A guide to Faith Goldy and reporting on bad actors

For Canadaland on September 26, 2018

On January 25, 2018, Roosh V — real name Daryush Valizadeh, a rank misogynist and denizen of the so-called “manosphere” — hosted a live-streamed discussion of “tradthots” in the far right. A “tradthot” is a female internet personality who preaches “traditional” values and gender roles while advocating a #tradright lifestyle, but who fails to adhere to those standards herself, as the underlying motivation isn’t ideology, but rather, the allure of financial and reputational gain.

Gonzo journalist and conspiracy monger Laura Loomer, white nationalist podcaster Nicholas J. Fuentes, and far-right extremist Peter “Sweden” Imanuelsen were among the panel’s “special guests.” So, too, was Faith Goldy — the conservative commentator turned fringe-right propagandist turned neo-Nazi fellow traveller turned (for the moment) marginal candidate in Toronto’s mayoral election.

Pressed by Roosh on precisely where women in the far right belong, if she doesn’t think they should be in a “leadership-type role” (such as running for political office), Goldy suggested that rather than waste time on women — who, by #tradlife standards, should be at home dedicating themselves to the “4 Cs” of cooking, cleaning, children, and church — this was a time to “focus on male DNA… this is a time for strong men.”

“I, for one, have never fancied myself to be a thought leader,” Goldy stressed. “I’ve only seen myself as a propaganda arm, and I would hope that a lot of the [alt-right] women see themselves as such.” Describing herself as “one of the few tradthots who does not expose cleavage,” Goldy assured the panel she “closed down my Patreon account to send a message — I’m not here for beta bucks.”

Yet four months later, Goldy was crying persecution after Patreon notified her of her account’s termination due to violating its guidelines on hate speech.

Patreon cited Goldy’s “sincere” recitation of the Fourteen Words — the creed coined by David Lane, founding member of The Order, a far-right terrorist organization whose members murdered Jewish radio host Alan Berg after he insulted Lane on-air — during her hour-long chat with Scottish white supremacist Colin Robertson, known in the alt-right as “Millennial Woes.”

While speaking with Woes, Goldy gave full credit to Jared Taylor, Peter Brimelow, and Kevin Macdonald — all white supremacists and virulent anti-Semites — for providing the “robust intellectual backing” which drew her to the alt-right. “The VDare team had a lot to do with this,” she noted, before bragging of having “published a piece when I was back at The Rebel, called ‘White Genocide In Canada,’” which warned of a declining white demographic, and of “diversity” being “code for population replacement.”

“No one is going to save the white man except for himself,” Goldy went on, growing increasingly agitated, “and yet we’re like, ‘Keep on bringing the immigrants in’… if we don’t do anything about it, it’s only going to get worse. And I’ll be honest — as time goes on, in order to reverse this, the solutions are going to become more and more drastic, and I don’t want that.”

That coming solution? A race war.

And after favourably quoting Richard Spencer — at the time, still a highly influential neo-Nazi known for advocating a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” of nonwhites in America, and whose dream of establishing a white ethno-state she enthusiastically shares — Goldy recited Lane’s cri de coeur: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”


Faith Goldy’s impulsive leap into Toronto’s municipal election is, to quote one former ideological ally who carefully tracked her descent into the darkest corners of the far right, “an exercise in profound selfishness.”

“Goldy knows the result that her actions and associations have — she jokes about it all the time,” wrote Jonathon Van Maren, a social conservative speaker and activist, in an imperfect but well-argued piecelaying out the conservative case against Goldy’s candidacy. “By courting conservatives who have everything to lose by associating with her, she is proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that this mayoral run is a vanity exercise that is about her, and nobody else.”

Despite the polished image she’s been trying to present of herself and her campaign — “We have the best volunteers don’t we folks!?” Goldy recently Tweeted along with a photo in which uniformed police officers happily posed — leaked Discord chat logs offer a hint of what one volunteer called a “pretty barebones operation that seemed to work entirely out of her car.”

“So these Sikhs are apparently pretty damn conservative, some of them told us outright that they were Rob and Doug Ford fans, which is why we were sent to this neighbourhood,” the volunteer wrote, admitting it was “pretty unnerving walking through a suburb that was all Indians. This wasn’t some public housing ghetto or anything, it was a typical looking North American suburb, but full of brown kids riding their bikes through the streets.”

“Diversity doesn’t seem bad if its a few blacks in some projects, or Asians in Chinatown,” the person continued, “but when you see them occupy an entire section of an otherwise normal looking city, it’s a different story… every white person should be made to walk through here.”

The campaign member then suggested fellow “goys” employ this sort of “eye-opening experience” to “help red-pill the masses” in everyday life. “Hopefully I get to [door-knock] in a white area next time though.”

As newsrooms weigh the merits of dedicating already scant resources to covering this marginal figure — one of 35 in the race for mayor — it’s worth noting the absence of pressure to do so with other insignificant candidates. That Goldy and her followers feel she is entitled to be considered equal to frontrunners John Tory and Jennifer Keesmaat doesn’t mean their delusions of grandeur need be indulged, and demands to treat this arguably bad-faith candidate as comparable to even second-tier personalities should be met with skepticism.

After all, it was Goldy herself who positioned the media as “the enemy,” and as with other demagogues who routinely demean the free press, impartial and unbiased reporting will always fail to satisfy her demands. Moreover, efforts to over-compensate for a feared perception of bias can result in uncritical amplification of harmful misinformation which, in the end, does more damage to the reputation of journalism than would the media holding a consistent standard and refusing to be bullied into engaging on the terms of those acting in bad faith.

Esteemed media veteran Ken Whyte, however, suggested the lack of attention paid to Goldy thus far was “antithetical to good journalism” and pointed to a lengthy Q&A by Graeme Gordon — a freelance journalist and frequent CANADALAND contributor — as “the most interesting and comprehensive thing I’ve seen on Toronto’s mayoralty campaign.” But when pressed by National Post columnist Chris Selley about what “story” was being missed, Whyte didn’t seem to have a meaningful answer.

And though Whyte characterizes Goldy as a “populist” candidate, Goldy rejected that very frame just weeks before she announced her intention to run for mayor on July 27.

“The zeitgeist that is sweeping us is not populism, it is [white] nationalism,” she told Infowars personality and host of The War Room, Jake Lloyd, in mid-June.

