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…

As the federal Liberal regime bribes journalism outfits, they ignore Canada's violence problem.

When I worked as a journalist, I had repeatedly tried to pitch various stories to various media outlets, both in Toronto to a national audience, and in my hometown of Hamilton about the serious gang and mob problems Canada was having and how it was all coming to a head.

I was repeatedly dismissed as being alarmist because having a story with actual research that wasn’t sunny spinning rot and garbage was scary to these outlets.

I knew a lot of things from my research in art crimes in Canada, another topic no one in Canadian media would ever publish. I knew, for instance, that stolen art was criminal currency, and there was a lot of art theft going on at the time I was looking into things.

There was a link between stolen art and gang violence, and had I been given the green light to pursue it, I could have found out much more.

But, no, no, no: we have to pretend that Canada doesn’t have a violence and organized crime problem that is worse than the US.

And make no mistake: Canada’s problem is worse.

I warned some publications, such as the now defunct Saturday Night, that the gang violence in Toronto was going to spill into civilian life. The editor thought I was exaggerating, and then, as I predicted, it spilled into the streets on Boxing Day in Toronto, and a teenaged girl named Jane Creba was murdered in broad daylight.

But journalists here would rather play free Hollywood publicists and fellate celebrities at TIFF than do actual journalism.

The federal Liberal regime is buying media coverage right now, wasting money thinking that getting good publicity is going to secure a second term for them.

But Canada has a severe violence problem that is now catching the attention of people in the US. Our homicide rate is the highest it has been since 1992, before there were all those gun control measures put in place, and the year isn’t done yet.

Gang violence has gotten out of control, but it is more complicated than that.

This is a problem that is global in origin, and has deep roots in international organized crime, but as the federal Liberals have turned a blind eye and have been, to be blunt, incompetent, it is a problem that is not going away.

And don’t look at the federal Conservatives to be any better as we have seen what kind pervy self-indulgent antics their politicians such as Tony Clement have played on Canadian taxpayers’ dime.

We have no one in the federal cabinet remotely qualified: we just have the morally masturbating Chrystia Freeland holding childish vendettas against the US and Saudi Arabia for not giving her a lollipop and not pretending she is in any way intelligent, when, in fact, we have serious problems that originate from outside our borders, and that there is no way for it to be contained from within our borders.

In other words, Canada’s violence problem has gotten away from us, and, just like our legitimate businesses, they are mostly foreign owned and it is not Canada that calls the shots.

We have a vassal state that is a puppet regime spending money it does not have as it borrows from outside interests to bribe the press and lull the public as its own resources have been co-opted by other countries who do not give away their autonomy the way Canada has.

We don’t control our own wheat board.

And we do not own bread of a different kind.

I can see what is happening very clearly. We have a serious violence problem because we have a government who do not want to see how badly they have managed Canada, and we have a press that never does its job properly.

If you thought 2018 was violent, 2019 will take it out in the streets once again because that cancer was left untreated, and it spread.

Dundas, Ontario has beggars out in the streets now. So does Oakville, Burlington, and Ancaster, once considered the cradle of the upwardly mobile middle class in this province.

You cannot have that kind of rampant poverty and not think that vulnerability is going to cost you human life.

When you have close to a million people in Ontario on social assistance, they are not contributing to the economy.

When you have over a million people who worked for the government, they are also not creating an economically robust ecosystem.

And if you have fifteen percent of a large province on unsteady ground, you have a problem.

And this doesn’t factor in children or pensioners.

The scaffolding is weak and unstable.

But you have people deluded into thinking they are rich because their rubble of a shack is over-valued, and they don’t see the storm up ahead.

The postal strike did a number. US tariffs are dong a number. The retail sector is doing worse than what is being let on. We have a violence problem that is now catching the eye of the foreign entities that lend us money. The ones who are buying Canadian properties to park their wealth who are artificially jacking up the prices of housing.

We have a serious money laundering problem. We have a serious organized crime problem. We have a serious gun problem. We have a serious human trafficking problem. We have a serious gang problem.

We have a serious violence problem.

We have a serious criminal problem made worse by the fact that Canada is notoriously bad at making bad activity illegal, and if it does, having no teeth to do anything about it.

That’s there where we are right now.

And we have a regime whose leader wears kiddie socks and takes selfies as he calls people who point out the rot as “ambulance chasers.”

This is all aided and abetted by a dead profession that just got a slush fund right on the eve of an election.

The fun and games have just begun, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the implosion happens, and why it will make the impact that it will.

Because you are not getting a warning of what is happening from either the feds nor the press.

Expect more violent temper tantrums next year, and one that will no longer be so straightforward to clean up before an election…

Rigs and Forces.

In propaganda and partisan narratives, there are two things to look out for, no matter how smart and savvy you think you are.

Rigs.

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And forces.

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If you understand what a rig and a force is, you know what to look for in a story, whether it is a story attacking something you believe is true -- or a story pandering to you by means of agreeing with something you believe is true.

Stage magicians use both to make your senses deceive you because that is why there are rigs and forces at all, but you can have intangible rigs and forces to do the same thing. 

A rig is an element that pre-sets an outcome. So, for example, I want my friend to get a job over my enemy, but I cannot outright discriminate because then I will look like a petty and vindictive jerk. Perhaps my enemy has many friends and allies, and if I rock the boat by picking my friend, my enemy's supporters are going to throw a temper tantrum and may make real trouble for me.

