National Post's peculiar ways with Wilfred Laurier University: We don't just cover the story -- we have our scribes represent you!

The National Post's ethics do not sit well with me with regard to their peculiar coverage of Wilfred Laurier University. They are the ones who have hyped up Lindsay Shepherd's little mess with her snowflake bosses who are very afraid of University of Toronto's mediocre pop psychologist/guru to the snowflake man-child demographic Jordan Peterson.

The entire affair has turned Canadian universities into trailer parks, and really, let's have this out on Dr. Phil or Judge Judy or the recently wrapped up Jerry Springer because, in fact, this is precisely where this low-class egotistical brat-fest belongs. Kardashians are a snore, but nerdier Kardashians are an epic embarrassment.

You had a no-name graduate drudge by the name of Lindsay Shepherd do the inexcusable act of showing dreck from TVO. That's a pretty slacker thing to do as TVO is just vapid state-run babbling that you can watch for free at home on your own time, unlike sitting in a classroom, which is very expensive. Jordan Peterson, whose claim to fame isn't doing anything worth remembering in academic psychology, but behaving like dad Murray from the 1980s-themed sitcom The Goldbergs.

Peterson refusing to use any gender pronoun other than he/she is just the same as Murray sitting in his recliner in his underpants yelling at his middle child Barrie who wants to be called Big Tasty instead of his birth name Barrie. Murray could shout angrily that he isn't going to call Barrie Big Tasty because his son is a moron and that's not the name on the birth certificate, while an angry and offended Barrie throws a fit, and then runs with his arms swaying behind him.

That is why Jordan Peterson actually gets any press. It is all very sad and inconsequential. That the University of Toronto was Bev Goldberg to Peterson's Mur by getting all in a huff because dad wouldn't indulge junior just goes to show you that just like bad American comedies, Canadian academia is also a joke. 

Shepherd showed a big nothing to her sedentary class and her bored professor-overlords, who are paid generously to sit around and pontificate as they make up things to do other than actual work, went all gangbusters on her and she secretly recorded them as they expressed suspicion that she was in cahoots with Murray Goldberg, aka Jordan Peterson.

The National Post jumped the bones of this non-story, whining on end how this was an outrage, and shame on anyone who slags a common graduate drudge who airs an episode of Canadian Goldbergs. The university was stupid in flogging a garden variety underling, and the Post was silly in hyping up said underling into some sort of hybrid of freedom of speech crusader and abused little girl. They have been trying to place their backside on two chairs, with very little traction as the story always seems to collapse between those two wobbly chairs.

And, as usual, the Post never had a clue of what was really important.

The real question was how much student's money is sunk into trailer park nonsense and showing TVO drivel instead of, you know, teaching students to research, conduct experiments, and do something other than puke out sophistry, but as critical thinking is not a sought-after quality in journalists, the episode got bizarre with the university apologizing for babbling nincompoopity to an underling while ignoring the fact that students sit around watching TVO instead of going out in the real world and think as they act.

This isn't teaching. This is babysitting.

Shepherd stood around outside, and just as sitting in front of a television in class is construed as work, the act of construed as protesting freedom of slacktivism.

The National Post was quick to cover all of this non-news in a lop-sided way because it was cheap and easy no-brainer trigger clickbait, but then Shepherd and Peterson -- who are supposedly not linked, suddenly got linked in a real way: they are both suing Laurier using the same Financial Post journalist (i.e. National Post)/lawyer Howard Levitt.

This presents an ethical dilemma for the rag.

Levitt is free to represent anyone he wishes as lawyering is his day job, but the National Post is not free to just cover this melodrama. They have a vested interest in this story they framed incorrectly -- and I find it very interesting that Levitt is representing the side the Post has painted as the hero-ish victim.

It was in the pages of the Post that painted Laurier as the bad guy ("Thought police!"). If I were a lawyer representing the university, I would be going after the newspaper for turning an internal matter into a pseudo-circus, and note how this all-so-very convenient set up came about.

This was not a national story: this was a local story about a teaching assistant who resorted to showing television shows instead of providing more substantial methods of teaching, and her bosses miss the obvious and then pick on her for some triviality. She may have been ordered to do so by the same slugs who gave her that pathetic verbal lashing, but that's up to the university to explain why they allow such passive teaching methods to go on.

The entire episode is an indictment of social science education: we have students sitting around watching a television clip, and then talking about it. Are you people serious?

Students can do that at home for free. As in, YouTube.

I remember when I was in Kindergarten, I was told to ask my mother to bring in dry pasta in various shapes so we could glue it on construction paper and call it "art" -- my mother, who is an artist herself -- hit the roof. She just went ballistic in two languages, not just one. It was a waste of food, a waste of time, and patently insane to slop some glue on food, stick it on paper, and then be proud as you mislabelled it art. This was educational deception and she would have none of it.

Art took practice. You had to get your hand to move in certain ways. You had to study your subject and you had to understand each medium you used. This was heartless, soulless pseudo-artistic garbage, and she let my teacher and principal know that was a lazy cheat to pretend to teach art without actually teaching it.

Fortunately for me, mom taught me art herself, and sent me for private lessons as well.

I feel that is the superior form of education in a modern age where young adults are doing the equivalent of slopping pasta on paper and calling it a social science. We do not need to have sterilized theoretical debates on gender pronouns: we can have in the field experiments that give us real world results we can use, instead of passively sitting like dummies watching public sector blowhards spit sophistry and opinion in each other's faces and then someone has the nerve to opine that they have something that resembles importance in their own field.

If they did, they wouldn't be chewing the fat on TVO. As in ever.

The National Post should be fundamentally embarrassed for looking at the trash and then thinking they found treasure. You didn't.

You don't see the obvious. That everything is just a farce and a sham, but the Post always had their writers glue pasta on newsprint and then have the gall to call it a story...

If you thought it was journalism that was dysfunctional...

Metafilter has very eye-opening link about the meltdown of HAU.

The links to read are here, here, and here, with this shocking mea culpa:

Six years ago I helped initiate the HAU project. At the time I believed it to be a brilliant concept: an open-access journal, based on a radicalization of the grand tradition of ethnographically grounded anthropological theory. I still believe that. The problem was in its realization. From early on there were signs that something was amiss, that I realize now I should have noticed; these signs became more salient over time. After one incident of alleged physical violence at the end of 2016, some of HAU's patrons did try to intervene, to stop power from being concentrated and abused; but we did not act firmly or consistently enough – and the end result was that workers and contributors appear to have been treated in shocking ways, the administration appears to have been grossly mishandled, due process undermined, potential supporters alienated, and the project of HAU as an open-access journal was not successful as a result.

Yes, physical violence.

There were other serious allegations as well.

The "quick fix" model of publications are not working. Too many egos and too little regard to the realities of human behaviour is not helping. The model isn't aligned with reality -- and while it is all well and good to have a lax model that assumes people will play fair, the egalitarian ideals have no place in the the mechanics of creating a business structure. If you want equality and progress, you have to make the worst assumptions of human behaviour, and then create the system that cuts off hoarders, grifters, leeches, bullies, cheaters, liars, thieves and the greedy off at the pass from step one.

Otherwise, you end up with HAU's mess.

So communications is still grappling and more concerning, losing with no institiution being able to find workable solutions to their woes...

Doug Ford stops "environmental" welfare for the wealthy; limousine liberals have predictable tantrum meltdown

"Green" is nice, of course -- if you have another kind of green to afford it.

It is one of those concepts that limousine liberals love to talk about, but they see it through their designer rose-coloured glasses.

Because if they had a clue who this whole reality-thing works, they wouldn't be having the kinds of programs and set ups they do.

RIgged to favour the rich.

Not the poor.

They roped in the Middle Class by having them perform life sink activities such as separating their garbage into little blue plastic recycling boxes.

But when you go to a city's commercial dump, all the garbage goes into one huge pile because people who have money do not bother with such trivial things as touching trash.

If you do not want so much garbage, here is a novel idea: why don't you penalize companies who keep wrapping their junk in so much packaging?

So spare me the false sermons. If you truly want to look after Mommy Earth, stop obsessing over straws and stop making so many things that have absolutely no use other than to be useless garbage once something is opened.

Preaching is not aligning with reality.

And the Ontario Liberals had some very clueless pseudo-pro-environmental nincompoopity.

And Doug Ford is doing away with them all because those programs do not benefit the people who voted him in.

He is cutting the Ontario Green Fund and rebates for buying electric cars, which should have never been available in the first place.

Because those programs aren't exactly geared for the poor, but the well-heeled who can afford the luxury of buying electric cars and can spend tens of thousands of dollars to make their houses environment-friendly.

Poor people cannot even rent an apartment without a couple of roommates.

But you have outlets such as the Toronto Star wail how Ford is killing the environment.

That has always been a rich man's hobby. It was never made with the realities of the economy in mind or at heart. It has been a way of making the wealthy seem more moral, and hence, superior to the poor.

What kind of policy do you have that gives money to people who -- if they are truly serious about saving the environment -- then they will make the sacrifice of shelling out the money they already have to buy better quality windows and a snazzy Tesla.

