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The numbers are in: Western Standard is the #3 news site in Western Canada

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This will be far from the most objective story I’ve written for the Western Standard, so reader beware of my evident self-interest in its contents, but it’s hard for me to resist sharing the news.

When we re-launched the Western Standard on October 21st, we projected a monthly readership of 5,000 pageviews for November. We quickly threw that number out the window as we realized that what we were offering had a demand much greater than what we expected. In the end, we closed our first full month (November) with more than 760,000 page views, and 233,000 individual readers.

We crunched the numbers against our competitors, and results have me scraping my lower lip off of my keyboard: the Western Standard ranks number three across all four Western Canadian provinces.

Western Standard’s November pageviews (source: Google Analytics)

To get these numbers, we took publicly available data on the pageviews of other major news websites and subtracted the bounce rate (viewers that immediately leave), and compared it with our own Google Analytics.

Using this metric, the Western Standard had a 639,000 pageviews in November, beat only by the Vancouver Sun (1,068,000) and the Calgary Herald (839,000).

Closest on our tail was the Winnipeg Free Press (540,000) and the Edmonton Journal (532,000).

This isn’t to say that the data is ironclad. Not all major news websites were available to compare against (CBC, Star Metro, Global and the Victoria Times Colonist). In some cases, we asked competitors for their web traffic stats, but were refused in every case. For transparency’s sake, I have included a screen shot of the Western Standard’s raw data here.

Why, How?

Even more difficult than giving an objective analysis of the data in the Western Standard’s success, is giving an objective reason for our early success. But I’ll try.

The original WS team saw an opening in the media market, like any disruptive business. We saw a media landscape with a few old, establishment players that tried to service the entire market as they have been consolidated behind a few big players. For Westerners in particular, this meant a media dominated by corporate and government interests in Eastern Canada and the United States.

We didn’t just want to fill the void with right-wing, angry columnists (like yours truly), but provide a genuine news and opinion platform that could be trusted. That is why we brought on not just great opinion columnists, but fair, strait-laced news reporters. As those who read the WS regularly can attest, there isn’t any ideological slant to our new coverage. The only difference in our news from the fair reporters in the mainstream media (there are a few) is that we focus on and follow issues that they largely ignore, or dismiss.

In doing so, we have built a readership that isn’t what most would expect of a platform that openly discusses hard-libertarian and conservative issues, and questions the West’s status in confederation.

Traditional wisdom would have us expect that the WS’s readership should be old men. While they undoubtedly count for some of our readership, we are nearly gender balanced (46 per cent women), and young (61 per cent under age 35).

We still have a long ways to go to make the Western Standard a success. While we have huge readership numbers, we still need to build out the business-side of the WS to secure advertisers to make it financially viable.

We have had early success in building our membership however. In the absence of a paywall subscription, large numbers of readers have decided to generously open their wallets to make small, monthly contributions to help us make ends meet. If you haven’t done so already, please consider becoming a member.

None of this would have been possible without our early members, and our dedicated team of staff and contributors, who have thus far done this as a labour of love.

To our Members, staff, and contributors, thank you for helping to make the Western Standard such an early success.

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher of the Western Standard and President of Wildrose Media Corp. publisher@westernstandardonline.com

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher, President & CEO of Western Standard New Media Corp. He served from 2015-2019 as a Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the Wildrose and Freedom Conservative parties. From 2009-2014 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

Features

Prof says technocracy envisioned in federal document advanced by pandemic

In an interview with the Western Standard, he said recent scientific advances have made the technocratic dreams of Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) an impending possibility.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has advanced the transhumanist vision of a federal policy paper released two years ago, according to a Canadian academic.

When Concordia University political science professor Travis Smith wrote his 2005 PhD dissertation at Harvard University, he argued medicine could be used to destroy liberal democracy.

In an interview with the Western Standard, he said recent scientific advances have made the technocratic dreams of Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) an impending possibility.

“There is no end and no restrictions upon the kinds of experiments that we would conduct upon nature, including human nature, in order to transform it. ‘Supersede’ it is the language that Francis Bacon used. The goal is to supersede humanity, and to super impose upon us new natures,” Smith said.

“It was envisioned that there should be effectively a single authority politically, but really, the real rulers were the scientists — so, an oligarchy of the wise.”

Smith said a Policy Horizons Canada document called “Exploring Biodigital Convergence” manifests the centuries-old concept. The February 2020 paper said Canadian policy makers should support and guide a process where human existence is transformed by the merger of man and machine.

“It actually promises that we’re going to change bodies, change minds, and change behavior,” Smith said. “So what kind of democratic free person reads that and thinks, ‘Oh that sounds like a good thing. I can’t wait to sign up to having my body, my mind, my behavior changed by whoever’s in charge’?”

