Longbowmanship over Christchurch

As suggested earlier, in the wake of a major atrocity or tragedy, it’s safer to steer well clear of all forms of social media. There’s likely to be some truth available and even some cool heads but finding it amongst the virtue signalling and calls for further limitations to freedom will be nigh on impossible.

Some of the rubbish washes up on the shore regardless of how little time one tries to spend on websites and apps where it lives.

Blame is being directly thrown at a wide range of targets.

Let’s be clear; The person responsible for the decision to murder 50 unarmed men, women and children last week, was the same person who stockpiled the weapons and fired them.

Nobody else.

It’s a shame I feel the need to have to state that axiom, but it seems like a day doesn’t go by without a serious commentator claiming other sources of blame which, utterly coincidentally, reflect their previously-stated biases.

Examples follow;

1. Trump – the go-to blame focus for all that is bad in the world. The shooter’s own manifesto states that he likes Trump because of his ethnicity but can’t stand his policies. On that basis, anyone in the Whitehouse who was white might be blamed. Trump’s actions, words and opinions have been documented in detail for decades, yet there’s nothing we can point to encouraging violence against Muslims. Longbow.

2. Candace Owens – anyone who took the shooter’s claims that she was his greatest influence at face value is clearly not paying attention and has not read or listened to her opinions. The shooter is trolling the media and they’ve taken the bait. Longbow.

3. CNN – on a recent podcast, Scott Adams suggested CNN have contributed to the misinformation by focusing on race and identity. Longbow.

4. Facebook, Twitter, etc. – various political figures are stating the platforms are responsible because live-streaming functionality enabled the shooter to have a far wider audience. Do we think he wouldn’t have murdered anyone if he was unable to live-stream? Longbow.

5. Gun laws – The NZ parliament is bound to pass stronger gun legislation in the next few weeks. New Zealand’s gun laws are far looser than Australia’s, however, despite there being far more guns in circulation per capita, the ratio of guns deaths was (prior to this incident) about the same. Do we really think the legalities of gun ownership are a factor in a murderous extremist’s decision to slaughter 50 people. Longbow and, unless there is a massive search and confiscate programme, pointless virtue signalling.

6. “Islamophobic” comments by politicians – Waleed Aly seems to conflate criticism of a violent interpretation of Islam with taking a gun to kill unarmed citizens. Longbow.

And then there’s this;

Internet service providers and mobile phone network operators took the decision to block a group of websites, ranging from a financial discussion forum (Zerohedge) to the home of those crazy 4Channers. Curiously, the ISPs all decided to do this together at the same time, almost as if they were instructed to do so.

As the screenshot above points out, these smaller players had a minimal percentage of the traffic of the killer’s video compared to Facebook or YouTube, yet these didn’t get banned.

I checked this for myself and can confirm that, for a while, the block was in place but could be bypassed by use of a VPN. The block has since been lifted.

In other more ridiculous news, there’s a push to rename the local rugby team, the Canterbury Crusaders, to something less offensive to the residents of the holy land circa 1095 to 1492. May I suggest The Canterbury Cucks?

Perhaps while they’re at it should they rename Saracens to something less offensive to people living in Spain in the 12th century and the Barbarians to a name that won’t upset the residents of Rome living there in the year 410?

Bill’s Opinion

Shutting down speech, particularly the blocking of internet discussion forums (I want to write “fora” but I know that makes me pretentious) is not a road we should travel any farther along.

The New Zealand government has already been tacitly involved in the de-platforming of Stefan Molyneaux and Lauren Southern and the Kiwi media were clearly incredibly biased in their interviews.

The Australian government has had three positions in as many weeks on whether or not Milo Yiannopolous would be granted a visa, despite allowing him to visit 2 years ago and, as far as I am aware, he’s not committed any criminal offences in the meantime.

Gavin McInnes and Tommy Robinson remained banned.

You don’t have to agree with anything these people say to question whether it’s a smart move to prevent the people who would want to listen to their views from doing so on Australian or Kiwi soil. They can still consume their output via the internet.

Blocking the websites where these views can be read or heard is impractical, as proven by use of a cheap VPN last week.

But, if you wanted to disprove the widely-held belief of the crazies that there’s a global conspiracy against them, private companies blocking websites would be about the worst possible action you could take.

