Does Media Mirror Culture, or Create Culture?

A commentary on media

I’ve (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) noticed that the term ‘woke’ is being tossed around on television lately. Wokeness is a term that refers to the awareness of issues that concern social and racial justice. That is not a bad thing, but is it being taken to the extreme? Even the Toronto real estate board dropping ‘master bedroom’ term and replacing it with the word “primary.” I’ve also noticed Gender-neutral language being used in the media. This is language which avoids a bias towards a particular sex or social gender. For example, mailman is no longer “politically correct,” but mail carrier is. It got me wondering why.  Is this a way to normalize wokeness and gender-neutral language? In researching for an answer, I came across the opinion piece, The Woke Revolution Is Powered by the Elites, which argues that the woke revolution is not a grassroots movement, but instead is powered by well-connected and guilt-ridden elites. Could this be true?

I recall having a discussion in one of my classes. I asked the question: Does media (the internet, magazines, television, motion pictures, etc.) reflect the world we live in, or create the world we live in? Another way to phrase it: Does media mirror culture, or create culture? I remember it being a lively discussion, but I don’t recall if we reached a consensus.

In the article, How Do Movies Impact our Societies, it says:

The power of audiovisuals has been manifested and exploited politically, socially, and economically throughout history. Leaders such as Adolf Hitler, for example, successfully used films as propaganda tools during World War II. Facts like these show the raw power of film.

Could movies be used as propaganda tools? On debate.org, the question: Is television brainwashing us? one person says:

What is seen on TV is generally not accepted in society, but the more it’s seen, the more people begin to accept it. Often, this is done through humor or through exaggerated behaviors. As we watch these again and again, we can become desensitized to them–things like violence, swearing, and other behaviors that our grandparents would have raised their eyebrows over.

This makes sense to me. When I was a kid, you never heard swearing on a television screen. Now “F-bombs” are commonplace. Nowadays, graphic murder scenes are normal. This wasn’t the case when I was a kid. Is media desensitizing us, indoctrinating us or brainwashing us? I think so. For many years, I’ve wondered why violence, bullying (#bullying #antibullying), marital infidelity, sexual promiscuity, and selfish behaviours are so prevalent on TV and in movies. Now I realize it is to normalize it; to make people believe they’re normal human behaviours.

When I taught religious education as a teacher, I taught my students that humans were innately good, and I still think that. Humans are naturally altruistic. Psychology Today defines altruism as acting to help someone else at some cost to oneself. This is especially evident when tragedies happen as people never think twice about helping another. Most of us have heard the stories of a stranger running into a burning building to rescue someone. Teaching in a Christian school, I used the Christian scripture Colossians 3:12 to support my argument. It says; “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…

There are many science articles supporting this claim. The Scientific American article, Scientists Probe Human Nature–and Discover We Are Good, After All, sites studies carried out in 2012 which found that a human’s “first impulses are selfless and that we are predisposed to act cooperatively, to help others even when it costs us.” The article, Scientists find evidence that human beings are born with an innate desire to help others, sights studies from Harvard University saying that young children and babies are innately sociable and helpful to others. Most TV programs and movies lead us to believe that humans are selfish, yet the Greater Good Science Center has an article titled, The Compassionate Instinct that says:

Compassion and benevolence, this research suggests, are an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology, and ready to be cultivated for the greater good.

Studies support my claim that humans are innately good, yet A 2018 new global Ipsos MORI study found that three in four people (76%) on average across 27 countries think society in their country is divided. Most of us agree, the world feels very divided, especially now. The question is: Why?

The article, Divided People Divided Politics Divided Nations: Why is the World so Divided Today? says:

Politicians always used fear and divisions in society to gain votes, there is nothing new to here…Our opinions are being shaped and divided. The cohesive fabric of the society is being torn and divided…If we allow our minds to be programmed by artificial intelligence controlled by vested interests, then it will lead to divisions and strife.

In April of this year, former NBA star Charles Barkley expounded during March Madness that political parties and elites “divide and conquer” Americans in order to “keep their grasp on money and power.” (see Barkley)

Could this be what is happening? Do elites want us divided? Are we mind controlled to be divided? “Divide and conquer” has always been used as a way of distracting and controlling the non-elites. When television and movie productions repeatedly portray humans a selfish, bullies, violent, and racist we begin to believe it. In essence, we are being indoctrinated or brainwashed to think that is normal human behaviour. The truth is the opposite! We humans are innately good, naturally cooperative, and instinctively altruistic. We know this unconsciously when we get out of our head, and move into our hearts.  Or as Albert Einstein puts it; “Don’t let your brain interfere with your heart.” Rumi says:

Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.

