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As did the British.  Think Cambridge Analytica


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Personally, I’m not too concerned about bias. It’s generally pretty innocuous, easy for a thoughtful person to discern, and for the most part each of us has one.

What concerns me are narratives and the deliberate, wilful manipulation of facts and blatant lies that are told in support of that narrative. If bias is a “tendency” then surely narrative qualifies as an “ideology”.

So, take anything you have first hand (boots on the ground) experience in that may be controversial and compare what you know to be true with what you hear (or don’t hear) being reported in the media or what politicians say (or don’t say) about the same subject.

And, if you don’t have that experience just pick something easy and put it in the form of a question or series of socratic questions. I’m not a Scheer fan but, is he really a white supremacist? Is his party really a bunch of racists? Are those who voted for him racists? Do you even know what real racism looks like? 

You don’t need to have been to Rwanda to understand racism or it’s effects. Everyone knows damn well that Scheer isn’t a white supremacist and saying it over and over is most definitely not a bias. It is a bold faced lie foisted on the public by those with a narrative that supports an agenda. That’s far more dangerous than simple bias IMO. Calling that behaviour a bias is to not understand bias and calling Scheer a racist is to not understand racism. In either case, it is the ignorance of the accuser (or narrative supporter) that usually stands on full display.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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If bias isn't a concern, then the issue becomes delivery of the message.

I have made it a point to 'fact check' before believing anything now.  It truly is scary what is passing for news these days.  

While Scheer may or may not be a white supremacist, he has pulled a 180 on the issue.  It wasn't until he was pushed that he denounced it.  That observation is based on these articles, two from 2017 and the other from this year.

The party’s willingness to engage – and widespread refusal to condemn – the Canadian website that has given a platform to the alt-right and conspiracy theorists known as The Rebel is just another example.

As my colleague Sean Craig has noted for Global News, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, as well as several other Conservative leadership contenders have appeared on The Rebel: “Scheer has given at least three one-on-one interviews with The Rebel since November 2016. Many other leadership candidates besides Scheer and Alexander, including Kellie Leitch, Brad Trost, Pierre Lemieux, Erin O’Toole, Kevin O’Leary, Tony Clement, Rick Peterson, Andrew Saxton, Steven Blaney and Maxime Bernier, have variously appeared on Rebel properties or at Rebel events.”

Politicians of all stripes are obviously all within their right to choose whichever media outlet they grant interviews to, that’s not really the issue.

It’s the cowardly silence coming from the Conservatives that is worth noticing.

After all, if they think The Rebel is merely a conservative outlet that provides a place for right-leaning analysis and opinion, they should say so and stand by their choice. But as of yet, none have come forward to defend The Rebel generally, or their choice to sit down with the controversial outlet specifically.

Canadians deserve their Opposition to be resolute in the condemnation of the alt-right and white nationalist movement in Canada.

Remaining silent or unclear implies that the Conservatives would rather placate some of the worst factions of their voting bloc instead of taking the more principled route.

Canada needs a healthy Conservative Party.

What Canada doesn’t need is a right-leaning populist party that openly courts racists and xenophobes.

This ensures the stagnation of the Conservative Party and its inability to draw more people, especially millennials who will comprise the largest voting bloc in the next election, into the Conservative tent.

Donald Trump is a bigot. His administration is full of them. Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party are certainly not the same as Trump and his White House, so why aren’t they doing a better job of differentiating themselves from the Trumpian conservatives to the south?

Scheer has a choice to make.

It is said that you can take the measure of a man by the company he keeps.

By that objective calculus, the toxic company that Canada's Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, stubbornly keeps ought to disabuse anyone of the silly notion that Canada is an antidote to the pestilence of white nationalism infecting other, Western "liberal" democracies. 

Scheer has a long history of courting white nationalists by appealing unabashedly and overtly to their ugly, nativist, xenophobic and racist temperaments (to describe them as "ideas" is antithetical to the word).

Serious attention should be drawn to Scheer's relationship with Canada's extreme right wing since, if accurate, a recent spate of public opinion polls suggest that the Conservative chief may well become prime minister come the next federal election scheduled for October. 

Of course, Scheer is a faithful disciple of former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper who besmirched himself and, perhaps more importantly, the country he served by championing racism-infused "policies" as a means to mine the support of Canadian bigots who would be attracted to such malevolent policies at election time.