But let's up the ante. Let's say my enemy is more qualified than my friend -- and maybe even more qualified than I am, and I just don't want competition.

The goal is to hire my friend in some strategic job, while shutting out my enemy, but in such a way that (a) I do not look like the bad guy, (b) my friend as choice looks legitimate and unquestionable, and (c) my friend looks more qualified and hence superior to my enemy who will apply for this position because there are perks and the like.

So what I need to do is make a rig. 

In this way, when my enemy becomes suspicious, I can just whip out the reason -- but spin it in such a way that it looks above board.

The rig is not made to look like a cheat.

So, for instance, one rig is to hire someone who may not have the same years of experience, but has a certain certificate. I place value on this certificate as the deciding factor, even though experience may encompass what is taught in the workshop or course that issues it, and while learning is well and good, it is, at most, theory. Experience is the practical application of it.

So there is the rig that takes care of everything.

Or, if my enemy has more training, but my friend has something else, I can rig it so that whatever my friend is more likely to possess makes him the winning applicant.

Or, perhaps the training is essential, but it is available to certain people because they are wealthier, live closer, or have some other quality that will put them in closer reach than another group of people.

That's a rig.

A force, on the other hand, is very similar to a rig, but with a twist. I make it appear as if the person has complete free and unfettered control to make a choice, but in fact, the notion of choice is an illusion. I have already rigged the outcome to only one possible choice, but make it appear that there is more than one.

Sink or swim fallacies, appeal to authority, and the confirmation bias are a few ways to make it seem as if the person is arriving at a logical conclusion, but I shade my facts in such a way that the person arrives to the same conclusion I want them to conclude.

I remember being in j-school when I saw an example of both. I had to do a radio story, and I got to choose anything I wanted, and I chose to cover something over at London City Hall as there was some scandal-ish thing being played out in the press, and if I recall correctly, it was being dubbed "Olivergate."

I was there along with reporters from radio, television, and print. All the reporters were standing around in the hallway, and I was there.

I struck up conversations with as many reporters as I could, but I still remembered to take the agenda and read it from cover to cover.

It became more than obvious that what I originally came to cover -- what everyone in town came to cover, wasn't going to be brought up during the meeting, and I didn't have time to fool around. I had to have a story and I had to air it by noon.

While everyone else was focussed on the One, I started looking for an alternative, and found one that was very serious: the city had two race relations boards, and they were clashing with name-calling. The police chief at the time was a member of one board, but there was also another one affiliated with City Hall.

It was, to say the least, very odd and complex. I left the hallway to make calls because there was no Internet access readily available in 1995 the way it is now, and when I got more information, I marched back in, and started to find the people who were waiting there all along because their grievances were going to be on the agenda. I interviewed various players from both sides, and I had been the only one, until one newspaper reporter there overheard the whole thing, and told me he was going to do the same thing, because it was obvious to him as well that the sexy scandal wasn't going to play out, but there was one just as important with all of the players available in the hallway and more than willing to talk.

His story ended up on the front page of the metro section of the London Free Press the next day. My story lead the radio broadcast by noon.

As for the other scandal, the meeting was "in camera", meaning journalists weren't allowed to be there, and for those who hung out for a few hours in the hallway, they got nothing for their trouble.

But the lesson was there, and I learned it.

If I wasn't a student, but a journalist working at one of those outlets, I would have handled things differently because I would have had the space to do so, but I was a student who parachuted from another city, and had no time to cultivate sources or anything of the like. If I was there longer, you would be certain I would be talking to as many custodians, assistants, and other background employers as I could because those are the people who hear absolutely everything, but people with suits never actually see them and just assume they are too stupid to be able to read a spreadsheet.

I would have already known going in what was happening and how to get around things.

But I had limitations, or, rigs working against me. I had to bypass those rigs to get a story, and in this case, reading ephemera, scouting for something important that I could file within a couple of hours.

The nature of a city hall meeting is the rig. What they choose to cover during a meeting skews an outcome. You see pomp and circumstance, which is an act of authority-signalling, and you see many local and even national media outlets treat local authority as something trustworthy. For instance, the local television station here never questions authority and repeatedly defers to them as if it were the Word from God.

If we held these meetings at a donut shop where people were informally dressed, and the public could direct the content of the agenda, you can be sure those rigs would bring about a far different outcome.

But that meeting wasn't just rigged in such a way that you could have a secret meeting that no one outside the council could hear.

There was also a force.

All the reporters standing aimlessly in the hall were so focussed on one story, that they never bothered looking for a plan B story. They thought they had control and were exercising free will, but the way the meetings are set-up, it is not as obvious to see that council would prefer reporters waiting for nothing, than start looking for another story of equal importance, but equally troublesome to their image.

I bypassed that force because I hadn't been broken in and groomed by the rules. The agendas were in a stack by the door, and yet I had been the only one of about fifteen to twenty veteran reporters to bother to pick it up and read it.

The letter of complaint to the council by one of the members of one of the race relations boards pulled no punches, and I still remember her using the phrase "navel-gazing." She all but called it a farce.

So that day, there were at least two crises popping right then and there.

One almost got completely ignored because the focus was on the other one.

It is very easy to miss angles, facts, and reality when we are focussed on certain details over others.

This is how propaganda and partisan reporting thrive: you are trained to see the world in a certain way, and the propaganda can even be brazen about it.

