Writers’ Guidelines

images (1)We at Voices Publishing (thanks to the Canada Council, Heritage Canada and the Ontario Arts Council for their generous support) in light of recent events, wish to make clear our writers’ guidelines for all fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We are committed to hearing the voices of Canadian writers and welcome manuscripts of inclusion. Please note:

1. We have a zero tolerance policy for cultural appropriation in all its forms.

2. Cultural appropriation occurs when a writer appropriates the voice or lived experience of a person or persons whose lives are outside the lived experience of that writer by including such a person in their story.

3. To avoid offending any marginalized or oppressed persons no white writer shall include in his or her manuscript any character or situation in which non-white persons are portrayed.  For consistency, this same rule applies to First Nations writers, POC writers and foreign born writers. (Note, for greater clarity, we have adopted the time tested “one drop” rule for determining race. If you have a white ancestor or think you might have a white ancestor you will be deemed white regardless of self-identification, lived experience or other extenuating factors. Check your privilege.)

4. There is obviously a huge problem with ageism. Many middle-aged writers submit manuscripts in which characters in their teens or even younger appear as protagonists. We regret that we cannot publish manuscripts in which such ageist appropriation occurs. To that end, we will not be accepting manuscripts in the children’s category or young adult category without positive proof that the mss was written by a child or a young adult. All characters in your mss must be +/- five years of your own age at time of submission.

5. Gender appropriation: many of the mss we are offered are written by men and contain female characters and vice versa. Needless to say we are unwilling to publish mss in which male writers’ attempt to claim the female voice and vice versa. In unusual circumstances, we may allow the visual depiction of a female character by a male writer or vice versa providing always that the character so depicted remains entirely silent.

6. The appropriation of sexual experience: We have been disturbed to receive mss in which hetrosexual authors include homosexual or bisexual characters. And, just as bad, homosexual authors are often guilty of portraying straight characters. These provocations will not see the light of day under the Voices colophon. You’ve made your beds now lie in them.

Many of you may regard these guidelines as simplistic or censorious. Shame on you. For each of our authors there is a simple solution which can ensure that the marginalized and oppressed voices in the great Canadian mosaic are heard. Whenever your story requires white person, a First Nations person, or homosexual, or POC, or female/male, or child/adolescent voice go and find a writer with the correct characteristics and invite them to contribute their voice and lived experience to your book. (We will, of course, require a Certificate of cultural authenticity to accompany such contributions.)

Voices Publishing believes that by following these simple guidelines we can all work together to eliminate the implicit priviledging of the individual author’s voice and build a new, inclusive, Canadian literature.

Thank you for your attention and your commitment to the elimination of the retrograde, individualist, authorial literature which has disfigured so much of Canadian Literature to this moment. Voices Publishing is committed to the celebration of our diversity.

 

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Scalps

Hal Niedzviecki was forced out of his editorship of an obscure magazine published by the Writers’ Union of Canada for daring to suggest that writers should try to get out of their identity silos and use the voices of “others”. Apparently, this offended the Writers Union and its “Equity Task Force” and Niedzviecki was forced to resign.

A number of brave souls in Canadian media stepped up and said Neidzviecki had a point and was a victim of political correctness run wild. On Friday, the Walrus’s editor in chief, Jonathan Kay wrote an article for the National Post in which he said,

Personally, I land on the side of free speech: I’m fearful that, as at many points in history, small acts of well-intentioned censorship will expand into a full-fledged speech code that prohibits whole categories of art and discourse. national post 

He went on to conclude,

What I don’t find helpful is the reflexive instinct to shame those with whom we disagree—the kind on display at TWUC this week. Indeed, it is these mobbings that encourage the idea that free speech is under siege from a systematic program of left wing censorship. On both sides, it is fear and suspicion that is driving the social media rage. And as of this writing, there’s no sign it will dissipate soon. national post

Today Kay resigned as the editor in chief of The Walrus.

Niedzviecki was entirely right in his initial article. White people should be encouraged to write about non-white people, women about men, blacks about Asians and gays about straights; otherwise we’ll have a sterile, politically correct, literature in which the only characters in a novel will be from the “community” (however defined) of the author.

