Sept 6, 2022

 CBC – Robson Fletcher
In search of ‘James Galan’: How seemingly fake social media accounts permeate Alberta politics Look closely and you’ll find plenty of opinionated ‘people’ who use stock images as profile photos

Most Canadians have long been listening to warnings of ‘fake media’ but few would suspect that its use would come so close to home.  The link describes the use of fake people with opinions designed to influence readers to a silent but underlying political perspective, the photos from stock sources and the people opinions manufactured.  May we present one James Galan – a Facebook character otherwise unknown who offers opinion on current issues in Alberta to followers who include 10 MLA’s or former MLA’s.  “Acting as an online “provocateur” is an increasingly popular political tactic, said Bruce Cameron with Social Media ROI, a consulting firm that specializes in digital communication.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/fake-facebook-accounts-calgary-alberta-politics-1.4128312

Hill Times.com (Ottawa) – Rose Lemay
Disinformation has a long history in Canada

The use of disinformation in Canada, says Lemay, is certainly not new but prevalent for some time and found in politics, social relations and media.  Besides the presence and active use of disinformation, it may be helpful to think in terms of how extensive it is in our daily discourse.  The article begins with the recent Convoy and the pandemic and then focuses on the colonial practice and prejudice for Indigenous People.  Citing a recent Ekos poll, Lemay wants to know:  “Why is it that disinformation nowadays is about challenging perceived authority—as if the strength of one’s emotion is evidence enough. I feel strongly, therefore I must be right.”  https://www.hilltimes.com/2022/09/05/disinformation-has-a-long-history-in-canada/380508

 The BC Tyee – David Beers
The Gig Workers Fight Back – Precarious work expert Enda Brophy on today’s ‘techlash,’ digital labour wins, ‘green shoots of organizing’ and more. A Tyee interview.

Beers, a founding editor of the Tyee, recognizes the beginning of push back against the digital management that seeks to disenfranchise workers from pay and benefits because they are “gig workers,” people who do project work from home digitally. Enda Brophy, an associate professor of communication at Simon Fraser University, speaks about the change in labour relations between the employer and the employee that has been in place since the Second World War.  He says: “Employers turned their backs on this agreement in the 1980s by making work more precarious though the rise of part-time, contract, freelance, temp work, internships and, crucially, outsourcing and offshoring (which make full-time permanent employment precarious as well)… Not only are pay rates entirely unpredictable, but how they are determined is totally opaque, generated as they are by the algorithms within the platforms. And finally, pay rates can be lowered unilaterally… ”     https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/09/05/Gig-Workers-Fight-Back/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=050922

 Carbon monitoring:
Carbon the year you were born – check for its growth by looking at children and grandchildren

https://www.sealevel.info/co2.html from Below 2C  (https://below2c.org/ )

FAMM Foundation (US) – Kevin Ring
Safety in Second Chances: New Storytelling Program Highlights Those “Free to Succeed”

The effect of long sentences seldom gets the light of any research.  Mostly, the research suggests that people age more quickly in jail and that old incarcerated men do not commit crimes when released.  This link offers a few stories of people who were sentenced to long terms but were released early and had a second chance.  FAMM highlights “Free to Succeed,” a program featuring second chancers: “Every single person in Free to Succeed is proving wrong the headlines that say criminal justice reform makes our country less safe. The opposite is true: Forcing these people to serve their extreme sentences would have been a waste of resources, resources that could have been used on programs and personnel that could make our communities safer.” https://medium.com/famm/safety-in-second-chances-new-storytelling-program-highlights-those-free-to-succeed-1eba5ab19e01      Related article: CNN (US) – Emma Tucker   ‘We are the alternative’: A growing movement aims to disrupt violence by connecting incarcerated youth with mentors  https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/04/us/credible-messenger-mentoring-movement/index.html

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK) – Richard Grimshaw
Call for the release of IPP prisoners “without delay”

In 2004, the UK introduce an addition to sentence for convicted persons that went beyond the “tariff” as it is known (the sentence for the crime) and extended the period of imprisonment through what is known as the Imprisonment for Public Protection or the IPP.  The IPP was abolished in 2012 but not retrospectively so there remains about 3,000 persons still under the IPP designation, and likely to be there until 2026.  The discussion by Grimshaw is rooted in questions around the effectiveness of indeterminate sentences as well as old men serving long sentences.  The Centre will publish its report next month but this link offers a taste of the issues. https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/news/2022-09-06/call-release-ipp-prisoners-without-delay

The Marshall Project – Cary Aspinwall
They Lost Their Pregnancies. Then Prosecutors Sent Them to Prison – Dozens of women who used drugs while pregnant have faced criminal charges. Experts expect even more cases now that Roe has been overturned.

The project, a very reputable US research and advocacy group, is raising an alarming prospect as am outcome from the recent overturn of the Roe decision.  “An analysis of court records and medical examiner data over the last 23 years found at least 20 felony cases in Alabama, 14 in South Carolina and 10 in Oklahoma, as well as nine in other states where prosecutors have embraced some form of “fetal personhood” in bringing criminal charges after miscarriage or stillbirth. Many of the prosecutions resulted in lengthy prison sentences and life-altering consequences for mostly poor women who were struggling with addiction… In 20 additional cases, women in Alabama, Oklahoma and South Carolina were prosecuted after positive drug tests because their babies died shortly after birth.”   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/09/01/they-lost-their-pregnancies-then-prosecutors-sent-them-to-prison   Related article: The Marshall Project – Cary Aspinwall and Andrew Rodriguez Calderón   How We Tracked Prosecutions for Pregnancy Loss – Where we got our data and how we analyzed it.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/09/01/how-we-tracked-prosecutions-for-pregnancy-loss?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share-tools&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=post-top

Austin-American Statesman (US) – Jorge Renaud
Opinion: Prison slavery sets people up for failure, not success – Enslaved nearly three decades in Texas prisons, I know a different kind of labor

The link offers a different reflection on the meaning of Labour Day – an experience of labouring without dignity and as punishment.  Texas remains one of the states that does not pay incarcerated persons for their labour:  “That’s how it goes in prison. There are house hands and field hands – not working is not an option. The former is a prize for obedience and minding your own business. The second is punishment for misbehavior or having a bad attitude. Either way, your body and labor belong to the state… Prison slavery tortures every incarcerated person into believing that their labor is without value. It creates a sense of worthlessness that runs deep into your spirit and follows you into the free world – a tin can that you drag behind you, forever rattling with your inadequacy, forever reminding you that you are unfit, and forever making you an imposter in every undertaking. ”  https://www.statesman.com/story/opinion/columns/guest/2022/09/04/opinion-prison-slavery-sets-people-up-for-failure-not-success/65470538007/