Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Yahoo Groups is largely shutting down; the business model arguments are troubling



Last night, I learned (belatedly) that Yahoo Groups is shutting down most of its functionality, including the ability to publish, and will revert to privatized corporate service (a little bit analogous to Google’s shutting down most of Google-plus). The service did give a one-week extension until Oct 28 on the right to publish on it.

Users were even confronted with a clumsy way to save their work.

I found out which Elliot Harmon, an activism director at Electronic Frontier Foundation, tweeted the question as to whether this was inspired by FOSTA?

Maybe partially, but this seems to be a business model issue.  The India Times seems to have the best explanation.  The competition with Facebook Groups is said to be a factor.

We’ve seem other shutdowns.  America Online terminated its Hometown content publishing in 2007, but facilitated a conversion to Blogger.  I had used it as a “backup” to my own doaskdotell and previously hppub sites.  Geocities apparently terminated in 2009.


The Paul Rosenfels Community (e.g. Ninth Street Center in NYC) used to be on Geocities and I believe Yahoo Groups.  Some libertarian groups existed on Yahoo!   I think the Libertarian Party of Minnesota had one when I lived there (1997-2003).  I believe I at one time had tree or four articles on these groups (around the year 2000) which I did not maintain.

But today the Internet business models of big platforms are coming under fire, based on whether you buy the narrative that the models facilitate radicalization.  I think that’s overblown, unless you mean by radicalization a merely dismissive attitude toward identity and intersectional groups as such.

Richard Stengel argued in the Washington Post “Why America needs a hate speech law”, seeking to weaken the First Amendment, which he sees as an outlier in the civilized world;  and he seems dismissive that the world can really work on an idea of individualized “personal responsibility” when groups are so unequal.  It’s true that radicalization follows nihilism, which can occur if people think they don’t matter and have nothing to lose.
  
My own business model (mostly stuff that is free and is supported by past accumulated assets) can certainly come into question, and I have grown increasingly concerned about its tolerability in the past eighteen months (with my “announcement” of termination of most stuff at the end of 2021, when my main domain name registration would expire).  There is a growing sense (not often discussed openly) that individualized speech following my own model weakens the incentive for "moderates" to join others in participating in politics in the usual way (outside of simply voting), inviting extremism and authoritarianism.  It’s actually very hard to make “objectivity” in content support itself, and claims one can do so forever will seem pretentious and predicated on unearned advantage and inequality.  But in baseball, unearned runs count.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Zuckerberg seems to separate political ads from free speech


Common Dreams, among others, reports on Facebook employee resistance to Zuckerberg’s decision to exempt paid political advertising from the same standards of fact checking as other ads.

There is also the conundrum “paid speech is not the same thing as free speech”.

I had a taste of this in the fall of 2018 when Facebook did not want to “boost” my formal page drawing attention to power grid security (rather relevant in California now) unless I sold things and had advertisers vouch for my identity.

  
The site common dream offers a CA3.0 republish license.  I have to note that many sites without advertising are constantly prodding for money.  I do donate to a few YouTube channels that I like, and I probably should donate to sites to whom I hyperlink a lot, but I don’t respond to panicky email “save us” campaign (Truthout threatens to go out of business almost every week.)  I don’t want to do that (and it might be a legal problem if I did because of my trust setup).  Yet it means, as I have noted before, that the sustainability of how I publish comes under question, especially at the end of 2021. 



Update: Oct 31

Jack Dorsey has announced that Twitter will not allow any paid political ads. Here is the policy in a twitter thread. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Americans want to weaken First Amendment, limit independent speakers, to conform to social norms and make life easier for minorities, think tank reports


The UK Daily Mail reports on a study, by Matthew Wright, from the Washington DC think tank “The Campaign for Free Speech” that more Americans, especially under age 38, think that the First Amendment should be changed to ban hate speech and that “alternative media sources” outside of licensed media should be regulated.

However, the findings are not as striking statistically as the tone of the article would suggest. For example, hate crimes can in many states (and sometimes in federal law) draw stiffer sentences.

The Campaign for Free Speech has a summary page which is disturbing.  Many Americans don’t understand that the First Amendment applies only to government, not to what private companies including social media or even hosting platforms can do in establishing their own terms of service.

