When will we get the press we deserve? When we walk away from journalism and begin the alternative model.

Conrad Black has an interesting column in the National Post about the divide between the press and governments — and the press and citizens.

Journalism has become so partisan and out of touch with reality that they have zero connect with people, meaning whatever they report is so tainted that it is unusable.

But Black asks a simple question:

When will we get the press we deserve?

There is a two-part answer to it:

  1. On the opinion side, we already have it. We call it social media. The world has a say now. We can easily get a feel for both the zeitgeist and the ortgeist.
  2. On the fact side, we can get it up and running tomorrow, if we walk away from traditional journalism entirely.

We can develop an alternative that is empirical by design, that focuses on facts, verification, and walks away from narrative and opinion. It can be innovative and completely different, taking account that our world has evolved. It can be based in peace, be matriarchal by design, and experimental, using the world as a laboratory. It can be done by Method Research and be unlike the old model in every way.

It is there on the table right now. It just depends on much people want a better press than the dead version they have now…

Puritanical titillations: Why the press can’t keep it up.

Stormy Daniels does 60 Minutes, and 22 million people watched, hoping for some sexy stuff from a porn drudge. She failed to deliver the kind of gossip the puritanicals drool over. 60 Minutes got the best ratings they had in a decade, which was very sad, not just because of the collapse of journalism, there was no pointers for bored couples looking to spice up their dreary sex lives. (Although there wasn’t much to the interview, the National Post felt compelled to tell the little people who to process it as it whipped it up to more than it actually was.)

James Comey fared even worse than he should have, with less than half of those ratings. 9.7 million people, which in a nation of over 300 million, means bad news for journalists hitching their ride on Trump’s alleged frolics. 

Comey tried to plant seeds with the narrative of those loosy goosey Russian hookers and their golden showers. He appealed to the puritanicals, trying to strike back at Trump. 

Note that Comey never confirmed the rumours. He just rehashed old gossip, making the value of the interview nonexistent, and those bored and unimaginative middle class people in loveless marriages couldn’t make use of the old dirt.

No 50 Shades of Grey, kids!

But the drop spells disaster for the press. The ratings should have been stronger. Bill Clinton’s antics brought strong ratings and had staying power. The Comey interview came right on the heels of the Daniels interview — the drop means the hook is a dud.

Super stories have been a trusty staple for the press, but while this one has all the elements of a tent pole movie, it’s not saving the press from an apathetic audience who isn’t game for the freak show as they once were…

The National Post’s Woman Problem

Nothing is perfect, including #MeToo, but #MeToo forcefully addressed the issue of what happens to women when they are sexually harassed and abused in such a way that it is difficult to prove it. Predators have practice and prey are ambushed.

The United States was always Canada’s bolder and braver counterpart. The Americans fight for what they believe in. Canadians try to maneuver and appease to steal away what they can. When Donald Trump called Canadians “smooth”, he was letting them know he sees the gambit, and isn’t impressed by it.

#MeToo is an un-Canadian movement, and that is unfortunate. Canadians do not like confrontation. They do not like to admit there is a problem. If everyone just shuts up and endures, then the façade is good enough.

#MeToo was the admission in the United States that all was not well. You have highly educated women in positions of real power who were cornered the same way the high school drop-out waitress was cornered by a superior. The women who who spoke out did not want to do so. They did not want people who wished them ill to get any pleasure knowing they were down because those same people are going to gleefully make jabs that the story is either a lie, or the woman did something to earn her abuse.

No civilized society can tolerate that.

#MeToo used social media in a novel way, and it did so because the courts are rigged in such a way that victims and accusers are not even afterthoughts. Most of the measures of guilt or innocence are not even scientific or empirical. There are a lot of assumptions based on folksy logic, nothing more, and there is also the assumption that the only way to determine guilt or innocence is for an accused to be innocent until proven guilty.

If you object, then, of course, people jump down your throat, and assume you want people to be assumed guilty until proven innocent, and that isn’t the case.

We need a system that makes no assumptions one way or the other. We have never quite gotten out of our binary reflexes.

#MeToo’s longevity is thanks in part to the fact women are not served in the justice system, and nothing has changed.

But to the National Post, the women who dare challenge an Establishment is a horrible, terrible thing.

As soon as there was a tiny lull, they pounced again, trying to reclaim the narrative that the status quo is glorious because women cannot be trusted to tell the truth, using the UK as an example.

Who cares what another country does? We are dealing with our country. Canadian women do not file reports or press charges over there.

It is an attempt at misdirection: let’s look everywhere else but our own nation. We have a justice system that has no understanding of the dynamics of abuse.