I want these violent crazies to have a public forum to spout their views, for two clear reasons:

1. People who are sane can argue with them and show the insanity of their claims, and

2. If they’re speaking this shite in public we at least know who they are.

The alternative is that they go deeper down their rabbit holes and end up communicating via in game messages on Fortnite, private Whatsapp groups or a range of similar covert technology solutions. The conspiracy would be easily-believed by newcomers if that were to occur.

Finally, in all this blame-chucking, I’ve yet to see a single suggestion that there has been a failure of the domestic intelligence services. The killer was apparently prolific on the various Internet forums and platforms, what monitoring is in place to alert the security services of the threat? For fuck’s sake, it was all there in plain sight to anyone with a computer, they didn’t even need the police state internet snooping legislation of recent years to view it.

Don’t be evil (please define evil)

If you are ever in any doubt how bad an idea it is to simply accept the moderation and policing of content by large technology companies, compare and contrast their willingness to “deplatform” those who have the wrong opinions against this; Google and Apple have an app to help prevent Saudi women running away from home.

Nice.

In his recent interview with Joe Rogan, Jack Dorsey struggled to articulate Twitter’s policies on censorship.

On one hand, that’s an embarrassing admission for the CEO that he’s not across what is arguably the most controversial current issue facing his organisation. On the other, perhaps it’s an indication that the policy is more along the lines of, “whatever we decide it is at the time”.

Ultimately, the big technology companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are private companies, nobody is forced to use their product and their terms of service are whatever they want them to be.

If Google wants to assist the Chinese government in monitoring its citizens, that’s Google’s business decision. Likewise, if Google and Apple are happy to host apps used by Saudi men to monitor their wives and daughters, fair enough. Obviously, we can judge them accordingly.

Bill’s Opinion

Morality is a moving target over time and geography. What was considered acceptable in 1909 or even 1969 is quite different in 2019. Just ask the US politicians who are being berated for costumes and comments being unearthed in their school year books by Offence Archaeologists.

Similarly, social attitudes in Saudi Arabia differ considerably with those elsewhere in the world.

The technology companies have to navigate these border differences. As individuals we also have the added risk over time; who knows today whether an anodyne social media post this year might be regretted if re-published in twenty years’ time? It’s tricky.

The technology companies seem to simultaneously want to pretend that they are simply dumb platforms, like the postal service or telephone carriers, yet kick off those deemed to be holding incorrect opinions. With such questionable views on what constitutes ethical behaviour, these platforms might not be the best places to store one’s data or express opinions that are outside of the norm.

The shoe is on the other foot

When you buy a ticket for the Woke Intersectional Express, sometimes you find the train stops at unscheduled stations.

Nike upsets muslims who claim the design of a new show looks a bit like the Arabic script for Allah.

Muslims urge Nike to recall shoes with logo some say resembles word Allah

Saiqa Noreen, who created the Change.org petition demanding that the footwear and apparel brand remove the Nike Air Max 270 from store shelves, said the symbol on the bottom of the shoe “will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth.”

“It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam. Islam teaches compassion, kindness and fairness towards all,” he continued.

Ok, I’m pretty sure I can find some verses of the Koran that contradict that last assertion but please do tell me more about your reasonable demands.

It urges Nike to review the rest of its product line too, and to recall any merchandise with logos that resemble the word Allah.

“We also request stricter scrutiny of products before they enter the market,” the petition read.

Who gets to decide what “resembles” means?

Some of the petition’s signatories included their personal reasons for signing — with most saying they thought the Nike design was “disrespectful” and “offensive” toward their religion, and that they are owed an apology from the sportswear giant.  

How does an apology to the believers help? It’s Allah who’s apparently been slighted, surely?

In fact if you’re a follower of Allah, recall that “Islam” means “submission” or “surrender“. It would seem a bit late in the process to be looking for apologies once you’ve agreed to submission.

Nike did not return CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.

Strange…. one would have thought the team who came up with the Colin Kaepernick campaign would be all over this like a cheap suit, surely?

Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, declined to take a position on the issue, saying that the organization is in ongoing discussions with Nike.

“It’s obvious that some people perceive it as a slight. Whether is actually is or not, that still doesn’t get rid of the perception of some people,” Hooper told CBS MoneyWatch.

