Meta Post – Mr. Charlton is Posting a Bunch

If you’re one of the people I know on Facebook, or you follow me on Twitter, or you know me and I’ve pointed you in the direction of this web page, or somehow stumbled onto this site by some sort of weird coincidence, then welcome. This is my webzone, and I’m glad you are reading my garbage. The purpose of this small rented space on the internet is to improve my writing.

I ran another blog for a while, http://illustriousmrcharlton.blogspot.ca/, for a number of years. Posts were sporadic. In the three and a half years writing at blogspot, I totalled twenty eight posts. I have been writing on this website for two weeks now, and I have fourteen posts. By the end of the month, I will be matching the number of posts I did in thirty months. I will then proceed to pat myself on the back.

Writing is easy. You don’t believe me? Painting is also easy, and I’ll prove it.

IMC-Art

Unmitigated Genius.

Painting well, on the other hand, takes practice. And the same goes with writing. I’ve been working at becoming a better writer, because I love to write. It’s something that I’ve always been doing in the background.

The quality of these posts might not always be up to snuff. I’m going to post at weird times. I’m trying to figure out how to link this blog to the big social media outlets, so I don’t have to copy and paste a link every time I set something up. I need a logo, a better site layout, and maybe some business cards, so I can give them to people. Once they have my business card, they’ll have no choice but to put them with the other business cards sitting in the miscellaneous drawer of their kitchen. Or they can use my card to pick their teeth with, if the restaurant they ate at ran out of tooth picks.

The goal is to put up a decent post, everyday, for 365 days. Decent doesn’t mean Pulitzer prize winner. It means that I’ll have put something up that has words on it, that you can read with your face eyes. Hopefully, with time and practice, I’ll get better at putting words onto the internet.

It’s not just practice I’m looking for, I’m looking for a distinct voice. The internet is this blaring cacophony of millions of ideas, opinions, discussions, and trash talk. I don’t want the voice of the Illustrious Mr. Charlton to be someone else’s, with a twist of my own. I want it to be one hundred percent, unequivocally  Mr. Charlton. That’s going to take time too.

I’m returning to my roots though. When I started writing on the old blog, it soon turned into my voice countering a bunch of bullshit people were falling for. If there is one gift I have, it’s that there’s the heart of a brutal, cold, robot that lies in my warm fleshy body, a heart whose heart strings are electrified steel razor wire.

So when there’s an article claiming that Cancer has been cured, you can be sure I’ll knock it down when I find out they’ve only killed the Cancer cells it by setting fire to the petri dish. When you post a link to that promises to list the 2o greatest Batman villains of all time, I’ll be sure to write a post about how Batman is a lame super hero. And when you post a TED talk which claims it will change the world, I’ll swoop in to remind people the TED talks are a bit cultish, and years of research and study are impossible to cram into a twenty minute Youtube video.

The internet makes it easier to spread knowledge, wisdom, ideas, and information. It also makes it easier to spread bullshit, snake oil, misinformation, and stupidity. There is an enormous amount of stupidity out there. It’s a vast field of stupidity, just waiting to be harvested. There are rich veins of raw stupid to be mined and processed. Years ago, I worried about running out of material to write about. I can assure you, there’s so many hucksters, confidence men, and charlatans out there, that there’s no way I’ll ever run out of things to shake my head at.

You may not always agree with what I have to say. Good. Feel free to call out my stupidity. A blog without comments is as boring as saltines. And moving forward, I’m working on the comedy angle. With Trump as the republican nominee, the western half of
Canada burning to the ground, and robots coming to take our jobs, we better start laughing. ‘Cause if we’re not laughing, we’ll be crying.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Just because science journalism is awful, doesn’t mean we should stop kicking Cancer’s ass. But it seems every other week some one who failed high school biology is claiming the cure for Cancer happened yesterday.

The Vancouver Housing Market Blues

“Mr. Charlton, there’s a problem in some of Canada’s major cities. There isn’t  affordable housing in Vancouver. The average price of a home is over a million dollars. Something needs to be done about these outrageous house prices.”

I read you loud and clear, internet. Well, it’s still expensive as heck, but you could always look into some of the surrounding areas, like Surrey or even Abbotsford. It’d be a long commute but…

“Nope. I want to live in Vancouver.”

Okay. Again, I’m laying out what you’re putting down. Now, it’s still pricey, but you could always start with a small apartment. You’d be living right downtown and…

“I want a house. A detached house.”

…. in Vancouver?

“Yeah. Like my parent bought when I was a kid.”

You’re from Vancouver, then?

“Nah, my parents raised me in (name of small logging/farming community in the middle of nowhere)”

And you want to buy a detached home. In the one of the most desirable cities on Earth. At a low price. You do realize that you buying a house in Vancouver is akin to your parents trying to buy a house in London or New York twenty five years ago, right? Your parents moved to the middle of nowhere.

