Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Cuomo wants businesses to use rapid tests to reopen; Biden administration urged to look at COVID as "bioterror" (by accident)

NYC 2015


NBCNewYork reports on Jan. 13 that Gov. Cuomo is experimenting with letting venues and businesses offer rapid antigen tests to customers, who must test negative (15 minute turnaround) to be admitted.  If they test positive, they must isolate and get a regular test. 

The idea is being proposed for apartment or condo buildings for residents. 

Ideally, a test result would be stored on a smart phone, and an automated contact tracing system would warn others (Virginia and other states has a voluntary contact exposure program).  There is a patent dispute with this idea discussed today on my Trademark blog.

 The New York Times (Jennifer B. Nuzzo et al) writes today that the Biden administration should treat the vaccination program as a response to bioterror.  That is, a tacit admission that we are at war with China (which was culpable by some kind of semi-accident), which has enormous implications for curtailment of individual rights.  Even as Trump is gone.

Embedded video from Wall Street Journal (Jan 14, paywall possible).   Apoorva Mandavilli has an article in the NYT Jan 20 about concerns over vaccine effectiveness especially against South African and Brazil strains (leads to other links). 

(Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9 PM EST)



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

As awful as the Capitol riot was, it is very difficult me to "join up" and "take sides"

July 4, 2014

First, to open the discussion today, Karlyn Borysenko notes that she was denied the privilege of posting to Facebook for seven days for posting a link to a tweet showing a photo of one of the rioters trying to warn members of the Senate to evacuate (as if to prove that the rioters may not have had such destructive intentions).  She appealed, and Facebook answered that the Covid19 pandemic was reducing its ability to consider appeals, so she remained suspended.  That shows that severe lockdowns do affect tech companies, despite working from home.

Tim Pool reports (Jan. 14) that Facebook has demonetized him, for reasons that he doesn’t see anything as other than political contrariness.

That brings me to another observation.  Yes, we are hearing about the severity of the threat of white supremacy and the radical “alt-right”, leading to unprecedented lockdowns before the inauguration, and these may be slow to lift.

Agreed, the behavior I saw live at home on CNN on January 6 was much worse than I would have expected (and even allowing for Charlottesville).  A female Facebook friend from  a western state inquired of me about housing, and a couple of posts about sharing rides and how critical this rally was, to come to DC and fight.  I said, well, try a hotel.  (We know the Harrington and other hotels shut down.) In retrospect, it seems rather chilling that someone would think I would participate in such radicalism (and by the way, maybe get COVID).

None of this, however, means that it is OK for an Antifa mob to storm into an outdoor restaurant and visit my table and demand that I join them in “allyship”. I'm not going to pick between white supremacy with fascism, and then communism.  You could say that's deciding whether you are better off with Hitler or with Stalin (or Mao or now Jinping). 

I don’t join things and pick sides, when both are wrong.  Sorry. (Well, what would I have done if I had been living in Germany in the 1930s?  You’re right, it would be over.)

Yet, as I’ve noted before, as COVID remains uncontrolled (and we don’t know if the more contagious variant is about to explode out of control, resulting in more destructive lockdowns, maybe shutting down even a lot of the Web, like theses blogs) there is a certain paradox in that people used to being alone (like me) right now have a survival advantage (especially if they don’t allow visitors to crash for protests!).

But as we finally get to a new normal, much our past personal agency (related to physical freedom of movement in the real world as well as globalized speech) could be severely curtailed.  People could be expected to bond in family groups, which then have to negotiated (or fight) their way through political process and challenge power structures.  Welcome back to critical theory!   This is particularly problematic for me not simply because of homosexuality, but because I perceived the subservience demanded by others especially insulting because of not being “competitive” enough to have had my own lineage.  Indeed, that harkens back to anthropological theories of homosexuality (as opposed to “incel-ship”) as related to a need for extended families to have backups for caregiving and long term survival as such.  That is a particularly painful irony right now, that not many people want to recognize.


Sunday, January 17, 2021

More on alternate platforms (and the World According to Louis Rossmann)

 

NYC 2016

OK, maybe this post will be politically incorrect for Google. 

Louis Rossmann, the NYC Apple Mac repair guy, has a recent video where he discusses the topic of alternative free speech platforms. 

He then discusses his own use of “lbry.tv” (don’t confuse with library.com) and where he has 0.5% of the traffic he gets on YouTube, as a backup.  He is also critical of how the lbry.tv smartphone app (probably iOS, but possibly droid too) gets hung up and loses its place.

Here is the URL for the same video on lbry.  I also tried embedding a recent video by Tim Pool regarding the security situation on Congress, which is pretty terrible.

