But when you have a passive generation, they are inexperienced, sheltered, and thus become fearful.

They look for established, Zero-Risk Ideas. That’s the problem when you have neglected and unchallenged Middle Class. They don’t have initiative because they are too afraid of losing their modest standing, but then watch too many commercials and TV shows telling them how special they are and how easy it is to obtain things.

If they follow the script.

People aren’t even consciously aware of it.

The Middle Class are a soft layer sandwiched between two hard layers who, by nature of reality, buffer a lot from this class of people who don’t get the right kind of challenges to see where their theories are off-base. The wealthy are wealthy because they take risks. They have to hustle and use war strategies to be that powerful. That’s why I don’t have any flying fucks to give to Jeff Bezos — he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.

He wasn’t “blackmailed”: he was fighting a war, made careless tactical errors, got exposed as he had his guard down, and rivals struck at him the way he had to strike at bricks and mortar stores and other online competitors to be where he is today.

This is the man who owns Amazon, and remember how well his workers are being treated.

You do remember, don’t you?

And the company doesn’t play nice.

Not even with Washington Post employees who bitched about it in public.

So here is a Titan of Industry who is doing all sorts of below-the-belt things to prevent workers from unionizing — he has vastly more power and money than the lot of them put together.

And I am to feel sorry for him?

Fuck you.

But if you are sheltered and passive without experience of what goes on behind the press release, you can easily fall for that grifter’s bullshit story.

Because you are too afraid to go out on a limb and think, misusing the purpose of the past as you live in the Now, while terrified of the future.

This is a very cowardly era, and it doesn’t see from the cold terror — a fear that has no basis in reality.

V

The adherence to a less evolved past is evident in journalism. Here is one propaganda piece from the Christian Science Monitor:

Can old-fashioned journalism combat fake news?

WHY WE WROTE THIS

The prevalence of misinformation on the internet is legitimately troubling, but could attempts to remedy the problem fall prey to all-too-human biases?

No and, no, you didn’t.

You didn’t write that for any other reason than to try to persuade people to give up their freedoms to come crawling back to you. Shame on you.

But why go back to an old and antiquated model that spread lots of fake news. Go read my first book to get you up to speed how shitty old-fashion journalism was. Give me a break.

Let’s go back to the days of slavery when women were property of their husbands with no right to vote! Three cheers for exposing workers to lead! Yay!

Because we have people who are Zero-Risk, and think they are playing it safe by going for the familiar.

Don’t make me laugh.

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The past isn’t some sort of scroll of crib sheets. That is our previous trials and practice sessions. The past is our reference, but one that is less evolved than the present.

Sometimes there are people or events that were misinterpreted and misunderstood because they were pioneers who did things first and were ahead of their time, like Nicola Tesla, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, — or Bettie Page.

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There was a collective societal glitch that prevented the past from appreciating what they had and lost, and so some ideas and people are resurrected in spirit to guide us to the future.

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But remember: these were rebels and outsiders. They were stigmatized, unappreciated, and exploited in the past. Going for failed concepts that were proven unworkable is not the same thing.

These people are not the safe choice: their ideas and actions are risky, radical, and guarantee to turn everything in the present inside out — that’s why the past saw these people as a threat.

They are bringing with them something different, and they were active-thinking people who chased out in front.

And when we embrace these kinds of people, we begin to appreciate other firebrands and visionaries who live in the present.

Because we not only see the genius of this forgotten gem, we learn the meta-lesson of the past and we aren’t going to do it again.

But that’s not what is happening now.

People want some They of the past with some prepackaged idea that magically proves them right, and gives them stuff without effort.

And it bites them in the ass.

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If you want a better future, you have to face the future ready to take nothing but risks.

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And that means allowing other, seemingly contradictory risks to be taken by others.

This isn’t a competition. Stop replaying your motherfucking childhood, asshole. Get over your sibling getting an extra cookie.

Weaving with negotiation and cooperation expands our options, improves weaknesses, sparks new paths and innovations, and does not enable tyrants and control freaks who want everyone to follow their self-serving decrees.

