Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Rebel reporter Sheila Gunn Reid assaulted in Alberta – updated

Rebel says they have now located the alleged assailant. Help wanted finding thug:

Yesterday our Alberta bureau chief, Sheila Gunn Reid, was hit in the face by an NDP thug, right on the steps of the Alberta Legislature. Here’s Sheila’s report:

Even more incredible, a photographer from the Canadian Press named Jason Franson was right there, taking pictures the whole time. But he didn’t publish any of those pictures; he didn’t support his fellow journalist. He actually pushed Sheila, too — and verbally disparaged her.

Why is this “incredible”? Alberta voted for it.

Ez Levant:

I will pay $1,000 to the first person who gives us information leading to the arrest of this violent NDP pig. Ask your friends, send his picture around, go through Facebook pages.

And send me all the info, at First one to catch him gets $1,000.

(Please do not take the law into your own hands, however tempting. Leave the illegal violence to the NDP street thugs — that’s not how we behave.)

Who’s the “we”? Not the NDP, unless they hand him over for questioning  themselves. Let’s see what happens.

Are the marchin’ witches marching into the sunset?

From Nicole Gallucci at Mashable

On Saturday, the peaceful protest, which took place in Washington D.C. one day after Donald Trump became the country’s 45th President, inspired a global movement, leading to marches in 160 cities across 60 countries.

Here’s a glimpse at some badass Americans coming together to make a difference. More.

And Ashley Judd advises us,

“I am a nasty woman,” she told the crowd. “I didn’t know devils could be resurrected, but I feel Hitler in these streets,” she added.

Reality check: Will the crowds of double-x pink bad-asses make any difference? That’s the question that they may not themselves realize is the question.

Put another way, if the marchers were the sort of people who were going to make a difference now, their candidate would probably have won in November. They’d be better off investing their time studying changes in the landscape. Bluster only gets us so far, especially after the fact.

Most Americans, unlike Judd, don’t “feel Hitler in these streets.” That distinction matters because celebs tend to be influential primarily when they are voicing a perspective that much of the silent majority shares but does not voice.

Otherwise, they must start by convincing their audience, and this crowd doesn’t sound right for the job. A lot of us are on our fourth Hitler already; it gets old.

As I wrote to a friend this morning: We’ll see, but here is my take: Trump was a general contractor most of his life. Naifs don’t thrive in that business.

He knew that those marching women do not represent most women.

Politicians who want to cave to the marchers’ demands – in order to avoid a difficult conflict to explain at their exclusive country club – pretend that the marchers do represent most women. That is essentially what the Republicrats Trump mopped the floor with in the primaries were doing. Offering to sneer a bit less at the GOP base than the other side would, while essentially feeding them in pieces to the other side’s sharks.

The Republicrats were paying protection money for themselves, not for women. They have done so for decades. But many GOP women saw through the ripoff and voted for Trump. Because they knew that, if he felt like it, he would just tell the marchin’ witches to take a hike.

To me, the conundrum is why this loudmouth builder was the only guy in the system, if not the world, who understood the significance of the fact that the New York Times’ opinion does not matter in the age of the Internet. Not in the way it used to. Many of his vulgarities were probably aimed at demonstrating that fact.

Sensing they are doomed anyway, his opponents will fight back by any means available, including mass dissemination of false information (ironic that they themselves are in a conniption about “fake news”). They could, maybe, destroy him but they cannot win back their former place, for the same reasons as analog will not replace digital technology. – d.

See also: Margaret Atwood at the Nation:

In a time of crisis and panic, artists and writers can help remind us that we are more than just voters and statistics.

Ezra Levant’s Trumping Trudeau a great way to catch up with our probable future

I read it last night; these days a concise, single-evening’s read is a must. Take-home points:

– I was surprised at the extent to which Clinton operatives helped Trudeau win. They must have expected something for their money. Will they continue to influence our political process in the hope of getting it eventually?

– Trudeau seems to be intentionally positioning himself as the “anti-Trump” Western world leader, even while most citizenries are turfing progressive globalist leaders and their cronies. How will that affect non-drama-teaching Canadians? We may learn the hard way.