Are you on the Left? The Right? Why have you confined yourself to a single side? You admit that you, at most, can be half right, or see only half. 

And you're not accurate if you are just considering one half of the equation.

Are you on the Left? The Right?

You are on The Half.

Not full. Not whole. Not complete.

Just half.

The rig that prevents you from seeing the whole wide world as it spins, and the one that forces you to take a single side. Settle for half, because you are not good enough for the whole.

That's what you sign up for when you do not question rigs and forces.

And your thoughts are never whole -- or your own...

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Presenting the Partisan as Normal: When journalists try to push make the ideological mundane.

Ontario is in for a a series of major shifts that will alter its current sleepiness in a matter of months.

The US got that ball rolling because they have a president who smelled a weak prime minister, and they are going to push it for all it is worth.

And now after almost fifteen years of Liberal rule, we have a Conservative government who did not waste a moment knocking off all the campaign promises from their to do list. 

Doug Ford is not talking about "stretch goals." He is just keeping his promises, clearing the deck to bring in a completely new system to the province.

I am not going to babble whether this is a good thing or a bad thing as I do not have a crystal ball. I can say that he got elected by being very open about what he was going to do, and people voted him in because of it.

If they did not want it, they would have stuck to the Liberals or voted in the NDP if they wanted the extreme, more expensive version of it.

So you have a province who is very divided, but not so much that the Tories didn't get their majority. They did and had a clear mandate. They won the election. Not by the skin of their teeth win, but a confident one.

That is the reality of the province.

But to Ontario journalists, they do not actually comprehend what that actually means.

They are reporting on certain issues in a very partisan way that makes their reports deceptive. They are taking ideological beliefs are trying to pass it off as facts and news, and it is not.

So, first off, let us be clear: Doug Ford said he was going to scrap the 2015 Sex Ed curriculum.

The massive tome found here.

It clocks at well over 200 pages. I seriously doubt one percent of Ontario parents actually read that thing. I am not a parent, and I have read it. It is long, tedious, cringeworthy, ideological in places, and not as progressive or as sensitive to realities as it is being portrayed.

It babbles. A lot. It has the typical authoritative arrogance and condescending tone that is comical as life is far more complicated than the take home lessons in this work implies.

It is not enlightened. It panders to certain marginalized and abused groups, which, I suppose can be construed as something positive because they are usually just shut out as if they did not exist.

Mind you, when I had to take Sex Ed in junior high in the 1980s. it was the same: underwhelming and not as helpful when you tried to use what you learned in the real world. My mother had already taken care of my Sex Ed, complete with making me read the book Love and Sex in Plain Language, which was not a bad book as a starting point. It wasn't patronizing, which I appreciated.

Many parents didn't like the changes from the 1998 version (but many didn't like the earlier versions, either, as one of my first stories as a newspaper reporter in mid 1990s dealt with a group that thought the old one was just dreadful, but they were merely preying on parents' fears and were actually angling to replace evolutionary science with creationism in the classroom). Many parents did. Most parents had no clue one way or another because reading that manual with the care and focus it requires is a real drag. 

If it were up to me, I would quiz parents on what is in that book, and then listen to all the excuses about how busy they are to do so, even though they repeatedly tell me against my will what is happening on Game of Thrones and with the Kardashians.

But people had strong opinions regardless. Kids are kids; they pretty much are trusting good sports who go with the flow, having the goodwill to believe what they are learning is relevant and important. Bless them for it.

The parents who didn't like it did not let it go. Tanya Granic Allen nearly made a political career from that disdain. People put up with spiralling utility, gas, and mortgage costs, but this was their line in the sand.

Doug Ford promised to repeal it. He got voted in. The End.

So that is the reality of the situation, and you would think if journalists were doing stories on this fact, they would seriously and deeply take that critical factor into consideration.

But no dice.

They are behaving as if Ford just stormed in uninvited, made a tyrannical decree against the will of every parent in Ontario, and did away with it on his own.

That is not what happened. Not even close. You had a very unpopular curriculum put in place, and now that side of the fence was listened to because they were the ones who voted in enough numbers to matter.

Watching CHCH's report on it this evening was amusing because it has the hack of no-brainer streeters and an "expert" who would naturally pull toward one side of the issue.

Newsflash: people lived for centuries without this Sex Ed curriculum. Most of the world has not had it, either. Somehow, life flourishes and goes on. Let us not have some sort of silly sink or swim argument here.

The Toronto Star is playing the same game, exploiting a grieving father who lost his daughter after she was sexually exploited to the point she took her own life -- and he gets some comfort in believing that this would have prevented his daughter from dying, complete with his Very Sad Face guilting people that the Star lives to parade.

I doubt very much that education would have changed anything in that tragedy. When you leave a group of unsupervised teens in close proximity together where they are all intoxicated, you have a lion's den where any cub or wandering lamb is going to get harmed.

That's nature. Cruel, cold, heartless nature in a room filled with inexperienced, enabled teens who cannot control those new surges of hormones as they all compete, lie, dare, insult, bully, and goad each other because they don't know what consequences mean.

There is no education on the face of this earth that is going to trump that toxic stew.

You could lock every one of those teens in a closet, chain them, and make them read and study, as you isolate them from the outside world. That could prevent it, but that is also sick and abusive, and would be even worse as it prepared them less for the realities of life. Life is filled with risks and gambles, and taking extremes won't help. 

Life is also filled with tragedy, and the hardest lesson to learn in life is sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it cannot be stopped. There is no If Only. There is only What Was.

