Monday, January 11, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Parler Removed From App Stores and AWS

Ryan Mac and John Paczkowski (tweet, MacRumors, Hacker News):

“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple wrote to Parler. “The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”

Apple said that “to ensure there is no interruption of the availability of your app on the App Store,” Parler was required to submit an update and a “requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of the message,” which was sent on Friday morning. Apple said if it did not receive an update from the company within that time frame, the app would be removed from the App store.

Jay Peters, quoting Google (Hacker News):

In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence. All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months. We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US. We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.

Jay Peters and Kim Lyons (MacRumors):

Apparently, Parler did propose some changes, but Apple decided they weren’t sufficient, according to a statement Apple sent to Parler alongside its final decision to remove the app. It states that “the processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient,” and that Parler will not return to the App Store until it has “demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.”

John Paczkowski and Ryan Mac (Hacker News):

Amazon notified Parler that it would be cutting off the social network favored by conservatives and extremists from its cloud hosting service Amazon Web Services, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. The suspension, which will go into effect on Sunday just before midnight, means that Parler will be unable to operate and will go offline unless it can find another hosting service.

[…]

In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, an AWS Trust and Safety team told Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff that the calls for violence propagating across the social network violated its terms of service. Amazon said it was unconvinced that the service’s plan to use volunteers to moderate calls for violence and hate speech would be effective.

Previously:

Update (2021-01-22): MartianCraft:

We are going to take a look at how this service was created, how it functioned, and the technical failures that caused it to go out with such a resounding bang as opposed to the quieting snuffing out of a candle.

45 Comments

And the real issue is what happened after all this: Parler was hacked, and 70 *TERABYTES* of user data was exfiltrated to various places, including deleted posts, unredacted EXIF data... it’s just mindblowing.

Parler misrepresented itself as a safe and secure platform and it was anything but.

But Apple and AWS didn’t and don’t care about this, they’re only focused on “hurtful words” — you can read thru Twitter > +donk_enby’s tweets on what Parler really *is* — a vast honeypot of “save everything, save it all” data and control panels for “influencers” to herd unsuspecting endusers around.

That, like the OPM data breach data— is now open to the world.

Actually what I'm hearing Parler is that wasn't hacked. Just archived. It's surprising that the person who did that didn't get rate-limited though.

The last couple of days have been disconcerting. A business was destroyed without recourse by what are effectively monopolies, because it provided a place for uncensored discussions. I don't happen to like the people who funded that business (they also funded Cambridge Analytica), but that is irrelevant to my point. I am sure I wouldn't like to read much of what people wrote there, but then that's true of Twitter too.

The President of the United States has been removed from many social networks, something Germany and France (with their strong legal limits to free speech) have condemned. Again my feelings about this particular president are irrelevant to the argument.

Yet so many people in the U.S. are celebrating these totalitarian moves. They seem to have forgotten that our society embraces liberalism, in the sense of liberal science, where no one is an authority, and all things are up for debate. That is what gave us our standard of living, far beyond that which Princes enjoyed only a few centuries ago.

It seems that we have forgotten why we say we hate Nazis, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. The reason was that they were totalitarian, and killed everyone who disagreed with them. De-platforming, cancelling, destroying other platforms, rather than giving them their day in court if they violate the law, seems only to be giving in to very totalitarian impulses. Perhaps those of us who are celebrating, should ask ourselves: are we the baddies? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU

I'm sure some people will argue that companies have free speech, and have the right not to do business with whomever they please. That's not actually true (anti-discrimination laws for example), but applying that standard, what if the nation's farmers, who are mostly Republicans, were to decide that they no longer wished to feed Democrats? or Democrat majority areas? (The U.S. has been self segregating based on political affiliation in the last couple of years). Why shouldn't they? Their work is as important, indeed more important, than that of the software-engineers running Twitter or Facebook.

It seems to me that we all need to get along and all be a little less self-righteous, rather than going for broke and making things even more extreme. Censoring the other side, putting them on no-fly-lists, impeaching their political representatives, and so on won't lead to less hatred.

Perhaps those of us who are celebrating, should ask ourselves: are we the baddies?

No, I'm pretty sure the murderous, racist, treasonous, organized terrorists spreading an indoctrination that rejects reality and reason are the baddies.

"Parler provided a place for uncensored discussions"? No, Parler specifically censored insufficiently radicalized voices, fuck off.

Old Unix Geek

Thank you for your well reasoned, thoughtfully made point, vintner. Your dedication to peace, inclusivity, national loyalty, and understanding reality are clearly exemplified by your post. It adds a great deal to the conversation. I shall of course forgive you for your final coarse suggestion. I shall not cancel myself as requested. We are guests on Michael's site, I assume he would prefer for us to be polite.

Understanding reality starts with evidence. Perhaps you'd like to provide actual evidence for your claims? Particularly, I'm curious about your claim that Parler specifically censored insufficiently radicalised voices. The complaint I've read so far has been the precise opposite: that they did not censor enough. Also, I've seen many claims that no one who used Parler actually was arrested at the Capitol. Instead the arrestees all used Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Perhaps this article clarifies what I am said: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/how-silicon-valley-in-a-show-of-monopolistic

Agreed, OUG. It's alarming how many supposed "liberals" are cheering the actions of Google and Apple (and more) over this. Everything is being blown out of proportion, with the protestors at the Capitol being described as "equivalent to Pearl Harbor", "an attempted coup", etc. As if those clowns had any non-zero chance of overthrowing the US gov't. What if they were BLM activists? Or people demanding Medicare for All? It sure seems like the overreaction is based purely on political ideology, and not on an unbiased assessment of what actually happened (property damage and an isolated attack on a police officer? surely in the grand scheme of "things that happen every day on the streets of America" or "things that America does all the time in foreign countries" it's completely and utterly insignificant).

>Perhaps those of us who are celebrating, should ask ourselves: are we the baddies?

If you live in the US and/or are a citizen with the right to vote, and you're not actively fighting against authoritarianism / corporatism / militarism / imperialism from BOTH the Democrat and Republican parties (and don't understand that the people who did, like Assange and Snowden, are heroes) then Yes.

>Yet so many people in the U.S. are celebrating these totalitarian moves

Let me just point out that right-wing extremists have violated the terms of service of these platforms for years, and have mostly not been punished for it, while particularly LGBTQ people have been banned for much less severe infractions, because these companies are much more likely to overreact to sexual content, than to violence.

Example: Trump fan Ryan Gutierrez streamed content that violated Twitch's TOS for years, and remained on the service, while streamers who accidentally flashed a boob were immediately banned. Now he's banned too. That's not a totalitarian move, that's just something that should have happened years ago, had Twitch actually applied its guidelines to right-wing extremists.

The simple fact is that white right-wing dudes have been able to get away with a lot of stuff that everybody else has not. Obviously, to them, rules suddenly being enforced looks like "totalitarianism". To everybody else, it just looks like a modicum of fairness.

>It seems that we have forgotten why we say we hate Nazis,
>Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc

You're conflating governments and private companies. And the idea that you're equating a platform enforcing its TOS rules against content that incites violence with ACTUAL NAZIS should give you pause.

Even countries with very strong free speech laws have exemptions to these protections when it comes to (intentionally or accidentally) inciting imminent lawless action.

You're saying that private companies should be less restrictive in what kind of speech they allow in their TOS than the countries with the most liberal free speech protections, and if they don't do that, they're like Nazis. I don't think that's a reasonable position to take.

>Everything is being blown out of proportion, with the
>protestors at the Capitol being described as "equivalent to
>Pearl Harbor", "an attempted coup", etc.

"An attempted coup" is literally what this was. I mean, it's the literal definition of what happened.

>What if they were BLM activists?

If BLM activists had stormed the Capitol with the aim of killing the VP, and actually succeeded in breaching it, and murdered a cop, and beat up multiple other cops, you would not be here posting about how it's blown out of proportion.

Also, judging by how the police has reacted to BLM demonstrations in the past, and how they reacted to this, if BLM activists had stormed the capitol, you'd have a lot more dead people. And I don't mean cops.

Look, I largely think the cops at the capitol reacted well, given their situation. There was no way they were holding back the angry people, so the best option was to try to de-escalate the situation, protect the people inside the capitol, and avoid as much violence as possible, which they managed to do well enough. This could have ended a lot worse than it did.

The only thing I'm pointing out here is that when black people are at the other end of the police force, de-escalation is often *not* what happens.