Kay was entirely right in standing up against lefty cultural pogroms.

Where both were wrong was in capitulating to the cultural fascists without a fight. The Twitter mobs are nasty but they are relatively powerless unless a target is willing to give them power. Niedzviecki was pushed out the door by his employer but, realistically, other than a craven apology for “glibness and insensitivity” Niedzviecki barely fought at all. Kay’s meager defences were apparently overwhelmed in less than twenty-four hours and he scuttled off to a baseball game with his phone off to escape the baying hordes.

Free speech and freedom of cultural expression in all its forms are won by people willing to fight back. People who actually believe in their positions and are willing to fight their corners. Niedzviecki was beginning to gain support for his liberal view of how writers should approach the world. Sure he was being howled down by lefty illiterates on Twitter. So what? The Twitter mobs of SJWs live to howl and denounce and yell about their sensitivities. The cultural cringers at the Writer’s Union would have fired Niedzviecki in any event, but rather than apologize, he should have published a really fierce piece defending his position and calling out the censors of the identity left.

Kay, having adopted a strong, liberal, free speech position should have stuck to his guns. If The Walrus wanted to fire him, fine. But surrendering before an actual shot had been fired is just sad.

The only way to stop the SJW barbarians is to shoot back. Make it tough, if not impossible, for them to impose cultural tyranny. Surrender only leads to more demands, more censorship, more badly grounded claims of moral superiority. Surrender narrows the discussion and the boundaries of what may be discussed.

The only silver lining to Niedzviecki and Kay’s failure to fight back is that their cowardice in the face of the viciousness of their detractors shows just what liberal, free speech, supporters are up against. Kay, in particular, has access to major media, friends in government and the academy (not to mention the PMO) and has demonstrated a willingness to suck up to the PC SJWs on issues like “climate change”. If these cultural fascists can “get” him it is a huge warning to the rest of us.

 

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Comey

So Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

On the Left this is the “Saturday Night Massacre”, grounds for impeachment and an obvious cover up of Trump’s treason.  (I always thought David Frum was an idiot and the linked article confirms it.) On the right Trump is seen as taking out the trash and there is no evidence of any Russian links and, hey, the Democrats were calling for Comey’s head only yesterday.

I am delighted Comey was fired simply because he totally blew the Hillary Clinton email case. Not by talking to the press, several times, about an ongoing investigation but rather because, in the face of the law and the evidence, he decided a statute imposing strict liability should be read as if intent mattered. He was wrong. Worse, he was arrogating a decision which was not his to make. Now, admittedly, Loretta Lynch had managed to destroy her credibility as the Attorney General by having a little face time with the husband of the suspect to chat about golf and grand kids; but that does not excuse Comey’s usurpation of the prosecutorial function.

Meanwhile, Trump on advice of his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General fired Comey. David Frum tweeted that this was a “coup”. Did I mention David Frum really is an idiot. (Needless to say, the Lying Jackal has the Saturday Night Massacre headline front and center at his unlinkable blog.)

The last person to fire an FBI Director was Bill Clinton. Was it a coup? Likely not as the Republic remains and, pace Hilly,  the House of Clinton is not still in office.

A lot of a President’s job is appointing and firing people at the very highest levels. It is routine. Trump, on advice, apparently did not think Comey did a very good job. That is his call and the Director of the FBI serves “at the pleasure of the President” and at the direction of the Attorney General. If they don’t like your style, your decisions or the colour of your socks, out you go.

Bye.

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Is it Something I Said?

Pooktre-man-tree-shapeSince moving to Vancouver Island twelve years ago we’ve lived in Oak Bay, the Cowichan Valley and North Saanich. All three ridings seem to have gone Green tonight.

My own sense is that Green voting is a class and virtue signifier. Oak Bay and North Saanich are very, very well off communities. Cowichan is less affluent but it is very much a retirement world where people live on not terribly generous pensions. But they are fairly secure knowing that their cheques will come.