Harper's sorry, signature gambit in this regard was the unveiling - stripped of its government-sanctioned rhetorical embroidery - of a "snitch" line, where Canadians were encouraged to report other Canadians guilty of culturally "barbaric practices" deemed "incompatible" with "old stock" Canadian values.

Harper's legion of apologists insisted that his snitch line and use of the benign "descriptor…old stock Canadians" weren't Exhibit A and B of how to practise sectarian wedge politics. So, stop hyperventilating you perennial politically correct types, the apologists cried.

Today, the same cavalier defence is being employed by the same band of apologists to dismiss as inconsequential Scheer's undeniable associations with notorious white nationalists that should, if decency had any currency in politics, be disqualifying.

On February 19, Scheer spoke at an event on Parliament Hill organised reportedly by "disgruntled pipeline workers" who had travelled from Western Canada by picayune convoy to Ottawa to "have their voices heard". He was joined by several members of his Conservative caucus who took dutiful turns praising the "protesters" and pledging fidelity to their amorphous cause. 

"We are fighting for you. We are standing with you," Scheer told the small, yellow-vested gathering. One Conservative senator was less trite, urging the assembly to "roll over every Liberal left in the country". His invitation to violence was predictably greeted with hoots and cheers. 

The rumble-ready "United We Roll" contingent that Scheer and company welcomed, encouraged and applauded, included attendees who - anti-hate groups detail - celebrate their white nationalist, white-supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim credentials online.

Still, for the doubters, the "protesters'" convictions surely became apparent when Faith Goldy was also asked to speak at the "rally" as their marquee guest. 

Goldy has, for years, flaunted her white nationalism on a variety of media platforms. Among her other noxious "beliefs" is the "theory" that the white race is facing "genocide" and is on the precipice of extinction.

In December 2017, Canada's racist-in-residence, who also thinks launching another Crusade to retake the Holy Land is a laudable geopolitical strategy, recited, with little prompting and with evident glee on a racist podcast the white supremacist clarion call, The Fourteen Words: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." 

A few months earlier, Goldy displayed her white nationalist bona fides again by appearing on a podcast affiliated with [neo-Nazi website] the Daily Stormer while in Virginia.

Goldy described her tete-a-tete with Nazis as a "poor decision."

Scheer knew all this and more when he chose to attend the same event, organised by the same people who thought it appropriate and right to invite Goldy, who told Indigenous peoples who assailed her presence on Parliament Hill: "If you don't like our country, leave it." 

Rather than say no, Scheer and his caucus colleagues opted to stand - figuratively speaking - rancid shoulder to rancid shoulder with a racist in the rank pursuit of parochial, political self-interest. And with that, the nexus of traditional "conservatism" and the wretched right wing was fashioned - married by two speeches in one place, at one time, separated by just a few metres. 

Scheer and Goldy have shared more intimate moments. Before she was fired over her "poor decision" to enjoy a convivial chat on a Nazi podcast, the telegenic Goldy was a host on a network featuring a cavalcade of frothing, perpetually indignant, anti-establishment personalities called Rebel Media.

In early 2017, then-Conservative leadership candidate Scheer was Goldy's chummy, featured guest on her defunct programme On the Hunt - for what precisely remains a mystery. 

In any event, the "hot" topic du jour was a non-binding, symbolic motion introduced by a Liberal MP to condemn Islamophobia and all religious discrimination in the aftermath of the Quebec city terrorist who murdered six Muslim men praying in a mosque. 

Scheer told Goldy he would emphatically vote against the motion because, like his effervescent TV pal, he was concerned that denouncing the hatred that fuelled the butchery of Muslim worshippers by way of a parliamentary motion would inevitably morph into an "attack" on free speech. "Absolutely," Goldy said, approvingly. 

Fast forward to the horror in New Zealand, when another racist who referenced "white genocide" and "The Fourteen Words" in his "manifesto" slaughtered 50 Muslim children, women and men and grievously injured scores of other innocents because of where they prayed and who they prayed to.

Scheer's response? Not surprisingly: muted platitudes on Twitter. "Freedom has come under attack in New Zealand as peaceful worshippers are targeted in a despicable act of evil. All people must be able to practice their faith freely and without fear," he wrote without naming the faith of the massacred or the sites of their massacres. You see, "freedom", not Muslims, was "attacked".

