Meng Wanzhou Protest Debacle


On December 1, 2018  Huawei CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody at Vancouver International Airport. Meng (her Chinese family name, commonly known as Cathy or Sabrina Meng, is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei). RCMP detained Meng on request of the U.S. government, arrested under terms of a reciprocal Canada/U.S. extradition treaty. The U.S. Department of Justice formally charged Meng with financial fraud on January 28, 2019. She’s accused of defrauding multiple financial institutions in violation of U.S. imposed bans on Iran. On January 20, 2020 extradition hearings commenced in Vancouver. This Wiki link provides a great overview – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meng_Wanzhou

It came as no surprise following Meng’s 2018 arrest when members of Vancouver’s Chinese national community protested outside the courthouse –

Fast forward to an image taken yesterday. See any Chinese national protesters? Confused by a cluster of young Caucasian awkwardly holding signs obviously penned by the same person? Ponder this – at least two protesters have spoken publicly on how they were lured to courthouse steps under false pretences and paid to be there. Actor Julia Hackstaff (far right in the image) was contacted on Facebook by someone she didn’t know, $100 for 2 hours work as an extra in a movie shoot. From CBC –

Hackstaff says she and a friend were told by her contact to go to the Holiday Inn a few blocks away and then brought to the courthouse. When they arrived, they approached a group of young people who looked “lost” she assumed were background actors.

“I went and asked, ‘Are you guys the extras?’ And one guy said yes. He then asked me my name and my friend’s name. So we gave him our first names and he checked on his phone like [as] if he had a list.”

Hackstaff said she was handed a red sign that said “Free Ms. Meng, Equal Justice!” Soon after, she began questioning what was actually going on.

“A CBS reporter approached me and my friend and she started interviewing us. And it was in those moments and questions where I started realizing, OK, if this was background work, they wouldn’t need detail on background people.”

“And then I started realizing, wait, no one called ‘action,'” she said. 

Hackstaff says she “freaked out” when a second reporter approached, coming to the realization that the movie she thought she was appearing in was, in fact, something very real. She says that’s when she left without being paid.

Demonstrators outside B.C. Supreme Court on Day 1 of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing Monday. Actor Julia Hackstaff, far right, says she was told she was appearing as an extra in a movie shoot. (Georgie Smyth/CBC)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/paid-protesters-meng-wanzhou-1.5434613

The hubris of foreign meddlers to target actors on Facebook, use social media to message friends of friends is jaw dropping. Vancouver might be a globally inconsequential backwater, but we’re not stupid. Did China and/or immigrant Chinese loyalists actually believe an ill-conceived debacle to fraudulently lure paid protesters would spark public sympathy? News flash – Astroturfing (the practice of masking sponsors in support of political, religious or social issues to make it appear support/protest originated from grassroot sentiment) never, and I mean absolutely never end well – the truth always comes to light, bullshit always calls instigators out. Astroturf recipes try to bake pinnacles of arrogance into scrumptious morsels of delusion. In plain English – shame on those responsible for Meng’s Astroturf gong show, we’re not buying your biscuits.

The outcome of Meng’s extradition will be determined by Canadian law. Canadians have little sympathy for foreign interlopers who think otherwise. To them I say – instead of wasting your time and our patience, consider brushing up on how things work in Canada.

Facebook Anti-Propaganda Propaganda


On January 8, 2020 an article appeared in Teen Vogue titled “How Facebook is Helping Insure the Integrity of the 2020 Election” followed by “With the company’s huge platform comes huge responsibility”. The article interviewed five women who work on Facebook’s misinformation team. It read like a press release – Facebook has your back, we’re so wonderful, totally dedicated to eradication of misinformation, go team! The piece went to great lengths to illustrate how Facebook is tackling misinformation.

Several hours later Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg posted – “Great Teen Vogue piece about five incredible women protecting elections on Facebook. Since 2016 we’ve worked to stop the spread of misinformation, fight foreign interference and voter suppression, improve transparency, and encourage people to vote. There’s more to do and I’m so grateful we have this team – and hundreds of people across the company – working every single day to do it.”

Astute media watchers weren’t swayed by Facebook saccharine. Why no byline? Who wrote this? Something smells rotten. Rotten indeed – seems Facebook paid for the article, but rather than admit it, a line appeared on Teen Vogue reading “Editors note, this is sponsored editorial content”.  Facebook stayed the course, admitted nothing, apologized for nothing. Facebook paid for propaganda about how they’re combating propaganda! That’s not normal, or is it the new normal created by social media behemoths like Facebook?

Over the past few years work has allowed glimpses into hallowed halls at Facebook. Security is intense, it takes 15 minutes to secure visitor credentials. “Wear your lanyard at all times, stepping off concrete onto carpeted areas is forbidden, do not discuss Zuckerberg – it will be heard and not taken lightly. WTF? Beyond entrance formalities a bubble of extravagance erases any doubt Facebook has power and money to do what they damn well please. Motivational slogans of empowerment ripple seamlessly from futuristic team building hives to ping pong tables, $10,000 fresh squeezed orange juice machine, thirty foot wall of yours for the taking employee snacks, light meals, fresh produce and beverages. Who are these people?