Taxpayers shouldn't be buying stuff for the wealthy.

There are better and more equitable ways to not mess up the planet.

So if the Left are sincere about their dedication to the environment, they need to do it in such a way that it isn't a tax write-off for people who can afford to kick in a few more tax dollars in the first place -- and makes it something that does not discriminate between various socioeconomic classes -- or continue to keep those on the bottom from ever moving up.

The programs had one intent: allowing patrons of the Left to get rewarded for their patronage, and it showed. It's a sham that deceives people into thinking something is being done for the environment when it never did.

You want to make a difference? Help poor homeowners install metal roofs, for instance -- not the conventional roofing material that flies off and creates a lot of garbage when it has to be replaced every few years.

Or just ban those kinds of materials.

How much useless plastic junk are being sold in cheap discount stores? Why not ban that entirely?

Because that's real. 

And it doesn't favour those who have a lot of cash to burn...

The View From a Sparrow's Nest, Part Two.

I loved boxing. It was, for me, an intellectual exercise, and my second trainer was in the military, and it was the way for me to figure out how power players mapped out their strategies by translating their business or political moves into fighting moves, and it was shocking how well I could accurately map it out, and then predict the success of their various campaigns by acting out their moves.

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You could debate things needlessly using books, such as the Art of War, or journal articles. You could draw a rough sketch playing chess.

But the best measure of a campaign's success or failure was to get off your duff and try to box it out before going out in the real world and testing the conditions as practice.

Movement was essential to comprehending a situation. So was having a sense of humour.

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Because the moment you do not see the comedy in people's seriousness was the moment began to take sides.

And a box has sides to confine you and prevent you from examining something from every angle.

For example, certain strategies are guaranteed to work, but you do not always want to employ them. It seems great in theory or when you are dealing with inanimate objects representing people, but once you humanized the strategy, there was no way that was the desirable way to do it, even if it was a sure thing.

For example, you can clear a path by destroying an obstacle. There is no shortage of war manuals that give this as an option.

You can map out the strategy in a game of chess and even go.

But if clearing a path means destroying someone's self-esteem and peace of mind, many people would gleefully do it and be proud that they had that power over people.

However, even if you are not sensitive or moral, you still have to realize that the rubble can fall on you and crush you. There will be evidence of your handiwork, and sometimes the structure you take down is attached to a more powerful structure that will return the favour.

It's why you have to be able to be able to navigate through problems on your own.

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But like the concepts of Creating and Inventing, independence and individuality has been co-opted. No, dying your hair green and getting a tattoo like everyone else is not rebellious, independent, or express individuality. Armies, gangs, and prisoners used tats to create groups, not individuals.

It is a communal exercise to create and identify collectives, not individuals.

Which is one half the way people behave: their social side.

But when taken too far, the expense is the individual.

And unless we balance both and not try to use the methods of one to mask that we are neglecting the other, we end up falling prey to deceived.

And that we are now in an Age of Propaganda, that's precisely what happened.

Journalism destroyed itself. Propaganda took its place, and people chose sides, believed the distortions, and then believe they are critical thinkers who are informed.

And have been taken for a ride ever since.

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There is a void of factual information with people making nonsense listicles with no common sense, telling people what comic book and antiquated books will tell people all about "modern journalism" -- never mind not a single one ever did the job.

Listicles are for followers so they know how they are supposed to march to Authority, not rebel against it to express their individuality. 

And if we have authorities who were doing their jobs and not driven to be control freaks, they could have system where both sides of our personal equations could function with equilibrium without one side being sacrificed for the other.

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Fear is the guiding force of an Age of Propaganda. People are afraid and are looking for TORTEEs -- they convince themselves that constricting their thinking makes them free, but all it manages to do is confine them and lock them in a cage of their own making.

Fear is boring. Fear is uninspiring.

And you cannot soar to better places when you are shaking in your cage, and your only solace is seeing that there is a group shaking in that prison with you...

The View From a Sparrow's Nest, Part One.

I was twenty years old when I decided that I didn't have to follow someone else's script. Invention and creation are two concepts that are based on the idea of Fiat Lux: you create something that was never made before. In Western society, both those concepts are seen as some sort enemy to avoid.

I saw it, and I chronicled that fear of the unknown in a society that followed rules religiously.

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Try to start something new: oh, the number of committees and other make work programs that are allowed to exist in order to stymie something that has never been done before. Everyone wants to passively sit and come up with excuses why something new should never see the light of day without any expertise in doing anything new or has no evidence or knowledge in the realm of Creating, Inventing, or Innovating.

But I never let anyone stop me from moving forward in spite of the collective fear.

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Because the old ways are such a snore that lulls everyone into complacency. People steal the anonymous scripts assumed to be written by They to guide them.

How very uninspiring and unoriginal.

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Magic happens when you break away from the Committees that created the Tower of Babel. They are always babbling nonsense, trying to stop something better from arriving and delivering.

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Not me, though. I have walked through that Tower of Babel and have mused from it.

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But I left that burning tower as I look for a better way...

The games of misdirection: Playing fact-checking games is a waste of time. Ask real questions instead.

The Toronto Star reminds me of ignorant, but pretentious people who are in the midst of house shopping, asking questions about the colour of the walls as they fall for every staging trick under the sun -- but fails to notice the knob and tube, lead pipes, asbestos walls, and the leaking oil heater buried out back, requiring a pricey environmental assessment all while having no clue there is a railroad less than a block away in that bad neighbourhood. 

The electrical is important. The foundation of the house is important. Toxic materials is important. The chandelier can be replaced. So can the doorknobs.

If you do not know what is important and what is window-dressing, don't try to fake it.

This little "project" from the Star is of the same ilk: using the empty buzzword "fact-check" as they describe the shallow game of theirs this way:

A team of Star reporters put MPs under the microscope, fact-checking every query and answer during five days of question period. What did they find? Some truth, some lies and lots of stretches and dodges.

What is the point of question period? As there is no minority government, it doesn't matter what the opposition asks, the reigning party can pass whatever bill they wish. As there is no penalty for making anything up or any law to keep politicians from spreading misinformation, why do they care if what they say is true or false? It doesn't matter who gets elected -- they are not held legally accountable. There is no empirical evidence proving this form of dog and pony show is the best or even a functional form of running a government -- so why do we cling on to it? Why hasn't the system changed at all? It is inefficient, unscientific, undemocratic, and filled with unjustified rigs -- and you are fact-checking statements?

You are quibbling about the colour of the walls instead of looking at the rot in the foundation.

That's Western journalism for you: always obsessed with the shallow, and completely oblivious to the rigs. They fall for every feint and ruse in the book, and then have the nerve to pat themselves on the back for falling for carny tricks.

And then they wonder why they are no longer a thing...

Billionaire to spend millions to get the government that his majesty wants.

Michael Bloomberg can afford to spend $80 million making decrees and dictating that the minions known as the little people should march lockstep to the polling stations and vote Democrat.

And founded a media outlet Bloomberg LP.

This is what is a Pretence of Democracy: someone controls pursestrings, and has influence that is stronger and more powerful than the average person to the point of pushing those same people to vote in a way that suits his own purposes...and then claim it is democracy in action.

But because journalism is dead, the old ways of presenting lopsided and distorted information no longer works, media titans are forced to go to more brazen means.

Equally disgusting, and proof that modern politics is nothing more than playing Three Card Monte at the ballot box instead of a street corner...

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...

Los Angeles Times has a new sugar-daddy; everyone babbling the same old script.

Babble from new rich owner about fighting "fake news". How original. How innovative. 

How vague.

Old Establishment bygone relic gets to be editor. How original. How innovative.

How passive.

That's the cowardice of a dead profession, and shows just because an owner comes from the STEM-field, that they comprehend what killed a profession and how to improve it.

No original thought or thinking outside the box, just following a script that people actually think is a sure thing...

Flash-rage: Mass anger today; tomorrow, huh?

In an Age of Propaganda, there usually a fixed target and all fear, anger, and hatred is thrown at the target.

The Left have chosen Donald Trump, and they keep hoping something will stick. People get angry one cue, but it is a shallow rage: the preachers of the Left pick a target, an angry flash mob posters some shoddy quality propaganda posters on the Facebook as they rant on the Twitter...and then poof.

The momentum is lost.

It is hard to believe Facebook was a pariah this year. Everyone vowed to cancel their accounts because It Was Very Scary, and then they didn't save for a few goobers who reactivated their accounts, and then it all went back.

Remember Stormy Daniels and her attention-starved lawyer? The whole 60 Minutes interview? Somehow, it's not such a big thing, anymore.

#TimesUp? #NeverAgain?

So thirty seconds ago.

And now we are waving fists in the air over separated families. Outrage!

Flash-rage. Fleeting rage. Shallow rage.

Usually rage without focus is a dangerous thing, but this is a rage that is mechanical in nature. Slacktivist rage that is fast to come on, but the memories are short.

And then the next thing comes, and while the issue is nowhere near resolved, it is quickly forgotten.

Teflon rage. The anger that never sticks.