Many people take their own lives. Many people get bullied, but don't. Many people don't get bullied, but do. We assume one action is linked to another, but we cannot always assume there was a solution to a problem.

That one of the boys expressed regret sounded more like regret that he was inconveniently labelled a rapist than that his victim felt despair with no way out. No school lesson can dispel that sort of selfish thinking. No magic wand can reverse it.

If we had actual journalism, we wouldn't have propaganda pieces that distort reality. You have people who wanted that curriculum for their own reasons. You had people who were against it for their own reasons. The party that spoke to the those against it won. 

That was a major platform, and yet, journalists covering the campaign didn't pick up on it. Instead of mindlessly running after candidates at corny photo ops, they should have done their research, looking at the salient issues from multiple angles, and seen why this issues was resonating with a lot of voters from across the province without making rude and haughty assumptions.

Now, there is howling where there should be reason. We have all sorts of untrue to life morality tales being spewed. That is not what we need to hear.

We need facts. We always do,

The problem is we rarely ever get them.

Why did local news die? Bad stenography newscasts.

CHCH was never a good station, but it is a perfect example of why local journalism died.

It is pure stenography. It often airs PR advertising whole, mislabelling it as "news."

But it uses as other no-brainer stunts: happy, happy propaganda, appealing to authorities, and then there is always the confirmation bias blinders to go along with their nationalism.

One silly propaganda piece was how Canadians were "fighting back with their wallets" against the Americans for putting tariffs on them.

Are you serious?

#BuyCanadian when the Canadian dollar is this low against the strong US dollar? Are you serious? Canadians cannot afford to travel or buy American with a low dollar.

Who are you trying to kid?

When I wrote for US publications, I would be paid in US dollars, and the Canadian dollar was low back then, too. I used to joke it was a great way to get a raise without having to ask for one, but it was not as low as it is now. Add this to the high price of gas, utilities, housing, and that Canada has always paid significantly more for basic staples than in the US, people are just broke, but keeping quiet because they are instructed to smile through it all.

And "striking back" by buying coffee from the Second Cup versus Starbucks who actually hires more Canadians than Second Cup? How very petty and small-minded. So wonder Trump has targeted this country -- it is country that runs head first in every obvious trap on cue.

There are real and serious problems going on in Hamilton as we speak with Hamilton Police wanting a hundred grand to buy C8 rifles without explanation -- but CHCH covers not a single one. Unless the police shove a press release under their noses, it does not exist.

With journalists wallowing and whining that there is a "news poverty", they are willfully ignoring the fact is that this is a country that was always news poor: the only difference is that we had make believe outlets cribbing from press releases, and now there is none of the pretence...but considering how obsessed the station is over the legalization of the nerdcore drug of weed, there may be a good reason why that station lives in a perpetual haze...

How war propaganda destroys nations long after the end of bloodshed.

As someone whose heritage is firmly Eastern European who grew up in North America, I can say with zero hesitation or doubt that Western Europe and North America are completely ignorant morons when it comes to having the empathy or ability to understand Eastern Europe, but Westerners have some patronizing misconception that what they believe is universally applicable, regardless of situation, history, geography, as well as a slew of other factors.

It is why the war in the former Yugoslavia made a horrific mess of absolutely the entire region. The meddling created more than just destruction and death: it placed various barriers on different regions that in 2018, they still cannot overcome.

Let's take Croatia, for instance, the instigators of that war. My maternal grandfather was Croatian -- from Dalmatia, to be precise -- and he never let you forget it.

Croats honestly believed they were being oppressed by being stuck in Yugoslavia. Their fascist past during the Second World War has never been confronted by that same Western world that rightfully put the screws to the Germans for their Nazism. The Croatian equivalent of Nazis was the Ustashe, and the self-documentation of their own atrocities against Serbs, Jews, and Roma was both prolific and vile. Smiling while holding beheaded victims was the least offensive atrocity. Burning Serbs in churches by Utashe nuns and priests was an actual thing as was a special concentration camp for children.

When the war ended, those Ustashe took all of their stolen loot (the real reason for the war) and ran to the Vatican who gave them all protection. They were small potatoes compared to the Nazis, and they got a free pass.

And then the West grabbed the Serbs and grabbed the Croats and threw them in a single country called Yugoslavia.

Surprisingly, this country did fairly well for itself for decades. There were a million intermarriages. 

But Yugoslavia was short-sighted in its single economic strategy: take advantage of the Cold War by playing the US against the USSR to get the funds to support this lab-grown utopia.

Sooner or later, you pay the piper, and when the Cold War was over; so was Yugoslavia's source of free money, and they borrowed heavily until the piper came.

No one had the funds or the inclination to pay it, and then the leaders of the various regions remembered the good old days when the Santa Claus America gave away free money, and they thought if they broke away with some nationalistic twaddle as a cover, they would have the US continue to fund them.

And that's what almost happened. The regions broke away, killed as they looted, but when it came for all those magical Benjamins to solve all of their problems, it never came.

Twenty-plus years after the war, Croatia is in serious trouble. Their youth are leaving the tiny nation in droves. Corruption is rampant. Their wages are the worst in the EU.

And because the world never put their foot down to that old fascist mindset, it is roaring back with a vengeance.

That is the inexcusable legacy of Western meddling by ignorance. It created a nation of never-ending poverty where youth must flee for mere survival, and those who are left behind are falling back to the destructive ways that brought out the worst of humanity.