Tolerance cannot be tolerant against intolerance. Democracy cannot let anti-democratic actors have their way.

@Charles, the key is in defining "anti-democratic". It's not everyone who upsets you.

The literature on the topic includes Plato (who first noticed the paradox of tolerance), and Popper's 1945 work which is best known and which you are probably paraphrasing.

Liberal societies have been been following John Rawls' 1971 argument: a just society must tolerate the intolerant, for otherwise, the society would then itself be intolerant, and thus unjust. If and only if a circumstance arises in which the usual constitutional safeguards do not suffice to ensure the security of the tolerant and the institutions that preserve liberty, then, in order to guarantee equal liberty for all (and only for that purpose), may a society defend the tolerant and their institutions by limiting the liberty of the intolerant.

Karl Popper said something quite similar. Namely that in order to preserve tolerance, one should claim the right to suppress intolerant arguments, BUT that it is unwise to do so if one can counter them by rational argument in the public's opinion.

It seems very clear to me that shutting down places in which the public holds conversations, or silencing people in such places, does not preserve equal liberty for all. As European leaders have said, the public should be judged solely according to the laws of their countries, not the whims of social media corporations. And the legal system has processes to ensure it is applied fairly, and even if one might argue that they need improvement, they are nevertheless much better at this task than the current corporate system of decisions without recourse.

I also happen to think that our institutions have done a very poor job at providing a rational argument. For four years one side has been claiming that the presidency was stolen, yet it is considered outrageous when the other side makes that same claim for 2 months. Democracy requires the consent of the people to work, and it loses that consent if it is seen to be hypocritical.

@Lukas

You're conflating governments and private companies. And the idea that you're equating a platform enforcing its TOS rules against content that incites violence with ACTUAL NAZIS should give you pause.

Benito Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of corporate and governmental power. He had a point: power whether private or public is power. Therefore I do not agree with the narrative that private companies can set whatever terms of service they wish. Without electricity, banking and communication services, one cannot live in a modern society.

Just like European leaders have been saying, I do not believe that companies should have TOS regulating free-speech. That's what the law is for. In a democracy, elected representatives make that law. If one disagrees with that law, one can elect someone else to fix it. A private corporation has no such checks and balances. There is no need for companies to have TOS: the law applies online too.

You're doing the equating, and imputing it to me. You're also thinking by correlation. That was precisely how "ACTUAL NAZIS" thought. That's how they ended up with their disturbing worldview. The fact you are thinking like them should give you pause.

I don't blame you though. People naturally think by correlation, and it leads us astray. The reason we learn philosophy and science is that they teach us valid methods of thought which do not lead us astray. For instance, it is useful to see the causal mechanisms underlying a system and to understand how they work and why they were set up that way. Systems such as our liberal system.

Where I do agree with you is that the law and (non-free-speech related) terms of service should be applied equally to all. No exceptions. As to your point about sexuality, I don't know what to say. The US is very different to the rest of the world in how it balances the treatment of violence and sexuality. Hollywood (violence is fine) versus European (sexuality is fine) movies, yet the number one producer of porn worldwide is the US. It's bizarre.

In case you hadn't figured it out, I'm concerned that we are losing that amazing gift we inherited, a free society. Remembering how others lost theirs seems very relevant to me. A common feature of those processes was self-righteousness. For them to survive, it seems to me that everyone needs to understanding how they work.

I should have said There is no need for companies to have TOS related to free speech: the law applies online too.

@Ben G and OUG: Help us here: which bit of “fucking fascists” are you really struggling to understand? Be specific.

Otherwise, save your gaslighting and sealioning; nobody’s impressed. Like Parler’s ludicrously incompetent developers and management, you are embarrassingly amateur-hour and really not competent to be let out on your own.

As for Parler itself, I’m confident they’ll find their forever hosting over in peaceful democratic free-speeching Russia, just as soon as Vlad’s stopped laughing long enough to sign it off. #SafeSpace #Snowflakes #SchutzstaffelLARPers

Also, LOLs:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/11/tech/parler-amazon-lawsuit/index.html

Not that Amazon aren’t grade A business bastards, but really Parler, running to mom cuz a Big Kid told you to bug off? Libertarianism comes at you hard.

Old Unix Geek

@has:

If you actually want a response, please write something coherent so that I can understand what you are saying. You're the one who needs to be specific. "Fucking fascists", "gaslighting", "sealioning" (whatever that means), "amateur-hour" are not arguments, only judgements, if not insults. Lobbing insults does not demonstrate that you are "competent to be let out on your own", only that you're frustrated.

The President of the United States has been removed from many social networks, something Germany and France (with their strong legal limits to free speech) have condemned.

That’s taking the remarks out of context. Regarding Germany:

When asked about the decision, Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters in Berlin the basic right to freedom of opinion is “of elementary significance.” He said exceptions can be made to that right, “but based on the law and based on what the law defines, not based on the resolution of social media platforms and from that point of view, the chancellor sees the permanent suspension of the U.S. president’s account as problematic.”

Seibert added, though, that the German government believes that social media platforms such as Twitter have a “high responsibility so that political communications don’t get poisoned by hatred, lies, incitement to violence.” He said it is right “not to stand by idly if there are postings on certain channels which fall into this category.”

What Merkel objects to is not that Trump was banned, but that there wasn’t a proper legal framework for this, making a private company an arbiter.

It seems that we have forgotten why we say we hate Nazis, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. The reason was that they were totalitarian, and killed everyone who disagreed with them.

I’m not worried about Jack Dorsey being responsible for the murder of six million people any time soon.

It’s alarming how many supposed “liberals” are cheering the actions of Google and Apple (and more) over this.

I think the actions are… worth discussing in nuance. Upgrade had a decent take on this.

Everything is being blown out of proportion, with the protestors at the Capitol being described as “equivalent to Pearl Harbor”, “an attempted coup”, etc.

If you can’t agree that this was an attempted coup, I’m not interested in any further discussion. We can meet in the middle and call it a terrorist attack instead, though.

As if those clowns had any non-zero chance of overthrowing the US gov’t.

It doesn’t stop being a bank robbery if you have zero chance of getting away with it.

the key is in defining “anti-democratic”. It’s not everyone who upsets you.

I’m not sure how something can be less democratic than literally trying to disrupt a democratic procedure by first denying the legitimacy of an election over the course of two months, then storming a government building that’s trying to certify it.

As European leaders have said, the public should be judged solely according to the laws of their countries, not the whims of social media corporations.

Again, you’re leaving out the crucial context that those laws are a lot stricter. In fact, Twitter and Facebook, by law, are required to filter much of the content you’re defending here. And that is precisely what Germany (and presumably France) are advocating the US are doing as well.

For four years one side has been claiming that the presidency was stolen

News to me. In fact, Hillary conceded on Nov 9, just one day after the election. When is Trump planning to concede?

However, Trump actually claimed that Hillary’s 3 million vote lead were “illegal votes”.

yet it is considered outrageous when the other side makes that same claim for 2 months.

And lost case after case after case. How odd. Must be a because those judges were all biased — oh, wait, many of them had been installed by Trump/McConnell in the first place!

Benito Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of corporate and governmental power. He had a point:

Yeaaaaaaah, we’re off to a good start with “Mussolini had a point”.

power whether private or public is power.

See, and the left isn’t denying that a few major corporations like Facebook and Twitter being able to de-platform Trump is a lot of power.

Just like European leaders have been saying, I do not believe that companies should have TOS regulating free-speech. That’s what the law is for. In a democracy, elected representatives make that law.

And that’s what European leaders have actually been saying: get on with it already and make such a law.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, I’m concerned that we are losing that amazing gift we inherited, a free society.

Well, then you should be very concerned, because a week ago, a bunch of folks were able to storm one of the fundamental pillars of your political system, and disrupt the result of a free election.

“sealioning” (whatever that means)

You, too, can use your preferred search engine to look it up. I believe in you.

Old Unix Geek

@Soren

Although you're obviously irritated, and needed to throw in various barbs, I don't think you disagree that much with me, and you did provide clear arguments, for which I thank you. I cited Mussolini because a description of fascism from the horse's mouth seems rather relevant to me, not because I like him: to argue rationally against someone's arguments one needs to understand their position.