Because people are still holding out for They to clean up the mess. They should tell us what is fake news. It is as if public rage is seen as enough to let They know what mess to clean up, and that is good enough. People registered their disapproved, and hollered for their invisible servants to make the inconvenience to go away.

People remembered the once upon a time, journalists would shame someone, and then the government or police got involved and assured them that something was being done.

That collective habit never went away when social media came on the scene. The stimulus-response dynamic is still there, except with more gossip and stories that require a knee-jerk reaction, the potency of such behaviour has dwindled down. Ride out the storm because another incident will grab attention soon enough.

Without the emotional and intellectual investment progress needs to push forward, flash-rage overtakes the real kind, and people explode for a moment, only to forget why we were angry in the first place...

Trump tweaks Canadians about their softcore border smuggling; Empty-heads take the bait. Suckers.

Suckers.

Empty-headed suckers.

The US President must be having a ball dragging sheltered Canadians into his carnival act.

I say he is trying too hard. For the next leg, I want him to grab Justin Trudeau's schnoz, and then declare, "I got your nose!"

Watch with hilarity as Trudeau touches his nose to make sure it is still there. Watch the Toronto Star write several articles and columns, over-explaining why Trump lied about getting Trudeau's nose, and how that is not physically possible unless he has some machete, samurai sword or really sharp scissors of some kind -- and that would be physical assault.

Then watch Twitter light up with offended people declaring Trump is a nose-ist, body-shaming and picking on Trudeau's nose.

Please, amuse me. Trump can then grab Chrystia Freeland's nose, too, and then we can have offended women whining how that was A Very Bad Thing to grab a woman's nose.

And then Trump can go on Twitter, declaring victory in having two Canadian noses and that he won't give them back as we then notice the two increasingly touching their noses to reassure themselves that Trump really didn't take their noses.

We are one step away from Canadians becoming the world's laughing stock. Trump made a snarky remark about how Canadians are smuggling US goods across the border, which is absolutely true because it has been going on for as long as I can remember. Even before cheap reality shows showing what Canadians were always trying to bring back home without paying duty, they were hiding how much cheese they were bringing -- I have seen border guards dismantle cars to find a truckload of cheap booze and bed linens.

This is so not news, but now Canadians are having a fit over the remarks, and the virtue-signalling is out of control, with all sorts of nerds going on how this isn't true and people validating this remark as they are being serious.

That is the tactic of morons who really are that gullible. 

In boxing, two opponents will trash talk each other before a bout. A good boxer never takes it seriously because the point of pre-match trash talk is to unnerve the opponent and hope to undo his strong man image and replace it with a whiny little boy reality.

If you don't want to sound like a nerd, do not screech like a baby when someone says they got your nose. They don't have your nose. It is a ruse, and if that word is too hard for you, let me say it in basic language:

The mean man is making fun of you. He does not really have your nose. He knows he does not have your nose.

He just wants to make you look in the mirror to check if he has your nose before you feel silly that you thought he really had your nose.

So Canada, listen up when Alexandra Kitty tells you not to look at your noses when the man in the big white house tells you that he has everyone's noses. It is just a silly story for silly children to believe to make the rest of the world laugh on cue when you get all upset and touch your faces because he said that he has your nose...

The Reid Technique, Three Card Monte, and how political differences are just a shell game.

When I used teach Language Studies to college students, one of the most interesting assignments were the speeches where students had free reign over what they wanted to give their speech about to the class. I was permissive professor in that regard, but the structure and content had to be precise and well-researched, although I gave enormous leeway should the topic provide a challenge, but would provide a big pay-off.

One student did his speech on Sledge Hockey and he was on the Special Olympic team in that sport in Nagano, Japan complete with footage of him playing. Another student did his on breakdancing and could seemingly defy gravity, stop in mid-move, and calmly explain in detail what he was doing and the science behind the move. Two students did their speech on how to mess with people's minds and the subtle surrealist twists brought raucous cheers. One of the most popular speeches was also the absolute simplest: how to use the telephone. I had almost nixed the idea, but was glad that I hadn't: it was elegant, ingenious, and proved that we often overlook what we take for granted.

And then there was a card shark who did his on how people get scammed playing Three Card Monte, complete with demonstration.

This was my personal favourite speech in that it was a very sage lesson in looking at not just the small red flags that you are being played, but the big picture wisdom that came from someone who could do it with ease. He was a particularly bright and astute student who could pick up my subtlest hints, and was one of the smartest students I ever taught. (To wit, when two of his classmates had showed up twenty minutes late for class on the day the second part involved a test, I wanted to teach the two of them a lesson in punctuality and asked the class how hard did you find the test I just gave you? The test had not been administered yet, but the student in question said without skipping a best, I found the second question to be really hard, causing his two tardy classmates to blanche before the rest of the class caught on and oh so very seriously agreed. There are few times when you have that kind of vigilance in a classroom and can channel it to teach other sorts of lessons, and I was grateful).

But the speech on why Three Card Monte was a guaranteed scam was something I knew well as I had researched the topic as I wanted to see how people could and did get scammed: what were the mechanisms, and how were people roped into believing they could win or even out-con the con. 

It was more than just the card shark having charm, persuasive skills, and dexterity to ensure that the pigeons never saw the card to be chosen was palmed and always off the table: he usually had more than one confederate who would "warn" the mark that the game was rigged (a truth to lure the sucker in), and then form a fake "alliance" with the mark (a lie) so they could look out for each other to win.

And that was crucial to the scam: somewhere in the equation was a truth, but then in front of it and behind it were lies to hide the more important truth. 

In short,

LIE: Easy money if you find the right card.

TRUTH: This is a scam.

LIE: You have someone watching your back.

TRUTH: The game is absolutely rigged for the pigeon to fail.

Like layers of a Dobos torte, there is a hard layer alternating with a soft layer. You can't just cut through halfway and be satisfied, you have to cut through all of the layers to get to the bottom.

Most con games worked this way of being given false assurances that there are two sides, and one side has your back while the other does not. People are primed to look for a good guy and a bad guy all at once, and they feel comfortable that they have protection that will help them defeat the bad guy.

The scam works because of the illusion of a saviour: but in the end, the false hero is a confederate who is in cahoots with the grifter. There only a single path, and only a single goal: to fleece the pigeon. The rest of the set-up was an act.

I didn't just study con games. I studied magic, acting, art forgery, "psychic" readings, war propaganda, and military strategy, among other disciplines that required some sort of deception in order to do research for my first book.

And deceptions work best when there is an obvious truth that people can more than just recognize: but cling on to for a sense of hope. Greed scams promise riches with minimum effort. Pity scams promise to stroke out egos to assure us we are not on the bottom of a pecking order in a different way than a greed scam. Morality is exploited, as is evolutionary fears.

Truth is the bait, but the confirmation bias is the blinders to ensure that we don't see the truth we are given has been spun with a deceptive context, and that if we replace the lie with another truth, we realize we are being manipulated and exploited to our own detriment.

I didn't just research the things where lies are used for criminal reasons. Acting is performance, after all, but it still requires people to lie about their identity and feelings as they use other people's words. I had compared the Stanislavsky technique with the Chekov technique, for example, to understand the precursors to Method Acting, which I then studied to see how people get into their roles.

I had the chance to research undercover police work and even have a manual of it in my own collection, learning how police officers act in the real world where the stage is life and the stakes are life and death.

But it also led me to study another form of professional deception: the Reid Technique.

It is a controversial and disputed method of police interrogation, but why it interested me is that it can bring about false confessions. That is not a minor unforeseen consequence: getting innocent suspects to confess to something they did not do is, in essence, getting people to lie to their own detriment. Lies on one end encourage lies on the other. 

But the Good Cop, Bad Cop deception is very much in tune with the confederate scheme of Three Card Monte: there is a deliberate illusion that there is someone in your corner who is working at odds with the person you see as a personal villain and threat to you, when, in fact, they are working together against you. The triad deceives in order to lure a target, but the goals are different in nature -- but not the structure.

But it isn't confined to back alleys or police stations: war is also deception and requires blurring the lines in the sand in such a way that a target goes running to someone who offers a refuge, when their refuge is the same place as the trap of the obvious enemy. Create a mirage and an enemy at the same time, and your target sees the enemy as the person to flee and the mirage as the destination he must reach in order to avoid the danger.

Except it is not a straight line: it is a circle that leads right into the lair of the enemy who isn't standing at the front entrance of his trap, but the back of it, forcing you to take the long way round to enter the unseen front.

Religious cults practice a form of this, only they create the false enemy of the target's family and friends. Money scams turn poverty into that enemy. 

But so do political parties.

Yet in 2018, people still cling on to the idea that one political party is the enemy, while the other is the oasis.

One side does something odious, and those who pledge allegiance to the other side will cling on to the bad act as "proof" their side is more moral...

Except when you find the exact same odious deed committed by their leader and group, all of a sudden, there are excuses galore, and dismissals that it is an act of the made-up childish babble word "whataboutism".

No, that is the blinders of the confirmation bias. If a country has two or more political parties, and the same bad things happen regardless of which political party is in power, then what you have is a game of Three Card Monte with two confederates playing along -- the only difference is the two sides take turns at playing the card shark and the false saviour, depending on who waddles into the back alley, looking for a sure thing that does not exist.