“We were never asked if we wanted to turn our proud, rich nations into essentially the boarding houses and battered women’s shelters for the third world,” she fumed. “And then we have the problem of fellow white people who are telling us that… all of this is antiquated and ‘white supremacy.’ People are starting to wake up … I think this is an exciting time to be a [white] nationalist and a right-winger.”

Whyte is correct, though, that there is a story to be found in Gordon’s piece — a cautionary tale for journalists on dealing with individuals who are, as described by New York Magazine senior editor Max Read, “so deeply disingenuous, and so completely uninterested in giving you any answer beyond the one that services their needs at that exact moment, that you are quite possibly doing your reader a disservice just by reporting on them.” [pdf]

Gordon wasn’t wrong to interview Goldy. His intent — to fill what he believed was a gap in campaign coverage — was sincere. His approach, however, was deeply flawed; it allowed her to control the discussion, offer evasive responses, and lie straight to his face with impunity.

Goldy’s shameless exploitation of Gordon’s offer is standard practise for extremists and agitators. And note that it was his reputation that suffered a (momentary) blow, not hers, despite his subsequent introspection versus her unbridled mendacity.

Just as NPR handed marginal white-supremacist Jason Kessler a victory of sorts by allowing him to argue his abhorrently racist beliefs unchallenged on air — thus presenting white supremacy as mere political opinion, of equal merit to the social justice and civil rights causes to which it is opposed — Gordon’s choice to publish a verbatim Q&A offered Goldy a propaganda coup.

In May, Whitney Phillips, author of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Internet Culture, published a comprehensive study into extremist manipulation of the media. One key observation was that when you allow such individuals to tell a story on their own terms, you grant them wide permission to edit the script.

She recommends that to maintain proper control over discussions, one must “avoid deferring to manipulators’ chosen language, explanations, or justifications.” To do this effectively, you must know your subject well. When dealing with Goldy, ask specific, detailed questions, and be prepared to both recognize and challenge dishonest responses; be equipped with the facts and knowledge required to firmly counter and correct misinformation in real time. Goldy has, time and again, proven herself a dishonest broker — her word is simply not one you can trust.

As evidenced in her exchange with Gordon, when asked an inconvenient question — “Do you still believe there is a white genocide taking place?” — Goldy will redirect, opting for a tangent to where she’s memorized her lines: “Do you want to know something interesting? I have never used the term ‘white genocide’ to discuss any sort of trend or single event anywhere… this is a propagated myth that has been manufactured in some paper and now it has caught on. I’ve never used the term anywhere to prove any point.”

Goldy’s deliberate non-answer to the simple yes/no question of whether she believes there is a “white genocide” taking place — she does — is couched in demonstrable lies, confidently told, regarding her own embrace of that alt-right conspiracy theory, one notably common among neo-Nazis.

It should also be noted that on June 8, 2017, one week after publishing that dire warning at The Rebel, Goldy triumphantly bragged of “Toronto’s biggest morning show defend[ing] my white genocide piece & shut[ting] down those who try to silence me as ‘racist.’”

To justify his call for greater attention toward Goldy’s campaign, Gordon quoted an unnamed “top media figure who used to manage a newsroom” as advising that “she is more than a minor far-right media figure … her utility to the coverage of the campaign is she’s a perfect foil for Tory. He is so damn cautious and bland. She is pointed and extreme.”

What this respected and accomplished media figure doesn’t appreciate is that that approach is precisely how, over a two-year period, extremists were able to hijack news cycles and dominate the conversation to serve the interests of their respective hate groups — as well as then-candidate and now-President Donald Trump. It’s no coincidence that Trump’s administration is tied to — and in some areas, staffed by — anti-Muslim extremists, anti-immigration xenophobes, overt white nationalists, and fringe conspiracy theorists.

As Phillips’s report on The Oxygen of Amplification made clear, bad actors “don’t have the numbers to steer the cultural conversation on their own.” They rely on the credibility and reach of traditional media for a key assist, as mainstream media’s “amplification makes particular stories, communities, and bad actors bigger — more visible, more influential — than they would have been otherwise.”

Meanwhile, the suggestion that Goldy is “more than a minor” far-right figure is simply not accurate. Both ardent supporters and fierce critics grant her far more significance than she maintains, inflating her profile in ways she alone never could. Visible as she may be, she is neither prominent nor influential among the post-Charlottesville alt-right. She is in many ways a perpetual status-seeker, a far-right performance artist akin to Milo Yiannopoulos, but without his knack for the shtick. An admitted propagandist and nothing more, her role is to nudge the mainstream right ever further to the fringe in hopes of resetting where the political centre lies.

She’s an agent provocateur who seeks chaos and courts outrage, and despite her lack of meaningful standing, her antics have resulted in real-world consequences. She whips up hysteria about immigrants, spreads lies about religious, racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities, and does so with gleeful enthusiasm, always at the expense of others.

She will remain useful to the alt-right so long as she’s able to reliably draw oversized backlash, as this, in turn, nets desired amplification and mainstream media attention.

That’s not to suggest she should always be ignored. But when reporting on propagandists and other bad-faith actors — who will claim to have been misrepresented no matter how neutrally a story is presented — objectivity is crucial. And to objectively report on Goldy, one needs to know how to properly define where and for what she stands.

Is she truly a “Nazi,” as many critics allege?

After Charlottesville, J.M. Berger — a leading researcher, writer, and analyst on extremism — addressed the push to abandon what angry observers felt were euphemisms used to describe the presumed clear-cut “Nazis” of the alt-right.

“The alt-right encompasses a variety of right-wing and white supremacist movements,” Berger explained, “from conspiracists to the KKK … Nazis are only part of this movement, or more correctly neo-Nazis, since most of them aren’t German nationalists. Rejecting [other descriptors] might make you feel better,” he continued, “but it unproductively obscures the primary element that makes [the alt-right] work as a movement — its ability to unite disparate radical groups with differing beliefs and tactics into a single amorphous community that is capable of coordinated action.”

Berger is correct that, in carefully categorizing how people and ideologies fit in the broader scope — reserving the label of “neo-Nazi” for those to whom it truly applies, for instance — you’re not downplaying one element, but rather, you’re clearly defining another. And with this approach, you achieve deeper insights into each.