In other words, “oh fucking hell, how are we ever going to convince everyone we aren’t loons and murderous psychos when idiots get upset about a squiggly line on sports shoes?

He suspects that any offense caused by Nike was inadvertent.

Ya reckon?

As opposed to what, a bunch of marketing execs sitting in a room whiteboarding ways to piss off the jihadis?

Bill’s Opinion

Compare and contrast the media response to the occasional reports of poor Catholic peasants who discover the face of Jesus on burnt toast or half an orange.

Ridicule? Pity at best, as this example illustrates.

One wonders how those brave Buzzfeed journalists battling the forces of evil are reporting this latest “Allah on a shoe” rubbish?

Well, we will keep wondering as there’s nothing on their website when one searches for the story.

Voltaire didn’t say this, an actual neo-Nazi (as opposed to just someone who didn’t vote for Hillary) did, but it’s quite pertinent nonetheless;

To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?

Rejoice! Clementine Ford returns in 2019!

For some unfathomable reason because most of her opinions are subject to cognitive dissonance, Clementine Ford has been suffering from depression but made it through the festive season without offing herself and has even managed to knock out another couple of hundred words of insanity and/or mendacity.

Trigger warning; You may want to sit down before reading the next sentence.

Clementine Ford doesn’t like the things Louis CK said in a recent comedy routine.

No, really.

She was fully onboard with all of his previous material, such as;

I don’t have a gun, but if I did, I would shoot a baby deer in the mouth and feel nothing.

And she’s fine with his monologue on the N-word;

Take responsibility. They found a way to say nigger—because when you say ’the N-word’ you put the word nigger in the person’s head. You say ’the N-word’ and I go ’Oh, she means nigger.’ That’s just white people getting away with saying nigger. Don’t hide behind the first letter like a faggot.

She really appreciated his joke about pedophile child murderers;

When you fuck a kid, you’ve gotta toss ’em. The guy could just call you, ‘Hey, I fucked your kid. You want me to drop him at soccer?’

And Clementine laughed aloud at his joke about wanking in the time between the two towers falling on 911;

How long after 9/11 until you started masturbating again?

But the material on a recent leaked audio following his #MeToo moment is really beyond the pale for Clementine, resulting in her swooning onto her chez longue in horror;

Leaked audio from a recent show lasting almost an hour laden with racism, ableism, transphobia and the good old-fashioned outrage of a white man who can’t take responsibility for his actions.

Of course, she’s not actually listened to it otherwise she would have written this sentence far more accurately;

There was the commentary on the Parkland shooting victims, who shouldn’t think they’re interesting just because they got shot.

Nope, he doesn’t say that on the leaked audio.

What he does say is that the children who didn’t get shot didn’t magically become imbued with the wisdom of experts on constitutional policy relating to gun crime. That’s a very different and subtle nuance that we wouldn’t expect Clementine to pretend to hear.

And does anybody really believe this statement by La Ford (highlighting mine);

I’m not offended by the idea that any of these topics could be fodder for comedy. But they have to be done well, by the right people, and without the laugh relying on the kind of lazy punch down that all too many comedians reach for because they’re actually far less skilled at their jobs than they think they are.

Pray tell, who gets to decide who the right people are?

But the most telling sentence in Clementine’s first masterpiece of 2019 is the following;

In a recent speech, the genuinely clever and evolving comedian Hannah Gadsby spoke of “the line in the sand” that separates good men from bad men, but that all men reserve the right to be in control of.

If you you are wondering what an “evolving comedian” might be, I suggest you seek out some of Hannah’s work.

Bill’s Opinion

Louis CK has always been a controversial comedian dancing on the edge of good taste. To expect him to suddenly start doing knock knock jokes is to not understand how he’s made people, a lot of people, laugh for several decades.

Hannah Gadsby, on the other hand, is a totally dull scold who plays the room for nods of approval rather than the visceral belly laugh generated by actual comedy. “Evolving comedian” is Clementine’s code for “not fucking funny in the slightest”.

As for Gadsby’s speech on men sexually harassing women, we’ll let you draw your own conclusion on the likelihood of it ever happening to her.