It doesn't matter who is in charge because the same con games go on as people get fleeced with nothing to show for their gullibility. Should two different pigeons run into each other, they will argue which of the two grifters is the Good Guy and the Bad Guy, never cluing in that both are bad guys playing the same rigged game.

So why do people keep falling for the same con games, thinking they found the "sure thing" political ideology?

Because our social narrative is Patriarchal. The One. There is One Good Guy and One Bad Guy. They are binary, separate, mutually exclusive, and static and easily identifiable entities. We are programmed from Day One to filter reality through this inaccurate and infantile lens without a shred of proof that this filter is accurate, reliable, valid, credible, truthful, honest, or useful.

If we were raised with multiple structures, such as Matriarchal, we could actually see how childish and offensive the Patriarchal structure is. We could see that two competing interests (real or perceived) could both be Bad Guys out to get us. We could see that the illusion of five options are hiding that there is a single forced choice that works against us.

In fact, so horrific and antiquate is the Patriarchal, that society's lack of embracing the Matriarchal by now shows just how primitive our collective thinking happens to be. We see allies as enemies and enemies as allies because we are stuck on a hamster wheel and refuse to see that we are getting nowhere -- and neither are the people who we disagree with ideologically.

No matter who gets elected, the rich stay rich. The poor stay poor. Governments raise taxes. They stomp on our human rights in the name of nannying us. They are quick to bomb people and start wars. The Left is as prone to those things as the Right. Campaigns are wars. War is deception.

But it is easy to create a forced choice when your audience has been primed since birth to accept only The One, never taking the Infinite into consideration. We are told that prisons are safe havens and chains are there to keep us safe from harm because the other side's prisons and chains are horrible and deceptive.

And the worst thing is that we allow ourselves to believe it because if there are two sides, then we must pick the One -- never mind the two sides are merely a bigger one -- and out true choice comes from denouncing all those false promises as we learn to think, feel, explore, and act for ourselves...

Baby-slappers and other manufactured media monsters.

If the US government wants to curb the tide on illegal immigrants, they could just air on a jumbo screen episodes of Dr. Phil, where most of the children on the show have home lives that would make forced separation from their families a welcome relief. I mean it.

We have a lot of precious moral masturbation going on here. It is classic propaganda that shows how far journalism has sunk.

Yes, it is a scumbag policy to separate children from their parents, but Canada's residential schools came before this nincompoopity and those poor kids were being carted off from their parents by the original illegal immigrants who crashed their country.

As the regime at the time patted themselves on the back with it without worrying about journalists taping those poor souls crying out for mommy and daddy; so let us not pretend that childhood isn't hell. 

The US has their fair share of nightmare parents, such as the homeschooling Turpins who got away with it for years because nobody gave a damn who lived in the vicinity and saw it all happen. Jennifer and Sarah Hart didn't win Mommy of the Year, either by killing their entire brood, even though the warning signs were screaming everywhere. Parents leave their children with anyone who will have them, leading to catastrophic results.

The open abuse so many children take is sickening, and even when those children take the risk and expose the abuse, adults will not believe them. We don't know what to do with children, and it shows, even with all the blustering and virtue-signalling used as a form of deflection.

I wrote one story about women breaking the law to please a boyfriend years ago, and I had to interview several women serving hard time in jail -- or had already served their time. Some were mothers separated from their children and got twenty year minimums for something that used to get you probation.

The story was pure trauma for me. I heard women in the background having meltdowns screaming the names of their children. I talked to women whose now-grown children were emotionally damaged by the state-sanctioned separation and blamed their already victimized mothers for it. Their mothers most times didn't even know the mundane things she was doing was illegal, and the separation made a mess of lives.

I tried pitching this new angle to publications, but since it was not sexy and I had no Donald Trump to blame, the pitch was consistently shot down.

The press doesn't like to deal with children in peril unless there is some angle they can exploit. I remember one horrific example that happened while my family was away in Florida on vacation of a young African-American child who witnessed his estranged father murder his mother after she left him because he was abusive. The child had two younger siblings, but a genius reporter thought it was a great idea to interview this kid after it happened in front of rolling cameras.

Needless to say, this child was weeping as he dutifully told the exploitative grown-up how his life got torn to shreds.

So disturbed was my family in our hotel room, my mother phoned whatever agency was in charge at the time and asked if we could adopt those children. Both my grandmother and I were fully onboard, willing to do whatever it took, but fortunately the children had grandparents.

I can still close my eyes and see and hear the shameless ratings grab to this day.

It wasn't always this nakedly manipulative. 

As far back as the 1970s, when a news producer exposed a horror inflicted on a child, it was genuine righteousness. Nick Ut's photograph of Phan Thi Kim Phuc running naked in the streets during the Vietnam war as she was the innocent victim of a US napalm attack didn't just bring global outrage that led to action, we know her whereabouts to this day because she was more than fodder for a photograph: Ut's eyes became our own.

By 1985, the grains of journalistic righteousness started slipping away. Steve McCurry's iconic National Geographic cover of "Afghan Girl" showed the haunted eyes of a young anonymous orphan. For decades, she had a face, but no name, and she was eventually tracked down, mostly as a publicity stunt, but her plight didn't spark what it should have, and she had years of personal suffering, and only after exposure of her now adulthood trauma, was something done.

It wasn't the same by then. Already, the humanity part was gone, and something less sincere replaced it.

The drive for instant gratification and attention. I remember in the 1990s when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, how many US journalists -- many of them female and mothers themselves -- would shout things to then President Bill Clinton with absolute glee: Mr. President! Mr. President! When will you bomb the Serbs?

That's right, Mr. President: when will you throw bombs on children, maiming them, killing them, and if they survive, maiming and killing their parents?

Some children's plights are just more newsworthy than others: some children can go suffer in silence if we cannot exploit a narrative, while others the press devours hungrily, hoping to label their designated villain as a baby-slapper.

It keeps happening, but the worst of it is those children who get media attention are discarded once the game of combat has ended. It never changes.

The Sixties Scoop was framed as being normal and necessary, but now let's hear the press howl at Trump.

We'll bomb the brats, and the pity them for being orphans.

It is sanctioned insanity and exploiting a vulnerable and captive segment of society.

Spare us the faux outrage; we see who you are really looking at, and it is not the kids.

Because if the press actually cared about kids, they would have directed news stories straight at them years ago, but children are props in a news story, meaning they are unimportant citizens.

It is why the ones railing against this latest attack on children are as immoral as the ones who perpetrated it.

And the suffering continues...

Journalism's war propaganda continues: Exploiting the children as they condemn their enemy of doing the same.

Journalists and politicians do have one thing in common: they love to exploit children.

We now have a classic war propaganda situation in the US with people outraged that children are being separated from their migrant parents.

This is not a good or acceptable situation, and it is a boneheaded thing to do, but now we have an immoral press trying to say their president is immoral by exploiting these same children.

It reminds me of an old poster Spy magazine did years ago:

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 1.11.41 AM.png

ProPublica was the worst offender of this game, and there is a lot more going on than this overly-simplistic narrative.

We have people violently complaining how horrible their regime is in their treatment of illegal immigrants. Fine, fair enough. Lots of wealthy complainers, and they should shut up, and open up both their wallets and their homes, and accommodate the influx. 

During the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, my mother inherited grandad's house, and though we were never wealthy (a single parent working class family), she donated that house to refugees from the war, and said it could be any of the warring sides: so long as they were homeless refugees with children, there were no questions asked. She never received so much as a thank you note, but she put her money where mouth is.

And you have billionaires squawking at Trump, when they have multiple homes that they could open up with the same stipulation. If you had citizens on the Left who did their civic duty and took in people in need, then the government resources wouldn't be taxed to the limit. Talk is cheap.

But we let children fall through the cracks all the time. How many are killed by their families -- or pimped out? There is a case here in Hamilton of a child who has been through vile abuse -- and not too many people are losing sleep over her damage.

But it goes back to lazily expecting the organization called They to do Something About It.

It is a vile thing to separate children from parents. It is also a vile thing to exploit those same children with war propaganda disguised as news because once the gambit either works or blows up in reporters's faces, those same children will be ignored and left alone to fend for themselves.

Those children are mere pawns, and in fact, children are separated and abandoned in camps all over the world and no one is the least bit excited. This outrage is a manipulative and insincere one of convenience, and it is the motive that makes it look as hollow as it appears.

But illegal immigration is a serious global problem that has gotten worse over time. No one has been handling it, let alone handling it right.

However, that is the unfortunate but painfully obvious byproduct of instigating and fanning wars in various countries: you tear down entire civilizations, you create a nomadic class looking for a pace to plan their roots, and they are going to look for a sure thing because chaos traumatizes and exhausts a person.

Poverty spreads, and then people look for salvation anywhere they can find it, always looking for a sure thing.

There is no such thing as a sure thing: you go to outsiders for a refuge, and you will pay a price twice over: the first from the ones who do not want a burdensome wounded stranger to drag them down, and then from the exploiters who will feign to give you a sympathetic ear until they reach their goal, and then treat you with worse contempt once they got what they wanted from you.