Rossmann is explicitly critical of how when one major platform removes a customer, the others usually follow suit.  This has happened before, as Parler found out.  Parler seems to be in the middle of its migration to Epik, which is where Gab went in November 2018 after the Pittsburgh incident.

Recode (Vox) discussed the problem of mass-deplatforming of sites with extremist users or content, in an article by Rebecca Heilweil.   All of these alternative sides would have tremendous problems if Section 230 is completely revoked during the Biden administration.  Some people do have the tech savvy to build their own servers and connect to the backbone themselves, but that still could run into policies of major telecom backbones (and facilitating hate speech).  

Saturday, January 16, 2021

EFF reviews the various levels on the Internet where censorship of user content can happen

 

San Francisco, 2018

Electronic Frontier Foundation has an important article, “Beyond platforms: Private censorship, Parler, and the Stack”, by Jillian C. York, Corynne McSherry, and Danny O’Brien.

The article leads to a second piece by Joan Donovan, from Oct. 28, 2019, “Navigating the Tech Stack: When, where and how should wemoderate content? Look at the diagram “Content moderation in the Tech Stack”.

The most common takedowns are from social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter) or “free hosting” platforms, mainly YouTube.  They have a “signature style” for dealing with individual users. In principle these takedowns involve community guidelines (hate speech, incitement) and copyright strikes, and the platforms have the controversial third party liability protections from Section 230 and DMCA Safe Harbor (and the EU Copyright Directive adds to complexity).

But there are many other choke points for other content, including hosting companies, content delivery networks (like Cloudflare), Domain Name registrars, and telecom ISP’s.

These companies generally don’t moderate content and don’t have close relationships with users. Web hosts do have "acceptable use policies" to ban spam, hacking, illegal behavior, and sometimes online pharmacies and weapons sales.  But they became dragged in to controversy after Charlottesville, and feel the same or worse pressures today after the Capitol Riots, and hence the situation with Parler.

But actions by hosting providers have occurred.  Corynne McSherry back in 2010 discussed a DMCA takedown of a whole site, Cryptome, for publishing material from Microsoft which it maintained was Fair Use. 

There is another case in 2010 where Fred Von Lohmann discusses the copyright dangers for music bloggers.   Now it seems to me that you can usually embed a legal video of a performance or trailer to talk about the music (don’t count absolutely on the “server rule” given a case in New York State, see post February 17, 2018).

Mike Masnick has a similar discussion of moderation at infrastructure layers on Techdirt. 

The laws regarding downstream liability protection (especially Section 230) are running into friction over public concerns not only about radicalization, but also of inequity and the need to get individuals to be more open to participating in conventional activism. Many established interests feel that user-generated content that we take for granted brings risk and instability (and disruption to legacy media).  But if you undermine the ability of individual speakers to be heard, you don’t get the next teenager who develops a coronavirus tracker and warns the world about what is about to come.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Teen entrepreneur suggests a way to organize content creators, maybe would help with accommodating to more restrictive opportunities given political climate and Section 230 loss

UNC Chapel Hill, 2015


Teenage entrepreneur Max Reisinger, 17, in Chapel Hill NC (I think), announced his idea for forming content creator groups today as adjunct to his clothing business called Perspectopia.,

The video makes no mention of politics or the obvious problems right now with social media censorship (or the critical national security situation), but reading behind the lines, he seems to be thinking about how content creators can work if YouTube and other platforms are faced in loss of Section 230 downstream liability protection, early in the Biden administration, for which there will be a lot of pressure given current events (to say the least).

I don’t know whether he would forbid “politics” in his setup, but the video does seem to suggest that platforms will start paying more attention to whether creators really have commercial viability.

I must say that Perspectopia offers some intriguing extrasolar planet cityscape artwork.  The speed of light would create a problem for staying in touch with us earthlings on social media.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

OK, lockdowns and internet speech crackdowns can crash together

Potomac


I just want to lay out my concerns in the coming days again.

Biden will speak tonight, and many people will be pleased with his promises.  Of course, they have to be paid for. 

I discussed on the “major issues” blog today the possibility that, with the increasing spread of supposedly more transmissible strains of COVID19, Biden will feel pressured to try to implement an unprecedented (in terms of strictness) total national lockdown for about six weeks, as the vaccines try to catch up.

In any such situation, I would be concerned about getting broken hardware replaced or connections fixed.  That could happen from normal wear and tear, or storms, and the like; it might happen because of vandalism and political violence.  Last spring, Virginia’s stay-at-home order allowed visits to electronic stores for repairs, but not all states did so explicitly.  In Canada, Quebec’s lockdown right now appears to allow it.