La Ford’s faux outrage at the comedy routine reminds us of this excellent summary;

But perhaps the final word should go to the left wing comedian, Jonathan Pie, who increasingly seems to be travelling the road of enlightenment previously taken by Dave Rubin;

That would be what we pay you for then, n’est pas?

The unfortunately named Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, has suggested that Britain would be less safe after a “no deal” Brexit because, well, there would be some more paperwork to complete to extradite suspects from overseas.

To be fair, that’s not quite what she said but it wasn’t far off;

Ms Dick told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK’s policing co-operation with the EU was based on a framework of “legal instruments” which would have to be replaced after its exit.

While she hoped the two sides would end up with “something very similar”, she accepted that if the UK left without a deal, this would be “very difficult to do short term”.

Newsflash for Ms. Dick; the referendum was in 2016, you’ve had 2 years to plan for a “no deal”. You are surely not suggesting that this planning has only just commenced, or worse, hasn’t yet started, are you?

Also, please could you explain how a delay to an extradition makes the British public less safe? Thinking this through, an extradition request generally requires a crime to have been committed already so, in the case of a violent crime, the victim is already lying in a hospital bed or worse. It matters less that the perpetrator is languishing a little longer on the Costa Del Sol before facing a trial.

Bill’s Opinion

Either mature plans are already underway for the “no deal” option and Ms. Dick is deliberately scaremongering for political purposes, or plans are not in place and she and her colleagues are guilty of extreme professional negligence.

In the meantime, perhaps she could divert resources from investigating hurty tweets and towards the current knife crime crisis.

Oh Canada

For decades, Canadians were the butt of many cruel jokes about how pathetic and effeminate their nation was, with a vague notion that they were the indolent, slightly retarded younger sibling of the successful USA, smoking weed in their underwear and playing video games whilst the older brother was pulling double shifts at work.

In 2015, Canadians thought long and hard about how to deal with this unfair criticism and came to the collective conclusion that the best plan of attack would be to elect a former ski instructor, gap year backpacker and professional trustafarian, Justin Trudeau, as their leader.

As a consequence, they’ve deservedly got legislation such as this gem;

Canadian government nationalises journalism.

Actually, that should probably read “Canadian government further nationalises journalism” as they already annually spunk half a billion Canadian dollars (about $75.43 US and a couple of Tim Horton donuts) on the CBC. One supposes an addition $120m a year isn’t going to be that noticeable, therefore.

Anyone with the mildest knowledge of history and just the slightest tendency toward cynicism will find the language used to announce this “innovation” (yes, that’s how one likely recipient of taxpayer largesse described it) has creepy echoes from a previous time;

An independent panel comprised of members of the news and journalism industry will flesh out the application of the moves announced in Wednesday’s fall economic statement. In particular, the group will decide which journalism jobs and which news organizations are eligible for the new funding.

Independently deciding who amongst them will receive free money? Yes, that sounds fine, I’m sure.

Oh, and it’s not an across the board subsidy then? Not every news outlet and journalist will benefit?

The government said the package will aim to help “trusted” news organizations, but will leave it to the media industry to define the application of the new initiatives.

Trust is a difficult thing to define, isn’t it? It’s almost easier to define the conditions where one doesn’t have it. After all, as the man said, “there’s only two men I trust in this world; I’m one and you ain’t the other one“.

Bill’s Opinion

As with so many issues facing us on a daily basis, it is a dangerous mistake to assume a single cause. The legislation has an underlying assumption that there is only one major cause to the economic decline of the traditional media sector; that digital media has broken the business model.

That may well be a major contributing factor but what hasn’t been considered is that there may be another cause of similar importance. Amusingly, there’s a clue in the press release; Canadians are no longer prepared to pay for traditional media because the speed of delivery and far wider choice of digital sources has opened their eyes to quite how biased and limited the traditional media has been. They’ve lost trust, in other words.

So now they have the worst of both worlds; Canadians are going to pay for journalism they don’t want to read……forever.

Forever?

Yes; ask yourself, under what circumstances will a Canadian government ever be able to announce a closing of this funding source once it has been embedded for a couple of years?

The independent media will wail and moan from the highest steeples and undermine any political party that so much as hints that the time has come to stop subsidising journalism that nobody reads.

Hiding in plain sight

Oscar Wilde learned the hard way that sometimes it’s expedient to keep a low profile and not draw attention to behaviour that, when exposed to the judgement of the wider society, may not be as acceptable as you may have previously thought.