Had the West had a clue, they would have heavily punished the Ustashe, made a people confront and acknowledge the blood on their hands, and had this been done in 1945, there would have been no civil war.

Yugoslavia is a nation that was artificial and forced. It should have never been created in the first place. If the regions healed their rifts, and wanted an economic union, that would have been one thing, but what happened was a forced marriage between a group of perpetrators and their victims of irrational hatred.

Now that Croatia cannot blame the Serbs for their prolonged slump, they are free to see that their notion that the United States was going to be their sugar-daddy was also a mistaken theory. 

But they can also think about how Western journalism did them no favours, either. They blindly went along with their narratives, obscuring the reality of the situation. They were played by an industry who knew nothing about the region, its mindsets, and then made decrees, enabling all of the delusions that brought a nation and its people into poverty and despair.

Ironically, Serbia -- who were portrayed as the Super Evil Bad Villains in the civil war, had their illusions shattered, and then they had to forge their own way, and ended up as a stronger and more tolerant people with a stronger economy. So strong that NATO is starting to meddle again because Serbs ended up far more progressive and stronger than what was expected of them, and proportionally, at least, in a far healthier position than most of the nations involved in their demonization and bombing. They moved on because they had no options left.

Kosovo's woes exploded near the tail-end of the civil war, although it was always simmering for decades. Albanians in the region thought it was a very good idea to break away and declare themselves a nation, even though unemployment in that region was always devastatingly bad, they had no tax base to speak of, and crime was always rampant as it was a prime region for organized crime, with human trafficking still out of control (mind you, Canada also has a serious problem with human trafficking; the difference is Canadians are happily oblivious to it, and people in Kosovo are perfectly aware of it).

So why did the Albanian population in Kosovo want to break away?

The same reason the other regions broke away: they were honestly convinced that the US was just going throw piles of free money to them.

Of course, that didn't happen. It is a fantasy. There is no advantage to do it.

When Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a local television station interviewed me about the ramifications of that decree. I was still running Chaser News, and I agreed to the interview.

Most of the interview did not make it to air (though I recounted all of my points on my site), but the gist was that Kosovo was stony broke, in anarchy, a criminal playground -- so how the region was going to get its act together was going to be very interesting. I also said that Western journalists would be wise to keep a track of FARA and see which PR firms were going to get hired to spin this pie in the sky mess and then let news consumers know all about it.

An interesting article from Al Jazeera from a reporter who had been there in 2008 was interesting in showing just how misled people in the region were by the Western media. Albanians and Serbs alike were the Western media's victims. Those in the region had been disillusioned thinking they were perfectly justified in wanting to break away, and that they honestly believed that the West were going to make their lives better by giving them cash, thereby completely vindicating and validating their illusions of being without flaw. Their leaders got wealthy at their people's expense, and even some Western players, such as Madeline Albright had tried to make a buck from that misery they helped exacerbate.

But it was journalists who were the biggest warlords and mongers of them all. They stoked the fires of hate with their ignorance of basic history and reality. They wanted the power to dictate how a war was going to play out, never mind that reality in no way aligned with their narratives.

Serbs got the worst press coverage, but it was the other regions who paid a bigger price in the long run. They will never recover because they were given false assurances from people who had no clue what they were talking about.

It's like asking your cab driver whether the mole you have is cancer and making plans based on his clueless diagnosis.

And the press drove those regions straight into a hell they never imagined in their worst nightmares.

I have genuine sympathy for all those regions. They were played, made fools, and bought the hype.

Once upon a time, journalists were so powerful, they could malign and misreport and be believed.

Now, they have all focussed and attack their president, and despite their relentless and lockstep cannibalization, they still don't get that they have no teeth.

It is a sad state of affairs, and it never had to happen if journalists were responsible, diligent, honest, and humble. They should have checked their Western filters at the border and be moral enough to admit they knew nothing about anything in Eastern Europe, and then do their research, and report facts, not narrative.

Because war is no time for some deceptive bedtime story people hold on to for comfort, never realizing it is slowly poisoning them for generations to come...

Watching Canada run head first into their Villain role in the Chaos Narrative.

Canada is, at heart, a nanny state. There are too many people who work in the sheltered environment of the civil service, and our politicians are usually the sheltered and spoiled children of people who were also once politicians or came from money, and the same can be said of journalists.

For decades, our oblivious ways didn't place us in danger as we were too inconsequential for any power to notice us. We wisely flew under the radar, and we had a few savvy street-fighters who had to earn their keep pull us out of scrapes we found ourselves in when our foolish disposition got us in trouble. We had their love and loyalty, but somehow, everyone forgot to keep notes on what they did to keep us in the game when things went haywire.

We were in the strongest position when Jean Chretien was Prime Minister. He prevented the country from falling apart during the Quebec referendum, something I covered as a student in j-school, interviewing various editors and journalists about that nail-biter -- and those notes formed the backbone of a later article I had published in Skeptic magazine years later as a working journalist.

I remembered Chretien's blanched face that night -- he barely scraped a victory, but he saved both Quebec and the Rest of Canada from absolute ruin. Break up Canada, and we get swallowed up by the United States.

But beginning in the early 2000s, there was the beginnings of peculiar rumblings started by the George Bush regime. I saw one in person. The American organization I worked for as a Canadian correspondent for the journalism trade magazine held its annual convention in Toronto -- the first time they ventured out of their home country. There were two keynote speakers over two days: Vice President Dick Cheney, and then the late journalist and anchor Peter Jennings who was Canadian, but was an icon in the US.

