Federal Liberals banking on old patriarchal ruses: Put up or shut up? Nice try, but on a rigged board, go for another option.

When you have bootlickers and minions, you think you are always in the right and when you have a board rigged to reward your noncompoopity, your perceptions of reality can get in your way when some who does not fall for the rules and script decides to play a different game with you.

So here were have another Liberal MP, Judy Sgro, try a very transparent strategy based on the sink or swim logical fallacy: She is telling renegades Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott to “put up or shut up” by going on a booby-trapped rigged board of Parliament to divulge everything they know.

This is a equivalent of murder mysteries where someone is given an anonymous note and told to meet the killer at a certain spot without telling anyone of the meeting — and to bring or destroy the note. Duh.

They should not actually fall for this ruse for many reasons, mostly because the other Grits would have already formed a counter-plan and are ready to undermine them through optics and other political strategies because they know the rigs and the rules and have more political experience than either of the first-terms MPs.

And they should call it out as a poor-man’s ruse, and decline it. It is a set up, nothing more.

And Sgro’s pathetic and misogynistic narrative how this is somehow some sort of personal vendetta against the Jive Turkey is laughable. Do try not to waste taxpayers’ money being so primitive, Ms. Sgro.

The Grits are dysfunctional and are turning on each other, trying every old trick in the book to salvage their operations. And you know how bad it is when they have to drag the old guard out and try to clean up the mess. Maclean’s magazine misreads the signs, however:

Enlisting the longtime Liberal party loyalist as a ‘change-maker’ offers yet another example of a government losing its optics mojo

They never had the mojo: what they had was a press primed to follow the old scripts for them. They thought the Prime Minister would be an ally to them, forgetting that during his most impressionable age, both of his parents were torn to shreds in the press for different reasons. He played them, plain and simple, because they were playing him. He set up the narrative of equality for all races and genders, and then when it came to practicing what he preached, he choked while the press dutifully followed the script, and everything became misaligned.

He was never that clever. Neither was Gerald Butts. Everyone was merely following the script until two female MPs went against its structure. And then people’s true intellectual shrewdness was exposed. Nothing more.

The Grits are in trouble. They know it. If the opposition parties were in better shape, they would be wiped off the map on election day.

But it can still happen. All bets are off, except that the old narratives are backfiring, causing nuclear light shows in their wake…

Rogers sheds its magazines to St. Joseph Communications.

This is a major blow. For Rogers not to hold on to a crown jewel such as Macleans is a serious statement of non-confidence. When I was in grad school, one of my essays was all about the history of Macleans — and it has a long and storied history with many critical writers and players both writing and editing it.

St. Joseph’s once acquired both Shift magazine (an excellent tech magazine) and Saturday Night (a crown jewel think magazine with a long history), and eventually scuttled them both. I was scheduled to have an article published in Shift, and it was abruptly cancelled one month before my story on cyber crimes was to be published with them. The piece found its way to Maisonneuve magazine instead, but there is an excellent chance that one or more of these publications doesn’t last a couple of years.

A lot of St. Joseph magazines, such as Toronto Life, are given away free in places such as hospital emergency rooms where they remain untouched. It is not a good turn, but when you are too afraid of change, you can expect no other fate…

Macleans' about face. Once the champions of Justin Trudeau, they have changed their tune just a bit...

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Boy, has Macleans magazine changed its tune.

From begging Justin Trudeau to run in 2012 to calling him an “imposter.”

Justin Trudeau for PM. No, seriously.

If this guy’s name was Joe Smith, he’d be a no-brainer for the Liberals

How times have changed. A seven-year-itch?

More like a seven-year nuclear reaction. Gracious, what a tintinnabulation…

The Bandwagon's in town. Get on, get off, it doesn't matter. The prime minister lost his goodwill from those who created him.

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III

Once upon a time Maclean’s openly pushed Justin Trudeau to become Prime Minister.

My, my how times have changed.

The Prime Minister, contrary to the columns, didn’t change. He is what he is, and what he has always been.

It is the press coverage that has made a radical shift. They all got on the same bandwagon after falling off the turnip truck and now are out for blood as they throw their once lovey-boy under a bus.

They deified this very unremarkable man who, if it weren’t for nepotism, wouldn’t be allowed to operate a sock puppet from behind a piece of cardboard. And now they are vilifying the same unremarkable man. He had no business being in politics, but had delusions enabled.

And then thought he was invincible and that the press would always drool all over him because they always did until now. The howling from the press is precious. They reinforced his every bad habit, and now are punishing for learning the rote script.

He lost goodwill and now is getting kicked from all sides. I am sure he has no idea what truck hit him.

It is the reason I never understood why anyone would bother running for politics. No matter what you give, it is never good enough, and people expect you to be their ATM machine and Santa Claus to solve all of their problems for them.

I remember reading the Rod Stewart was a cheap date, always showing the contents of his wallets complaining he didn’t bring enough money to buy any expensive meal. I think that’s the best kind of world leader. Just whip out the wallet, look inside, and warn everyone that’s money for the entire country for the year, so sorry, no graft for you.

And stick a huge red maple leaf on it to look official. Show it to SNC-Lavalin first. Sorry, assholes, put it on your list and maybe the real Santa Claus will get it for you for Christmas.

Or maybe not. There is something called reality. The end.

Trudeau was enabled the way everyone else has been: sold a bill a goods by those who have no intention of keeping promises and will turn on you in a heartbeat.

Had Trudeau been smacked around by the press earlier in his political career, he would not be in his quagmire now.

So let that be a lesson: when some group praise you and beg you to run for office, run the other way as fast as your legs can carry you….

Watching the political jousting in Ottawa...

