I want to read the news but I can’t. It’s behind a paywall.
I want to read a left leaning newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and a paper labeled as right wing, The Epoch Times. But I can’t read either because they are behind a paywall. I don’t think it is right to restrict those who cannot afford a subscription. That may not be me, but it may be a vast number who are living at the poverty level.
I could sacrifice and I could justify getting subscriptions, while living what is defined as just above the poverty level in Canada, but I think of the many others who may not have such a carefully crafted budget and who may not be able to keep the credit man at bay.
Lower income means a lower standard of living but when this effects knowing what is going on in the world, I think this is of concern. The trouble with poverty is that it can affect access to information in other ways, and reduce possibility of advancement. For instance, if you cannot afford college tuition then you can’t get a higher education and if you cannot get a higher education then you stand less chance of lifting yourself out of poverty. Today, however, education itself will cause poverty as tuitions escalate. A friend who finally received her Masters Degree stated she is now $60,000 in debt and that is low by comparison to others I’ve heard of.
But back to the topic. Is there not a way to allow everyone to simply access a newspaper, any newspaper? Sometimes the two newspapers I mentioned offer special subscription deals, but once they have your credit card information it can be difficult to “unsubscribe” after the offer runs up. With The Globe and Mail this has been an ongoing problem that many have complained about. You can subscribe online but you cannot unsubscribe without making a phone call. We have all experienced the hassle it is to get a real person who knows what they are doing on the other end of the line. I must add that it is demoralizing to go through this process, repeatedly, but that is a topic for another day.
With all the focus on misinformation and disinformation, are we finally supposed to content ourselves with no information?
The Elon Musk and Twitter saga keeps me entertained these days. From the initial outrage that a billionaire would dare buy a media company (not that this is unusual)…to the threats of lawsuits…to Twitter’s board’s insistence that Musk must indeed buy Twitter now…do you get the sense that somebody knows how to play this game?
Musk has put his purchase of Twitter on hold until he gets accurate information on bots on Twitter. For anyone who doesn’t know what bots are, well, they are “robots” essentially. In other words, not real people. The way I see it, someone might create 20 “fake” accounts, bots in other words, and then spam Twitter. What is the impact and why would anyone do this? The result is that it looks like some people have way more followers than they actually do, and that some ideas are much more popular or disliked than is the actual case. Why would anyone want to do this? You might be able to come up with a few reasons.
I’ve noted that certain more right wing figures, like for instance Tim Pool and Stephen Crowder, reported on their YouTube channel that within days of Elon Musk requesting information from Twitter about bots, they suddenly had a significant increase in Twitter followers, to the tune of tens of thousands. I’m pretty sure Twitter didn’t create more bots to follow them, because that is not what you do when you are trying to sell a business. Investors don’t want to learn there are more bots, maybe not even that there are bots. Is it possible that Twitter suddenly reinstated accounts it had closed? I don’t know. This would offset bot numbers, I would think, making it look like there was a lower percentage of bots. I’m just following a trail of information breadcrumbs as I try to understand this.
Twitter bosses and employees had a literal melt-down when Elon Musk began to pursue the purchase of Twitter and it’s not difficult to figure out why. Twitter has a lot of power. After all, it de-platformed a sitting president of the USA. To be forced to hand over this power to a billionaire, whose political views might not agree with theirs, well…you can imagine. You can also imagine that the decision to boot Trump off Twitter was not made in a Twitter vacuum. A lot of pressure was put on Twitter and other social media to influence the election in favor of Democrats. As this opinion piece says, “Controlling this public square of political debate has been of immense benefit to Democrats, the media, globalists, and the government bureaucracy.”
Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted that Twitter’s legal team accused him of violating a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was just 100 accounts.
“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” the Tesla CEO tweeted. “This actually happened.”
Shares of Twitter were down by nearly 10% in pre-market trading on Monday.
Musk Musk on Friday tweeted that his $44-billion cash deal to take the company private was “temporarily on hold” while he awaited data on the proportion of its fake accounts.
He said his team would test “a random sample of 100 followers” on Twitter to identify the bots.
When a user asked Musk to “elaborate on process of filtering bot accounts,” he replied: “I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.”
With power potentially shifting it is becoming necessary to shore up media control. CNN found a quote by Tom Wheeler who wrote on Tech Tank at the Brookings Institution where he is a visiting fellow, “The idea that a handful of platforms can continue to make their own behavioral rules even when those decisions harm the public interest is no longer sustainable.”