A severe lockdown could actually result in the suspension of some Internet services seen as gratuitous or unnecessary, maybe even the blogging platform that this is on. 

In the meantime, a Biden administration might get Section 230 revoked, which could set up a situation where many speakers are never allowed back on.

YouTube has admitted before that it may someday have to prescreen new creators.  That idea was stated in 2018 in response to the EU Copyright Directive.  It would be a logical result of the end of Section 230.

It would be speculative as to how YT would pare down its “gratuitous” creators who make no money.  Those who had no strikes might be grandfathered and trusted for a while, or maybe not.

In general, a facility like YT would be open to more new content creators than a cable channel or movie company or even, say, Netflix;  but people it accepted would need real expertise in what they were going to address, and real substance, with evidence of some public support that would generate revenue cleanly.  Possibly new creators would have probationary periods or targets in analytics they would have to meet. 

There would be a “danger” that creators would have to prove that they could work for or raise money for “legitimate” non-profits before being allowed to have their own shows, in the future.  A lot of people seem to think that is how it should be,

More like the world before the Internet, but not quite.

Were there to be a complete shutdown of everything (Internet kill switch), and then restoration to what was there before, I would carry on – except that it could be very difficult to bring everything back up.  I would not get credit for time lost, because everyone has to share in the sacrifice.

But if I were singled out because I was “unnecessary” or “gratuitous” or don’t have “skin in the game’. the setup I have would never return.  Another casualty of the pandemic and the Chinese Communist Party (effectively).

I do want to finish the projects I have (screenplay based on the DADT books, novel, and music).  The least “political” is the music (and the short pieces are in good shape, and can be assembled into varying performance opportunities when the pandemic lets up.)  There are ideas based on the screenplay that are simpler (one idea in particular) that Netflix might go for. 

But I would need to get back on with something without a quid pro quo.  I simply can’t be a mouthpiece for someone else’s grievances of “oppression”, critical theory or not.

But when you have been “privileged”, you owe something back. When you don’t respond and step up when demanded of you (share some that “privilege” with those who really need it, even personally) you can become a casualty of conflict yourself (when you won’t respond to the concept of “victim”).  But this just doesn’t happen very often.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Parler's de-platforming; Facebook, YouTube censoring questioning the final election certification

 

Pharra, TX border crossing, 2018

 The debate on big tech censorship has focused on the sacking of Parler, by Google and Apple aps, and then the hosting service being pulled by Amazon Web Services Sunday night.  The New York Times has a detailed story by Jack Nicas and Davey Alba.

Johnathan Turley, GWU law professor, sees this as a gratuitous and monopolistic attack on free speech.

Parler seems to be able to move the service to Epik, a Seattle provider which hosts Gab.  It will have to start from scratch.  (Later Amazon said it would turn over the data for copying.)  It is reported that some users on Parler were giving instructions to rioters as to how to avoid police, and that some of the deleted content may be hacked or used in evidence.

But what also got attention Monday was that Facebook is now banning any content regarding “stop the steal”, almost a GOP meme, because it believes it will incite some people in what is still a dangerous situation with next week.  I actually posted a link to their announcement and to an NBC story and it stayed up (or down, if you get the metaphor).

I had discussed a comparable situation with YouTube on January 7.

All of this sits on top of a controversy we have to face soon, over the value and place of citizen journalism, which does add content that MSM overlooks, but which is often misinterpreted as “activism” by the na├»ve for dangerous stuff. It also undermines the Left-wing claims that systemic racism is so poisonous that allyship with eliminating it can become a legitimate pre-requisite for staying online. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Trump prepares to react to his own takedown ; more on where I stand right now

 

Parker has lost its hosting 

Kevin Liptak at CNN warns that Donald Trump may “lash out” at “Big Tech” today, and make announcements in a speech that major media (outside of “conservative” media) will not carry. As I noted on a review of an Atlantic article in the Books blog in January 2019, on paper his emergency powers are considerable, including practically shutting down the entire Internet.  As a practical matter, it might be possible to stop this with immediate invocation of the 25rh Amendment, which Pence has 24 hrs to decide on today.  (Later: Fox reports that Trump will speak at 1:30 PM today).

The Wall Street Journal, with Ryan D. Tracey and John McKinnon, discuss the increased pressure on Congress to roll back downstream liability protections of Section 230, and I have discussed various proposals on these blogs recently (one of which is to protect hosting with common carrier language). Biden has reportedly doubled down on his idea that Section 230 should be repealed outright, to prevent radicalization and “stochastic terrorism” (a term that the “communist” Non-compete YouTube channel was using before anyone else did, as also did Countrapoint.)

I’ll not that Parler is gone this morning, but Gab is still there.  I don’t know why they went after Parler first, unless it is because Gab seems to have built its own infrastructure.