“If the alt-right movement consisted only of neo-Nazis,” Berger stressed, “we would not be talking about it.”

Without a doubt, Goldy is a neo-Nazi sympathizer and fellow traveller. She dabbles in anti-Semitism, flirts with fascism, and carefully toes the line on the “JQ” (“Jewish Question”). These aren’t insults or epithets, but factual, demonstrable observations.

That said, her endorsement of For My Legionaries — a book akin to Mein Kampf discussed in fascist forums, one you’ll find narrated at the Daily Stormer — during a chat with a fellow white nationalist, hinted at her shallow comprehension of the harder lines she espouses. Her swift walk-back of enthusiasm for the book fit a pattern of her blindly promoting extreme content in an effort to embellish her edge.

Goldy is a white nationalist who promotes white supremacist ideologies. She is, by her own admission, an “immigration-obsessed” member of the alt-right — some, like Goldy, have taken to calling themselves the “dissident right” — and she credits Charlottesville for “one of the most fantastic evolutions, from a personal standpoint… it helped me clarify what I think, what I believe, and how committed I am to truth, even in the face of whatever anyone wants to call me.”

On the evening of August 12, 2017, hours after the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which ended in the death of Heather Heyer after white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters, a veritable who’s who of neo-Nazis gathered for an exclusive after-party to celebrate what they believed was their very own “Beer Hall Putsch.”

This tightly-controlled event, which required high-level vetting and security clearance on top of an invite to access, included the likes of Christopher Cantwell, the neo-Nazi featured in Vice’s documentary of the weekend who suggested “a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here, frankly”; “Charles Zeiger,” recently identified as Gabriel Sohier Chaput of Montreal, writer for the Daily Stormer, unapologetic fascist, and respected member of Canada’s fraternity of white supremacists; and “Eli Mosely,” recently identified as Elliott Kline, a prominent white nationalist central to organizing that Charlottesville weekend, who once bragged of working “in HR firing n*****s and spics all day” and fantasized about “listening to a kike’s scream while in the oven.”

Attendees were treated to a special live recording of The Krypto Report, an internet radio show hosted by Robert Warren Ray, an avowed white supremacist who writes for the Daily Stormer under the alias “Azzmador.”

They marvelled over the previous (Friday) night’s torchlight rally where, to chants of “Blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us,” they stormed the University of Virginia campus, surrounded a small group of students encircling the statue of Thomas Jefferson, and met the students’ shouts of “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA” with howls of “White Lives Matter.” That’s when, according to neo-Nazi podcaster and conspiracy theorist “Johnny Monoxide,” real name John Ramondetta, things turned violent. ”Some people got their heads busted… and we took the statue,” he told Azzmador proudly. “It was amazing.”

Saturday’s rally at Emancipation Park focused on a different monument. “They were trying to take down the statue,” Azzmador explained to Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, who wasn’t in Charlottesville but watched the day’s events via the Stormer’s livestream and joined the evening’s discussion remotely. “For most of us, even though that’s part of it, it became a whole lot more than that. It became about the destruction of white history and the removal of whites having power … to remove us completely, not only from existence, but from memory.”

Azzmador bragged how, before the “Battle of Charlottesville” erupted, “I went and I found Dr. David Duke, he gave a great talk about the Jews to the people watching on Daily Stormer. We got the crowd to shouting things like ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’ and ‘Gas the kikes, race war now.’ It was going along great.”

“It’s totally hilarious in a sense, how strong the parallels are between what we’re doing now and the movement in the 1960s,” Zeiger would suggest to the audience. “I mean, we’re getting kicked out of businesses, refused service, we’re advocating for civil rights for a certain racial group … and we’ve got normal people — ‘normies’ — who are fighting against that. Of course,” he noted, “we’re the reverse of what the people in the 1960s wanted. Because they were in favour of equality and all that, and the core of our message is more about hierarchy.”

That “hierarchy” being white racial supremacy.

If then-Rebel Media personality Faith Goldy — in attendance that night, by invitation — was troubled by things she heard through the hour preceding her spot on the broadcast, it certainly wasn’t enough to damper how “thrilled” she was to be part of the moment.

“I salute you all for doing this,” she said, adding tongue-in-cheek “not a ‘Roman salute,’ you guys.” (A “Roman salute” is essentially a Sieg Heil, but with the arm a bit lower. It is a fascist gesture.)

Goldy spoke of the “fellow Leafs” — the term for Canadian white nationalists — she met “from all over the place today,” winked at the frugality of her then-boss — a Jew — and indulged Azzmador’s seething distrust of what he calls the “lugenpresse.”

“Context is irrelevant in today’s media,” she charged. “We know that the cultural Marxists own the media, we know that they own academia, etc., and they’re pushing a particular narrative.”

Goldy’s strategic choice of words — “cultural Marxists” — was instructive. Those aware of the “JQ” know she was “naming the Jew” without naming the Jew. She deliberately spoke in code.

Days later, freshly unemployed and under intense scrutiny, Goldy tried damage control. “It has come to the public’s attention that I appeared on a podcast affiliated with the Daily Stormer while in Virginia,” she wrote on Facebook. “I made a poor decision that has had unintended negative personal and professional consequences on those I care about most.”

Those who took her at her word about her participation having simply been a “poor decision” — at the time, Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington asked people to “go easy” on the nearly 30-year-old woman because she was “a good kid” — may well have had reason to offer some benefit of the doubt. It’s entirely possible that, before Charlottesville, they’d paid little mind to Goldy’s ever-rightward trajectory.

Goldy has since made her sympathies abundantly clear, and the mainstream right should proceed with caution. Continuing to suggest she’s merely “a conservative voice” means embracing fascist, anti-Semitic, and white supremacist persuasions as part of respectable conservatism and reputable conservative discourse.

Meanwhile, progressives and like-minded organizations should also be careful in how they deal with Goldy’s doomed candidacy.

Those calling on Tory or Keesmaat to boycott events in which she is included are, in effect, requesting that those who can most effectively and directly counter Goldy’s narrative while defining what Toronto stands for — tolerance, inclusivity, diversity — forgo that prime opportunity. Closing one’s ears to ignorance does not silence it, and rhetoric like hers, when left unchallenged, is what offers permission for people to act on their prejudice and paranoia. (Of course, to directly challenge her in such a substantive way would require her invitation to such events — which, as of now, no one seems inclined to offer.)