Those who get their positions through being luxury brand items do behave as if they are two feuding lords dispatch their knights to fight their battles for them. It is very predictable. Jody Wilson-Raybould and Justin Trudeau are engaging in a media match that is a very interesting narrative slap-fight.

Proxies are employed to “leak” narratives and drop little bombs to smack around any rebuttals.

The WIlson-Rabould/Justin Trudeau match is interesting in that Trudeau until this point, was Canada’s Golden Boy who could do no wrong, but now, he can do no right no matter how much his minions at the Toronto Star try to salvage his narrative that was contingent on not doing naughty things.

The National Post has dithering ditzes questioning the woman per usual, but they aren’t important players in the propaganda war here. Why didn’t she resign? Why didn’t Raj Grewal? Why didn’t the countless male politicians who did something wrong and stayed put? Wilson-Raybould didn’t do anything wrong — so why should she be expected to step down?

Maclean’s isn’t playing into that narrative, but they, too, aren’t really important here.

What we have is two outlets who are maintaining narratives — the Globe and Mail on Team Wilson-Raybould, and the Star on Team Trudeau.

The Globe painted a portrait of a real heroine here, which was overplayed just enough to hint where they are getting their dirt.

The Star, on the other hand, is trying to spin things to pretend there is nothing to the scandal and things should go back to the way their sugar daddy wants it; so you know who is leaking things to them.

Once upon a time, this would be so transparent. The articles have breadcrumbs as big as loaves. No finessing, no trying to balance that coverage. This is a serious inter-regime brawl.

Because this story is so narrative driven — and one that has a patriarchal structure, there is no wiggle room for balance — one has to be the Good Guy and one has to be the Bad Guy. Hero and villain and the rage is very obvious.

Top that off with the arrogant sots of SNC-Lavalin who are throwing temper tantrums because they are being questioned and challenged as they are not getting their own way, and what you have is a showdown.

Add that to the external threats Canada has been facing lately, this country is in uncharted territory, and politicians too busy micromanaging their image than to notice there are bigger problems afoot and a press too eager to run with whatever PR narrative they hear…

Memo to Macleans: Let's not encourage the naive with university degrees to strive to be minions. It's not cool.

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Macleans has an incredibly naive piece about sacrificial lamb Gerald Butts, who was forced to resign because no one in the Liberal Party knows what the fuck they are doing.

The first piece of nincompoopity comes here:

Until the Globe and Mail’s Bob Fife broke this story, Trudeau looked like he was headed for a fairly easy re-election campaign. With the NDP going nowhere, and Andrew Scheer distracted by Maxime Bernier, things looked pretty good for Trudeau. That is much less certain today, after the resignation of Butts, for two reasons.

Uh, no.

That is not correct. Doug Ford’s majority in left-leaning Ontario is showing an ideological shift. This election was no shoo-in for the last year. We had, for the first time in our history, multiple nations start to target us, and when your nation is a mosaic, those winds blow harder and make a greater impact. The discontent was simmering. The only difference now is that the Middle Class now have a legitimate excuse to use as to why they can not vote for a luxury brand name. Canada has been getting its ass wiped in this global game of Go for a very long time.

But it is this passage that reveals a serious case of childlike innocence:

Secondly, the departure of Butts means that Trudeau will not have him by his side, for the first time in his career.

Opponents and critics liked to mock the relationship, calling Gerald Prime Minister Butts, and suggesting he was the marionette pulling the strings of the empty-headed puppet in the big job. Whatever the truth of their relationship, it has worked pretty well. When they started on this project, Trudeau was the third party critic for amateur sport. He now has a worldwide brand. Everybody knows Butts was a key part of that process, the result of many years of planning and plot hatching. Now he is gone, and he will leave a huge hole.

Are you serious?

Are you really that naive?

Justin Trudeau could have worn a rodeo clown outfit as he advocated public displays of flatulence, and be elected prime minister with no trouble. Canada is a nation run by nepotism, not backroom “operative” drudges. That’s a bullshit story. That’s the bait to lure people into doing the dirty work.

Butts reminds me a lot of Roger Ailes — the Fox News Network’s manservant general who everyone thought was irreplaceable, got replaced, and the FNC runs just fine without him. Butts is a manservant to Trudeau the way Don Hewitt was a manservant to 60 Minutes, and he was easily replaced and the vehicle is still on the air.

People with university degrees have to be bamboozled into doing the dirty work for princes — they are lured, primed, groomed, and broken in as they are talked into running on a hamster wheel until they are thrown under a bus. It is not just university “friends”; many women also get hornswoggled into marrying someone with a name and then doing all the heavy lifting as their “investment” has affairs, and gets to feel cunning when the truth is that all you need is a name with some recognition and people will give you things.

Usually Canada flies under the radar and we can have a collective delusion: a folie en masse, if you will. We vote for little princes and princesses, they recruit their well-educated servants who connive as they run around in circles, getting excited that people know they serve someone whose mommy and daddy opened doors, and then no matter how inept they are or badly they screw up, people will make excuses so they don’t have to put any effort or admit flaw, and we can all pretend we are functional. Yay!

We are like the small town everyone ignores. We can fuck up all we want, no one is going to ask the hard questions.

That was the script and had we not gotten the attention of Donald Trump, Trudeau would have sailed to victory for another two terms.

But the little pantywaist got cocky and tweaked the nose of someone who is a maverick and plays be a different set of rules, and then all bets were off. It was a game of dominos: one tile fell, knocking the others ones, and exposing just what kind of doofuses run this little popsicle stand.

That’s all that happened.

Had Canada not have a PM who made a fool out of himself that many times, no one would have cared about SNC-Lavalin, either.

Oh well, you know how it is. What can you do?