That vapid, perfunctory tweet was consistent with Scheer's reluctance to offend the odious likes of Goldy et al for fear of alienating a potential well of votes during a likely close election. Donald Trump has proven that racist overtures - blatant or cloaked - can afford a winning edge in a tight race.  

Only later, after a torrent of criticism, did Scheer issue a second statement on Facebook, daring to mention Muslims and mosques. By then, it was too late. His initial response indeed reflected the measure of the man and the company he keeps.

Despite claiming now to shun the decaying network, Scheer holds other Rebel Media alumni close to his bosom. His 2019 campaign manager was a founding director of Rebel Media.

Like his mentor Stephen Harper, Scheer is intent on, it appears, leading Canada down a dangerous, sinister slope.


 So if you take the bias out of those two opinion pieces, what you get is that Scheer openly has courted right wing ideologists.

It wasn't until just recently, when he was pushed, that he denounced white supremacists.

OTTAWA—Andrew Scheer condemned “anyone who promotes racist ideology” after a Conservative senator questioned whether white supremacy was a significant threat to Canadian communities.

Scheer told reporters Wednesday that he “100 per cent” denounces anyone who “promotes white nationalism, promotes any type of extremism.”


And it was because he was called out on the views of one of his senators.  

After all that is going on the world, why did it take that long for him to make the statement?  Was he afraid of alienating a voting block?

In getting back to the main point, it once again demonstrates that the right has used manipulating social media by flooding biased messages to a far greater and more effective extent than the left.



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Just for the record, it wasn’t just Scheer  who didn’t mention Muslims......Liberal Minister Goodale and  Liberal appointed GG Payette were also “guilty”:


-- Andrew Scheer says criticism over his initial failure to mention that Muslims were targeted in the recent mass murder in New Zealand is "completely baseless" and driven by "disgusting" Liberal efforts to score political points from the tragedy.

Moreover, he argued that initial tweets by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Governor General Julie Payette also didn't specifically mention mosques or Muslims.


And it’s funny how the election is shaping up, far from the Liberals pledge to avoid name calling, which the media is to blame as well, but here is a sample of words/phrases from the articles in Deicer s post:

white supremecist,  cowardly silence,  alt right,  white nationalists,  toxic company,  racism infused policies,  Canadian bigots,  rancid shoulder to rancid shoulder,  odious likes of, dangerous sinister slope.

Pretty hard taking the bias out of those pieces and coming up with an unbiased view of Scheer and the Conservatives.

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6 hours ago, st27 said:

    And it’s funny how the election is shaping up, far from the Liberals pledge to avoid name calling, which the media is to blame as well, but here is a sample of words/phrases from the articles in Deicer s post:  white  supremecist,  cowardly silence,  alt right,  white nationalists,  toxic company,  racism infused policies,  Canadian bigots,  rancid shoulder to rancid shoulder,  odious likes of, dangerous sinister slope.

Trudeau would have to be pretty dense not to see his political demise in the mirror. He knows his days are numbered so he’s got nothing to lose.  Vitriol is all he has left. He has NO record to run on and he’s desperate.

He’s had two vacations in the past several weeks and will continue to suck at the trough till his last day.

At least Canadians get to see him for what he really is.

Edited by Jaydee

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5 hours ago, deicer said:

While Scheer may or may not be a white supremacist, he has pulled a 180 on the issue.  It wasn't until he was pushed that he denounced it

If you are suggesting that he is I think you are part of the very problem you seem to oppose. If there is evidence bring it forward, the entire notion of exaggerated claims, manufactured evidence and false convictions (as a result) is exactly what we are talking about here. Really, because he didn't condemn it, he is favour of it?

By that logic, since AOC has not condemned the attacks in Sri Lanka as she did in New Zealand, are we to conclude that she hates Christians and approves of the massacre. Since Canadian Muslims have not been condemning this in a big way are we to assume they approve? Yes indeed, I can do this all day and make it progressively more silly as I go along. 

If silence is deemed "cowardly" how much more so is a snippet of truth woven into a tapestry of lies in support of a narrative. There is a big difference between this and bias. Bias is partiality and favouritism.... the current level of lies, name calling and fabricated news bites is something all together different.