I was there for both speeches. The Vice President's speech essentially spelled out that yes, natural resources may be running in short supply in the US, but they can just raid Canada's. No worries.

The next day, Jennings's speech was a real pushback to that notion and a powerful moment that reminded me how hard it was being a Canadian who had to push through in a foreign country to make a name for yourself. It was something to see.

It stayed with me, but I knew whatever the rumblings, Chretien was a silver fox who could dodge the traps.

And then came 9/11, and Chretien's regime wasn't playing ball with the Bush regime, and things got very sticky. Fox News was floating about boycotts and sanctions against Canada, and I discussed it at length in my book OutFoxed.

Again, I wasn't worried because I knew that Chretien was an adept strategist who literally could take care of himself. It was like having Batman as your Prime Minister. 

There was no war of words. There was no missteps or diplomatic quagmires. Everything blew over with most Canadians having no clue about the gravity of the situation or the potential for trouble. That's what a good leader does. He makes it seem seamless and doesn't bring attention to himself.

I saw both those close calls as a journalist. I knew that the threat coming from the US was real, but I also knew Chretien alone could handle it because he understood the big picture.

Fast forward to 2018.

We have a sheltered little boy masquerading as a Prime Minister along with his haughty kid sidekick -- both who are not strategists, but oblivious divas who are obtuse to nuance.

Truth be hold, they are obtuse to big, honking signs of a cataclysm.

Unlike the the other two times, I am not shrugging off what is going down.

Trudeau has made things worse with his arrogant attitude. Kid sidekick Chrystia Freeland is equally dense.

They are both throwing temper tantrums in public -- having zero cards to play, going on and on how "insulted" they are that the US is not giving in to their demands, as if Americans care about what Canadian politicians are feeling.

Really, are you serious?

You are not being paid to be offended. No one cares how you feel or whether or not you are offended. This isn't a first-year Humanities course where your prof holds your hand and preaches about micro-aggression as he tell you that you are Gifted.

You were elected to get results. That's it. You go in, get dirty, get mud slapped all over your Botoxed face, but you get results that are beneficial to your country.

That didn't happen. They failed. The end. As in, The End. Drudge is chronicling all of this for posterity, of course.

This is now a serious crisis. Canada did well as long as they flew under the radar. We are like the rabbits of Watership Down: so long as the Elil are not on our scent, we are free to have our little warren just the way we like it.

But Trudeau is acting like a self-entitled brat who thinks his ego means anything. It doesn't. If he were competent, this should have been resolved months ago. You can whine about being bullied all you want, but you showed signs of weakness, and now the Elil have been primed to go after you.

And the campaign is breath-taking. It goes beyond tweets from Trump: the chorus of people who have instructed the flock to see Canada as liars is growing, and instead of dealing with this threat directly -- because once you lose credibility, you lose it all -- he and Freeland are repeatedly babbling about being insulted.

So here is the memo to those two bimbos: You have been repeatedly saying how "insulted" your majesties have been. Did it change the circumstances? Did it resolve a single thing?

No.

So why are you aping your ineffectual script? Are you really that vapid and unteachable?

Do you not have someone with intelligence and experience dealing with Americans on your staff to advise you?

It's probably too late, but the immaturity of the Trudeau regime is disheartening.

And repeating the word "retaliation" is playing right into Trump's hands. That's what villains do when the hero stands up to them.

But do not expect the Canadian media to clue in. They are cheerleading Trudeau, not having the courage to see what is actually happening. My local television station CHCH is run by a group of five-year-olds sitting at some Disney On Ice show, spewing childish drivel that makes me wonder just how bad is our educational system has plummeted since I graduated.

Some American politicians disagree with Trump? Who? The inert Democrats who have been floundering in the polls because the economy is doing too well for them to build a credible argument to be voted in?

Other Canadian politician support Trudeau! Whoop di do, what can they do, but tremble in their boots knowing if Trump cuts off Canada, the tax base, such as it is, goes up in flames? They are too afraid, and they have little choice, but even that facade of unity won't last long.

The US can easily ride out the tariffs. Going after Hershey chocolates? Do you think there isn't a Plan B? Canadians look like petty little meanies...and then Americans will rally together to buy a lot more chocolates and stick it to those chocolate-hating Canadian villains.

If that is the very best hand you have to play, you already lost the game.

And Trump does have a plan. There is no doubt. There is a plan, and it involves breaking and humbling Canada, particularly Trudeau, who has a long history of being a spoiled little boy who cannot function if he is not the centre of attention. There is bad blood between him and the previous Prime Minister Stephen Harper. There is bad blood between him and former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

He is sticking with the same script, but the difference is Trump is not Harper or Mulcair. He is far more feral, cunning, and powerful than Trudeau whose entitled temper tantrums are about to come back to haunt him.

Let us not forget he cannot contain himself when things do not go his way. He loses his nerve.

Canada cannot afford this kind of childish games. Our federal debt makes us vulnerable, and just Ontario's debt alone can upset our ecosystem to the point that Trump does not have to do very much to throw us into disarray.

Because we had close calls with the US not that long ago -- less than two decades ago. It is not as if the thought never crossed their minds. Chretien cleaned up that mess beautifully.