The trouble is the other two candidates are just as clueless. We have no Silver Fox option.

Trudeau represented two things the Zero-Risk Middle Class dig: a luxury brand surname that is a “safe” choice, and the average demeanour and intelligence that doesn’t intimidate and gives people the contradictory hope that maybe one day their kids or grandkids would have what it takes to be a PM, too.

In the US, the person who looks like they would be the most fun at a cocktail party gets to be president.

In Canada, we have different rules. We used to go for the silver foxes, but here came a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live out a fantasy.

That is turning to be a nightmare.

SNC-Lavalin was the right scandal that came at the perfect time, the way the PM came at the perfect time.

Butts is just collateral damage, and kicking him to the curb isn’t going to change a thing.

It’s the same old game of making people think they are the brightest star in the sky guiding the world to greatness because they are destined to be the secret ones in power in on the joke, when it is just a game of combat with the disposable getting torn to shreds as the joke’s on them…

No one is more expendable than a person in power.

Those paper crowns come with a string attached to the bottom of a bus.

Power and control are hypothetical constructs — illusions. People higher up the food chain are more expendable than the ones below.

Jody Wilson-Raybould tried to exert some control, and lost her place, and then got slagged by the PM who should be very careful of the example he is making. He still has his minions melodramatically trying to deflect criticism by crying witch hunt, but the ship has holes and it is slowly sinking.

Power? What is power? Maclean’s had a list in 2014 about powerful people in Canada — and some on that list are no longer powerful, such as Kathleen Wynne or Stephen Harper.

And Kathleen Wynne’s power was not only taken away — but many of the policies she pushed through were thrown under the bus right along with her.

The illusion of power tempts the wrong kind of people who think it is all about lording over people with impunity, and then destroying them into oblivion should they stand their ground.

And then, they are shown that they are expendable just like the rest.

World leaders are expendable. So are billionaires. Both more so than average citizens because both are dependent on average citizens for their very survival.

Five ethics inquiries? Trudeau’s regime has been sent to the principal’s office a lot. Two wins, two losses. He is starting to look like a schoolyard bully.

The US President marketed himself as the bad boy maverick, and his base expects no less. Trudeau did not, and that is a problem for him. He cannot live up to his own book of rules, and his miscalculations are giving his detractors an Alinskian advantage.

And worst of all, he is throwing allies under the bus — John McCallum and now Jody Wilson-Raybould. He is getting a little too close to the bus, and should be careful before he ends up having done to him what he is doing to others in his own inner circle…

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…

Defending public manipulation? Really, Macleans?

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For Heaven’s sake, Fritzie! If we ever stopped lying to each other, how would we ever get to the truth?

—Brenda Leigh Johnson to Fritz Howard in The Closer


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If you actually think that reporters are free agents out to find facts and present them neutrally, you ought to take a good look at this article in Macleans:

The right (and wrong) way to leak to a journalist

Stephen Maher: The recent leaking of a draft bill by the Ontario NDP was amateurish in the extreme. Here’s how these things are supposed to work.

It is this passage with the paragraphs I underlined that are truly remarkable:

Typically, oppo researchers decide who will get their leaks based on their experience with the reporter and the reach of their outlet — they give a good Toronto story to the biggest Toronto outlet and a difficult story to a good digger at a big paper.

This system allows opposition politicians to stand up in the House, point to the scoop and demand answers, without ever letting on that people who work for them had a role in the whole thing.

It is a fine system, and works pretty well no matter who is in charge, which is why smart journalists do their best to suck up to oppo researchers of all parties while maintaining a healthy skepticism about their bosses.

A fine system? Suck up?

Sorry, you cannot “suck up” to operatives and be skeptical of their bosses. They are a package deal — and you do realize their bosses are on to that, oh, decades ago.

Advocating public manipulation? Really? Let’s fool the little people by pretending that a reporter is not some sort of quasi-agent to an opposition party?

Memo to Macleans: you are not supposed to play along, where you are given strategic dirt on behest of another party, and you act as their proxy so they can then claim you found the scoop, and then they can vogue during question period to “demand” answers.

That’s rigged.

And it’s deceptive.

Because that calls everything else you do into question.

I am not naive. There is always an element of give and take. People don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts, particularly not when it comes to an Establishment property.

The NDP were careless and not focussed on anything else but getting publicity and keeping on the good side of unions who voted for them. Throwing their source under a bus is a serious misstep, and will make future disenfranchised saboteurs wary of trusting them again. They got off topic, and they should know better by now.

But it is not journalism’s place to agree to take a script from a vested newsmaker and then pretend they didn’t. You become tainted. Many leakers have a vested interest and are manipulating public opinion — and many leakers are not some unpaid intern — they are The Man, or The Man is just using a proxy. This is the reason leaks are extremely problematic. Not useless, but are used as bait to push an exploitative agenda, or manipulative public opinion through the shadow of fear through cloak and dagger means.

It is often used to inoculate the public or test public response — what is known as a kite flying.

There is no transparency, and you are missing critical pieces of the puzzle, that, if you knew what was hidden, you would have a vastly different and more accurate response.

It is a manipulative hot mess, and as usual, the press and the politicians are involved up to their eyeballs in it…

Method Research, Part Nine: Everything has a rig. That lesson came to me in high school.

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Are people in the press idiots?

Well, yes.

That’s what happens when you choose to be a follower.

I have been talking months about Trump’s Chaos Narrative, the press now finally clues in.

Trump is down, not out. For those of us who didn’t try our brains with cocaine in the 1980s, he has gone through this kind of thing before. His enemies think they have backed him in a corner, and he does something unexpected and rises from the ashes.