There was also a curious reference to “current social norms”.  It is difficult to delineate what this means?  Misgendering trans people with pronouns?  It is difficult at this level to determine if this is about political threats or security threats (from the “radical right” and white supremacy) or more about the hyper-competitiveness that leaves many people with disadvantaged backgrounds behind. 

  
The Campaign for Free Speech doesn’t seem to be the same group as New America, which held an interesting forum “The Future of Free Expression” which I attended in July.  That group seemed to have very interesting people working there.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Will blockchain-driven P2P replace the world-wide web? Also, Zuckerberg on "harmful" inauthentic free speech




Paul Vigna has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today that explains a new P2P-more-or-less model to “replace” the Web.  That is, when you post something on social media, the content (especially an image or video) would come from your own “usb-like” private device, and companies couldn’t use it to sell your data.


The title of the article is “Tech Giants Have Hijacked the Web. It’s Time for a Reboot”. 

The proposed platform model is called “Elixxir”, for the blockchain, by David Chaum.  Of course, we had P2P before the blockchain (like Napster).

I am not sure how this would affect conventional blogging or hosted sites.  It would raise questions about photography in public and maybe how copyright is interpreted.



Today I had a situation, at a public fundraiser (an AIDSWalk) where someone told me he came to raise money but didn’t want to be photographed.  That contradicts the normal notion of fundraising and speech in public (although three decades ago, before the Internet, gay people went to the trouble not to be filmed at gay events by major television media).




Distantly related to this is Ryan Tracy’s coverage of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent speech at Georgetown University in Washington.
  
Zuckerberg says there is obvious tension between allowing people to say publicly whatever they want about an issue and winding up with the political result a particular group wants.. But he says that only a very small percentage of legitimate users (as opposed to fakes or bots) want to radicalize others.
This speech will need more discussion later.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Young men show a tremendous cognition gap (after the top tier) and wind up staying at home with parents and not working



A couple days ago Tim Pool posted a video “Millennial Men are Unmarried Losers Because Their Parents Won’t Cut Them Off”.

  
Well, this is a loaded thing.  The basic problem has always been that girls are more verbal than boys, mature faster as children, and will naturally do better in school unless compared to “exceptional” boys (especially computer nerds today). So, as Tim points out, after the gender equality movement, going all the way back to the late 1950s with Betty Friedan, there are more women today in “superordinate” positions at work, as Markovits points out in his book on meritocracy. You can read Vox’s latest pieces on meritocracy, such as Roge Karma’s, and some interviews with the author, here
    
There is also the problem with “men and work”, which Cato had a book forum (“Men Without Work” by Nicholas Eberstadt) about just before Trump’s inauguration in 2017. And there seems to be a breakpoint among young men with cognition.

Young men who indeed do well in school and who can motivate themselves really stand out from the rest of the pack.  There is a tremendous cognition gap among men in our country on the ability to think in abstraction, reason, compare, and evaluate media input (as in social media) critically.  David Pakman has also mentioned this problem many times, as does (ironically) Jordan Peterson.  With women the gaps are narrower and there is more continuity.

So the outstanding counterexample for Pool’s video is John Fish, who recently decided to take a gap year after two years at Harvard and work (in high tech) in Montreal and pay his own way in life and live by himself in his own apartment for a year, and become a full adult at age 20.  He talks about this.  Once you leave the nest, it changes you, for the better.
  
When I was growing up, there was a tacit understanding that men needed to be able to support women so that women could bear children and stay at home with them earlier in adulthood.  This is still a major element in culture overseas, especially in countries otherwise challenged economically (including Russia).  The women’s movement, and later the gay movement and now the gender “equity” movement if you can call it that (wokeness), have all created their own internal contradictions, which seem to be beyond intellectual resolution.  Welcome to tribalism.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Gizmodo offers op-ed on the CASE Act, which indicates the media establishment has contempt for amateur speakers who don't have to make a living from their work


Whitney Kimball writes a commentary for Gizmodo discussing the danger of the CASE Act, that it could attract trolls, and that frivolous claims could be sent to amateur speakers who don’t respond to them. 
   
 The title of the article is startling enough, “How those Memes You Just Posted Could Cost You $30000.”

