The Great “Earthquake” Swindle

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If you believe this, you’ll believe anything! Notice btw that it comes from a *government* website.

It’s telling that the global warmist lobby, with their constant bombardment of fake news about floods in Thailand and drought in Africa (make your mind up, guys!) go out of their way to cover up the real stories. It turns out that those “doctors” would have you believe that “cells” within your “body” can go bad and ultimately “kill” you were lying. That’s right: “cancer” doesn’t exist. It’s a hoax that’s been played for decades, one perpetrated by the government and the mass media and believed by all those who don’t dare to question what they’re told. These are the same people who tell you that the President of the United States is married to an immigrant or that it’s (as one of these so-called “pediatricians” told me in person last week) “an act of grave irresponsibility” not to get your child vaccinated! Thank god (another fake news story that I bet you fell for!) that we have Facebook and Twitter so we don’t have to believe their bullshit any longer.

But even worse than so-called “climate” “scientists” and “cancer” “doctors” are this bunch of self-appointed experts who call themselves “seismologists”. This is a fancy name for people who want you to believe that the “earth” (which other “scientists” will tell you is as round as a baseball! – but that’s another story) can tremble and shake like a blancmange! The official story (and I can tell you, I’ve studied this in some detail) is that it’s caused by (try not to laugh) “sudden movements in the Earth’s crust”. Well I’m going to tell you a personal story, something that “happened” to “me” just this “morning”, which will show that this whole “earthquake” racket is no more than yet another official libtard hoax.

We went to our local “hospital” for a checkup with someone who calls himself a “gynecologist”. This shyster is paid thousands of euros of taxpayer’s money to tell us that as a result of a little cuddle time me and my “wife” enjoyed several months ago she is now “pregnant” and is going to have a “baby”. While we were “there” we visited another “couple” who apparently have just “given birth” (there was no actual evidence of this; there was a very small human being in the room and two beaming but exhausted new “parents” but there could be any number of explanations for that). After a few minutes of “conversation” (I noticed that the “baby” was pretending to be asleep the whole time) the “father” character drew our attention to the “fact” that the “water” in a bottle on the “bedside” was “shaking”. Sure enough, it “was”; I then “looked” at the “curtains” and they appeared to be moving – which obviously raised my suspicions! Then I “felt” with my “body” that the whole “building” (we were on the “eighth floor”, in the so-called “maternity department”) seemed (I’m being very careful with my language here!) to be “trembling”. I suddenly felt quite “scared”. Our “friend”, the new “mother”, checked on her “iphone” and said something about “the “epicentre””(it’s depressing to see how all this quakist jargon has wormed its way into the heads of ordinary sheeple) being near a place called “Rieti”, which I knew at once to be a lie, because although I’ve seen the name on a so-called map and noticed it on the front of “buses”, I’ve never actually been “there”.

We made our excuses, and “left”. I dread to think what fairy tales that baby will grow up hearing. They’ll probably tell it all the usual pseudo-scientific nonsense about “water” being “wet” and about how it gets “dark” at “night”. Personally I’m glad that I’ve seen through all that crap. As soon as “my” “child” is “born” I’m going to tell him the truth: that “hospitals” do more harm than good, that “teachers” do nothing but lie, and that so-called “parents” are the least trustworthy people he’ll ever meet. I’m also going to make sure he understands that whatever information he receives through his “eyes”, “ears”, “nose” and “fingers” is almost certainly bullshit, and that the last thing he should ever do in life – even worse than putting any faith in “experts” – is to use his “brain” to interpret the world. And you can stick your Dr Seuss, Alice in Wonderland and Roald Dahl books back where the sun don’t shine. I won’t be reading him any “bedtime stories” (in any case, if you believe that human beings “need” to “sleep”, quite frankly you’ll believe anything -and as for “breast” “milk”, don’t get me started on that junk!). Instead he’ll be staying up all night with me getting the real story from my good friends at Breitbart, Infowars and Wikileaks. I want my “child” to be brought up on a solid diet of the truth.

NB: This is a work of satire. In reality the only thing more dangerous than seismic activity is climate denial. They both serve to destroy the foundations of our existence.

