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Sask. NDP takes flak on Twitter for picture at Riders game

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A political scientist expects the “Twitter firestorm” will blow over quickly for the NDP.

Author of the article:

Arthur White-Crummey

Saskatchewan NDP MLAs Carla Beck (at far left), Aleana Young (second from left) and Nicole Sarauer (at far right) at the Saskatchewan Roughriders game on Friday on Aug. 6, 2021.
Saskatchewan NDP MLAs Carla Beck (at far left), Aleana Young (second from left) and Nicole Sarauer (at far right) at the Saskatchewan Roughriders game on Friday on Aug. 6, 2021. jpg

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The Saskatchewan NDP is taking a social media beating from erstwhile fellow travellers after posting a now-deleted photo of maskless revelry taken at Friday’s Roughriders game.

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The photo posted to the party’s Twitter account showed three NDP MLAs in a group of about nine, some of whom were holding beers, in the so-called Pil Country section at Mosaic Stadium. No one in the group was wearing a mask and they were in relatively close contact, though all of that is permitted in the absence of public health orders.

Still, many of the party’s social media followers lambasted what they saw as hypocrisy, even though the NDP has not recently made any explicit calls for mask mandates, distancing rules or capacity limits at Riders games. It has, however, been critical of the government’s permissive approach on public health measures.

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“Hypocrisy at its worst,” one follower of several NDP MLAs posted on Twitter. “The NDP owes Saskatchewan people an apology.”

The NDP later deleted the photo. But there were plenty of outraged responses to a statement posted by Regina Douglas Park MLA Nicole Sarauer, who said everyone in the photo was “fully vaccinated and carrying masks.” The NDP’s position in the lead-up to game day had been to call for limiting admission to vaccinated people only.

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“Talking the talk, but not walking the walk,” said one commenter. Another called it “disappointing.” A third said “either vaccine mandates are your party’s policy or they are not.”

Jim Farney, a professor of political science and Regina director of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, thinks the picture was an example of a political branding fail. He called it “an odd contradiction for the party that’s been calling for stronger measures.” In his view, though, it did not rise to the level of hypocrisy.

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“If you think back to the the real scandals around COVID, it’s been people in various governments traveling internationally for pleasure,” he said. “That type of hypocrisy, this clearly isn’t. This is more, ‘We’re abiding by the rules, but we wanted a different set of rules.’ I don’t think that’s quite hypocrisy.”

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The problem, for Farney, is that the picture doesn’t help the NDP’s efforts to differentiate itself from the government on matters of public health. Nonetheless, Farney thinks any damage will be largely confined to the Twittersphere.

“It’s a Twitter firestorm,” he said. “So the damage will be fairly short term.”

NDP leader Ryan Meili has not made any statement on the matter, so his position on his MLAs’ conduct is entirely unknown. Interview requests placed with his staff were declined. Sarauer, who is deputy leader of the party, acknowledged in her statement that the photo has “raised questions and concerns.”

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After insisting that everyone in the photo had taken precautions throughout the game, she regretted how that was lost in the photo.

“This did not come across in the photo and we regret that fact,” the statement said.

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NDP MLAs have warned that such events have the potential to become COVID-19 “superspreader events” and warrant stronger measures to protect public health. Sarauer, who was in the picture along with Regina University MLA Aleana Young and Regina Lakeview MLA Carla Beck, repeated a similar position in her statement.

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“Our position has been and remains that Rider games should require proof of vaccination so that everyone who attends can feel safe at all times,” she wrote. “We will continue to attend Rider games and will continue to press for real action to protect families and save lives, including increasing vaccination rates in Saskatchewan.”

awhite-crummey@postmedia.com

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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