Sydney University have recently suspended a lecturer for presenting an image of the Israeli flag with a swastika transposed on it….. in a lecture, i.e. not at some private speaking engagement but as part of an official university course. A search of the Sydney University website drew a blank when looking for “Anti-Zionist Studies” or “Anti-Semitism 101” but it’s probably called something else more academicky.

That Professor Tim Anderson is an unreconstructed radical Communist is apparent from even the most cursory glance at his social media accounts, but his history of being wrong about absolutely everything predates the Internet; back in the 1970s, he was involved in a radical group responsible for a bomb attack that killed two innocent garbage collectors. He was imprisoned but had the conviction overturned on appeal.

Regardless of his innocence in the act of terrorism, this is a man who has no moral quandaries with the regimes of Venezuela, Syria and North Korea and has made many visits to these hellholes where he fawned over their dictators. In fact, his life work seems to be in orbit around a simple philosophy; western democracy is bad, authoritarian collectivism in whatever form is good.

That Sydney University ever employed him in the first place is hard to understand. It’s difficult to comprehend quite what academic value there is to be had for students to listen to lectures from someone who pines for a Socialist utopia where we finally, after all these false starts resulting in just a couple of hundred million murders, get the correct version of Socialism.

Should he be prevented from stating his opinions, however loopy they are? Of course not.

Should he be paid to do so by the generosity of the Australian taxpayer? Nah.

Since the suspension, 30 of his fellow academics have broken cover and signed an open letter in support of Anderson.

Amusingly, the letter doesn’t explicitly use the words “free speech“, one assumes because this is a term that has recently been associated with the non-left. I hesitate to use the term “right” as the definitions have shifted so massively in the last half decade or so resulting in classical liberals being called Nazis for defending the rights of people to say things with which they disagree.

Instead, we see the term “academic freedom” used as a proxy for “free speech“.

Ok, what’s their record on free speech then? After all, your arguments for free speech look somewhat insipid if they are limited only to speech with which you agree.

Here’s the open letter with the list of Comrade Anderson’s apologists helpfully listed at the bottom.

Let’s have a dip in to the cess pit of unreconstructed Marxism and radical left lunacy that makes up that list;

Fruitloop #1: Stuart Rosewarne. From his university bio; “Stuart Rosewarne’s research and teaching interests are in environmental and ecological economics, critical socialist ecology, international political economy, and the political economy of gender.

Critical Socialist ecology? You can be damn certain the one thing he’s not critical of in the slightest is Socialism.

Fruitloop #2: Rebecca Pearse. “Beck” wants us to decolonise the curriculum and some other word salad we can’t translate into English.

Fruitloop #3: Dr. Nick Riemer. Nick’s twitter account shows he’s drunk the climate change KoolAid, supports open borders and, of course is an activist in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) cause, an organisation with a correlation rate trending close to 1.0 of anti-Semitic members;

Fruitloop #4: Dr. Dave Brophy. Dave likes the usual causes of his colleagues but with a slight focus on criticising the Chinese government, which may indicate that all is not yet lost with regards to his ability to actually think for himself. Of course, he’s fully signed up to the BDS bollocks too though;

Fruitloop #5: Dr. Linda Connor. Linda is an anthropologist but seems totally obsessed far more interested in climate change than her field of research, judging by her Twitter account. Presumably she’s classed as an academic expert when people collect statistics proving that 97% of experts believe in catastrophic man-made climate change.

Fruitloop #6: Dr. Jake Lynch. Jake is just your common or garden BDS supporter, so much so in fact, that he had to (successfully) defend himself in court against charges of anti-Semitism.

Bill’s Opinion

Defenders of free speechacademic freedom” would be more credible if they could demonstrate any track record of standing in solidarity for people with opinions they completely reject. The simplest of internet searches on almost everyone on the list of academics supporting terrorist sympathiser and murderous dictators’ ally, Comrade Tim Anderson, proves they are all living in the same radical left wing echo chamber.

Here’s a clue to those beardy hippies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science; ask your real scientist mates from the engineering department to sign up too.

Here’s another clue; why not channel Voltaire and defend the rights of people with whom you disagree to speak and we might take you a little more seriously. Perhaps start by inviting this tour onto campus;

What can we learn from this depressing episode of cultural Marxism?