– If we see street protests that don’t look like they make sense according to what we know about our own communities, it’s worth wondering whether progressive billionaire George Soros may be providing funds through various complex channels. In an age of university-driven snowflake sensitivity and progressive-driven high unemployment, for some people, protest is their best hope for a living. Increasingly, their only hope.

Order here.

See also: Margaret Atwood at the Nation:

In a time of crisis and panic, artists and writers can help remind us that we are more than just voters and statistics.

Margaret Atwood asks, What Art under Trump?

At Nation:

In a time of crisis and panic, artists and writers can help remind us that we are more than just voters and statistics.

Nothing is predictable except unpredictability. It’s probably fair to say, however, that Donald Trump’s interest in the arts, gauged on a scale from one to 100, is somewhere between zero and negative 10—lower than any president in the last 50 years. Some of those presidents didn’t give a hoot about the arts, but at least they found it politic to pretend. Trump won’t. In fact, he may not even notice they’re there.

This might, in fact, work to our advantage. Stalin and Hitler took an interest in the arts and considered themselves experts and arbiters, which was very bad news for the writers and artists whose styles displeased the authorities. These got packed off to the gulag or condemned as degenerate. Hopefully, most creative people will find themselves flying under the radar, so insignificant as to escape detection.

Right. So? For serious artists, just getting the government to bug off is the big challenge. At worst: More great literature has been written in prisons than on arts grants.

Oh yes, that other nagging little problem: Many voters would rather not support on arts welfare people who could wipe counters at the Tim’s and would otherwise just be writing about their belly buttons. If that becomes a conversation in the United States, c’est la vie.

What? Is no political party the “party of science”?

<em>Coffee</em> Tins New Republic intern Eric Armstrong thinks that no U.S. party deserves the crown, at any rate:

The time has come for Democrats to remove the beam from their own eyes, so to speak. Taking up the mantle of scientific liberalism—that is, adopting an evidence-based view of reality in pursuit of progressive policy—would serve both the strategic purposes of the Democratic Party in the menacing face of Trumpism, as well as the existential interests of humanity.* More.

Oh, wait. No political party is likely to survive just taking an evidence-based view of matters. That’s supposed to be the role of science as such.

You know what they say about party policy and strategy: It’s like sausage; if you are going to eat it, best not to ask what all goes into it. One can at least hope that most of it can be swallowed, more or less.

Unfortunately, Armstrong’s list of Democrat science fails reads like a list of all the subjects on which he is convinced that his view is entirely and unalterably correct, for example:

So, what’s the harm in entertaining anti-science views when it comes to so-called alternative treatments like homeopathy? After all, people should be free to throw their own money away. And since there are no active ingredients, homeopathy can’t really hurt anybody, can it? In fact, homeopathy is so ineffective at doing, well, anything at all, that science geeks across the world have staged massive collective “overdoses” of homeopathy in order to demonstrate its impotence. To date, not one person has been harmed—or healed, for that matter—from any of these mass ingestions. But the fact that it doesn’t work is exactly what makes it so dangerous. Many pharmacies sell homeopathic and other alternative remedies alongside real medicine. Consumers are entitled to a reasonable expectation that treatments sold in modern pharmacies have at least demonstrated a modicum of efficacy beyond placebo. Selling snake oil on the same shelf as real drugs betrays that trust. This is a consumer protection issue if there ever was one. Democrats should be all over it.

It does not sound as though Armstrong has ever heard of the placebo effect, one of the best attested effects in medicine (people start to get better when they feel better). One wonders how his party would justify cracking down on aromatherapy, etc.  Doubtless, wiser heads would prevail.

* Note: Please, political parties, just govern in the interests of your own constituencies in your own nations and leave the rest of the world to cope with the existential interests of humanity as we see them. Our tastes in a-crock-a-lypses may differ from yours and we can’t vote where you live.

See also: Nature: Scientists stunned by Trump victory Really? What does that say about the scientific method?

Parkinson’s patients learn to use placebos?


New Scientist’s about face on the placebo effect

UK students demand the exclusion of Plato and Aristotle

From Camilla Turner at Telegraph:

They are said to be the founding fathers of Western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilised society.

But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that figures such as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant should be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.

The student union at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) insists that when studying philosophy “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia. More.

Reality check: The students are right. With the collapse of the humanities, most of them are in training to be ‘crats and “helping professionals.” They are Orwell’s Outer Party.

The world may need Plato and Aristotle and classical Asian philosophers, but the students no more need them than the junkyard dog or the Judas goat do. If it weren’t for big-and-yet-bigger government, they’d have nothing to look forward to but a full tips cup on the cash counter.

Orwell’s Outer Party:

The Outer Party is given state administrative jobs and are composed of the more educated members of society. They are responsible for the direct implementation of the Party’s policies but have no say. They are the “artificial middle class” and have strict rules applied to them.

These rules underlie the function and importance of the elaborate training at universities in sensitivity, political correctness, and virtue signalling.

See also: Teen Vogue writer defends harassment of Ivanka Trump. The Dems may come to regret these baby Mean Girls because no one else thinks they are cute.

Fake news: Senator cites debunked WaPo story at national security confirmation hearing

From Chuck Ross at Daily Caller:

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan appeared to be unaware during a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that a Washington Post story about Russian hacking into the Vermont power grid has been completely debunked and retracted.

“Two weeks ago The Washington Post reported that a hacking group connected with the Russian government managed to infiltrate the Burlington Electric power company in Vermont,” Hassan said to retired Marine Gen. John Kelley during his confirmation hearing to head the Department of Homeland Security. More.

Reality check: No one corrected her, which is a good thing. We can always wait to see whether she co-sponsors a “war on fake news” that targets everyone except her party’s fast friends in media. Fake news? The Post did not do ordinary fact checking on that story, any more than Dan Rather did in Rathergate. No changes are needed except possibly in research methods or people we listen to.

See also: Dan Rather to teach course on truth in news?

Indonesia plans crackdown on fake news


Spotting fake news in traditional mainstream media

Dan Rather to teach course on truth in news?

Yes, that Dan Rather, of Rathergate fame. The blurb from e-learning platform Udemy:

“Dan’s rich history and extensive knowledge of journalism, paired with practical, hands-on exercises, creates a unique learning opportunity and rare insight from an American legend.”

From Matt Vespa at Townhall:

It’s a tad ironic since Rather plunged his former network in a scandal regarding the authenticity of memos written by Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, former President George W. Bush’s squad commander in the Texas Air National Guard. The contents of these documents reportedly put the president’s service in a negative light, though experts disregarded them as fakes. This segment questioning Bush’s National Guard service aired during the 2004 election. CBS subsequently apologized for using them. Hot Air’s Allahpundit was part of the group of writers that initially questioned the veracity Killian documents.

The fallout was a disaster for CBS, who fired producer Mary Mapes and led to Rather’s retirement and departure from the network entirely soon afterwards. More.

Reality check: It makes perfect sense if we keep in mind that the progressive view of truth is unrelated to evidence or accuracy. It is about narrative and spin. Rather is a hero to many in Hollywood who long for the day his approach will dominate without fear. His students are preparing themselves for that world, either as its friends or its foes.

See also: Indonesia plans crackdown on fake news


Spotting fake news in traditional mainstream media

Indonesia plans crackdown on fake news

And progressive site Mashable is pleased. From Yi Shu Ng at Mashable:

The country’s president, Joko Widodo, has ordered the immediate establishment of a National Cyber Agency.

The directive comes as the country grapples with false reports circulating on social media. Last month for instance, reports of China intentionally contaminating chili seeds went viral, as well as others that claimed millions of Chinese workers had entered Indonesia to replace locals.

The principal reason that stupid rumours go viral is the lack of open communications. Most people don’t want to look like idiots for believing something they could easily find out isn’t true. But in unfree environments, they can’t. So they take no chances.

The Islamic establishment is backing the crackdown:

The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, launched an anti-fake news campaign online called #TurnBackTheHoax, and the country’s religious leaders have also labelled the spreading of fake news “a sin.”More.

Reality check: Indonesia has low world freedom ranking:

Treason and blasphemy laws are routinely used to limit freedom of expression by minority groups, separatists, and those criticizing the government and security apparatus. Journalists often practice self-censorship to avoid running afoul of civil and criminal defamation laws. In several cases during 2015, public officials or their alleged proxies brought defamation cases against journalists or one another as part of broader internecine disputes, including those involving the KPK and national police. Reporters sometimes face violence and intimidation, which frequently goes unpunished. A December report by the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) found 47 incidents of violence against journalists in 2015, of which 17 were perpetrated by the police.

It’s revealing that progressive sites can live with such regime’s negative attitude to gay rights, so long as the regime wholeheartedly endorses censorship in principle.

It’s hard not to suspect: For today, it can be anyone’s boot in everyone’s face, just to cement the principle; eventually it will be their boots, they hope, and for good.

See also: Spotting fake news in traditional mainstream media

Spotting fake news in traditional mainstream media

From radio host Derek Hunter at Townhall:

You may not know this, but the people you see on cable news shows who are listed as “contributors” or “talk show hosts” or “strategists” have no more knowledge on the topic they’re discussing in authoritative tones than your dog does most of the time. It’s a problem because when average people watch these shows, they expect to get legitimate news. What they get is nothing of the sort.

Here’s how it works: The people you see on TV who aren’t newsmakers or members of Congress sometimes are booked well in advance, sometimes as much as a week. This is especially true in “debate” segments, when they have someone from the right and left discussing a topic. They don’t actually find out the topic they are “debating” until the morning of their scheduled appearance, and it can change until the moment they’re on the air if something happens in the world.

Here’s another bit of information you won’t get from watching these shows: When someone who appears regularly on a network is listed as a “columnist” or “contributor” for a news site, unless they write for them on a regular basis, they are likely paid by that outlet for the specific purpose of having that organization’s name promoted on the network. It’s product placement, same as a car or prominently featured bag of chips in a movie. You can tell by the way they’re booked to talk on TV because they write, never about anything they’ve written. They’re a warm body who can string a sentence together. More.

Reality check: All that the internet really changed is this: The entry costs for a job just about any fluent person can do are now minimal. We can see much more easily than before what the Bigs were doing when they produced fake news. No wonder these traditional high-end vendors are upset.

See also: Part I: What isfake news? Do we believe it?

Thought for the day: All free peoples can choose to surrender liberty

From Philip Ahlrich at American Thinker:

The surrender of liberty is a choice perpetually available to all free peoples. The object of progressive doctrine is to render that choice acceptable to the majority of voters. Should we forget this, or should we fail to understand the left’s determination to create the political and social divisions necessary for their own success, then by our negligence we shall have forfeited the means of correction. More.

Reality check: Have we passed the tipping point already in Canada? Even the few academics fighting back against the universities’ war on academic freedom seem mostly wimpy. Most sense that the U’s arts side’s purpose now is to train a generation of little asshats as ‘crats – the Outer Party of permanent progressive government (Orwell). By fomenting their own trivial grievances in school for practice, the ‘hats learn to flog up other people’s grievances. Those people, absent an alternative, will readily sacrifice freedom in order to get the government to punish their enemies – so they require precisely the skills the baby asshat has learned.

In fairness, the budding asshats are desperate. In a world of productivity, most are long term basement-dwellers. But they are culpable anyway – of not wanting or even imagining something better.

See also: Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news? diminish real news? Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news.

Science writing: Fascist Central kicks on the ol’ jack boots

Well, that didn’t take long. They’re not stunned any more, they’re mad. As stink. From Phillip Williamson at New Scientist:

Ocean acidification is an inevitable consequence of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s a matter of fact. We don’t know exactly what will happen to complex marine ecosystems when faced with the additional stress of falling pH, but we do know those changes are happening and that they won’t be good news.

UK journalist James Delingpole disagrees. In an article for The Spectator in April 2016, he took the sceptical position that all concerns over ocean acidification are unjustified “alarmism” and that the scientific study of this non-problem is a waste of money. He concluded that the only reason that the study of ocean acidification was ever funded at all was because there was insufficient (and decreasing) evidence for global warming and it acted as a “fallback position”.

As a boffin, Williamson decided to shut the guy down.

Having first gone to The Spectator with my concerns, in late August I submitted a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The key issues were whether or not due care had been taken to avoid publication of inaccurate information, and whether comment and conjecture had been clearly distinguished from fact.

At the end of a long and frustrating process IPSO’s final ruling was published on 5 January and it doesn’t seem we are much further forward. My complaint was rejected on the basis that the article was “clearly a comment piece” and that it was not IPSO’s role to resolve conflicting evidence for contentious issues. More.