I'm obviously not worried that Jack Dorsey is going to go exterminate people, nor did I suggest I was. Nor, despite what you said, am I defending any particular content. I'm worried that we are becoming illiberal. Let me remind you that this conversation is about whether it is appropriate for large corporations to decide what people are allowed to say. You seem to claiming that corporations have to do this because the first amendment is too loose. Wanting to change the first amendment is a reasonable position, which could be debated. What I do not find to be a reasonable position is to rely on the good graces of corporations to regulate one's society. They have their own interests and those interests are not yours. I would not be too shocked if BP would have been happy to pollute the Gulf and not clean up their mess.

I would not characterise the events at the Capitol as a coup. It was stupid, short sighted, and so on, but it was not a coup: the government did not change, people did not come in with weapons drawn, proceedings resumed a couple of hours later. ITV's coverage shows something rather surreal, a protest filled with people also discovering their Capitol for the first time: https://nitter.cc/itvnews/status/1346952339886923786#m "We're home! We're home!" says a young woman at the beginning. Not something people storming a seat of government usually say. A wide range of motivations were on display. The Capitol police clearly screwed up, but the backstory is rather interesting: https://archive.fo/1PO6b

I do think invading the Capitol was stupid, and poorly thought through. But that is what I expect from mobs. However, I do not think that it is helpful to exaggerate what happened there. At no point were the results of the election actually at risk. No one is going to do what some bison-headed man says just because he sat in someone's seat. Nor was it "terrorism". That word has a meaning, please use your preferred search engine to look it up. I too believe in you :-) The atmosphere today reminds me of 9/11 when everybody got really upset and passed anti-liberal laws such as the "Patriot" act, and then bombed 2 countries. Calling people domestic terrorists leads to this sort of thing: https://www.rawstory.com/the-view-meghan-mccain-gitmo/

Hillary Clinton did concede, just like most losing candidates before her. That was a good precedent, and I wish Donald Trump had done the same. However officially conceding is not enough. Let me quote Ms Pelosi twice: https://nitter.net/pic/media%2FErnSbY0XUAEPL2j.jpg%3Fname%3Dorig and https://nitter.cc/ivan8848/status/1348446027985149953#m These sorts of statements do not suggest that she accepted the election results. Unfortunately she was not the only person who said such things: a large part of the population seems to have agreed with her.

I'm Independent, and don't have a bone in this particular partisan fight. But I am worried that this fight will destroy our free society. There is a Chinese folk story about two tribes of tiny creatures which each lived on an eye-stalk of the same snail. They went to war. I forget the details, but in the end the snail died.

Old Unix Geek

And yes, Sören, you are absolutely right, the Trump team failed completely in the courts. That was pathetic.

@OUG and @Ben G, you have posted a mix of comments both minimizing what happened at the capitol last week, and worrying whether blocking things like Parler & Trump’s access to Twitter puts us on a path to totalitarianism/militarism/etc.

It's frustrating to hear you downplay the real problems of today in favor of fears about future hypotheticals.

My question to you is: what are your solutions for stopping the extremists trying to start violent insurrections right now?

"We all need to get along and all be a little less self-righteous" sounds good to me. One challenge: can you suggest how to get the violent extremists and conspiracy theorists on board?

Do you maybe think we need laws that govern when people and services can be blocked, and what is considered a public space online, so that the digital world isn't entirely run by, essentially, unelected officials? I do too.

But, obviously, passing laws takes time. And just as obviously, we need democracy to be alive and functioning well in order to be able to do that. Here’s just one example from this past week of where its foundation is showing cracks:

> In an interview, [Republican representative Peter] Meijer recalled a conversation he had with a Republican colleague who believed voting to certify the election was the right thing to do, but feared that making such a move would endanger family members’ safety. Mr. Meijer described watching the lawmaker glued to one spot on the House floor for minutes, voting card in hand, contemplating what to do. The lawmaker eventually voted to overturn the election.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/12/us/politics/house-freshman-republicans-impeachment.html

It’s embarrassing and worrying that violence, real and threatened, is bending any of our government to the will of those threatening to overthrow democracy.

Your criticism of taking Parler offline, and lack of proposing other viable solutions, sounds like you think the best thing to do right now is nothing: let violent extremists continue to assemble and attempt to overthrow a democracy.

I'm not on board with that.

Old Unix Geek

@Nigel:

I don't agree that I am minimising things. I think people are exaggerating what happened, and I am worried this will lead to further bad consequences. And like you, and most people I assume, I believe Congress members should not have to fear for their families, but act to represent their district. Thanks for that link.

How to prevent immediate violent insurrections? First of all, you can't prevent everything in a free society. Insurrections even happen in authoritarian societies. But you can pay attention to those who proclaim evil intent... particularly if they are on public fora such as Twitter, rather than conspiring in encrypted groups on the dark net. And you can send people to infiltrate such groups and ascertain how much of a threat they are. Ultimately, it should be a lot easier today, if everyone is talking freely on the internet, than it was before, when people met in person. For example the FBI is using photos published on social networks to figure out who entered the Capitol.

How to fix things? Good question. I believe we should all work to restore democracy by paying attention to what people of all perspectives are saying. Most people are ultimately reasonable, but they become unreasonable when they feel ignored. A couple of years ago there was a study from Princeton that showed that only the very rich have any impact on policy. It concluded that the US had become an oligarchy, so the feeling of being ignored isn't completely misplaced. Bernie Sanders and Trump have a base, not because they are evil magicians who created it, but because they have highlighted real problems with which many voters resonate. Once Trump became president, I made an effort to talk to some Trump supporters. A surprising number of them told me that they would have voted for Bernie instead, had he been the Democratic candidate. Yes, that's an anecdote, but that experience struck me.

Do you maybe think we need laws that govern when people and services can be blocked, and what is considered a public space online, so that the digital world isn't entirely run by, essentially, unelected officials? I do too..

Yes, absolutely, as long as the elected officials are acting consistently with our liberal system (i.e. preserving the principle that there is no final authority, and the truth of all things can be discussed). I wouldn't agree, if the rules consistently favoured one ideological opinion or the other.

In order to restore some sense of unity, we need a free space in which people can discuss their feelings, perceptions, and opinions reasonably. There will be tantrums, there always are when discussing things near to people's hearts (see this thread). But it needs to be a place in which tantrums can be gotten over, and not sealed for eternity by deplatforming. I have no idea whether Parler would have been the place to do that. But we need some such place. And if we rid Twitter/Facebook/Etc of all the Republicans, they'll go somewhere else, and create their own separate reality: the US will become even more divided.

E pluribus unum.

It would take time, but I would be really happy to see less partisanship, and everyone treating each other as deserving of respect. Families being torn apart by politics is very sad. Our inability to address COVID rationally is an incredible act of self-harm. These last few years have been depressing.

It'd be a good start if the US could actually have a real democracy at the national level. Right now it's a joke, where candidates (with very few exceptions) can only get elected if they're already pre-approved by one of the two parties in control. Did anyone ever think that Bernie Sanders would actually win the nomination, despite his immense popularity? No because in the end the Dems were always going to go with Joe Biden, a corporate shill, war-loving, racist, touchy-feely, enabler of his drug-addict son because they could sell him as "Obama 2.0". (Did I vote for him? Reluctantly yes).

Where's the ranked voting? Where's the proportional representation for third parties? Where is the true opposition against all of the heinous things that BOTH the Ds and Rs agree on more often that not, such as never ending war, US global imperialism, unfettered capitalism that destroys lives and the planet we live on, a crap healthcare system, and an unwavering insistence that the US is the best in the world at everything despite piles of rational evidence to the contrary? When it comes down to it, the choices that we have in the US at the national level are between two different flavors of shit.

And even those that do get elected against the odds (like Ocasio-Cortez on the left to name one -- maybe Justin Amash on the right?) are mostly all talk and little action because that's the way the people in control want it. And even the supposed leftists and libertarians in government are often conspicuously silent about the US's illegal imprisonment and attempted extradition of Assange, the US's immoral support of Saudi terror in Yemen, the 20+ year war and terrorization of the Afghan people (which the US actually started 40+ years ago) etc.

I don't for one second believe there was ever a legitimate chance that the 2020 election could be overturned. It was all political theater. When push came to shove, Trump quickly disavowed the protestors who stormed the Capitol. A real coup requires the support of a significant portion of the military or some other way to actually lock up and replace the current government. That was never going to happen. Never.

Here's a definition of insurrection from the Cambridge dictionary:

An organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.