Goldy cannot defend her positions as ably or coherently as her critics fear — there’s a reason she keeps to friendly, sympathetic media and appearances. On the debate stage, she’d have no control over questions, direction, or format. Rather than cede to demands they boycott, her opponents should welcome the opportunity to firmly, unequivocally denounce her beliefs and discredit her candidacy.

And it’s crucial that her opponents not preemptively call for her exclusion from any event. Doing so will not only fuel the victim narrative on which she thrives, but will imply a weight of influence she does not carry.

There’s as much a threat in over-reacting to a political agitator as there is in not responding forcefully enough. Goldy isn’t as adept or clever as detractors seem to believe, and the illusion of the contrary has long worked to her advantage. Progressives would do well to take a breath, step back, and simply allow others to offer her rope.

Trudeau, #MeToo, and a poisoned discussion

For Maclean’s on July 23, 2018 

#MeToo, in most respects, has been an undeniable force for good. This movement of education and empowerment, of courage and justice, has shattered the silence around sexual misconduct across industries, exposed the pervasiveness and severity of predation at the hands of powerful, often respected men, and revealed the machinations that simultaneously enable and protect perpetrators while punishing victims.

There was, however, an unwise preoccupation with anger in the movement’s early days, where “female rage” was celebrated, stoked, and uncritically presented as virtue. Men who voiced sincere, if misguided, reservations about a retroactive application of norms—concerns that past, imperfect conduct would be stripped of context and human error, and reframed as criminal—were as aggressively ridiculed as those forewarning of absurd inevitabilities.

But those calling for nuance, who felt it crucial to meet honest apprehension with meaningful dialogue, were largely dismissed and told this was a time for anger, not discussion. All behaviour was to be viewed through a Manichean lens if women were to make progress. Al Franken and Harvey Weinstein were equally dangerous and irredeemable. That awkward night years ago wasn’t merely a regrettable consensual experience to be learned from, but an event to resurrect, deconstruct, and mine trauma from. Every woman became, to some degree, a “survivor,” and all men were to be viewed with suspicion because all transgressions, in the end, rendered one a monster.

If nothing else, the recent controversy surrounding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a decades-old account of a stray hand served to demonstrate how the resistance to nuance didn’t insulate this important movement from bad-faith actors—but rather, has directly enabled those fuelled by disdain for women and feminism, not to mention a visceral hatred of men who consider themselves allies, to co-opt and weaponize #MeToo’s intent for malicious gain.

In many ways, the question of exactly what happened at British Columbia’s Kokanee Summit festival 18 years ago between Trudeau, then a 28-year-old schoolteacher, and Rose Knight, a reporter for the Creston Valley Advance, matters as much as how each party chose to respond when allegations of his misconduct were thrust back into the spotlight—this time, notably, without the knowledge or consent of the woman involved.

The initial description of the incident, as per the resurfaced, unsigned “Open Eyes” editorial in the Advance, accused Trudeau of “groping” and “inappropriately handling” of the reporter on assignment. And while the publisher has since suggested it was “a very brief touch” on Knight’s backside, her then-supervisors—who both corroborated Knight’s account and vouched for her excellent reputation and solid character—failed to offer any explanation as to why they felt this was the appropriate avenue for handling the situation.

No matter the exact details of the interaction—neither Knight nor Trudeau are willing to clarify—she felt disrespected enough to seek an apology which, as her July 6 press release on the matter reiterates, she received the next day. “I did not pursue the incident at the time and I will not be pursuing the incident further,” she went on. “I will not be providing any further details or information. The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement.”

Knight seemed content with having left the matter back in August of 2000. She did not, however, demand all discussion cease, nor did she suggest that probing Trudeau on the details of the incident would violate her request for privacy. She simply and clearly stated she wants no part of what devolved into a partisan charade, one which Trudeau arguably stoked through his evasive, ambiguous, and dismissive lines of response.

It’s a cynical, calculated strategy that backfired—much to the delight of some longtime critics primed for a #MeToo “witch hunt.”

Whether fuelled by personal resentment or partisan vendetta, those eager to take this “feminist” Prime Minister down a notch forced a victim narrative on the woman who had already categorically rejected that frame. In reducing Knight to little more than a means to their own selfish ends, Trudeau’s foes entitled themselves to violate this woman in one way, so as to more effectively chastise him for having done so in another. What’s more, by inflating the severity of Trudeau’s transgression and classifying him a sexual predator, these disingenuous advocates of Knight—many whose histories reveal a pattern of situational belief and concern for survivors—only served to devalue the meaning of sexual predation and diminish the severity of sexual violence.

But it wasn’t just bad-faith partisan actors who poisoned the discourse here. Some feminists authorized themselves to speak for Knight, offering a different grievance narrative to satisfy their own ideological end, saying that reporters had “sent women back decades” and “enabled perpetrators” simply because they sought to confirm the details of alleged prior misconduct at the hands of a now-powerful man. In effect, these individuals chastised and shamed journalists for having dared to “believe women.” And far from doing harm, the press acted precisely how #MeToo demands: they took every allegation of sexual impropriety seriously, especially when it seems out of character for the perpetrator and the instinct is to disbelieve the complainant.

One positive—if belated—shift did occur within this group, however: a contingent of previously uncompromising actors were willing to acknowledge that transgressions indeed exist on a spectrum, and that pretending otherwise is both unreasonable and irresponsible. Without saying the words, they even embraced the notion of due process—another crucial, yet habitually mocked element in #MeToo conversations—warming to the idea that yes, men are redeemable, and that yes, minor transgressions are minor. Even forgivable.

This eminently practical mindset should have long been fundamental to the feminist’s cause. When men have to ask questions privately out of fear of public reprimand, it suggests there’s something wrong with what we’ve allowed to become the norm in these discussions. When women opt to endorse an (assumedly) unconventional view—that a prevailing narrative is infantilizing or that the favoured approach is counterproductive—rather than voice it over fears of the same, it confirms it. Education and awareness cannot lead to behavioural change without room for honest inquiry, reasonable debate, robust disagreement, and the right to safely be wrong.