As far as I know, JT has not condemned the practice of playing bagpipes in kayaks.... does that make him culpable in boating accidents where bagpipes are deemed to be a cause factor? In actual fact though, pipers are more likely to be shot by a neighbour..... I don't recall hearing him condemn that either. Maybe he hates pipe bands too. Canadians of Scottish descent are outraged.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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2 hours ago, Wolfhunter said:

If you are suggesting that he is I think you are part of the very problem you seem to oppose.

✅ ✅ 

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Further to the above, when you engage in patently false claims to support a false narrative even your supporters are inclined to see through it because the lie needs to be expanded every time it's challenged. Not only that, you need to either ignore or downplay actual events that clearly run contrary to the stated position and at some point, as was the case in the gun control debate, your over played hand is on full display.

Since most people don't get to see this stuff first hand, a little research is required. Have a look at the persecution of Christians (across the board) and tell me why it is so grossly under reported and ignored. Initial reports from Sri Lanka all referred to the victims as "worshippers" until they were called on it. They couldn't even say the word Christian. Yes, people actually noticed that.

 In the meantime though, here is an example of the dangers inherent with false claims to support false narratives, you never know when that traitorous Easter Bunny will see through your position and start the next question with "wait a minute now": When the Easter Bunny doesn't believe you it's a potential problem, especially in an election year.

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Although off topic, here is another case of ignoring facts in support of a narrative.

Here is the very definition of what a law abiding gun owner isn't:

"charged with careless storage of a firearm, possession of a loaded firearm, possess of a prohibited firearm without holding a license, possession of a prohibited firearm knowingly not holding a licence "

In virtually every gun seizure in Toronto, the charge specifics are the same and the general public is now on to it The take away here has nothing to do with gun control, it's about tactics and not over playing your hand. Clearly there is a credibility gap when observable facts don't support the narrative and reasonable people preface each of their reasonable questions with "wait a minute now." The Mexican border situation comes immediately to mind as being analogous.

 IMO,  Democrats in the US have now passed PNR and only Biden and an immediate pivot to good governance can save them. As in some classic aviation accidents though, "strength of an idea" will prevail until impact.

Even MSNBC sees the looming cliff and urges caution:

And it's a caution that simply won't be heeded. I don't know a single person (Liberal or Conservative) that doesn't roll their eyes and shake their heads at the mention of OAC:

Edited by Wolfhunter

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On 4/24/2019 at 2:23 PM, deicer said:

Like his mentor Stephen Harper, Scheer is intent on, it appears, leading Canada down a dangerous, sinister slope.




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There might be hope for Trudeau after all...


The plan to 'reawaken' cryogenically frozen brains and transplant them into someone else’s skull

Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero says he will attempt to bring the first brains frozen in liquid nitrogen back to life 'not in 100 years,' but three years at the latest

Sergio Canavero, the Italian surgeon who audaciously plans to perform the world’s first human head transplant within the next 10 months (pending the availability of a donor body) is now preparing to reawaken cryogenically frozen brains and transplant them into someone else’s skull. 

In an interview with a German-language magazine, Canavero says he will attempt to bring the first brains frozen in liquid nitrogen at an Arizona-based cryogenics bank back to life “not in 100 years,” but three years at the latest.

Transplanting a brain only — and not an entire head — gets around formidable rejection issues, Canavero said, since there will be no need to reconnect and stitch up severed vessels, nerves, tendons and muscles  as there is when a new head is fused onto a brain-dead donor body.

Canavero allows that one “problematic” issue with brain transplants, however, would be that “no aspect of your original external body remains the same.”

guess he would lose that nice crop of hair...all together now.....awwwwwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhh!! )


Your head is no longer there, your brain is transplanted into an entirely different skull,” he told OOOM magazine, published by the same company that handles the Italian brain surgeon’s public relations.

The flamboyant neuroscientist who some ethicists have decried as “nuts” rattled the transplant world when he first outlined his plans for a human head transplant two years ago in the journal, Surgical Neurology International.

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan called Canavero’s latest proposal to merge head transplants with “resurrecting” the frozen dead beyond ridiculous. “People have their own doubts about whether anything can be salvaged from these frozen heads or bodies because of the damage freezing does,” said Caplan, head of ethics at NYU Langone Medical Centre in New York City.

“Then saying that he has some technique for making this happen, that has never been demonstrated in frozen animals, is absurd.”

