The 2020 race and Facebook

According to “buzz on the internet”, which for me these days says “what the media wants people to think others are talking about”, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is planning to run for President in 2020.

My post from yesterday seems rather timely, then.

This is one of those Elephant In The Room moments. Does nobody see the problem here? Nobody?

In the wake of Clinton’s shock loss, there were myriad news stories trying to find out what went wrong, or more importantly who they could blame. Immediately Facebook was in the firing line for permitting the spread of “fake news”, with Clinton herself using those very words about stories about her on social media.

Zuckerberg was then in the unenviable position of having to refute his network’s influence while simultaneously peddling his network’s efficacy to potential investors. To say that he was between a rock and a hard place is an understatement. When the eyes of the most powerful people in the world are implying your being complicit in their downfall must be unnerving to say the least.

Very recently, Clinton has named Facebook specifically in promulgating fake news which led to her poll defeat.

But back to that Elephant.

If Facebook is as effective any many had posited, do they not see the problem with Zuckerberg running for President? Do they not see how the person who has the finger on the buttons that can approve and deny people access to information which could sway their decision? Facebook is the number 3 site on the internet, behind Youtube and Google’s homepage. To a lot of people, Facebook is the Internet. They never go beyond that page.

The idea that a Presidential candidate can control that flow of information just flat-out concerns me. Equally concerning is the lack of other peoples’ concern about this. Are we just going to let someone whose company is (according to former employees) manipulating and suppressing viewpoints that didn’t befit their organisation or their political buddies.

I’ve linked to Gizmodo above, and now I need a shower – although I don’t think there’s enough soap in the world that could cleanse me of the ick.

My previous post talked about how sites which are the most popular should consider their positions one of responsibility rather than partisanship, which is why I don’t accept the “It’s their site, they can do what they want” bollocks. We wouldn’t accept it if the tables were flipped, so we shouldn’t accept it now.

If Zuckerberg decided to run for President, he would need to appoint independent auditors to Facebook’s premises to ensure that no tampering of counter viewpoints occurs. Or he could do what many other power brokers on the planet do;

Buy a puppet.

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Polls are (still) dead

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Polls are dead.

The UK just had their election. I understand that the early call of the election was done on the back of huge polling support numbers in favour of the Tories. The thinking was that they have an early election while they’re still popular, and then solidify the number of representatives in the House of Commons.

Well, that all went to shit pretty quickly, and those who support the left are delighted.

If anything, apart from the fact that politicians shouldn’t take the constituency for fools, and that they shouldn’t rest on their laurels, they should know that polls are not the silver bullet for reading the mood of the people. Of course, there are myriad reasons for why the election resulted the way that it did, but I would direct my attention more for what the result implies.

People are sick of it all. We are beyond an apathetic voter now, and rather than them simply voting for the least hate-able option, they are livid. They are tired of polished politicians giving them the typical polished speak, and smiling promises that fail to materialise into anything apart from half-washed bullshit.

The message is clear. Be better representatives. Stop telling people how to think, and start listening to them. Yes, even the ignorant ones. Even the smart ones. Even the smart ones who pretend to be morally superior. Just fucking listen.

This isn’t about left and right anymore. It’s about who can actually offer something apart from platitudes and promises, and maybe even solutions that seem to work. For instance, clamping down on the Internet as a means to stifle terrorist events is a paper-thin idiot’s offering for a situation that people find very scary. Asking the people to make personal concessions for a problem of not their doing is a fool’s errand, and when it proposes changes that have literally nothing to do with the problem at hand, then everyone knows that you’re – to use the British expression – taking the piss.

And especially so when making society change in the face of terrorism is tantamount to capitulating to it.

Be better representatives. Come with effective solutions and not “electable” ones. Think beyond the term and look to the future beyond polling days.

Because polls are dead. Stop using them and bring actual vision.

A tale of two conspiracies

There are many things that bug me about the current slew of scandals that are surrounding the US politics at the moment. If I were to pinpoint one example, it would be the scandal surrounding the effects that the email leaks published by Wikileaks had on the election result in November.

As I understand it, on one side there are claims that Russia hacked the DNC, provided the information to Wikileaks, who then distributed the information.

On the other side, there are claims that the “hacking” came from a disgruntled staff member within the DNC, Seth Rich, who provided the information to Wikileaks, who then distributed the information.

None of these claims ever raise the question of whether the information published by Wikileaks is true or not. Basically, as I see it, these two great conspiracies hinge upon who exactly it was that told the truth about Clinton and the DNC at the most inopportune time. This completely baffles me somewhat. The controversy isn’t that the DNC (who is meant to be impartial) actively froze out a candidate – Bernie Sanders – who could have been nominated instead of Clinton, but rather that somebody leaked to truth to the peons.