These three ridings are also, compared to Vancouver and its suburbs, remarkably white.

The NDP and the Liberals have a see-saw battle in the Chinese and Sikh communities. In First Nations communities both parties are competitive. (I note that the winning Green candidate in my riding is a First Nations person named Adam Olsen.) But the Greens are currently confined to largely white enclaves.

Now, here is the thing: in 40 ridings the Green Party broke 15%, in 17 they broke 20%. They ran second in 6 and won 3.

There are two losers tonight: the Liberals and the NDP. And there is one winner: the Greens. They managed to split the NDP vote and likely cost the NDP a majority government.

However, where the NDP and the Liberals have no obvious room to grow their electorate, the Greens have a very good shot at expanding theirs. The fact is that the people who shop at Whole Foods, send their kids to “French Immersion” if they can’t afford private (not for racist reasons of course) and think recycling is an act of benediction are legion. They used to vote NDP, now they have an alternative.

Andrew Weaver may be a lousy climate scientist but he is not an unintelligent man. He can count (so long as it does not involve climate change time series) and there are six ridings where the Greens came second. A rational, non-coalition, support of the Liberals would let him pass legislation of greater consequence than a ban on mandatory high heels for women in serving jobs. The Liberals, who will likely be reduced to a rural rump despite having likely won the most seats, are basically being elected by BC’s version of “deplorables”.  Nice people think they are a bit, well, common.

Dr. Weaver, well educated, Oak Bay resident and articulate guy that he is should be able to target those nice, white, very liberal people and peel them away from both the Liberals and the NDP. Plus, Weaver has the children who have grown up on Green ideology masquerading as education.

One winner tonight: the Greens.

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Not the Right

It appears that political cipher Emmanuel Macron is on his way to beating Marine Le Pen. While a Le Pen victory would have been a useful poke in the eye to assorted French and Euro elites, that poke would have come at a price. Namely Le Pen’s 50’s style dirigiste economic policies and, frankly, the wrong sort of nationalism.

France faces the necessity of untangling fifty years of statist economics. It also faces having to deal with 5 to 10 million unassimilated Muslims who are largely outside French society. And it faces waves of “refugees” pushing in from the Middle East and Africa. M. Le Pen’s economic positions would have simply re-enforced the anti-competitive labour, tax and pension laws which have hollowed out the French economy. And, while she was willing to talk a tough game on terrorism, her brand was so toxic that actually dealing with the combined Muslim and refugee crisis would likely be stillborn in a bureaucracy terrified of being associated with that brand.

I don’t hold out much hope for Macron. He seems stuck in the rut of claiming that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam and the happy fantasy that people who have little to do with French society will, somehow, soak up enough terrior to leave North Africa behind and become “French”. While, at the same time, saying “French culture doesn’t exist in and of itself; there is no such thing as a single French culture. There is culture in France and it is diverse.” (link) (I use the full quote lest I be accused of taking Macron out of context.) This is multi-kulti at its best and is essentially meaningless as a defence of France as a European nation.

Unfortunately, that is about the best that can be expected at this stage of re-alignment in French politics. Macron, without a political party behind him, is likely to preside over a do nothing, status quo ante government. The French economy, France’s role in Europe, its position in the Euro, its “community” relations and its refugee problem are all likely to get worse. Systematic corruption, the extension of the “no-go zones” and “youth” riots will likely increase. Which, realistically, is pretty much the outcome I would have predicted if Le Pen had won.

People have a natural inclination towards the status quo until, somehow, that inclination collapses. That collapse can be triggered by a crisis or by the promise of something better. This French election occurred in the midst of a slow moving economic and social disaster but, realistically, there was no sharp “crisis”. And M. Le Pen offered nothing “better”; just something different. That was not enough.

France’s mainline parties were knocked out of the race as was the hard left: in a battle between the status quo and a ideologically incoherent, semi-charismatic, leader with the press and the elites strongly on the side of the status quo, it is not surprising that the French chose a President with very little ideological baggage.