Caplan accused the maverick surgeon of playing to people’s fantasies, “that somehow you can come back from death, fantasies that you can live forever if you just keep moving your head around” and to fears science is out of control. “That’s why I pay attention to him.”

According to Canavero, the greatest technical hurdle to a head transplant is fusing the donor and recipient’s severed spinal cords, something never before achieved in humans, and restoring function, without causing massive, irreversible brain damage or death.



Edited by Jaydee

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If you have ever wondered (in a historical context) how an evil fanatical movement could possibly bring Germany to war you are seeing it play out now IMO. The crazy, hateful, socialist left is far more to be feared than a few white supremacists who can be (and should be) utterly crushed where ever they are found.

I now hold out no hope that Liberal Democrats and their propaganda machine will present a viable option to the US electorate in 2020 despite what Biden will attempt to accomplish. They are deliberately and profoundly guilty of the very hateful racism they falsely accuse others of. Fluffy blonde news anchors will be dabbing salty tears from their eyes on live TV (again) before you know it. 

Apologies after the fact no longer ring true.... imagine the same cartoon (below) with a picture of The Prophet in it. Liberals would be apoplectic and their blatantly selective outrage would be strident and scathing. Where are they now?

Edited by Wolfhunter

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"Stupid people have been protected from themselves for so long that an entire generation of stupid has contaminated the gene pool. I fear there is no going back…"

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It’s downright chilling to read what the Left actually advocates....?

“ Some kids are unwanted, he explained in a now-viral video clip. “So you kill them now, or you kill them later. You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, then send them to the electric chair. So you kill them now, or you kill them later.” Horrified pro-life advocates throughout the country condemned Rogers. If anything, we ought to thank him.”


” The Alabama legislator justifies abortion by suggesting that unwanted babies inevitably grow up to become criminals. Not only do they become criminals, he insists, but they commit capital offenses and wind up on the electric chair. Far better, he argues, to kill the kids before they ever have the chance really to live. “

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9 hours ago, Jaydee said:

Horrified pro-life advocates throughout the country condemned Rogers.

I saw that article but didn't post it because I considered it too horrific, but on second thought it's probably good for it to be widely seen and condemned. 

I no longer even recognize the Liberal and Democratic parties; I'm ashamed to even admit I once supported them. They have morphed into a dangerous, evil and hateful cult. I now have greater respect for the Taliban.

It's likely that even moderate pro-abortion folks are mortified. Would anyone care to defend his position (merely for the sake of argument) in case there is some mitigating factor I might have missed? I would be very hard pressed to play the devil's advocate here. I'm guessing that has views run contrary to the bulk of centre left voters who are abandoning the party in droves. How do they remain oblivious to this?

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Things happen for a reason, so be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, again.

Not quite four years ago, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and the entire Atlantic region kicked Stephen Harper to the curb.

Yet, if the polls are accurate, many Atlantic Canadians are considering giving Harper 2.0 a chance.

Our memories can’t be that short.

In 2015, all 32 federal Atlantic seats went red in resounding fashion, sweeping over experienced, smart, principled and well-liked New Democrats like Jack Harris and Megan Leslie. We could have benefited from them in the 42nd Parliament.

So badly did Atlantic Canada want to send a message to the Harper Conservatives, they voted strategically and without question. The Liberals won between 51.6 per cent of the vote in New Brunswick to 64.5 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Election night, as I watched Jack Harris go down by a handful of votes, I remember thinking this kind of majority would not be good for democracy in the region. But Harper had to go. A message needed to be sent.

Let’s not forget why we sent it.

The kinder, gentler Canada many of us had grown to love had been changed before our eyes. Workers were told to work longer or take a reduced pension. Veterans were treated abysmally. Women’s equality was set back. Child-care agreements were cancelled. Workers’ rights were under attack. Wealthy Canadians continued to take home more and more of the economic pie. Corporations banked billions in tax cuts.

And Canadians had had enough of the Harper abrasive style of divisive politics.

Indeed, if progressive-minded Liberals were being frank, they likely learned that they would have benefited from a few left voices in opposition across the Atlantic region as they pushed for advances internally in their own caucus and party.

The political landscape has changed dramatically in four years. Canada no longer has a single female premier. We went from six to none between 2013 and 2019.