For starters, there is a base assumption that if a woman goes back to an abuser, there was no abuse. There was no crime.

If that is the case, then husbands who murder the wives they have beaten shouldn’t get charged because, hey, she lived with the guy; ergo there was no abuse or crime.

Of course there was abuse and crime. I don’t care if someone goes back. We need to establish why people go back, and we do have clues. We see it with cults. We know there are economic factors. We know about grooming and priming. We know about cultural expectations. We know about habit formation.

We have to stop focussing on irrelevant details and start asking simple questions: did you hit her at this point in time? 

And then start asking more questions from there.

We cannot have a functional justice system unless we have a better understanding of human behaviour, and we don’t.

Because we have journalists who aren’t schooled in psychology. You cannot proclaim to study people and then be utterly clueless to how people actually think and behave.

The National Post is a depressing read: there is no connect to humanity in its pages. It is pure seething sophistry trying to prop up things that need to be questioned.

You do not have a static system and then expect progress or improvement. Women are dealing with the same basic justice system that was around when they were still considered properties of their husbands.

And that’s a serious problem.

But the Post has decided to be apologists for rot and ignorance. They have a serious women issue because of it.

If you are going to proclaim to be a chronicler of reality, then you have to start dealing with the whole of reality.

And the reality is you have too many people who are being abused with no true recourse to correct it…

Memo to the National Post: Of course you were colluding. You always walked lockstep with each other, starting with news pegs.

This column is very typical of the constant justification Canadian journalism always had:

We’re not colluding, Competition Bureau. We’re fighting for our lives

They are never wrong. They are always right. They are always justified. They never need to improve. They never need to change. They have an excuse for everything.

Right off the bat, the author of the piece doesn’t seem to get it:

It’s not often Canadian newspaper offices are searched by government agents; it’s the kind of event one reads about in reports from the world’s trouble spots.

Memo to Terence Corcoran: yes, you are living in one of the world’s trouble spots. You are living in a nation that has a very high rate of citizens with university degrees who have abandoned you. You do not have the luxury of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats who can blame the deplorables for not supporting you. If you cannot comprehend that you are living in a country of educated people who have one of the highest literacy rates and Internet access rates in the world and are not supporting local media, you have a country in silent peril.

It only gets sillier from there, with the requisite indignant accusations of the Competition Bureau being absurd and silly because newspapers have lost lots of money; so creating a near monopoly is okay.

No, it’s not.

It wasn’t okay to not dig deep and make fundamental changes the industry need to thrive, not just survive.

But reporters were always brainless little followers, running after blowhard players who pretended to be Great Men as you all cribbed press releases and copied each other with “news pegs”. It was always a rote profession, and it should have never been one.

I doubt the Competition Bureau can do anything to address the rot that destroyed newspapers in Canada. Journalists, editors, and media owners cannot do it anymore, either.

But they can continue to be in denial, thinking that everything they do is justified as they pounce on Facebook’s every sin, as if legacy media never had a warehouse or two of their own they have yet to acknowledge, let alone atone for…

Deconstructing Propaganda, Part Four: sycophantic narrative dishonesty.

Two seemingly unrelated propaganda pieces: one from Canada. One from the US. Both about multiple deaths.

And both so badly mangled that they are truly propagandistic in nature.

I have always maintained that narrative has no place in journalism. None. I have had grand old fights with editors over the years over it. I dug and found facts that were not just important — but almost impossible to find, and believe me, it took more than just finesse and doggedness to find them. Those facts told the story more than my spinning ever could, and that was the reason I didn’t spin.

Then I had editors want that spin instead, saying what I was presenting was “mere reportage.”

They wanted colour. They wanted filler. Never mind I had found something that others missed that was extremely important to the public discourse. In every case, I pulled my story because if it was a case of getting published with junk, or not getting published at all, I would rather hold back then tell a fairytale that didn’t exist.

It was a pathology I noticed time and again. I had pitched to one Toronto editor a story about that city’s increasing gang problem, and how it was inevitable that civilians would be gunned down in the streets. I was accused of being some sort of hysterical female…and then came one Boxing Day where civilians were getting gunned down in the streets, with a teenaged corpse in the aftermath.

I had facts and troubling ones. The graffiti on the walls, for instance, hinted that things were coming to a head. That alone should have gotten attention — you had someone fluent in it, and could decipher it, but editors did not want to hear it because it clashed with their sycophantic narrative that Toronto was a “world-class city” filled with well-to-do sophisticates who held dinner parties and had their Botoxed mugs plastered in the society pages of government-funded magazines.

That narrative may have flattered the denizens of Hogtown, but it wasn’t the truth.