Various lawyers commented on the troll threat, and frankly some of them in Hollywood seem to think that amateurs who don’t need to publish things to earn a living shouldn’t.  The real concerns aren’t about “piracy”, they are about lowballing.  And this truly endangers user-generated content as we move into the 2020’s.

  
The floor vote hasn’t happened yet (identical bills did pass the judiciary committees), and it would take about a year to implement. Will the Copyright Office have sufficient safeguards against trolling in its administrative procedures?  Their own lawyers need to look at this quickly.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Trump threatens to "terminate" two big media outlets (Pakman)


The David Pakman show is reporting on a Trump interview with Sean Hannity where he says he will terminate the press credentials of the Washington Post and New York Times.  (CNN?) 


There are various media reports about Trump’s “terminating” these papers from the White House, like on Yahoo.  That normally means no press access to the WH. 
  
I checked Tim Pool’s channels and I don’t see a similar concern yet.  David and Tim should be closer on this.
  
I know I have kept a distance from conventional activism and I don’t have anyone’s back (and vice versa), and I’m aware of the position this can put me in.  I don’t have more details now. 
  
 I have to note that Trump's Twitter habits would have violated my own "conflict of interest" ideas as I have discussed them in the past. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

New California law slams independent journalists, trying to force them to work for just one place (and get unionized); political activism on the ground is still needed



I talked about AB-5 in California on the IT Jobs blog Sept. 15, but Saturday Tim Pool pointed out that freelance journalists who live in California are now panicking over passing the law.  Legacy publications are unlikely to take contributions from freelancers who can quickly reach the 35-per-year limit and will go out of state, as Tim Pool explains.


Democrats wanted to see writers able to organize (and feel inclined to do so) and get full benefits.  They didn’t want to see “real journalists” have to compete with very low cost independent competition.

It’s the old lowballing problem in the workplace.  Similar to right to work.

Pool also notes Sunday that Laura Loomer has raised money the old fashioned way (door-to-door and mail) for a seat in the Florida legislature despite being de-platformed by all the major social media.
   
Then that raises questions about people “like me” who right now don’t play ball with the political system the old-fashioned way.  That’s a topic for another day.

Pool also has some advice for Milo Yiannopoulos, and it is a lot more surprising than youthink. He also has some ideas for de-radicalization. Call it “cognitive awakening” and an environment that allows it. 

So, no, Carlos Maza, de-platforming may not work as well as “you” think.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Washington Post looks at how people with disabilities run YouTube channels



Jessica Chiu has a comprehensive discussion of how people with disabilities benefit from running YouTube channels on Oct 6 (Oct 8 on Health & Science in print). 

The discussion tends to bypass all the controversies over polarization and deplatforming (which you wouldn’t expect) but does explain that deciding to monetize can be a touch issue (it requires minimum subscriber volumes). 

But this also connects to my post yesterday on autism and particularly Asperger’s – the latter may not even be perceived as a disability, and viewers may not perceive the speaker this way.

Likewise, it would be hard to make generalizations about some parts of the LGBTQ community.

The article discusses a blind YouTuber Tommy Edison, who discontinued his channel in 2018.
   
I did want to notice that since the end of 2018, a few people I know have left social media, or greatly reduced their participation.  The polarization, censorship and coercion to work with groups coming from the far Left could be one of the reasons.

Friday, October 18, 2019

I've been told that I have Asperger's Syndrome


I haven’t talked about it much on the blogs, Asperger’s syndrome, and its clumping by the DSM as an autism spectrum disorder.
  
  
This video presents Adam, a freshman at Penn State, to introduce the idea that many people (mostly men) function “normally” and tend to prefer solitary occupations, especially tech. 


  
It is hard to say why, as he presents, it is a “developmental disorder” at all.  James Damore presents himself as having Asperger’s.
  
Such persons are highly individualistic and tend to interpret situations and behavioral expectations of others in a narrow fashion. They may tend to be contemptuous of identarian or tribal concerns about tie implications of certain political or social ideas.  They tend to be more conservative or libertarian politically. 
  
The late filmmaker Gode David told me he had Aspergers when I first met him on New Years Day in Providence, RI in 2003. He said that I also have it.
   
But it would be necessary to segregate it from “schizoid personality”.

Picture: Cardboard, wood, and wire toy baseball stadiums we made as kids in the summers in the 1950s (often in Ohio) 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

OK, I understand this platform offers "the New Blogger"




I’ve just tried the “New Blogger”, and it does look like it gives much more up-to-date stats as to what is going on daily.