So now we have the mainstream media drumming up whatever they can to smear the Trump administration with colluding with Russia (which strikes me as the kind of scare reminiscent of 1980’s Cold War Hollywood guff), and alternative outlets trying desperately to link Seth Rich to Wikileaks.

Nobody is actually acknowledging that the leaks to Wikileaks revealed that the DNC fucked things up royally, and that they lost the election as a result. The conspiracies are all basically trying to prove whoever it was who told the truth about the DNC at the most inopportune time.

Maybe I’m missing something here. Sure I’ve heard something about voter suppression in a state or two, and I admit to not knowing anything about that – but that’s a fault of the media’s. Everything I read is either Russia this, or Seth Rich that. The adult thing for the DNC to do, I would have thought, would be to say, “Well, fuck. That shit we did to get Clinton the nomination was a bit shit. Maybe we shouldn’t have done that shitty thing. Maybe Hills shouldn’t have called everyone opposing her a bunch of deplorables. Oh well, lesson learned. Maybe next election we can try to do things better.”

And then they could go about the job of being in opposition to Trump’s administration, and actually debating policies and shutting down legislation that could actively do harm. You know, like a system of checks and balances does.

But everything I see that attempts to legitimise Trump from this point on only strikes me as the petulant stamping of feet of a bunch of children upset that they didn’t get a turn on the slippery slide and have to wait a bit.

Grow up. Government is serious business that actually affects peoples’ lives. Stop treating it like a plaything.

Remember Fake News?

This is an old issue, but when I look at the term “Fake News” I am remembered when it was gleefully rolled out by the media when they were trying to come to terms with the Trump election victory in November 2016. So quick they were to discredit non-mainstream media, they deployed “Fake News” whenever they could in order to make sure their readers never strayed from their official, polished line.

There’s an adage in martial arts in that you never bring a weapon to a battle if you don’t have an effective defence should it be taken away and used against you.

And this is what I saw after CNN stupidly reported on a story involving Trump’s alleged behaviour in a Moscow hotel room. Having reported a false story, CNN had the term “Fake News” volleyed back at them.

Suddenly the media was caught with their pants down. Their weapon had been turned against them, and it was all on display for the public to see. There was no sweeping it under the rug. They had misreported and were quickly lumped into the basket with those they had initially sought to discredit.

Scrabbling for a defence, media decided to “retire” the term, and Seth Meyers admitted that “Fake News” as a thing was busted.

The media has since distanced itself from the term, although I do see it regularly deployed in conservative circles now, usually to mock the very media who had created the term.

I personally will never forget how “Fake News” seemed to be the cherished cry from traditional media – no matter how much is it now a baby of far-right dens. The media dropped the ball there, failing to make sure their house was in order before the decided to smear everyone else.

I hope they see the lesson.

Celebrity delusion and detachment

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I think there is something that prominent people and celebrities need to realise, and realise fast. However, I do understand that they may find it difficult to make this realisation as the position they now find themselves is new and alien. But now it has been smashed upon them with the haste of a bowling ball hurtling down the alley.

For the rest of us, though, the writing was on the wall.

This is because we have been expressing our distaste to the thoughts and concerns of the wealthy celebrity class, and typically it has gone unheard. The wealthy celebrity class would not know of any kind of dissent with the commoners, as we all were still buying movie tickets, music and other forms of entertainment. For the most part, we were still on-board with our alliance to the “correct” people and our distaste for the “bad” people (who were typically conservative). Those who denigrated the work of these artists were just trolls who weren’t to be taken seriously.

So, all was good while we watched the movies, listened to the music and elected the correct people into the White House.

But suddenly it turned.

Peoples’ wealth was decimated in the crash of 2008. Jobs vanished, and the worth of our pile of bricks on land dropped through the floor. Everyone tightened their belts and tried to do their best to stay sheltered and fed. The Global Financial Crisis was pointed squarely at Republican excesses and deception, and as a result the people voted for change. They voted for Obama.

Cut to 2016, and the much promised change didn’t eventuate. In fact, if anything, there was a very clear impression that (with the wealth gap growing) it was only the poor people who had to shoulder the burden of Bad Times. So, while everyday Jill’s and Joe’s were searching behind the couch cusions for candle money, this kinda shit was going on.

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Yes, throughout all these hard times, sales boomed for cars that cost three times as much as a modest house.

The message, whether intentional or not, was clear: economic recovery wasn’t for the poor people.

Of course, celebrities are acting with shock and incredulity that the commoners dare to not follow their instructions on how to vote. They act outraged that Trump seems to follow through on his campaign promises (which is very un-politicianlike), yet they still decide to not honour their promise (which is very politicianlike) to move to Canada in the event of Trump’s victory. Yet they continue to stand at lecterns and repeat their sermons in the hope that they can set the flock straight again.

But what this all boils down to is something simple: Celebrity opinions have been rejected.