Other dictionaries describe it merely as "a revolt against government". But if we use that definition, then basically any protest or riot against the government is an insurrection -- when was the last time anyone seriously protest against something other than the govt, anyway? I don't buy that definition (were the L.A. riots in the early 90's an insurrection?).

People in the US need to stop picking sides. It's not a contest. Sometimes Ds are right, sometimes Rs are right, but more often they are both completely wrong and their goal is to completely fool you so you continue to vote for them and give them their power, their generous salaries and free healthcare (while they deny you the same), their retirement checks, the money they get from speeches and book deals, etc. The end result has already been predetermined, almost everything else is political grandstanding to make you think that you actually have a choice, that one party is on your side and the other party is against you. That's how they win and we all continue to lose decade after decade no matter who is elected. Sure there are small gains here and there, but mostly this is due to the social zeitgeist. Look how quickly Hillary Clinton (as one example) changed her tone about gay marriage. She used to say it was immoral and only for a man and a woman, that she would never support it, like 16 years ago? Now she would never say that -- not because she actually changed her personal beliefs, but because she knows it's political suicide because society itself has changed. She doesn't suddenly support gay marriage, she supports lying to get your vote (and yes so do Republicans).

Wow, what a bizarre set of opinions the bison fellow has: https://nitter.cc/resophonick/status/1347216449480364032#m Matches his costume. Certainly not someone I'd entrust to replace a government.

Although you’re obviously irritated

I mean, yeah. It’s always hard to say whether something historical is repeating exactly the same way, and whether measures to prevent it from happening again were needed, not enough, or too much. But yes, I’m irritated at “well, I dunno, is it really much of a coup attempt?”. Yes it is.

I cited Mussolini because a description of fascism from the horse’s mouth seems rather relevant to me, not because I like him: to argue rationally against someone’s arguments one needs to understand their position.

Fair enough.

I’m worried that we are becoming illiberal.

And I’m worried that the US’s anarcholibertarian faction is taking its stance too far. When someone’s freedom infringes on another’s, is it really freedom at all?

Let me remind you that this conversation is about whether it is appropriate for large corporations to decide what people are allowed to say. You seem to claiming that corporations have to do this because the first amendment is too loose.

It doesn’t really matter what corporations “have to do”. Can a company kick out customers it doesn’t want? By and large, yes, yes it can. It’s not a government. Twitter doesn’t literally put you in a jail if you say something wrong. The same conservatives upset that Twitter has kicked out users very much wanted bakeries to reject gay customers who wanted a wedding cake.

Now, one exception here would be antitrust-related: at some point, the influence of Facebook and Twitter becomes so large that they really amount to utilities, and if both Facebook and Twitter ban you, and if all of AWS, GCP and Azure ban you from trying to host an alternative of your own on their platform, then we’re getting to interesting philosophical discussions.

Wanting to change the first amendment is a reasonable position, which could be debated.

OK, you keep bringing this up, but the first amendment is about what the government can do. Twitter is under no obligation to allow free speech.

What I do not find to be a reasonable position is to rely on the good graces of corporations to regulate one’s society.

It’s a good thing virtually nobody is advocating for that, then.

I would not be too shocked if BP would have been happy to pollute the Gulf and not clean up their mess.

OK, sure, but… uh… relevance?

I would not characterise the events at the Capitol as a coup. It was stupid, short sighted, and so on, but it was not a coup: the government did not change, people did not come in with weapons drawn, proceedings resumed a couple of hours later.

Again, the result of an attempt to commit a crime isn’t relevant. And it was in fact quite effective at sparking an international conversation. I’m also not sure how bombs aren’t weapons?

“We’re home! We’re home!” says a young woman at the beginning. Not something people storming a seat of government usually say.

Sure it is, if the sentiment is that this was theirs to take. Which it wasn’t.

I do think invading the Capitol was stupid, and poorly thought through.

On the contrary, it was smart and effective at further destabilizing the US. Good job, folks.

At no point were the results of the election actually at risk.

Nothing was at imminent risk after the Beer Hall Putsch, but it was one step of many to further destabilize the Weimar Republic. Less than a decade later, well…

Nor was it “terrorism”. That word has a meaning, please use your preferred search engine to look it up. I too believe in you :-)

“the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims”

I guess it wasn’t against civilians?

But it was absolutely unlawful, violence, intimidation, and in the pursuit of political aims.

The atmosphere today reminds me of 9/11 when everybody got really upset and passed anti-liberal laws such as the “Patriot” act, and then bombed 2 countries.

Yes, well, that, too, was an act of terrorism. Only less effective.

I thought those measures were draconian at the time, and they probably are, but it’s pretty funny to see how Republicans are reacting now. The culture of “metal detectors everywhere” was fine for them in airports and high schools and everywhere when it didn’t affect them, but now that Congress has some, they suddenly find that deeply upsetting, “unconstitutional”, and walk around them. Law and order, much?

Right now it’s a joke, where candidates (with very few exceptions) can only get elected if they’re already pre-approved by one of the two parties in control.

Yes, FPTP is bad.

Did anyone ever think that Bernie Sanders would actually win the nomination, despite his immense popularity?

Yes.

No because in the end the Dems were always going to go with Joe Biden

I guess more people should have voted for Bernie, then.

(I was more of a Warren person.)

Where is the true opposition against all of the heinous things that BOTH the Ds and Rs agree on more often that not, such as never ending war, US global imperialism, unfettered capitalism that destroys lives and the planet we live on, a crap healthcare system, and an unwavering insistence that the US is the best in the world at everything despite piles of rational evidence to the contrary?

While there is an unfortunate broad consensus on foreign policy, I don’t agree on other matters. If you want improvements to health care, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any recent example of Republicans actually pushing for it (Romney, perhaps), rather than merely pretending to in order to win votes. On the contrary, Democrats did pass a massive improvements, and almost all primary candidates pushed for more.

And even those that do get elected against the odds (like Ocasio-Cortez on the left to name one — maybe Justin Amash on the right?) are mostly all talk and little action because that’s the way the people in control want it.

Well, the extreme amount of influence money has is another problem, yes. Again, the Republicans are far more to blame for that than the Democrats. Romney very openly advocated for it in his 2012 bid.

But also, no, AOC doesn’t not accomplish much because of some giant conspiracy that’s somehow unique to the US, but because that’s how social progress has always been: slow and steady.

@OUG: What you just did is the definition of sealioning.

Which you would know if you knew how to use Google.

Which you do.

@Nigel: And what OUG is doing to you is the very definition of gaslighting. Which he knows full well too. Ben G’s really no better.

There is not “two sides”, there is fascism and not fascism. And if the first isn’t stomped on—hard, now—then the second will be.

My granddaddy was Antifa. Fought the fascists in Africa and Italy, and he’d be beyond appalled were he still alive today. Hell, his son—a war baby, lifelong conservative, and my old man—is still alive, and he has absolutely zero problem calling it exactly what it is. An openly fascist power grab happening real-time in the largest and most powerful democracy on this planet.

The only saving grace of last week’s 1776 LARPing is how shockingly incompetent it was; but don’t think the Republican Party itself will make that mistake twice. They’ve been patiently working on a transition to one-party power ever since Barry Goldwater and the Southern Strategy and, with only a handful of GOP rebels speaking out these last few days, it is clear they are still overwhelmingly committed to that end goal.

So OUG and Ben G are fooling no-one but themselves here with their maliciously calculated language. And I’m sure they know that too.

--

Abusers don’t win by abusing. They win by convincing the rest of us to apologize.

Not to nitpick, but India is the world’s largest democracy, not the US. 🙈

> I'm concerned that we are losing that amazing gift we
> inherited, a free society

You *are* losing it. But not because a bunch of people repeatedly violate a service's TOS and then get booted from that service. You're losing it because you have violent, armed extremists who have lost all connection to reality thanks to bubbles created by recommendation algorithms, and want to prevent the transfer of power to a democratically elected government.

There's a pretty good chance there's not going to be a United States in a decade, and it's not because Twitter deleted a bunch of accounts, it's because Twitter didn't do it soon enough.

I'm going to agree with Ben: the way presidents are elected in the US is insane. But a violent insurrection is not exactly going to improve things.

>Just like European leaders have been saying, I do not
>believe that companies should have TOS regulating free-speech

Just to spell out what you're saying here: you're saying that private companies have the obligation to publish anything you want, for you, for free. That's kind of a bonkers world view. If you send an editorial to the NYT, and they don't publish it, is that also censorship?