“Hey! (small logging/farming community in the middle of nowhere) is a great place!”

I’m sure it is but…

“They filmed a commercial there once.”

Alright, all that aside, my friend here is right. The prices of homes in Vancouver are astronomical. There a lot of talk of taxing foreign investors to try and cool down the market. And that isn’t going to work. It’ll put more money into the government’s pockets, but it won’t bring prices down.

Most of the foreign investors are from China. China has a lot of people. One sixth of the world’s population. Their two largest cities, Shanghai and Beijing, have so many people that they rival our nation’s population. Two megalopolises have twice the number of citizen than our entire country. China has been doing well in the last couple of decades. The number of middle class in China has exploded, as well as the number of millionaires. When these Chinese foreign investors counter a bid on a house, they don’t go up by a few hundred dollars. They counter with offers of fifty thousand more. Exactly what kind of tax are your proposing that will scare this money away?

Even if levies and taxes were a solution, the branches of all three governments are terrified to stop foreign investments into real estate. That’s the only thing keeping our economy afloat at the moment. We spent years using oil, gas and real estate to prop up our economy. Oil and gas took a massive hit, and manufacturing hasn’t rebounded as quickly as people would like. If we didn’t have foreign investors buying up property the way they have been, construction would grind to a halt and it would jeopardize an already fragile economy.

Vancouver is an amazing place, I know. It’s the center of Canada’s film industry, the location of a number of startups and tech firms. It’s got a massive harbour. It’s beautiful and it rarely snows. Vancouver is a great city if you’re willing to be a starving artist or if you already have a ton of money. It’s not the place to settle down with a starter home and begin to raise a family. If your dream is to own a small house and have children, you should consider moving. The hard truth is you may think you have a great job there, but if where you’re employed can’t pay you a wage where you can afford to buy a place relatively close by, then it’s not that good of a job. And having a lousy job is fine if you’re working towards another goal, like becoming an actor or going to school or starting a business on the side. If your goal is to raise a family, then you have to consider moving to a place that’s more in your price range. A lot of people seem to want to cling on the notion they have to stay in the greater Vancouver area.

The last generation didn’t move to the middle of nowhere because of the scenery, or the selection of nice restaurants. They moved there because there were jobs and there was affordable housing. They lived and worked there for years so they could retire one day in their dream location, whether that was in Victoria, Vancouver, or heck, even Lethbridge.

You might say that if everyone left Vancouver to the foreign investors, it would become a ghost town. And that might be true. The thing that makes a city great is it’s people. But you can’t expect to live in one of the greatest cities on Earth and not expect to pay top dollar for it.

Vancouver is great. I’ll be the first to say it. But Calgary’s is the sunniest city in Canada, Edmonton is beautiful in the summer, Regina has some amazing golf courses, Winnipeg is home to one of the best blues festivals in the world. I’ve heard great things about Ottawa, Montreal is amazing, and the average price of a house in Fredericton is roughly $150,000. That’s not to mention the smaller cities, towns, and municipalities.

I’m not suggesting you move, if you really love it there. But if you want to make the choice between owning a house or living in an apartment in a place like New York, it comes down to a lifestyle choice. Do you want to live in the city, or move out to the country? For a while there, people thought they could have both. My parents couldn’t have both, and I probably can’t either. That’s okay by me. I’ll take the city any day.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Just remember, home is a time, not a place.

p.s.s. Calgary has been unfortunately having a massive amount of downtown space for rent now, with oil and gas taking a nose dive. Wouldn’t be a bad location for tech startups, though. And it’s only an hour drive from the mountains. Just planting seeds, people.

 

Is Pokémon Turning YOUR Child into a Nazi?

Pokémon. You’ve probably heard of it. Maybe you have small children who are invested in this Pokémon fad. Originally created in Japan by Nintendo, the word translates directly into ‘Pocket Monsters’. It was the brainchild of Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, and has become a worldwide phenomenon. The original two games, labeled Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, respectively, have spawned dozens of sequels, television shows, movies, toys, clothing, and everything that you could possibly attach a brand to. There’s a new ‘game’ coming out soon, and let me tell you, I’m angry.

To label this a ‘game’ is beyond irresponsible. It’s a virtual dog fighting pit, baby’s first cock fighting ring, a perverted analogy of the slave trades of past, and gives way to thoughts of Ubermensch . The ‘gameplay’ is straightforward. You play the game as a Pokémon ‘Trainer’. You are given a Pokémon pet at the beginning, labeled a ‘starter’ by hardcore fans. With this new pet, you take it out in the wild and force it to fight with other Pokémon. Battling with either Pokémon you find in the wilderness or the Pokémon of other aggressive ‘trainers’, your Pokémon becomes stronger and more powerful. Is it because they no longer feel pain due to their repeated injuries? Have they succumbed to their position as megabyte Mandingos, having lost their emotions and regard for fellow Pokémon? The Pokémon may gain levels, but in exchange they lose their soul.