His Chaos Narrative is over. This is intermission. The Phoenix Enigma is a completely different rule book. His detractors are now clinging on to a script that just got burned.

You can turn over the rules in more than one way.

That I learned in high school.

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When I was in junior high, we had a yearbook and I was on the committee for both years. We didn’t actually do anything, I noticed, other than make posters. The teacher actually did the entire book from all the photography to the layouts. I had the lone poem published in my Grade Eight yearbook, but the “committee” seemed to be in name only, and I found it frustrating.

Then I went to high school and was on the yearbook committee every year, and in my senior year, I was yearbook editor.

Unlike junior high, I was heavily involved in its creation. I took lots of pictures. I did the layouts and came up with the ideas. By Grace 11, I did more pages than the entire committee combined. I kept track of every page as I looked for events to cover.

I didn’t like it, however. The first teacher advisor spelled my first name wrong on my personalized copy, which was the alleged “perk” of working on the committee. Alexander instead of Alexandra? I typed out my name, and then she ruined my Grade 9 yearbook for me.

And then it happened again in my Grade 12 Yearbook, but the advisor didn’t give me a personalized yearbook. I was furious when I came back to pick it up the following year. I typed the sheet and handed it in, and I know how to spell my own name.

In my Grade 11 Yearbook, one of the members did a two-page spread with tiny writing crammed around artistically, with my advisor not paying attention to what a teenaged boy would try to sneak in — only after it was printed did her husband notice. I was editor of the current book and it took a lot of arguing to convince her not to tear out those two pages, but have him black out the offending parts every single book instead.

I caught a lot of attempts at people trying to get crap through. I was more eagle-eyed than what kids assumed I would be.

But as I said, I didn’t care much for yearbooks one way or another.

But I found being on the committee extremely useful and instructive.

For one, you know everything about everybody. The office would print out lists of everything from teachers and students and hand it over to us. I knew everyone’s credits, grades, and the like.

Second, I knew exactly how the year would play out right in September. Student life was predetermined. Everything was tightly controlled and scripted, and we’d get the playbook from Day One through the yearbook committee.

That way, I could plan my year knowing in advance what was the rigs with my roadmap.

And I don’t like scripts.

I was doing a lot of things off the script, such as finishing my studies one year early. I also did a literary journal. I wanted to do a short comedic play, but the only way I could do it was by presenting as advertising for yearbook. I had organized a simulation experiment that got serious local media play because there were parents throwing fits about it — but there was a lot of positive feedback from students, the press and the public who supported it. (It was a simulation of Apartheid in South Africa, for the record. Most students received a “black” passport and were forbidden from a lot things that the “white” passport students got to do. I didn’t invent the concept, but I got feedback from my friends who had it in their high schools, telling me what a flop it was; so I tweaked it just enough to get publicity and praise for it. It almost got derailed when Student Council got wind of it and went ballistic, trying to water it down. My advisor for that committee went ballistic in turn, and demanded an emergency meeting where I pushed and presented my case for it, and they backed down and had it go as is. Then parents went ballistic and called to complain because they thought watching racism and inhumanity on the news was enough, and then the principal cancelled it after half a day and students were upset because they actually wanted to feel the same loneliness as people who were oppressed as a show of support, but then that same principal turned around on graduation and used it in her speech about what a great school we were for having it because of the positive press and laurels they got for having the courage to do it.)

I had access to things because of that committee. I did fight for things, but if I couldn’t get them one way, I knew how to bypass it. When I suggested we have a small literary section in the yearbook, I was shot down by the advisor, but then I just made my own journal. I didn’t have a seat on Students’ Council, but I didn’t want it, either, because once you had a seat, you got tethered.

I did have a seat when I was yearbook editor. You could be elected by your fellow students or appointed if you were in charge of the committee. My seat came from the latter. I found it to be a real drag, but it was amusing nonetheless with students thinking they had control over their committee, when in fact, I knew that was coming up because I was on yearbook. It was all preset for us.

I had a peculiar reputation back then: one the one hand, I was seen as a Miss Goody Two-Shoes. I didn’t drink or do drugs. I was academically-focussed.

But on the other hand, I was seen as rebellious. My old yearbooks have inscriptions from friends who called me wild, gutsy, and even insane. I was repeatedly referred to as a “chick.” I dressed wildly. I often wore a beehive or flip to school. I wore leopard print and mini skirts with boots. Sometimes I wore a black stocking on one leg and a white on the other. Back then, everyone wore Polo by Ralph Lauren. I wore Mondi, Christian La Croix or something exotic my grandmother thought up for me.

Grandma’s designs were wilder by a mile. Some kids said I dressed like an alien. I didn’t care, but it was fun.

Child of the 80s who dressed more like she was from the 60s.

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But not always.

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That was the other reason I knew about a rigged system.

Teachers had complained to me that I wasn’t behaving the way they expected someone like me to behave.

While other kids were trying to fit in, I was trying to expand my horizons. I didn’t want to box myself into something inauthentic.

And it helped by knowing how scheduled and choreographed the year was going to be.

Here are where all the hamster wheels are. This is the schedule when you are supposed to climb on them. Now, get to it, kids!

There was a reason for it.

If teens — who have just had their minds whacked with the novel thing called hormones — were left to their own devices, they’d dare eat other to eat dog shit and set fire to different chemicals in the science labs just to see what went bang the loudest.

I am not totally unsympathetic to the need of sublimate that new and nasty energy into something productive as students’ attention is being deflected from the real purpose and told a cock and bull story about how extracurricular activities were important for resumes, scholarships, and getting into “good schools.”

You see what happens when one is allowed to stray and wander unsupervised.

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Get the whippersnapper to worry about doing well at the next track meet and then spend hours running around in circles, and everything flies under the radar.

