How the media work

The press is dissected in this entertaining interview by John Cleese of  Graham Johnson and John Ford, tabloid journalists. There is only one line and one story allowed. All the questions are directed to reinforce the chosen line.

“Fake news” was made identifiable by Donald Trump, says Graham Johnson. Stories are made up, and the penalty for failing to do so is to be fired. It is that simple.

 

For evident reasons, trust in British journalism is especially low. See

https://www.statista.com/statistics/683336/media-trust-worldwide/

for a comparison of the level of trust in media across countries. It proved impossible to block and copy.

 

 

Good news: The Cold War may be over

As the media go hysterical over Trump and Putin meeting, it is important to ask yourself this question: who gains by making Russia the bogeyman? Instead of, say, Islamic terrorism, Islamic invasion of Europe, mass emigration from Africa or Mexico, or the advent of thinking machines, autonomous cars, and microbiological weapons? Eh?

As Spengler observes, Russia has always been governed by thugs, and on the scale of Stalin or Lenin, Putin’s long list of assassinations is less than the first 3 days following the  Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

 

President Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming the U.S. for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct. By this I do not mean to say that Russia is a beneficent actor in world affairs or that President Putin is an admirable world leader. Nonetheless, the president displayed both perspicacity and political courage when he pointed the finger at the United States for mismanaging the relationship with Russia.

The hysterical shouts of “treason! Munich! disgrace!” are a sure sign that the Party of Davos  is offended, and they are getting really scared that the changes they deplore keep on happening despite their shrill control of the mainstream media.

Something new is aborning, and like all births, it is messy, bloody, shitty and horrible to look at. But wipe off the baby and cut the umbilical cord, tie it up and tuck it in and you have a new baby. The birth of the new will look ghastly for a while but the process of replacing the Post World War 2 American Imperium with something else is underway. As Steve Bannon says, “we don’t want a European protectorate, we want a European alliance.”

Mostly we want to go on living as nations, and not as helots in service of the Davos crowd.

John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, has not exactly adapted to the news.

John Brennan, who led U.S. intelligence under Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: ‘Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.’

You may expect more of the same. Unless you realize that the world is changing before your eyes, and that the US Deep State in particular does not want to change its anti-Russian focus, nothing will make sense. As Orwell once noticed, it is hard enough to see what is in front of our eyes. It is not treason, it is the downgrading of the threat from a declining Russia to its actual proportions. In the meantime, beware of Russians bearing soccer balls, but not more than one should be wary of open borders, Davos thinking,  intersectionality and the decline of educational standards.

The last time I can remember an event so large was the fall of the Soviet Union, but the important fact is that this time the change is happening here.

Vladimir Putin gives Donald Trump a football from the 2018 World Cup in Russia during their press conference in Helsinki 

 

Good news: the ice age is ending

From the National Post today:

Out of 1,773 glaciers, 1,353 shrank significantly between 2000 and 2016. All of them shrank a little bit, said (glaciologist Adrienne) White.

White found glaciers lost more than 1,700 square kilometres. That’s a loss of almost six per cent over a period of 16 years.

Most of these glaciers probably aren’t coming back.

The Canadian Arctic is experiencing some of the fastest climate warming anywhere on Earth. The annual average temperature on Ellesmere Island has increased by 3.6 degrees.

I do not deny global warming. I celebrate it. As you will observe from the chart below, the earth has been getting colder for the last fifty million years.

Wikipedia reports:

There have been five or six major ice ages in the history of Earth over the past 3 billion years. The Current Ice Agebegan 34 million years ago, its latest phase being the Quaternary glaciation, in progress since 2.58 million years ago.

Within ice ages, there exist periods of more severe glacial conditions and more temperate referred to as glacial periodsand interglacial periods, respectively. The Earth is currently in such an interglacial period of the Quaternary glaciation, with the last glacial period of the Quaternary having ended approximately 11,700 years ago, the current interglacial being known as the Holocene epoch.[1] Based on climate proxiespaleoclimatologists study the different climate states originating from glaciation.

 

Mother American Night

Mother American Night by John Perry Barlow and Robert Greenfield

Once upon a time I was in Ghana for an Internet conference. A group of ten or so had gathered in the lobby in comfortable chairs and were chatting after dinner. I got on to the topic of acid and the Grateful Dead and how much I missed doing LSD, as I had not had any for years, maybe decades by that time. John Perry Barlow, as it happened, reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet, and tore of two Owsley tabs from a small collection, in front of everyone and with no hesitation, and I took them from him gratefully. It was some time later that I actually tripped on them. They were sublime. Thank you, John Perry Barlow.

More conventional reviews of John Perry Barlow’s autobiography can be found  hereherehere and here. Also here.

Barlow was at the centre of so much in recent American life. Do yourself a favour: if the description of Barlow in the hotel lobby in Ghana intrigues you just a bit, buy and read his book. You will not be disappointed.

If on the other hand the idea of LSD frightens you, why are you reading this blog?

Steve Bannon explains what is happening

Steve Bannon takes some young puppy interviewer and whips him for being a snot-nosed idiot. He also explains why he is a nationalist populist and not a globalist. Bannon is far ahead of the interviewer, who is both tendentious and none too bright.