The people aren’t listening anymore. If anything the people are quite willing to move against a celebrity’s voice. Heck, those celebrities who threatened to move to Canada in the event of Trump’s win didn’t realise that what they offered the people wasn’t a threat, but actually an incentive to vote for Trump. Celebrities, I feel, are over estimating their value.

Lena Dunham said she’ll move to Canada? So did Jon Stewart? Well, shit, if that isn’t an excuse to troll them and send them away, I don’t know what is.

People, I have learned, typically tend to know when they’re being preached to, and they resist dogma. This can only be highlighted by Shia Labeouf’s art project, in where people trolled it, recognising and mocking the lunacy of celebrity excess.

Merryl Streep can challenge Trump all she likes – she is welcome to – but I think her and her ilk fail to understand that all they are doing is preaching to the already converted, galvanising their opposition, and doing precisely zero to convince people in the middle that they shouldn’t vote Trump again.

What the fuck is this?

I just want to make sure that I am clear here, because I would hate for anyone reading this to think I am being cute, or that I am somehow trying to comedically be incredulous as to the bullshittery I have witnessed here.

But what the everloving fuck is this, Guardian?

Trump possessing a bathrobe is not fucking news. Trump watching TV in his bathrobe is not fucking news. The Press Secretary denied him having a bathrobe, but there’s photos of him in one? It’s still not fucking news. Let alone Political news.

I loathe the internet’s insistence that rebutting someone’s arguments must involve insulting them, but for fuck’s sake, Guardian, help me out here.

It’s exactly this kind of bullshit that got him elected, you know? The attempts to smear his character only made people think he wasn’t getting a fair go, and also made them think they were being manipulated into disliking him.

If you didn’t get the memo from November 8, 2016, it didn’t fucking work back then, and it’s not gonna fucking work now. The people rejected that shit.

Look at this clip from, of all places, CNN.

LOOK AT IT.

The guy is clearly telling the media to stop with the attempts at taking Trump down, and the anchor is still trying to justify their actions.

It’s not fucking funny anymore, okay? God, I hate that we’ve gotten here, but I am livid. Do you guys honestly want 8 years of Trump? Because this is how you fucking get 8 years of Trump. Hell, the way we’re going with all the violence in the streets, all Trump needs to do is set fire to the White House to get justification to suspend all civil rights while he tries to “fix the problem of Communists trying to usurp the Government“.

Going back to that CNN clip, the anchor seems completely oblivious to what he’s being told, and still tries to sell the idea that the media is somehow on some righteous path. No. Even if the media was, they have long lost the trust of the audience. Loooooooooong lost it. Now he insists on telling his ever-dwindling viewership that the media is in the right, when instead he should be saying that he will be trying to earn that trust back. Let me be clear on this point. I’m going to bold it for emphasis.

Don’t tell people to trust the media. Show them reason to trust the media.

Because you know why I’m fearful? It’s not because I don’t want Trump out of power. It’s because the media’s continued efforts to take him out are potentially going to result in conflict on the streets. When those who voted for Trump see that their elected President ousted (whether or not you think it was a legitimate victory or not) they are going to revolt. Trump’s support base believes there is a hidden establishment that is against them, and the act of ousting Trump will only confirm their biases.

And they’re not going to fucking like it.

And they’re the ones who champion the second amendment.

They’re the ones with assault weapons.

You fucking idiots.

 

 

The short-lived triumph of white

The current attitude I’m viewing from conservatives in the wake of the election victory has been interesting in its smugness. I guess the cries of “n’yer” were too good to pass up, although I cannot help but feel that they might be a little too over-the-top.

I don’t disagree that the election of Trump was an enormous middle finger to the media. In fact I find it incredibly bemusing that left-wing outlets like The Guardian have spent much of the past four years bemoaning and demonising the demographic of men and white people, and then act suddenly confused when all the men and white people don’t vote for the candidate they’re rimming.

However, conservatives would be doing themselves a disservice to commit to the notion that demonising the white demographic is electoral suicide, especially if we see a continuance of this tactic going forward.

To take a long view of the United States, conservatives would well regard the report that US public schools are, for the very first time, predominantly non-white.

If I understand the current media narrative (and I hate how that word is cropping up so much these days), it’s that people of colour will tend to vote Democrat, whereas white will vote Republican. With the media continuing this narrative and pushing white people to the right (as witnessed with the election of Trump) then in eight very short years, we are going to potentially see an entire generation, and majority, of Democrat voters.

I don’t say this to be alarmist. It doesn’t bother me if the above happens to occur. But it would definitely wipe any smugness that conservatives exhibit at the notion that the current system has rejected the identity politics that has permeated traditionally left-wing media outlets. Conservatives cannot lean on the white demographics winning them elections, and they need to start focussing on how they’ll appeal to this growing segment of non-white voters going forward.