The late Steve Jobs once said:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Steve Jobs is absolutely right, especially his words; “Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”  When we follow our hearts, and not the brain—which is usually filled with indoctrination garbage or dogma—then we become loving, compassionate and benevolent, which is our human nature.  The heart is where love resides, and where our instincts or intuition reside. The bottom line is we are divided, violent, racist, selfish, bullying, because our ego is programmed or indoctrinated by media to be so. The solution is to stop filling our minds with untruths, release false beliefs, and to follow the heart where truth is!

The late English singer-songwriter, George Michael once said:

 “You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.”

Who Are Those Characters?

Are those characters based on actual people?

Someone asked me (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) a while back if the characters in my book, A Shattered New Start, were based on real people. That is a great question, and the short answer is no. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, here is a teaser.

I’ve worked with thousands of students, and hundreds of teachers, during my 35-years of teaching, and each person is unique in their own way. Having said that, there are definitely certain types of students and teachers. To answer the question, my characters are based on categories of students and teachers. I’ll start with the teaching staff at Rabbit Hill Academy, the setting for the book.

For convenience, I’ll refer to an article, What Is Your Teaching Personality Type? which uses Myers-Briggs personality types to identify types of teachers.

In A Shattered New Start, the Science teacher is what the article refers to as “a Purist.” These teacher types are passionate about education, zealous about their subject, have a positive and optimistic outlook, and often inspire both teachers and pupils to greatness. I like to think I was one of those teachers, however, I’m sure there are former students and colleagues who disagree. The science teacher in my book was based a lot on how I approached teaching. In my experience, these teachers were dedicated professionals who loved working with young people and wanted to make a difference in their student’s lives.

The Math teacher in Rabbit Hill Academy is what the article refers to as “The Teacher.” They are imaginative and observant, authoritative and patient, loyal and hardworking. These teachers take their job seriously.

“The Renegade,” in my story is the Physical Education (PE) teacher, as she tends to take her perfectionism and planning to the extreme. In A Shattered New Start, she is the ‘rookie teacher’ who fears failing and who is out to change the world. Most teachers start off idealistic and enthusiastic. I certainly did.

The English teacher is “The Inspirer.” These teachers bounce around the classroom shouting like maniacs about a subject, and imploring pupils to get involved. They are the passionate and energetic teachers, typically getting excited about a topic that students couldn’t care less about. In my experience, these are the teachers who like to be in the spotlight, are dramatic, and like to perform for their students.

The article called some teacher types “The Thinker.” The Social teacher in my school story is that. These educators bring a questioning approach to their teaching. In my experience, they try to get students to think. I’ve worked with many colleagues who taught this way, and I too liked to ask students thought provoking questions.

The Principal of the school is “The Supporter,” a leader with honestly good intentions and who works hard for school improvement and execution. The principal in A Shattered New Start is also “The Conventionalist,” who is honest and dutiful, and a role model. I worked with these types of leaders and those were some of the best years of my career. After all, the school principal sets the tone of the school.

For the students in my book, I’ll use the articles, 13 Types of Students…. and Types of kids in High School for reference.

The victim in my bullying (#bullying #antibullying) school story is what the article, 13 Types of Students, calls the “Intellectual Outsider.” They are the outcasts and are used to their classmates ignoring him. These students are often odd and distrustful, and usually very smart. The victim in A Shattered New Start has an impediment that makes him a prime target for bullies. I’ve comforted many victims of bullies over the years.

Neither article describes the victim’s best friend in my story. This character is very loyal, to the point where he’s jealous of anyone else his friend pays attention to. This is the friend who would do anything for his best friend. The label I would use for my character is “Hothead.”  These students become worked up easily and are seldom afraid to express themselves, often seeming aggressive to others.

 The Bully of my book, both articles refer to as “The Bully.” This is the kid that has no friends and appears very threatening. This article also has a type called “EMO.” These kids look sad or pissed off at the world. They wear the same clothes over and over again. EMO kids want attention and would do anything for it. I’ve had many of these types in my classes over the years.

The new kid in my story is the “Hard Worker.” The article, 13 Types of Students, says these students are highly motivated, know what they want, and know how to achieve their goal. They are not always the smartest student, but they try hard. In my experience, these students are positive, happy, self-confident, and pleasant to be around. These students I admired.

The annoying student in A Shattered New Start is what the article, 13 Types of Students, calls “Overactive.” This student always has a question to ask and comment to make. They often become irritating for both teachers and their classmates.  In my experience, these are the students who ask the very question the teacher just finished answering. These students would make their classmates groan and shake their heads, and frustrate us teachers.

Indian actress, Deepika Padukone, when she spoke about her battle with depression and anxiety said:

When you look at a person, any person, everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed their life. Anxiety, depression and panic attacks are not signs of weakness. They are signs of trying to remain strong for way too long.

