I spoke with Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation on their recently launched campaign to fight equalization. Alberta is committed to holding a referendum on October 18th to ask Albertans if Canada should end the equalization program.
Their site is here: https://fightequalization.ca/? The campaign can’t start soon enough. Terrazzano explains the importance of a strong vote by Albertans against equalization this fall. We need to come out in strong numbers and speak up.
We also covered the futility and huge costs of corporate welfare, the myth of “social license” and the ongoing campaign to shut-in Alberta”s resources.
I close with an inadvertent suggestion that Franco changes his first name to Marco.
Discourse on social media can be pretty ugly and it happens on every platform. People are called every name in the book, they can be shamed, slandered or have private personal information posted by others. Extremists on every end of the political spectrum use social media in order to spread their vile messages and to organize violent and destructive actions. The common denominator on pretty much every social media platform is that they have anonymous accounts and that is the root of the problem.
Most of us play reasonably. Sure we get worked up now and then online and say regrettable things now and then. There is a population out there comprised of anonymous trolls however. They are in a tiny minority but they can dominate and destroy discourse as they obsessively post and spawn accounts faster than the accounts can be banned. They are cowards and the only thing which will stop them is to take away the shroud of anonymity that they hide behind.
In a relatively recent incident within Canada, there was a self-styled twitter ninja out there who vitriolically and tirelessly trolled public figures online. He bragged of the number of elected officials who had blocked him. He felt courageous and bold. He felt he was an online warrior for the left. Then he was exposed. Somebody had figured out who he really was an expose him. The transformation was instant. Suddenly he was an apologetic pussycat. He remains online now but is pretty subdued. Without the craven cloak of anonymity, he really was nothing. He tweets under “Neil before Zod” or something like it if you want to check out the rather pathetic story.
I am not big on doxing folks but the tale of poor Neil did prove a valuable point, loss of anonymity defangs trolls.
People are leaving many social media platforms because they simply can’t handle all the rage and venom any longer. This is sad as social media can make such a fantastic platform for open dialogue between people of different views.
Another problem is that selective culling by some social media platforms of people with conservative views is creating polarized echo chambers. Little will be learned or gained from platforms which only support one political leaning or another.
Governments are using online vitriol as an excuse to implement controls upon dialogue. This is very dangerous territory which puts our free speech under terrible threat. The truly extreme will simply go deeper underground while other people will find themselves under the gun for posts in poor taste or context. We don’t need the state to deal with this. The cure will be far worse than the disease.
The solution to this problem is to have a platform which verifies the users. It is understandable for many people to want to hide their real name when online. Posts may impact their jobs or they may find themselves being stalked. That said, a platform could give accounts to people with verified identities while still masking the name. This still solves the problem of bot and false troll accounts. A person can only make one and they will know that they are very easily identified if they cross the line into criminal abuse, incitement or slander. Rest assured this will calm many of them down.
This is easier said than done. Some sort of identification would need to be used to verify accounts and that means the platform needs to be secure and trustworthy. This is possible though. People don’t think twice before giving their personal information to Amazon and countless other online purchase points. A social media platform should be able to provide that kind of security.
Verification doesn’t assure that a person will be nice. My twitter account is verified and rest assured, I am still an asshole on there. Right now though, verification is only granted to people who the platform considers to be a “person of public interest”. Platforms need to broaden verification abilities so that anybody can verify their identity. Ironically, Parler was doing just that and they had the rug yanked from them.
We don’t need more laws and we don’t need speech police. We just need some voluntary controls on social media platforms which would eliminate the anonymity which cloaks the small but damaging troll army out there.
Unfortunately, we may speech being limited by the state before people realize that it didn’t need to be done.
Rights lost are really hard to regain.
Just look where our mobility and association rights went.
When social media giants flexed their muscles and took it upon themselves to become the direct arbiters of who may or may not say what on their platforms, they may not have considered what that means when defamatory or libelous content is posted on their platforms.