But if he’s left on his own, and some political and journalistic manipulators and exploiters will chew him up and spit him out whether they pretend to “oppose” him or “support” him.

I get it.

But when you have no intention of eating dog shit or blowing up the school, those rules can hurt you. You start believing in those invisible boundaries, and worse, take them as divine and natural truth and reality. You take them for granted.

You count on rigs to save you and make you adept at roaming out in the open to explore.

You don’t see that’s the cage to keep you locked up and then your senses and thinking become passive.

Creative thinking is thinking. Rote adherence is not, but can be confused for it.

I spent my high school years learning how to spot the rigs as well as how to turn them over, break them, and challenge them as I bypass them.

It wasn’t without incident, but even then, I learned how those rigs are reinforced and kept in place.

As I mentioned, I once put on a little skit for assembly. I cleared it with the yearbook advisor who told me to see the advisor for assemblies, a teacher who I had never spoken to or would have as a teacher as she taught subjects that weren’t going to be something I had to take. I never met her before. I just knew about her because teachers were all listed in the yearbook with their photographs. She seemed pleasant, approved, and then the play went without a hitch.

I ran into the next semester, and not on purpose. Here was a teacher I never had dealings with save for the one time. Now, here she is again, recognized me, and started to talk to me. I was polite, and as I didn’t know her very well, just asked when was the next assembly. She told me, and I said something benign that I am sure it would be interesting and good luck with it, and left.

The next day, my yearbook advisor sternly warned me that I couldn’t have another skit, shocking me. I said I didn’t want one. She said the other teacher said that I asked about the next assembly. I replied that I never made any comments about wanting another skit to her, nor did I have the time or desire to do something I already crossed off my list, and I had not approach my yearbook advisor, meaning that, obviously, that’s not why I asked. I was making small talk.

My yearbook adviser wanted to warn me again, and I flat-out said that I didn’t appreciate gossip or speculation about me in the teacher’s lounge, and if I was going to be interrogated because I was being polite, I wasn’t going to speak to any teacher for any reason for the rest of the year. Besides, usually, ideas were shot down ninety-percent of the time in this committee regardless of who asks; so the chances I would go to the trouble when it would likely be vetoed was close to nothing. She backed off but I could tell she was very displeased with me.

She thought she “got” me at something that veered off the sanctioned script, and in the process, revealed more of the behind-the-scenes goings-on than she should have. I was involved in more than one committee, and she knew it. If she was going to go on a fishing expedition, she could have asked if I had any other ideas for promotion. Another skit would not have been something that I would have recommended, and considering I wasn’t the editor at the time, I would have said that ship sailed. Sales wasn’t my department. That would have refuted the theory, and kept the inter-teacher intelligence-gathering under wraps.

But it got me thinking about a lot of things.

How many students get labelled because of loose talk in the teachers’ lounge. Students do it to teachers as well, but the power imbalance is there.

I changed my ways, but even silence brought certain collective assumptions. I didn’t talk to teachers about my personal and social life because it wasn’t their business, not because I didn’t have one.

I had teachers stop me in the halls — teachers I never had as teachers — tell me I should have “friends.” I would nod and thank them, and leave. This was a rude and unfounded. I wasn’t by myself. I went to events and socialized.

And then my senior year, my school held a “fashion show” over two days. In 2019, this school would have gotten in serious trouble for it by the neo-Victorian puritanicals eating prunes as they posted their disapproval on the Troll Scroll.

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The high point was when the male students, teachers, and vice principal dancers stripped off to their skivvies and grandmas were shoving money down their speedos.

But it was all for charity, which makes everything okay!

(Oh, this wasn’t the most questionable sexually explicit thing to go down in my high school. A couple of girls in my gym class showed a hardcore porn video for about ten minutes in health class. The teacher got in a bit of trouble, but didn’t lose her job over it, even though everyone forgot that as I was the youngest in the class, I was actually underage. There was something else even more serious that went down there, but that was a year or so before my time; but that’s for another day).

I bought tickets for both nights — mostly because I invited my friends who went to other high schools to see my school’s cheery debauchery up close. It was not surprising that the day after the second night that I had more than one teacher comment that I never mentioned I had so many close friends from other schools, as if that was uncommon among teens. Give me a break. I just sighed, shrugged, smiled cherubically, and walked away, making me wonder what kind of gossip network was going down in the teacher’s lounge. Yay, live action reality show!

And I was the character without a trope-ish role.

Who was Alexandra? She was skipping grades and winning awards. She was on committees. She was a wild dresser. She was mouthy, rebellious, but knew just how subversive she could be without getting derailed. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted, and how I wanted it. Peer pressure didn’t stop me. Teachers didn’t stop me. I used to get calls from dignitaries who’d call the school, and then I’d get paged to come to answer the phone. I gave a news interview that way. I had students quip that the principal was borrowing my office for occasions, and yet he barely knew of my existence because I wasn’t getting hauled to his office, and the one time I did, it was the teacher who had to apologize to me.

It was actually a very simple and straightforward matter of turning over all of the rules because I had the scripted year playbook via the yearbook committee.

There was no “conspiracy." There was no diabolical plot. There was an adherence to traditional rules and routine. Teachers didn’t want trouble. They got their marching orders from the Ministry of Education, and followed the rules. I got that.

But I wanted to learn more than just what the government thought I should. So I made my own playground.

I graduated, skipped the prom, and then went off to university.

And then a civil war broke out, and I decided to become a Method Researcher.

But I remembered about those rigs I used to ticker with in high school and wondered if the real world really was like high school — only with more money.

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IV

J-school was my test-run of Method Research. By this time I had experience in real world journalism in short order, including a column in the Hamilton Spectator. I got the idea because I got the attention of 60 Minutes. I worked as a freelance reporter for the Burlington Post, and this is one year into my experiment.