We are now in Chapter two of the Chaos Narrative, and we are being set up for a real salvo by Chapter three. It is already set, and once that happens, there is no going back.

And our politicians are completely unprepared, and our journalists are weakened and clueless to the what is in store. Just months ago, there was threats of big red buttons and nuclear war between the US and North Korea.

Now, there is a summit that, if it has gone well, will give the US an alternative market for their chocolates.

Canada has been blinded by arrogance and cockiness, and it can make more trouble than we can handle. We are not used to being seen as villains and foreigners to the US, but it may be a label we may end up wearing for decades to come...

Canada played like pigeons on steel tariffs; Canada obliges. Why didn't the feds get a Trump Whisperer when they had a chance?

Trump is many things, but stupid isn't one of them. Watching the Canadian government run into every trap is truly breath-taking and the combined forces of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is no match for Trump, who plays both those pampered airheads like a violin.

Trump is more than a chess master: he is a Go master, and that is a rare quality. He sets up a series of circumstances, sets up a narrative, creates chaos before creating another set of misdirections, and then lights a match to bring pandemonium with layers of unpredictable behaviour, while downplaying his own military genius.

Canada should have seen this coming a mile away, but as usual, the detrimental "It will all work out in the end" narrative blinded the feds to the absolute obvious.

The fact that he bested both the Bush Dynasty and the Clinton Machine to become president should have been warning enough to Canada, a nation absolutely dependent on the US for survival.

After all, not only does the US have ten times the population, they have more disposible income and far more wealthy and wealthier citizens than does Canada.

Canada didn't just rely on US companies for jobs and the US market to export, they were proxies who had goodwill and could serve as a conduit to the US.

Trump had to know this because his strategy has been unprecedented and shocking: he has now declared to the world that Canada no longer has a positive relationship with the US, meaning any foreign agent or nation wanting a backdoor entrance will bypass Canada for the time-being -- and any replacement is not going to let go of that should relations repair.

The US president called Canada spoiled recently, and that was not just a random insult: he told the world precisely how Canada was going to react when they did not get their own way.

And what do spoiled people do when they don't get their own way?

They throw temper tantrums and retaliate, like sheltered brats throwing fits on Dr. Phil when mom and dad cut their allowance.

And like a true pigeon, Canada retaliated when the inevitable happened.

Which is laughable. Trump would have had to bank on Canada slapping back after being punched square in the face, and as usual, the Trudeau regime obliged. You cannot use the same old orderly script with someone who is the personification of chaos.

The US can survive just fine without Canada, and have been cultivating relationships with other willing nations.

Canada cannot say the same.

Hamilton in particular is in jeopardy. The two main steel companies are now foreign-owned, and they can merely close up shop and go to the US. This city has no other industries, and most of the jobs of any value are government-sponsored ones: Mohawk College. McMaster University, schools, hospitals, and various public service outlets. With no sustainable and steady tax base, Hamilton collapses. You cannot bank on a handful of artisan stores, antiques shops, and food trucks to save you.

The local television station CHCH is, as usual, merely deferring to various authority figures and C-list "expert" sources, and have no idea how to ask the hard questions that count. Considering their very existence is now in doubt, you would think they would try a different approach, but no dice. The anarchists who threw a fit a few weeks ago because they feared gentrification should realize their fears were unfounded. Hamilton's fortunes have been rickety for years, and now it is being transformed into a ground zero in a bigger war, and make no mistake, Canada is in the crosshairs.

And that Trump picked one week before the Ontario election to sucker punch his Northern neighbours is very interesting, and a master stroke.

Even if he changes his mind, his move nullifies the NDP's fantasy-world promises completely as there can be no security of financial resources. The Liberals, already in the tanker, are inert, particularly as their federal counterparts are floundering with empty threats as they look as if someone shoved horse dung deep into their nostrils.

The worst is Trudeau's bizarre fixation of pointing out that Canada is not a security threat to the US, missing the entire point of Trump's manoeuvre: it wasn't a question of national security, but to put Canada on notice that he is not going to treat those spoiled, smooth operators with kid gloves. They are not special; ergo, no special treatment for you.

But Trudeau and Freeland kept tweaking Trump with their uppity and patronizing words. It is one thing if you are evenly matched, and Canada isn't evenly matched (Jean Chretien, on the other hand, has an actual brain and grasp of reality, and offered a pathetically simple and non-petty solution). Trump has a plan, and Canada doesn't. For the narrative the feds have chosen that Trump is an idiot, it is an inaccurate one that has led to very precarious results. There were far better ways to deal with the new president who is neither a wonk nor politician, and it is on the federal Liberals that things have gotten out of control.

In boxing, you do not put a lightweight in the ring with a heavyweight. You do not put a heavyweight novice in the ring with the heavyweight veteran. The feds thought they could charm their way into a consensus, not seeing that charm wasn't going to work with someone whose realm rejected consensus. The public sector is an artifical bubble that thrives on consensus because there are no time constraints: you can drag your feet for decades with no consequences because you do not have to hustle to find opportunities, and you get a nice pay check no matter how long you dawdle.

However, in the private sector, you have to grab those precious opportunities and make them yourself -- and those opportunities have a short shelf life. Miss one at your own peril.

We have a leadership completely out of touch with the feral frontier Trump has actively created. They are acting like peeved school teachers dealing with children; however, they are in reality dealing with a strategist who not only has a plan, but reveals his plans and predictions out in the open, and is proven right time and again.