On matters of feminism, sexuality, relationships, and misconduct, the loudest voices aren’t always the wisest, and keeping to one or two personalities to offer insight or expertise only serves to create a dangerous illusion of consensus—this false agreement even more troubling when fuelled by hyperbole and tribalism.

When the notion of belief demands a blind, uncritical application of it—be it toward the person alleging misconduct or the one who stands accused—the merits of the allegation cannot be fairly assessed. When the mere acknowledgment of facts in a complex situation is presumed to be harmful, and when hypotheticals are presented as certain consequence in an effort to gain control over discussion, activists threaten to create a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of worst-case scenarios.

Reacting defensively on behalf of every woman to fit a tidy narrative only serves to infantilize all women. This habit will not create a safer future, nor persuade those who instinctively distrust the accuser when allegations are made, nor do much other than offer skeptics reason to wrongly think that women are unable to take fair measure of where responsibility lies. And when men are led to believe that women are so delicate that a perceived violation is, say, inevitable by way of interacting at all, it’s impossible to have any meaningful exchange regarding institutional failures, evolving boundaries, and the complicated conditions women are made to navigate daily.

The matter of Knight and Trudeau was the perfect opportunity to debate the boundaries of media, including when and why—or if—limits can be relaxed. It would have been worth exploring the arguably routine, if still wrong, nature of Trudeau’s conduct, too. And in demanding all discussion be shut down, those who often initiate these sort of conversations only robbed themselves of the chance; indeed, the limits imposed on exchanges thus far have only served to fuel the paranoias of bad-faith actors. That said, for all the sniping between the two opposing camps, a discussion about any sort of boundaries was the target of neither.

With no one willing to admit having mismanaged this debate, there’s reason to believe these mistakes will be repeated, too. This is to be expected, to a point—the movement continues to evolve—but both sides refusing to correct course doesn’t inspire confidence in the movement’s future.

If #MeToo hopes to escape the confines of a hashtag and mature into a stronger, lasting force, those who are strangling the discussion must be willing to release their unyielding grip.

On Homeopathy, Health Canada Must End The Double Standard

For the CBC on December 11, 2016.

Until recently, homeopathic remedies sold in the United States enjoyed many of the same privileges — including the freedom to claim they could treat or cure specific ailments or diseases — as real, science-based medicine. The difference? Peddlers of homeopathy weren’t required to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with any evidence whatsoever to substantiate the miraculous therapeutic claims their products made. The same has largely been the case in Canada.

It was an abhorrent oversight by agencies tasked to protect consumers’ well-being, and one that only now being addressed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In a statement issued last month, the FTC announced that homeopathic remedies, like all medications sold, must provide “competent and reliable scientific evidence” for all health-related claims, including, most importantly, “claims that a product can treat specific conditions.”

New labels

Absent that, in the U.S., homeopathic drugs will have to wear a label indicating that: “1) there is no scientific evidence that the product works; and 2) the product’s claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts.”

Homeopathy is, as Steven Novella, academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine, unambiguously describes it, an “unadulterated pseudoscience … a prescientific medical philosophy.”

Its underpinning theory is that “like cures like.” Homeopathic drugs are made using trace elements of substances that cause symptoms in healthy people. Those elements are then diluted entirely out of existence, priced at a premium and sold as inert “remedies.” Infinite dilutions of poison ivy would be sold as the treatment for a persistent itch or chronic rash, for instance.

The idea is that water carries a “memory” of substances it has come into contact with — a theory that defies the basic principles of biology, physics, and chemistry. To find a single molecule of active substance in a 30C homeopathic solution (the dilution level of many over-the-counter homeopathic treatments), for instance, American physicist Robert L. Park notes you’d require a container of water greater than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth.

Homeopathy is a lucrative business: we’re talking one where American consumers spend in excess of $3 billion per year. Yet the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathy to date — a review of evidence from 225 studies, which met the required rigour of some 1800 published papers — concluded “there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions.”

The ‘natural’ choice

No amount of evidence will be sufficient to sway those hopelessly indoctrinated into pseudoscience, but many who turn to alternative medicine are driven by honest misunderstanding of how the body functions and how medicine works. Some are also driven by the appeal to nature — a seductive fallacy which argues that “natural” is inherently good, therapeutic, and pure — based on the notion that homeopathy is a natural choice.

Yet “natural” versus “synthetic” is a fundamentally false, meaningless comparison. Raspberry ketone, for instance, a purported natural “miracle fat-burner,” is a chemical extracted from various fruits and berries. It can also be synthetically made, then known as p-Hydroxybenzyl acetone. But whether “naturally sourced” or synthetically derived, it’s still C10H12O2 — a single chemical, with a set arrangement of atoms that behave in the same, identical manner. Not one, mind you, that involves “miracle fat-burning.”

That’s likely too esoteric for the average consumer, but clear labels indicating a lack of scientific backing surely is not. Canada, however, has only gone so far as to require labels for nosode products (which are touted as vaccines) and homeopathic remedies for cough, cold and flu marketed to children 12 and under. Everything else can stand on pharmacy shelves, right next to legitimate medicine, and sold as fanciful medicinal alternatives. Fortunately, Health Canada has just recently signalled that it’s ready to start cracking down on claims that have not be scientifically proven.

Health professionals have been in the trenches of this dystopia for some time — their fight for reason made increasingly difficult by governments’ own normalizing of pseudoscience. Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, has rightly called for Health Canada to follow the FTC’s lead in requiring proper labelling to “ensure the Canadian public gets scientifically accurate information about the health care products and services they are buying.”

This isn’t complicated. Holding practitioners of alternative medicine — and the products they sell — to the same rigorous standards we apply to physicians, pharmacists and all other certified healthcare professionals is certainly not asking too much. If the U.S. can do it, why can’t we?

 

#RefugeesWelcome

This op-ed appeared in The Ottawa Citizen on November 27, 2015. 

“This is not a federal project, this is not even a government project, it’s a national project for all Canadians,” declared John McCallum, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, in announcing the long-awaited details of the Liberal government’s strategy to welcome refugees fleeing the chaos in Syria.

It’s an ambitious undertaking, but has already seen Canadians unite to reach out with offers to aid the resettlement and integration of those seeking refuge from war, arriving with little more than the hope of a better future.