Simple; if you have a family member or friend considering studying humanities at the University of Sydney, use every persuasive tool at your disposal to change their minds before they fall down the rabbithole of radical left brainwashing. The “education” they will receive will be useless for anything of tangible benefit to themselves or the world.

As Pandora learned though, there’s always hope;

Finally….. we found ONE!

Not a Fruitloop: Dr. Colin Wight. Colin must feel extremely lonely at the University of Sydney, as he is probably the only academic on the campus who understands nuance and accepts the possibility that very little in life is ever black or white;

The left can only project. Part 3

The Rabble Rouser is a blog by American social psychologist, Lee Jussim. It’s interesting because he’s clearly got enough “fuck off money” to be able to write about what he believes to be true, rather than what his profession’s echo chamber demands. The broad accuracy of gender stereotypes, for example.

His most recent content is a guest post by Michael Millerman. While the post itself is interesting, discussing the climate of fear in educational establishments preventing students from expressing opinions, it’s the comments below the article that are more intriguing.

Millerman describes trying encourage a class to discuss what aspects of the human condition are a result of social constructs. He was met with a fearful silence.

Note that, as he relates the situation, he didn’t offer a position himself, but tried to start a discussion but none was forthcoming.

In the blog post, he also doesn’t offer an opinion on which aspects he thinks may or may not be a result of social constructs. The blog post is about the reluctance to discuss topics, not what the “correct” answers are to those subjects.

So it’s fascinating therefore that several of the comments accuse him of “dogwhistling”, transphobia and of being a right wing troll.

Bill’s Opinion

Two of the commentators accurately explain what is going on;

Your comment is designed from the start to attack the moral standing of Professor Mllerman. You do not address his arguments in the least, but instead attack his moral character so you can consequently disqualify every argument he makes.

And;

DARVO means “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”, and this is exactly what the regressive-Left are doing to their ideological opponents (including other Lefties, progressives, and dedicated feminists). I think people should keep DARVO in mind the next time they see someone being attacked as “phobic”, to help them better analyze what is actually happening.

The negative commentators are either unconscious to the fact that they are not taking on the arguments but reverting to “playing the man not the ball“, or, they are deliberately utilising “DARVO” as a strategy.

Be it deliberate or accidental, the result is the same; Millerman’s points are not addressed as existing in isolation from Millerman as a person. For these people, the speaker IS the argument, not simply the vessel in which it is delivered.

This is a pernicious form of mental illness; by finding an objectionable aspect of Millerman’s history, background or personality, the difficult task of disproving anything uncomfortable or complex that he might say is avoided. The trick to doing this and still being able to function is to convince yourself that it is a reasonable strategy. Denial, in other words.

Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome

noun

Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.

Fair warning; if you are allergic to the accent demonstrated in the song Valley Girl, this is going to hurt. You may consider soaking a box of Q-tips in bleach in preparation for repairing the aural damage.

This week, as part of my regular reconnaissance of enemy territory, I have subjected myself to the Ezra Klein podcast.
Ezra writes for Vox. On balance, it’s fair to say that Ezra has a great voice for print media. If you didn’t know otherwise, you might be forgiven for thinking Ezra was a 16 year old girl living in the San Fernando Valley.
Ad hominen fun aside, his podcasts are a great insight to a particular media mindset; this one is a doozy.

In it, Ezra interviews Amy Chozik, author of the book “Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling“.

Before you set off with us on the journey of discovery, perhaps have a pencil and paper handy to count the number of redundant times the words “like” and “so” are used. The podcast might have been 15 minutes shorter if precision of language was a concept the pair understood.

In the podcast, our protagonists discuss the reporting of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The overwhelming emotion expressed by these two objective journalists is one of regret and, dare we suggest it, shame.

The pair talk about “bias” a lot but not in terms of any suggestion they were biased towards wishing for a Clinton presidency but that they weren’t biased enough in their reporting.

For example, at 17 minutes in, they discuss the “tragedy” of the result. This is not the language employed by unbiased professional reporters. However, any semblance or artifice that they would describe themselves in those professional terms is shed as the conversation develops.

Ok, so we have two partisan writers discussing an election that didn’t go their way. At least the form of the conversation should be easy listening? They’re paid to write for a living, at least.