Not only are you FORCED to pit Pokémon against Pokémon in a sick cage style fight, to further succeed you’re forced to breed the Pokémon against their will. Place a couple of compatible Pokémon in a daycare, and they’ll have no choice but to lay an egg. The idea of forced breeding is bad enough, but in order to create the ‘perfect’ set of Pokémon, you choose the Pokémon based on their genetic traits. Pokémon families, TORN apart in order to fill the twisted desires of the game creators to build a better set of adorable fighting creatures.

Do you know who ELSE was fascinated with creating the perfect race? Hilter. With the power of the third reich behind him, Hitler and his ilk were obsessed with creating the ideal human being, who was white, blond, and blue eyed. You remember Hitler, right? He was EVIL! Not only did he GAS people, but he also was a vegetarian, and he hated freedom. Maybe the progressive of this country has something to say about this? Maybe you know a vegan or vegetarian? Do they think Hitler was the greatest leader to grace our planet? Food for thought. But I KNOW we won’t be hearing from them, will we?

Is that what we’re teaching children with this Pokémon hate simulator? Are we programming our children to create a hexadecimal holocaust? What is the so called perfect Pokémon? Will it be an electric mouse type, with yellow fur? Will that be the standard for these so-called UberPokémon? Powerful questions, people.

You know what the worst part of this is? Our children, our most precious resource, can trade their Pokemon with their friends online. You know who else is online? PERVERTS. Lots of them. Statistics show that at least half of the interwebs is perverts. Do you want your children hanging out with these pixelated pornographic pedophiles? What sort of monster are you going to allow in your children’s pockets? Once again, the Liberals of this country are letting their depravity soak into the very fabric of our ONCE great nation.

I want to know what you’re up against, folks. I want to get the power BACK into your hands. Your children should be playing wholesome games, like Call of Duty, where you play as a noble soldier protecting the homeland against terrorists. As parents, we should be able to blissfully purchase electronic toys without having to do any research about them whatsoever. These nerds have some sort of rating system, controlled by the Electronic Software Rating Board. Right now, the rating for this so-called game is ‘Pending’. People, let’s change that. Let’s change the rating to ‘This filth should never see the light of day’.

If you feel the same as I do, then I want you to LIKE and SHARE this post. If you want to continue to support hard hitting facts like these, then go to our store and buy a t-shirt. I also want you to sign an online petition, so these gamer goons KNOW we mean business. Then we both can forget about this entirely, as there will be something else that we can be absolutely outraged about tomorrow. I can’t wait.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. If this seems ridiculous, what you’re feeling is exactly my emotions every time someone posts to the Rebel media. Yes, it can be that absurd.

p.s.s. Honestly, Facebook rants are starting to feel less like people’s opinions, and more like a two minute hate.

p.s.s.s. I actually don’t have any children.

Manufactured Outrage

My folks used to watch the news every night without fail. It was the news out of Vancouver, hosted by Tony Parsons and Gloria Macarenko. My parents watching the news was such a huge part of my life that I didn’t have to even look up those names, they’ve been burned into a large chunk of my synapses. I hated the news as a kid because, well, it was boring.

The news wasn’t electrifying, exciting or enticing growing up. It was the facts, what was going on in the city, the province, the nation, and the world. There was no opinion, no scary or moving music, no shouting. The job of the news was to inform, not to entertain.

There was also shows with a more editorial perspective, like W5. It was informative, but it was also slanted. It had music to give a certain mood, and presented not only the facts, but the emotions that you should be feeling along with the information. With stories like “Are you getting ripped off at the mechanics” and “How much salt is really in your food”, they were shooting for specific emotions. Anger, disgust, outrage.

There wasn’t any voices raised during the news. But during the editorials there certainly were. Mostly my father calling out the bullshit. If there’s one thing I remember vividly about my father, it’s that he didn’t like being told how to feel about something. Both my parents usually would scoff at the editorial style investigative journalism.

Fast forward to today. Nobody I know watches the news anymore. Everybody seems to get their news online. This allows people to gather news from a much wider variety of news sources than my parents ever had. We are overwhelmed with an overload of news information. The issue is, is that no one is capable of reading all the news that would come across a daily feed, whether you get that news from CBC, Al-Jazeera, Facebook, Fox, CNBC, CNN; it doesn’t matter the source, there’s too much of it. There’s also more channels available, and I’m not just talking television stations. There’s Vice for more alternative news, BBC for news from Britain, Huffington Post, for more pop culturish news. There’s a news outlet for everyone.