It is an Age of Propaganda, after all: too many players have a narrative to peddle, and a game to play. People lose their humanity even when they think they still have it, and they do not see that they are no better or different from the enemy they wish to destroy.

No one wants to be the displaced parent who has nothing to give their children. They already have nothing, and now they have less than nothing.

But then to become a pawn in a foreign country in some egotistical game of combat is the worst parental nightmare come true: your life is a nightmare and no matter where you run and try to hide, whatever wars destroyed you once have found you to do it again.

And they took your child's innocence in the bargain.

But in five minutes, everyone forgets, and goes on until the next convenient child victim is ripe for the next round of exploitation.

And the press has always been so very good at it.

It wasn't always this way. Once upon a time, horrors were exposed to right wrongs.

And then those wrongs were righted.

But along the way, journalists forgot what it meant to be moral and allow their humanity to guide them more than their seething vendettas and egos, and then no problem ever seems to be resolved, as every problem becomes worse for no good reason at all.

And the never-ending torture and abuse of children around the world goes on without challenge or resistence...

Ontario newspapers take another hit -- provincial government cancels their subscriptions.

This is a subtle way the government has propped up the industry, but Doug Ford is cutting off that avenue already.

We often think subscriptions are of the residential variety, but many come from governments, businesses, schools, and the like.

This is a quiet statement, but a definitive one...

People cannot discern the difference between fact and opinion? Neither can journalists. Where it all went wrong.

When I taught Language Studies at Mohawk College way back when in the early Aughts, grammar was always an important component of Communications courses. I was always careful to include the importance of nuance, connotation, and subtext in those lessons because loaded language, spin, doublespeak, and opinion were real problems and language was not supposed to be the place where you parse you words and lie.

There would always be a lesson about not using doublespeak, for instance. Be clear, direct, and to the point. Do not use the divine passive -- sentences had to have a subject, object, and verb so if there was a decision made that was not favourable to the receiver of a communication, they would know who was responsible as the divine passive implied it was some otherworldly entity ("Management rejected your claim" is direct and gives facts; "Your claim was rejected" is the divine passive suggesting the some nebulous god was behind it).

But there would also be a lesson about the differences between facts and opinions because it wasn't always easy to tell. I would begin with softballs such as "The room is huge" versus the square footage of said room. Then it got to more complex differences between stating the "The woman was angry," versus "The woman pounded her fist on the table and yelled."

The more complex the hierarchy I went, the more objections I would receive: surely, it was a safe bet to say a person who was yelling was angry, they'd tell me.

To which I replied, "You don't know that." The person could be genuinely angry, or she could be a grifter playing a game. You need facts to tell the story for you. The more facts, the easier it was to determine what the best course of action would be.

Opinion was the way to bypass having to dig for facts, and usually, opinion uses faulty logic to blind people from the facts that would refute the opinion's hypothesis.

So that the Pew Centre has a study that says people cannot discern fact from opinion is a no-brainer. Journalism is mostly filler these days and has been peddling opinion as fact for a long time.

But for Pew to jump to the conclusion that this show that people cannot discern so-called "real" journalism from fake news is absurd for the simple reason that journalism has no almost no verified factual statements: just opinion and narrative. You cannot tell apart things that are the same.

And journalism has no core when it comes to understanding the factual.

Take the National Post's silly and sophomoric attempt at playing detective, trying to find patterns of unsolved cold cases that may or may not be linked to accused serial killer Bruce McArthur.

On the surface, it may seem to a lay person to be a solid effort, but on closer inspection, it is riddled with holes with some very big and unfounded assumptions, namely that McArthur was the only game in town.

The Highway of Tears has seen many slaughtered First Nations women over the decades -- all sharing the same pattern, but to assume it is a single killer?

At least forty women, but it would not surprise me if that actual number was double or triple that as this is a very lax and lackadaisical country when it comes to comprehending gravity: only one of these murders/disappearances has actually been solved.

We can have multiple murderers: some serial killers, and some one-time murderers who just happen to pick a victim that fits a pattern.

The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow is essential reading for those who are obsessed with patterns and believe that everything and everyone fits one. Randomness is a far more important factor than patterns, and the Post's amateur sleuthing shows how little they comprehend the significance of it.

The article also suffers from a serious confirmation bias and to explain how deeply ingrained that bias is in Western academic and professional thought, let me go over something I have mentioned previously: the inherent flaw in the FBI's book for criminal profiling The Crime Classification Manual.

I have all three editions, and have read them all cover to cover. There are a lot of real-life case studies, and it is very organized, but it exclusively relies on cases where there was a conviction, making it less than reliable.

You cannot just look at the cases where you have a conviction: you also have to look at unsolved murders, and more importantly, cases where someone was wrongly convicted.

It also is a very good idea to make an assumption that many of those who were convicted were possible wrongly convicted.

Because often, criminal profiling is no no different than fake psychic readings.

The killer was someone who is prone to angry outbursts. How often do we hear that?

And how many people who are prone to angry outbursts never kill anyone?

And those vicious killers who are not prone to angry outbursts but do what they do in order to make sure their targets are dead?

It is a serious problem that the CCM has yet to acknowledge, let alone correct.

Vague, no-brainer statements doesn't make you a detective. There are obvious statements, but often, what seems like a certain pattern is anything but.

Because we are mistaking opinion with fact.

And when professional investigators are prone to make them, so are journalists, and the public because it's not exactly taught in schools. How many of us take critical thinking courses?

Or have their Language Studies professor take it upon herself to sneak it in her grammar lessons?

So for Pew to jump to the conclusion to imply that journalism is somehow superior to filler opinion is just another opinion itself.

Because journalism doesn't discern between fact and opinion.

I created F.R.E.E.D. as a method that does discern between them to report on fact, not opinion or narrative.

Because we need facts that have been more than just verified, but empirically tested.

The National Post has no clue how to do this task -- and neither has any other media outlet.

Or university.

And it is 2018.

Think about that...

 

Why journalism can't resurrect itself: It always goes back to its glory days of a different world.

The Los Angeles Times is going into their Glory Days attics, taking Norman Pearlstine out of the box, dusting him off, and hoping he can change their dismal fortunes.

He was one of those so-called Great Men when journalism had all of the communications power; so the passive logic is that someone who did well on an old rigged board can make it on the new one.

It doesn't work. Journalism's old formulas do not work -- but the profession never got the memo...

Washington Post employees throw temper tantrum: refuse to improve their product; want their sugar daddy to use his successful business to enable them.

It is hard to imagine what kind of child-like ditziness permeates through the Washington Post's newsrooms. It reminds me of a little boy I knew who saw an ATM machine for the first time when his uncle took out cash from it. He then thought his parents were total nerds because all you needed was a card and all this free money came out of the machine -- so why didn't his clueless parents get the magic money card so that they could buy anything they wanted?

The Washington Post has a special kind of stupid in their logic, signing a petition demanding that their overlord Amazon titan Jeff Bezos fund their sining ship.

They have done nothing to change. They honestly expect their owner to throw money from an independently successful company to fund their deadweight. 

You don't enable bad journalism. Throwing money in a black hole will not fix anything or magically turn their fortunes around. If they had been competent, they would not be in the position they are in now. They own this mess. Why don't they write a petition to themselves, making the demand of stop arrogantly following the same old script, and do things differently?

Journalists love their sugar-daddies, kissing up to them until those same sugar-daddies demand those lazy sugar-babies pull their own weight and produce a profitable product. Then come out the tempter tantrums and their noble victim act.

Enough. It's not as if you do anything of value; you crib, and that's not worth pouring any more money into -- if your owner wants to spend his loot on frivolous nonsense, he can spend it on himself...

 

Watching the Game of Go: Canada losing their liberties as they still think it is a game of chess.

I

April 19, 1995 was a dark day for Americans as it was the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing. The civil war in the former Yugoslavia was still going on. This Week with David Brinkley was still on the air and Bill Clinton was still President of the United States. 

I was just about to embark on grad school. I had been accepted at the University of Western Ontario's j-school program that was to commence on May 8, 1995, exactly fifty years since V-E Day. I already had several journalism credits under my belt at the time, and this was the in-between time for me. I took a political science course at my alma mater McMaster University so that I could skip taking its graduate equivalent at Western, and free up my schedule the way I did as an undergrad, taking summer school courses to lighten my load during the year.

I was working as a journalist, even a newspaper columnist, and I was not even twenty-two years old at the time. My birthday would come two days after I began j-school, and my day before birthday present would be winning a scholarship.

But the Oklahoma City Bombing was dominating news coverage at the time. It was when journalism was still a thing, and when the gate-keepers were still the boss, but it was something a government official said on This Week with David Brinkley on a Sunday soon after that caught my attention and stays with me to this day.

I watched This Week for years at that point. I was just a kid and I would watch that show every week, even when the family was on vacation. It was not as if I thought Sam Donaldson and George Will were all that, but the Establishment guests would park themselves there and talk.