“You guys love liberal democracy until you start losing elections, then it becomes dangerous nationalism”.

“The Party of Davos” is Bannon’s term for what governs Europe.

“Central banks are in the business of debasing your currency”.

“Crony capitalist governments have been imposed for the past thirty years”.

Bannon identifies the Financial Times, the Economist, the BBC and MSNBC as the media arms of the Davos Party.

“I admire Orban because he took a very tough stand and saved his country”.

“Angela Merkel panics, realizes she made a great mistake and the EU tries to farm out the problem to other countries”.

“George Soros is one of the most evil people in the world. He has been trying to destroy the United States for years with his open borders policy”.

Bannon does not take an inch of  guff from the journalist, who is so deep into the world view of the Davis Party that Bannon’s points essentially escape him. An entertaining tour through the world view of Bannon and of his Davos Party opposition.

“The US doesn’t need Europe as a protectorate, it needs Europe as an ally.”

 

 

Scruton on what conservatism is

 

“The goal of the intellectual conservative  is to articulate the real reasons  why you should not have reasons.” At minute 5 of the interview.

“The initial instinct on the Left is outrage at the state of affairs, that things are wrong,  but the only solution for the Left is to seize power. But once you have got power, the negative is still there in your heart, because it’s driven you all along.”

“Without the concept of truth, there is no real exchange between people”

“Power is not a lens through which to see things, it is a corneal transplant” {Hamza Yusuf}

“The typical conservative finds things that he loves and wants to preserve them; the typical person on the left finds things that have gone wrong”

“Language is the evolved gift of previous generations”.

“It’s absolutely true that grammar is elitist, because it makes a distinction between the people that know it and the people that don’t. And that’s the kind of distinction we’er all going to need if we are to survive as a civilization and as individuals too”.

“We mustn’t be too pessimistic about everything”.

Hamza Yusuf is the first Muslim I have heard who makes sense, and explains what is good about Islam. Double bonus.

As Scruton says to Hamza Yusuf, “we are agreeing about too much”.

 

 

Toxic femininity

 

Image result for heather heying

 

From Quillette, by Heather Heying

 

Creating hunger in men by actively inviting the male gaze, then demanding that men have no such hunger—that is toxic femininity. Subjugating men, emasculating them when they display strength—physical, intellectual, or other—that is toxic femininity. Insisting that men, simply by virtue of being men, are toxic, and then acting surprised as relationships between men and women become more strained—that is toxic femininity. It is a game, the benefits of which go to a few while the costs are shared by all of us…..

The movement that has popularized the term ‘toxic masculinity’ shares tools and conclusions with those who see signs of ‘white supremacy’ everywhere they look. Intersectionalists have in common with one another a particular rhetorical trick: Any claim made by a member of an historically oppressed group is unquestionably true. Questioning claims is, itself, an act of oppression.

This opens the door for anyone who is willing to lie to obtain power. If you cannot question claims, any claim can be made.

Thus: Racism is ubiquitous. And all men are toxic. I object—but objection is not allowed. Everyone who understands game theory knows how this game ends: Innocent people being vilified with false claims, and exposed to witch hunts. Sexual assault is real, but that does not mean that all claims of sexual assault are honest.

It is shocking that this bears saying, but there is a world of men who are smart and compassionate and eager to have vibrant, surprising conversations with other people, both men and women. The sex-specific toxicity that I have seen, when it has been obvious, has mostly been in the other court. All men are toxic and all women victims? No. Not in my name.

Why academia is doomed, and what will follow

“The coming implosion after the diversity’s victory”, from Mark Bauerlein, in Minding the Campus

 

Which brings us to the real issue: personnel. We have sunk to an intellectual level that we might call purely managerial. Thirty years ago, we had a genuine battle over the curriculum in which ideas and values were weapons (though not the only weapons). Should there be a Western Civ requirement? Are there great women writers out there, unjustly forgotten and waiting to be rediscovered? Do minority students want to see minority authors on the syllabus, and would they become estranged if they didn’t? Should we read Ezra Pound despite his vile biases?….

Now, diversity means just that: getting more underrepresented people in place. That’s all. The campus managers don’t think about what will happen then. Diversity among the personnel—that is, more proportionate representation of all “underserved” identities—is an end in itself. If you asked a dean what diversity is for, what purpose it serves, he wouldn’t have an immediate answer. He spends so much time in a habitat of tautology (“diversity is good for . . . diversity”) that the very question stumps him until he remembers blather from the Old Times about diverse perspectives and educational benefits and repeats it like a ventriloquist’s dummy. But don’t try pressing him on it. He doesn’t want to talk about it. The self-evident good of diversity has long been established, and he clings to it like a Catholic does his rosary…..

We must change the demographic. That’s the commandment. More women and people of color in the ranks. We see little evidence that managers and bureaucrats on campus have any other thought in their heads now. Diversity doesn’t amount to anything more than that. It’s a crass ambition, but a potent one because dissenters from it have no effective argument against it. It’s very bluntness and simplicity make it incontrovertible….