In the world of news tailored to your tastes, there’s a larger portion of people who have the news built to fit their lifestyles, their tastes, and their opinions. I’m certainly no different. I find myself browsing Reddit, CBC, Al-Jazeera, Vice, and NPR. I avoid places that don’t suit my lifestyle or my tastes. I also tend not to peruse news that it clickbait in style and manufactures outrage. Articles from sites like the Daily Mail and The Rebel Media turn me off.

The daily mail is basically a tabloid, but I find the Rebel to be a little more insidious, as it used language to incite people to get riled up. It also distorts facts, states opinions rather than facts, and basically makes a mockery of journalism. Here’s the front page of the Rebel. I took a snapshot.

Rebel-News

Look under the ‘Need to Know’ articles. The first one is titled “For progressives, ‘zero tolerance’ only applies to straight-A students, not murderers, pedophiles”. When you click on the article, you find out a 16 year old was suspended from school for having a 4 inch pocket knife. Honestly, I can agree it was an extreme method of punishing a student. The article then goes on to explain that the supreme court considers mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders unconstitutional.

Whoa whoa whoa. How on earth did we go from a student getting expelled from his school by his school board, to the supreme courts decision to to repeal mandatory minimum sentences? Was the student forced to face trial against the supreme court of Canada? Wasn’t the decision to suspend the student coming from the school? How does the two articles tie into each other? The headline itself is meant to cause outrage. Murderers? Pedophiles? I DON’T agree with THOSE things! Is this HONOR student made to walk in shame and have a trip to PARIS cancelled? While MURDERERS and PEDOPHILES continue to prey on HARD WORKING Canadians?

The two item have absolutely nothing in common. On one hand, you have some over zealous educators go overboard when disciplining a student. On the other hand, you have a policy regarding drug laws that has been proven to have failed during the course of the trillion dollar drug war. They aren’t in the same ball park. They’re not even in the same league. They’re not even playing the same goddamn sport. Everything about that article is cringe worthy. It’s not an article, it’s the drunken ramblings of that guy who’s had too much to drink at the bar, who then proceeds to tell you that jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

The problem with having our news filtered is that we become blind to the other sources around it. Especially those sources that offer opinions differing from our own views. And that’s dangerous. As much as it pains me, I’m going to be reading the Rebel a lot more often from now on. For a cynic who writes about people spouting bullshit, that place is a goddamn goldmine.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Notice how THEY use a bunch of all-caps in HALF of their headlines? I don’t know about YOU, but I’m certainly not MANIPULATED.

 

The Next Great Geomagnetic Reversal

Earth is a funny place. You think you understand it at first, then it throws you a curveball and everything gets all topsy turvy. In this case, the meaning is literal. The Earth is due for a geomagnetic reversal, a phenomenon where the magnetic poles shift and change position. The North pole becomes the South pole and vice versa. This happens naturally every 100,000 to a million years, and the last known event was 780, 000 years ago.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes this phenomenon, and if it does happen soon it will be the first time we’ll be able to monitor it with scientific equipment. From the best of my understanding, the solid iron core of planet Earth shifts, causing the poles to change. This change can be as quick as a hundred years, and can take as long as a thousand.

When you have such a massive change to something as important as the locations of the poles, there’s bound to be some sort of alarm. You’re certain to find notions of apocalypse and cataclysm bubbling from the internet. The source of this panic shocked me a bit. The crazy isn’t coming from where you think it would.

First off, there isn’t anything to be worried about from the standpoint of the planet. There have been no mass extinctions that coincide with the geomagnetic reversals of the past. There have been no more earthquakes that what the planet normally goes through. Many animals and insects use the planet’s magnetism to migrate. I’m certain that they will quickly adapt to deal with any changes.

Even our own ecosystem will be largely unaffected. Most navigation now relies on satellites, as opposed to the compasses of yesteryear. There’s speculation it may have consequences on the power grid, but it’s only still speculation. Some people have become concerned that the shift would cause more solar radiation to come through our atmosphere, driving the skin cancer rates through the roof. Even though the magnetic field can fluctuate, there has never been any scientific evidence that points to it disappearing completely.

To be frank, this is an area outside of my limited expertise. What I do know is that most of the scare from geomagnetic reversal was from the 2012 doomsday prophecy, when the Mayan calendar ended. Many people thought some apocalyptic or cataclysmic event would occur in the year 2012. Nothing of the sort ever did happen, unless of course you voted against Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

I knew a number of people that took the 2012 prophecy seriously. When I pry them about it now, they have a hard time remembering it was even a concern. The strange thing is, when I started doing research, to see if there was any concern regarding the polar switch., there was. There were still articles being written, less than a year old, like this one.

These kind of publications seem to be the source of any kind of calamity claxon that has been sounding regarding the polar switch-a -roo. The shift in geomagnetic poles isn’t a particularly devastating  event that could occur. It will be incredibly interesting in regards to science, as we will be able to study the phenomena for the first time. Gossip wise, though, without the doom and gloom future laid out for us by poorly put together ideas, there isn’t anything most people would be interested, except that we might all have to buy new compasses.