EFL Fake News lesson plan

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This is a plan for a lesson I taught a couple of times before Christmas on the very timely subject of fake news. I did it with Politics and International Relations students on University courses, but it could be very easily adapted to a more conventional EFL context. The lesson develops their reading, writing and discussion skills and is aimed at upper-int and upwards. It should take about 90 minutes. My students really enjoyed the class and produced some interesting responses and some very imaginative pieces of writing.

Procedure

  1. Write the words ‘fake news’ on the board. Get your students to give you some examples. Have a couple to hand if they can’t (if you’re in Italy, like I am, you could always show them this). (5 mins)

  2. Explain you’re going to give them a presentation in which they will look at how to tell the difference between facts and opinions.

  3. Take them through this presentation, doing the practice exercise in pairs and clearing up any confusion at the end. The final slide directs them to where they can do further practice online. (15-20 mins)

  4. Tell them you’re going to read together an article about a ‘fake news sausage factory’. Elicit ideas about what that might be (Ans: it’s a website which produces and distributes fake news stories – don’t tell them that yet). (5 mins)

  5. (If they have internet access) Direct them to the article online or (if they don’t) hand out paper copies of the article. Instruct them to skim the beginning of the article to check if their guesses were correct. Give them two minutes and then get feedback; clarify if they’re confused. (5 mins)

  6. Put these questions up on the board. Students work through them in pairs. Monitor and give the occasional mild hint to those who are struggling. With weaker upper-int students let them use (but not overuse!) a dictionary. (15 mins)

  7. Go through the factual answers, also eliciting the appropriate part of the text. (5 mins)

  8. Make sure you leave time for discussion of the more subjective questions. (5 mins)

  9. If you have time and the students are willing, you can get the students to do a short writing task. Depending on their level, get them (individually or in pairs) to write the first paragraph or more of a fake news article about someone in the news in their country. (15 mins)

  10. Students stick their articles on the wall, read the others and choose their favourite (5-10 mins).

  11. Homework: Get them to redraft and extend their writing.

  12. Additional reading for very strong students: direct them to this.

Bob’s your uncle; Nora’s your aunt :-).

Wikileaks: ‘Russian’ email claims false, Chemtrails are for real

assangeWikileaks founder Julian Asange has revealed to Fox News that a Russian-connected source didn’t leak hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee to his organization. He also confirmed that evidence suggesting a pattern of past sexual discretion on the part of President Elect Donald Trump was false. Asange went on to assert that all and any attempts to link Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump with the Klu Klux Klan was inaccurate, and also stated that the KKK itself had been the victim of widespread misrepresentation in the past. In a separate statement given to Russia Today, Wikileaks also announced that its investigation into the recent Austrian election revealed a disturbing level of foreign intervention which may have influenced the result.  Meanwhile, a further Wikileaks press release stated that information had come into its possession which suggested that long-standing rumours of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and his father’s involvement in the British National Front were ‘definitely unfounded’. In a separate development, a document placed on the Wikileaks website suggested that reports of mass killing of civilians as a result of Russian bombing of Aleppo had been falsified, while on Wednesday morning in a statement to the news organisation Breitbart Wikileaks said it had ‘firm evidence’ that the outgoing US administration had forged papers related to the birthplace of President Barack Obama. Asange also spoke by phone with Alex Jones of the website infowars.com and confirmed that his organisation had documents indicating that governments across the world have been manipulating weather patterns and that the chemical trails from airplanes suggest that this information is well-founded. Asange also gave a press conference Thursday from his cupboard in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London during which said he now had ‘proof’ that he was innocent of the rape charges leveled against him, promising to provide the ‘conclusive’ evidence to the international media as soon as his fax machine was up and running again. He also announced plans to merge the Wikileaks website with that of Breitbart, Infowars and davidicke.com in order to combat the rising influence of ‘fake news’ from websites such as the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times and promised to release a ‘devastating’ report handed to Wikileaks by an anonymous source which he said would ‘seriously challenge’ our understanding of both what he called the ‘hoaxacaust’ and the 1969 Moon Landings. In response to a question about the allegations from some quarters that his organization is now little more than a puppet of the Trump Government, Asange waved his arms in a wooden fashion, fell to the floor with a clattering sound and made no further comment.