A few years later, some of those same gang members were revealed to hang around Toronto mayor Rob Ford — showing a link between a politician and a street gang — everyone was so obsessed with a mayor doing crack that the fact that you had politicians familiar with these urban soldiers seemed to slip everyone’s notice. Journalists were so bent on destroying the mayor that they failed to ask how many other politicians could have also had ties to violent elements and groups.

Gangs are unsanctioned armies fighting a war in peacetime (and often, during times of war, those same gang members become war lords). They don’t just attack without a financial reason. Graffiti is their coded communication…

And yet, the Toronto media refuses to open their eyes to it.

Because it spoils the narrative that Toronto is the centre of the universe.

Which means narrative drives the news. Facts do not play into the product.

The propaganda model is a simple one: Us Versus Them. Them may be Devils, but Us are the Angels, and possibly even Gods. You do not question Us on any account.

The trouble is Us Versus Them rarely actually exists. Not all of Them are evil, and not all of Us can be trusted.

The National Post is using such a ruse in their article about Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur.

In this piece, it is a real Us Versus Him narrative with McArthur being falsely portrayed as some evil genius who covered all of his tracks…

Which implies the default Good Guys — the police — were stymied, and of course, they couldn’t have known…

The big kissy to the police is interesting as they have been criticized for not acting on finding a serial killer sooner — so now the Post has spun a pleasing narrative to authority by making the case that the Evil Genius took all sorts of precautions to avoid detection.

Except he was not all that good at it. He had a criminal record and was questioned by police multiple times over the years. That means the narrative itself is a fraud. You are imposing a story to drown out what the facts truly mean.

It’s propaganda because the narrative does not align with reality.

But when you rely on narratives, you are faced with a problem: you designate a hero and a villain — and it is not enough that the hero has some good qualities, and the villain some bad — somehow, in each retelling, the hero has no faults, while the villain has no redeeming qualities. It becomes a farce.

For example, I have talked at length about #MeToo — and while I have said it was necessary and has done good in many cases, I still have issues with it. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect…

But sometimes you see problems and you outline them not to dismiss, but to correct — or at least be mindful of it when you are planning your next steps.

#MeToo does have its faults, and one of the biggest ones is that it is not exactly an inclusive issue. It’s not about all women. It is about upper middle class to wealthy white women, and there have been numerous commentators who have pointed this out — quite rightly — as in, I will not defend or justify the omission.

Journalism only knows Big Issues as being suburban white. It is Eurocentric, and pathologically so — even if there is a token Person of Colour, it is insincere, and the representation will not reflect that subset of the demographic as a whole.

When a serial killer or wife killer target Caucasian females, it is plastered all over the news as being America’s problem. If the race is anything other than white, it gets buried and ignored.

#MeToo has not faced the same scrutiny and disdain as, say Black Lives Matter.

It is not just a US problem — in Canada, we have had a subtle genocide of First Nations women in this country — but it is never personalized. Have a bunch of white women vanish into the abyss, and the reaction would be completely different.

Because that is an attack on Us.

I am not comfortable with the racism of omission from #MeToo for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that I do not want to be discriminated against just because I am female — but I am not so self-absorbed that I don’t think everyone else in the same boat should be included. Of course they should.

It is not supposed to be getting attention for people, but a systemic problem.

At first, it didn’t matter how inclusive #MeToo was for one reason: one group reached the spotlight first and that was fine, but it should become more inclusive immediately after that as other groups reached the same spot and had a light to see where to come to expose their realities. It never quite happened that way.

Journalism was in a bind as a disportioncate number of men on the Hitlist came from their own profession. There was a lot of naysaying about it, but the consensus was that this issue was about women in general…when it really wasn’t.

It was about some women. The problem was the first who reached the spotlight set the terms of the narrative right off the bat, and made no effort to go beyond the scope that was being rewarded with attention and the firings of men who made the dubious list.

In many ways, #MeToo coverage become propaganda itself. Not the cause per se, but how it was treated in the news media.

But not as bad propaganda as #NeverAgain.

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Time magazine’s story is probably one of the most deceptive propaganda pieces I have seen in a long time.

Gun Control is one of those empty causes that cannot solve the problem. Countries such as China, have strict gun control laws, and yet, it is those smuggled weapons that end up in many a murderer’s hands globally. Canada, for all its smugness, has a serious violence problem, despite having very strict gun control.

In the UK, you have had numerous terrorist attacks and vitriol-throwing. There is gun control there, and yet there is plenty of violence. Most of Europe does as well, from France to Germany. Let’s not pretend.

And now you have a group of teenagers waste their time voguing (yes, voguing) on a cover of a magazine demanding gun control…

It is a sycophantic narrative deception. We have decided the teenagers are Us, and…the guns are the Them.