The government by this edition of the show knew it was a case of domestic terrorism and the masterminds were Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

McVeigh was a Gulf War veteran, and he orchestrated the deaths of 168 people and injured 680 others.

But the government official on the show had said something that shocked me: We were hoping it was the Serbs. 

That off-the-cuff remark struck a chord with me, and I knew it was a slip: the US had been banking on egging Serbs to the point of attacking US civilians -- and why unless there was already a plan in place to bomb and attack Serbs -- but hoping there would be a patina of a legitimate reason to maintain their hero title in that narrative?

McVeigh must have been a huge disappointment to his own government for not recruiting a single Serb in his plot.

But Serbs weren't going around attacking people around the world the way ISIS does or Al Qaeda did. Serbs didn't have a 9/11 or the World Trade Centre bombing in 1993 before it. Even Croatia had dabbled in those kinds of episodes in the 1970s and 1980s: hijacking a plane in Canada in 1976 where its mastermind received a hero's funeral back home years later; bombing the Statue of Liberty in 1980, and most likely had their first run of it in 1975 with the bomb attack on LaGuardia Airport.

It was as if the US regime at the time had mixed up the Serbs and the Croats, thinking they were all the same sort of people, and maybe they can give a beleaguered Clinton an excuse to deflect attention away from himself as he showed how he can bomb those dirty little Slavs back to the Stone Age.

But the Serbs weren't bombing Americans. The ex-pats were peacefully protesting, begging not to be seem as global pariahs. Serbs kept going back to the Second World War and foolishly kept reminding Americans how their people saved 500 US pilots.

No one wanted to hear how their people were in need of rescuing decades ago. They wanted Serbs to have plotted and executed a terrorist attack on innocent civilians. It turned out the guilty party was an American soldier.

Serbs still got bombed back to the Stone Age. It was in the script, and no matter how careful they were, and no matter what kind of relations they had with the West in the past, the script was set.

It was a game of Chess and Serbs never knew it. They never understood it wasn't personal: debts had to be paid, and that parcel of land had to be decimated in order to do it. Once upon a time they took one more step than they should have and ended up on a rigged board.

Canada has now done the same, and like their spiritual twin the Serbs, have no idea what they did or how, why their demonization has its perks, and that they are no different or better than the Serbs who had the same mindset, played the same game, and lost.

II

There was at least one Canadian who saw the link very clearly, and it was iconic Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He got it, and it explains how he could stand up to the US without taking a single step on the the chessboard. He visited the former Yugoslavia, helping build roads in the country. He maintained ties to the country and sensed there were mindsets to study because there were latent problems to be riddled out by looking at that symbolic mirror.

As someone who is Canadian by birth and Serbian by ancestry, I always saw it. Both "the Canadians" and "the Serbs" recoil in horror whenever I say it, with Canadians haughtily thinking they are superior to the Serbs, while offended Serbs thinking they are superior to the Canadians.

Serbs were never feeding their children poor nutrient foods such as cereal, peanut butter and jelly on over-processed bread, or mac in fake cheese that came in a box or can. Your grandmother knew every place you went and literally chased you around the room with vitamins so you would never get sick. Your undershirts were changed at the slightest sign of being damp, and windows were to be closed so the draft didn't get you -- let alone allowing any child to drink something with evil ice cubes.

My childhood was completely Serbian in that regard, although I was born and raised in Canada.

But it wasn't entirely Serbian. We didn't go to church or go to those big annual picnics in Niagara Falls. I was born in Canada, and my mother wasn't going to make me a stranger in Canada. Both her and my grandmother spoke English to me, and I didn't start learning to speak Serbian until two girls my age moved to the neighbourhood after leaving their home in Belgrade. They taught me Serbian. I taught them English.

When my family went on vacation in Yugoslavia in the 1980s, everyone asked me if I was German or French. There was nothing remotely Serbian about me.

And yet, Canadians never think I am Canadian, either. They ask if I am Polish, French, or some other random European country.

So I am the person who is both of those things, meaning I am never seen as either. I am not easily classified or pigeon-holed. No label can stick on me, and yet the world cannot function unless they find the label that they can slap on you, and then stop thinking, believing their are intellectually superior to you.

The only people who never put a label on me are Americans. I worked for Americans. I have mingled and socialized with them most of my life. They never ask me about my label, and if they do, they assume I am of the same ilk as they are.

America is a melting pot. I am a hybrid. There are a lot of similarities, and I often see things from a more American perspective because of it -- bringing me no end of grief when discussing politics with Canadians or Serbs.

When you are a hybrid, your whole becomes bigger than the sum of your parts. In my case, I am both, making me neither. Hydrogen and oxygen make water, meaning out of two elements, the combined create something that is utterly unrecognizable.

And because I am both, but seen as neither, I never pined for acceptance because I never quite fit into either. I could see the blaring similarities. The differences were mere illusions, and yet illusions were what both sides saw. I was to both, a peculiar and maddening optical illusion. They heard non-existent exotic accents when my mouth was shut, and that was the least offensive form of othering I endured. 

When people find lies to pigeon-hole you, you don't pine for acceptance because you know there is something bigger than labels, and that's why my loyalty has always been to the Truth.

III

Because I had the cultural freedom to explore, my perspective was always a global one. I devoured and savoured cultures from all over the place. I have a deep reverence for Japanese culture. I highly respect much of British culture. 

But American culture fascinates me on a completely different level.

They are not anything like Canadians or Serbs. They are innovators, pioneers, explorers, and have an ability that has set them apart from the rest of the world: the innate ability to admit flaw, learn from the past, and grow from it as they change their strategies. They do not allow themselves to be stuck in a vortex. What was true twenty years ago is no longer true now. They get that reality is not static.

They move forward as they shed things they no longer need. They jettison cargo and bring on board what is vital to the next leg of their journey. Serbs were history's mercenaries, and while they were fair soldiers, they suffered a real trauma of being nomads, and it's why they get stuck in the past. They still talk about the Battle of Kosovo, centuries after it ended. Family is the world to a people who once had no base, and it is this sentimental attachments to the fallen that has pushed Serbs to succeed as it often led them straight to defeat. No one will understand how traumatic the breakup of Yugoslavia was to the Serbs. They bought into the "Brotherhood", and old wounds were torn open again.

Americans left their homeland because they are a people who are self-sufficient. It may be lonely at the top, but traveling light has its perks, and no one can beat that billion-dollar view. They took a risk coming to an unknown land, but they crossed an ocean and never looked back.

It's why the US had extremely good chess players running the White House: they know what to take, what to drop, and what to take down to clear a path to travel.

Americans have a fairly modest population, and yet have dominated for a good long run. They set the board to play a game of chess, and as chess masters, they are without peer.

For a long time, other countries either didn't clue in to the obvious, or they they played chess only to get trounced on by the US. Chess, boxing, and the Art of War, are all based on the same strategies and logic. It is not as if Americans invented the games or the structures of combat, but when you are willing to invent a country by re-inventing it, you need strategy in order to do it.

For all the bad-mouthing of Americans, other countries are merely envious and are expressing some serious sour grapes.

But after decades of chess playing, other countries and players clued in, and like the now over-granted PhD, too many people figured out the game, and though it was TORTEE -- The One Rule That Explains Everything. Just play chess, and maybe you will be good enough to beat the US.

Everyone got complacent and thought the strategies of chess was some sort of divine truth that would always be played on a global scale.

Cue in Donald J. Trump, and the game of chess became obsolete and inferior.

Journalists, Lefties, and other countries are howling -- but only because he looked at the rigged board, laughed, and then picked a trickier game to play.

Go.

Because Americans learn from the past and are willing to jettison everything that works against them in favour of things that will help them. They change. They grow. They evolve.

And the rest of the world is now in complete fear and disarray just because the game they memorized has been replaced by a superior model.

IV

There have been many casualties of this strategic shift, and many women in power are falling because they passively relied on TORTEE instead of (a) questioning how bright it was to stick to an Old Boys' game when they could have changed the game themselves for an advantage, and (b) learning to do what a seventy-year old white man can do with ease: be active and change. Women can blame Trump all they want, but it was their own doing of honestly thinking passive thinker Hillary Clinton had a snowball's chance of winning the White House.

She was stupid enough to play chess when it became obvious that Trump played Go. He defeated the Bush Dynasty because they haughtily insisted to play chess. Trump played the better game and won.

Chess has too many flaws to be a serious game of intellect. For one, each piece has different rules, making it an inefficient way of gaining power. Pawns are pawns, and calling one a King and another a Rook is mere sanctioned insanity, and it becomes too easy buy the hype.

It is a game of rote memorization, and there is no strength training within it. It is not as impressive as an intellectual exercise as people pretend it is. Contrary to what its aficionados proclaim, it constricts thinking rather than show people the big picture.

Go is more honest. You have your stones. The goal is to remove liberties from an opponent until you surround them and they have nowhere else to move.

But there is an added element of what I call "strength training": the winner gets a handicap on the next game, giving the advantage to the loser of the previous game. True Go masters can be saddled with a serious game handicap and still win the game.