When we are active, we weave the chords of time to include the past, future, and present.

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And take risks instead of gambles.

So let’s not do the time warp again.

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Let’s learn from the past, not recycle its mistake because fear drives us to find refuge in cages…

Actrivism, Part Six: Journalism's slow decay through the eyes of an Actrivist who walked miles in their shoes.

I

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II

While the New York Times boasts of increasing subscriptions, other smaller newspapers are having yet another round of job cuts.

What is happening in the world of newspapers is what happened to my grandmother after she became immobilized after the paramedics dropped her.

Because she couldn’t move and was confined to bed, her body slowly started to break down.

Mom and I pretty much spent 24/7 moving her from side to side with pillows to prevent bed sores and to keep her system going, every fifteen minutes. Mom slept on a sofa in grandma’s room. Technically, there are beds that move you automatically, but they do not work like they should in theory. When grandma landed in ICU and was on such a bed, she got bed sores, and it took us quite a bit to heal them.

You absolutely have to keep active or your body stops functioning.

The arteries start dying, but not right away. The smaller ones start to atrophy first, and it puts more pressure on the big ones to function.

But eventually, everything shuts down.

And the person expires.

I witnessed this up close with someone I knew since the day I was born.

But I recognized a lot of what I witnessed with her with something I witnessed exploring journalism.

Smaller properties atrophying slowly before starting to cannibalize the big ones. Overall numbers continue to drop. That’s reality, and it has been for the last couple of decades.

III

The insanity of the journalistic groupthink is mystifying. You go to the doctor who tells you that you have cancer, but with surgery, chemo, and radical lifestyle changes, you’ll be healthy again, and she even shows you your tests results, x-rays, ultrasound, scans, blood tests, everything. You have all of the signs and symptoms. The doctor even goes so far as to encourage you to get a second, third, and fourth opinion, and runs all of the tests, and it all comes back the same. There is no debate that you are in danger.

What would you do?

(A) Go for treatment ASAP, change your lifestyle, and resume your life.

(B) Deny that you are sick, say all those tests results prove that you are healthy as you were in your youth, attack anyone who says you are sick, and go about the same way you did before.

Journalists opted for B.

You may have been young, healthy and strong, swaggering around, bossing and bullying kids on the playground, and come off the victor of bar brawl after bar brawl, but now you are sick.

Denying your weakness isn’t going to turn your fortunes around.

That’s at the heart of the profession’s collapse.

I could see that because I went in to study it. It is the difference between joining a cult because you believe their twaddle, and going in to study it because you see the twaddle for what it is.

Yet you still do the same things, but finding out why this cult believes in what it does — how do they talk themselves into believing something clearly not aligned with reality.

Where did it go so horribly wrong?

And what are the excuses this cult is using to keep reality away from them?

I saw the decay up close. I also walked miles and miles in their shoes. I was a journalist, but I wasn’t a member of the cult. That’s how Method Research works.

And even though I was a journalist, I was also an Actrivist. I questioned myself, and my motives: why did I interview someone a certain way? Why did I pitch this article? Why did I use this source before another one?

That’s how you see the flaws and how you improve the methods.

That’s what you are supposed to do: not statically cling on to an old rule and think that the world evolves and changes, but you got a Get Out Of Reality Free Card.

Hell, no.

Being an Actrivist means being flexible and always refining and evolving. It is woven into the mandate and definition. Activist/Actress.

You act.

You keep moving, stopping to reflect and refine, but then you keep moving again.

So that you are not left behind, but chasing out in front.

You are future-focussed.

You see all around you as you keep moving, walking in another’s shoes in order to understand their place in the evolving world.’

So that you don’t start to rot and lose your lifelines one by one.

Because I have seen that up close.

And no one should ever have to go through that.

But when a profession willingly chooses it, is appalling.

My grandmother didn’t choose it. It was imposed upon her by careless hands.

Journalism has no excuse for it, but they thinking up news one every day as they rot in place…

Jill Abramson getting pummelled by corrupt hypocrites: Just another day in the trash can called journalism.