Until now, the Trump ousters at Twitter have been fairly successful in making decision they consider to be in the “public interest.” But with power slipping out of their hands they are doubling down on efforts to control “misinformation.”
Even Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now obsessed with controlling information, in the style of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Here is another link. Did you know that Ukraine is the first country, according to Wikipedia, to have a Jewish head of state and head of government? I find this interesting because the countries supporting Ukraine against Russia have shown some ambivalence towards Israel, particularly when the American embassy was moved to Jerusalem as recently as 2018, under Trump’s presidency. I know this has nothing to do with bots, but it does have a lot to do with who is influencing who. This one remains a mystery as it doesn’t quite fit the mold, particularly since Ukraine has typically been a Nazi safe haven.
A Yahoo News report states that in addition to shutting down his opposition in parliament, Zelenskyy is “combining all national TV channels, the program content of which consists mainly of information and/or information-analytical programs, [into] a single information platform of strategic communication” to be called “United News.” This is in order to combat Russian misinformation and “tell the truth about the war.”
It amazes me that when the Freedom Convoy of truckers arrived in Ottawa to protest newly implemented vaccine mandates targeting truckers, Prime Minister Trudeau immediately falsely presumed and reported that the Convoy was funded by Russians. He tried to convince Canadians we had an insurrection on our hands, funded by foreigners, and froze the bank accounts of those who donated to truckers who lost their livelihoods as a result of the mandate.
Maybe Trudeau didn’t get the memo that there was no truth to the Russia collusion campaign Hillary Clinton instigated against President Trump. It does make you wonder what will happen if these people muscle their way into information control.
The most recent report on Twitter bots is that bots now represent in the neighbourhood of 20% of Twitter accounts. Oh, dear.
Two very different versions exist of the 2020 U.S. election. As a neighbouring Canadian I have taken an interest and tried to understand what actually happened. The whole saga is enthralling. It makes one wonder if a different story would have emerged if Elon Musk had bought Twitter two years ago.
Compare this with the Front Page Mag opinion article entitled, Yes It Was a Stolen Election, published on December 23, 2020 which tells what it was like to be on the receiving end of the election protection machine. This article is complete with 93 links to sources. Fascinating reading, both articles.
The New York Times documentary makes the claim that this magnificent effort was all about “protecting the election process.” This front doesn’t hold to the end of the article. It soon becomes apparent that the intent was to ensure an election win. Interestingly, many fell for the narrative, including some Trump supporters and religious leaders who got on board with “election protection.” Duping people into cooperation by telling them this is about preventing election fraud is clever indeed.
Here is an excerpt explaining what was accomplished in the name of protecting the election process. Note I have inserted a numerical outline and bold highlights.
Their work touched every aspect of the election. I. They got states to change voting systems and laws and II. helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. III. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, IV. recruited armies of poll workers and V. got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. VI. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and VII. used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. VIII. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, IX. preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. X. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.
The article is long and gives a very detailed account of how the election was won. It also reveals how 400 protest groups, ready to hit the streets, were told to stand down. They were only necessary to protest election fraud if for some reason Trump managed a win.
The article begins this way.
A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing.
The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence.
Mike Podhorzer is credited with being behind the election success. Although his primary objective is presented as election protection, he did serve as senior adviser to the president of the largest union federation in the U.S. where he was reputed to have used the latest methods, in particular data analysis, “to help favoured candidates win elections.”
Podhorzer organized a “well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws,steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, ‘a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group’, reported that, “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated.”
Among the private philanthropy groups that stepped in to help was The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that contributed $300 million and agreed to curb election misinformation online. To help prevent ‘election meltdown’ Podhorzer reached out to “members of the labor movement; the institutional left, like Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace; resistance groups like Indivisible and MoveOn; progressive data geeks and strategists, representatives of donors and foundations, state-level grassroots organizers, racial-justice activists and others.”
It looks like there were some tense moments in the effort to gain cooperation, as indicated by the report, “In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home, where they warned him about the danger of the election-related falsehoods that were already spreading unchecked. “It took pushing, urging, conversations, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more rigorous rules and enforcement,” says Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended the dinner and also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others.”
All of this was designed to ensure that any claim made by Trump regarding election impropriety would be ignored and regarded as false allegations. In a March 3 confidential memo by Podhorzer on the topic of threats to the 2020 Election, he stated “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged.”