We are now seeing a major shakeup of the world. It began when the Internet fatally weakened journalism, and journalism's old rules by their wealthy owners started to backfire on them for two reasons: (a) they could no longer dictate what information people received, nor could they offer a single narrative that set opinion and thinking patterns, and (b) the rules of chess could no longer apply because it opened the floodgates where the moves got lost in the intellectual stampede.

So the old tricks started to backfire, and had these players been a little smarter and more humble, would have reasoned that their old ways of thinking were archaic and their structure of thought no longer applied to reality.

Trump, on the other hand, saw it. He actually saw it, and for all the arrogant babble from the Left, they are slagging Trump because they are jealous that he is a bigger rebel and disrupter than their best big budget summer movie protagonist. The Left memorized a little script and took it as a map as they went down the garden path, while Trump saw an opportunity to change the game.

The Progressives love their empty phrases, such as "game-changer", but they never had the guts to actually change the game.

It is not Trump's fault that he actually changed the game to Go. New rules. New skills. New thinking. New outcomes. New rewards.

New alliances.

And Go is a game where you know if you win one round, you will be handicapped in the next round as you make it easier for an inferior opponent to play -- but the handicap is a blind and a ruse, meaning the one doing the intellectual heavy-lifting is the one carrying the burden, while the loser get further sheltered.

Serbs lost the game of Chess to Bill Clinton because they wasted their time standing around on the stupid board, trying to tell him they weren't the Bad Guys. They weren't listening when that same regime said on national television how disappointed they were that the body count in Oklahoma wasn't caused by the Serbs. The Serbs were supposed to play Chess. They were supposed to make moves. They stood in place, and their pawns fell one by one until it was Checkmate.

Canada thinks it is one step ahead playing a game of Chess, when they are just as oblivious as the Serbs were in the 1990s.

Kids, you are playing an antiquated game. It's a Game of Go, not Chess.

And your liberties are being lost because you don't have the savvy to see the stones around you. 

V

Canada, like Serbia, is an undisciplined nation with Bohemian tendencies that is a little too impressed with itself and sees itself as polite, friendly, tolerant, and welcoming at the expense of being obtuse to how other people actually interpret their behaviour.

Yet it is a country that has inter-provincial tariffs that are slapped against their own citizens, as if that were a good thing. It also allows price-fixing on staples, meaning Canadians are always getting hosed one way or another. 

It is a country that is defined by over-paying for everything while getting underpaid for their work.

And it is a place that does a splendid job of covering up the extent of their poverty. People talk about the "sharing economy", which is doublespeak for selling your old junk so you won't have your electricity cut off again.

People have tenants in their broken down houses to make mortgage payments.

But do not say this out loud.

It reminds me of one Canadian comedian's routine where he discusses how his family was homeless, but his dad sold it to them by saying they were camping.

And we are really good at it, too.

We have a food bank that are trying to sell themselves as a "pay what you can" grocery store -- it is a food bank that does its donation collection at the same place as their food bank.

It is not as if there aren't other countries who play they same semantic games with the same concepts, but in Canada, it is a way of life.

We wouldn't want anyone to feel bad because they are living in hell -- they may just see how badly rigged everything is and demand change or something.

Let's keep it all positive, positive, positive, as one newspaper editor once told me when I began to work as a journalist.

And that Stepford mentality extends beyond economics, but also crime. We crow how we have gun control, as little girls get gunned down in the park and pedestrians get mowed down by drivers. We have gangs who have much tied up in legitimate businesses who will have much to lose by the new tariffs, and will lash out with the same violence they do to those victims of human trafficking in this country.

Americans are not comfortable with this kind of spinning: someone complains, they get on national television, start an organization, and then have laws named after a person who got killed for some real lapse.

Americans will throw righteous epic fits. #MeToo is a righteous epic fit. Black Lives Matter is another righteous epic fit. Code Adam and Amber Alberts came to be after two separate, but related righteous epic fits.

Rich, poor, male, female, transgender, gay, straight, black, white, you name it. Americans succeed precisely because they see problems and deal with them head on. They may fight with each other, but they will come together in a heartbeat.

Canadians get offended and deny there is a problem, and then keep the status quo. Serbs, on the other hand, will acknowledge the problem, make a flippant joke about it, and then keep the status quo. The end result is the same: keeping a flawed and antiquated structure in place because to change it implies that you were mistaken.

Heaven forbid that you are human.

Americans aren't of that ilk where it counts. They have built checks and balances in their own political systems to evolve and shift focus whenever a certain set of needs scream for attention.

When there was need for a hawk when terrorism was rearing its head, George Bush had two terms to deal with it. When domestic inequalities were becoming troublesome, Barak Obama had two terms to clean up the mess. 

When the economy was starting to falter, Hillary Clinton stared vapidly at Americans as Donald Trump vowed to look after their bottom line, and he won the presidency.

Wait your turn. It is what the American Left never got the grasp of. You cannot be greedy. When their skill set can solve the most pressing issue, they get their turn, but when they let something else slide, the voters gently push them aside and let someone more skilled from the Right fix the mess.

It can be easy to miss this pendulum's predictable swinging in all that raucous screeching. Left, right, left, right, that pendulum happily sways, keeping silent as the shrill debates give it clues when to move over to the other side.

I could always see their pendulum, even as a kid. I used to even think about it when I would physically sit on a swing and move through the air. Left, right, left, right. It was like being in tune with an entire country.

But it was more than just left, right, left, right. It was up, down, up, down. You were up on the left before gravity pulled you back down to the centre for a moment before you got pushed up again on the right.

Simple. The loud binary noises pushed the pendulum, as the pendulum guided the binary noises.

Left, right, left, right. It is the sound of peace moving forward one step at a time -- and the sound of war of soldiers marching left, right, left.

America has it down to a science with a game of Chess to keep the flow going...until Trump altered the game from Chess to Go.

Serbs were the inferior chess players and they lost. They didn't know the rhythms of another nation, let alone the game they were supposed to play. It was all or nothing. The US handily won, even when Serbs didn't commit any terrorist acts on American soil.

Serbs had the excuse of living on another continent and speaking a different language.

Canada doesn't have that luxury. They are dependent on the US for their survival, live right next door, consume their media, and speak the same language.

And yet they are blind to it all.

VI

Canada does not take well to a lot of things: change, criticism, and reality. Serbs are mired in tradition, and also do not like change, while they also bristle at criticism, and failed to see reality: they didn't see that war was coming. They didn't change the way they took care of their own house, and they thought history would convince the world that they weren't the aggressors.

I was a teenager in high school when one of our non-Serbian relatives told us before the war happened that war was being planned and that Serbs were in the crosshairs. It was 1986 when it was still Yugoslavia and the discussion happened over dinner in Belgrade. He was dismissed, but his prophesy turned out to be bang on. Everything he warned Serbs -- and others -- at the table that night came true.

All of it.

I was convinced. He would be in a position to know. He looked agitated and was trying to get through to people that the winds of war were coming. There were no hostilities. There was no hint of war, only peace.

And yet what he said made immediate sense to me.

I could feel those winds. They never left, and when war broke out, so did everyone else living there.

It was during one of my high school history classes that I gave a presentation on Yugoslavia, and my talk was about how the region was in debt, and the chances it would stay together for another five years was nil. My thesis was Yugoslavia's days were numbered and would split up.

My history teacher, who liked me and was of Scottish ancestry, did not believe me. He thought I was exaggerating.

Where will they all go? He asked me.

I wanted to say, Down the garden path and straight into Hell, but insisted that if you calculated the nation's debt, what it owed, its chances of paying anything back, its ethnic tensions, bloody history, lack of a culturally ambiguous leadership (Josip Broz, otherwise known as Tito had died and as he was exotic to every region, no one could accuse him of favouring one group or another), and that there were stronger European countries who would have some serious stuff to gain if the region disintegrated, the most logical thing to happen was a civil war.

He thought I was smart, but prone to exaggeration.

And then a couple of years later, my prophesy was right on the money.

Serbs never bothered to cut things off at the pass. They thought a few of their old reliable gambits would work, but that old chess board was out, and Serbs were ill-prepared.

Just the way Canada is ill-prepared now, and have been losing liberties ever since.

VII

I do not know who is the bigger clown in this entire tariff fiasco: Justin Trudeau or Chrystia Freeland. Trudeau is riding on a charm gambit, which has short-term legs with his own sheltered people. Freeland doesn't even know what's going on.

It is as if Trudeau agreed to a boxing match with Trump, but then didn't want to partake in a real match, roped in Freeland into thinking this was all going to be some perky photo op, telling her the gloves were part of a spa treatment as was the mouth guard and head gear, and she went into the ring, and Trump punched her lights out, and then she had a meltdown, getting up, and pointing to the audience that Trump was a bully and to watch out because he was going to punch them all in the mouths, too!

But both Trudeau and Freeland don't get the fact it is a game of Go driven by a Chaos Narrative, an essential fuel to control the flow of the game. Both of them keep harping on how ridiculous it is that Canada is being dinged on a "national security" loophole, not realizing that this a perfect set-up to a later pay-off, and one they cannot control.