For a profession that criticizes people viciously, journalists certainly do not like when people criticize them.

Oh, what a shock.

They either suppress information or try to tear into someone if their profile is high enough.

So when former New York Times editor Jill Abramson dissed on the corrupt and dead profession of journalism, the book couldn’t be ignored; so journalists went to attack her credibility like a rapist attacks the victim, blaming her and saying she deserved it.

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Make no mistake: the level of vitriol has more to do that a woman dared call them out for their sins than the actual content.

Also note, it was the white boys who instigated this very coordinated hit.

So before discussing the guts of the allegations, let me point out that Jill Abramson made it all the way to News York Times editor.

A very lofty position in the profession. That’s as prestigious as you can get. 60 Minutes correspondent or head of a network news outfit possibly trump it.

Back then, she was doing the basic same things she did for her entire journalistic career, and she was employed and got promoted.

And that was just dandy keen for years.

But then she was a cheerleader on Team Journalism.

Now she isn’t.

I wrote a book on journalism’s ethics last year and that book was exhaustively researched.

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I had no assistant. I did the entire researching and writing all by myself up in a cottage in Selkirk right on Lake Erie in the winter in the middle of nowhere because it was always my dream to write a book that way.

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For five months, that is what I woke up to seeing every morning while drinking Turkish coffee. I wanted absolute solitude, but The Fabulous Ladies drove up every Sunday for brunch and mischief, and I am grateful. I did take some time out to go to Chicago to get semi-precious stones for my jewelry-making. I stayed at the fun and posh Virgin Hotel and dined at Miss Ricky’s and The Gage, but still brought my laptop to work on my book. I still have my little shower lamb from the Virgin Hotel

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My book was ignored by journalists in public, though people are still buying it, despite the shut out. So much for free speech. As usual, word of mouth can break through any blacklist.

I still did an interview here and a funky one here.

But journalists couldn’t do that with Abramson. They had to stomp on her and stone her to discredit her work.

You cannot discredit mine, however. I did not go into journalism with stars in my eyes, and then turned into a bitter and disgruntled failure. I went in knowing exactly who they were, and wanted to study the profession by being a journalist for real. I conducted unprecedented and exhaustive experiments. My beat was the business of journalism and my audience were people in the profession.

When I had enough information to write an informed and empirically-sound exposé, I walked away.

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I also wrote one on Fox News, and then over a decade later came When Journalism was a Thing.

Abramson was in deep, and as much as she knows about the people in that sketchy profession, those in the profession know all about her.

So those trolls knew where to look and how to strike.

And then went batshit crazy on her in a frenzy tirade, hoping to nullify her revealing of their disgusting dirt.

They nitpicked on a few facts, but even that is under debate. Journalists fuck up on facts all the time. They do not use empirical methods.

But then came the “chargeofplagiarism! Oh, no! Run for your lives! Don’t listen to the scary woman with the book that exposes us!

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It is a pathetic ruse.

The poseur “journalists” at the garbage publication Paste really overplayed the melodramatics:

Jill Abramson Is a Disgrace to Journalism

Yeah, as if you grifters know what this “journalism” is. You are not fooling anybody, you twits. Stop using the movie Reefer Madness as a guide on how to behave. You come off as disingenuous nerds.

The only publication with any sense here is the National Review that has a more accurate take:

Jill Abramson Is a Hack, Not a Thief

I am currently reading the book. She knows who she is dealing with. It is kind of a stretch to call it “plagiarism” because the writing for both are so banal and unoriginal, that really, it is like writing, “Bob likes his new job” and then someone else writes “Robert has positive feelings toward his most recent career” and then make some over-the-top tirade because you both are writing about the same damn thing.

Seriously, no winners here. I would not classify it as a “sourcing error”, either. I would classify this as typical journalism nincompoopity, and it needs to be replaced with a more responsible alternative.

Vice is pure garbage. Sexist pretentious trolls with one who got nabbed for being a drug dealer, and Vice got Canadian government money to boot. What does Vice know about journalistic ethics?

I wrote about Vice in my latest book. They are to journalism what a soiled jock strap is to journalism.