What fascinated me most of all wasn’t the switch of the poles, but rather how desperately some publications were trying to push the story. My questions from this foray into geomagnetic pole reversal has nothing to do with the topic. Rather, the question is, what happened to investigative journalism? What happened to facts? News has changed so dramatically, not only with the now constant twenty-four hour news cycle, but also how the news has changed from the reporting of incidents to the entertainment of the populous.

Unless you’re either a geologist, or a scientist with an interest in the magnetic poles, there isn’t anything in the story to make you feel an emotion. Throw in the possibility of us all dying in a cancerous inferno, well, now you’ve made people feel something. You’re making them feel fear, dread, and despair. At least you’re making them feel something though. And that sells papers.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m telling this story so I can tell you another one.

p.s.s. I get terribly sad when someone send me an article and the headline starts with ‘Top Twelve Reasons…’

p.s.s.s. The kind of sad where I just drink a bottle of wine and stare at a blank wall for an hour or so. That sort of sad.

Vaccination Education – Mandatory Learning

The Health Minister of Ontario, Eric Hoskins, is trying to put through a bill regarding parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. If the parents of a child refuse to to have their child vaccinated, for religious or personal reasons, then they would be forced to take a course on vaccinations and herd immunity. Although the bill would allow people the choice of vaccinating their children, it would at least try and educate them on why their insistence to go against proven science is a mistake.

What is a vaccine, exactly? A measles vaccination shot is a small amount of the measles virus that is innocuous. The body uses these innocuous virus cells like target practice, so if they encounter the actual virus out in the wild, they are primed for it and are much more able to stave the virus off. There are other methods of vaccination, but this is the most common. Vaccinating people against viruses is the reason Polio, Small Pox and other deadly diseases don’t represent a problem for the population any longer.

Except some of them are making a comeback. A child died from measles in Berlin in 2015. There have been outbreaks of the Whooping cough in Michigan and Alberta. Diseases once thought eradicated are popping up in the Western world, and it’s due to parent refusing to have their children vaccinated. Why are some of these parents so inclined not to vaccinate their children?

There was a study published back in 1998, headed by a Dr. Andrew Wakefield, that linked vaccinations to autism. His study has since been retracted and he’s been stripped of his license to practice medicine. Unfortunately, the paper was latched onto by a number of celebrities, most notably Jenny McCarthy, who’s son has autism. For years, she was the guest on a number of talk shows and she was determined to get parents of young children to stop vaccinating their kids. And it worked. Since then, there have been a large number of people who are incredibly wary of vaccinations.

Now, before the finger pointing begins and we condemn Jenny to oblivion for going against medical science, she unfortunately has the right to be wary of vaccines. Not because they don’t work, mind you, but rather because of the source of the vaccines, which is the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Unlike most other developed countries, and even with ObamaCare, the US is still a nation where health care is a personal expense. Doctors are told to regard their patients as clients. If you watch American television, you’ll be surprised to see how many of the commercials are pushing pharmaceutical medication, with the tagline “Ask your doctor about…”

There’s also the cult of celebrity culture. There is a lot of people who are taking the word of famous celebrities over trained professionals. We ask rock stars their opinions about politics, as if they were political scientists. We ask movie stars what they think of international affairs. And models are now the experts brought onto talk shows to talk about immunization.

The third piece of the puzzle is the growing movement to live healthier lifestyles. This is great, but what started off as a return to making your own dinner and drinking more water became ground zero for the war against the imaginary foe ‘Toxins’. This movement is against any kind of chemicals that happen to be in your food and water, not realizing that your food and water are made up of chemicals. Now there’s a variety of solutions on the market, all claiming to pull the nasty toxins from your body, but never specifying what those toxins happen to be. Even though it’s straight pseudo-science with little or no proof to back it up, it comes from a source other than the profiteering medical industry of the United States, and because of that some people are choosing to trust it.

We now have three elements preventing health science from succeeding; A for-profit  industry that makes people uneasy, a simple solution that can be administered at home, and good looking, charismatic people to sell the solution to you. If you ever wondered how you could sell the anti-vaccination idea to people, there’s the answer. In the age of Do-It-Yourself, everyone with an internet connection can become an expert.

The bill to get parents to courses talking about the benefits of vaccination is a great idea, and I hope the bill passes. No parent should be forced to have anything pushed upon their children, whether I agree with it or not. But they should be forced to educate themselves properly. Not from someone who makes their living looking good, but rather with the proper background. A background in education and in science.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Yes, there is some silver in many of the vaccines. It’s totally safe, as long as your child isn’t a werewolf.