There has already been one death threat lobbed at an American envoy, but it was never claimed that the Canadian government or military would be the threat. Canadian laws are atrociously lax. Organized crime is a concern. We have too many undocumented immigrants coming in, and if just one of them is unstable enough to harm Americans using Canada as a base, Trump's assessment is vindicated. If one gang or mafia get violent because their operations get hobbled because of tariffs, the assessment is vindicated. If one Canadian loon does something worse than a death threat, everything is justified in the Chaos Narrative.

But harping on "national security" and keeping it in public play isn't the only faux pas Trudeau's regime is making. 

Canada's inter-provincial travel is far more expensive, and throwing slacktivist fits such as #BuyCanadian misses the point: Go requires the victor of the previous round to start a new game with a handicap The US can afford to take a minor hit from a poorer country in order to win a bigger and more important game -- and considering the amount of tariffs provinces slap each other with, the boycott looks both petty and foolish, especially as there isn't all that much Canadian-made to buy.

And with there being a never-ending glut of various boycotts on Twitter, the US economy roars without much worry about the economic impact a few myopic and offended Canadians can do, especially as Americans can return the favour. They can skip Toronto and Niagara Falls, and both regions can be devastated, especially as both went to the Ontario NDP, the Poor Man's political party.

What is left of Canadian journalism doesn't help matters as they are playing the same futile game the Serbs unsuccessfully tried during the civil war, pointing out facts that no one cares about. It will not change anything. If Trump cherry-picks facts, so did Western journalists when blaming Serbs for everything under the sun as if they were the only ones with soldiers and shooting guns. Serbs pointed out that Western media outlets were cherry-picking their facts, too.

And guess what?

The cherry-pickers could confidently ignore it with absolutely no penalty whatsoever.

Those cherry-picking journalists picked up their propaganda in white tents set up by PR firms, and not a single journalist covering the war was ever charged with a war crime, or lost their job for their deceptive practices.

You are playing a game of Go, not Tattle Tale.

Canada is falling into every trap, throwing fits as the US is asking for Fair Trade. Canada's tweak retort was to brag about what a great lop-sided deal they scored for themselves with Trans-Pacific free trade deal.

And a lop-sided deal is an unfair deal. It plays well on the home front, but it plants a seed of a narrative that is not so cute abroad.

Just as Trump said from the get-go with that opening salvo, the US wants a fair deal, but only a Smooth and Spoiled country crows about getting special treatment, and hints at a deceptive and duplicitous nature, and it is Canada that indicted itself trying to show up Trump.

It is not as if the rest of the world doesn't get the subtext.

Italy is making noise about not enabling all of Canada's demands, meaning more liberties are in danger of being removed. It does not matter if everyone backs off tomorrow; it is damaging, and sets up the next move in the game.

Chest-thumping optics are always part of a political dog and pony show, but when you have someone who actually can pull the feat of replacing a game of Chess with a game of Go, the dynamics forever shift, and you cannot go back to the inferior old game because those rules no longer fit with the new shifts. 

Journalists were oblivious and still try to make this whole Internet thing go away so that they can go back to the old rigs and rules that favoured traditional journalism, and no one is falling for it. It has gone on for too long and we have too many things that came on the scene since then for that to be possible. 

It is like trying to convince people to give up electricity.

Buster, that's not happening.

Just as Go isn't going to go away to make life easier for rickety old thinkers who are Yesterday's Men and Women. The game has changed, deal with it because you cannot go back, and the new reality will deal with you whether you like it or not.

Serbs were stuck in the past, and those blinders cost them everything. They never learned to adjust to keep up in the present, let alone make a bold leap to the future.

There are world leaders who do not understand what has happened and what a subtle, but profound innovative leap has occurred. They are playing by the rules that used to work for them, but cannot anymore because a far better game has taken its place.

And Canada is throwing fits when they should stop being offended, and start looking at the board that has completely changed, and that is the very board that they have taken one step too far on.

And this is a country completely unprepared. It is a nanny state where people are sheltered from their own travails and vulnerabilities because everything is spun, whether good or bad. Lull your people with chirpy and folksy nationalistic narratives at your own risk.

Just ask the Serbs. The worst of it is that we have had Canadian thinkers stick that very label on Serbs and have failed to see it had travelled back to them.

Go is a game where you must be able to immediately assess what is good and what is bad so you do know your strengths and weaknesses as you see what your opponents's strengths and weaknesses are.

Just as Trump absolutely saw that journalism was Yesterday's Profession and social media was Today, he saw something else: that Chess was Yesterday's Game and Go was Today.

There are definite reasons why, and more than one reason why Chess is no longer a viable game. You cannot have Chess in an Internet world where you can no longer control the flow of information and the restricted narratives. If your points of view are limited, then finding evidence that refutes a theory becomes more difficult.

Journalism never figured it out, and that prolonged and comical blindness nullifies any credibility they once had -- and proves that if they are obtuse to reality, then they cannot chronicle it because they will always be off.

Canada also hasn't seen the obvious: they think making fun of Trump will solve of their problems as they cheerily pretend everything is all right and good.

And when it is all good, you have no idea where to go or understand what to do when you are labeled as a villain, and then you are stuck in a No Man's Land.

The Serbian regime never got that memo and their people suffered as a result.

If Canadians think they are superior to their spiritual twins, they have yet to show they have clued in and are making demands of their government to get their act together as well as their strategy.

I see it clearly. I can feel those same winds of war, and it speaks a more complicated and enigmatic language, yet I can decipher it perfectly. When you have one revolution, it begins to break rules one by one until there is nothing left but anarchy.

And this time, this is an anarchy with its own set of rules. Anarchy and chaos are naturally attracted to games of Go, where there are levels of different sieges, where little grains begin to surround you and serve as your quicksand, ready to sink you.

The rules require different alliances and different mindsets. You cannot be chained to the past as both the Serbs and journalists were -- and are still, respectively. Americans are at a peculiar time in history where you have a seventysomething Establishment businessman who sees the future and can adopt to embrace it, while the youthful Left are so terrified of returning to that past that oppressed them, that they are trying to somehow get to the future by sticking to old mindsets of the past, meaning they are doomed to fail because they want to keep those outdated scripts they memorized to get this far. It is now working against them; however, I do believe they will snap out of it, but not in time for the next presidential election. A humbling is in their cards.

Nominating Clinton for the Democratic ticket shows how out of touch the American Left are with the future, and has been the single most fatal tactical error they have ever made, but if they can openly disavow the Clintons and break away from their pretentious and precious narratives, I do believe they will find their footing again. They have to stop going to the same old well, stop pretending they aren't part of the Establishment, stop trying to shame diversity of thought, and stop wasting energy trying to get everyone to think the same way. If they are proclaiming they want what's best for America, then they have to remember that they are Americans, warts and all.

Canada is foolishly following their lead, and actively so, thinking it will help them pull out of the scrape of their own making. It didn't help the Serbs from seeing their house of cards collapse, and it won't help Canada, either.

The game has already begun. The stakes are high, and one misstep will unleash the anarchy on the board. It is a dangerous game being played, and one where nothing and no one is to be taken for granted. No happy spin if you lose a single liberty.

The stones have been surrounding Canada for months, but whether this is a country that can face the reality before they lose one stone too many remains to be seen, but if history is any barometer, they will lose every single one before they can admit they have been surrounded, and there is no way out...

Interview Magazine's zombie antics squeeze an extra few seconds of fame for it.

Interview magazine had a single saving grace: it was founded by an iconic artist. If it weren't for the fact that Great Man Andy Warhol brought it to life, no one would talk about it, and it would have folded years ago. It was never all that, but having a marquee name told the nouveau riche what to rave about at cocktail parties, even if they didn't actually read or understand what they were reading in that rag they never actually bought or subscribed to as the only place I have actually ever seen it lying around was in upscale-ish Middle Class spas and hair salons. Add a few publicity-hungry starlets voguing in odd and pretentious poses, and you have slopped together something you can sell to a few odd and pretentious chichi advertisers.

And then that darned Internet ruined everything.

Interview ended up not paying a lot of people, including its freelance editorial workers, who agreed to be paid a pittance -- never mind their owner was well-heeled, but journalists were always stupid that way.

It folded, and now there is babble of bring it back to life under some other ownership, although why anyone would do it or how that would even be possible is anyone's guess.

You have reporters grumbling that the magazine folded even though its last owners had scratch -- always forgetting that just because a individual or company is doing well (even if at least on paper) it doesn't mean all of the holdings are profitable. The ones that do not bring in the dough get trashed, and when was the last time Interview generated any interest aside from the fact it folded?

This is a publication that always rode on the coattails of other people's fifteen minutes. It was always a vanity project centring around rich white people indulging themselves. The Kardashians hijacked that niche and used Instagram where you didn't need to tax that demographic with actual words. They made it more accessible by making it all a little more lurid and trashy, but the shallowness is the same draw and that hasn't changed.

Interview is a zombie in search of a few more seconds of fame. It's time has come and gone, and Instagram has replaced it in pop culture, and you don't even have to fork over a penny for it.

People aren't even reading magazines at the salons anymore -- they got their little godphones and stare vapidly at the screen as their highlights process under the lights...