And they’re ranting about Abramson?

And other outlets are parroting their meltdown?

I can tell you straight up my book is exhaustively researched, and I didn’t plagiarize. I don’t need to because my writing is superior to Vice hacks or anyone else in that dead profession. It would be a serious step down from my own abilities.

So yes, the pot is calling the kettle black, but who is the pot and who is the kettle is your choice.

If you want to read a book that tells it like it is that doesn’t pull any punches and fears no angry mob of hacks, read When Journalism was a Thing.

You can even read while enjoying a cup of Turkish coffee — because you haven’t lived until you had a cup…

We don't need politics. We need empathy, respect, and compassion. You know, the things that count.

I

His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naïvest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.”

“To forget it!”

“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

“But the Solar System!” I protested.

“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”

—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in A Study in Scarlet.

II

I am not pretentious, but I am not stupid. I know details, and get nuances and catch on to Shibboleths. I don’t shop in Manhattan, but Secaucus, New Jersey where there are those fabulous outlet malls, for instance. I have ever since I was a teenager. I prefer the complexities of Bénédictine over most other liqueurs. Armani for the wife, Versace for the mistress, but Moschino for Alexandra.

I am not some yokel. If I don’t know something, don’t assume I wanted to know it. I heard it, determined it to not be all that, and promptly forgot it.

Such as whatever script someone spews at me. Brag all you want. In one ear, out the other.

What interests me is human motivation and strategies. Who are you as a person matters, not some bullshit story you are telling me to impress me or make me jealous.

Because I am not obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses, people think that I am going to be impressed and feel inadequate. Don’t be silly. What Alexandra wants, she gets, one way or another.

And Alexandra gets what she wants and needs all by herself.

I am choosy and I am fussy.

I love to learn. I just signed up for this Oxford short course. I love to write books, and that’s what I am doing.

I don’t have to take the course, but I like to expand certain areas of my mind, and bring them up to code.

I have three more pieces of unfinished business. Right before January, it was a dozen. None were minor.

After those are taken care of, it is the next level upwards and forwards.

But I never forget my roots.

I don’t look down on people who didn’t have the same opportunities. I respect and admire them greatly, and not in some precious, condescending way. People survived wars, slavery, incest, abuse, terrorism, illness, poverty, and victimization. They didn’t “bring it on” themselves. I am genuinely outraged that my country treats First Nations people like they were disposable, for instance, while we have grifters who live it up on the taxpayer dime.

The US Democrats act like the Catholic church — they talk a good talk about liberties, preach to tell you that you are inferior and need them to guide you, use Doomsday scenarios with their environmental policy, and yet keep begging for donations as they ride around in limos.

And like the church they emulate, they are the ones who get caught doing really infuriating things that prove they are hypocrites, making the New York Post very giddy.

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What is with this whole blackface thing, anyway? I mean, it happened in my junior high during class, and even then as a tween in the 1980s, I thought it was downright racist.

I can believe in forgiveness as a general concept, but it isn’t my place to forgive. I’m a white Canadian. I take my cue from the people who were wronged.

I remember The New York Times having this priggish Op-Ed piece when Megyn Kelly said kids did it in her time, and the opinionist got all snooty, claiming it wasn’t happening in his time and he was a couple of years older than Kelly.

Bullshit.

It happens now, but as we know, it happened then, too. I smell pants roasting.

So here is one group of people who branded themselves as a morally superior party having a cemetery of skeletons jumping out of their closets proving that it really doesn’t matter who you vote for — they aren’t authentic. The labels of these political sects is just a front for conniver who wants to wear a paper crown and will tell you whatever you want to hear.

III

Canada has the same problem right now. The federal Liberals are equally troublesome. While Postmedia owns both the Toronto Sun and the National Post, getting to play both sides of things, I found this National Post column interesting:

The other jab in this combination of punches is their regular mentions of Justin Trudeau’s “family fortune” — a phrase the prime minister himself used inadvisedly in a press conference.