Now I was getting a grad degree. I had enough under my belt to know what reflected the real world, and what was the academic-version of it.

So this would be my way of pushing and keeping notes of my results.

I didn’t have a yearbook committee to give me the crib sheet of the upcoming year, but for two of the three semesters, we were split in three groups for some classes on a rotating basis: one third would do radio, while third television, and one third print, then we’d rotate until we did assignments for all three media (no Internet at that time).

So what I could do was ask what the other two groups were up to, and then I’d say what I was doing. That would be sufficient.

As I was working on my assignments, I was lining up and planning for my upcoming assignments. I could actually work the phones and email and nab some high-profile newsmakers to give me interviews — some that usually didn’t grant media interviews at all, such as then controversial London police chief Julian Fantino.

By the time the first rotation hit, I had everything ready and sailed through. The second rotation went even better.

It didn’t always go to plan, but by then, I learned how to land on my feet, only one level above what my original plan was.

I had figured out to sit on my professor’s right side because when we were giving our pitches, he’d always start with the student on his right. One time, he decided to go the opposite direction, meaning I would give my pitch last.

And as my luck had it, the second to last student had the same pitch I did, and it was one of the rare times that I had no backup plan.

And it was my turn, and I said I didn’t want to say anything until I confirmed it, which was true. I promised I would check in within the hour.

I ran down to the bulletin board in the front lobby to see if anyone of note was speaking at the campus or anywhere downtown because you can’t just buy time unless you have a justification for it.

Peter C. Newman was promoting his new book — and one that I had bought and just finished reading. I called Maclean’s who gave me his secretary’s number, and he gave me an interview.

And he even autographed my copy.

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It was a high point for me on numerous levels. Newman was an excellent writer and researcher, but he was also an exceptional editor. I had written one essay on the history of Maclean’s and his notion of keeping a map of Canada with pins to ensure the entire country’s affairs were being covered was something that stayed with me, and something I used in my own work over the years, and, in fact, still do. When I wrote When Journalism was a Thing, I had my own map of the various parts of the profession, and made sure I covered it thoroughly.

It was a close call, and I learned a lot that day, from the contents of the interview to the importance of not getting complacent even when you figure out the rigs.

I interviewed a lot of different people back then, a lot who were reporters and editors of various media outlets, particularly after the Quebec referendum for a TV assignment about the media’s coverage of that watershed national event. I had set up an interview with one very popular radio host on a newstalk station that fired him and others and changed the format to music. He phoned me to let me know he’d still do the interview. He was gracious, and there are many times I wonder what happened to journalism because once upon a time, you could find humble and sensible people in the profession like him and Newman.

I often wonder if journalists realize how far down the rabbit hole they are. You had the twits, but you also had the square shooters. Eventually, the twits took over completely and their toxic mindset poisoned the industry beyond help.

I learned more about rigs in the real world. Some people tried to use them as fortresses and even silent weapons, but you also had people who challenged those rigs.

By the time I graduated, I had my hypotheses to test, my experiments I would conduct, my map of the landscape I vowed to explore, and the plan by which I would explore it. When you are an explorer and what you are exploring is a laboratory, you are part scientist, part detective, part cartographer, but also part rig detonator.

It was a fascinating way of being a journalist. It is like being a fictional character who suddenly realized she was in a comic book and then questioned the story structure, the plot devices, tropes, the author’s ideas, the illustrator’s choices, even the structure of the panels. There is something very meta about it, the way La Linea is.

But over time, I became very good at spotting and even predicting rigs.

We don’t need them. So many innovations are being denied because we think they give us power, and they merely take them away.

It is fear that keeps people holding on to them as if they were security blankets. It is irrational and counterproductive.

I understood that in high school. I understood it as a Method Researcher.

I still do, and it is the reason that I fight for a world without them…

Federal Liberals opt for the Hillary Clinton Political Strategy: let the silliosity begin!

There is a by-election in Burnaby South right now that is getting the kind of attention you don’t want. At first, Jagmeet Singh was stepping in dog shit for not knowing some crucial details of the slap fight between China and Canada, but the By-Election Fairy decided to change the narrative and it was his Liberal Opponent Karen Wang who took a step into a mountain of manure by playing the race card.

She resigned, changed her mind, but the Grits said no…and then pretended this was all part of the master plan because they want Singh to win.

Not even Maclean's magazine is buying that bullshit story:

Wang having set a dumpster fire incinerating the Liberal brand, it seems Liberal operatives did the obvious thing: claim the whole episode had worked out exactly as hoped. One CTV politics host even reported that Liberal strategists were “overjoyed” with their Burnaby South candidate inferno. A National Post columnist asked whether it was “the plan all along to throw the fight?”

While obviously the Liberals want to project confidence that Singh isn’t a real threat with the spin that they are happy to see him elected, that logic implies that somewhere in the Liberal campaign manual is a line of instructions: douse Liberal brand in accelerant, ignite, win. I don’t think so.

Considering the cost of running a campaign, you do not “throw” elections. You just don’t run a candidate, and risk them suing you for getting them in debt just to sabotage them and humiliate them in public by having no intention of being serious and respectful. Are non-white candidates just cannon fodder and expendable pawns to be disposed? That’s just batshit crazy and the best evidence that the electorate would be wise by never voting for you ever again.

If you want Singh to win, don’t enter the race. You draw less attention to it. The seat is going to be up for grabs anyway come the next federal election.

The Liberal Party has been nothing but racist and disrespectful to Singh. He can win without Grit political social workers helping him along.

But the Grit bigotry and sexism can hold for another discussion on another day.