After all, if diversity is just a matter of demographics, liberal professors and administrators can solve the problem. All the white males and many of the white females should leave and ask that persons of color be hired. If the educators object, “But we have bills to pay and careers to pursue,” we answer, “But aren’t you asking white job applicants to find careers elsewhere and pay their bills in another way?” If the professors say, “But there aren’t competent people out there,” we answer, “Are you saying that people of color can’t do the job you do?”

The administrators and liberal ‘go-alongs’ are in a corner, and they know it.

___________________________________

More Jordan Peterson on the same subject. He predicted  that “4,000 college and universities will go bankrupt in the next ten years and it can’t happen fast enough”.

 

Much as I love Trump….

 

Image result for breastfeeding

 

 

The system of government of which he is President is grossly defective. I could title this “why I am a Tory” and not a market libertarian. Nor am I a fan of the US constitution, in many senses.

In the United States, it is  illegitimate for there to be a position, on any conceivable issue, which stands at variance with the interests of American business. This is true whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. The entire game was established to keep legislators detached from the State, by means of the separation of powers, and closely allied with the immediate interests of those who pay for their electoral campaigns. Sometimes the weirdness of this is manifest to foreign eyes.

The case in point this week was a ludicrous opposition to breastfeeding launched by the United States in a conclave of the World Health Assembly, which is some sort of quango associated with the United Nations.

I want all you conservatives out there to hold your wrath for a moment and consider: what interest is served by opposing breast feeding? Women are equipped with two of them, and in spite of their great role in giving sexual pleasure, they actually serve to feed infants. I know this may sound strange to the childless, but it is true. They are not called milkers for nothing.

So when the World Health Assembly chose to promote the health and utility of breast feeding, the USA chose to oppose this as contrary to the interest of milk formula suppliers.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the U.S. delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

I encourage you to read the whole article to verify what I said above. I am fully aware that every act of the US administration will be portrayed as the result of a system gone mad under God-Emperor Trump, and that the timing and appearance of the article will feed anti-Trump bias. That is its purpose. 

Yet having seen US diplomatic activity up close, I do not doubt that the US opposed the promotion of breast feeding and threatened dire sanctions on weak states at the conference, as the article said. I have no doubts at all.

Why? Because the collective default position of US government institutions is to promote business, whether plant genetics, artificial milk, optical fibers, contraceptives, cars, or machine tools. That is what it does, and there is no understanding of or appreciation for a state which acts independently of private interests, in the interest of a state, or the people, or of an ideal.

Is it good for business? That is the question, and the only question, that US diplomats and trade negotiators are allowed to ask. By constitutional law it is Congress, not the President, which controls trade negotiations. Think on that for a moment.

 

Shelby Foote on Tacitus, Thucydides, Lincoln and the historian’s art

 

Shelby Foote is in my opinion the finest historian since Thucydides. Foote’s history of the American Civil War is unmatched in narrative coherence, grandeur, sweep and style.

“I believe the artists are out front and have a great deal to teach  historians about good writing and dramatic composition, which I consider the best history to be.”

“I think history has a plot, you don’t make it up, you discover it”.

“Some men’s deaths explain their life.”

Asked which side he would have fought for, he replied:

“I would have fought with my people, because they are my people”

It is Foote’s view that the American Civil War made the America we know, and not the Revolution. He read over 350 books on the American Civil War in order to write his narrative, and declined to go to original manuscripts and other sources. He said he enjoyed most of them. He wrote with a ‘dip pen’, such as you would see in the 19th century, dipping into an ink well after three or four words, and then he would type it out on a clean sheet of paper. He never needed to edit his writing.

I suggest that you start at minute 27 of this interview. There is much wisdom and great-souled learning in Shelby Foote. You are welcome to see all the interview, however Foote gets to the core of his artistic and historical views after this point.

It is a pleasure to listen to his gentle southern English, too. The interview was conducted in 1994.

 

Foote says of his art:

I am what is called a narrative historian. Narrative history is getting more popular all the time but it’s not a question of twisting the facts into a narrative. It’s not a question of anything like that. What it is, is discovering the plot that’s there just as the painter discovered the colors in shadows or Renoir discovered these children. I maintain that anything you can possibly learn about putting words together in a narrative form by writing novels is especially valuable to you when you write history. There is no great difference between writing novels and writing histories other than this: If you have a character named Lincoln in a novel that’s not Abraham Lincoln, you can give him any color eyes you want to. But if you want to describe the color of Abraham Lincoln’s, President Lincoln’s eyes, you have to know what color they were. They were gray. So you’re working with facts that came out of documents, just like in a novel you are working with facts that came out of your head or most likely out of your memory. Once you have control of those facts, once you possess them, you can handle them exactly as a novelist handles his facts. No good novelist would be false to his facts, and certainly no historian is allowed to be false to his facts under any circumstances. I’ve never known, at least a modern historical instance, where the truth wasn’t superior to distortion in every way. ”
— Shelby Foote seminar excerpt, New York State Writers Institute, March 20, 1997