“That amount ($5,000) is peanuts for a prime minister who inherited a great family fortune,” said Conservative Rosemarie Falk, by way of example.

…But there is good reason why the Conservatives are adopting such deceptive tactics: they are working.

What deception? That the Prime Minister has no empathy or ability to adjust his perspective? His policies are not for the poor. They aren’t good for the Middle Class. They cater exclusively to limousine liberals: people with money who do not want to be inconvenienced economically nor personally.

And then Trudeau opens his mouth and proves it, as the Toronto Sun gleefully pointed out:

“We see proof that the conservatives simply don’t understand that low income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes,” said Justin Trudeau.

It is Trudeau who doesn’t even know the basic reality of his own poor. Poor people do have to pay income tax even if they make less than $12,000 a year.

They also pay HST on goods and services. There is no tax exemption when you buy basics.

The left-leaning press kept their mouths shut on this one, as usual, hoping not to draw attention and censoring unflattering nincompoopity from the Jive Turkey because they know if the Tories win, there is no goodie fund for them.

What you have is a prime minister completely incapable of genuine compassion and empathy:

“While we continue to stay focused on Canadians, Conservatives continue to stay focused on how I grew up,” Trudeau shot back.

Yes, because you never grew up. The Grits focus on themselves, no one else. When you keep the poorest at arm’s length, you have no idea who they are, what they need, or how they came to be poor.

Method Research would go a long way to understanding what needs to be done.

For one, I would force any candidate running for prime minister to be forced to live for two years among the poorest of his or her nation with no help. All funds would be cut off, and they would be monitored.

You are going to live in a shitty little shack. You are going to have to get a joe job. You are going to have to pay the bills with whatever you earn.

Two years.

No limos. No colorful culturally-appropriate costumes. No designer clothing or children’s socks.

And, for giggles, you’d be sent up to the remote location where everything is more expensive.

Then you would be grow up, put on your big boy pants, and have a fresh perspective.

It would be good if everyone was healthy, happy, and prosperous.

This isn’t reality.

And ignoring it isn’t actually working for the Left. People aren’t blind or numb to their own whispering problems.

With Trudeau, it is shallow gestures and empathy phrases with no core to it, He apologizes for other people’s actions of the past, thinking that means something.

Not if those injustices are still alive and well in the present and you don’t see them.

Anyone with drama training can shed a few crocodile tears. So can people clocked for speeding and bawl to the nice police officer not to give them a ticket.

Kids in toy stores can do it, too.

That doesn’t prove you have empathy, respect, or compassion.

I am still haunted by my grandmother’s agonizing death. She chose to live because she didn’t want to be away from her family. To her, she did not want to abandon us and sacrificed everything to look out for us. She worried about how much sleep I got and agonized about my derailed career. She gave me pep talks and advice as she lay dying.

I looked after her 24/7. I had been so focussed on her that I abandoned myself in the bargain. My mother did the same.

And then my mother was diagnosed with cancer and then I was, too a few short weeks later.

We looked after each other. I had to trudge in the snow to walk a long way to the hospital to see my mother after her surgery three weeks after have surgery to remove my left ovary.

They gutted me. My stomach muscle was split in two. I was oozing and in absolute agony. I didn’t take the morphine I was given. I didn’t even pick it up because I could not be under any influence because I had to drive and look after my mother.

And I can barely walk, but I make the trip twice a day to the hospital where my mother lost a lot of blood and had a hard time keeping awake because of it. I had to look after her as I am terrified that my cancer has spread.

But I march to the hospital every day like a soldier. I would go to Fortinos to buy my mother something with flavour to eat as I also would bring her coffee, and try to cheer her up, and I can barely sit in the hospital chair, still in shock that asymptomatic me had motherfucking ovarian cancer.

And then she comes home, and a few weeks later, she has to have another surgery because she had something so rare that the doctor who had to operate never seen it before.

It is a never-ending siege of trauma.

And I know there are people who not only had it as bad, they have it even worse.

They have children with incurable degenerative conditions.

I have a bracelet a student made for me in jewelry summer camp that I taught one year. She was the sweetest, cutest, kindest little girl who took the class so she could make things to raise money for the fatal disease she has.