Social media is a cesspool of nasty discourse and rhetoric. That has been well established. While social media companies have always tried to police clearly hateful and illegal messaging on their platforms to a degree, the urge of conservative voices following the riots in Washington in January brought things to a whole new level. Political leaning, opinion or associations were now grounds for deplatforming as determined by the technocrats and they appointed themselves as judge, jury and executioner in that regard. People justified this by saying “Hey, they are private companies. They can do what they like”. While this is indeed true, it also makes them responsible for everything posted on their watch and the Supreme Court of British Columbia agrees.
The ruling by the BC Supreme court that Twitter can be sued for defamatory content on their platform may have huge repercussions. No longer will those who have been slandered or defamed have to chase down individuals or accounts in order to seek recompense. Now they can simply target the platform which of course has billions more in assets to take from. We can look forward to seeing many more lawsuits launched now and it will be tough for the social media overlords to defend themselves.
Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the social media heavyweights made it clear that they ad fully in charge of everything posted on their platforms. That also makes them fully responsible for it. It looks good on them.
As an election year unfolds in Calgary municipal politics, ambitious players are making their plans and forming their alliances in hopes of replacing reigning Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Nenshi clearly wants to run for mayor again. Nenshi is a vanity driven man and if he wins another election, he will become the longest serving mayor in Calgary history. While Nenshi may be a horrific leader within council chambers, he is a savvy political player. In playing coy about whether or not he will run again, Nenshi is drawing out contenders who could split efforts to electorally unseat him. It appears to be working.
An anonymous but reliable and well-placed source has told me that City Counselor Jyoti Gondek not only plans to run for mayor but has chosen controversial political operative Stephen Carter to be her campaign manager. If this is true, it is a truly questionable choice on her part.
Aside from riding on Naheed Nenshi’s coattails to an electoral victory in 2010, Stephen Carter’s political guidance has almost invariably led to disaster when he managed to find people willing to take it.
Carter appeared not once but twice in the Wildrose Party. The first time he left in disgrace as his unpaid debt controversy threatened to embarrass the party and the second time was when he abandoned the party in order to work for Alison Redford. Under Carter’s sage guidance as Chief of Staff, Alison Redford finished her short tenure as Premier in utter disgrace. That left a legacy of division and distrust between the party executive and leader Danielle Smith which remained for years.
Municipal politics are a crazy arena at the best of times and this year is expected to be as insane as any. If indeed it is true that Gondek will be running for Mayor and that she has chosen Stephen Carter as her campaign manager, she has already proven her own judgement to be too poor to be a good mayor. It would assuredly lead to a volatile and nasty race in the election this fall which will make for some great dark comedy at least.
It was almost nauseating reading the baloney Naheed Nenshi issued as he kicks off what will clearly a yet another campaign for Mayor of Calgary.
You can almost hear his voice in his head as he pretends to be coy and speaks of how even those who didn’t previously support him are now pleading with him to stay in for just one more term because the job is just so gosh darn important right now that we can’ entrust it to anybody else.
Naheed Nenshi’s support numbers have been in a nosedive. He has clearly been having trouble maintaining his traditional support. There is no damn way his opponents suddenly want him in for yet another four years.
I guess if His Worship wants to begin his campaign on such a solid foundation of bullshit, who am I to stop him? The voters are smarter than Nenshi seems to think they are and I look forward to them tossing him on his arrogant ass next fall.
The reality is, Nenshi probably couldn’t manage to get a good escape hatch from Trudeau. The Mayor was meeting with him recently and likely was lobbying for an appointment for himself or an assurance of a cabinet spot if he ran for the Liberals. There are no other viable political homes for Nenshi once he is done as Mayor. He can’t find a better gig so he is trying for re-election on the basis that he needs a job and the BS case that his opponents really really really want to see him as Mayor fro another term.
Meanwhile, Nenshi’s Chief of Staff and an assistant have been vacationing in Hawaii while Calgarians remain locked down.
Nenshi however has stated that he won’t punish them.