In the United States, that would be called the First Amendment to the Constitution. And there is a reason why it was the first amendment. Can anyone guess the reason, just from reading this story?

To the extent that Western media can repair their dignity after certain recent forays into misleading people for a cause, they won’t be institutions that zealous snitches and bullies can just run to, demanding that people be fixed good.

Delingpole may be mistaken but the public has the right to hear him. If media don’t want to carry him but a lot of people think that what he has to say is important, that could become part of a pattern as to why those media are just not so mainstream anymore.

Is there a law of information theory that underlies this pattern?

See also: Nature: Scientists stunned by Trump victory Really? What does that say about the scientific method? What good did it do those scientists to listen to “correct” media who misled them about the U.S. election – doubtless, for the very best of politically correct reasons?

Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it?

Does fake news make a difference  in politics?


Part III: What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news?  Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news there.

What can we do about fake news that would not diminish real news?

Here. Critics of ‘fake news’ should go to China — only the government has the right to post fake news.

Social media are no more dangerous than life generally. But they require different interpretation skills from what we need for face-to-face contact. So do books, telephone, radio, and TV. And the current angst isn’t a new phenomenon. It normally follows the introduction of new communications technologies. More.

Reality check: This issue will be with us for as long as there are progressives who think they have any political future at all. They will attempt to secure that future by getting control of communications technologies, so that all real news will become transgressive over time. There are better ways for a civilization to snuff itself out.

See also: What is fake news? Do we believe it?


Does fake news make a difference in politics?

Does fake news really make any difference in politics?

From Denyse O’Leary at MercatorNet:

The air has been thick with statistics on both sides, with conservatives and the far right usually fingered as the culprits. Actually, fake news was purveyed on both sides. Ben Carson did not, for example, say that the ghosts of aborted babies haunt hospitals. Mainstream media sometimes publish fake news too. The Burlington Electric Company’s grid was not hacked by Russia, as the Washington Post recently claimed. Apparently, the Post staffers had not followed the conventional rule of phoning the facility to check before running the story. But did it make much difference anyway?

As it happens, claims for social media’s awesome power aren’t new to the 2016 election. Similarly dramatic claims were made after the 2008 election. Back then the outcome was welcomed by the proponents of the social media power, so we were unlikely to hear much about the perils of fake news.

Indeed, as “astroturf” investigator Sharyl Atkisson observes, before mid-September 2016, fake news was hardly mentioned. Concern arose among Clinton allies thereafter via progressive site Media Matters and caught on widely from there in traditional media.

Either something happened rather suddenly to social media or there are more conventional explanations for Clinton’s loss. Let’s look at some of the latter:

It wasn’t fake news that made the difference; it was missed news. More.

Reality check: Remember, however, that when the progressives get back into power in the United States, they will have long lists of people to punish. We had better enjoy freedom of information from there while we can.

Note: Germany is worried about fake news:  A classic.  The underlying assumption is that the people are not restless on account of things they know about personally.

See also: Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it?

What is fake news? Do we actually believe it?

From Denyse O’Leary at MercatorNet:

In everyday life, most adults assess the credibility of media with which we are familiar pretty accurately, provided we care to do so. I can’t remember the last time I received one of those email rumours about computer viruses. No one any longer wants the sheer embarrassment of passing them on. …

Analyst Brent Bozell draws our attention to the fact that major media commonly indulge themselves in the equivalent of fake news in the form of speculation and predictions, especially in the New Year period or prior to a political turnover: More.

Reality check: Progressives win by just hanging in there, plotting year after year, while others go on with more meaningful lives.

U.S. 2016, seen in that light, is only a temporary setback for progressives, in terms of getting control of “the narrative” again in an age of failing mainstream media. Control now means that they must not only dominate the story – as before – but prevent anyone else from even telling it.

Be prepared to change channels and providers as often as needed, to stay current.

Systematic effort on the part of a lot of people does work. I don’t hear the term alt right nearly so much anymore, as shorthand for any American who might have voted for Trump. The identification made no sense but that does not matter as long as the concept gels in most people’s minds. If this is indeed a crack, a sign that terminology control is failing progressives, we can be prepared for a good deal of pushback in the years to come.

See also: The alt right, Donald Trump, and – oddly enough – Darwin. Anyone not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be ‘alt right’.


Why the mainstream media was bound to call the U.S. election wrong