Greg Abbott Reaches for Donald Trump’s Playbook to Villainize Immigrants

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Caricature of Texas Governor Greg Abbott by DonkeyHotey, Flickr, Creative Commons License

It was March 2nd with COVID-19 still boiling across the great state of Texas, and Governor Greg Abbott proclaimed that he was reopening the state. No more mask mandates. “EVERYTHING” would open again at 100% capacity. Then, almost immediately after the telling Texas to return to normal, Abbott hastened to blame immigrants for the spread of the virus.

On Twitter the next day, he claimed, “The Biden Administration is recklessly releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants who have COVID into Texas communities. The Biden Admin. must IMMEDIATELY end this callous act that exposes Texans & Americans to COVID.”


Remembering the last few days of normalcy and the moment we realized the pandemic was about to hit

NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro posted a tweet this past week, which resonated with many of us. A year into this COVID-19 pandemic, she asked, “We all have #TheMoment when we knew things were going to be different. Where were you and what were you thinking a year ago?” A remarkable cascade of touching and emotional stories followed—all the more humanized when you could see familiar figures and friends responding to her question.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro’s tweet asking people to remember #TheMoment
Lulu Garcia-Navarro’s tweet asking people to remember #TheMoment

Lulu’s prompt certainly struck me because as a street photographer, I spent much of the first few months of the pandemic photographing everything on long walks to keep…


Without Exception, the Best-Known “Free Speech” Platforms Ban Users and Their Content, Too

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Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze —Image from The Met, public domain

To hear it these past few months, a hardy band of patriots have been fording a stream of free speech oppression unleashed by some of our better known social media platforms in these United States, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. They’ve cast themselves much as Emanuel Leutze cast our first President in his 1851 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware: They are strong, forward-looking, resolute in their determination to forge a path for “free speech” among all the chattering social media channels of the 21st century. They’re cornering the market by creating platforms, which cater to those who truly care…


Donald Trump Mastered DARVO, the Strategy of Abusers. We’re Still Suffering the Consequences.

President Garrison (who looks like Donald Trump) explains DARVO — Screen capture from an episode of South Park
President Garrison (who looks like Donald Trump) explains DARVO — Screen capture from an episode of South Park
The President explains DARVO — Screen capture from an episode of South Park

By the time he left office, Donald Trump’s record at attempting to overturn the election stood at 1 in 65 in the courts. The solitary case he won didn’t prove any election fraud or shenanigans in the 2020 election either. And yet tens of millions of Americans still believe he won the election. That’s a titanic triumph of disinformation.

The playbook is simple and Trump and many of his most avid supporters have mastered it. You can examine the dynamics from different angles. You can look at social media. You can examine the practice of Russian disinformation or dezinformatsiya. …


Principled deplatforming works. We just need to agree on the principles.

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Donald Trump (Detail) — Photo by Thomas Hawk (Creative Commons)

Fox Business announced today they were canceling Lou Dobbs Tonight, their highest rated TV show. We’ll have to see if this canning prompts cries of “cancel culture!” from his admirers or if those cries are only reserved for when competing left wing networks and social media platforms take the megaphones away from similar voices.

You can be sure Dobbs hasn’t been sidelined for the stream of misinformation he’s channeled over the past few years nor for his interminable Donald Trump boosterism, but almost certainly because of the massive lawsuit Smartmatic has leveled at Dobbs and his Fox News colleagues Maria…


Better design can defend us against online attacks

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Photo by Jan Vašek, Unsplash

Wednesday, 1pm

Last Wednesday, lunchtime, I noticed a few spam emails piling up in my inbox but didn’t think much of it. My email also seemed to seize up for a while. A few minutes later, however, I noticed something. It wasn’t a few emails. No, it was dozens. I scrolled a little. No, hundreds. I looked at my spam folder. It was filling up, too.

I went to Twitter for help:

I’ve gotten over 1100 email subscriptions in the last few minutes, rendering my email almost useless. Has anyone seen this before? …


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“Like a Vision” — Street art by Mister Thoms

I’m Still Learning to Know When to Resist Engagement

“We’re strip-mining humanity for engagement and fracking the decency out of society because we’re working within a system of rewards that doesn’t give a damn about the long-term effects, only short-term gains.” Mike Monteiro in Ruined by Design on the effects of optimizing social media and other online experiences for “engagement”

One of the big lessons I’ve learned about myself — and all of us — these past few years is how social media is changing not just our attention spans but also the way we interact with one another. I’ve been guilty of being snappish and curt on…


Image from the Twitter account of @DotJenna showing her flashing a peace sign outside a broken Capitol building window.
Image from the Twitter account of @DotJenna showing her flashing a peace sign outside a broken Capitol building window.
From the Twitter account of real estate broker Jenna Ryan aka @DotJenna via TinEye image search. An accompanying tweet read: “Window at The capital. And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next.”

Among the many ugly symbols on display in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the event itself stands as the most offensive symbol of all

The attack on the United States Capitol by insurrectionist Trump supporters was awful for a litany of reasons, but it’s symbolism of the event itself that makes it so unique.

Yes, there were Confederate flags. Yes, there was that casually horrifying Camp Auschwitz hoodie. There was the QAnon “Q” worn by many, signifying alliance to cultish conspiracy theories. But these were borne by individuals, so many others who broke into the Capitol could claim a sort of plausible deniability: They will protest that they’re not aligned with those particular symbols. …


Photo of woman holding sign reading “We are all immigrants” at the Women’s March in New York, NY, January 22nd, 2017.
Photo of woman holding sign reading “We are all immigrants” at the Women’s March in New York, NY, January 22nd, 2017.
“We are all immigrants” — photo by Robert Stribley

The economic imperative for restoring immigration and labor movement in the wake of COVID-19

As many western industrial nations drifted towards protectionism if not outright nationalism in the last decade, an already constrictive environment had developed for the free movement of the labor market. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, gave such nations just the hammer they needed to further nail immigration constraints into place.

COVID-19 triggered mass unemployment globally with The Brookings Institute estimating that approximately 11.9 percent of workers were out of a job across the 20 countries they studied. That number reached almost 15 percent for the United States. And early this year, the IMF forecast that the global economy…


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Thanksgiving Video Conference Call with Military Service Personnel — White House Flickr Account, Public Domain

Trump lost and it was pretty predictable he would in retrospect

I imagine I have a few friends who perhaps think Donald Trump won the 2020 election and there’s some sort of fraud involved in Biden winning. I want to make a few quick points, not be to be argumentative, but primarily because I think the rhetoric in some quarters (elected officials, QAnon types, Rudy Giuliani, Trump himself) is getting down right dangerous to the point that it could incite violence. Considering that many have been receiving death threats and QAnon organized placing a noose outside one 20-year-old Dominion employee’s Georgia home, I’d say we’re already there.

Trump didn’t win and…

Robert A Stribley

Writer. Photographer. Interests: immigration, privacy, security, human rights, design. UX: Publicis Sapient. Teach: SVA. Student: NYU’s Global Affairs program.

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