 

Shillery Clinton for President

There’s a certain consistency to who I am and what I do, and I think people have finally said, ‘Well, you know, I kinda get her now.’ I’ve actually had people say that to me.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born in 1947, growing up in the Chicago area. She graduated from the prestigious Yale Law School, earning a Juris Doctor. Hillary has worked in politics in most of her life, and previously was known as the first Lady of Arkansas, then the first Lady of the United States, where her husband was the Governor, then the president. She was the Secretary of State and is now running for the position of leader of the Democratic party, in which she’ll be up against Donald Trump.

The Secretary of State is not a small position. Next to the President, it’s considered to be the most powerful person in the United States. Hillary has held that position from 2009 to 2013. A lot happened in those years. The Arab springs, the releases of the information from WikiLeaks, the Libyan Civil war and the toppling of Gaddafi were some of the major events that she presided over in her tenure. Although some label her as a warhawk, overall she didn’t do a terrible job. Except when it came to email security.

Hillary used her personal email server to send classified and sensitive information. The FBI are currently investigating whether or not charge should be laid. Hillary states this was done to make things easier for her, in that she would only have to carry one phone.

Her position as Secretary of State aside, let’s focus on the Juggernaut that is the Hillary Clinton campaign. Where the Donald Trump’s campaign is mainly self-supported, and the Bernie Sanders’ campaign is a grassroots movement, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is a well oiled, well funded machine. Her ties to Wall Street are apparent, as she has given numerous speeches to firms like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc. The same companies who were accused of rigging the housing market crash.

Make no mistake, Hillary is firmly entrenched in the oligarchy that continues to drive a wedge between the haves and the have-nots. Never has the population had such of view of exactly where the puppet strings go. Hillary said she would release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches when the other candidates did. Right now, the only two people left in the race besides Hillary is Trump and Sanders. Trump is considered a joke among many in the financial sectors, and Sanders is the candidate currently combatting big money in politics. Neither Trump nor Sanders were paid to give a talk to the banking elite.

The American people are tired of liars and people who pretend to be something they’re not.

Hillary Clinton

There’s good reason people are nervous that she’s leading the pack in the democratic nomination against Bernie Sanders. The polls are saying that Sanders has a better shot of defeating Trump, at least at the time of this writing. Superdelegates were created to combat a nominee would would win the primaries, but lose to the republican nominee. Now, it seems, they are being used against that ideal, to prop up a career politician with ties to both the banking institutions and big media.

The issue with Hillary’s campaign is that it lacks authenticity. The longer she campaigns and the more we find out, we see another candidate, like Trump, who wants to be president for the sake of being president. The second age to the Clinton White House dynasty. She says she represents the people, but makes backroom deals with institutions that bet against the average American citizen. How can she claim to combat big money in politics when she’s made a living taking it?

Bernie Sanders has trailed behind Clinton for most of the campaign, but has been sweeping up in the last few states. He’s also appealing to some of the superdelegates, in an attempt to change their tune. Hillary’s presidential campaign, even if she’s successful against Sanders, could be mired in the email scandal. Is it possible for a presidential candidate to be effective when they’re also involved in a legal dispute of this magnitude? Where classified information has possibly been compromised?

We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.

Hillary Clinton

I would love to see a woman in the White House. What I would love to see more would be a dramatic shift in the culture of money in politics in America. And unfortunately, I don’t think that Hillary Clinton is the person who is going to bring about that change.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. A plane crashes with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Who survives?

p.s.s. America

Personalized Propaganda

In an era of twenty-four hour news cycles, instant updates, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, information has never been easier to access and create. Digital cameras in all of our pockets that connect to us to both cellular networks and the internet allow everyone to participate and contribute to the sphere of political discourse. The biggest issue that arises from this ability to share is that misinformation can easily be shared and paraded as truth.

Photographs and memes have been used to sway people for generations. Typically it falls under the label of propaganda. You saw this a lot back in World War Two. Posters like this one were everywhere.

Canadian-Propoganda

What a hungry little beaver.

Image taken from WarMuseum.ca

Back then, someone was typically commissioned to create a poster like this. There was a lot of  bigotry and racism that was displayed in some of the posters. Canada was at war, we had an enemy, and many people were willing to do whatever it took to win the war, even if that meant embellishing the truth to get your point across.

We’re not at war anymore, but if you have access to social media, then you often see pictures like this one.

Rachel-Notley-meme

Going for the ‘Game of Thrones’ reference.

Or maybe this image.

Harper-Meme

For some reason, ‘temporary’ has an asterisk behind it.

Or, of course, this clever piece.

Trudeau-Meme

Right for the throat, eh?

These images weren’t commissioned by an artist, weren’t decided by a committee, there wasn’t a war room meeting with generals planning something that would stir the populace to buy war bonds. These were made by people who don’t have any ties to the political parties they’re trying to represent. None of these images were paid for by the Conservative or Liberal or New Democratic parties. Somebody, sitting at a computer, took maybe five minutes to think up a slogan and throw it over a picture. People are now generating their own propaganda.