American writer, Nick Flynn says, “Perhaps everyone has a story that could break your heart.” I learned as a teacher, sometimes the hard way, that every child has a story and many of their stories regarding their home life and social life were tragic. My characters in A Shattered New Start all have a story, and many of those stories—or shall I say challenges—were issues my students faced. The article, Middle School Issues Commonly Faced By Kids, outlines many of those issues. My characters were no different.

John Holt is a teacher who became disillusioned with the school system after several years of working within it. In his book, How Children Fail, he said:

We destroy the disinterested (I do not mean uninterested) love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards — gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards… in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else…. We kill, not only their curiosity, but their feeling that it is a good and admirable thing to be curious, so that by the age of ten most of them will not ask questions, and will show a good deal of scorn for the few who do…The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure, punishment, and disgrace, severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied into strategies for fooling teachers into thinking they know what they really don’t know.

Another teacher, John Taylor Gatto, taught thirty years in the public school system and wrote the book, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling. In his book, he argues that conventional schooling is destroying the natural curiosity and problem-solving skills everyone is born with, and replacing it with rule-following, fragmented time, and disillusionment.

I have to agree with both authors. I started reflecting on the school system I was a part of for 35 years after I retired from teaching; a profession I loved. In July of 2019, I wrote a blog titled, Was I One Those Teachers Who Smothered Creativity, or Indoctrinated Children? During that time I wondered if that were true, and I now believe it to be true. We teach kids to regurgitate facts and give us what we want, then reward them with good grades. The most common question I got from students was, “What do I need to know for the test?” We squelch creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity. Many of the kids I taught were artistic and creative, but were disillusioned with school, and didn’t want to be there. Now I understand why.

My book, A Shattered New Start, gives an understanding to Factory model schools which are used today. Isaac Asimov, an American writer says, “Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” Maybe he is right. At least that way people might think for themselves instead of rule-following and becoming disillusioned. The time is ripe to create an education system that promotes curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills; a system that makes students better human beings.

Has Humanity Listened to the Wrong People?

A commentary on humanity’s choices

A video came across my Facebook feed recently that got me thinking. The video is from Mindfulness Ireland. Have a watch, as it will likely touch your heart as it did mine. You’re probably wondering why it moved me, and why it got me thinking. Let me (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) explain.

Growing up, I was taught that humans were the pinnacle of creation, and that all other creatures—plants and animals—are inferior to humans. The Christian church I was raised in taught that only humans have a soul or spirit that goes to “heaven.” I even had a conversation with a priest about this topic once. The Christian church has traditionally seen humans as superior to animals based on Genesis 1:26 of the Christian Scriptures, which says:

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’

Most Biblical intellectuals interpret this scripture text to mean that animals do not have an eternal soul in the same sense as humans do. The website, Catholic Answers says:

The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational–theirs aren’t…Animals and plants can’t do anything which transcends the limitations of matter. Although some animals seem clever, they don’t actually possess conceptional intelligence. They can’t, for instance, conceive of the abstract notion of justice.

To summarize, plant and animal ‘souls’ don’t live on after death. Science conventionally says the same as explained by Dr Arthur Saniotis from the University’s School of Medical Sciences:

“For millennia, all kinds of authorities – from religion to eminent scholars – have been repeating the same idea ad nauseam, that humans are exceptional by virtue that they are the smartest in the animal kingdom…The belief of human cognitive superiority became entrenched in human philosophy and sciences. Even Aristotle, probably the most influential of all thinkers, argued that humans were superior to other animals due to our exclusive ability to reason.” (Source:  Science X).

GospelWay.com has an entire essay, Superiority of Humans to Animals in God’s Plan, that argues that  God values humans the most because animals have no spirit, no moral responsibility, no eternal destiny, and are not held accountable for right and wrong. 

I have always respected the Indigenous or First Nation’s world view. Speaking generally, Indigenous people all over the world have a deep respect for the land, the plants and the animals. Animals played a very important role in their lives, providing them with food and clothing, taught them lessons, and served as messengers and spirit guides. In Honouring Earth, on the Assembly of First Nations website, it says:

Mother Earth…bestows us with materials for our homes, clothes and tools…If we listen from the place of connection to the Spirit That Lives in All Things, Mother Earth teaches what we need to know to take care of her and all her children…First Nations peoples’ have a special relationship with the earth and all living things in it. This relationship is based on a profound spiritual connection to Mother Earth that guided indigenous peoples to practice reverence, humility and reciprocity…Everything is taken and used with the understanding that we take only what we need, and we must use great care and be aware of how we take and how much of it so that future generations will not be put in peril.

Indigenous spirituality highlights a “connection to the Spirit That Lives in All Things.” On the Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples Blog, it says: 

Many Indigenous Peoples believe that “the Animal People have spirits and enter the human world to give their bodies to supply men with food, fur and other materials. After their flesh is used the animals return home, put on new flesh and re-enter the human world whenever they choose.”