There are currently seven provincial Conservative governments across the country. Although the P.E.I. Progressive Conservatives, who currently lead a minority government, are not in the same category as the harder-right Conservatives in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

Recent polls have the Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck federally. Some polls have the Conservatives in the lead and in safe majority territory. A poll last week by Abacus Data had the Liberals and Conservatives tied federally in Newfoundland and Labrador, with the NDP sitting at 14 per cent.

For those who resoundingly threw the Harper’s government out, and did so for a multitude of good reasons, it’s time to take stock.

Do you think the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer are going to be better than what we experienced under the Harper government? He and many of his bench colleagues were part of that government. Lisa Raitt. Michele Rempel. Pierre Poilievre.

Scheer’s provincial friends are dismantling public services at a rapid pace. Look no further than Ontario where the Ford government has attacked everything from services for children with autism to public health care to education, firing 3,000 teachers.

In the past two weeks, libraries got the boot and the government cancelled a program to plant 50 million trees. Every day another program or service is cut or gutted, while political friends are rewarded with plum jobs and the rich get a tax cut.

In Alberta, Jason Kenney is just getting started.

The majority of Canadians do not vote Conservative and yet Conservatives benefiting from the first-past-the-post electoral system are running the vast majority of the country and in many cases with a minority of the popular vote.

In other words, more people voted against the Conservatives or for something else, and yet the Conservatives have the majority of the power.

In the Newfoundland and Labrador election, the polls also say it is too close to call. We could be headed for a minority government, but interest in the election is low.

As voters, though, we can’t allow the political parties to sleepwalk through the election. We still need to do our due diligence and see where they stand on the things that matter to us, whether it is health care, education or workers’ rights.

If the country ends up being run by conservative politicians both federally and provincially, how is that a fair outcome when the majority of Canadians have voted for something else? What will it mean for important challenges like climate change?

What will it mean for workers’ rights or equality? Or health care or public pensions or the things that we haven’t even considered. Such is the case for many Ontarians and their experience with the Ford government, many of whom are suffering from a bad case of buyers’ remorse.

This isn’t fear-mongering. Do you think the parents of autistic children who voted for Doug Ford thought for one second he would slash services for their kids?

Who we vote for does matter to the kind of Canada we get. A gentler, kinder one or a harsh, divisive, angry one.

It’s up to us.


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7 minutes ago, deicer said:

If the country ends up being run by conservative politicians both federally and provincially, how is that a fair outcome when the majority of Canadians have voted for something else? What will it mean for important challenges like climate change?

LOL....This one line nullifies the entire premise of the article. If the entire country ends up being run by Conservatives, it means the MAJORITY voted them in and ARE getting what they want, which is a return to sanity.

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39 minutes ago, deicer said:

Look no further than Ontario where the Ford government has attacked everything from services for children with autism to public health care to education, firing 3,000 teachers.

More BS from this writer.. I hope this wasn’t an article he/she wrote for a test as so far they are at a batting average of ZERO.

“ A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said the losses will be as a result of attrition and voluntary packages. The total anticipated savings for those positions being phased out is said to be $851 million, “

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In the course of writing a book on modern conspiracy culture, I, a journalist by profession, briefly became many other things: a CIA agent, a paid shill for Big Pharma and, of course, a Satan-worshipping participant in evil, pedophilia-based rites of power. People I spoke to believed in a range of conspiracy theories, and the accusations they sometimes lobbed at me – about my true motives, my actual bosses, who I really was – were in line with their views of the world. But mostly, of course, I was fake news. And everywhere, I met the people who’d like to replace me.

The belief that the mainstream media is full of fake news and misinformation is an exceedingly common one around the world: A 2017 Harvard-Harris poll in the United States found that 65 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that there is “a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.” The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer – a yearly survey of 28 countries, which aims to uncover which institutions people are willing to put their faith in – found that only about 47 per cent of people in those countries trusted the news media. (In most surveys, interestingly, Canadians show a higher rate of trust in the news media, but still remain concerned about the prevalence of fake news.)

By now, of course, the fact that a lot of people think “fake news” and mainstream media are indistinguishable is well-known. But that false equation is also crucial to the way that conspiracy peddlers work, the people aiming to sell conspiratorial narratives – and, quite often, attendant products – to a suspicious public. The more extreme ends of conspiracy culture rely on the demonetization and vilification of the press, and the people promoting those theories do it to replace trustworthy news sources with their own, more profitable variety.