To illustrate this potential future, the authors envision surveillance “bugbots” to guard against intruders, artificial intelligence to monitor neighbourhoods for pathogens, municipalities that regularly check household feces for disease, and building codes that require automated efficiency and capture carbon for credits.

Smith said there’s nothing “idyllic or idealistic or romantic” about the portrayal.

“There’ll be thousands of thousands of minute regulations of your everyday existence [by] artificial intelligences that surround you, watch you, make its recommendations to you, and I’m sure, apply sanctions to you, both rewards and punishments, for making the correct choices to earn more carbon credits or earn more social credits.”

The pandemic has brought this techno-regulated world closer according to Smith. In the province of Quebec where he teaches, two doses of COVID-19 vaccines no longer allow recipients into bars and restaurants. The QR-coded vaccine passport now requires three doses

“There’s no limit to what treatments they could require or procedures you would have to undergo… to continue enjoying whatever freedoms they permit you to continue to indulge in. But [it’s] your freedom in the Orwellian sense in which slavery is freedom because you only get your freedoms because you obey. And what choices are going to be left to you?”

As lockdowns, social distancing, masks, and vaccines were imposed worldwide, Smith saw more evidence that all humanity is being steered to a similar and possibly post-human existence.

“With the direction that the current last two years has shown us that we’re on track for, why would you expect there’ll be different rules in different places?” Smith asked.

“The convergence, it will mean a great deal of homogeneity, a great deal of uniformity… The only difference would be, are you among the ultra elite or are you among the masses? Are you among those who make the rules and benefit the most from everybody else’s compliance? Or are you one of the ones that submits?”

Smith says a two-tiered humanity is inherent to this futurist vision, yet even those on top will still be bound in many ways.

“There’s no way a power that could create superhumans yields equality. The essence of the project is to generate superiority, and it will depend on the generation of inferiority as well. The project is you create superhumans and subhumans,” he said.

“We all know with totalitarian societies that the elites are always forced to conform and have to behave in fashions that reach consensus and uniformity because failing to conform is to be guaranteed rejection from the elite.”

Smith said there’s a “good chance” technocrats could one day control our actions, speech, and thoughts in ways not yet possible. Alternatively, disillusionment over the failure of lockdowns and the vaccine to stop the pandemic could create a backlash to forestall a technocratic agenda.

“Human beings aren’t going to consent to all of this all at once… It requires manipulation, or it requires dissimulation, or it requires coercion, or at least a heck of a lot of cajoling,” Smith said.

“To use the language of The Godfather, they have to be given an offer they can’t refuse. What’s the alternative? The alternative is, if anybody’s allowed to opt out, they get to live in a Brave New World style savage reservation.”

Lee Harding is a freelance journalist living in Saskatchewan.

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Features

These Yellowstone-Alberta memes capture the soul of Wild Rose Country

The Montana-based violent drama has found its way into the hearts of Albertans — it even mentioned the friendliness of the Calgary Stampede — with a new meme circulating on Facebook.

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The Paramount Network smash-hit Yellowstone is wildly the most popular show on cable and streaming on Amazon Prime.

Although the network blockbuster starring Kevin Costner drew more than 11 million viewers for its fourth season finale earlier this month, without streaming, it has gone virtually unnoticed by award shows until Wednesday — receiving its first major nomination for a Screen Actors Guild award.

The Montana-based violent drama has found its way into the hearts of Albertans — it even mentioned the friendliness of the Calgary Stampede — with a new meme circulating on Facebook.

The meme depicts show characters as a representation of towns and small cities throughout Alberta.

The character Beth Dutton played by Kelly Reilly is captioned with Alberta’s St. Paul and has the most comments of all the characters listed in the meme, likely due to her merciless, tougher-than-tough, bad-ass nature.

“She’s a Cockroach. A Superhero Without the Cape,” said Reilly reflecting on her character Beth in a recent article in Esquire.

Tanya Hollasch — calling herself a Beth look-a-like — commented on Ms. Dutton’s image with an attached picture of herself — bright purple shiner and all.

“I’ve been told I’m a Beth look-a-like from Bonnyville🙈 ….I’m just not bad-ass enough 🤣 just a boring story of a horse mishap😂”

Many of the main characters from the show are featured in the meme including Costner representing Nanton.

Hundreds of people have chimed in from picture to picture either agreeing wholeheartedly with each character’s related Alberta location or have inserted their own suggested location comparison.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Features

MAKICHUK: Unholy alliance: America faces a formidable two-front crisis

That might be the diplomatic view, but two against one was never a fair fight.

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The year is 2065.

Russia and China have combined their space programs and now have a functioning, expansive joint lunar station.

Advanced Chinese shuttle landers are making regular visits to the base, which has pioneered major mining projects below the lunar surface with the use of robot devices.