Macron might surprise and turn out to be the right combination of flexible and tough. He might create a government of all talents and begin the task of rebuilding France. I certainly hope he turns out to be a good choice for France. But I am not optimistic.

For a nation to abruptly change course things sometimes have to get worse, much worse, before they get better. The status quo, (as Trump is finding out), is deeply resilient. Real change, change which actually looks to solve problems rather than manage them, comes when the status quo actually begins to collapse and real change is the only alternative. However, as Adam Smith observed, “Be assured young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”

Marine Le Pen wrapped herself in a populist mantle and suggested a return to pre-1968 France; that was not change, that was nostalgia. Le Pen was not of the Right, rather she seemed to want to substitute one status quo for another.

When and if France’s crisis comes nostalgia will not be a winning idea. Facing the future and deciding what that future means to France will require a radical, likely libertarian, re-allignment of French politics. Something which cannot be forced but will rather rise in answer to the challenge faced.

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Green Option

2017-001-pantone-color-of-the-year-2017-greenery-15-0343-coffee-mugIn the last BC provincial election Andrew Weaver – master of doubtful climate models and UVic professor – managed to win the riding I was living in. He has turned out to be a reasonably competent MLA and had led the Green Party on a relatively moderate course. Yes, there is still a lot of looniness about “climate change” but that goes with the territory.

A few years later and for this election I am living in a riding where there is a real chance that the Green candidate can pick up the seat bringing the Greens to two in the Legislature assuming that Weaver keeps his seat. Vaughn Palmer writing in the Vancouver Sun goes into the details of the three way fight in Saanich North here.

I have not voted yet and am weighing the options. I have no particular animus towards Christy Clark and the BC Liberals – other than the fact the silly woman put in a knee jerk carbon tax – but I don’t see any reason to vote for them other than to keep the NDP out of government. As a general rule I never vote for the NDP, especially at the provincial level, simply because BC has enough economic problems without putting a bunch of agenda driven, public service union beholden, socialists in charge.

Normally, that calculus means that I would hold my nose and vote Liberal; but in this election, in this riding, voting Green is very tempting. Not because I agree with much of what the Greens stand for, rather because voting Green is a safe way of registering dissatisfaction with the BC Liberals. (This, by the way, is driving the NDP crazy as illustrated in this interview with eco-warrioress Tzeporah Berman in The Tyee. There is nothing like a good faction fight on the eco loon left to warm the cockles of my heart.)

An ideal election outcome from my perspective is a BC Liberal victory by about one seat. Or a BC Liberal minority relying on the Greens to win confidence votes. The libertarian side of me wants to see government in all its forms rolled back; but if that is not going to happen then a weak, worried government is the next best thing. Voting Green in Saanich North takes a seat away from the NDP but avoids giving it to the BC Liberals. It is awfully tempting.

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Fragility

Lower-Otay-Dam-DisasterThe NYT published a rather mild piece on climate policy written by its new “conservative” hire Bret Stephens. The consensus claque went nuts. Dana Nuccitelli, who was in on the fraudulent Cook et al consensus paper so often cited, put up a spectacularly unhinged piece at the Guardian rallying the troops and denouncing Stephens as a “hippy puncher”. Subscription are being cancelled as we speak.

The, more or less, instant over the top reaction to a not terrifically radical suggestion that the more strident claims of the climate alarmists need a second look is not surprising. In fact, it is pretty much the only reaction the climate alarmists can have.

The problem climate alarmists have, along with the fact fewer and few people take climate alarmism seriously, is that their coalition is fragile. At one point, I would say about a decade ago, the need to “do something” about “climate change” as a motherhood issue. After all, the science was certain and the time for debate was over. People who were unwilling to accept the innate truth of the IPCC reports and the urgent need for expensive action were “deniers” and entirely excluded from the scientific or policy discussion. The alarmists knew The Truth.