But she gave me a present because even though she is ill, she wants me to know that she likes me.

And it moves me. If I had the power, I would make her problems disappear.

But I don’t, and it bothers me.

I have known people who are going through extraordinary lengths for their terminally ill children, fighting a brawl with the heavens to extract every extra second at the expense of everything.

And we have a deluded prime minister who has his panties in a knot because his rivals have his number and keep dialling it.

We have never had a prime minister — on the left or right, who put children first.

And no, photo ops of you reading to them doesn’t count. Fuck you.

Neither is giving people money per child — it encourages the wrong kind of people to keep having them for the free money. I used to sit in the solarium and watch outside my old house on Main Street East in Hamilton and see Stroller Row.

We have children in battered women’s shelters. We have children who are sex slaves being passed around and videotaped.

The Grits give money to newspapers who fucked up their own worthless profession — but completely ignore children’s services.

This is vile and disgusting.

I like my art. I like my surrealist paintings, my books, my theremin, my Kintsugi, my Alexander Katsulin pottery, Turkish coffee, and antique furniture.

I like Sherlock Holmes, Han Hoogerbrugge, the Hives, and the Blue Beetle.

I am self-indulgent and eccentric, and if you don’t like it, go fuck yourself.

You aren’t paying my bills. You don’t care that I had cancer. Go to hell. I don’t have respect for your negging.

Because it is all meaningless if you don’t have a moral compass.

And politics isn’t the place you’ll ever find it.

Neither is this neo-Victorian façade. It’s not genuine.

A kinder world comes from empathy and compassion.

That requires vulnerability and connect, not cheap acting stunts and empty words…

Actrivism, Part Five: A long and complicated journey into Mindwild.

I

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II

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III

I was extremely fortunate that I was photographed by Villiam Hrubovcak and the picture is one of several from that photoshoot. He has shot everyone from Bjork, Elvis Costello, Billy Idol, to John Waters, and if I recall correctly, Ollie North.

I have this one he shot of me hanging in my living room.

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It is still my favourite photograph of me.

Because I usually do not pose that way. I like my face in front, but he suggested it to show off my distinctive nose; so I did, never thinking that would have been the photograph I would have selected after. I like to break my own rules, decrees, truisms, routines, and theories, but in this case, someone made the suggestion.

I do take advise. I do take chances.

Because I am not afraid to question things or people, including myself.

I test my own theories, but every once in a while, someone shows you a place where you didn’t think of testing your own rules.

But when you are intellectually uninhibited, you can question everything and eventually figure out that’s how you find the facts of reality to find the truth.

IV

Percentage-wise, Twitter brings me very little traffic to this site. I can easily deactivate my account, and my numbers would remain untouched. I have a modest, but steadily-increasing international base here, if I believe what the analytics are saying to me.

Wordpress wasn’t as accurate, and there were strange things happening. For long stretches, it would claim I had no traffic from Google searches, which I did not believe, and tested it myself on my other devices, and lo and behold, those didn’t register, either. Nice try. I cannot say the same for my current host Squarespace. So far, I am very happy with them. They are helpful, prompt, thorough, and I have never been left frustrated or have something I could not figure out on my own unresolved. I wish I came aboard sooner.

But I cannot say the same for Twitter. Is there shadow-banning of me? I don’t know why there would be, but it wouldn’t surprise me, either.

I have been on Twitter for years, and I have been hover at 1790 followers for as long as I can remember, according to them, which is low. I am also on Ello, a smaller social media site, and though I have not been there as long and don’t post as often, my followers have increased steadily to over 3600, more than double what the Twit nets me.

And I do not make the first move to gain followers. People come to me first. So that’s quite a difference where the pool in one site is far greater than the other. By mere chance alone, I should have more than double on Twitter than I do on Ello.

Maybe the difference is that I don’t trust Twitter. There is no proof that any organized groundswell of reaction is organic, spontaneous, or genuine, and I doubt that it is any of the above. It is way too easy to game the system. It has become social propaganda for various advertisers and political groups that is intermingled with naive people who are followers by design, and believe everything they see on the Troll Scroll.