Alex Jones is the best-known example: He’s worked to stir up anger and hatred against the mainstream media, which he predictably thunders about nearly every time he’s in front of a microphone, and then uses his ad space to sell the often-questionable vitamin supplements he argues we won’t tell you about. In Mr. Jones’s telling – and that of plenty of other conspiracy peddlers – journalists don’t act as a check on the government and other power structures; we’re simply an extension of them. People who were deeply invested in various conspiracy communities – Pizzagate true believers, the UFO faithful, people who thought the government was hiding the deadly truth about vaccines – often told me that the news media wasn’t just untrustworthy, but actively controlled from above by sinister forces, working my hands like a marionette to tell me what to type. It’s a belief that conspiracy peddlers work very hard to promote, because it’s beneficial for them.

It’s a phenomenon that’s only gaining speed. Conspiracy culture, especially on the far right, has increasingly sought to replace real hard news outlets with their own versions – take the rise of sites such as Breitbart, founded in 2007, or the even more questionable Big League Politics, created in 2017 and specifically marketed as an investigative outlet – and calls itself the only reporting that’s trustworthy. Charlie Warzel memorably wrote about the rise of these outlets in Buzzfeed at the dawn of Donald Trump’s presidency, calling the “media upside-down.” Since his piece, they’ve only grown more ambitious.

Some would argue that this is nothing new. “Hyper-partisan news is a great American tradition,” Joseph Farah told me two years ago. He would know: Mr. Farah is the founder of World Net Daily, one of the oldest conspiracy news outlets to make the leap online.

Mr. Farah argued to me, correctly, that hyper-partisan news sources began “when America had competing newspapers in most markets,” and then he made the leap: that fake news in the United States is peddled by every news outlet alike. “I deplore fake news,” he told me, “which is a real phenomenon in what you would call ‘mainstream’ sources like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as in the new media. It’s sad because it detracts from media that diligently stick to the old rules of journalism on sourcing, seeking out countervailing viewpoints, et cetera.”

The fact that Mr. Farah would make the argument that World Net Daily diligently sticks to “the old rules of journalism” is astonishing. (Among other things, the site promoted the so-called “death panel” conspiracy theory for years, claiming that under Obamacare, a panel of bureaucrats would decide which elder citizens merited the medical care necessary to live. At one point in 2010, to ratchet things up, the site even claimed to have evidence of so-called “super death panels.”) But it’s also part of a concerted effort on the part of conspiratorial news sources and media personalities to create confusion about what real journalism looks like: Take Mike Cernovich, a one-time men’s rights activist who dabbled in white nationalism before taking on a fairly major role on the far right. Mr. Cernovich increasingly describes himself as a journalist, and even created a purported documentary and book, both called Hoaxed, which claim to expose the fake-news media and show “how misinformation spreads online.”

By design, in other words, Mr. Cernovich trying to look like he’s engaged in the kind of fact-finding and truth-telling that real journalists are. And if he’s successful, he’ll find an audience in the vast number of people who are seriously invested in conspiracy theories (people who are, I have found, more likely to describe themselves as being part of the “truth community” or the “research community.”)

It’s been my experience that many, many people in the so-called truth community are earnestly concerned with the injustice and corruption they see around them, and are desperate to find news sources they can trust. As conspiracy peddlers – and President Trump – busily promote the idea that the fake news is the lying enemy of the people, that large audience is much more likely to seek out alternative news sources, falling right into the waiting arms of faux journalists such as Mike Cernovich, pushing a self-interested agenda. (Alongside his supposed journalism, Mr. Cernovich peddles his own branded supplements, too.)

And fomenting doubt and hatred against journalists doesn’t just help conspiracy peddlers promote products or achieve greater celebrity. Destabilizing trust in the media creates doubt about the nature of reality itself: It makes it more difficult for people to tell what is true, who is trustworthy and what’s knowable at all. That’s an end in itself: to make people so uncertain of the truth that they accept your version unquestioningly, or else give up looking altogether.

Intriguingly, even the conspiracy peddlers themselves will sometimes tell you that they don’t believe any media source in particular. I asked Mr. Farah of World Net Daily what media outlets he did trust, and his answer was shaded in contradictions: “My own,” he wrote back. “Although, occasionally, even it disappoints me. I don’t put trust in media, only in God.”

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