Which says a lot about the emotional disconnection a new generation has to humanity — they have chosen an inanimate object for an enemy, and it is not a step up from having people as one instead.

It was a fellow teenager who slaughtered students, just as you had a young adult male in Texas set off bombs. It is not Us Versus Them. It is Us versus Us. The end.

The United States has a very serious violence problem, and it isn’t triggered by holding a gun.

But the narrative does not offend parents who may be raising a future homicidal maniac and do not have the courage to face that reality, nor the teenagers who are the ones snapping and slaughtering fellow students with chilling ease.

It is the reason why the narrative is propaganda.

Because it does not align with reality.

A more helpful and accurate approach is to find facts.

For instance, we know very little about most of these killers. They are not personalized, and they have to be personalized. Not to excuse them or make people feel sorry for them, but to see the ugly truth that these are not monsters — these are normal-looking teenagers who look no different than the teens they are murdering.

When the Austin bomber’s picture was released, an anchor on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto kept mentioning how the killer looked average and normal — as if killers all looked like the devil complete with horns, a disfigured face, and a maniacal laugh.

That is narrative.

The true horror of school shootings isn’t the guns because if you leave the gun alone, no one gets killed.

If you leave the killer alone, he may very well murder you anyway.

What makes school shootings terrifying is you are in a building filled with teenagers.

And some of them will be murdered.

And at least one will be their murderer.

Now walk in and guess who will fall in one camp and who will end up in the other.

The terrifying thing is you cannot tell on first glance, but journalism is nothing but about first glances and ruses.

Kiss up to one side of an issue, and then demonize the side who cannot fight back. People will hold on to that narrative structure and will not let go because arrogance prevents people from ever admitting that they were wrong.

Except for social media, where divergent voices can interject, as I am interjecting right now.

Gun control is a waste of time and resources.

Violence control will save lives.

So why do we pick the one that will not produce results?

Is it because we are that stupid and unteachable as a species?

Or perhaps we don’t really want to solve the problem?

It is precisely because people do not actually want to solve the problem: they may be required to alter something major in their routine, be held partially accountable, or lose a job that hinges on a problem continuing to plague their world.

I find it funny that the latest whitebread social issue’s hashtag is #NeverAgain.

And then another school shooting happened right after that unkeepable promise was made.

So the name is a lie right from the start.

If we had real journalism, we wouldn’t be making decrees or deciding who we should cheer like empty heads.

We would be finding facts. We would be finding facts without narrative. We wouldn’t be having teens posing like they are from a Gap ad on Time — but the dead bodies of those teens killed in Florida.

But journalism was always insincere about who they were, what they did, how they did it, and why they were doing it.

They want an easy narrative instead of facts…and that is why we are still groping in the dark in 2018 the same way our earliest ancestors did before they discovered fire…

Memo to the National Post: #MeToo was a positive development in the workplace. But thinking there are instant solutions is childish.

There is a column in the Financial Post that walks lockstep with the Post’s narrative that #MeToo is a bad thing.

#MeToo opened up a crypt of horrors: it exposed that even female CEOs faced abuse from their male colleagues in the workplace.

It was a movement that is flawed, but long overdue.

Why?

Because women endured, and it didn’t make it go away. They broke glass ceilings, but it didn’t go away. They filed complaints with HR, it didn’t go away. They sued in court, it didn’t go away.

So, for the first time, women decided to air this problem and then they decided they, too just weren’t going to go away.

That is not a minor victory. That is a major key breakthrough victory of a major battle in the war against workplace terrorism.

But it wasn’t the end of the war, and the columnist — who is a workplace lawyer who is usually more sensible — treats the next battle as proof that #MeToo was a bad thing for the workplace.

No, women couldn’t get to this stage unless they won a key battle of exposing the serious problem out in public, the place where the workplace terrorists were revealed to be as such, and didn’t have lawyers who could make the problem go away or, have the boor in question pay anyone off.

Now, it is a new battle, which is part of that victory.

A war is fought in battles. You do not fight once, and then everything works out perfectly as everyone Learns A Valuable Lesson and stops being a predator.

So now there is a new battle, and this is one that women can win — and win far easier than the one before it.

First, it is illegal to discriminate against gender in the workplace — so if a corporation doesn’t mentor its female employees and doesn’t groom and promote them to be CEOs, there are resources to penalize their illegal and oppressive behavior. They cannot use fear as an excuse for withholding what an employee has earned.

We can expose these companies, and demand that they make public the percentage and proportion of women who get trained, groomed, and promoted — if it is anything less than 50%, we can take them to court, and as women are the driving force in the economy, they can boycott those businesses.