As Stephens points out in his piece, 100% certainty is almost always an indication of a cult rather than any sort of actual truth. And the problem with complete certainty is that there is no flexibility. Either the claim is correct in every particular – which is very unlikely – or it is not. So, for example, the decade old consensus position that the world was growing warmer and warmer and that increases in CO2 were responsible for that warming was a hostage to fortune which was very unlikely to survive. One cooling year could be waved away as “weather”; declining estimates of temperature sensitivity to CO2 were just obscure enough that they could be ignored or suppressed; but the overall claim and the consensus which surrounded it were and are extremely vulnerable to contradiction or even mild doubt.

On the science side the greatest threats were the inadequacy of the climate models and the advent of the “hiatus”. The models entirely failed to project any circumstances in which temperature ceased to rise when CO2 continued to rise. However the hiatus created exactly that set of conditions for what is now looking like twenty years. (Right this instant, last year’s El Nino, broke the hiatus. However, rapidly cooling post El Nino temperatures look set to bring the hiatus back into play in the next six months to a year.)

The economic side is even worse. It turns out that renewable energy – windmills and solar – costs a fortune and is profoundly unreliable. Governments which went all in for renewables (see Ontario) found their energy prices hockey sticking and the popularity plummeting without, as it turns out, making even a slight impression on the rise of CO2 concentrations.

The economics of climate change and its “mitigation” are a shambles. And it is beginning to dawn on assorted politicians that they might have been railroaded with science which was not quite ready for prime time.

Which makes it all the more imperative for the Nuccitelli and DeSmog blogs of this world to redouble their attacks on even mildly sceptical positions. Had the alarmists been less certain their edifice could have easily withstood a recalibration of the science and a recalculation of the cost/benefits. But they weren’t. They went all in for a position which claimed to know for certain that CO2 was driving world temperature and that there was no other possible cause for an increase or decrease in that temperature.

The problem with that position is that it was premature and very brittle. As lower sensitivity estimates emerge, as other, non-CO2 driven, temperature controls are discovered, consensus climate science becomes more and more embattled. What had looked like a monopoly on political discourse and media comment begins to fray. The advent of Trump and a merry band of climate change skeptics in the regulatory agencies and in Congress, has pretty much killed any forward motion for the climate alarmists in the US. And the US is where this battle will be won or lost. However, the sheer cost of so called “carbon reduction” schemes in the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe has been staggering and has shown next to no actual benefit so scepticism is rising there too. China has both embarked on an embrace of climate change abatement and the construction of dozens of coal fired electrical generation plants every year.

What had been a climate change thought monopoly a decade ago has fractured along dozens of scientific, economic and policy lines. Some of the more intelligent alarmists realize that if dissent is not snuffed out ferociously it will spread. Heterodox science will appear in respectable journals,  non-conforming scientists will be invited to appear before Congress (as happened a few weeks ago), the costs and limited to non-existent benefits of renewable energy and carbon taxes will be closely examined; once the thought monopoly is broken the collapse of the climate change scam is inevitable.

Speed the day.Lower-Otay-Dam-Disaster

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Maxime!

 

Bernier, O'LearyPaul Wells suggests that Kevin O’Leary was a clown. No kidding. But the clown served a purpose in corralling all the silly votes – the people who think Canada needs its very own Trump – into one big cotton box. Now they have been released and asked to support the only adult in the PC zoo: Maxime Bernier.

Over at Kate’s place there are assorted dimwits nattering on about “French guy”. Let them natter. In actual fact, Maxime is the one actual conservative in this race. Libertarian on social policy, free market on economic policy. Our Red Tory friends will take to their fainting couches at the possibility of a real conservative winning.

Meanwhile, conservatives who like to win elections have to take a serious look at Bernier. He’ll carry Quebec seats, likely quite a lot of them. He’ll play well in the West because, other than really fossilized old anti-Quebec bigots, he understands a free market spirit.

In “vote rich” Ontario? Hard to say. He’ll certainly get up the nose of the Star and I am not entirely sure he is polite enough for the Globe and Mail; but I can see the guy doing well in the ‘burbs. He’s not a Rob Ford populist, he’s about 90 times smarter than Ford; but he can throw a softball and, I bet, cook a hot dog.