Cloudflare intercepts Gab access

I have indicated that I will pin down my own plans more soon, probably right after the Inauguration when things are settled down a bit more. I cannot dismiss the possibility of sudden disruption of the services that I use.

My main concern is to be able to wind up with a simpler, consolidated presence in 2022, along with the completion of a few projects that right now are largely offline.   

If there were a sudden shutdown and restart, I would hope to continue with the plans I had laid out.  I’m not entitled to more time because others didn’t get out of losses and hardship either.   However, it my sites were taken down because they were seen as “gratuitous” or “inessential”, they could not be continued, and the ability to set up the simpler presence I have contemplated would be in peril.

There are other things to say about all this.  I am, as of today, eligible for vaccination as a member of group 1B (I am age 77), and the logistics of getting the vaccine are uncertain. The vaccine of choice is likely to be Moderna, which means two shots 21 days apart, and then a period of two weeks afterward before I am considered fully protected.  But after a minimum of 5 weeks (toward the end of February) I would be able to move about and function safely, although wearing a mask to protect others while indoors (we don’t know if the vaccine sterilizes one from infecting others for sure). 

That would mean that I ought to be willing to volunteer in person for activities like food banks.  I used to do that with Community Assistance in Arlington once a month, although I was not particularly useful.  I do have a hip issue that can make prolonged standing an issue.  I have driven delivery for Food and Friends, but continuing to do so presented a security issue which I won’t get into right now.  But after successful vaccination, I should deal with this stuff.

 I won’t to remind others, please do not ask me to “join” you in “solidarity” because I should share your “oppression”.  Please do not expect me to prove myself in public by “raising money” for “your” intersectional causes.  My life cannot be predicated on quid pro quo, of some kind of demanded allyship.  Do not barge in when restaurant dining resume and demand my public solidarity, as a price for being online.  Of course, I understand the point of your “silence is violence” as a kind of “relativistic hate speech”.

There is something about my background that makes “fighting” impossible, at this stage of life.  Please respect that.  Of course, I realize the dangerous implications of having to say this, when the world has become unstable.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

What my own personalized "journalism" means to me

 

Me at 17

Within the next couple of weeks, I will give more specific details as to the times (mostly very early 2022, one year from now) when I will have to shut down most of my blogs and greatly simplify my presence, mostly into one blog and channel.

A lot of this is driven by my advancing age, and by the fact that my work needs to be supportable by someone besides me. I’ve discussed the issue of my domain name and trademark implications before, as well as “commercial viability” before, and will make a more detailed statement on the Notes blog, at the latest being right after the inauguration.

There could be a lot more shutdowns and changes in the Internet world in the coming few weeks as a result of the deep concern over radicalization online, in the wake of the Capitol attacks January 6 and many prior incidents, going back to Charlottesville.  Visitors would have heard about the situation with Parler, which could go dark tonight.  I have an account on it but have not used it.

The other possibility that could come into play might be much more severe lockdowns soon, which could affect “gratuitous” sites like mine, in my opinion.  I won’t rehearse all the arguments right now. Possibly, for example, I wouldn't be allowed to continue "citizen journalism" again without "press credentials" (a concept we haven't talked about much). 

I do want people to understand what I think I accomplish with my own presence. 

It’s mainly early warning and connecting the dots.  Reminding readers of other unintended consequences of policy changes or of remaining scientific uncertainties or even enemy threats.

Today, I posted on my “Bill on Major Issues Blog” (see profile) a link to a story about concerns that spike proteins of the coronavirus may be more harmful, even when separated from the virus, than previously thought.  Not conclusive.  But possibly significant in how soon or thoroughly we can get back to individual freedom as we knew it before mid March of 2020. 

A world in which people have to be preoccupied with the fact that their own bodies may be undetected weapons against others my mere physical proximity is not a world for individualism.  Ironically, even though the pandemic may have been “convenient” for introverts who like to work “home alone”, in the long run it is very bad for people who don’t function well in intimate, closed social structures (as I don’t).

So I don’t allow others (like non-profits) to do my speaking for me.  I don’t allow others do enter my personal space in a public area and demand that I join them, no matter how oppressed their group is or how “privileged” they think I am.

And I don’t fight or join movements or especially mobs.

It is becoming apparent to me that upgrading the quality of my screenplay based on the three books might have a positive impact on the viability of my other activities.  As of this time, I expect to have a presentable version by Monday, February 15,

(The video is my statement in a recent Zoom call about my own screenplay.  The other speaker is the group leader Tyler Mowery.)