This was a set-up. It took advantage of two things, weakness in the electoral system, and Trump’s mistrust of those running it, and combined them to a spectacular end. Trump would be the villain no matter the outcome. Either he would be a poor loser who claimed the election was stolen or he would be the one who stole the election. In the case that the efforts to secure a Biden win failed, people were ready to hit the streets and create chaos. Buildings were boarded up in advance.
“We knew exactly what Trump was going to do: he was going to try to use the fact that Democrats voted by mail and Republicans voted in person to make it look like he was ahead, claim victory, say the mail-in votes were fraudulent and try to get them thrown out,” says Protect Democracy’s Bassin. Setting public expectations ahead of time helped undercut those lies.
According to the article, Podhorzer’s game plan was five-fold: winning the vote was only the first step to winning the election. After that came winning the count, winning the certification, winning the Electoral College and winning the transition.
Rarely have I been as fascinated by an article or a strategy as I was by this disclosure of how the election was won. Read the Front Page Mag article I alluded to earlier, for comparison. Here is a sample of data reported in the article.
What happened in Georgia
In Georgia, illegal ballots were cast by, or in the name of: more than 2,500 felons; 66,247 underage voters; 2,423 unregistered voters; 4,926 individuals who had failed to register prior to the state’s voter-registration deadline; 395 individuals who voted in two states; 20,311 voters who had moved out of state and thus were no longer eligible to vote in Georgia; 40,279 people who had moved across county lines in Georgia without re-registering in their new county of residence; 30,000 to 40,000 people whose absentee ballots lacked a valid, verifiable signature; and at least 1,043 individuals whose voter registrations claimed postal facilities as their home address and disguised their box numbers as “apartment” numbers. Almost all of the people in this latter category were absentee voters who cast their ballots early….
A vote update in Georgia at 1:34 AM on November 4 added 136,155 votes for Biden and 29,115 votes for Trump.
Read both articles with an open mind and draw your own conclusions.
Trudeau may have revoked the Emergencies Act this week, under local and international pressure, but only after all the damage was done in his “crackdown” on truckers. Below is an article, in full, from this website, describing what the truckers face now: Nearly 40 Trucking Businesses Involved in Canada’s Freedom Convoy Protests Have Been Shut Down. The truckers have been vilified in the news in Canada and particularly by our Prime Minister. Prime Minister Trudeau has done everything he could to tarnish their name and to malign their motives. It is truly shameful. In Canada we feel we no longer have a democracy due to the draconian measures Trudeau has taken against the Freedom Convoy of truckers. Their big ask? To be able to work and freely cross the border. What did they get? Permanent shut-down. I have no words.
By Katabella Roberts
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) confirmed that it shut down nearly 40 businesses during its crackdown on Freedom Convoy protesters opposing COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
In an email to Global News on Feb. 23, Dakota Brasier, a spokesperson for Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, said the ministry had issued 12 seizure orders to Ontario-based large truck operators which suspended them from being allowed to operate within Canada.
The ministry also issued an order to seize all plates registered to them, Brasier said.
Outside of Ontario, the ministry also issued 27 seizure orders to out-of-province large truck operators, which stopped them from operating any commercial motor vehicles in Ontario, Brasier said.
The MTO would not reveal the name of the businesses that were issued with the seizure orders when asked to comment by Truck News.
“In an effort to preserve future police investigations into the illegal occupation in Ottawa, the ministry will not release the names of affected businesses at this time,” a ministry spokesperson told the publication when asked.
The Epoch Times has contacted an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesperson for comment.
Ford declared the emergency on Feb. 11 to address the impact of the ongoing protests against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions by trucker conveys who arrived in Ottawa on Jan. 29.
However, Ford’s office said in a statement on Feb. 23 that the “emergency tools” provided to law enforcement would still remain in place for now, “as police continue to address ongoing activity on the ground.”
“We remain grateful to all front-line officers and first responders that contributed to peacefully resolving the situation in Ottawa, Windsor, and in other parts of the province,” the statement said.
Invocation of the act granted the federal government powers to freeze protesters’ and supporters’ bank accounts without a court order.
Trudeau said invoking the act initially was “the responsible and necessary thing to do” and that there was evidence that individuals wanted to “undermine and even harm Canada’s democracy.”
However, prior to the Emergencies Act being invoked, Ambassador Bridge, the busiest Canada-U.S. border crossing which transports products between the two countries, had already reopened.