There is no respect for people. They don’t call it Twitter for nothing.

And there is nothing more deceptive than that Blue Checkmark. It does not signal what is being said is true. It does guarantee that the person writing that tweet is actually there person, it could and most likely is an assistant or PR firm.

Nor does it guarantee that the person isn’t being paid by an outside party to shill.

It doesn’t have any safeguards. The same can be said of Wikipedia, and I do not see it as a credible source of information, either.

And often who gets the blue checkmark mystifies me. They aren’t actually well-known. You can do a basic search on them and virtually come up empty-handed. They are not always people of note, let alone “social influencers.”

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Google has my verified profile, however.

My Twitter profile is there, even though I am an author of several books and do not have the little blue checkmark. I didn’t put my Twitter account there. People do look me up by name because Google’s own analytics let me know.

So across various platforms, there is a real inconsistency. Google has me verified, and directs people to my Twitter feed, yet Twitter will not give me the verified status, even though I worked as a journalist, and have several books under my belt. I had one late last year, and one coming out next year.

By all accounts, that should be more than enough, especially considering how low the bar is.

But it is hard to justify lobbying for something that I know is rigged and filled with propaganda spewed from behind a curtain.

It is more than fake news. It is fake followers. It is just fake.

It is not an informational portal. It is an advertising vehicle to push ideologies just as Facebook is amateur press release.

And whenever you challenge something on that platform, the vipers come out to intimidate with insults.

Don’t give me lip.

Give me proof.

But when you cannot verify who is writing the tweet is who they say they are, nor whether or not they are being paid to say it, you won’t find any proof there at all.

V

Twitter wasn’t build to prove. It was built to bully. It was built to foster groupthink. It was made to prime, groom, and deliver audiences with the right mindset to build clusters of thought.

The word count is too low for anything rational to transpire. At least Facebook talks about connections as “friends” and LinkedIn uses the word “connection.” Twitter was the one who used the trigger word “follower.”

It is brazen enough. They might as well use a pigeon over the Mountain Bluebird they have as their logo.

But it gives the illusion of control and genuine interaction. You think you know what you see, and that is its strength. You don’t know what’s on the other side of that missive or the motive for it being there.

It makes it a prime breeding ground for manipulation.

But it also weakens and devalues words and opinion. There is too much clutter.

Because everything is virtual, the impact is not as great as it appears. The turnover is fast for anything to take root and grow. People let off steam with slacktivism. People try to one-up others. There is petty rivalry, but few real tangible results that hit their targets.

For example, #MeToo. It seemed as if it did its job, but what did the faceless movement actually net?

It took down a lot of men on the Left because they could not live up to the book of rules. They were done in by a misfiring of Alinksy’s Gun.

But that’s not who that gun was meant to shoot: it was men on the Right who were supposed to crumble and fall.

Brent Kavanaugh was supposed to have fallen. While the damsels-in-distress marched in their cosplay red robes, he ultimately got issued a Supreme Court black robe.

Twitter is not a precise weapon. So far, Donald Trump seems to have known how to use it.

Digital media doesn’t know how to use it. They crashed. Traditional media also was clueless and collapsed.

For a social media site that is all about communications, it doesn’t actually work the way people think it does.

Just one septuagenarian. This quadragenarian has no use for it.

Because Twitter is like a bad psychic: you can see the rigs a mile away.

It’s that transparent.

And the motives for people’s continued gullibility when using it.

It doesn’t interest me.

I prefer a more instructive challenge.

Which brings me to Mindwild.

VI

I always thrived with a challenge. I like puzzles. I like when things are not obvious to me.

I when I can challenge my own rules, turn them over, see them break, and then find the atom of truth.

Knowledge is flexible, not static. It evolves, changes, and grows, and why I like to revisit past knowledge and update what I know.

So when I decided to go into journalism to study it, I had to think about a lot of things very carefully.

I had to define what I was doing, and if I didn’t reach certain milestones, or things didn’t go to plan, I needed plans and counter-plans.