You're entitled to your opinions, but you're not entitled to private companies publishing them for you. That should be pretty obvious.

>There is no need for companies to have TOS: the law applies
>online too

Wait, is your opinion actually that private companies should not be allowed to enter into contracts? I'm super confused by what you're arguing for here.

>You're doing the equating, and imputing it to me. You're also
>thinking by correlation. That was precisely how "ACTUAL NAZIS"
>thought. That's how they ended up with their disturbing
>worldview. The fact you are thinking like them should give you
>pause.

Normally, I would be insulted if somebody called me a Nazi, but your reasoning is so bonkers that I think I'll make an exception. Sure, if you think that the literal definition of "a Nazi" is somebody who doesn't think that private companies must be forced to publish your opinions for you, then I guess I fit that definition. But that's a pretty low bar, so by your definition, pretty much everybody other than you is a Nazi.

Also, the lawsuit Parler has launched against Amazon has already had a highly enlightening outcome: turns out that Amazon has been warning Parler about its TOS violations for months now, but Parler just offered excuses without doing anything about them, and Amazon kept them up anyways. That's privilege. Right-wing extremists always complain about how everybody is out to get them, but turns out that people bend over backwards to accommodate them.

The fact that Amazon has now decided to stop granting them that privilege, and apply the same rules to them that they apply to everybody else, is not tyranny, and it's not fascism.

@has

I'm not harassing you by persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretence of civility and sincerity. I am impressed that you believe you know how someone you've never met could think. Of course if you start by assuming bad intent, and refuse to consider any other possibility, your bubble can never be pierced.

I do happen to believe in civility. Your messages don't suggest you do. I learned it from my Grandfather. He fought the Nazis in Africa just like yours, for 5 long years, and was one of 2 people who survived in his entire squadron. Not just him, which is is why I detest war. We're not living World War 2, yet. I am concerned that the trends are bad, but it is because people have become so polarized, as you are demonstrating.

I have literally no idea why you felt the following was relevant: Abusers don’t win by abusing. They win by convincing the rest of us to apologize., but it's an interesting idea. If you think that discussing how the world is going wrong is abuse, you have obviously never suffered any. Lucky you!

@Lukas

if private companies change how society works, you're saying that's fine, merely because they're private. But many private companies are more powerful and richer than entire countries. Whether they are private is irrelevant. Whether they can change our society for the worse isn't. Until Section 230 was created, private companies could either act as common carriers (publish exactly what people said), or moderate, in which case they were considered publishers and were liable for everything on their platform. Since Congress didn't want them to be common carriers, and realised social media couldn't edit every single post, they created section 230. It's not working because social media companies now have an outsized influence on what is being said, and have no accountability.

@Sören

Yes, setting pipe bombs definitely counts as terrorism. But my understanding is, and I might be wrong, that was the work of a lone actor, and occurred separately from the Capitol protest/riot/invasion/whatever. The FBI published a photo of a suspect. And I hope (s)he's caught. Yes, I believe the social media companies have too much power. That's pretty much what the subcommittee of Congress who did the 450 page report concluded.

As to your beer-hall analogy, that's precisely my point: early Nazis went to the beer halls, and took some of them over. They concentrated, and created an environment in which their ideas were not checked by less radical people who could point out the obvious flaws in those ideas. And so they became a movement. It was literally a petri-dish to evolve bad ideas. Trump supporters won't suddenly stop using the internet. They'll make their own platforms. They already have their own TV stations. And there will be no one there to stop them becoming more radical. We're recreating those beer-halls today by banning them.

Our basic problem seems to me to be that our technology has removed distance. if there are 5% of radicals in a village, it makes for a tiny protest, which can be safely ignored. But if there are 5% of radicals in a country, and they all get together, that makes for a hell of a lot of people. These cyber-beer-halls in which nobody hears an opposing view are becoming immense. That is dangerous: by kicking these people out we're losing the main tool we have to restrain them, the ability to talk to them as other human beings, and point out where things are going wrong. It started with partisan Radio and TV stations like MSNBC and Fox news which only consider one opinion. And now social media on the internet has made it worse.

@All

Thank you gentle and (not so gentle) men and and women. I'm bowing out. I believe I have made my point as clearly as I ever will be able to, and I have run out of free time. I'd ask you to consider it, and to refrain from calling each other names, or hating each other. You are of course free to ignore my request. If you do decide that you prefer to scream at each other, please remember that usually results in violence. Then once everyone is exhausted, or dead, those left over will get back to having a civil discussion: one either talks before violence, or one talks after it, but one does always end up talking. A little secret rarely taught in history classes is that after World War 2, most of the authorities running Germany were the same people running Germany during World War 2. The Allies needed people with organisational skills. The Allies put them there, and talked to them.

Oh, and I forgot to say, Lukas: we agree fully that recommendation algorithms have proven to be a bad idea. They led to the election of Bolsanaro in Brazil among other things.

I am concerned that the trends are bad, but it is because people have become so polarized

This is not polarization.

“I think the government should pay for the entirety of health care” vs. “I think the government should be left out of heatlh care altogether; let the free market decide” is polarization.

Constructing a gallows with a noose in front of Capitol and bringing pipe bombs inside is well outside the acceptable Overton window; it’s not polarization. It’s not a valid political opinion to hold.

if private companies change how society works, you’re saying that’s fine, merely because they’re private.

I don’t think Lukas is saying that.

Yes, setting pipe bombs definitely counts as terrorism. But my understanding is, and I might be wrong, that was the work of a lone actor, and occurred separately from the Capitol protest/riot/invasion/whatever.

OK, let’s say that true: the best moment to disavow the lone actor was a week ago. The second-best moment is right now. Trump, Cruz, Hawley, Greene, etc. can go ahead. They had a chance to draw a line at “we think this is a protest that escalated, and we don’t condone that escalation, but do respect the protest itself” (which is still disgusting, because they were “protesting” the election). They didn’t even do that.

Yes, I believe the social media companies have too much power. That’s pretty much what the subcommittee of Congress who did the 450 page report concluded.

And that’s fair, but if anything, Twitter waited far too long (out of financial gain due to ad impressions, I would assume). Neither Facebook nor Twitter are particularly against the far-right. They, and others such as YouTube, have had blood on their hands pushing extremist views into the mainstream.

As to your beer-hall analogy, that’s precisely my point: early Nazis went to the beer halls, and took some of them over. They concentrated, and created an environment in which their ideas were not checked by less radical people who could point out the obvious flaws in those ideas. And so they became a movement. It was literally a petri-dish to evolve bad ideas.

You mean like social media, right now?

Trump supporters won’t suddenly stop using the internet. They’ll make their own platforms. They already have their own TV stations. And there will be no one there to stop them becoming more radical. We’re recreating those beer-halls today by banning them.

I don’t understand your point here. We should leave existing platforms open so they stay on them, don’t fracture, and we have a better overview?

That is dangerous: by kicking these people out we’re losing the main tool we have to restrain them, the ability to talk to them as other human beings, and point out where things are going wrong.

Yeah, I’d love to talk to someone who wears 6MWE or Camp A* (name of infamous concentration camp) gear.

Except no I wouldn’t. There’s just no conversation to be had there, sorry. I don’t know what the solution is to ‘fix’ such a person, but I don’t think it involves a few nice chats over tea. It probably involves a prison sentence, and reeducation.

I think the US prison system is far too punitive and far too little on the side of rehabilitation. Give those people civid education, an economic perspective, etc. Are they lost because they’re from the rust belt, and while Obama promised them job training in new careers, Trump instead promised them “clean coal”, and that just sounded a lot more appealing but turned out to be a comforting lie? Well, that’s no reason to storm the Capitol, but it’s something we can work with.

A little secret rarely taught in history classes is that after World War 2, most of the authorities running Germany were the same people running Germany during World War 2. The Allies needed people with organisational skills. The Allies put them there, and talked to them.

This is actually a bit more complicated, but yes, there is truth to that. My dad had a ton of ex-nazi teachers. Lots of judges of the time were former nazis. Oh, and, of course, many of the richest people in Germany today have become so in part due to revenues made in the nazi era.

But I think you’re hint at “see, reeducation does work” here, and no, I don’t think those people prove that.

>if private companies change how society works, you're saying that's fine

No, it's not fine. I'm saying the opposite of that: what has happened on social networks during the past decade might very well end up destroying Western democracies. If your approach to that problem is to say that these companies should not be able to control what happens on their platforms, it definitely will.