Contrary to alarmists’ assertions, this grand initiative will serve to strengthen our national security. ISIL is seeking a clash of civilizations, intent on eliminating what they call the “gray zone” of coexistence. And they loathe the notion of a Muslim population seeking life among “infidels” in the West over their self-styled “caliphate.”

By refusing to close our borders to those fleeing ISIL’s savagery and embracing refugees, Canada is actively disproving the lie ISIL relies on to recruit the disaffected: That Muslims are rejected and unwelcome by the Western world, and you can only find your true identity with ISIL.

Ironically, those seeking to stoke anti-refugee sentiment following the terror attacks in Paris – who share xenophobic memes, perpetuate false assertions and outright fabrications from Facebook pages dedicated to churning out anti-Muslim rhetoric – are in fact answering ISIL’s call.

As Doug Saunders, international affairs columnist for the Globe and Mail and author of Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World and The Myth of the Muslim Tide recently noted, “’Judeo-Bolshevism’ was yesterday’s ‘Islamo-fascism,’ used for same restrictive purposes.”

The former: anti-Semitism employed to sow suspicion of Jewish refugees seeking to escape the Nazis, alleging they were agents of communism, part of a Jewish conspiracy to overthrow nations, Nazis in disguise or Nazi sympathizers sent to commit sabotage under the guise of seeking asylum.

The latter: a tool of anti-Muslim extremists seeking to stoke Western Islamophobia and anti-refugee hysteria. They insist those seeking to escape the combined barrel bombs of Syrian President Bashar Assad and savagery of ISIL are not legitimate refugees, but harbingers of dangerous ideologies — agents of the Islamic State and its sympathizers seeking to terrorize the West, upend Christian tradition and impose Sharia Law.

Despite such allegations being disproven, those initiating them discredited, these fabrications continue to circulate across social media, remaining particularly pervasive on Facebook due to an unwillingness to challenge friends or relatives who are often ignorant to their deep-seated prejudices.

Avoiding the discomfort of confrontation only serves to foster intolerance, enabling the promotion of hatred against an entire population, which then threatens to impede the successful integration and upward mobilization of the most vulnerable — two key elements in thwarting the isolation which aids in extremism’s pull.

One needn’t be hostile or demeaning when addressing dangerous misinformation shared by a friend. Simply linking directly to a reputable source which corrects the record, along with a brief summary, is sufficient. Even if the comment is disregarded by the colleague, others who come across the post might explore the facts further, and may go on to then correct the record on another timeline.

Just as bigotry is learned, so is acceptance. Intolerance cannot be ignored away, but it can be educated into submission. The presentation of facts in the face of irrational and misplaced fears, when combined with patient and constructive dialogue, is remarkably effective in achieving understanding.

If you’ve yet to find a part to play in Canada’s internationally acclaimed national refugee project, consider this your starring role.

No Scrutiny Please, They’re Saudi.

This op-ed appeared in The Ottawa Citizen on October 1, 2015. 

In 2014, on the shores of Lake Geneva and next to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a lavish ceremony was held to honour the recipient of the Moral Courage Award — an annual honour bestowed by UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO dedicated to “(monitoring) the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter.“

Surrounded by Canadian diplomats and at least one fellow cabinet minister, Jason Kenney was feted “for demonstrating the courage to lead in upholding the founding principles of the United Nations, and defending the true principles of human rights.”

Lauding the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer declared: “When others have been silent while serial perpetrators of human rights abuses like Iran and Syria seek to hijack the UN’s human rights and anti-racism causes, Minister Kenney has been a clear and consistent voice for their millions of victims, opposing tyranny, hypocrisy and injustice.”

Accepting the award “on behalf of my colleagues and Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” Kenney sought to reiterate what he, his colleagues, and the prime minister have long portrayed as their unequivocal stance in defending the rights and dignities of those living under the world’s most oppressive regimes.

“Human rights are not subject to interpretation,” he said. “They exist by virtue of the dignity of the individual person. They cannot be written off simply because a handful of particularly brutal regimes have been given a veto powers in a bureaucratic body.”

You’d expect, then, after word leaked that Saudi Arabia, a leader in the abuse of human rights, restriction of religious freedom, and repression of women, was selected to head a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council, that both Kenney and Harper would be among the prominent human rights advocates – including UN Watch – leading the condemnation of the appointment.

One could argue the confluence of events coinciding with this incomprehensible decision — allegations of indiscriminate killing of civilians and ethic cleansing of Shiites in the Saudi-led aerial campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen; the imminent beading and crucifixion of Ali al-Nimr, nephew of a well-known Shia cleric and prominent critic of the Saud dynasty, arrested as a 17-year-old high school student for taking part in pro-democracy protests — made it incumbent upon Kenney and Harper, both of whom position themselves as global leaders in human rights advocacy, to front the charge in seeking to have the UNHRC appointment rescinded, to call for for an investigation into atrocities in Yemen, to demand clemency for a man condemned to death simply for seeking political reform.

Instead, they’ve offered absolute silence on each crucial matter detailed above. That’s not to say the government’s relationship with the Saudis has gone entirely unmentioned in recent days: When questioned about the ethics of his government’s secretive, multi-billion dollar arms deal with Riyadh — secured without the requisite human rights assessments or assurances such weaponry wouldn’t be used against the civilian population — Harper defended Saudi Arabia as a valued ally. He was concerned only, evidently, about possible job losses in Ontario should the deal be axed.

A key element of the Conservatives’ re-election bid has been to present themselves as warriors against fundamentalist ideologies and extremist entities. That they’ve deemed a woman who — entirely of her own accord — wears a niqab a greater threat than providing arms to a regime which adheres to and exports the actual medieval ideology which imposes draconian dress codes on women hints at the emptiness beneath the government’s veil of nationalistic rhetoric and international proclamations of moral authority.

Further reading:

Ten facts about Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia http://opencanada.org/features/ten-facts-about-canadas-arms-deal-with-saudi-arabia/

This thread of links.

Questions for the Minister: HERE and HERE 

Need To Know: On Syria And The Migrant/Refugee Crisis

This was initially meant to be a lengthy Facebook post for those who look to me for information on complex matters (which I do happily, by request). However, it received such appreciation and requests to make it open to all (which I eventually did) that I thought I’d post it here, too, but with additional links/further info for those seeking a one-stop landing for information on the issue.