I called it Method Research. I was taking my laboratory into the real world. It was like a scientist placing herself into an atom to study it.

My job? Being an actrivist — being actively inside the world I was studying.

These terms were my shorthand to remind me what I was doing. It is very easy to get lost in the moment and forget what to do. It’s like sparring with someone in the boxing ring and then forgetting to keep your guard up.

And what about the experiments I was conducting?

I dubbed those Mindwild. The point was not to think I was confined. I was out in the wild. I was part cavewoman fighting for survival naturally, and part android, carefully analyzing the natural elements to process information empirically.

And my experiments had to reflect these two extremes, bringing them to the radical centre: don’t take sides. Take notes. Take facts.

That meant my experiments could be as wild as I come up, but my analysis had to be as disciplined as they could be. Chaos and order at the same time.

I was methodical but took advantage of any opportunity presented to me.

It was all about taking snapshots of reality, all while remembering who I was and what I was doing. It is not as if there was a roadmap.

I was the cartographer, and I wasn’t just mapping out the profession, but who I was in it because as much as I was an experimenter, I was also the test subject.

And I learn a lot about journalism, myself, how to conduct experiments, and also the nature of truth, reality, perception, and interpretation.

For example, I learned how we define out terms confines the outcomes of what we reap from its definition. The more ill-defined it is, the less we get out of it.

And journalism is a profession with no desire to define any of its terms.

How do you define “fact-check”, for instance? It is doublespeak and a nonsense word that is suppose to give false reassurance to the believers and shut down and psych out detractors.

How can you even have an imprecise and folksy term for something that dictates specialization and precision?

It’s a scam. Worse, it is a patronizing scam.

It’s no different than saying someone is a doctor: what kind of doctor? What is their area of expertise? An oncologist or internist? And even then, they have their specialized area.

Or lawyer. What kind of lawyer? Criminal? Divorce? Real Estate? Corporate?

So the word “fact-check” is pure bullshit.

It’s just an arrogant bunch who use the word to snow people who don’t know the industry.

But that doesn’t work on people who know because they worked in the business, never falling for its alleged prestige and bragging rights.

While society moves towards AI and conducting research with cold arbitrary logic, they are losing the wild part of the equation.

The part the develops instincts. You can teach someone to box with a textbook, but put them in the ring, and they will lose to the person who had to fight in real life for their survival without a trainer.

But, have someone fight in the real world for their survival as they have a trainer and a textbook and war manual, and they understand the theory and the practice.

That’s what I called Mindwild.

I didn’t just use it working as a journalist. I still use it to this day. I can look at something, and see the rigid thinking and assumptions its structure and content is based on.

And it can do a lot to your thinking.

I became a political atheist.

I believe in peace. I believe in progress. Neither can be found using an antiquated model of governance or journalism.

I also became a radical feminist, but not in the traditional sloppy definition of it.

But that means that (a) you do not expect an Establishment will change because you shamed them, and (b) you have to have active strategies to building new systems and not rely on old patriarchal models.

Most importantly, I learned as much about myself as I did about the world around me.

The world chose to stagnate and to old on to toxic security blankets.

I chose to flourish and grow without worrying about myself because I know who I am.

Someone who doesn’t worry about memorizing a script.

Because I don’t hide behind a script, I have allowed myself to mature and blossom, and I know who I am.

And it’s not any established role someone else has rigged up to keep people from succeeding.

I have learned to challenge the rules of anarchy and enigmas because I become both, and broke more barriers because I knew that even anarchy masks something beyond it.

And that means there are new frontiers we haven’t even seen yet.

The world is never a bore — there is always some new thrilling truth to learn, and yet people still cling on to the same old boring lies.

The world is beautiful. The future is exciting.

But you’ll never know it until you explore it, study it, nurture it, love it, listen to it, and unleash yourself in it.

That’s Method Research.

That’s Actrivism.

And that’s Mindwild.

Every atom is an omniverse of excitement and thrills just ready to be unleashed itself.

If only you are brave enough, loving enough, and truth enough to open it…