In my opinion that’s the million dollar question. By all appearances Facebook culture embodies a young techno savvy millennial’s wet dream. Geek chic unleashed without cognisance of immense power and influence along for the ride. In a nutshell – Facebook wasn’t equipped to fathom a leap from social media army to commander in chief of global perspectives. That said, there’s absolutely no excuse for paid propaganda used in a anti-propaganda campaign.

 

Racial Dots


Researchers at the University of Virginia used the 2016 census to create a racial dot map of the United States. Every dot represents a citizen colour coded by ethnicity. Blue dots for white people, green for black, orange for Hispanic, red for Asian, brown for Native Americans and other ethnic groups. Racial segregation is immediately apparent.

This is Chicago, below is Los Angeles, followed by Washington DC

Libby Anne at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2018/12/the-most-sobering-thing-about-the-racial-dot-map.html?fbclid=IwAR2jRC4rVJV4I7gbP79GJcneLnzaf3etHjfi0O-sRGSyzlOp2fChoteLBPc&utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral started looking at the bigger picture, focusing on predominantly white rural areas. She noticed peculiar patterns of clustered green dots representing black citizens in rural white America.

She took to Google Maps which explained green dot anomaly as the Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton County, New York. A maximum security prison housing almost 3,000 adult males.

Here’s another one –

The Houtzdale Corrections Facility in Pennsylvania, opened in 1996 to house 1,597 inmates, now stuffed with 2,800 predominantly black green dot prisoners.

Libby Anne didn’t start with a list of correctional facilities. She looked at anomalies in the racial dot map and used Google Maps to understand what she was seeing. The pattern repeated itself over and over again all across America. In the words of Libby Anne –

“When activists talk about the criminalization of the African American male and the need for prison reform, this is what they’re talking about – an imprisoned population so racially unbalanced that you can find the locations of correctional facilities on a map that shows only demography and nothing else”

Ponder What Matters


As 2019 draws to a depressing conclusion, forget Trump, divisive partisan media jibber-jabber and political fear mongering. Put aside religious, racial, political and sexual bias – ponder what matters. Every last one of us has a choice – to open our hearts and minds, or languish in perpetual darkness of rigidity.

Playing For Change embodies the essence of equality through the power of music. If you’re unfamiliar with Playing For Change, get on board.

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. – https://playingforchange.com/

Wind


Shout out to Scottie at https://scottiestoybox.com/2019/12/23/trump-tells-student-group-i-never-understood-wind/ for posting this Trump bag of wind. Take a deep breath, suspend belief and mark the words of the president of the United States of America.

“I never understood wind. I know windmills very much, I have studied it better than anybody. I know it is very expensive. They are made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none, but they are manufactured, tremendous — if you are into this — tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right?”

“So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint, fumes are spewing into the air, right spewing, whether it is China or Germany, is going into the air,” he continued.

“A windmill will kill many bald eagles. After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off, that is true. By the way, they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?” – Donald Trump, speaking this weekend to Turning Point USA.

Thumbnail

Yikes!

Impeachment For Dummies


 

For fellow Canadians, globally curious onlookers, brick and mortar Americans – ponder impeachment for dummies. A no nonsense impeachment flowchart courtesy Buzzfeed.

Image credits: Melina Mara / the Washington Post via Getty Images (Pelosi); Drew Angerer / Getty Images (Trump); Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images (McConnell); Stephanie Keith / Getty Images (Trump); Caroline Brehman / CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images (Pence)

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/benking/confused-by-the-impeachment-process-this-flowchart-should?utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral

War Donkey


Allow me to introduce War Donkey – first place this Canadian goes for perspective on American politics. Copied below, a impeachment update posted tonight by War Donkey founder Dave Consiglio. “Impeachment Updates” reads like a comedy sketch, so warped it couldn’t possibly document reality. Time to stop laughing, clucking and wringing hands. Wake up America! This is real.

https://www.quora.com/q/war-donkey

Impeachment Updates
Dave Consiglio

Place Your Bet….


This Canadian considers herself informed, dare I say dialed in to global political affairs. Who knew dialed in included knowledge of novelty bets sanctioned by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Novelty bets? In Canada they appear on the Lottery Corporation website PlayNow under “Sports Other”. Politics a novelty sport? Fine, I’ll play along. Canada’s lottery corporation lists eleven Trump “specials” open for wagers, everything from impeachment to Trump Mexico, Russia and North Korea. (See link below). If Trump were impeached (current odds are 6-4 for not impeached), a $4 bet is a $10 win. WTF?

https://www.playnow.com/sports/other-sports/novelty-politics/donald-trump

Right now, this very moment I could bet on Trump being banned from Twitter, Melania running against Donald in 2020, Trump building a wall along Canada/US border or any Mexican airport being named after Donald Trump. I’m not making this up!

Why Canada, why? Oh Canada, please explain when, how and why it became acceptable for government sanctioned political gambling to flourish under the category of novelty sport bets. Is there no end or limit to the lottery corporation’s absurdity? Politics aren’t a game. This Canadian resonates with disdain for your flagrant shenanigans.