The station generates its own food, water and oxygen, and the landers regularly deliver workers and supplies and return shipments of valuable minerals.

America, a once-great power in space could not keep up with the expanding space gap, nor the military gap, or even the technology gap and now trails the two nations that formed a strong alliance early into the new century.

Back on earth, China, with Russian help, invaded Taiwan and now controls the former democratic island, enforcing a strict Communist crackdown on the helpless populace. 

The US, a country racked by crumbling infrastructure, runaway poverty and deep political divisions and now dwarfed by the Sino-Russian alliance, did nothing — except to place more useless sanctions on Beijing.

This may sound like a dream, or perhaps even a nightmare, depending on what your perspective is.

Could it happen? Nobody knows, of course. But the way things are going an alliance of this nature appears to be growing with each day, week and month.

The more the US and its allies place pressure on China for its perceived sins, the more they push the Red Dragon into an unholy alliance with the Russian bear.

Beware of such a development, because it will change the world.

According to a report in the New York Times, the militaries of both countries have stepped up joint exercises and even operations, including in the air and for the first time in October, naval patrols in the Pacific. They have also pledged to explore space together.

Analysts say that an important factor in Russian-Chinese ties is the personal chemistry between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, both men in their late 60s who have consolidated control over their countries’ political systems, NYT reported. 

Xi has addressed Putin as his “old friend,” while the Russian president called his Chinese counterpart both his “dear friend” and “esteemed friend.”

There is still plenty of historical friction between Russia and China, onetime adversaries that share a land border stretching more than 4,200 km.

But on trade, security and geopolitics they are increasingly on the same page, forming a bloc trying to take on American influence as both countries’ confrontations with the US deepen, the NYT reported.

For Putin, a recent congenial video summit between the two comes at a high-stakes moment in his brinkmanship over Western influence in Ukraine.

The imposing Kremlin leader, facing threats of crushing Western sanctions if Russian forces attack Ukraine, heard Xi propose that Russian and China cooperate to “more effectively safeguard the security interests of both parties.”

Meanwhile, China has come under US and European criticism for human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region and its suppression of political freedoms in Hong Kong as well as its alarming military activity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Make no mistake, the mere thought that two of the strongest military powers in the world may join forces against the US and its allies will send shockwaves through the corridors of Western powers — for the basic fact, it is a two-front crisis that US President Joe Biden can’t win.

And while the two countries have not signed anything official and neither of the leaders can really be trusted further than you can toss a chihuahua, this can’t be ignored.

Yet, the US appears blind to the fact it is pushing China into a corner, with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rejecting so-called “red-lines” in Ukraine and Taiwan — tough talk, but it might just be another hollow gesture.

Words don’t stop tanks, fighter jets, missiles or amphibious landing craft.

Citing human rights concerns, the US, Canada and Australia have declared diplomatic protests over the upcoming 2022 Beijing Summer Games (athletes will still attend), while Putin was the first major leader to RSVP his attendance.

This week, the Biden administration added China’s top military medical research institute to an export blacklist in response to concerns about Beijing’s use of emerging technologies such as biometrics and brain-control weapons.

All that aside, Ukraine is not a member of NATO and does not receive Article 5 protections from the alliance, Defense One reported. But the country does receive regular rotations of US troops and sales of weapons to bolster its self-defense. 

Taiwan is recognized by the Taiwan Relations Act, under which the US provides weapons and training to Taiwan so it too can defend itself. But neither is guaranteed US military protection in case of an attack.

The US, meanwhile, plans to channel US$7.1 billion in defence spending to the Indo-Pacific region in the next financial year, the South China Morning Post reported.

It is turning its entire military might — the Navy, Marines, the Air Force and the Army — toward the Indo-Pacific theater. Even the CIA is following suit, with the creation of a new China mandate, abandoning its Bush-era war on terror.

Zhao Tong, a senior fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing, told the SCMP the funding indicated the US was determined to confront China head-on.

“Beijing is driven by its goals for national rejuvenation and Washington understands that it’s impossible for them to change China’s political mindset, which is counter to the one recognized by the Western world,” Zhao said.

The winds for a perfect storm are howling in both Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific just as the Biden administration is reeling from the effects of a chaotic withdrawal from a 20-year war in Afghanistan and a persistent pandemic that has exacerbated sharp political divides at home, Newsweek reported.

“This is a time when democracies are being challenged — some being challenged from within, others being challenged from without,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe press conference. 

“And there is a contest between autocracies and democracies, and as President Biden has spoken to on numerous occasions, that is a fundamental contest of our time.”

That might be the diplomatic view, but two against one was never a fair fight.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald and covering military issues in Asia. He is also the Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news
makichukd@gmail.com

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

1,163 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

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