Friday, January 08, 2021

#Walkaway campaign and allies banned by Facebook; FB bans a NYTimes article on vaccine priority viewed as hateful to elderly(?); More details on hotel quarantine and what it is like; Twitter on Trump

 

near where I lived in Dallas in 1980s

There is a lot of controversy today about Facebook’s banning the Walkaway campaign, and many people associated with it.  This included founder Brandon Straka and assistant Tracy Beanz.  There is relatively little about this in mainstream sources so far but Reclaimthenet has a story

Karlyn Borysenko and Tim Pool have detailed videos.

I recall Karlyn’s coverage of a Walkaway march in the fall in Dallas.  There was a minor scuffle with people claiming to be from Black Lives Matter.

Wikipedia explains the controversies about Walkaway, which may include the appearance of foreign support or inauthenticity (according to Facebook’s policies with its Purge 3.0 in the fall of 2018). 

Dr. Borysenko says she was banned from posting on Facebook for four days for linking to a New York Times article about prioritizing the vaccine which some people see as showing callousness toward the elderly (including me).  No, I don’t feel that way.  Vaccinating young grocery store workers before vaccinating me would indirectly protect me anyway.  So would vaccinating repair people who go into people’s homes and apartments to fix things (when you have to stay at home).

I reposted it on my own account and was greeted by an “add a donate button”.  No!  I am not the mouthpiece for other non-profits just for the sake of it.

Another point: Jessica Nemire has a story in HuffPost about what it is like to be quarantined in a city-supplied hotel in San Francisco. It’s not 100% clear, but apparently the author was allowed to take her laptop and some other stuff to the hotel and could get “work from home” done during strict quarantine. But I’d like to get more details. 

 Finally, Twitter explains its permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account today as a matter of implicit content (that is, likely intended meaning as would be understood by likely recipients as a signal for some specific act, likely to be destructive or illegal). 

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Significant changes to DMCA and Safe Harbor proposed; some talk about YouTube's policies on election misinfo resurface

 

Near Dumfries VA

Leonard French presents a discussion draft to “Reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act”, by Tom Tillis (R-NC),

Users would have to provide identifying information when doing uploads, which hosts would have a fiduciary responsibility to protect.  Presumably this could be done once for all future uploads on a typical site (like for a Wordpress blog).  This would facilitate copyright claims made by the owner in the future.  It might also roll into the CASE Act, and facilitate rooting out copyright trolls trying to misuse the simplified claims process. 

There would be a “notice and stay down” feature.

There would be “black lists” for parties which file false DMCA claims.

The draft had included the CASE Act, which is now passed. French estimates it will take the Copyright Office at least six months to set up the small claims tribunal.

There have been reports on Twitter (I can’t confirm) that YouTube has doubled-down on election misinformation after yesterday.  It had already made that announcement Dec. 9 and I can’t see that it has changed.  But YouTube’s doing so might arguably have shut down discussion of various Trump frivolous lawsuits to disrupt January 6.  In theory, the public has a right to know about claims before any court, however silly. (The weakness of the Electoral Count Act of 1877 was rather surprising and disturbing.)  Some observers (including Tim Pool) believe the courts were too quick to dismiss suits for lack of standing without hearing any claims at all, leaving the public to wonder if anything really could have been missed. UPdate:  CNET explains this:  another block on "election fraud theories" was to start Jan 20 has been pushed up to today and will lead to community guidelines strikes (story on Alphabet-Google union). YouTube apparently announced this on Twitter here (4-post thread). 

Youtubers may want to know that they can put videos on the blockchain with Odysee.com.  I don’t know the details yet.   Chris Martenson used it after a couple of videos where he discussed Ivermectin for Covid were removed (I personally think they were scientifically valid and YT was wrong.) 

Facebook has banned Trump for the last two weeks, and Twitter suspended him based on deleting certain tweets. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Do social media and other communications need to be shut down for a while after a violent insurrection during a transfer or power?

July 4 2016


I’ll share a video from Virtual Legality (Hoeg Law), “This Is Not the Fall”.

I have to say, however, that this dangerous and shameful spectacle of unrest and violence at the Capitol today would not have happened without the misuse of the Internet.

This was obviously planned, and maybe a lot of it on the Dark Web, a part not normally found on search engines or in open processing. This could lose to calls for a shutdown of many communications, maybe of social media, before the inauguration, as other incidents happen (like one in Olympia WA that Avi Schiffmann just reported). 

I can’t go into all the wrinkles of my thought process, but the apparent “gratuitousness” of my own self-publication, which might confuse those who are unstable or simply not educated about how blogging really works in a political or cultural sense, certainly can be on the chopping block in the future.  Many people, particularly before the Internet, were used to getting their information through familial or social structures with authority chains;  since there is more independent information self-published in circulation today, some individuals (especially in what we call the "alt-right") seem to believe that truth (including moral values regarding equity, equality, individuality or personal agency) are relative or arbitrary, leading it to be harder to resolve serious problems that show injustice. When speech is more aggregated into identity groups whose members have standing or "skin in the game", sometimes iot is easier for these groups to attain more equity.   I discussed, even on Jan. 1, my own plans for simplification at the start of 2022.  I hope things can hang together that long.  

Update:  Jan. 8.  See LA Times column by Julia Wick in Essential California, "The social media reckoning (again)".  It links to another column "Blame social media companies for D.,C. riot, too".  I blame the rioters themselves. 

Monday, January 04, 2021

People in the West resist the personal sacrifices from a layered pandemic; when should you protest?

 

Dumfries, socially-distanced day trip

Eudaimonia’s Umair Haque gives daily tongue-lashings about capitalism, but this one today makes it more personal than ever before “2020 Revealed the truth of our societies – and it was ugly:  the year we weren’t in it together”.

Well, look at how most people who do their work online – at home – went about their lives as if nothing else mattered.  True, they wore masks, but they were well situated enough to get around the restrictions safely. The risk and sacrifice went to the working classes – as we see from the battle over the stimulus. 

We don’t like to be told we are in the same lifeboat together with people we don’t look up to. 

I certainly have a problem with making it meaningful to help the “needy” because I feel that makes neediness “all right”.  So I make my own separate calculations.

OK, I wear a good mask, and I avoid all indoor gatherings and dining.  I have postponed all but “regional” (alone in a car) daytime travel. I live alone, but apartment hygiene is an issue (inherited clutter, not easy to remove in a highrise building).  Some of the travel slowdown had been planned ahead for unrelated reason. So I don’t really belong to the “cause”.

Of course, if I was needy at one time and uplifted, the right way to justify myself is to uplift someone else.  But that is still an intellectual abstraction, not heartfelt personally.

 Haque could (in advancing his Marxism) have given the example of the "discipline' of China's citizens to accept hardship and sacrifice for the common good, which gives Xi Jinping a blank check, like for his initial coverup of the pandemic.

Then consider this video by Karlyn Borysenko.  I am with her 100% on her pieces on critical race theory. And I am with her that protesting (or even individualized self-expression, life mine)  isn’t always about outcomes.  But at 5:15 in the video she says, “If you aren’t a fighter you’re a coward.”  That sounds like talking about draft dodging in the past.  Or more like a left-wing version of solidarity.

But I don’t get why she still thinks Trump should be president, or why the election was “stolen”.

Consider this latest fact-finding piece by the Washington Post on all the claims about the “steal”.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

China apparently tries to trick moderators at YouTube into throttling or taking down some American accounts

 

Weems Bott museum. Dimfries, VA

 

A Youtuber in China Laowhy86 reports that people in China are paid to generate “complaints” like hate speech against American YouTubers in the US, particularly those critical of China.

Apparently these are done behind VPN’s in such a way as to fool moderators at Youtube.

This goes beyond just setting up bots with fake accounts.  These try to get legitimate accounts talen down, or at least throttled and partially demonetized.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Senate overrides NDAA veto, as attack on Section 230 halts; curious note about Pence lawsuit; informal note about my own plans (to be followed up soon formally)

 

180 miles W of Dallas, 2018

First, a piece of breaking news.  The Senate overrode Trump’s veto on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) without changes today, New Years Day. The NBC News story is by Sahil Kapur et al.  This was the first override of a Trump veto (there have been nine now). 

Steven Lubet, in an op-ed for The Hill, reports that the Louie Gohmert lawsuit against Pence has a deliberate misrepresentation to the Court about a supposed alternate slate of electors from the Arizona legislature.  I had never heard of this practice.  But there was no news of action from the Texas court today and I don’t know if Pence was aware of this in writing his “response”.

The Senate has adjourned until noon Sunday January 3, 2021 so it is not possible for any legislation drawn up to delete Section 230 to pass in the 116th Congress.

I wanted, this New Years Day, to note (right now writing in "informal tone") that after one more year, at the start of 2022, my own online operation will be greatly stripped down and simplified.  That is likely to mean discontinuing use Blogger.  I had explained some of this in this posting on Wordpress on Feb 27, 2019 (about one year before we were gripping the meaning of the pandemic). In general, I think that in 2022, I will have one regular Wordpress website and possibly another one on the blockchain, with storage of the books at least on the blockchain. There are various reasons, explained there, why this needs to happen (not the least of which is I am getting older and must make it simpler for others to take over). From my viewpoint, availability of the books as now from Amazon with the DADT wordmark can continue for one more year after that (until Jan. 2023) until a sunset. All of this can change if there is more commercial viability (which is what the movie script addresses).  

I would not expect to be able to keep the YouTube channel indefinitely, given the signs (and talk of “commercial viability”).  So during 2021 I will work on upgrading skills in video, including Final Cut editing and the idea of gearing up to produce videos that are more like submittable short films.  I have one major idea already, but it will not be possible until the pandemic calms down and we can travel around and meet more freely.

I expect to make a more detailed statement of my plans on the DADT Notes blog (Wordpress) after the January 6th “Sh__ Show”, I believe by Monday January 11, 2021. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Niche blogging (v. my blogging), and the "new" Blogtyrant

 

Reno, 2018

For a last post here this year, I thought I would review the “new” Blogtyrant’s advice on niche blogging (under its new ownership).

Generally, my perception is that niche blogs make money when there is an underlying transactional business.   That would be true of video channels.  A great recent example of the latter is Max Reisinger’s Perspectopia.  Max is a 17 year old starting college at UNC and who has lived in France but started a business making t-shirts at 16. 

Sometimes a niche is more obvious.  John Fish and his college channel from Harvard has drawn almost a million subscribers, although he hasn’t taken up blogging separately (so far).  In his case it is relatively simple to find corporate sponsors, like Audiobooks, who find the content wholesome and upbeat for consumers.

The mechanics of getting an audience on YouTube has gotten more attention recently, with the publicity about the partner program, “commercial viability”, COPPA compliance, and the like.

With blogs it was more old school, with particular attention to email subscriptions, which a lot of people don’t want because of spam problems and trustworthiness for security.

I did violate their advice when I started out with Blogger in 2006, and blogged about “all” the news.  But that’s partly because of how I got into commentary, starting with gays in the military in the 1990s.  It got to be about privacy, then about duty (the military draft), fairness, freedom of speech, and then individual self-agency v. identarianism.

So I really had nothing to “sell” in the usual sense, as the books are old (the most recent is 2014). The best way to narrow it would be my music (well explained now on a Wordpress blog), the novel, the screenplay, or perhaps a documentary film idea floating around which we’ll come back to.  It came up last February in a scramble involving a pitchfest.

My whole blogging setup is due for an enormous simplification at the start of 2022 (one more year), and I’ll come back to that soon.

Note: the videos for Blogtyrant are older and are all by Ramsay.  I don’t how his climate change activity in Australia (tree planting) is going but I would love to know.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

McConnell throws a Section 230 "poison pill" into the $2000 stimulus; Copyright Office makes a brief statement about CASE Act

 

hotel room 

The US Copyright Office has acknowledged on its website that the Congress passed the CASE Act on Dec. 22, 2020, and it would have become law on Sunday night, Dec. 27, when President Trump signed the entire omnibus bill into law.

It also makes a note about unauthorized streaming services.

The memo link says that the law requires the Office to have the claims mechanism operating within one year (of Dec. 22) although that can be extended for 180 days.

The Office advises visitors to check their NewsNet link regularly to check on progress.

Also, late Tuesday we learned that Mitch McConnell has crafted a bill tying the upgrading of the stimulus to $2000 to outright repeal of Section 230.  Makeena Kelly has the story for The Verge.  As of now, observers don’t expect this to get far, but we’ll watch it closely.  The “poison pill” has the flavor of intentionally induced political “class warfare”.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Glenn Greenwald discusses social media censorship since Trump won in 2016

Cidade Maravilhosa

 Freddie Sayers of the YT Unherd channel interviews Glenn Greenwald from home in the mountains near Rio, Brazil, about big tech censorship.

In the spring, Facebook tried to ban information on COVID that contradicted the WHO, only to find that WHO got a lot of stuff wrong at first, even masks. YouTube has sometimes banned discussion of hydroxychloroquine and ivetmectin, the latter of these has a better reputation than YT thinks. :

Greenwald thinks social media started reversing its previously libertarian position after Trump won in 2016, with all the attention to foreign bots.  But it got much worse after Charlottesville, with even web hosts getting involved, scared of the violent radicalization  Greenwald pointed out that tech picked out a few people whom it made examples of as unacceptable:  Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones.  I've read Milo's book, and it is not as "extreme" as everyone imagines.  A lot of it makes sense. David Hogg pretty much destroyed Jones. 

Greenwald also thinks major corporate media (outside of Fox) is pressuring policy makers to force platforms to censor, because corporate media doesn’t want to have to deal with the low-overhead competition.  It would appear that the companies might be overstretching their breches in the spirit of Section 230, which explains the focus of the GOP recently in trying to remove it (esp. Trump himself with the veto, see previous post). 