What Bernier is not, and why I think he should win, is an elite Central Canadian. He is willing to look at pipelines, the end of supply management on the farm, killing the CBC. Detail stuff which actually matters.

It is tough to find a CPC candidate with much going on, with that bit of charisma which matters. It is even tougher to spot one who might just take down our boy Justin (who apparently thinks its cool his dad got his little brother off pot charges).  Bernier looks like and sounds like the adult in the room.

And now he likely has the votes. Quick, can you remember four CPC candidates’ names other than O’Leary and Bernier? You might get one or two but Bernier pulled out in front two months ago and looks likely to stay there.

In spite of the the Ontario, Red Tory, dummies it is possible that the CPC might just elect someone who can beat Trudeau. Pure fluke but there you go.

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Wheat and Heat

Huge grain storage bags are seen in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota in this 2012 aerial handout photoWe were promised that climate change would threaten food supplies…especially wheat.

Apparently not.

From Iowa to China, years of bumper crops and low prices have overwhelmed storage capacity for basic foodstuffs.

Global stocks of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans combined will hit a record 671.1 million tonnes going into the next harvest – the third straight year of historically high surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s enough to cover demand from China for about a year.

In the United States, farmers facing a fourth straight year of declining incomes and rising debts are hanging on to grain in the hope of higher prices later. They may be waiting a long time: Market fundamentals appear to be weakening as the world’s top grain producers ponder what to do with so much food. reuters

That is the pesky thing about the real world, it keeps breaking models.

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Bully! A Splendid Little War

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So The Donald has sent in the cruise missiles in response to the Syrian sarin gas assault on its own people.

Sending 59 cruise missiles with conventional warheads and then sitting down to dinner with the Chinese President pretty much establishes Trump as a “tough guy”. But will he be smart enough to leave it at that?

In a very real sense, Trump has redrawn the “red line” which Obama and Kerry allowed to fade to palest pink. Served notice that “there is a new Sheriff in town” to quote an awful lot of pro-Trump blogs. Which, I suspect, most international players had already noticed.

The question is whether Trump is able to enjoy an American casualty free battle and move on to the next thing on his agenda. Obama demonstrated in Libya that regime change may, or may not, be for the better. Generally, it seems to be a bad idea in the Middle East simply because the next regime may be worse than the one you “changed”. During the campaign, Trump seemed to get that. Does he now?

Assad needs to go. Murderous barbarian and all. However, he needs to go when there is some idea of a better thing to replace him. That might be a new regime or it might be the carve up of both Syria and Iraq and the end of the Sykes-Picot travesty which has haunted the Middle East for nearly a hundred years.

Regime change could be accomplished with a lot of money, a few Russian Spetsnaz and a dozen bullets. But what then?

Unwinding Sykes-Picot is a much larger and, strategically, more intelligent enterprise. Defeat ISIS and then carve out the Sunni, Kurd and Shia enclaves being sensitive to the worries of the Turks and the position of the minorities. That is the work of a negotiator and a statesman. And it is something which will involve Putin as well as Trump. No bad thing that.

Right at the moment, Russia is hanging on by a thread. Demographically, economically it is in huge trouble. For Putin to survive he needs to seem indispensable. Trump can give him that. Putin can give Trump essentially nothing. Other than his nukes and his special forces, he is the Tsar of a gradually dying nation and only massive help from America can really save him. Monkeys can climb a very long way up trees, it is the getting down part which is tricky.

Syria offers Putin the opportunity to act as and be seen as a statesman.  With Trump’s help, he can open the book on Sykes-Picot and facilitate the reformation of Syria and Iraq into a loose confederation of ethnically and religiously homogenous statelets. Between the Americans and the Russians, all of the factions can be brought to the table and, with luck, disarmed and sent on their way. None of the resulting states will be heard of again for generations.

Trump has played the first card of a strategy which will likely take a few years to play out. By being willing to punish actions which are against all agreed-upon international norms Trump makes it clear that hard power is a real thing for America again.

Trump knew the world was watching and he gave them a show. Now we’ll see what he does with the attention.

 

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