——

Here’s a round-up of information on the current migrant/refugee crisis, the impossible situation in the Middle East driving it, and what – if anything – can/should be done.

First off, however, regarding the loathesome, xenophobic memes making the rounds, courtesy of extremist websites/blogs, FB pages, and media personalities:

The FB page I’ve seen many sharing patently fake anti-Mulsim nonsense from – Britain First – is a NEO-NAZI OPERATION. It’s a white-supermacist organization, full-stop. If you find yourself sharing anything from that page/site – especially when it comes to anything about Muslims or Islam – perhaps you need to re-examine your own values before calling into question the beliefs of others.

A few helpful links on that:

1. http://www.channel4.com/news/britain-first-far-right-anti-muslim-extremists-mosques
2. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/25/truth-britain-first-facebook-far-right-bnp
3. http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/britain-first-has-quietly-become-the-most-popular-uk-politic

The same goes for the bigotry emanating from other notoriously-ignorant FB pages – Right Wing News, Chicks On The Right, The Blaze (Glenn Beck’s operation), Fox News, The Rebel, Atlas Shrugged – or the personal pages of disgraced conservative figures like Allen West, Sarah Palin, Pamela Geller, Franklin Graham, Ben Carson, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Ezra Levant, Brian Lilley, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with being C/conservative, or holding a C/conservative world view. That’s not who these people are, nor what they represent. All of the above are part of a hateful segment which no respectable person takes seriously.

Granted, once in a while a few of those pages might post something innocuous (often one of those feel-good viral memes from other sites). That’s fine. It’s their intentional misinformation and fomenting of hatred that’s the problem.

There are reputable C/conservative publications / personalities in existence. These are not them.

A few quick (but hardly thorough) links debunking some of the most-shared — and so obviously BS — anti-refugee memes:

1. http://www.vice.com/read/kleinfeld-refugee-memes-debunking-846

2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/16/no-that-viral-image-doesnt-show-an-islamic-state-fighter-among-europes-refugees/

3. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/surprised-that-syrian-refugees-have-smartphones-well-sorry-to-break-this-to-you-but-youre-an-idiot-10489719.html

And related: http://www.vice.com/read/debunking-the-racist-memes-passed-around-by-the-nativist-right-765

Here’s Shannon Gormley, deftly tackling the xenophobic nonsense: http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/gormley-yes-lets-be-rational-about-the-syrian-refugee-crisis

And now…

The full story of the boy whose death woke the world up to the already years-long humanitarian catastrophe: http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/inside-the-tragedy-that-woke-up-the-world/

One of just many reports by Terry Glavin, who broke the Kurdi story: http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/glavin-lets-talk-about-the-kurdi-family-we-did-turn-away

A simple (but in being simple, not nearly thorough) explanation of why people are fleeing Syria: http://www.vox.com/2015/9/4/9261971/syria-refugee-war

More on that, with a deeper look at the death toll of ISIS versus the death toll of Syria’s Assad regime (Spoiler: ISIS isn’t the problem): https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/islamic-state-has-killed-many-syrians-but-assads-forces-have-killed-even-more/2015/09/05/b8150d0c-4d85-11e5-80c2-106ea7fb80d4_story.html

A phenomenal visualization of the death toll from Syria’s ISIS/Assad civil war: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/09/14/world/middleeast/syria-war-deaths.html

In the war on ISIS: Friends, foes and in between http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/in-the-war-on-isis-friends-foes-and-in-between/

The new Cold War in the Middle East: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/21/moscow-relishes-revamped-role-in-mideast-as-israel-seeks-assurances-in-syria/

More: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/22/putin-russia-syria-assad-iran-islamic-state/

“Why can’t they just go home”? Because THERE IS NO HOME TO GO TO.

1. https://twitter.com/sommervillebbc/status/639486321732526081

2. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/02/12/world/middleeast/syria-civil-war-damage-maps.html

Liz Sly, on the emptying of Syria: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syria-is-emptying/2015/09/14/2b457a86-534f-11e5-b225-90edbd49f362_story.html

Her photo essay on children who only know life inside refugee camps: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/16/the-faces-of-syrian-children-who-only-know-life-in-a-refugee-camp/

And her early – and important – examination of the refugee crisis looming in the Middle East:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/as-tragedies-shock-europe-a-bigger-refugee-crisis-looms-in-the-middle-east/2015/08/29/3858b284-9c15-11e4-86a3-1b56f64925f6_story.html

A must-see photo gallery of Syria’s children, and the hell they’re living: http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/08/syrias-children/402583/

The nightmare that is life for those who’ve not fled: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/16/world/middleeast/for-those-who-remain-in-syria-daily-life-is-a-nightmare.html

And the dilemma many are faced with: http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/in-syria-many-families-face-a-terrible-dilemma

After 4 years of conflict, more than half of Syria’s population of 22 million have been driven out: http://graphics.latimes.com/syria-to-greece/

On that note: It’s not just Syria, or migrants from Syria. We are also involved/supporting/enabling the bombing/destruction of Yemen

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/world/middleeast/airstrikes-hit-civilians-yemen-war.html

2. https://theintercept.com/2015/09/01/yemen-hidden-war-saudi-coalition-killing-civilians/

And, of course, Afghanistan, Iraq …

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/world/asia/afghanistan-migrant-kunduz-iran-europe.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur

2. http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/18/europes-refugee-crisis-isnt-only-about-syria-iraq-afghans/?wp_login_redirect=0

Some Iraqis are abandoning the fight against ISIS for safety in Europe: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/21/us-europe-migrants-iraq-military-insight-idUSKCN0RK0EB20150921

Afghan NATO translators who helped coalition forces are having to take illegal routes West after having their asylum applications rejected: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/serbia/11878114/The-Afghan-Nato-interpreters-forced-to-walk-through-Europe-for-refugee-status.html

To those demanding to know “why aren’t Muslim countries doing anything?!”

Uh, they are.

The vast majority of Syrian refugees are hosted in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. http://trib.al/H6RuaiW

Lebanon, Turkey & Jordan have taken so many refugees that it’s changing their demographics. http://on.rand.org/SmFCy

More: https://twitter.com/LATimesGraphics/status/644889552901963776

The tragic lives of refugee children in Lebanon. http://lifeonhold.aljazeera.com/

Meanwhile, after being shuttled on trains and branded with numbers, refugees are being housed in former concentration camps. Yes, you read that right.