In the late 90s and early 00s, I would have been on your side. It looked like these platforms were genuinely bringing people together, and making things better. Wikipedia brought people together to create the greatest compendium of knowledge in human history. Facebook made it possible to keep in touch with our friends even when we no longer lived near each other. Twitter gave us access to new friends we wouldn't have met otherwise. YouTube allowed everybody to make their own TV show, and stream it to thousands of people around the world.

Recommendation algorithms changed that. They turned systems like Facebook and Twitter into publications that had an opinion, and promoted some ideas over others. And they did it in an extremely brittle way, in a way that is easily manipulated by extremists, and bad actors. Recommendation algorithms plus bad actors created the pewdiepipeline, a system where people would watch ostensibly innocuous videos, which would trigger recommendations that were slightly less innocuous, and so on, and so would slowly shift people's perception of reality.

People determine how true something likely is using availability heuristics. If YouTube's recommendation algorithm regularly shows you videos about how a secret cabal of baby-eating Hollywood celebrities is trying to manipulate the US government and take away your freedoms, that idea becomes more and more plausible. If you then actually lose an election against these baby-eating liberals, insurrection isn't just an option, it's an imperative. At this point, an insurrection is no longer destroying a democracy, it's destroying baby murdering monsters and protecting your freedoms.

Obviously, the best option here would be for these companies to turn of their recommendation algorithms. Given that this is not going to happen, the second-best option is to at least remove the people who are on the extreme fringes, and actively call for civil war.

I guess I'll leave the bluster to the Europeans and leave something useful here for @Old Unix Geek, who pointed out the Cambridge Analytica connection. Twitter user +WolfishHead did a good writeup of Parler's "platform made out of ricepaper on purpose"

https://twitter.com/WolfishHead/status/1348917752069836800

Me? I want the old internet, USENET and ESPECIALLY /k files back. You can have all this other nonsense, especially the calls for censorship over "extremism" -- most of you have never seen what real "extremism" (Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin) really is.

But I think you will, and I think "removing people" will have those of you calling for it seeing "extremism" sooner than later. History always ends up working that way and nobody learns, especially the autocrats among you.

> I think "removing people" will have those of you calling
>for it seeing "extremism" sooner than later

It is interesting to me that this form of utopian libertarianism (although I'm not sure if it's really libertarianism, given that it involves forcing private companies to publish your opinions, and disallowing them from entering contracts with their users) is still a thing, given what happened during the past decade.

That's why ideologies are so dangerous: they trump reality. It really doesn't matter where the evidence points.

>especially the autocrats among you

I'm genuinely confused by why you think allowing a private company to enforce a TOS clause against inciting violence is autocratic. Isn't your position, that private companies should not be allowed control over what gets published on their own services, the autocratic one?

And if that is your position, why aren't you equally concerned over sexual content? Why aren't you equally concerned over the fact that these companies' recommendation algorithms have always buried some content, and surfaced other content? Your concern is suspiciously narrowly applied.

>I think "removing people" will have those of you calling
>for it seeing "extremism" sooner than later.

This would be a lot more convincing if not removing these people hadn't just caused an insurrection where people stormed the Capitol with the goal of stringing up the VP, and installing a dictator. You literally have to pretend that reality doesn't exist in order to write the sentence I just quoted.

>Most of you have never seen what real "extremism" really
>is. But I think you will

At least there's one thing we can all agree on, even if it is that the end of the world is nigh.

> where people stormed the Capitol with the goal of stringing up the VP, and installing a dictator.

Did you really believe this? I didn’t, not for one second. Turns out it was another lie perpetuated by the media (surprise surprise).

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/15/politics/capitol-capture-assassinate-elected-officials/index.html

Is there any remaining real evidence that the majority of the Capitol protesters weren’t simply a disgruntled citizens who wanted their voices heard by politicians at the highest positions of power?

>I didn’t, not for one second

That's literally what the people storming the Capitol said they were doing. They were chanting "hang Mike Pence" as they stormed the Capitol. You can obviously claim that they were lying about their intentions, but how do you know that? Why should they storm the Capitol and scream "hang Mike Pence" if they had no intention of storming the Capitol and hanging Mike Pence?

How can you see an armed mob storming the Capitol, yelling "hang Mike Pence", and "not for a second" think that's actually what they were trying to do?

>Is there any remaining real evidence that the majority of
>the Capitol protesters weren’t simply a disgruntled citizens
>who wanted their voices heard by politicians at the highest
>positions of power?

I have two points about this:

1. I'm not sure how you would evaluate what "the majority" of these people wanted. We can't exactly poll them and ask them, so I'm not sure if it's really helpful to argue about what "the majority" wanted. All we can judge is what these people said, and how they acted.

2. These people literally stormed the Capitol, beat up (and in one instance murdered) cops, and tried to get close to politicians who were fleeing the premises. Those are not the actions of "disgruntled citizens". Disgruntled citizens go to protests, they don't storm the Capitol.

You know, I just have to point this out, I haven't seen anyone describe BLM protestors as "disgruntled citizens", neither on the left, nor on the right. It's kind of blowing my mind that you have people storming the Capitol, and those are the words you choose to describe them. I mean, you're not technically wrong, they definitely are "disgruntled citizens", but that's a bit like describing the 2020 California wildfires as "a hot summer."

>Turns out it was another lie perpetuated by the media

No, it wasn't. These people recorded themselves chanting "hang Mike Pence". This is not an assumption, or an unfounded claim. You can go watch these videos right now. This really happened. The media reported what really happened, as it happened. These pictures were real, and what these people yelled was real, and what they did was real.

The problem here isn't that the media is lying, the problem is that reality is inconsistent with your ideology, and instead of reconsidering your ideology, you're denying reality.

Did you really believe this? I didn’t, not for one second.

I’m sure quite a few of them weren’t serious, but all it really takes is one person.

Turns out it was another lie perpetuated by the media (surprise surprise).

Lie about… what exactly? The gallows they installed? The bombs they brought? The widespread perception that they deserved this election win, and were robbed of it (by whom?)?

The idea that “the media” is lying is… quite dangerous.

Now, let’s say there is some giant conspiracy where the US mainstream media is… somehow in cahoots with… I don’t even know. Mike Pence, famous leftist Democrat? Noted Biden supporter Amy Coney Barrett? Even then, you still have international media, who haven’t reported it in a significantly different way either. What’s in it for them?

Is there any remaining real evidence that the majority of the Capitol protesters weren’t simply a disgruntled citizens who wanted their voices heard by politicians at the highest positions of power?

Yes. (And they did just have their voices heard, two months prior.)

> all it really takes is one person.

True, but is it legit to use the actions of one lone person to define an entire group / narrative? No.

> The idea that “the media” is lying is

Except there is a never ending stream of examples that prove this is true, especially when it involves the US Government or its interests? How often are mainstream media outlets ever truly critical of what the FBI, CIA, “anonymous government sources” say? Hardly ever. If there is any opposition or debate in the msm, it’s usually the preapproved fake/safe type that Chomsky outlined in Manufacturing Consent. Sometimes, the media doesn’t even know they are lying, e.g. when they take statements of the government as fact and repeat it without any critique.

> What’s in it for them?

Power, fame, wealth, preserving the status quo, advertising money.... need I go on?

> And they did just have their voices heard, two months prior.

So people shouldn’t be able to protest outcomes that they don’t agree with? No protests ever? Or only protests that support causes that you personally approve?

As a true liberal, I’m surprised and saddened to see so many people falling into this trap. It’s so obvious what’s going on. The gov (particularly the surveillance state, whom Biden is in bed with) is using the hatred of the Right to gin up support for draconian domestic Patriot Act laws that will further erode our freedoms, especially regarding internet communication. It’s always the same result: society at large gets fucked, and bad people still find a way to do bad things.

When will people learn to see what’s really going on? This IS a First Amendment issue because tech companies are in direct cahoots with the government — not to mention, the indirect threat of Facebook etc being broken up if they don’t cooperate. There’s no distinction on who is restricting speech here, it’s the government through and through. The new laws that Biden et al are working on will make this more clear, but by then it will be too late.

> How can you see an armed mob storming the Capitol, yelling "hang Mike Pence", and "not for a second" think that's actually what they were trying to do?

Because that particular phrase is commonly used as hyperbole by angry people?

