Falun Gong plays with fraud and artificial faces on Facebook

” Facebook has taken down a well-financed campaign that used dozens of artificially generated faces to spread pro-Trump and anti-Chinese government messages, the company and outside researchers said on Friday.

Researchers from New York-based Graphika and the Digitial Forensics Research Lab, an arm of the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said it was the first time they had seen the large-scale use of computer-generated faces to spread disinformation on social media…

” Facebook said 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts were involved in the network. The social media giant said those behind the operation had spent upward of $9 million on advertising to promote their content, which touched on hot-button issues such as “impeachment, conservative ideology, political candidates, elections, trade, family values and freedom of religion…”

Facebook said its investigation linked the activity to U.S.-based Epoch Media Group and individuals in Vietnam working on its behalf, though the accounts more openly associated with The BL, for the Beauty of Life…

” The Epoch Times was set up as a print publication by followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, banned in China, before moving heavily online. Its output has tended to steer toward support for Trump and attacks on his opponents.

The content removed by Facebook had the same tilt. Groups identified by the outside researchers bore names such as “America Needs President Trump,” “TRUMP MAGA 2020,” or “WE STAND WITH TRUMP & PENCE!”

Phew! Some heavy lifting on both attack and defense inside this one. Or maybe not. Maybe this crap is getting easier to pull off – especially on profit-at-all-cost sites like Facebook. Maybe this crap is getting easier to fund to the tune of million$ if you’re working for thugs like our Fake President.

Someday MAGA hats will be shameful secrets, like Klan robes

❝ Donald Trump’s values and beliefs may appear incoherent, but they are not a buffet or à la carte meal from which a person can pick and choose from. Rather, they are a nasty, incestuous knot that cannot be easily untangled. Ultimately, to wear Donald Trump’s MAGA hats or his other regalia is to share and endorse his racism, sexism, nativism, bigotry and anti-social behavior. To utter the words “Make America Great Again” with no sense of irony or foreboding is to announce one’s betrayal of human decency and distrust of democracy.

❝ How do Trump’s MAGA hats and other clothing and slogans help to create a sense of political community for his followers? Is “Make America Great Again” an implicit threat against nonwhites, Muslims and others that he and his followers deem to be a type of enemy Other? Does Trumpism represent larger cultural battles in America about the role of academics, teachers, intellectuals and other experts in public life? Should Trump’s supporters be held morally accountable for their political decision-making and the harm that they are causing to American society?

❝ If you look at the reasons that Trump and his movement actually believe (and often explicitly say) that American is not great any longer, it’s because there’s now too many nonwhite immigrants. America for Trump and his supporters is no longer great because black people have too many rights or there are too many women in the workplace.

Trump and his MAGA hats and slogans and policies are also connected to things like the Muslim ban, building the wall, calling Mexicans rapists and saying the terrorists are crossing into the border among these caravans from Guatemala. The obvious conclusion is hard to escape. It takes a certain kind of willful denial and willful ignorance to wear a MAGA hat and assume that you’re not conveying all those values and beliefs.

RTFA if you need reinforcing arguments for the concept. Actually, if you have the habit of reading science-based articles, verifiable material reality – it’s just one more good source to give to your friends who haven’t the habit.

The MAGA hat is now a symbol of hate


Getty/Uproxx

❝ The hat’s its own thing. It is imbued with a symbolism that’s divorced from complicated ideologies. The volumes it speaks aren’t about the thorny issues of immigration policy; they’re about Trump’s coarse blanket statement about “criminals and rapists.” It doesn’t represent a side of the continual battle waged over the bodily autonomy of women; it’s “grab ’em by the pussy.” It’s not connected to any piece of the important conversation about how to heal America’s racial divide, make peace with our shared past, and fight racism in the present while moving forward as a nation; it’s simply the voice saying “both sides” after Charlottesville.

❝ That red hat, emblazoned with the phrase “Make America Great Again” in white letters, isn’t a political statement anymore. It’s a declaration of intolerance that has taken on a life of its own. So when a few dozen smirking white kids wearing the hat have a confrontation with an Omaha elder at the Lincoln Memorial, the context added by viewing a preceding confrontation with a sect of the Hebrew Israelites becomes largely unimportant. The kids are wearing a symbol of hate. Not just a symbol of hate to adults involved in the political conversation, either. A symbol that has been linked to bullying in schools across the country.

There once was a nation that abused a symbol originated by Native Americans. Put it on their hats, their flag. In the spirit of nationalism, the supremacy of bigots. Lots of Americans died stopping the spirit that hat, that symbol, came to represent.

Percentage of Americans “extremely proud” of that fact becomes a minority

This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are “extremely proud.” Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003…

While the 47% who are extremely proud to be Americans is a new low, the vast majority of Americans do express some level of pride, including 25% who say they are “very proud” and 16% who are “moderately proud.” That leaves one in 10 who are “only a little” (7%) or “not at all” proud (3%).

The combined 72% who are extremely or very proud to be Americans is also the lowest in Gallup’s trend…

There’s a shallow attempt at analysis in the article – reflecting Gallup’s historic conservatism. They’re willing to accept Republican sophistry on questions provoked by such a survey. In truth, though, Democrats can be guiltless or gutless. As likely to join imperial war or accept “decades are still needed” to overrule bigotry of all kinds – instead of moving forward to new legal forms which inhibit social or economic injustice.