Many Indigenous people believe animals have souls or spirits which live on after death since those animals “put on new flesh and re-enter the human world whenever they choose.” Even science is re-evaluating what it believes about animal kingdom.  Many researchers say animals have feelings and emotions, as in the articles; What Kind of Emotions Do Animals Feel? and Do Animals Have Feelings? Examining Empathy In Animals. In the first article it says:

Instead of considering ourselves [humans] so refined and rational, it’s time for us to squarely face the degree to which we–like other animals–are driven by emotions.

Animals do have emotions, and any pet owner will tell you that. Those videos showing animal affection touch the heart. The video, Unbelievable Friendship! People and Wild Animals, show convincing evidence of this: Have a watch:

Science is even admitting that animals are intelligent as the articles, Animal Intelligence and Everything Worth Knowing About … Animal Intelligence report.  This video certainly shows the intelligence of the family Corvidae of birds, otherwise known as crows and ravens. Here is the video.

I’ve personally experienced the intelligence of ravens. A number of years ago, while on a hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies, I watched two ravens hover around a table where two hikers were about to eat their boiled eggs for breakfast. Before the hikers got to eat them, they got up and left their table. Two ravens swooped down and grabbed their eggs. This was planned, as ravens and crows are strategic and plan their moves before they act. (see Crow Facts).

By now, you are probably wondering why I am babbling on about humans and animals. Here’s why. All my life, I have watched humanity claim to be the most intelligent animal, yet continually make choices that put humanity and our planet in danger. The article, 50 Reasons Why the Human Race Is Too Stupid To Survive, lists 50 stupid things human have done, and I believe there are way more than fifty.

As mentioned earlier, Indigenous people have a deep respect for Mother Earth—the land, the plants and the animals. They believe animals teach them lessons, and are messengers and guides. I have always felt the Indigenous world view made more sense as opposed to the European world view. Perhaps if the European settlers had adopted an Indigenous-Centric world view instead of keeping their Eurocentric view, with its beliefs of superiority and that the natives were inferior savages, our world would be better off. Since Mother Earth guided the indigenous peoples to practice reverence, humility and reciprocity, there most certainly would be less, or even no bullying (#bullying #antibullying).

You see, I believe we have much to learn from Mother Earth, especially her animals. The One Green Planet article, 10 Important Life Lessons we can Learn From Animals, says there are ten lessons that we can learn from animals. Two lessons, according to this article, are ‘We’re All Connected’ and ‘We Must Stick Together.’ This is what Chief Seattle, who advocated accommodation with white settlers, meant when he said:

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

Considering the present state of our world at the moment, with all its division, power grabs, and bullying, maybe we would be wise to pay attention to the animal kingdom and Indigenous wisdom. We have nothing to lose, and much to learn. Clearly, the old ways have not worked.

Have We Time Travelled Back to 1984?

A commentary on our times

“DoubleSpeak” is a term coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984; a novel I read in high school long ago. Its language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses meaning to further an agenda, often by governments, corporations, marketers, or other powers. I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) see a lot of DoubleSpeak happening these days, and really, it has always been used. I’ll give you some examples.

Canada’s prime minister (PM) in his Statement by Justin Trudeau on the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms said:

“For the past 35 years, the Charter has helped build a country where people from all over the world can come together as equals and create opportunities for one another…Today, I remind Canadians that we have no task greater than to stand on guard for one another’s liberties. The words enshrined in the Charter are our rights, freedoms, and – above all – our collective responsibility.”  

Our PM also said:

Ultimately, being open and respectful towards each other is much more powerful as a way to diffuse hatred and anger than, you know, layering on, you know, big walls and oppressive policies.

I find our PM’s words to “stand on guard for one another’s liberties” ironic because of headlines like the Toronto Sun’s WARMINGTON: COVID hotels against Charter of Rights, Justice Centre says. The article quotes the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF):

“The government has not explained why people cannot self-isolate at home. Locking people up in secret locations, without a right to call a lawyer or to have their detention reviewed by a judge, is in line with practices carried out by the world’s most repressive regimes.”

The PM’s words are clearly DoubleSpeak since Trudeau’s comments on the Charter are twisted, or out and out lies, to further his agenda. Even worse, are headlines like Federal Conservatives call for suspension of hotel quarantine policy following reports of sexual assault, which reports on two sexual assaults as a direct result of the Trudeau government’s quarantine policy. True North News also reports on the unsafe COVID jails in Quarantine hotels meant to “protect Canadians” Hajdu says following sexual assault reports. How is this “being open and respectful towards each other?” More DoubleSpeak?

Even Joe Biden, present resident of the White House, says similar things saying:

“The Supreme Court has confirmed the simple but profoundly American idea that every human being should be treated with respect and dignity. That everyone should be able to live openly, proudly, as their true selves, without fear.”

Yet, similar government abuses are happening in the U.S. It’s curious that Biden also said, “No Ordinary American Cares About Their Constitutional Rights.” Sounds like a contradiction and DoubleSpeak to me.

Canada’s prime minister has also said:

My idea of freedom is that we should protect the rights of people to believe what their conscience dictates, but fight equally hard to protect people from having the beliefs of others imposed upon them

Rebel News reports, Man misses cancer treatment after being forced to quarantine. This man was prevented from following his conscience, which was to attend his cancer treatment appointment, the reason why he flew back to Ontario in the first place. Think about that! A Canadian citizen is confined to a COVID jail for “safety” reasons, but is denied seeing his doctor regarding a health problem he’s addressing. Clearly this man is not free. Just more DoubleSpeak, I guess.

Trudeau has also said:

“We will always speak up for freedom of religion and for human rights here in Canada and around the world” (source: The Catholic Register).

Clearly more DoubleSpeak, as there is no freedom of religion and no regard for human rights in our country. Don’t believe me. The National Post’s headline Church whose pastor was arrested for defying COVID-19 restrictions holds service, reports on GraceLife Church which held a service that health authorities say exceeded provincially set gathering limits meant to curb the spread of the virus. Independent News media, Rebel News’ headline, Lawyer for Pastor James Coates: A Christian pastor arrested for holding church, takes a very different perspective compared to MM, saying; “The idea of a pastor being thrown in jail is so utterly antithetical and foreign to a nation that purports to be free and democratic.” I have to agree with Rebel News. We cannot claim to be a “free and democratic” country with the Draconian behaviour of our health and political leaders.

Trudeau has said:

One of the most important things in any leader or in any successful approach is to focus on connecting with people and really listening to them. We shouldn’t just be saying, oh yes, the people are protesting. We need to ask them why they are protesting and try and figure out if there is something we can do to bring them in and respond to those concerns. That’s not populism – that’s being thoughtfully open to the fact that our citizens are allowed to have, and are even justified in having, very real concerns and questions for the people responsible for serving them

Yet, there are many reports of protesters being harassed and arrested with brute force. Here are some of those news reports: Edmonton police attack peaceful protesters, then turn against journalists, Protesters, police gather outside two Toronto COVID hotels, and Second week of arrests at Toronto lockdown protest. Most anti-lockdown protests have been characterized by the MM as being attended by religious fundamentalists and conspiracy theorists, as TNN says in its article,  Group with anarchist ties organized weekend Montreal anti-curfew protest. Does this sound like Trudeau “connecting with people and really listening to them?” More DoubleSpeak, I’d say.

George Orwell also uses the term, doublethink, which is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as true. Those who speak it are conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies. Slogans like, “War Is Peace” and “Freedom Is Slavery,” are examples from the book. Could the following words from Trudeau be “doublethink?”

“All Canadians expect their government to do two things: to keep Canadians safe and to defend and uphold the values and rights that all Canadians hold dear.” (source: Global News).

Could it be that Trudeau wants Canadians to believe he is protecting us from COVID and defending our civil rights while slowly removing more and more of our rights?

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is quoted as saying:

I don’t read the newspapers, I don’t watch the news. I figure, if something important happens, someone will tell me.

I have to wonder why that is. Could it be that he knows the truth about the Mainstream Media (MM); the truth that it distorts truth or even gives untruths? Could that be why Only 28% of radio listeners see value in CBC Radio? Is this why the article, Media Party proposes BANNING competitors after survey shows lack of trust in Media Party, reports a new survey saying trust in the media, and all establishment institutions, is plummeting with roughly half of Canadians not believing a word the media says.

Are Trudeau and Biden, health officials, and other political leaders using DoubleSpeak? Yes, but as the old adage says, “actions speak louder than words,” and their actions are unmistakably bullying (#bullying #antibullying) actions.

 Division is man-made
 Division is designed to keep you powerless
 Division is designed to keep you fighting each other
 Division is designed to keep you enslaved
 The narrative has you
 No one person is above another
 Unity is strength
 Unity is love
 Unity is humanity
 Trust yourself
 Think for yourself
 Only when good people [collectively] come together will positive change occur. 

These words from Q speak truth.  QAnon, or Q, is said to be a disproven and discredited far-right conspiracy theory, but we won’t get into conspiracy theory right now.

How are we divided? Political parties keep us divided. If two different people belong to two different political parties, naturally their political ideas and beliefs will be different, creating division. Religion is one of the greatest dividers, as countless people have lost their lives and property in the name of religion. Race divides us. In Race Delusion: Lies That Divide Us, it says

Races are supposed to be real, objective divisions of the human family—analogous, perhaps, to breeds of dog. To be a member of a certain race is to be a certain kind of human being. Racial identity is supposed to be innate and unalterable (you don’t have any choice about what race you belong to) and transmitted from one generation to the next…When one group of people sets out to oppress another, they “racialize” them—that is, they think of them as fundamentally different from and, importantly, inferior to themselves…The idea of “blackness” was a European invention, designed to legitimize the oppression of Africans.

In reality, there is only one race which is, Homo sapiens, or the human race. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”  Or as Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Our leaders use DoubleSpeak and DoubleThink to keep us divided and confused. We must stop listening and believing what others say—especially MM and our leaders—instead, thinking for ourselves.  Doing this, I believe, will bring humanity together. Aristotle once said, “Find the good. Seek the Unity. Ignore the divisions among us.” It seems humanity has always known there is strength in harmony. Remember the idiom: “United we stand, divided we fall.” Humanity cannot continue to stay divided!

Yes, There is a Health Crisis

A commentary on the need for evidence

As Mainstream Media (MM) continues to talk about the “COVID health crisis,” like the CNBC headline, CDC director says U.S. needs to curb Covid before it can mutate again and make the pandemic even worse, I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) see independent news reporting on the harmful effects of lockdowns. True North News (TNN) reports in Depression and substance abuse skyrocket during lockdowns: poll, the Canadian Mental Health Association recently revealed that 40% of Canadians feel that their mental health has worsened since the pandemic began.  It also discusses another study by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) which says that the number of Canadians feeling depression symptoms increased from 2% before March 2020 to 14% in December.

Another February TNN report, Toronto records record 40 overdoses in single day, reports that Toronto Public Health records showed emergency calls for opioid overdoses went up 90% in 2020 compared to 2019. In yet another TNN article, Deaths among young men in Western Canada increased during lockdowns: StatsCan, declaring:

2020 was the worst year on record for opioid overdoses in many parts of Canada. Alberta recorded 904 overdose deaths, compared to 790 dying from coronavirus.

The article goes on to say that StatsCan links the increase in death among young men on the coronavirus lockdowns. This is the real health crisis. There is a mental health crisis going on!

Even MM sometimes admits that lockdowns have severe consequences, as in the Toronto Sun that has an opinion column titled, Canadian expert’s research finds lockdown harms are 10 times greater than benefits. LifeSiteNews, a non-profit Internet service dedicated to issues of culture, life, and family, has an article, Canadian doctor’s research shows lockdowns have caused vastly more harm than good, which presents the arguments of a research paper by a Canadian doctor who contended that “the collateral damage caused by COVID-19 lockdowns will cause more harm than the virus itself, and will also far outweigh any benefits that might have been incurred by keeping everyone at home.” There is little doubt, in my mind, that the “cure” for this alleged pandemic is worse than the pandemic itself.

I recently saw a video by Turning Point USA titled, Watch This Before You Consider Another Lockdown. The video argues that lockdowns are a luxury of the rich. I agree, but don’t take my word. Click the link, have a watch, and decide for yourself.

Our health officials and political leaders have been using the COVID Health Crisis to justify lockdowns, with their daily spouting of COVID cases based on the controversial polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The World Health Organization (WHO) admitted in December 2020 that PCR tests create false positives. In a December 7 memo, the WHO warned that high cycle thresholds on PCR tests will result in false positives.

Swiss Policy Research (SPR), an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit research group, explains the problems with the PCR test in its article, The Trouble With PCR Tests. It clearly outlines the issues regarding PCR testing which is being used to diagnose COVID cases. Even Kary Mullis, the Inventor of the PCR Test, says the PCR test was never invented for diagnosis.

Yes, there is a health crisis, but it is not the COVID crisis. It is the mental health crisis caused by lockdowns and fear mongering. The sad truth is, the lockdowns are killing more people than the virus is. We need to question everything, as the business owner in Rebel News’ article, “Question everything. We need to read, research”: Home decor store owner on lockdowns, says. The owner of Stewart’s Decorating in North Bay, Ontario, says:

Citing that this lockdown is not based on scientific evidence, Alexandra feels that these restrictions are causing more harm than benefit, and that the censorship of any dissenting view is worrisome.

I have yet to see our health or political leaders provide convincing scientific evidence to justify the closing of small business and restricted socializing, while allowing corporate stores to remain open. Many people are questioning the science, like a Liberal bureaucrat questions if gov’t COVID response is fully “based on science,” and Trudeau COVID response NOT “based on science,” argues Liberal staffer. In Ontario, a Business group blasts Ontario decision to extend lockdowns, saying the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the government has provided “zero evidence” of the effectiveness of its lockdowns and is “insulting” Ontario workers and employers.  Public Health officials unable to provide any data to justify quarantine facilities, that is, the COVID hotels or COVID jails, is a report by TNN. Why are governments not providing convincing scientific evidence? Could it be they have none? Let’s explore this further.

Knoema is a comprehensive source of global decision-making data. On this site, you can find data about any country on any topic.  I first looked up the number of yearly deaths reported by Canada.

On its page, Canada – Number of deaths, it states:

In 2020, number of deaths for Canada was 295.37 thousand cases. Over the last 50 years, number of deaths of Canada grew substantially from 158.43 to 295.37 thousand cases rising at an increasing annual rate that reached a maximum of 2.08% in 2015 and then decreased to 1.55% in 2020.

The site lists the number of deaths since 2009. In 2018, there were 295.53 thousand deaths, an increase of 1.82 % from the year before. In 2019, there were 290.85 thousand deaths, an increase of 1.68 %.  In 2020, the year of COVID, there were 295.37 thousand deaths, an increase of 1.55%. I find it interesting in the year of COVID, 2020, there was the smallest increase in deaths in the past NINE years. Check the chart out for yourself. No health or political leader has explained this data. Does this data justify lockdowns? No!

Let’s look at the US. Keep in mind that the US population is over 300 million people, and Canada’s is only about 37 million, putting the numbers in perspective.

On its page, United States of America – Number of deaths, it states:

In 2020, number of deaths for United States of America was 2,960.99 thousand cases. Number of deaths of United States of America increased from 2,007.75 thousand cases in 1971 to 2,960.99 thousand cases in 2020 growing at an average annual rate of 0.80%.

In 2018, the US had 2,854.59 thousand deaths, an increase of 1.98 % from the year before. In 2019, there were 2,908.94 thousand deaths, an increase of 1.90 %.  In the year of COVID, 2020, there were 2,960.99 thousand deaths in the US, an increase of 1.79%. Isn’t it interesting that 2020, the US also had the smallest increase in deaths in the past FIVE years. How do our leaders explain this? They don’t even mention it, let alone explain it.

Explore the Knoema site, on any country, for yourself. I doubt this site would have inaccurate information. It’s time to demand that our health and political leaders provide persuasive scientific evidence to justify their decision to lockdown and force healthy people to quarantine. We deserve an explanation, since our elected governments supposedly work for us.

From my perspective, the data on the Knoema site does not warrant these Draconian unconstitutional lockdowns. That is my truth! The data fails to justify the suspension of civil liberties and rights. The data does not defend “medical kidnapping,” and “medical tyranny,” which I talked about in my last post. The data fails to rationalize extending lockdowns as Ontario did (see Ontario Extends Lockdown). The Knoema data does not explain this shameful bullying (#bullying #antibullying) on citizens by their governments.

Now, some may think I’m another crazy conspiracy theorist spouting misinformation, but I saw a meme recently that resonated with me, which said:

In a world where it is normal to raise your child without a gender, quarantine yourself while healthy, cower at the sight of someone breathing fresh air, and snitch on your neighbours for celebrating the holidays…I am fine with being called crazy.

That meme is how I feel. It is time to demand answers! It is time to have answers from our tyrannical behaving governments, answers that justify their decisions with convincing evidence. I’ll remind you of the words said by the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson:

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.

In my province, it is illegal to have social gatherings inside, eat at a restaurant or bar with anyone outside your household, be without a mask in indoor public places, be less than two metres apart, and to protest. That feels like tyranny to me. Start demanding indisputable scientific evidence for these restrictions.

Gaslighting is Out of Control!

A commentary on liberties and rights

The term “gaslighting” comes from a 1930’s play called Gas Light. In this play the main character tries to drive his wife crazy by progressively dimming the gas-powered lights in their home. When she notices the lights dimming, her husband denies that the lights are dimming, and convinces her that she is imagining it to the point where she questions her own sanity. Psychology Today defines gaslighting as:

…a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and to ultimately lose one’s own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. Gaslighting statements and accusations are usually based on blatant lies, or exaggeration of the truth.

In my (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) book, A Shattered New Start, the bully Ryan practices gaslighting by convincing a classmate that he is a loser, causing his victim to lose his sense of identity and self-worth. Really, what is gaslighting? It’s bullying (#bullying #antibullying) plain and simple, and I’m just beginning to understand that there is a lot of gaslighting happening right now, and perhaps always has been. Let me explain.

One of the lines in Canada’s National Anthem is “God keep our land glorious and free!” The truth is, Canadians are not free. A line in the American National Anthem says, “O’er the land of the free,” and from what I can tell, Americans are not free either, and that is true for much of the world. Have we been gaslighted? Have we been manipulated and brainwashed with blatant lies, or exaggerated truth, to believe we live in a free country? We certainly aren’t free right now.

In Canada, as part of our constitution, is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That charter seems to be missing in recent times. The Charter, under Fundamental Freedoms, says:

We’re free to think our own thoughts, speak our minds, listen to views of others and express our opinions in creative ways.  We’re also free to meet with anyone we wish and participate in peaceful demonstrations. 

Despite those constitutionally guaranteed rights, Rebel News reports Toronto police ARREST lockdown protesters and Edmonton police DETAIN three men at anti-lockdown protest . You’ll notice I mainly rely on independent news sources because I no longer trust, nor pay attention, to Mainstream Media (MM).  Why you ask? MM gaslights all the time, and here are a couple of examples. CTV violated the code of ethics for Canadian broadcasters, as reported in True North News’ article, CTV broke ethics code in biased report on former president Trump. USA’s CNN has retracted several stories because of false information, like this story: 3 journalists resign from CNN after network retracts Russia-related story. There is a reason why Americans Remain Distrustful of Mass Media. This article reports on a September 2020 survey that says 27% of Americans have “not very much” trust and 33% “none at all” in MM. That means 60% of Americans do not trust the media. I’ve seen a new phrase lately; “fear porn,” in reference to the MM’s constant fear mongering.  I’ll remind you of Malcolm X’s words:

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” 

“Fear porn” is spread by Canada’s prime minister. Rebel News’ article,  Trudeau: Incoming travellers will be charged $2,000 to pay for mandatory quarantine hotel stays. explains that all arrivals will also have to undergo PCR COVID-19 testing and then isolate in “an approved hotel” for up to three days while they wait for their result. Those who test negative will then be released with conditions while positive cases will have to stay in hotels until they recover. To further “rub salt in the wound,” Trudeau expects people who are forced to isolate in “hotel prisons” to pay out of their pocket. Yet, foreign workers are not required to quarantine (see Foreign workers). I guess only Canadians spread COVID 19 and foreign workers do not. Canada’s Charter Mobility rights states that Canadian citizens have the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada, but I guess we’ve been gaslighted.

There are many independent news reports of what is being called “medical kidnapping,” and “medical tyranny.” Rebel News’ report; Woman held against her will at Calgary quarantine hotel, states that Nikki Mathis was legally kidnapped by unnamed federal authorities at the Calgary Airport.  She was told by authorities that the negative COVID test she received in Texas didn’t count, and she would have to immediately comply and be moved to a detention facility controlled by Trudeau’s government. The officers refused to tell her family where she was being detained, as she was placed in a white van with a police escort. Here is a video of another very upset mother’s experience of her son’s arrival to Canada.

This is abuse and brutal bullying by our government, it’s shameful. The Calgary woman held against her will was told her negative COVID test didn’t count, implying that PCR tests are unreliable. Even the WHO cautions health workers on the reliability of the PCR test (see WHO). The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, under Protection against cruel and unusual punishment, says the Charter protects everyone from cruel and unusual punishment. Medical kidnapping violates that protection. Canadians are under the false belief that they are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but I guess it’s just another example of Canadians being gaslighted.  There are similar happenings in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and likely other countries.

Diverge Media reports on a national survey reports that 38% of Canadians support government suspension of civil liberties and rights—Charter Rights—during this alleged pandemic. The questions of the survey are alarming, like this one:

Do you support or oppose police and health officials being authorized to separate family members at their discretion by removing people from homes and housing them somewhere else to reduce or eliminate the risk of COVID spread?

Why do I fear the loss of my freedoms? Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We risk never getting them back.

One has to ask: Is what is happening on our planet really about protecting us from a virus, or is it something else? Raheel Raza, a Canadian Iraqi, compares her and her husband’s experience of living in Iraq under dictator Saddam Hussein to what is presently happening in Canada and the US. Here is her video:

I can only speak for myself, but I found Ms. Raza’s video highly disturbing since we were told, Canada is a free country. Remember our National Anthem says: “The True North strong and free!” That is not the case these days, so we’ve been gaslighted. It is time to ask yourself some questions. Does a virus with over a 99% survival rate warrant removal of our civil liberties, and abuse from our elected and health officials? Is it necessary for governments and health professionals to bully us to “keep us safe?” Is it the government or is it us personally who is responsible for our health? Are we a free country or not? Is fear causing people to willingly forfeit their rights and freedoms to feel safe? Are authorities using fear to control people?

If we fear, we can be controlled. These travel restrictions are designed to make us fearful of travelling. Fear cannot have power over us unless we allow it. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt,’ “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself.” It’s a choice. We choose, either consciously or unconsciously, to allow fear to control us. Paulo Coelho of The Devil and Miss Prym, said; “Fear again. If you want to control someone, all you have to do is to make them feel afraid.” 

There is no shortage of fear narratives out there. There is no shortage of fear behaviours by the very people who are supposed to be protecting us. When we allow those fear narratives, or behaviours, to take hold of us, we panic and worry, and that puts us in fear mode. When fearful, we become paralyzed and more easily controlled, willingly giving up our freedoms to gain a false sense of safety. No matter whether you are fearful of the virus, or fearful of government behaviour, it is time to step out of that fear and become free again. Aristotle once said; “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” Now getting back the freedoms that we willing gave up is another story. After all, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said; “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”