“Peggyktc’ has an article about it.

I started Blogger in January 2006.  I had sixteen blogs created and running by summer 2006.


I started using Wordpress on Bluehost with two blogs at the start of 2014, anticipating the publication of my DADT III book in February. The “media reviews” blog is a bit of a misnomer now, but it mainly concerns my own creative projects in music and the novel, as well as news video that I take myself. The “Do Ask Do Tell Notes” blog adds footnotes to the books, discusses my trust and the way I handle certain business issues and the controversies they might generate.

I added my “News Commentary” blogs to contemplate the eleven news blogs on Blogger, and “Media Commentary” to supplement the five content review blogs.  The legacy Movie reviews blog became mainly dedicate to short films, often topical, and to some reviews of older films.



There were some problems with Blogger.  It has been very stable over the years.  Only once (in May 2011) has the ability to update been down (then for about 16 hours one time). But there was a problem early on with the mistaken taking down of some supposed “spam blogs”, especially in the summer of 2008.  On May 30, 2008, about four of my blogs (including TV) would not load, but they came back in a few hours. Very early, Blogger sometimes required a Captcha to log on to add new posts to blogs that automated systems thought were suspicious.  These had gone away for me by the end of 2008.  Some of my own best statistics (including with Adsense) occurred in the fall of 2008 after the financial crisis. I still do not understand how Google makes money on the product, whose visibility is less these days now that Facebook and Twitter are so prominent.  It’s interesting that Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook more ephermal, which could make Blogger more useful. It’s also disturbing that Google-plus was shut down with relatively short notice (a few months) on April 2, 2019.

Earlier, Hometown AOL had been shut down in 2007, with the opportunity offered to move the content to Blogger. 

I realize that my blogging setup has been set up over time with respect to available technology and has some redundancy, and is not as transparent as it could be.  Comparatively, Tim Pool recently explained why he has two video channels and channels on many other products sides YouTube.
   
Wordpress has a reputation as a more polished and intricate and professional blogging platform than Blogger, and easier to configure into a versatile business site.  So far, Google has not chosen to do that with Blogger, and connect it to hosting services, as far as I know.  Google does offer the opportunity to connect custom domain names to blogs.  But once this is done, some workplace filters will screen them out and some website security rating services don’t rate them for a long time.

Here's an article on how to interpret Blogger statistics, which may report higher numbers than Google analytics. 

The first picture is a model of a Dyson sphere in a Marriott hotel lobby near downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The second is a similar model in a gay bar in downtown Ottawa. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

EFF director has major op-ed about Section 230 in New York Times


Elliot Harmon, activism director for the New York Times, has a big op-ed in the New York Times today, to the effect that changing (or largely eliminating) Section 230 would cater to the big tech companies. 
   
It’s true, just as with the EU Copyright Directive, that the big tech companies have the scale to adjust.  But probably they would not allow a lot of people to continue posting non-ephemeral or self-branding content, and would impose some sort of informal social credit system as to whom they would invite to “publish” – they would become publishers and be frank about that’s how it is now and that this is not for everyone, you would have to earn the right to be heard for yourself if you didn’t want to pick a mob to join and obey.
  

Tim Pool explains why he has multiple channels, in a way that similar to my having multiple blogs. He is talking about “social engineering” from the corporatized Left  -- which I personally think has something to do with wanting to compel people to join groups and take sides rather than act on their own – it’s easier to deal with groups, but the alternative could be social credit systems.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Reprise: Should journalists (be allowed to) protest in public -- "join in", chant, carry signs, even get arrested?



I’m going to be looking at this question again in the near future, particularly on Wordpress.

Should journalists march in protests and carry signs?  Should they be allowed to?
    
Here’s Poynter’s take on the question back in 2017. 

Columbia Journalism review had taken up this question especially with respect to the Women’s March the day after Inauguration Day in 2017.   This argument was more based on equality.


Turn this around, does a blogger become a journalist by calling himself one?  Would op-ed writers follow different rules?  What about independent journalists with big YouTube channels where they interview people or analyze news stories?

It doesn’t take much to see that his is a big deal overseas.
   