Canada right now has leaders without heads. Their superiority complex has perpetually blinded them to the obvious signs screaming all around them. They haven't got this.

And for Ontario, Trump's gambit could not come at a worst time -- with three leaders who did not proffer a single plan that accounted for this turn of events.

That's right: no Trump Whisperer among them -- and there was plenty of time to prepare -- but didn't...

Useless Canadian News Media: No theory or fact, just narrative and perky propaganda. Four cases where not even the most basic questions get asked.

In my upcoming book When Journalism was a Thing, I talk about how the death of local news was dangerous. First, journalists have fewer places to hone their craft, but more important, many troubles, that begin at the local level are ignored until they explode to become a national crisis. Canadian journalism has always been the weakest of the Western world because it was always the most static and stagnate. Now that everything has gone in a dung heap, no one save for me, perhaps, has the courage to admit it and say it out loud in a public forum.

Journalists rely on narrative, when they should be forming a hypothesis that they can confirm or refute. Then, you verify by finding evidence that can both confirm -- but also deny the working theory. You form an empirical experiment, gathering facts and hunting sources until you have enough to make an educated idea of what is happening, has happened, or will most likely happen.

In 2018 alone, Canadian journalists let three major stories go without asking basic questions. I will go over these again, as I covered them here before, and then I will talk about a fourth story suffering the same willful stupidity.

  1. Marci Ien. Here is a journalist whose column about being pulled over by the cops was about race...until the Toronto police chimed in on Twitter, disputing it, and claiming to have evidence. You had journalists getting defensive and waxing about racism...but not asking one question: If the police have evidence that Ien lied, show it to us. That will settle the dispute. It hasn't happened yet, (and if I was Ien, I would demand that the police release it).
  2. Steve Paikin. Here is a journalist who has been placed on the #MeToo Hitlist, with his fellow journalists dismissing the claims, even though the accuser stated he said it front of her lunch companion in a restaurant...but not asking the one question...Who is the witness to this event, and what does this person have to say about the event in question?
  3. The Hijab hoax did not involve a journalist, but a young girl who claimed her hijab was cut by a stranger of Asian heritage out in the open on the way to school. Journalists never bothered to ask the one question...Is there any witnesses or surveillance footage confirming or refuting this account of events.

A journalist's job is to ask questions. It's part of the package of being a gatherer of information. I worked as a journalist for years; I asked questions because it really helped me find out lots of important facts.

You wouldn't believe the things I discovered. I found out that some people lie when they talk to a journalist. It's so true. I also discovered that some people tell the truth when they talk to a journalist, too. Also so totally true. It wasn't easy to figure out which was which because liars and truth-tellers don't wear signs on their foreheads or come with warning labels.

Which brings us to last night where a bunch of people dressed in black who carried a professionally made sign calling themselves The Ungovernables went on a destructive rampage down Locke Street, causing damage to businesses and cars in the area.

The police came, were blindsided, and then just like their winner colleagues in Florida during that latest school massacre, retreated and let lawlessness run its course.

The local newspaper the Hamilton Spectator (where I had a column way back in 1995-1996) and CHCH, the local "broadcaster" were garbage in their relaying of what went down. There was the perky chirping about the "good news" of being ambushed with violence as businesses and cars get destroyed so they can now see their insurance rates get jacked up or cancelled. Hip, hip, hooray.

No one was arrested.

Do you think Canadian journalists put on their thinking caps to ask some hard questions?

You haven't read this web site for very long if you have to think about that one.

No, of course not. We have to downplay bad news and give positive narratives.

And, true to form, not ask hard questions, such as these two:

1. Why were the police blindsided and unprepared? Did they not monitor social media? How did all these people manage to congregate, produce professionally-made banners (in a print shop or the maker's space at the library), hatch a plan, and then have to go without a hitch?

2. Who are these people? Anarchists? Antifa? Gangs? Terrorists? A cult? Paid rabble-rousers? How did they manage to gather and then be violent for a prolonged period of time without resistance?

Those are the opening questions: we have a police competency question, and an origin question. How old are these people? What is their motive? Why pick on small businesses? How well prepared were they?

We don't know, but if we had competent journalists in Hamilton, we'd start to have some idea of what happened -- and, for the record, why aren't any of them monitoring the underground?

They are useless. Absolutely useless. The journalist on CHCH was far too busy trying to show the positive instead of looking for real facts. There was no positive in this event: you now know that if there is a riot, the city is unprepared. There is no crisis plan in place.

I remember years ago, I had pitched an idea about the simmering problems of street gangs in Toronto. I had no takers, but a lot of lecturing that I was being a hysterical female. Then teenager Jane Creba was gunned down and murdered on Boxing Day in the streets, and then everybody was wringing their hands and blubbering how could it happen?

Easy. You have no guardians holding down the fort because you are too in love with narratives, and averse to posing hypotheses to test with evidence. You have to research, ask questions, and verify. You may be right, or you could be wrong. You modify and adjust, but at no time do you ever stop asking questions or digging.

That perky positive spin destroyed Canadian journalism. It made it useless as people thought everything was great because no matter how bad the news, there was some good news about it; so nothing needed to be done because if it didn't work itself out, They would fix it.

They didn't fix things last night.

You now have an emboldened group of people who are ungovernable. You have a police that retreated and were unprepared of an attack of this magnitude.

And you have press that didn't see it coming, either, and didn't care what it actually meant to their city -- or to their worthless profession.