The War on Social Media: Is Trump the biggest Social Justice Warrior of them all?

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Fake news is a phrase that we have come to associate with Donald Trump in the same way that we do a machine that Hoovers with Dyson. I’ll bet you can hear him saying it right now.

With the news that Trump is about to take the Social Media Companies to task – now that Twitter has created a button to flag fake news, the threat that the President of the United States could pull the rug from under the new media age is something that should concern us all.

Fake news remains a major problem on streams such as Facebook and Twitter. But fake news is now a constituent part of what Mainstream Media and Governments actively create when they publish or broadcast subjective opinion or personal views, then frame it as being objective or factual news.

We have seen this process in action just this week, with Emily Maitlis editorialising what should have been a journalistic intro to the BBC’s Newsnight Programme on Tuesday evening, giving what was an opinion on the Cummings saga whilst dressing it up as clear fact.

Emily is thankfully a relative minnow in comparison to the World’s heavyweight opinionator Donald Trump. What they share between them is the misuse of a public platform to project the correctness of their own views – or who they represent, clearly opposing alternative points of view, not to mention playing hard and loose with any countering truths.

A wholly objective Trump might have a point about easy ‘reporting’ on Twitter being a retrograde step. Teaching and promoting the art of critical thinking in Schools, Colleges and Universities would be a much more appropriate and reasoned action for any Government to take.

Regrettably, the subjective and Donald first at any cost Trump that we know simply hates the prospect of it being easy and straightforward for any normal person to call him out.

Trump heads towards a late Autumn Election in which he intends to secure a second term. Shutting down Companies like Twitter and Facebook now would simply be with the intent of furthering his own political cause. It is a step that is unlikely to pay the dividends that he intends or would like.

Social Media has been very kind to Trump for as many wrong reasons as there have been right. Trump would do well to remember that now.

Whilst 2020 began with his re-election looking like it was in the bag, his handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the rise of Joe Biden make it look anything but certain that he will win.

The difference between now and 2016 is the rules have changed. Social Media has matured. More and more of us know and understand what it is all about.

Yes there are many echo chambers that exist and confirmation bias does have an unkind habit of doing its absolute worst.

But for all the trolling and negativity of this parallel universe that the Internet and Social Media provides us, the positives and the opportunities they offer far outweigh the negatives. That’s as long as our freedom of use is maintained universally, as it was intended and our communication is not censored, coerced or controlled.

Trump is possibly the worst offender when it comes to being the archetypal angry control freak attempting to influence and dictate what others are in his view always supposed to think. 

The parallels with Social Justice Warriors who visit destruction on the livelihoods and reputations of whoever gets in the of their agendas are quite startling and we have to wonder if Donald Trump is the biggest SJW of them all?

 

image thanks to newyorker.com

 

Cummings Statement: The elephants in the room and missed questions about the validity of the Lockdown

May 25, 2020 2 comments

After a delay that brought new meaning to the term ‘a pregnant pause’, Dominic Cummings rolled into view over half an hour late to deliver a Statement that had basically put the UK on pause.

In a diatribe that raised possibly more questions than it could ever answer, such as the 30 mile drive with his family to check out that he was fit to drive, we witnessed a very different side to the Prime Ministers head honcho.

For once, he looked submissive to the system he is most often pictured showing complete contempt for and gave an explanation that would have been more at home in a headmasters study after a trailer load of dog turds were found floating in the school swimming pool than being given at a press conference of this magnitude on the No10 lawn.

Cummings looks scared. But the departure from his usual demeanour is likely to say more about the vulnerability of his Master, than the suggestion of a statement made with genuine humility on his own part.

Was this whole episode today more about saving Boris, simply because the PM cannot be without his Chief Spad?

In terms of opportunities missed, the chain-gang of media names that rocked up to ask their questions in order immediately afterwards seemed to leave one very important subject untouched: Has the Lockdown really ever been valid when your actions – as one of the key instigators of its implementation and design – clearly demonstrate that it is not?

It is difficult to see that Cummings will be going very far from No10 anytime soon.

The mainstream media are missing the point that the Government’s Policy of Lockdown and Social Distancing that they are attempting to bolster by putting Cummings on the rack is itself fundamentally flawed.

By failing to question its legitimacy when they have the perfect opportunity to do so like this – they are themselves getting the whole thing and what their role should be completely wrong.

No single cause deserves a bespoke package of help. We are in this together and ALL need the right support from Government to survive – just the same

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The flow of pleas from companies like Landover, arts organisations like theatres and many others including charities for ‘bespoke’ financial help from the Government, on the basis that they are a more deserving cause than any other is getting louder all the time.

We should not doubt for one minute that the managers, owners, employees, volunteers and supporters of any organisation staring over the cliff edge that the Government has created all feel that their purpose is most deserving of help as a priority. That’s what we all would do.

We notice big names because they usually have a big voice. But their status doesn’t make them different to anyone else or more deserving in any way.

As Coronavirus and the Government’s response to it has impacted all of us equally and not in the way that something might be industry specific – like a permanent volcanic ash cloud grounding all aircraft would hurt only the airlines and travel industry – there really is no excuse for bailouts or bespoke packages of support using public money and resources when everyone is having to deal with different impacts of a problem that have been caused by exactly the same thing.

There is no doubt that the Lockdown was a mistake from the start. The Lockdown was a disproportionate response to a problem that the Government still doesn’t understand. It could not justify implementing it or the accompanying Social Distancing measures on that one basis alone.

Universal problems require universal solutions.

So where that one error became the catalystic cause of an avoidable crisis was the failure of the Government to simply put a stop to everyone and every business or organisation having to continue to pay all the bills that could and should have been put on hold right at the start.

It really would then have been as simple as only having to pay everyone who had lost income a subsistence allowance or basic income, or top it up.

It would have cost the Country much less and jobs and businesses would have been mothballed rather than lost, with none of them set up to fail in the very turbulent months and possibly years that now regrettably lie ahead.

Treating anyone or any entity as if they are different now as we go forward – no matter how convincing or well-deserving their argument might be – will not help anyone in the long term – even the specific organisations involved.

Just like the so-called help the Government has given such the ‘Job Retention Scheme’,targeted or bespoke help might look like it is benefitting those targeted temporarily, but it is only delaying the inevitable.

The solution to this universal problem can only work if it is a universal solution.

We must be collectively treated as one.

Social Distancing and the ‘requirement’ for PPE will finish off many businesses that the Lockdown didn’t

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The only indicators of what is happening to business and our economy as a direct result of the Lockdown is the collapse of high street business names making it into the media and press.

They demonstrate just how vulnerable business has become to unexpected change in an age where for most enterprises cashflow is king and those big enough literally borrow money that sits in their bank accounts between payments from customers and the time its used to pay their bills.

Small businesses don’t have the luxury of such choices. Many get into enough trouble spending VAT and Corporation Tax (or the equivalent) using bank statements as their guide to what they can spend rather than management accounts.

No matter the method or morality of how businesses manage their finances, the Lockdown has created financial chaos for the majority that have had to stop or drastically reduce operations.

The cases where the Chancellors giveaway or Loan Guarantees would actually help businesses are few, because there is an assumption that trade levels will return to the level that they were before the Lockdown immediately when it is lifted. They won’t.

Some business owners already have no way forward. The debt created was never part of their strategy and is simply too big to service when trading will have dropped and trading figures before the Lockdown only just covered wages and bills.

Others will keep going, knowing that the debt may be repaid, but it will be a black hole they didn’t need preventing investment, pay rises and all sorts of positives that would have trickled down positively for customers, employees and suppliers.

It doesn’t stop there. Even business owners desperate to keep going – because their business is their whole livelihood – may negotiate the challenges the Chancellor created to find that their attempts to keep going are derailed by Social Distancing and PPE.

Take for instance the Dental industry. I am aware of a Practice forced to take one of the Government’s underwritten Loans in excess of £50K – a massive dent for any business to absorb, IF things had been the same when the Lockdown ends and the private business that they have developed over many years was set to immediately return.

The sting in the tail are changes to regulatory requirements likely to demand expenditure on additional PPE and the requirement to the lengthen of time allocated for basic procedures that may make private dentistry unaffordable for most.

What many don’t appreciate is Dentistry is already one of the most regulated workspaces already with standing requirements for PPE and procedural safety for commercial business that make them second to none.

Businesses will not survive in the long term if they are required to undertake procedures and provide equipment for which there is no evidential need, made mandatory by some bureaucrat who doesn’t understand the implications of what they are doing for the business and for customers and patients who will no longer be able to afford what they do.

This scenario is playing out over and over again. Not just in Dentistry, or in public transport that I have mentioned before.

Services we all need are being wrecked for no reason, contributing to an horrific mess where the basic requirements of life – like going on a bus or having a tooth fixed – will no longer be something we can afford.

We didn’t need the Lockdown. We didn’t need Social Distancing. We don’t need either to continue damaging life.

We need this fear-driven farce to stop before life as we knew it before the crisis is completely obliterated by the cure.

Don’t make Cummings your sinner. We are all playing a part in keeping this ridiculous fear-based farce on track

Everyone loves a guilty bastard. That special victim upon whom we can all project outwardly our anger, frustrations and yes – the blame. Especially now.

The media and the Government may not be saying it or acknowledging it in any way, but public feeling isn’t quite as supportive of what the establishment is continuing to do than they might like to think.

Reality dawned for some as soon as our Prime Minister launched the Lockdown and our Chancellor leapt out of the blocks and began a process of handouts that immediately sowed division, set up millions of people to fail and condemned us all to the coming catastrophe of a massive economic crash that was avoidable if it had been handled differently right from the very start.

The temptation for many, now that the truth of what the Government has done and what it is still doing has come into view, is to look for those characters leading us who demonstrate any behaviour that contradicts Government policy, whilst illustrating exactly the things that we wish to be allowed to do.

Yes, Dominic Cummings is right up to his bloody neck in the mess that the Johnson Government has created.

But the reason we are here, why things aren’t changing now even though we know they are wrong, and why things cannot begin to improve anytime soon, is because we are all in some way and at some level responsible for what is going on.

The imbecilic wannabes and self-serving glory seekers in Government who have driven the UK bus off the cliff with us all in it are in these roles because we collectively put them there – Not necessarily by voting for them, but because we accept and therefore allow our broken political system to exist.

The Lockdown has worked because through our actions – even if not our thoughts – we have supported what they have done.

Social distancing can only continue to work because we still accept that these restrictions on our liberty have legitimacy in some way.

They don’t. Because there is no evidence, proof or history to tell us that these measures work, or that they will benefit us more in some way than the alternative, which is for us to just get on with life and deal with illnesses and life events that jump up and hit us as and when they do so as we all did so well before.

The massive difference between the two options is that by continuing to acquiesce in Government Policy as we are doing so, as a Nation, for every day that the Lockdown or Social Distancing of any kind goes on, we are collectively condemning ourselves to experience the future that has been unwittingly designed and put into play by a system that we simply accept as being the pre-defined pathway we must follow in the very same way as we are accepting these measures now.

There is no requirement for us to do this. But until we accept that we have a choice between the system that exists and alternatives that haven’t yet come into view – then act upon it, or events precipitate change in Government from beyond the current system as they might well do so, we are in fact allowing this Government to continue in power and give them assumed legitimacy to carry on doing whatever they do.

Until we take back control from Dom and all those like him that populate Government, we really don’t have any excuse or reason to call him out.

Because we are in this together and are guilty bastards too.

Don’t waste money challenging the Lockdown in Court. Fund a people’s movement for change instead

It sounds like I’m about to critiscise Simon Dolan for his High Court Action against The Lockdown and the Crowdfunding Campaign he has been championing to find it.

I’m not.

But I can’t support it either.

Not because I don’t agree with the principle of what he is doing.

I do.

I won’t actively support it because the objective itself is a waste of his time and that of his legal team.

The money would be better spent funding a new people’s movement for change. One we will need very soon, when the reality of what the unnecessary Lockdown has done hits home and the UK wakes up to the need for real leadership to get us out of the mess that Boris and his Government created, putting right all that they have done wrong.

One of the most difficult and challenging things that I ever had to do as a Borough Councillor was to explain to consitituents who had valid, justified and correct arguments against the actions of politicians and Government that they would be able to say their piece, but the system would ensure that they wouldn’t be heard if it went against the direction of political travel that day.

It is no different now and the money that Mr Dolan has attracted from many people from across our great country who realise the Lockdown and attack on our liberty was not necessary and has done far more damage than it was ever worth, fills me with hope that we can change the way things work for the better – as long as we play the right game.

The flow of this broken establishment system goes only one way. You can only win by fixing the whole broken thing (which means changing all of it) or by taking action that compliments it and goes exactly the same way.

The Court Action does neither. No matter what exchanges take place, what is reported in the media or how the Government might appear to be criticised in some way, the justification for this argument will not stop the Government from doing what it is doing and will not get a result.

What we all need, more than futile gestures – no matter how well intended they might be – is for people who have something to say and have the ability to get public attention to say it, to make the argument for the need for change and give it real voice.

When the wheels fall off for the Johnson Government as you can be sure they are going to very soon, we do not need a situation where we only have Keir Starmer or whoever is leading the Liberal Democrat’s as the choice.

We will need options that will work for us all. Those options will not come from any of the existing parties, even if words like reform are involved.

Putting right the damage that this Government has done and making the very best use of the opportunities for bottom to top change that will come to improve the lives of everyone in this Nation post COVID-19 requires that we have new blood, new faces and above all new thinking at the top.

Working against the tide of this establishment isn’t easy as the fear they have installed within so many of Coronavirus has shown.

Money, passion and the support of real people like that given to Mr Dolan will be the catalyst for change that this Country will need and the money being spent challenging the Lockdown in Court would be better spent funding a people’s movement for change.

 

Please stop the warnings. You are abusing your position and just making things worse

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Sometimes the most inappropriate of messages give the message most appropriately.

As each day passes and this ridiculous Lockdown continues, it becomes clearer that there are at least three different demographic groups with key behaviours linked to the Lockdown and the response to Coronavirus.

The first are people who either see and understand the disproportionate damage that the Lockdown has caused and is causing and includes the growing number who just want to get on with life and deal with illnesses if and when it might come.

Then there are those who are happy to sit at home indefinitely as long as they get paid, along with those who feel they have come this far and made sacrifices to get here and now want to see the Lockdown through to the point where no-one will ever be at risk from this one virus – no matter the cost.

The third group is considerably different to the other two. It contains those who are actively living in fear of Coronavirus, whether it is because of the Government programming that drove the implementation of the Lockdown, or because they have become emotionally compromised and tied into the narrative because they have either been personally or professionally exposed to the Virus. Fighting it has taken over their thinking in a very subjective and detrimental way.

That the dynamic between the groups is shifting is certain.

More people are out and about. More people want to be out and about. More people want to be back at work and want their children to be back at school.

Practicality will override selfishness. Group 2 will switch steadily to Group 1.

But those driven by fear in Group 3 are a different matter. Thinking rationally or considering ‘the bigger picture’ is not what their modus operandi is about.

Regrettably, many of the voices – perhaps all of them – who are driving the continuing fear-based reaction to Coronavirus that the Government championed at the start, are in positions of public responsibility. They have a very powerful voice that will be heard as soon as the media pick them up.

Today the NHS Confederation decided to step into that gap, insisting that the Government must get the new Contact Tracing App into use as quickly as possible. The inference being that Coronavirus cannot be controlled without it.

Sadly, any benefit that could have been derived from an app of this kind or the physical contact tracing exercise like the one the Government has now engaged thousands of paid people to administer was lost when they failed to implement it at the start.

Coronavirus is alive and present throughout the UK community. So there are no absolutes in terms of being able to monitor where and how the Virus was transmitted and between whom – just as there haven’t been for the fight against COVID-19 from the start.

It means that this is just another hollow exercise and no better than a diversion that is driven by fear to create more fear from it and keep people from resuming life and gain back to work.

People in positions of power with a public voice should know better.

The science doesn’t stack up. The Government response has been a joke. Every further attempt to scare people is making the developing economic crisis even worse.

If these people were in control of their thinking and not emotionally compromised, they would only be giving the public information that would help.

It’s time for them to do all of us a favour and shut up unless they have something helpful to say.

For goodness sake, let us make our own choices about where we go from here.

 

picture thanks to source unknown

Categories: Coronavirus
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