In the US, activists (mainly on the Left) could reasonably argue that independent vloggers who call themselves “journalists” and who don’t protest, weaken group solidarity and hollow out normal political processes.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Time magazine makes a radical proposal to bring back low-level conscription, and offers curious parallels to arguments in my own DADT books and blog posts


Time Magazine has a “Special Report” Oct. 21-28, 2019, which I could cover on my legacy “book reviews” blog, but today’s issue brings up something I want to mention on this one, my main “legacy” blog on this platform.
  
The report starts on p. 40 with “Trump and the Troops”, but I wanted to call attention tonight to a special subchapter by Elliot Ackerman that starts on p. 44, photographs by Gillian Laub, “Born into War”, with the tagline “The way to end America’s forever wars is to bring back the draft.” The report is quite lengthy an runs to page 57.
  
It recommends a “reverse engineered draft” (including women) which, if I understand right, would be very small and only children of higher income parents would be “eligible.”  Draftees, “unlucky” enough to be picked, could go only into combat arms. He argues that this works now because women are eligible for combat arms. Coincidentally, Lisa Lang happens to be covering women in Marine Basic Training at Camp Pendleton, CA on Sunday night on CNN.  
  
There are other proposals for universal national service, and Pete Buttigieg has even proposed them. Some proposals would call for intermittent service even in retirement (maybe related to eligibility for Social Security benefits).
  
  
But this proposal is particularly aimed at changing the political calculus that leads to protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even the political dishonesty that seems to have been responsible for the start of the Iraq war in 2003.
  
Wealthier parents will demand a much more careful stance of getting into wars.
  
This may be harder to imagine with complicated situations like Syria. 
  
This story catches my eye right now because recently I have been in some phone conversations with my POS publisher (Oct 8 post) and one of the issues is whether an older non-fiction book (back to 1997-2000) can sell again. There is a lot of material in my first book on Vietnam era conscription and deferments (which would not exist in Ackerman’s proposal) and some unusual application to the issue of gays in the military as it was under “don’t ask don’t tell” until 2011. Ackerman is delving into the same viewpoints I examined twenty years ago, and again after 9/11 (with correspondence with the now late Charles Moskos).
  
There has been recent discussion of whether women should be required to register for Selective Service and likewise whether the Selective Service System should be abolished.  Were that to surface as a political issue in the 2020 election year, that could give me more visibility, for better or for worse.
  
I seem to recall David Hogg (from March for our Lives and the gun issue) mentioning Selective Service in a tweet last year after he had turned 18.  Ironically, the "real David Hogg", an industrious "conservative" college student in North Carolina talks about veterans issues a lot on Twitter. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Does "GoFundMe" really work? Does it provide a good way to "take action" and help others?



The November 2019 issue of The Atlantic arrived in my business mailbox, and for me the most telling article (as to personal values) was on p. 84, by Rachel Monroe, “GoFundMe Nation” , or “When GoFundMe Gets Ugly”. The tagline is “The largest crowdfunding site in the world puts up a mirror to who we are and what matters most for us. The reflection isn’t always pretty.”

Yet the concept has sometimes come across as a moral justification for social media.  It gives you a way to “take action” to help specific other people rather than just talk and become known.
  
I personally rarely contribute to them (I do contribute to kickstarter film fundraisers).  I’m also reminded of Facebook’s practice of putting an “add a donate button” in your stream (even actual business page) when you make a political post.  That’s part of a modern theory (“Madison’s music”) that free speech is supposed to be paired with a willingness to take action for others when appropriate.

She gives an opening take of how a well-off Memphis businessman found “God” after an incident and took up a project of raising money for an impoverished black teen.  The tale seems to bridge the communication gap we have with people other, less fortunate, stations of life.

But, Rachel argues, this kind of faith seems like the exception and seems naïve.  Most GoFundMe’s fail, apparently.

Then, there are those which may be inappropriate (for abortions).
  
I’ve noticed the use of them (or of crowdsourcing) for organ transplantation needs.  This was an idea that would have been unthinkable when I was growing up because medicine was not advanced enough to provide them.  In earlier times, it was more about “taking care of your own”, a Trumpian value.
   
Update: Oct 13. 
   