Meanwhile, blockades at the border crossings in B.C. and Alberta had also ended shortly after Feb. 14, and the biggest protest still ongoing was in Ottawa, yet the government insisted it was still necessary to use the act because there was an ongoing threat that new protests or blockades might pop up again.
After Trudeau’s announcement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said that it was reaching out to financial institutions to unfreeze accounts.
“As of February 21, 2022, the RCMP has gone back to financial institutions with some updated information about certain entities whose status may have changed pertaining to the illegal protest activity,” RCMP said in a statement.
“This new information can be assessed alongside all other information to help inform decisions to unfreeze certain accounts.”
In total, RCMP had frozen at least 206 accounts due to support of the Freedom Convoy, totaling $7.8 million, according to Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister of finance.
In Canada we set aside November 11 as Remembrance Day. Flags are lowered and there are ceremonies across the country honouring veterans, along with a minute of silence at 11:00 a.m. This year I was deeply moved as I read two articles posted on Facebook by relatives of veterans. One relates to the Battle of Vimy Ridge, in the First World War. The other is about the D-Day Battle at Normandy, in World War II. Both were turning points.
It struck me that many of the men on the beaches of Normandy only had field experience and, as was reported, “were already in the boats when they learned it was no exercise” that awaited them. Only four of the eleven member company of Abe Goertzen (below) returned.
As we commemorate Remembrance Day I think of those who gave their lives and the loved ones they left behind. I think of the ones who returned and try to comprehend what soldiers endured. I know I will never fully understand.
In an article by Charlotte Cuthbertson, in the Epoch Times, entitled, After War, the Journey Home Takes a Lifetime, we read that the community has to share responsibility for what happened in a war. Psychotherapist Ed Tick, who has worked with veterans for 45 years, puts it this way, “You acted in my name, I paid the bills, I sent you. You didn’t do this on your own. And it wasn’t your decision, you were doing it representing me and our country, and you thought you were protecting me. So I take responsibility for you. And for whatever you did, and I’ll carry it with you, and I’ll help you come home.”
As a community we often don’t even begin to know how to help veterans return home. This became very clear to my husband and me some years ago when we discovered a veteran deceased in his room on Remembrance Day. He lived in the townhouse complex we managed. We were alerted to something being wrong when the tenant beneath him called to tell us the music had been on all night in the suite above him. The tenant seemed distressed earlier in the week and related some of his wartime experience in the Korean War to my husband. We were deeply concerned, but didn’t know what to do beyond offering compassion and lending a listening ear.
The Epoch Times article outlines six therapeutic steps to recovery from wartime trauma and it is worth the read. It points out that moral injury is the most difficult to process. From the article, “Moral injury is defined as a wound to the soul caused by participation in events that violate one’s deeply held sense of right and wrong.” According to Tick, “Even witnessing morally questionable acts will cause moral injury….Moral injury is at the heart of PTSD.”
The article states, Moral injury symptoms include profound shame, guilt, betrayal, grief, and alienation.
In the words of Dr. Tick, “We really have to get our warriors in service and our veterans afterward to feel safe and secure so they can deeply explore their own conscience and their own value system and how they feel about what they did. And then give them opportunities for restoring and recovering those more esoteric moral dimensions of their being.” Tick relates the moving story of healing that happens when he takes vets of the Viet Nahm war back to Viet Nahm where they meet their fellow “warriors.”
What stood out for me was the view that veterans do not become normal citizens but are instead warriors. “Traditional cultures didn’t call somebody a warrior until they could carry the experience without traumatic breakdown. Because warriors are supposed to become community elders and leaders and teachers after service,” states Tick.
I recently heard Jordan Peterson allude to the necessity of a higher “spiritual” experience in the context of recovering from addiction. This revelation draws a person out of the depths to a higher plane of experience. I see a similarity of experience here as veterans view themselves as unique contributors to society.
As I contemplated moral injury, I was reminded of the words of Jordan Peterson, in Beyond Order, Twelve More Rules for Life, where he stresses the importance of not doing anything that would make you “contemptuous of yourself” or that makes you “weak and ashamed.” In other words, “Don’t do anything that violates your conscience.”
Wartime causes men to violate their conscience. I venture to say war is brought about by those who violate their consciences and do unconscionable things. When there is an aggressor there is correspondingly the defender.
While we are privileged to live in a society where we are not compelled to violate our conscience, we want to value this freedom and guard our hearts and minds to avoid moral injury and its devastation. There is an old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Read the article for more insights. As the title states, After War, the Journey Home Takes a Lifetime.