The problem with propaganda is that, in order to be effective, it needs to be consumed quickly. It can’t be lengthy or use large words. It usually has to take a complicated problem and dumb it down into a digestible sound bite. It’s effective at getting a point across, but it cheapens the idea. You lose fidelity in order to target a larger audience. The internet, with the inherent ability to get messages out at the speed of light, has now become a bastion of poorly thought-out ideas plastered over pictures. The well thought out, researched, opinion is getting drowned out by memes and witty slogans. The rational voice is diluted by chanting and name calling.

This isn’t a left or right of the political spectrum issue. It’s happening to both sides. They applaud victories if they’re winning, and throw trash if they aren’t.

You would think that facts would get in the way of ignorance, but that hasn’t been the case. There was recently a study done at Dartmouth, which found out that when presented with facts that contradicted their own, people were less likely to change their mind. One of the major issues is the source of the facts. If a Conservative voter presents facts to a Liberal voter, the Liberal is less likely to accept those facts, as they came from a Conservative source. This is the classic Ad Hominem, in which the person presenting the argument is attacked, rather than the argument itself.

What’s the solution? People need to switch gears and reframe what an argument is. Arguments aren’t a football match, and we need to stop treating them as if there is winners and losers. An argument should be viewed as a discovery on both sides to find a solution.

In the meantime, there is a solution to meme propaganda. I’m absolutely sick to death of clever sayings put on top of pictures. Not just political propaganda, even the silly ones. I’m tired of minion quotes telling me someone is trying their best, sick of girls in yoga poses with inspiration garbage taken from Deepak Chopra, worn out by historical figures being misquoted. Social media has turned into your uncle who used to forward every email he thought was hilarious. Facebook’s ‘share’ button has littered my feed with ‘Top Ten Reasons I Prefer Dogs’ pictures and ‘Canada is a Great Country – Share if you Agree’ images. I’m going to try out an extension called F.B. Purity. It supposedly removes this sort of malarkey from your feed. I’m going to install it tomorrow morning and let you know how it goes. Until then,

Sick-Of-Meme

Wise words, Xzibit. Wise Words

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’ll probably still use memes in the blog every once in awhile. To get my point across.

p.s.s. Well, maybe not.

The PM Refuses Help From Russia, With Love

The town of Fort McMurray has been saved from worst of the forest fire. Even with the hauntingly powerful images we’ve seen recently, 85 percent of the town still stands. It won’t make the heartache of those who lost their homes any less painful, but we at least have a solid base to rebuild upon. The forest fire itself continues to spread, and the only thing that will quench the fire’s thirst seems to be a gift from mother nature herself.

Some of the more vocal proponents on the internet would have you believe Premier Racheal Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set the Fort McMurray fires themselves. The amount of outcry denouncing the Prime Minister, in particular the rejection of help from foreign nations recently, has been incredibly forceful, so much so I feel the need to clear up some misconceptions, some contradictions and some all around bullshit that needs to be addressed.

  1. Prime minister Trudeau didn’t reject the call for the foreign aid, it was the Canadian Inter agency Forest Fire Centre that did. The prime minister was simply the mouth piece that delivered the message. Pointing the finger at Trudeau is simply shooting the messenger.
  2. More boots on the ground and more water bombers in the air isn’t always the best solution. People have been clamoring ‘The More the Merrier’, but to logistically plan and coordinate a number of people, especially a number of those who do not speak English would not only be difficult, it would actually make the job more difficult. There’s only so much airspace to leverage as well. The last thing we need is a midair collision over a raging forest to make things worse. Right now our people are able to handle to job, and this has been determined by the people fighting the fires themselves.
  3. Russia. I’m going to start off by stating I love Russian culture. I love the people, the language, their works of art. That aside, their government is one of the most brutal, totalitarian regimes on the planet. So when people, who applauded our last Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, for famously telling Putin ‘Get out of Crimera’, are the very same people criticizing our current Prime Minister that he should be allowing Putin to lend us a hand putting out fires, it makes me question whether they are confusing politics for a hockey game.

I’m going to expand on that last point. If your party’s loyalty is more important than your ideals, then you fall into the very definition of the word ‘idiot’. Stephen Harper was absolutely right to tell Putin to leave Crimera. But to stand with Harper on that topic, then turn around and chastise Trudeau for turning down Russia’s help is beyond hypocritical.

You want Russia to give us a hand? The Russia that invaded a country recently? The country that, when the punk rock band ‘Pussy Riot’ spoke out against the government, they were thrown in prison? The country that has a head of state that refuses to leave, that assassinates and jails those who try to run against him? The Russia who’s head of state does these things because he’s ex-KGB? That Russia?

You want them to spend some time in Canada? The Canada that was the no-man’s land between the two greatest nuclear super-powers of the 20th century? That stood in between the eagle and the bear during the thirty or so years of the cold war? A war that some consider not quite over?