1. https://twitter.com/JeffreyGoldberg/status/639600506705473536

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/world/europe/czech-republic-criticized-after-officers-mark-migrants-with-numbers.html

3. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/19/the-refugees-who-live-at-dachau

Some key explainers on the many factors fuelling the crisis:

1. U.N. Funding Shortfalls and Cuts in Refugee Aid Fuel Exodus to Europe: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/world/un-funding-shortfalls-and-cuts-in-refugee-aid-fuel-exodus-to-europe.html

2. Why migrants risk everything for a new life elsewhere: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/the-real-reasons-why-migrants-risk-everything-for-a-new-life-elsewhere/article24105000/

3. 8 reasons the refugee crisis is happening now: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/18/8-reasons-why-europes-refugee-crisis-is-happening-now/

4. The migrant crisis: here’s why it’s not what you think – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europes-migrant-crisis-eight-reasons-its-not-what-youthink/article26194675/

What can WE do? Two of the most respectable voices in Canada:

1. Roméo Dallaire: Response to Syrian refugees ‘atrocious’: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/romeo-dallaire-response-to-syrian-refugees-atrocious/

More: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-romeo-dallaire-syrian-refugees-1.3228123#pq=BTWEGU

2. Great interview with former chief of defence Rick Hillier: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-rick-hillier-refugees-military-christmas-1.3225732

Asylum seekers will keep coming, regardless of the chilly welcome from the West: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/parnesh-sharma-the-asylum-seekers-will-keep-coming-regardless-of-the-chilly-welcome-from-the-west

We should – and can – take in 20 times more refugees: http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/why-canada-should-take-in-20-times-more-refugees/

Excellent primer from Laura Payton on where Canadian policy stands: http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/refugees-primer/

Glavin, on the Conservative’s recent policy change: http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/glavin-conservatives-finally-take-responsibility-for-the-roadblock-facing-syrian-refugees

Meanwhile, refugees are left to plead for family reunification: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/refugees-plead-for-family-reunification/article26466051/

A group of notables lay out eight steps to get more Syrian refugees into Canada: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/eight-steps-to-get-more-syrian-refugees-into-canada/article26356841/

Refugees are, in fact, a huge economic and cultural boon to society — not a burden. They are not welfare-seekers.

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/opinion/europe-should-see-refugees-as-a-boon-not-a-burden.html?_r=0

Why our chance to help those in desperate need is also a potentially historic economic opportunity:
http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/this-is-the-refugee-debate-we-ought-to-be-having/

And no, we do not give refugees better health care or government services than citizens receive

1. http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/jonathan-kay-the-refugee-health-care-decision-lays-bare-harpers-creed-punitive-moral-absolutism

2. http://www.macleans.ca/politics/do-the-cuts-to-refugee-health-care-make-sense/

3. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/refugee-rules-are-bad-policy-legal-or-not

4. http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/christie-blatchford-government-policy-on-refugee-health-care-exposed-as-heartless-and-shameful

No matter the nonsense which continues to come from the current Conservative government: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservatives-flyers-survey-refugees-1.3217603

Harper says only bogus refugees are denied health care. He’s wrong. http://www.macleans.ca/politics/harper-says-only-bogus-refugees-are-denied-health-care-hes-wrong/

Why how we refer to those seeking asylum matters: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/28/world/migrants-refugees-europe-syria.html

On fears of radicalization – nothing fights radicalization like opportunity.

Compassion towards needy Muslims is part of the antidote to a hateful jihadist ideology http://econ.trib.al/wIk3K1x

More: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/18/the-donald-versus-the-scriptures-migrants-refugees/

Things to note re: the claims of ISIS infiltrating migrants.

1. https://twitter.com/DougSaunders/status/643947905594822656

2. https://twitter.com/a_picazo/status/643949522968690688

3. https://twitter.com/KarlreMarks/status/644614714958475264

ISIS doesn’t want Syrian migrants to flock to Europe, either: http://theweek.com/speedreads/578405/isis-doesnt-want-syrian-migrants-flock-europe-either

More: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/aylan-kurdi-isis-propaganda-dabiq/404911/

Further reading – Follow the journey of the refugees with these in-depth journals:

1. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/reporters-notebook/migrants

2. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/balkan-odyssey-a-desperate-journey-through-centraleurope/article26438596/

Move Along, #Harperman – We’ll Take It From Here

What began as a discussion* (and mocking) of the sideshow of the day song of a generation turned into a great exchange about political/protest tunes. I’ve collected some of the best recommendations, and in addition to my own suggestions, have linked to the better ones found throughout the night.

Feel free to post the songs I’ve missed, but which you’re particularly fond of, to the comments.  I’d love you hear your favourites. Also welcome: Those so bad, they’re amazing.

*To see the full conversation thread, be sure to click the various “view other replies.”

Bruce Cheadle:

Tom Russell – Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall 

Terry Glavin

Damien Dempsey – Sing all our Cares Away

The Internationale (English Version) 

White Riot by the Clash

Douglas Hunter:

Elvis Costello – Ship Building

Sine Nomine:

Rage Against The Machine version – The Ghost of Tom Joad

George McKie:

Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning

Ken Cunningham:

Drezus – Red Winter (idle No More)

Billy Bragg – Between The Wars


Flynn Flon:

Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues

Brother Ali – Uncle Sam Goddamn

Crosby, Stills, Nash – Ohio 

A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

Laurie K:

Green Day – American Idiot 

Matthew Elliot:

Janelle Monáe – Hell You Talmbout

Robert Cooper:

Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

And from me:

First, the songs which initially came to my mind:

Eminem – Mosh 

Black Sabbath – War Pigs

Ramones – My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)

God Save The Queen – The Sex Pistols

Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name

Johnny Mandel – Suicide Is Painless (M*A*S*H Theme)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son

Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddam

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

And below, some gems I wasn’t familiar with, which I found while searching:

Country Joe McDonald – I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag

Eric Bogle – The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Donovan – The Universal Soldier

Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction

Tom Robinson Band – Glad To Be Gay

Bonus! This very fun post, thanks to Kady o’malley, and a what looks like a great book, recommended by Laurie K.