It is that their strategy is starting to emerge. They have found Hillary Clinton’s old playbook, and are cribbing from it.

The one where every blunder is to be explained away in public as being part of the “master plan.”

Contrary to the conspiracy theories of the Left, Clinton lost because three states that normally sway Left went Right — three states where she barely campaigned, if at all, taking them for granted. Trump campaigned there and won.

Then came the excuse that, yes, her camp knew, but they didn’t want to seem as if they thought Trump was an actual threat by going there to campaign, which is your job as a national candidate: you don’t go or not go because of a rival.

That’s irrelevant.

You go because you are reaching out and making direct face time with potential voters. It was a gross tactical error that proved that Clinton’s ego overrode any consideration about the people who she wanted to lord over.

When you run in an election, you do not take sides, play favourites, run because of yourself, someone else’s ideology, or to validate your demented ego or thinking.

You run for the people!

That is the only right answer a politician can give. Trump said it enough times. Doug Ford made it a campaign slogan.

And notice it is not for some of the people, people who kiss my ass, rich people, limousine liberal people, white people, Fox News-watching people, or any kind of line-in-the-sand kind of people.

It is just people. People love to divide themselves based on area code, but the bottom line is that after an election, the people have spoken, and now give the winner the mandate.

You lost because you did not resonate with enough people. You ignored too many people. You focussed on just one group of people while ignoring another group of people.

And no, they were not wrong in rejecting you. You made a request, and it was rejected.

Do not go back and try to spin failure with sophistry and then argue that you are superior to the victor. You are not. You failed.

Own it.

Because if the Grits vetted the candidate and accepted her, they were wrong. She isn’t cut out to run for office. She may be talented with other things, but not politics.

But if we are to believe this was part of some strategy, it is a far worse offence to the point that this regime is grossly frivolous, manipulative, and incompetent. If wanted to be a candidate, and I was told I was qualified, but then spun as some disposable decoy, then what?

Who’d want to run for a party like that?

Who’s Justin Trudeau? The Joker? And the candidates are the henchmen?

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Really?

And as for the narrative that a Singh victory would be a great thing for the Grits, that’s a pretty brazen act of racism.

But Clinton also cheered Trump’s candidacy thinking the same thing.

Doug Ford also proved that to underestimate an opponent is the best way of ensuring your defeat.

The Left’s neo-Victorian strategy is trying to vote-shame people. It doesn’t work. The Left don’t actually believe their ideology, either, considering their acts of othering and full-on prejudice trip them up at every turn. The Grits wouldn’t even allow the first PM to self-label as “feminist” be a woman, let alone a woman of colour. That was given to the privileged rich white boy with the famous daddy.

So let’s not pretend.

Clinton lost because the Left keep doing the same thing.

If you made a mistake, own up to it.

In the Burnaby South case, they have now made Singh’s ignorance of current events utterly forgettable.

Because what the Grits are doing is far more troubling in comparison.

That Singh didn’t know about the latest gossip on an international spat Canada’s involved in?

Big whoop: who can keep a scorecard these days? Every single day, the federal regime manages to piss off another nation.

But thinking you can fool all of the people all of the time as you throw candidates you didn’t vet properly under the bus? That’s disturbing.

We have a government that is groping in the dark, using losing playbooks, and don’t see what the problem is.

And that’s something to be seriously concerned about…

Building antidotes to war games, Part Two.

I

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II

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III

Journalists are now having bricks in their pants right now.

Hedging their bets on the Left for the most part, they have proven they cheering goobers that they absolutely know are no different than the ones on the other side.

And now some are lock-stepping in a different direction, hoping to spin themselves out of the box they built themselves into.

But even their seeming about face is just as manipulative: you do not admit flaw as you state that neither side is trustworthy, but suddenly, your unchanged methods are to be trusted?

Nice try.

It is a way to pivot and bridge by means of misdirection, and it’s not working.

Once upon a time, however, it did work.

In 1996, for example, the Toronto Star won an award for their reportage on a con woman who lied about being mugged in order to get drugs.

The problem is that they were the ones who first reported her yarn as fact. Only after people recognized the anonymous woman’s shadow and called in to the paper that they suddenly change what they were reporting.

The Star should not have won any award. They should have been fined for public mischief: the people who recognized the woman and called the newspaper should have gotten the award.

This was before Facebook and Twitter where people could expose hucksters without a middleman to get the credit and the glory.

My goal has always been to create manuals of combatting deception by various means. Much of how we are raised in rote memorization of rigs, rules, and roles that isn’t education, but indoctrination. Specifically, into accepting patriarchal structures as reality.

Question things as a radical centrist, and that isn’t something you can fake, wing, steal, or make up.

I have done my research and thoroughly so, but I have respect for my labour and my talent. I demand credit where credit is due. Online, I give nudges, here and elsewhere. You may be trying to throw a brick to get a jade, but that’s not going to work with someone who builds manuals.

In book form, I spell it out with sources and plenty of them. There is a huge difference.

But journalism tries to hedge their bets. I like this passage from Ann Coulter very much:

What viewers don't understand is how lazy media personalities are. They are merely quoting what someone told them. They don't know. Their expertise consists of memorizing a set of talking points, like ABBA memorizing the syllables to English words without knowing what they meant. 

If journalists allowed follow-up questions and you could ask, "How do you know that?" The answer would be, "I heard it from a guy at Vox." 

The media go to extremely biased sources; they know nothing, so they're not in a position to challenge them; and even if they were, they wouldn't, because they're on the same team. 

Yes, but I would add they also steal ideas from people and then appropriate them as their own.

And this happens because journalism was never an empirical social science or science.