There is a ton of space up north, it’s one of the last great un-populated wildernesses on the planet, teeming with resources. Our sovereignty over that area is constantly being contested, and it’s mostly being contested with Russia. Their government is not an ally. We aren’t exactly friends. If we have Russia set up shop here to give us a hand, how easily are they going to leave once the job is done? They might think we’re not able to handle all this untapped wilderness on our own.

I don’t particularly think that Trudeau handled the Fort McMurray wildfires appropriately. We’ll touch on that subject tomorrow. He was right to refuse help though. The rejection of help came from the firefighters, not Trudeau. If you want to get pissy about the number of boots on the grounds, talk to the boots already on the ground.

I’m not a fan of politicians of any stripes. But the idiocy needs to stop. The people who are consistently posting nonsense from both sides are technically adults. If you want to argue constructively and with intelligence, you need to form a set of ideals, not some misplaced trust in a particular party. Once you do that, then you’ll miraculously find every politician will make you angry.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Humanity needs to stop communicating with Memes.

p.s.s. The word ‘idiot’ means someone who is ignorant of the political process, and refuses to vote (more or less, the word has been around for a while).

 

 

The SpaceX Race: Part Two

Five hundred dollars. That’s the price point Elon Musk has decided on to get a pound of material into space. To get the average human being into space, you’d be looking at somewhere in between $60,000 to $100,000 dollars. Although that might seem pricey, if the ticket was a one way to another celestial body, we’re looking at a future where passage to the moon or the planet mars is affordable for you or me. Space is the final frontier, and unlike the New World explorers of the 15th and 16th century, there’s no boundary to space and there probably isn’t anyone already living on most of those planets.

There’s one issue. Right now there is a gate to space. The gravitational field surrounding the Earth not only requires an extraordinary amount of energy to leave, but any debris left in this orbit makes every subsequent journey much more difficult. The orbit around Earth doesn’t need to just be tidy, it needs to be relatively spotless. Bits of dust become bullets, and nuts and bolts become missiles.

Although there’s already people working on a solution, most of the ideas are still theoretical. There’s lasers, laser brooms, small robots getting sent out as futuristic little garbage men. One of the most promising ideas being put into motion is a joint venture from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Nitto Seimo Co., a company that, believe it or knot, makes some of the world’s fishing nets. What they plan on doing is sending up a rocket with the net. Once in orbit, the rocket deploys this net, a wire trap that is roughly seven kilometers long. It will orbit the Earth, picking up rubbish along the way. As it picks up space waste, it will become magnetically charged, which will draw it back to Earth, burning the net and the refuse in the process.

The question remains. Do we want corporations to head the exploration of this uncharted territory? Do we want economic prosperity to drive the adventurers of the 21st century? Honesty, the drive to explore new places and travel uncharted waters was always for economic reasons. When the Old world sent ships to the Americas, it was to discover a new trading route to India. These souls who risked life and limb weren’t in it purely for the thrill of adventure and excitement, their reasons were grounded in the pursuit of financial gain. After the United States landed on the moon, people got bored with space exploration. There didn’t seem to be anything useful up there. The last lunar rover to land on the moon was the Chinese Yutu, and they’re looking to mine the lunar body for Helium-3, an energy source.

Even though Elon Musk’s plans for space exploration aren’t as altruistic as some people would have you think, there is something admirable about a man, outside of the regulatory bodies of international governments, who wants to go to Mars. He’s even expressed the desire to die on Mars. At the price point that he’s trying to achieve, there may come a time when many people end up leaving Earth for redder pastures.

I’m not against corporations putting the first foot forward. I remain caution, as the Earth’s orbit remains the only boundary between humanity as a star-faring people, and the humanity which would be doomed to face our extinction on the rock where we were born. If we don’t venture out to the stars, and venture soon, then we may unfortunately never grow outwards and realize a greater potential as a species. If a company makes a mistake, then we could be grounded on Earth.

Space exploration should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. We all should be extremely excited to see people, from whatever nation or company they happen to be from, make the leap for mankind. For some reason, we’re not. I’d love to see people cheer on a mission to Mars, but I fear it could end up like the lunar missions. I’m hoping that one day, we not only land on our neighbor, the red planet of Mars. What I’m really hoping for though, is we find a reason to go back.

To wrap it up, I have a question for everyone. If you were presented with the opportunity to leave the planet, to leave your family and friends, knowing full well you may never return, for the chance to live on another world? Honestly, I’m not sure I actually could. But I’m hoping some of you would answer with a resounding ‘Yes’.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Well, I’d be a lot more inclined to go up there if they’ve got a solid Wifi connection.

p.s.s. Did you notice the ‘knot’ pun when I was talking about fishing nets? Funny thing, Nitto Seimo was the pioneer when it came to ‘knotless’ nets. Go figure.