We can demand that women be trained and mentored effectively — so the excuse that men are too afraid is hogwash.

What you have is a passive aggressive retaliation tactic to prevent women from giving them what they have earned — with interest.

And unlike #MeToo, this battle is easier to win.

So if the executives and board of directors are too male and too white, I have the recourse of not doing business with them — and making my reasons for my boycott public.

Women have and can buy stocks for the specific purpose of demanding that executive bonuses be directly tied in to the number of women (minorities, what have you) that are mentored and promoted.

So far from this being a bad thing, it is a great thing to happen to workforces. We can hold HR accountable for methods of dealing with workplace terrorism. We can strategically spend our money to favour those whose power structure reflects the real world.

You don’t retreat after you won a battle — you move forward ready to win the next one.

And if there is a setback, you regroup, learn from your mistakes, and fight again and again until you win.

You do not earn a major victory and then surrender to the forces you humbled. That is patently ridiculous, and there is no time for being afraid when there is a legitimate chance of turning bad workplaces into good ones that progress and thrive…

The Unteachable: Polls don’t reveal the truth about reality, but it doesn’t stop the press from using them.

This National Post column is funny. The headline is quite telling:

With Doug Ford, Ontario’s Tories take a big risk

Polls showed Christine Elliott would attract a lot of potential PC supporters, and that Ford would drive them away. Nevertheless, here we are

Polls also suggested Elliott would take the leadership mantle. She didn’t.

The news media makes the same two perpetual assumptions: (1) That the majority of citizens are Left-leaning, and (2) polls mean something.

And neither is the case.

In Canada, you do not need a majority of the vote to get a governmental majority, You can get it by capturing a little over a third of the vote. That PC voter turn out broke records, should be some indicator that something is happening. That the unknown fourth leadership candidate did far better in the race than anyone anticipated should also say something.

Elections are not popularity contests. They are a form of bloodless war. It is strategy and cunning, not merely getting votes that bring a contender a victory.

What separated Ford from Elliott, Mulroney, and even Patrick Brown is simple: he is not a Red Tory. Elliott and Mulroney, in a way, cancelled each other out — and in an election where you have three left-of-centre candidates, you are fighting for the same votes.

Bring in Ford, and you bring in people who wouldn’t vote for someone left-of-centre.

And it can be enough to bring a crushing Blue Wave to Queen’s Park.

He doesn’t need 51% of the popular vote. He needs a little more than what the other two parties can muster.

And because he is different enough from the Liberals and NDP, he can capture new voters and organize enough voters to get into power.

But the press in Ontario are making the same mistake as they did in thinking Rob Ford was never going to be mayor of Toronto, Brexit was going to be rejected, and the Donald Trump was never going to become president.

Polls mean nothing for many reasons. You think you will vote one way until you actually see the names of the ballot. Sometimes people lie because they don’t think their vote is anyone’s business — including their family members, let alone a pollster. And sometimes pollsters aren’t asking the right people, getting a skewed result because of their own inherent biases or flawed techniques.

Elections aren’t about reaching everyone and being inclusive — it is about getting just enough. That’s all. You do not overwork it. You hit strategically. Hillary Clinton never learned that lesson: that she overdid it and wasted too many resources as she lost focus to the actual goal of getting just enough, and not too much. 

In politics, it is about just enough. You win when you do not have the majority vote for you, particularly in Canada where you have three parties. Both Trump and George W. Bush won without getting the popular vote — just winning enough electoral votes to snag the brass ring. There is a very good reason for this rig: it shows a candidate is smart enough and shrewd enough to eke out a victory, even when everything seems against them.

But for whatever reason, journalists are absolutely blind to this fact: they think you must be all things to all people, and that’s a recipe for failure.

Polls tell you nothing because they do not measure strategy. They cannot, for instance, detect which of those people they polled will be strategic votes. On the surface, everyone’s vote is equal, but it never is — it all depends on how those votes are covertly bundled by a certain campaign.

Polls are there to tell middle class people what to say at the water cooler or at dinner parties without looking too stupid and weird. They are not actually useful to determining the stealth cunning of a particular politician.

Journalists are not teachable. After decades of having polls fool them, they still rely on them as if the mean something.

And yet they continue to use them as filler for articles at the expense of their own credibility.

#MeToo was never native to Canadian sensibilities, and it shows with the very different fates of two journalists on the Hitlist.

The National Post may have their whiners lamenting in columns that CTV’s Paul Bliss was doomed because #MeToo is just a big old mean witch hunt (“There was no other way this story could end but in Paul Bliss being ‘disappeared'”, didn’t you know?), but that’s just a confirmation bias speaking.

Steve Paikin was also accused, but he is still not “disappeared“. He hosted the PC leadership debate. He is still on his show and still has his blog, with the latest entry begin on March 8. Journalists all enthusiastically marched lockstep in support of Paikin, but those same apologists stayed deafeningly silent when it came to Bliss.

So the notion that getting on that list means a foregone conclusion is highly inaccurate.

The impact of #MeToo — a strictly Made in the USA movement has been profound in the US far more than it has in Canada. The impact on Canadian politicians has been more significant than it has on US politicians. Patrick Brown got shown to the door at lightening speed, and no one was happier than his own party. They weren’t hanging their heads down in shame. They weren’t condoning his alleged behaviour. They were relieved and marched on in uncharted territory moving ahead in that ensuing chaos quite cheerily.

But when it came to some other men on the list, journalists got pouty and indignant. How dare anyone accuse journalists of being less than perfect?

While the US #MeToo also enthusiastically got rid of some swamp insects in their communications, Canadian has been much slower to act, even though sexual harassment is just as prevalent here as it is over there.

Bliss was turfed, but so far, it looks like Paikin will have no trouble weathering this one out. #MeToo is not a witch hunt here, no matter what the fear-mongers decree. The US had its shock with Trump’s obvious victory that they didn’t see coming or had the cunning or clout to stop. Canada had no such overt reckoning to face. It is a difference in ortgeist, not zeitgeist, and why two neighbouring countries are having very different outcomes with an identical movement.

But, as usual, the National Post does not have the savvy or the sensitivity to see it.

Canadian journalism’s wasteland: A well-organized mob comes out to make damage. The police did nothing, but the Canadian media giggle and pat citizens on the head. How is living anarchy suit you, Hamilton?

Businesses in Hamilton warned police numerous times over the last few months that trouble was coming.

They, of course, were ignored.

The rampage was well-organized, and yet the police were completely blindsided; retreating and arresting no one. Politicians and police are now babbling nonsense as they pat themselves on the back for a job not done.

Hamilton is one of the largest cities in Canada, with over a half million people, and yet, when there is big trouble, nothing got done. No one saw it coming, no chatter was caught, nothing.

Canadians are in sleepwalking mode these days, cheerily making no demands and being proud that they take abuse with a smile on their faces.

In the US, for instance, when it was discovered that four sheriff’s deputies hid while gunman Nikolas Cruz killed students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Florida, there was national outrage. In Hamilton, people shrugged it off.

And the press took the opportunity to poke fun at the mob that caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage as their violence has now escalated.

The National Post thought a mob storming a street was hilarious, treating a cabal of organized thugs as silly because they didn’t storm Wal-Marts but local businesses. Why would they storm Wal-Mart? The point of the exercise was to let local people know that they can destroy their livelihoods with impunity.

And when 30 people can do that and the police cannot arrest a single one, you are not living under the law. You are living in anarchy.

This rampage isn’t something that has anything positive going for it. It doesn’t matter if people go shopping on Locke Street to show their support because that area was targeted before, and now insurance companies will jack up the rates, and will see Hamilton in a negative light because it has now come to light that this city is unresponsive and irresponsible to keeping businesses safe from vandals. So buying an extra donut is not going to cover the difference.

And it will happen again, only what is going to be done for an encore?

As usual, no journalist has asked a single hard question. None seems capable of an independent thought that goes against the narrative that it will All Work Out In The End.

It won’t if you do not take trouble seriously.

Hamilton, despite every false assurance that there is “rejuvenation” taking place, is in a bad place. The roads are literal garbage. The real estate market has crashed. People here are precariously employed. For all the chirpy cheerleading, the only new businesses here are antiques, meaning no new manufacturing jobs to go along with it, and restaurants, where the profit margins are razor thin and even that market is over-saturated, and when things get tough, the first indulgence people cut is eating out.

There are lots of tattoo parlours and pot shops cropping up, and the latter have been targeted for some very violent robberies. Neither one of those kinds of businesses are going to generate any sort of rejuvenation for the city. If it weren’t for public sector jobs in education, post-secondary, and health care, this town would be dead and buried.

This used to be a steel town where factory jobs drove the economy. It produced tangible goods, and people had disposable income. Those days are done. We have unresponsive leadership, and a few maroons posing as journalists chirping how everything is fantastic.

Stop ignoring the dangers and the rot. Stop looking for the positive side of horror. We have serious crime. We have abused children and women — and a shortage of foster care spaces and shelter spaces.

And now we have thugs who are breaking what little is left in this city.

At what point do we say, “This is bad. This is a crisis. The blessings have gone and all that is left are the curses”?

Don’t expect the dead profession of journalism to ask the hard questions. They are too busy amusing themselves with their own ignorant stupidity to do it.

Hoodwinked: How Canadian newspapers got suckered by the Federal Government who just suckered themselves. Yes, you were played by someone very smooth. Now deal with it.

The upside to President Donald Trump’s decree of imposing a 25% tariff on steel is that the normally cocky politicians, union and business leaders, and journalists in Ontario finally have their perpetually cocky smirks wiped off their smug faces. Journalists in Canada really are that clueless because they think there is some sort of safety net if they screw things up. They do not have to think, work, or put actual effort into what they do because somehow, it all works out in the end.

Why? Because the mysterious and benevolent organization known as They will rescue them. I keep hearing a lot about the They patrons, and have yet to meet them, or be a recipient of their altruistic largess and doting. “They” are apparently big enablers who reward the arrogant and lazy so that they never have to be made accountable or suffer the consequences of their stupidity.

Now that “They” did not stop Donald Trump from delivering what he promised during his election campaign to do, it is Reality Time, not quite Truth Time because Canadians still think they can charm their way into getting an exception, even though Trump has made several subtle, but solid preemptive strikes that culminated into calling this entire nation “smooth.”

This is absolute serious business, but Canada, per usual, is unprepared. Charm offensive only goes so far. Narrative manipulation only works if your audience is unaware of your ruse, and with both Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling the Canadian regime untrustworthy in different ways in the same week, that gambit can no longer be counted on to work. It is one thing for Trump to be disliked — his power comes from the chaos of antagonism, but Justin Trudeau is an intellectual lightweight who has too many handlers and not enough instinct. He comes off as the nerdy little boy who was made fun of as a kid, and now is too blinded by trying to pretend to be cool so that the entire world will love him. He will be lucky if he isn’t the most reviled prime minister this country ever had.

Canada has some hard truths to face, but, as usual, the news media here never seems to be able to deal with bad news: there always has to be a positive spin and an assurance that hey, everything is just peachy keen, we have it all under control, and They will fix things even if we stay inert and never learn to face reality. We can quibble over using words such as “master” and “chief” while having a federal government spend more than we have, watch a housing market begin to collapse, and keep quiet about our country’s precarious employment situation.

Until Trump seemed to have sucker punched everyone with tariffs.

How anyone could have construed what happened as a sucker punch is beyond me: I knew it was coming. He said as much during his campaign. He set the scene with the “smooth” commentary the same week as Trudeau’s disastrous Indian trip where he tried to pin the most notorious turn of it on another country who would have none of it. It was a perfect storm and Trump, true to form, made the most of it.

I used to box, and I could see the boxing match. Trudeau once pretended to box, but it was not a real match: it was one where two people who didn’t know what to do made crude guesses, and wildly missed the mark.

But Trump boxes in his affairs for real. It was the same boxing match where Trump knocked out Hillary Clinton — everyone thought Clinton would win, and I, who knew the rhythms and methods of one-on-one fighting, saw the moves and the hits, and could easily call it for Trump.

The same thing is happening again, this time, with Canada getting pummelled like nobody’s business.

And the pummelling has only begun.

But the Canadian news media did not get the memo.

The Toronto Star is too busy getting offended by the “smooth” remark with Jim Coyle’s uppity tit-for-tat column babbling about how a “smooth” Brian Mulroney outfoxed the Liberals and the U.S. with Free Trade.

No, he served Canada up to the US on a silver platter, and Canada’s manufacturing sector got decimated. Canada never recovered; we just made do and covered it up. Free Trade was never in Canada’s interests. We got played then; we’re just getting screwed now.

Canada has always behaved liked the battered wife who thinks she stood her ground by spitting in her husband’s beer, and thinks everything is good enough because she isn’t completely destitute, making her cunning for it, and believes the neighbours don’t know of her tortured existence. So used to abuse this nation has become that we don’t even see the extent of our wounds. Pat us on our heads with an Olympic medal or a Grammy award, and we’ll eat whatever dirt anyone throws us. It is a nation terrified of any criticism because perhaps it means not everything is swell, and we’re getting abused for no good reason — and that things will never get better.

So long as we have tattoos. Timmie’s coffee, some weed, beer, and a smartphone to watch Netflix and hockey, we think it’s all going to work out. We can crow about the Raptors and get cocky and lippy at whoever we wish because They is looking out for us; so we’re free to shut down our critics and smirk at how they keep pointing at all the rot around us, having the nerve to demand that we acknowledge that rot and help them do something about it.

That is, until someone who is more cunning than we are decides to decimate the little we have with tariffs. Deep down, we know we can’t take many more hits because we are that close to the edge.

Which brings us to how badly the Canadian newspaper industry got played by its own government.

Just like Trump’s war cry with tariffs, Canadian governments are not as generous with money as the myth goes. They certainly love to tax their citizens.

But should any of those citizens try to retrieve some of those funds, they hit a million roadblocks, regardless of what level of government they make their pleas.

Some local and provincial programs, such as Ontario Renovates, do not give grants for desperately needed housing repairs, for instance. You borrow the money by means of a second mortgage, and many insurance companies won’t insure you if you have a second mortgage. You have to submit to a city inspection, and chances are, you will not qualify, and if you do, you cannot sell your home for years after.

There are countless other examples of special programs where people who should qualify never do, and of those who reach that ridiculously high standards, find out there are strings, far less money than is promised, and there are so many obstacles and conditions that you are better off doing without. It is not as if the government doesn’t give generous funds, but those will be to their friends in exchange for other things. Big corporations get them. Companies that do not actually need them get them.

The methods of which the government oversees these penny tosses is cumbersome and deliberately so. For all the money earmarked to First Nations, you’d think a direct one-time deposit of a decent sum to every First Nations person would set them for life, but it is doled out in such a way that those who need it the most never see a penny, and there is no end of the bureaucracy with well-paid wonks who reap the benefits.

It is, to be blunt, a sham.

Had Canadian journalists been bothered to cover those stories by researching and not reading whatever the government press release said, they would have already known this fact. I know this fact because I have done my homework over the years. I have paid visits and asked questions. To me, this is no surprise.

But when the going got tough, media owners naively went to the federal government begging to get $350 million dollars directly deposited to their bank accounts so they could do what they always did: nothing but strut around with a smirk and produce nothing of value.

What happened next was no surprise; it gave the government ideas: throw a few pennies, set up yet another layer of government, set up a grant system where no one can actually benefit from save the government because there will be too many strings attached, and the knots will prevent anyone from benefitting.

The government looks like it is doing something, and those who need the funds are shut out, but cannot gripe because they made a deal with the devil, getting what they asked, but not in the way they asked for it.

And now the Canadian media has been sucker punched by the inevitable outcome, whining aloud.

Suckers, you can keep whining. It is not going to save your hides.

Even Andrew Coyne, who gets it more than the rest of that clueless cabal called Canadian journalism, doesn’t see the whole. The “good news, bad news” spin of his column does suggest a wry understanding of the issue. And he gets that the government played his industry.

But even Coyne doesn’t see how badly the industry got burned: they had been enslaved by a federal government that is about to get the humbling of its life by a bigger shark.

The Liberal Party has always been uncontrollably arrogant: the “Government Party” makes them Marvel Comics to the Conservatives DC Comics. They know how to pander and set narratives, reassuring people they will take care of everything, and it will all work out in the end.

Except the fresh young face they used has no substance inside of him. Trudeau is not his father; he is his mother’s son: all about optics, not about legacy or survival. He knows how to generate attention: he does not think of the consequences of getting the world’s attention just as someone more cunning and powerful uses that moment to strike from the shadows so everyone see just how weak he is. Trump owned the media spotlight for decades; Trudeau got a free pass because of his daddy.

Pierre Trudeau was a cunning magician as was Jean Chretien who was the scrappier version of it. Stephen Harper was low key, but he was a survivor and a strategist; smart enough to know how to operate under the radar as he had an uncanny sense for policy as he actually worked his way up. Mulroney was as narcissistic as Trudeau Junior, but he had the cunning to pull himself out of any scrape of his own making, all while having a fall guy or gal take the hits while he comes out a little richer and more powerful than he was before. No one can fail upwards better than the Silver Fox.

Justin Trudeau is none of those things. He is transparent.

The newspaper industry thought they could read him, and found the right prime minister to make their outrageous request for money. That they were outmaneuvered by the current government shows you just how clueless the news media in this country was all along.

Had they done their jobs, they would have known Canada was going to be in the eye of a perfect storm: you have an anarchistic master of chaos in the White House who turns over every rule to break them, and one of the big rules had been to let Canada feel as if it is seen as the nice guys. They would have known how their own government operated when it came to doling out cash.

It would have also known how the world was changing, and how to keep up with those chaotic times.

It didn’t. It was too busy voguing and smirking to see the dark clouds floating over them.

Now they have to deal with it just as the chaos is has taken root and is growing.

And They are helpless to stop it.

Canadian journalism was hoodwinked by their own government who was just hoodwinked by Trump.

There are ways of dealing with both, but the first step is not looking to They with a smirk on your face, all while being the most gullible entity in the equation.