UPDATE: I posted this on the Wikileaks Facebook page, and within a few hours this actually happened:

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…it then disappeared from their page like a flash. If they’d checked the tags on the original post they would have seen it was flagged as #fakenews and #trolling. But they didn’t -they didn’t even click on the link before liking and sharing it. That’s what Wikileaks is like these days. So Assange’s claim that the emails didn’t come from Russia is almost certainly not true either. They simply don’t check their sources.

 

 

The Age of Agnotology: The Importance of Reading Newspapers in an Era of Fake News

Of all the possible places to try to sell a dogmatically Leninist newspaper in 2016, the gates of a small, private, right-wing Catholic university is probably not the best location. Leaving work earlier this week I was surprised to encounter an actual 21st Century Bolshevik selling Lotta Comunista (Communist Struggle). Che testardo! The front page featured an actual hammer and sickle and an exhortation to the workers of the world to put down their bloody phones for a minute and UNITE!. Inside there was a closely-written article on US energy policy that featured nary a mention of the changing climate, while page 6 featured a total of 448 individual statistics relating to socio-economic class and voting habits in the USA. At least its position on Sunday’s absurd and suicidal referendum was more sensible than that of the rest of the ‘left’: they recommend that their readers stay at home memorising ‘What is to be done’ rather than bothering to vote. If you’re so inclined you can read your way through the rest of it here.

A thought experiment: imagine a country in which such a publication was the only newspaper. Actually come to think of it I don’t have to try that hard because I’ve been there quite recently – in May, in Cuba, where the only two daily newspapers are the black-and-white 12-page Government propaganda sheet Granma (named after the tiny vessel that brought Fidel (RIP) and friends back to Cuba in 1956), and an 8-page supplement for03-cuba-fidel-granma young people called Juventude Rebelde (Rebel Youth), which is similar in look, style and content to the kind of publications the Worker’s Revolutionary Party used to try (and fail) to hand out for free. Both newspapers are hard to track down and (after a couple of days of cheap laughs, and once you’ve set aside a few copies as very cheap presents) genuinely not worth the effort. When in the 1990s the US not-an-embassy put up LED screens to broadcast subversive information to the city it must have had quite an impact. In Mozambique – also nominally a Communist country – the national newspapers are remarkably similar in style and content to the cheaper Portuguese tabloids. I once read a very depressing article (it wasn’t supposed to be depressing) about how popular A Bola (The Ball) is in Angola. In some countries, the main journals of record are ones which just report the achievements of government (rather like a lot of local newspapers nowadays in the UK in relation to local councils). In others, the only opposition newspapers are those owned by politically ambitious oligarchs . There are other channels of communication but the absence of a free press makes a country much culturally and socially poorer and less free.

Continue reading “The Age of Agnotology: The Importance of Reading Newspapers in an Era of Fake News”

Care for a free f*cking newspaper?


Here are a few suggestions for possible responses for when one of them annoying fellas tries to force yet another free fucking newspaper on you with the words ‘But it’s free!!!!‘:

That’s because it’s worthless.

So are all the others (accompanied by filthy look).

So’s cancer.

So’s dogshit.

So’s tap water.

So are plastic bags from Asda.

So’s a kick in the teeth.

So’s South Africa (in theory anyway).

So’s Willy the fucking whale.

So was school milk.

So’s the Polish Express.

So are adverts on the Gumtree.

So’s this.

And also this.

So’s what pigeons eat.

And my own personal favourite (although I’m yet to try it out myself): So’s my choice NOT to take your piece of shit free newspaper, you overzealous purple-t-shirted fucking fuckwitted TWAT!!!

On ¿Qué?


If, as James Joyce said, the useful lifespan of a newspaper is one day, how long does a free newspaper last for? In Madrid, one of the many, many free papers that are scattered throughout the Metro network every day is called 20 Minutos, which seems a fair estimate. As you might expect, you don’t get a very high standard of news journalism from the free press – Metro, Qué!, 20 Minutos and the other ones whose names I forget just tend to feature the exact same news stories written in a fairly clumsy and sensationalist style. But what can you expect – they are free after all. And because of this, it’s not unusual to see people carrying two or three of them to skim through as they move around the city.