Page 58 of Time Magazine's Oct 21 issue "America's Forever War" has a story by W.J. Hennigan and North Ogden on help for families who lose parents in war, and this story relates a GoFundMe that worked well.  See the next post Sunday on this problem. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Trump's rally apparently inspires random Antifa-style violence of spectators near Target Center in downtown Minneapolis


Zach Roberts provides ample (at least 20 minutes) of footage of protest, for Subverse News, outside Trump’s rally in Minneapolis at the Target Center Wednesday.

  
Ian Schwartz reports for Real Clear Politics on the burning of MAGA hats. 
  
There is disturbing material about how Trump had promised to limit Somali immigration, which is quite significant to the Twin Cities area. 

Andy Ngo and others reported random attacks on persons in the area who weren’t necessarily attending the rally. 

The Target Center is on First Ave., near the Twins’ baseball park, the Loon Café, and, on Hennepin, the Gay 90s and Saloon gay bars. 
  
I was in Minneapolis on Sept 28 and visited the bars on Hennepin, and again on Oct. 3 on Lake Street.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Another law professor seems to mix words and bullets for collective responsibility



Mart Ann Franks, a law professor, writes in a NYTimes op-ed “Our collective responsibility for mass shootings”. The subtitle “For far too long, online forums and marketplaces have been granted near-total immunity when they contribute to gun violence.”
  
Well, marketplaces can be forced (by law) to do background checks, and then it becomes a real world thing, and it’s no longer just about speech. And it’s true, stores can be held liable when a customer is injured in a store (this happened to me in Minneapolis in 1998).  But that’s really not about speech.

 Nor is the idea that a swimming pool owner needs to keep it fenced and gate-locked.


But the radicalization that led to Christchurch and El Paso does have something to do with Internet business models, and even with a system that drops too many young men on the floor, while others have no “skin in the game”.
   
The writer needs to be very careful, however, with limiting Section 230. After all, we could easily imagine most user generated content as gratuitous and imagine turning speech back to the way it was before the WWW and search engines and social media.



Update:  Oct. 11 

It's a little odd to see Tim Lee write a piece like this, and I wonder how it would fit into the FOSTA litigation. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

I have to respond to criticism that I don't "sell" things



One aspect of all of my blogs (there are 20 of them) is that some of my own activity uncovers problems, especially in the free speech and “personal autonomy” areas that amount to news that often gets overlooked, even by other independent video channels and blogs that I follow as well as mainstream. Some of these issues have the somewhat unpredictable risk of blowing up and becoming important for a lot of speakers.

Recently, I’ve gotten some marketing calls from my POD publisher for my books.  I’ve gone into more detail in a Wordpress post last Saturday, which leads to another legacy post of mine on the Trademark blog here (on Blogger). 

I’ve gotten some calls, ever since 2012, asking me why the older books are not selling.  A couple of them have sounded a little threatening, as if I were doing something wrong by migrating to my own format of online blogging and not being totally 100% dedicated to wholesaling and retailing hardcopy books as a consumer-oriented business laced with offers and volume-oriented deals.  OK, there would be benefits, like literacy programs.  Community engagement through local bookstores, and the like.  I’ve talked about some of those on the Book Reviews blog here.

I had a long conversation Monday evening, and I won’t go into sensitive details, but I did manage to convince the caller that “cookie cutter” marketing assistance packages from publicity films don’t work equally for all kinds of books (here's a perspective).  It is normally a lot easier to sell a children’s book or a recipe cookbook (as a consumer “commodity” in volumes of “instances”) or perhaps any “how to” book (like in tech) than political non-fiction laced with personal accounts. 

Fiction is a little different: if an author has become known, he/she can make the consumer angle work. 

When I first published my DADT-1 book as a print-run in 1997, the novelty of my individualistic arguments regarding gays in the military (I talked a lot about my own experience with conscription, especially) did catch on by word-of-mouth and for eighteen months or so (my having moved to Minneapolis to do a corporate transfer to avoid a conflict of interest), and my first printing of a few hundred did sell out, more or less before 9/11.


Since then, as I’ve often explained, I’ve depended on search engines to remain known.  That has worked relatively well in terms of influencing policy (yup, some politicians, judges, and various media figures do know me) but in a way that is probably not very transparent to the public.   And I agree that my Internet presence, which added components as technology changed, is not very transparent to the “average consumer”, the way many book marketing sites are supposed to be.  And I have indeed promised to simplify all of this by the end of 2021 (after the next election).

I do get the idea that many people see a problem with an operation that offers most stuff “free” without asking for anything.  This is different from the algorithm-clickbait problem which, we have seen in the past two years, seems to contribute, however unintentionally, a lot to radicalization (especially on the “alt-right”).  Free content (even if not radical by itself) from someone who doesn’t seem to have other people to be responsible for (“skin in the game” -- and the "upward affiliation problem") could also be seen as a radicalization ploy or an unpredictable security risk for others. A bigger practical concern is that my style of self-publication dilutes conventional group or "identity centered" activism with "solidarity".  I could arguably be "doing something else" that helps "my own oppressed peoples" more than I do now. 
Soon, I’ll give more specifics on just how these blogs do benefit users.  I owe it.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Case in First Circuit regarding Massachusetts law and recording the police may be important


Electronic Frontier Foundation has a story (Oct. 7) by Sophia Cope and Adam Schwartz about an amicus brief it wrote before the First Circuit in Boston for the case Martin v. Rollins.  The case had been brought by the ACLU to challenge the Massachusetts anti-eavesdropping statue which would outlaw the secret recording of all conversations, even in public. 
  
The First Circuit has previously upheld a First Amendment right to record police officers’ audio, and that did not override the state’s anti-eavesdropping statute.


Five appellate jurisdictions have upheld a right of citizens to record police activity, including audio.
   
Video: Ford Fischer from the Defending Freedom Action Summit, Arlington, VA, Jan. 2019, on the right to film the police, News2Share.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Another assessment of YouTube's winners and losers


Mark Ledwich has a valuable Medium article today “The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Conspiracy Crackdown”.

The title says it, purveyors of conspiracy theories are the losers.  (Yup – David Hogg – both of them as I follow two of them – were born on terra firma.  Although Alex Jones and even Laura Ingraham were paying David Hogg #1 a compliment by spreading the idea that everybody needed to fear him as if he were a god.) 


Well, it’s mostly deep-state theories (Steve Bannon) that lost out.

The left-center-right balance seems to be about correct, Lewich says, if you factor out extremism. But he notes that some individual creators (David Pakman particularly) seem more objective in their commentary than the corporate media that advertisers trust – Pakman, Tim Pool, etc are losing out to MSNBC and Fox. 


Thursday, October 03, 2019

EU starts to try to order some content takedowns to apply worldwide, even the US, challenging sovereignty


Foo Yun Chee of Reuters News reports today that the EU Supreme Court has told Facebook it must remove some content worldwide, even if only illegal in one EU country.  

The ruling could apply to other social media companies and theoretically even to hosting providers. 

There was some concern immediately that it could apply to “the right to be forgotten.”

Yet, curiously, a case in French resulted in a different judge deciding that the “right to be forgotten” would only apply in the country affected in Google cases.


The Facebook case just reported today started in Austria with a particular green party politician seeking to squash criticism. It’s obvious that politicians or dictators anywhere could use this ruling to squash dissent.

As with the Article 13 controversy and Copyright Directive, here is a case where European law could be in a position to force Internet companies to scale back user generated content worldwide.
   
There is also an obvious question about national sovereignty, which Donald Trump uses to play both sides of any issue against each other.


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Event at a college in Ontario shows intolerance of any elitism or individualism from the far Left


Lauren Chen, on Blaze TV’s Pseudo Intellectual channel, covered the protests at the event in Hamilton Ontario where Maxime Bernier and David Rubin were to speak, at Mohawk college.
   
As everyone has heard, there was a lot of controversy.  David Rubin offered to foot the ten-fold increase in security.  Maxime represents the People’s Party, which in Canada is said to be center-right and libertarian, no relation to the old People’s Party in the US in the 1970s associated with Benjamin Spock.


One of the protesters said “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

But there was little intellectual logic in what the people said, a lot of feelings.

Outside the event, an elderly woman was harassed by protesters and called a “neo-Nazi” as she crossed the street (Timcast account).  She had nothing to do with the event. That seems to be part of combative Far Left strategy, to call everyone an “enemy” of their own solidarity indeed something very bad, with no regard to facts. David Rubin says in another long video that we need “bravery” to fight cancel culture.