If you have to show how you have come to your conclusions, and can have your work replicated, you are going to take a very different approach. You are not going to steal from other people because all eyes are on you. Journalism is one of those professions where personalities dominate and hog the attention, but their actual methods and practices fly under the radar.

My work has been to spotlight those practices and methods. Left, Right, Centrist, it is all the same game.

Radical centrism is a different perspective. You are not sitting on the fence. You travel in all directions while finding and maintaining yourself in the core.

Not the middle, but the core.

Journalism could have been a powerhouse academic discipline for a general audience.

It chose laziness and ego, and there is no place in the information stream for that kind of pollution…

Memo to Canadian Journalists: Put down the label maker and stop giving names to every grain of sand. That’s just a way to dawdle as you keep the status quo.

The Toronto Massacre has so far resulted in a lot of self-congratulations and chirpy articles about all the wonderful things people do after an emotionally-disturbed man rans a van into a crowd of innocent people, killing ten, and injuring more, forever changing the outcome of people for generations.

That's what cults do to keep the suckers from questioning those who are exploiting them -- and questioning their own gullibility as they toil in squalor and abuse. Stop giving looking for excuses to give people a lollipop for doing things that they are supposed to be doing -- namely, being moral and responsible

And no, CBC, tracking down the original post of a killer from a screenshot isn't a big deal. Kids can do it. I do it all the time. You still do not get this whole Internet thing.

But that's just one half of the problem with the alleged coverage.

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It is the compulsion to label this event with no real facts. You have journalists using speculation without questioning anything.

And it is highly irresponsible garbage.

We have the Globe and Mail offer this sophistry-filled article:

Can the radicalization of ‘incels’ be stopped?

Incels is not an actual thing. It is a hypothetical construct given to describe some men. War propaganda is all about aiming a message at young childless men who are naive enough to enlist in a war to be killed in the name of rich and powerful men who want more power and control, and it did it by exploiting their evolutionary fears of being too weak to survive, and not strong or manly enough to find a mate and reproduce.

In other words, the very label "Incel" is a form of war propaganda used to control that same pool of young men to behave in a certain way.

In a world of 7.4 billion people, there will be millions who have various mental and emotional problems, and so far, the Toronto Van Killer waved red flags of having those problems since childhood. There is no "incel" problem. We have a problem of ignoring troubled people until they explode, and then wasting time thinking up all sorts of labels so we do not actually have to honestly use work and investment to deal with those problems. 

Policy Options, another cesspool of sophistry, had this drivel to offer without actual effort:

Why misogynistic killings need a public label
Until we label misogynistic acts including killings for what they are, their underlying motivations will be obscured and our ability to respond disabled.

Newsflash: we already have such a label. It is called Hate Crime.

Notice how that label did not end the practice; so why do you think having sub-labels will solve the problem?

Because labels are meaningless.

Labels do not save lives. They are a way we judge other people and pigeonhole whoever we do not like, usually people who do not as us as superior to them and hence do not applaud our every thought and action. It is an easy script to follow so we do not have to think.

No label would have stopped a man with serious mental problems from renting a van and killing people.

Labels are no-brainer ways of sustaining a pecking order and creating make-work programs for over-thinkers who are averse to actual work.

We are now in a Post-Progressive world filled with experts and labels they create to dawdle instead of produce results.

What would have stopped the tragedy in Toronto?

For starters, if you have people talking all about how this young man was acting strangely all those years, and there was no intervention, that's the first step.

Instead of heaping on praise, some factually-based criticism would put the heat on a system that gobbles billions of dollars, and doesn't produce solutions. Stop giving paper crowns to people for doing their jobs with basic competency.

You do not need a label to stop bloodshed. You need action. You are assuming socially awkward men who cannot get dates are all alike. There is a difference between being socially awkward and anti-social, and now you have ignorant people who have polluted the information stream with the unfounded assumption that not having sex is a problem.

What now? Do young women put off by men have to endure dates with these disturbed individuals in order to save humanity? Are we going to advocate sexual social workers to the save the world?

Do you realize the label "incel" implies that a Beauty and the Beast delusion is the answer to this problem? 

Or perhaps these alleged "incels" have a right to engage with unwilling partners because it's better to torment one person instead of a group?

Because a sexist media has just given legitimacy to the notion.

The emotional illiteracy in journalism is out of control. Journalists stick little fake labels on people without ever even being in the same room as the person who sparked this fake debate in the first place.

The coverage is not acceptable. It's vile. We have no facts, but plenty of babbling, and the worst thing of all is it will produce nothing and we can expect more bloodshed even with journalists playing with their label-makers instead of looking for facts as they deal with reality...

Everybody loves a loser: Why Patrick Brown's downfall got the blow-by-blow attention.

Maclean's has been having a field day over Patrick Brown's cringeworthy downfall here, here, and here. Rarely has the Canadian media gone into such excruciating detail over someone's public demise. While they were protective of TVO's Steve Paikin and dismissed the accusations outright without bothering with any details, Patrick Brown's accusers were taken seriously from the start, and every second of Brown's takedown has been chronicled for posterity.

Maclean's article is detailed (and had outlined what I said earlier that his accusers were not "anonymous", but unnamed as he knew of their identities, particularly as CTV had told him of it), and is interesting in that the press often loves a loser more than a winner.

And Brown played the part perfectly with cartoonish zeal.

Brown is the perfect Patriarchal character, and the news media gets the Patriarchal perfectly. It was a perfect story for them: detailing his actions fit in perfectly.

When it comes to stereotypes, journalists can write about them forever, regardless if the truth is more complex. Brown's downfall is reassuring to the press as it reminds them of their glory days: taking down the losers, and then chronicling their final days in power.

It is something the press can relate to these days all too well.