The US MSM, which is largely controlled by the gov (look how many ex-spooks and ex-politicians are now paid commentators on CNN and MSNBC) is blowing this out of proportion to control the narrative and make money. That’s what they do. This is all pretense for limiting free speech on the internet so that the MSM/gov can control it again. Don’t fall for it.

> You can go watch these videos right now.

I also saw videos of the protestors chillin inside the Capitol, talking to each other and some cops as if they are regular folks.

So which is it?

> you're denying reality.

No, I’m denying the “reality” that is presented to us by the media. Because the media lies all the time — either by omission, by presenting government statements are true facts, or by refusing to show multiple sides of a story. The media sells sensationalism for profit. And in the face of what happened to Snowden and Assange, they know what happens when they stray from the preapproved narratives of the US government. Thus by and large, the media in the 21st century is a defacto US government organization whether it’s intentional or coordinated or not — because they make more money by defending the status quo and not rocking the boat.

You do understand that there is a difference between "the media isn't critical enough of our governmental institutions" and "the media is lying to me", right? One of these two is reasonable skepticism, the other is paranoid schizophrenia. But it's a weird take either way, because "the media" or "MSM" aren't actual things. There are like 40.000 reporters and journalists just in the United States, many of whom don't even work for for-profit corporations. This idea that "the media" is a unified entity, or that something like "the MSM" exists as some kind of coherent "thing," is divorced from reality.

Now, if you're saying that the way large media corporations in the United States generally work is problematic, then I agree with you. That's a long way from "the media is lying to me."

Nobody said people shouldn't protest. People *should* protest. But if you're a citizen of a democratic country, then storming the Capitol and trying to hang the VP is not protest, it's insurrection, and you're no longer fighting for your rights, you're fighting to end democracy. That's really not a difficult distinction to draw. The fact that claim that you're arguing for freedom, while at the same time defending insurrectionists who tried to replace a democratically elected government with a dictator, is really a nonsensical position. You're clearly not on the side of freedom if you're defending people's "rights" to try to murder the VP.

I'm genuinely confused by your argument about the videos. Are you suggesting that the videos showing people who broke into the Capitol and didn't exactly know what to do when they figured out that everybody had been evacuated somehow negate the videos of the people screaming "hang Mike Pence"? I genuinely don't get the argument you're making. It seems like a complete non-sequitur. "Look at the pictures of this car crash!" "But was it really a car crash? Look at the picture of this wheel, it still seems fine!"

I should also point out one last thing: your whole argument is founded on a wrong premise. I think the argument you're making is a traditionally libertarian one, the idea that freedom is inherently good, that only good comes out of having more freedom, and that any coercive institution is always inherently bad.

You're wrong.

The insurrection is literal proof of the fact that you're wrong, because the freedom to say whatever people wanted combined with systems that elevated the most extreme voices caused this insurrection. Clearly, that was not good. That is why you are now required to deny that the insurrection even occurred, in order to preserve your ideology.

But you'd be wrong even without the insurrection. I was with you in the 80s and 90s and 00s, when this idea that democratic, free systems were inherently more successful than authoritarian systems seemed not just plausible, but obviously true.

That's no longer the case. In a pre-digitalized age, central control was doomed to fail. There was never enough information to make good decisions, and the information flow was too slow to react quickly enough. But we no longer live in that world. We now live in a world where central control actually *works,* because digitalization allows it to work. That's why China is beating our asses economically, and why Russia can effectively sabotage our democratic processes with very little effort.

We now live in a different reality than we did in the 80s.

The simple fact is that we now have pretty good evidence suggesting that technocratic autocracies like China are more effective systems than Western democracies.

If that's true, it's really bad.

In order to fix this problem, we first need to acknowledge that it exists. Otherwise, all of our democratic systems will end in economic demise, civil war, and endless pain. Quasi-religious ideas like "freedom fixes all" will not save us.

If we just pretend that nothing has changed, we're all doomed.

>You do understand that there is a difference between "the media isn't critical enough of our governmental institutions" and "the media is lying to me", right? One of these two is reasonable skepticism, the other is paranoid schizophrenia.

Dude I respect you, so please stop with the veiled ad-hominem attacks, okay? You've been doing it this entire thread to me and others.

Anyway, I was exactly where (it seems) you are 2 years ago. One thing Trump's presidency did was open my eyes to how much both sides are lying all. the. time. It's not just Republicans: Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff -- liars. Russiagate: turned out to be a lie. Pointing out lies doesn't mean I have some ideology or that I'm paranoid or that I think Trump is a good person -- it just means that I took off my blinders and finally saw what is really going on.

If you *really* pay attention over the next 4 years, and ignore the identity politics and all of the bullshit feel-good antics that the Biden administration will surely try to blind us with, you'll find that he's just as bad if not worse than Trump (Biden definitely has 40 years of history that already proves as much and he's already stacked his cabinet and advisors with some real psychos like Blinken and Flournoy -- no different than what Trump did). Trump has a vile personality and was a global embarrassment, but he was certainly no worse than Reagan, Bush I & II, and Clinton if you ignore their personalities and look at what they actually DID domestically and internationally (GW Bush was probably the worst: he gave us 2 costly wars [1 of which I fought in] and the civil-liberty destroying Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay torturing and the 2008 economic crisis, just to name a few).

It'll be easy to overlook, because Biden won't be as verbally abusive, he won't sign ridiculously offensive executive orders, he seems like a kindly old grandpa with a nice smile, and the non-Fox MSM is basically falling over themselves to shield him from any criticism (starting with the coordinated coverup about Hunter's laptop, which was not coincidentally finally revealed to be true after the election).

It already looks like Biden has domestic "anti-terrorism" laws ready to go. As if the surveillance state doesn't already have too much power? If they pass any new laws that stomp on the Bill of Rights, then the Biden administration will already be an order of magnitude worse than Trump.

True, but is it legit to use the actions of one lone person to define an entire group / narrative? No.

It is when the question at hand is: how much real risk was there? When a thousand people attend and one of them carries a pipe bomb and another sets up a gallows, it’s irrelevant how ‘peaceful’ the other 998 were.

Now, whether each and every one of the attendees would have been personally responsible is a more complicated matter.

How often are mainstream media outlets ever truly critical of what the FBI, CIA, “anonymous government sources” say?

Not nearly often enough.

Sometimes, the media doesn’t even know they are lying, e.g. when they take statements of the government as fact and repeat it without any critique.

Spreading misinformation isn’t really the same thing as lying. It’s still problematic, but it’s not lying.

(Also, there is merit to separating reporting and analysis. In that way, reporting a government statement exactly as uttered and then, separately, bringing it in context is beneficial.)

Power, fame, wealth, preserving the status quo, advertising money…. need I go on?

The Vice President under Trump wants to preserve the status quo by helping stop an insurrection that wants to retain him as Vice President?

He… does get some fame by doing the right thing (very late). And probably some consulting gig. But not much power.

So people shouldn’t be able to protest outcomes that they don’t agree with? No protests ever? Or only protests that support causes that you personally approve?

They can and should protest (but yes, I don’t think “we think our president should’ve won despite all evidence to the contrary” isn’t much of a merited protest).

The gov (particularly the surveillance state, whom Biden is in bed with)

Oh come on.

is using the hatred of the Right to gin up support for draconian domestic Patriot Act laws

Funny how the right suddenly hates the laws they had proposed in the first place.

When will people learn to see what’s really going on? This IS a First Amendment issue because tech companies are in direct cahoots with the government

What seems to be going on is that you’re deep in some weird conspiracy stuff.

The US MSM, which is largely controlled by the gov

MSNBC was controlled by Trump until last week? Fox News is controlled by Biden now?

look how many ex-spooks and ex-politicians are now paid commentators on CNN and MSNBC

Yes. It’s called commentary.

I don’t particularly like it, but it makes a lot of sense. What do you do when you were governor of Arkansas and are kind of out of political career options? You become a pundit on the news. Or a consultant. You get a lot of money for your opinions, which, because you were an elected official, you are fairly good at enunciating in a populistic manner; plus, you do have at least some degree of insight into the process, again, because you were an elected official.

It’s really no different than a former athlete becoming commentator on ESPN. Of course it’s what they would do. They’re qualified and popular to do it.

I think treating political news as sport is quite problematic, and I hope we’ll find a way, in the future, to treat politics with a different level of seriousness than sports. However, you’re leaping from that to… “the media is largely controlled by the gov”. …what.