Wikipedia embed of Rio harbor, click for attribution 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Graham tweets about 230 after Trump signs Covid stimulus, but Fox video makes it looks like he will intro the sunset bill; WJLA7 reports NDAA override votes will happen

 

VA power plant, day trip alone ("socially distanced")

As reported on the Issues Blog, Trump suddenly decided to sign the Covid19 stimulus bill and government funding tonight.  The NDAA is still the wild card.

It is difficult to tell whether the override will go through as originally intended, from all the sources.  Senator Graham tweeted that Congress will reconsider Section 230 this week (instead of the override) as if to try to get a signature. But does Graham mean immediate deletion, or does he mean the two-year sunset?

A complete deletion of Section 230 this week would shock tech and no one is talking about it on the finance sites.  It really sounds more likely that Graham’s sunset provision will be introduced.

WJLA just said that the NDAA veto override would be attempted (I tweeted the station on this was to what was going on – did they just answer it?)

The Fox news interview is only a week old and it looks like Graham really will introduce the 2-year sunset on Monday or Tuesday and it is likely to pass.

  Update Dec 28:  The House voted to override, 322-87, a blowout, Monday night. 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Is Trump really trying to extort Congress into deleting Section 230 right now, before he signs anything? What it if all waits until Jan 20 (after the evictions start?)

 

lower Florida, 2017

Today, there is “loose lips” talk that suggests President Trump intends to veto everything until he leaves office unless Section 230 is “terminated” or deleted from law. ]

Some of this comes from reading Senator Lindsey Graham’s Twitter feed.  

However, the thread could also be read as implying that Graham and even Trump would accept a bill that sunsets 230 in January 2023 (the next Congress), and gives this Congress two years to reform it.

In a post Dec 24 I gave Graham’s link to the bill (it does not have a number yet).

On CNN this morning, one black member of Congress (didn’t get the name) hinted that he did not think Republicans would be willing to challenge Trump on Monday and that the override for NDAA would not happen. He suggested it would be kicked down the road until January 20, even though it would have to be reintroduced.

Yet other commentators are hinting that the president could refuse to sign anything unless Congress totally repeals 230 on Monday. 

That might be interpreted as bargaining one individuals in one tribe off against persons in another:  the millions of service people who have become unemployed due to pandemic lockdowns, against the “elite” Youtubers and techies who hide like “cowards”.  Let tech blow up, and shut everyone down (except the biggest corporate media giants as part of a state-capitalist system like China’s).  Let everybody suffer, and let everyone take their turn volunteering in the food lines (and for some people increasing their risk ofr COVID).  Coming from a Republican president, such thinking sounds not only Marxist, it is Maoist.   It has a moral parallel to the draft and deferments in the 1960s.  Trump says he hates China, but he seems to be recreating it here just to heal his ego.

It is simply about how much power your tribe has.

This is like Black Lives Matter (whose ideas, as interpreted for individuals, I support 100%) goading major social media users into supporting them publicly without realizing their Marxist connections.

Nancy Pelosi “promises” override next week in her statement, as linked on Twitter Dec. 23. 

Wall Street doesn’t seem to have noticed the scenario that could explode Monday, and the tech companies haven’t mentioned it (like how would they treat their hundreds of millions of users and stakeholders if Section230 were yanked away from them to satisfy Trump's oddly communist whim).  CNN has ambiguously hinted at it.  I wish Smerconish had been on today.  The major newspapers (WSJ, W Post and NYT) haven’t really played it up. 

I discussed the parameters for reforming 230, if we are allowed two more years to do it (not just one week) Thursday.  Mike Masnick’s summary on Techdirt deserves a reading.

It is mind-boggling what Trump has on Republicans who don’t go along with his most impetuous proposals.  What do these GOP-ers have to lose when he is gone?

Friday, December 25, 2020

Plenty of essays about race make it personal when demanding action

 


Here are a couple of tongue-lashings from Medium for Christmas Day, on what white people are expected to do about race.

Elyze Cizek writes, “Dear white friends. Please stop pretending you care. I see right through your #BlackLivesMatter posts. Stand up for what’s right. But first look in the mirror and see what’s wrong”.  Somewhere there is a comment about being unwilling to fall in love across racial lines.

Actually, some white people have paid homage to BLM without knowing about its connection to Marxism.

But it is true, that a lot of people don’t do enough about things they know are wrong, even when it costs them something.

Corinne Shutack lists “103 things white people can do for racial justice.”  Yes, she wants actual activity, not just blog posts like this one.

  Umair Haque admits a "painful and enraging essay" when he writes "White people, we minorities live in fear of you."