[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Apparently I can’t do math; this was originally posted as T -9 but Jan 12 + 9 would be Jan 21 = the day after inauguration, either that I fell asleep between starting and finishing the post; in any event I have corrected that error]
It’s been a busy five days since I last posted, but first: after three weeks my covid desperation self-cut is looking like it could use a bit of work!
Not only politics and the state of the world are keeping me busy; I’ve also merged and purged an huge number of emails that I had backed up in various archives and taken offline. Mostly they are still offline, but in nice yearly archives, so that once year I can purge emails that no longer ought to be required (I generally follow the seven year rule for emails now, and am working on this for other personal information; there are exceptions of course).
Now about the politics and state of world bit! It’s eight days until Joe Biden’s (the next president of the United States) inauguration and therefore the end of Donald Trump’s (the current president of the United States’) term in office. It looks like there will be impeachment hearing, although whether that will come to mean anything remains to be seen. In the meantime there is a great risk of major violence over the next nine days which could be worse because of the actions, or inaction, of Trump, not to mention the concern of Trump finding an excuse to impede the transition to the new president for my neighbours to the south (the United States). I’d be surprised if, despite his losing his usual means of public messaging, things just ended with a whimper instead of a bang.
Not that Canada is immune from the kinds of disinformation that have lead up to the current crisis for our southern cousins. In the past week I found a copy of ‘The Epoch Times’ in my mailbox. I’d heard of it, and it is as much a trashy far-right rag, with plenty of overtones of conspiracy (although not as overt as something from Alex Jones or QAnon), as I expected.
What stood out for me though, was that the conspiracies suggested were of Canadian elites being connected with Chinese influence (along with all kinds of other anti-China propaganda — not that I don’t think China isn’t a threat, but the Epoch version of China would already have visibly taken over, as far as I am concerned, as they would be powerful enough to do so, with nothing to be gained by hiding it), but there was zero mention of negative Russian influence.
Considering that collection of articles is completely within the ideological orbit of the current Russian version of ‘Orthodox Christianity’, I strongly suspect that ‘The Epoch Times’ is funded (probably indirectly and possibly hidden as much possible) by Russian state-backed influencers. That may sound paranoid, but it’s also plausible given other facts that are known about Russia’s propensity for interfering in ‘western’ democracies.
And finally, the epic fail Ontario’s ‘State of Emergency’ that is still too little, too late. Given that the stated reason for the ‘State of Emergency’ is that one third of people are still not taking this seriously, and that I seriously doubt that the province is willing to drastically alter it’s enforcement practices (which is what it would take for the one third to get the message), I think it will just be window dressing. Those of us trying to follow the health and safety guidelines will continue to do so, and those who have bought disinformation about how simple measures are somehow a ‘gateway’ to being enslaved will continue to put everyone at risk.
I find this ‘gateway’ notion doubly ironic because I believe it is another example of disinformation that even if there are domestic elements, I believe is fuelled and encouraged by foreign state and non-state actors who are using them. So yes, I believe fear of being ‘enslaved’ by an elite is leading to folks becoming ‘tools’ of those who wish them (and the rest of us) harm.
Is there hope? Well the vaccine is rolling out, and there seems to be at least some willingness to recognize that disinformation is at play and needs to be dealt with, rather than allowed to continue unchecked in it’s harmful course. So … maybe.