Nah. Wince as the English language is mangled under our brutal wrestling tag team; “lightning rod-ness” was a particular stand out, as were “stories we pre-wrote” and “pre-writing” whilst discussing the articles they hoped to file after Clinton’s victory. Presumably “pre-writing” is the writing one does before one writes?

See also, “pre-planning“, the planning one does before one plans, and “pre-warning“, the warning one gives before a warning, (to be clear, they don’t use these terms, they’re just two of my pet peeves).

Wonder also at how “gendered” the media coverage of the election was. Other people’s coverage, of course, our two heroes never once made any capital out of the biological differences between Hillary and Bernie or Donald. Oh no sir-ee (or madam/gender fluid person).

Enjoy also the exquisite irony of the use of the phrase, “abdicating our responsibility to think it through“. Spoiler alert; they aren’t talking about why the public didn’t trust Hillary or their reporting of Hillary.

An almost a throwaway line; “Trump’s bashing of the first amendment” was instructive. The fact that there’s no explanation of what is meant by that assertion speaks volumes; Ezra accepts it unquestionably as an axiom we all understand (or should be forced to?). It’s still not clear what he’s done to stop free speech.

Perhaps the best amusement is to had towards the end of the interview where we discover that the abuse directed at journalists was worse from Bernie Sanders’ supporters than anything Trump’s redneck, white-supremacist, misogynist, homophobe, transphobe, Islamaphobes could throw. Really? The left can be more brutal and threatening? Who knew?

Bill’s Opinion

Theres a significant problem with much of what passes as contemporary political discourse; people have lost the ability or desire to understand the opposing view. It is fashionable to write off one’s opponent as acting in bad faith and therefore deserving of whatever sanction we see fit, ranging from “no platforming” to impeachment and prosecution.

Subjecting ourselves to interviews such as this one help us understand how the other side are thinking. The expression “to steel man an argument” is something worth exploring if this is of interest.

A secondary advantage of listening to interviews like this is it is unintentionally fucking hilarious and a wonderful example of the meaning of the word schadenfreude.

Lastly, among his many verbal tics, Ezra frequently uses the expression “I’m curious” to commence a question that could simply have started with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why” or “how”.

Ironically, it is apparent to the most casual observer that the one characteristic Klein doesn’t posses is curiosity;

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Socrates

Freedom 2018

Freedom House, an “independent watchdog” has released a study which listed the most free countries in the world.

At least that’s the claim. Others might suggest the report proves something very different. For example, one possible conclusion that could be drawn from the report is that the authors are suffering from deep psychological issues of self-loathing perhaps bordering on Stockholm Syndrome.

Why?

Because the report claims the USA has slipped significantly in the levels of freedom available to its citizens.

Has it? What’s happened in the last 12 months?

Oh, President Trump said some mean words and passed Executive Orders halting immigration from countries with poor anti-terrorism vetting procedures;

The president has also lambasted and threatened the media—including sharp jabs at individual journalists—for challenging his routinely false statements, spoken disdainfully of judges who blocked his decisions, and attacked the professional staff of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He signals contempt for Muslims and Latin American immigrants and singles out some African Americans for vitriolic criticism. He pardoned a sheriff convicted of ignoring federal court orders to halt racially discriminatory policies and issued an executive order restricting travel to the United States from a group of Muslim-majority countries after making a campaign promise to ban all foreign Muslims from the United States.

Ok, we get that “more than 130 in-house and external analysts and advisers from academia, think tanks, and human rights institutions” didn’t vote Republican in 2016 but has the USA really slipped back to the days of King John’s authoritarian rule?

If only there was an independent data set that showed what the population of the world thought and the subsequent individual choices they were making?

We’ll have to wait for an update to this survey but what’s the likelihood that the results have changed significantly in a year?

By the way, if you look closely, you’ll see Vilfredo Pareto’s observation proven correct again.

Bill’s Opinion

Is there any area of academia and the media in 2018 not tainted with confirmation bias?

The fact that Trump is President and tweets mean things about your friends is not the same thing as a South American dictatorship “disappearing” political opponents and beating the soles of their feet with electrical cable in the basement of the Secret Police building or Putin’s supporters killing journalists.

It just isn’t. Grow up.