As a result, it’s actually quite unusual to see people reading ‘proper’ newspapers, by which I include the generally ubiquitous football papers Marca and As. Which is a shame, because in my opinion Spain has some excellent newspapers. What’s wrong, then, with the free ones? Well, it’s not too outrageous to suggest that when something is free, it’s often because it has no or next to no actual value. Inevitably Qué! (admittedly much better than the others, being a fairly convincing tabloid newspaper with a fair amount of seemingly genuine interest in what the readers think, and which has recently started an aggressive advertising campaign, which is a bit odd considering it’s free) and all the others just exist to sell adverts. At least with what used to be called a ‘journal of record’, you pay your money in return for a certain level of professionalism in terms of how they gather and present information, and you pay to read the considered opinions of experienced people whose opinions actually count for something. With the free ones, it’s pot luck whether or not you get as much as you pay for, so to speak.

I’d hazard a guess and suggest that this relatively new and rapidly expanding phenomen is due to the very low value that we place on news information and commentary these days. There is just so much newsprint out there, any number of TV channels trying to fill up airtime without upsetting anyone important, and besides all that there is the internet, teeming with unsolicited and ill-considered rants like, erm, this one.

Obviously free newspapers and magazines are nothing new in most cities, although I suspect that they are expanding elsewhere at much the same rate. Newspapers and magazines, in fact, of often the most surprising kind. In the National Express ticket office in Sheffield in the summer there was a huge pile of Chinese-language copies of the Epoch Times, and although I wasn’t able to read it much I did pick up an English language edition a few days later in a Portuguese cafe in London. If you’re not familiar with the paper, it’s Taiwan-based and has some connection to the outlawed Falun Gong religious cult, which is why it publishes a great deal of very anti-CCP articles, which although not always very persuasively written, are always good fun to read – some people seem to have a huge problem with the FG, and I don’t know a huge amount about them, but to be honest if anyone dedicates their time to the destruction of the Chinese Communist Party, whether or not they decide to go to the somewhat puzzling extent of setting themselves on fire, they have my wholehearted support, and are welcome to borrow my lighter anytime.

As I say, their newspaper reads like it’s written by someone with a very definite purpose and agenda – but as I said earlier, what the hell, it’s free. If someone picks it up, which is quite possible given the kind of random places where it’s distributed, under the mistaken apprehension that it’s just some normal expat newspaper for overseas Chinese, it will just get jumbled up and/or discarded along with all the other free and mostly useless information they’ve gathered recently. Unlike when we’ve invested money in a publication which we have some reason to trust, with the free press we’re generally I think disinclined to question the sources or the veracity of the information presented, or the motivations of those who are responsible for it.

Speaking, then, of publications for overseas Chinese and for people interested in China, on the bus yesterday I came across yet another free paper, printed in Spanish, with the title of The Mandarin. It is a weekly publication which, surprise surprise, features story after story of very, very good news about the Chinese economy (‘President Of World Bank Praises Social And Economic Progress Of China’, ‘Chinese Outbound Investment To Continue Growing Rapidly This Year’, ‘Chinese Economy In For A Smooth Landing’), along with articles about the mystery of Guilin and Tibet, the exotic and colourful traditions of the ethnic minorities that China is a proud host to, a page dedicated to preparations for 2008, a story about those (trojan) pandas and their long-delayed journey to Taiwan Province, and a special page for people starting to learn Mandarin.

For someone with a mild interest in Chinese culture, it might all seem perfectly innocuous. As I said, when we sit, or more often stand, and read a free newspaper, we don’t usually think in detail about the credentials or the motivations of those who’ve written it. Glossy magazines about China on sale at kiosks or in newsagents around the world contain pretty much the same information, after all.

However, there is for me something about finding publications like this freely distributed in relatively free countries which I find disturbing, and I think it’s the following: in Wild Swans, Jung Chang talks about how the only western publication they could get hold of during the Cultural Revolution was the newspaper of a tiny group of Maoist sympathisers who were ignored or laughed at in the West. Now it seems that the inheritors of that insane tradition are exploiting our carelessness about what information about the world we allow to enter our heads.

Is the value that we place on news information now so low that we will allow the Chinese Communist Party to distribute state propaganda as though it were just another innocent random source of information about the world?

If that’s the inevitable consequence of this explosion of ‘free’ newspapers, I’d prefer to stick with the Guardian or El País – or maybe even Marca or As.