(Is… Huckabee part of “the gov” in this scenario? I’m sure he’d love to be, but he very much is not.)

This is all pretense for limiting free speech on the internet so that the MSM/gov can control it again.

What is MSNBC’s stake in limiting free speech?

The media sells sensationalism for profit.

I mean, yes. But that’s kind of a completely different argument? Like, either the media is too sensationalism-driven (agreed), or the media is really doing the government’s bidding (where, in your scenario, government apparently refers to the legislative, not the executive?). Which is it?

And in the face of what happened to Snowden and Assange, they know what happens when they stray from the preapproved narratives of the US government.

Whistleblowers aren’t journalists.

Thus by and large, the media in the 21st century is a defacto US government organization whether it’s intentional or coordinated or not

There’s quite a leap from “the media isn’t critical enough of some government policies” to “it’s a de-facto government org”.

Anyway, I was exactly where (it seems) you are 2 years ago. One thing Trump’s presidency did was open my eyes to how much both sides are lying all. the. time. It’s not just Republicans: Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff — liars. Russiagate: turned out to be a lie. Pointing out lies doesn’t mean I have some ideology or that I’m paranoid or that I think Trump is a good person — it just means that I took off my blinders and finally saw what is really going on.

Your contention is that there was no Russian interference in the 2016 election?

I don't have time to answer all of this, because you're taking my words to some ridiculous extremes.

> MSNBC was controlled by Trump until last week? Fox News is controlled by Biden now?

There are entire shows run by ex-gov people like Nicole Wallace. Brennan and Clapper are on MSNBC and CNN. Etc. I mean, come on. This isn't some coincidence. They are there to push an agenda, not the truth.

> where, in your scenario, government apparently refers to the legislative, not the executive?

No, I'm referring to the US gov machine -- deep state, whatever -- the part that stays the same, does the same bad shit at home and abroad, with little regard to who is president, who controls congress, etc.

> Your contention is that there was no Russian interference in the 2016 election?

That depends on what you mean by "Russian interference". Did they hack anything? Change vote tallies? No. Did some Russian trolls infiltrate Twitter and buy ads on Facebook? Yes and so what? Did Russia do anything to try to affect the outcome of the US election that was more serious than what the US constantly does in the elections of other countries? Not even close. Did the Trump campaign directly collude with Putin or the Kremlin? The evidence said no. I wanted it to be true, but then I read the Mueller report and it was all a bunch of inconclusive nothing. Was everything Trump did kosher? No, but let's not pretend that other presidents are saints either.

Seriously: read Manufactured Consent. You don't have to believe in far-out conspiracy theories to see how the MSM aligns their narratives directly with the interests of the US government.

There are entire shows run by ex-gov people like Nicole Wallace. Brennan and Clapper are on MSNBC and CNN. Etc. I mean, come on. This isn’t some coincidence. They are there to push an agenda, not the truth.

And if your point is “there should be a multiyear cool-down period between someone working for the government and being a pundit”, I think that’s an interesting discussion to have (I’m not sure how practical this is, however).

But you seem to be leaping from “former government officials are media pundits” to “the government controls the media”. That’s a different level, because it implies things like some information and/or control channel where the government (who? Trump? Biden?) specifically tells those pundits what to say and do.

They are there to push an agenda, not the truth.

Oh, they do push their own ideology, sure. Do they do it for the government? I don’t think so. It’s simply their flawed conviction.

No, I’m referring to the US gov machine — deep state, whatever — the part that stays the same, does the same bad shit at home and abroad, with little regard to who is president, who controls congress, etc.

OK, so you believe non-partisan civil servants are the problem?

(Maybe!)

I wanted it to be true, but then I read the Mueller report and it was all a bunch of inconclusive nothing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mueller_report#Russian_interference

The Mueller report found that the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” and “violated U.S. criminal law”.

That seems… not very inconclusive to me.

>That seems… not very inconclusive to me.

Again, you're twisting my words.

OF COURSE there was Russian "interference". We don't need a report for that. Of course there was also Chinese interference. And no doubt there would have been the same conclusion 8 years ago had anyone bothered to investigate. It's nothing new. The US is likely the worst perpetrator of global election interference by far, including not simply Twitter bots but actual murder and overthrow of legitimate governments that happen to disagree with the US imperialist view of planet Earth. Yet somehow we're supposed to be mad at Russia for some petty internet psyop and hacked emails? And US voters are apparently so moronic and susceptible to kindergarten-level influence that they can't decide who to vote for by using their own brain?

"As set forth in detail in this report, the Special Counsel’s investigation established that
Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations. First, a
Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J.
Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence
service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers
working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents."

"the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. "

Wow, that's it?

Old Unix Geek

If you are open to other ways of understanding the events of the 6th January, most of this article seems worth reading: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/01/q-anon-cult-capitol-hill-riot-trump

Really funny how “forum sliders” come on here and talk about anything -but- Parler.

My point still stands. Parler datamined a subset of Apple’s userbase, Apple LET IT HAPPEN, and then “banned Parler” for the wrong reasons.

Anyone can go to +donk_enby’s account to see how Parler was “opportunistically hacked.” Long story short Matze and Bongino outsourced everything and the “Cambidge Analytica” pedigree devs did the minimal amount of work securing the data since the emphasis was on the mining and not the securing of said data.

And yes Ben G there seems to be a few commenters here who are more concerned with “forum sliding” and ad hominem than actually staying on topic, who knew?

>Dude I respect you, so please stop with the veiled ad-hominem
>attacks, okay? You've been doing it this entire thread to me
>and others.

You're right. I did not intend to attack you personally, but to emphasize the absurdity of statements like "the MSM is controlled by the government" and "any opposition in the MSM is usually fake". I should have found a less divisive way of making that point.

Let me be clear: You do make good points about the government-to-media pipeline. But framing this as "the MSM is largely controlled by the government" and "the MSM lies all the time" is not helpful, because it isn't true, and it's not clearly perceivable as hyperbole (which I assume you intend it as). There are a lot of people out there who actually think that this is literally true, that there is a secret cabal of powerful people who control the media in order to lie to people.

In fact, some of the people who literally think this to be true participated in the insurrection.

>Russiagate: turned out to be a lie.

How so? Which part was a lie? Manafort (the chairman of the Trump campaign) and Kilimnik (a Russian agent) had contact pretty much every day during the campaign, and they did it using covert means. There's strong evidence that Kilimnik was working with the Russian government efforts to hack and leak the Clinton emails. Trump then implied that he would pardon Manafort, and Manafort flat-out lied to prosecutors.

Sure, in the end, the Muller report could not draw any strong conclusions, because a lot of the communication that would have been required as evidence was encrypted or deleted, and because a lot of the testimony they received was false, or people just declined to cooperate. But if you look at this as an outside observer, it's pretty obvious what the most likely explanation for all of this is.

The fact that the media drew the most probable conclusion, and reported the evidence for this conclusion, but that the Muller report didn't provide proof for this explanation, is not evidence of lying.

Volume 2 of the report pretty much proved obstruction of justice, and only did not conclude that Trump committed a crime because of the OLC opinion that the President can't be prosecuted.

This all happened. These things are all real. In most cases, the media reported them to the best of their abilities. They did speculate about how Trump was involved in this, and there ended up being no real evidence that he personally was, but how is that a lie? It's a pretty reasonable assumption to make that Trump was involved. Even now, I would give it a 50-50 chance that Trump was at least partially aware of what Manafort was doing.

And Trump did end up pardoning Manafort. Which, honestly, still blows my mind.

Obviously, this is a very complex story, and it's kind of pointless to litigate it again here, but my main point is that using it as evidence that "the media is lying" doesn't hold up. The most probable interpretation is that they did the best they could with the data they had, and they probably weren't too far from the truth, given all the evidence we have now.

>feel-good antics that the Biden administration

I'm not interested in defending Biden. I did not want him to be the nominee, and I don't expect him to do a lot of good. But at least I'm pretty confident he won't start an insurrection, and when he loses an election, he will concede, and there will be an actual peaceful transfer of power.

None of this is really about political positions. We can discuss the problems caused by the surveillance state (and I'm pretty sure Republicans are going to be more amenable to ideas like banning strong encryption than Democrats, given recent legislative history), and we can discuss all the decisions Biden will or won't make. That's not the issue.

The issue is that we just had a literal insurrection. Technology has made democracies brittle.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment