Monday, August 31, 2020

Coronavirus hygiene could make campus life seem like the military; also, social media "volunteer" moderators

 Something strikes me about the returns to campus, and the “rules”, and the large numbers of positive tests on some campuses.

First, it most of the cases remain truly asymptomatic, that will be interesting in itself.  If it turns out that the asymptomatic rate (not pre-symptomatic but truly asymptomatic) that may complicate the moral tone of the policy debate.  We really haven’t gotten a handle on how many people have relatively trivial infections and on whether they could have long term medical consequences themselves, of it this more a matter or repelling the idea of “survival of the fittest”.  Deborah Birx has told them, “do not go home”.

But campuses (and some public schools) are finding they have to set up hygiene rules that may make students feel like they are in the military.  Perhaps even room inspections (remember how my own story at William and Mary back in 1961 starts).  For me, this whole development, given the lines of argument I have used for years, sounds ironic.  So much of this is not so much about protecting the students themselves but of protecting the surrounding communities, where vulnerability increases,

On another matter, I had not been aware of the extent to which some social media companies depend on “volunteer” paid moderators, is in this Sunday Business Section Washington Post story by Heather Kelly.  This is particularly true for Facebook groups and sub-Reddits.  For example, one group tries to keep politics out of coronavirus information sharing. 


Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Sigma Male, and resistance to the demands of others to join their causes (or mass movements)


Let’s talk a moment about men who are non-tribal, the so called sigma male.

I do share a lot of the traits, such as distrust of group identity and resentment of imposed social hierarchies.  When I was growing up I was quite perplexed at the demands of others to fit into what I might have perceived as an inferior place.

This is not quite the same thing as relief from group oppression.  Indeed, anti-racism itself requires accepting the importance of the identity group.

So, I would follow up on Wednesday’s post of the extreme offense I would take at others who simply would contact me to demand solidarity with them, as if that could be made the “Mafia money” for having an income or an online presence at all.  Among the most offensive behaviors are going and protesting in front of private residences even of non-celebrities. 

I do understand, that people in oppressed groups will see people who stand alone public as a threat to their achieving their political goals, of organizing others.  

Friday, August 28, 2020

A welcome explanation of "cancel culture", and the disturbing "David Shor Saga" (talking about peaceful v. violent protests)

Let’s look at T1J’s mid July video (16 minutes), “What everyone gets wrong about ‘cancel culture’”.

TiJ starts out by discussing the open letter in Harpers, “A Letter on Justice and Debate”.

TiJ then runs through the terminology of cancel culture and draws some distinctions.  First, he calls for “legitimate criticism”, then gets into “mob mentality”, “call-out” or “outrage” culture, and then, “punching up”. 

At the 12:00 mark he discusses the firing of David Shor after Shor criticized violence as a strategy that would backfire (following Floyd) on Democrats, while supporting the idea of peaceful protests.

Vox explains the case in a July 29 piece by Matthew Yglesias, “The Real Stakes in the David Shor Saga: There’s a real argument about speech in progressive spaces”. 

That is, oppressed minorities (especially when intersectional) may believe that the threats to their members are so dire (and sometimes they are – think about Pulse) that no speculative speech about them can be tolerated, and only political change that may impose on some “oppressors” as revolutionary (or reparative or forcing expropriation -- "They deserve it") is acceptable – and this can ironically include compelled speech or solidarity as a price for visibility or continued employment.  People who experience "tribal oppression" as such see independent speech as an unfair and self-indulgence-related barrier to their getting the relief from danger that they need. 

But I think this problem relates back to a couple of other issues I have discussed before, which I call “conflict of interest” and "skin in the game" as well as a now forgotten controversy back in the early 2000’s on the role of “amateur speech” in elections.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What to make of CDC's change of position on testing asymptomatic persons for COVID? Is this about the uncompensated personal sacrifice?


CDC Director Robert Redfield backtracked somewhat on an earlier CDC website change downplaying the need for people without symptoms to be tested if they have been in situations where they would have been exposed.

Presymptomatic cases may go to have significant disease but asymptomatic people never develop any but the most trivial symptoms – but some of them have shown heart damage or clotting later, or even lung abnormalities.

If an asymptomatic person is tested and found positive, then their contacts may be tracked.

The Hill has a story by Jessie Hellman.

Newer saliva antigen tests should be coming on stream soon and might even be available to do at home.

Trump’s motive seems to be related to the idea that someone show does not become objectively ill should not be required to make the personal sacrifice of quarantine for the common welfare of others, when there is no guarantee that they will not have considerable consequences to their own lives from the possibly unnecessary quarantine.  There are some small exposures that are unavoidable, even with proper mask wearing and social distancing.

Public policy has not sufficiently focused on compensating those isolated or their employers, or on guaranteeing their access to other services they may need;  sometimes quarantine must be done away from home in a hotel.  There is little attention to what happens if something breaks in a home where someone is quarantined.

British nurse John Campbell says that one reason may be that a negative test on an asymptomatic person may not guarantee absence of infection.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Radical protesters coerce and heckle outdoor diners for not joining in (at least in Washington DC)


The Washington Post, in a story by Frederick Kunkle, reports that protesters (BLM) are sometimes heckling outdoor diners and demanding that the diners join in.

In an incident  (in Adams Morgan in Washington DC Monday Aug. 24), protesters confronted a woman in a restaurant outdoors (moved into the street because of the pandemic), demanding she participate in fist-clinching for solidarity (or "comradeship") screaming “Your silence is violence”, and “are you a Christian?” The Post article includes a video.

Reportedly some protesters asked whites to step forward, and some accused "whites" to taking advantage of gentrification of formerly black neighborhoods, where rising real estate prices drove poorer people to Prince George's County with increasing crime problems.  Areas in NE Washington DC have also been building new condos and apartments.  

The Lonely Banter gives another example with discussion (footage at 6:37 in the video). Note that the protester is not wearing a mask when she screams at the couple. 

There is a lot of controversy over how of this is actually from “Black Lives Matter” and coercion at a personal level like this steps over into Marxism, even Maoism.

But there is a point.  Activists feel they are thought less of personally, in many cases strictly across radical lines.  They are sometimes mixing up structural racism with structural privilege, which overlap but are not quite the same things.  There is a tactic, of violating someone when you believe you will get away with it, to make the person feel like they need to “beg” from others just like you have to (or think you have to).

We are losing our grip on law and order.  We’re forcing people to extend their moral compass to dealing with sharing hardship even when imposed by others to “get even”.


Sept. 4  Lauren Victor writes an op-ed in the Washington Post identifying herself as the woman who didn't raise her fist when coerced by protesters even though she says she supports the policy aims (police reform, etc) of BLM. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Vox: a risky way to accelerate testing of a coronavirus vaccine


Here is an important video from Vox, produced by Laura Bult, “The risky way to speed up a coronavirus vaccine.”

That is, challenge volunteers who have been vaccinated with the infection.

Some of the volunteers say it is their moral imperative to do it, if young and healthy.

This video applies to the Oxford Astraxeneca vaccine in the UK.

The date is -Aug. 12 and we haven’t heard of illnesses yet.  But they will also check to see if they have silent nose and throat infections that can be spread to others.  During the trials, they will still be in quarantine (and paid).

Friday, August 21, 2020

Facebook bans "Q" as well as (for practical purposes) "Antifa", after Portland violence

Portland Protests June 2, 2020

 It is being widely reported that Facebook is removing accounts and groups associated with Qanon, and now (in what seems like a reversal) associated with violent left-wing activity (supposedly related to “Antifa”) as well as to white nationalism or white supremacy.

Here is Facebook’s own statement, dated Aug. 19, 2020.  

There is a surface belief that Facebook tolerates communism but not fascism. 

The company refers to its earlier policy on Dangerous Individuals and Organizations, and now bans some activity that would fall short of what it calls a tight definition of this policy. The new policy will look at groups or entities (possibly individuals) who post-haste celebrate violence that has already occurred, or that have significant violent individuals as followers.  The latter sounds a bit dangerous.  That would invite banning a social media account or even website if it suddenly attracts too much traffic from autocratic countries or possibly from underground groups.  Generally, content providers don’t monitor who simply views their public posts. I've always wondered if labeling a person "dangerous" could be libelous. 

CNN has a big story by Brian Fung on “BigTech” and Qanon. Vox has an explainer about Qanon by Jane Coastan, Aug. 21. 

Wikipedia embed of Portland die-in protest (peaceful) on bridge June 2, click for attribution. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The "controversy" over Black Lives Matter and (supposed) connections to Marxism: should supporters care?

In the past three months, I’ve notice that a number of YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram accounts of relatively popular people in arts and sciences, typically somewhat political moderate if anti-Trump (including LGBTQ) have placed Black Lives Matter marks (and even black squares) on their accounts as a matter of solidarity.  I would be concerned if their motive is that they would lose standing with followers or even the tech companies if they weren’t willing to do this, a bit of a quid pro quo.

There is controversy over whether BLM is a “Marxist organization” or supporting them is supporting Communism or Marxist causes, as claimed by conservatives.

The Foundation for Economic Education has a useful article, by Brad Polumbo, that explains that the organization founded in 2013 and actually trademarked was founded by persons with openly Marxist leanings, and the ideology connects capitalism with white supremacy, colonialism and other ills.  In frankness, you can certainly see a reason to connect these ideas (slavery and property). 

If you look at the official Black Lives Matter site, you see that it does not promote illegal behavior, although some goals (abolishing ICE) may seen dismissive to law and order as many Americans expect it.

Some individual chapters (including DC) may have more radical statements. Dislike of the nuclear family is sometimes mentioned. 

Politifact (Poynter) has a similar analysis, by Tom Kertscher.

 The speaker in the video at 15:00 thinks it is fundamentally important to "join something".  I almost never do that! 

Both articles note that the public tends to perceive “black lives matter” as a mass movement (like “true believers” from Eric Hoffer’s 1951 book), and typically do not support violence or expropriation of private property or wealth by force, or punitive attitudes toward individuals who were “privileged”. Generally, the public does not support "revolution." 

But people who place BLM marks on their social media accounts out of solidarity may not realize how their doing so may be construed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Milo debates Destiny at Mythinformed in Milwaukee just before Democratic Convention

Milwaukee Wisconsin 5514

MythInformed had an event in Milwaukee preceding the Democratic Convention, and they were proud to hold the event in the face of COVID,   They had a similar event in September 2018 which had some disruption, and help sponsor a conference in Philadelphia Aug 31, 2019, already covered here, and I attended that. 

Here is a debate between Milo Yiannopoulos and Destiny (Steven Bonnell) discuss “Sticks and Stones can Break My Bones but can Words Hurt Me?”  It was moderated by Brandon Straka. 

In the beginning Milo talks about whether words can cast a “spell”, and later they get into misgendering.

At about 34:00 Milo talks about Facebook’s arbitrary designation of him as a “dangerous individual”, and he cannot be mentioned except negatively. Supposedly dangerous persons or organizations are connected to white supremacy or nationalism, but I just don’t find that in Milo’s material. 

They also talk about cancel culture an deplatforming, and Milo seems to be coming out of it. “They take out people who make their lives difficult.”

We can look at why the far Left is so combative. It's noteworthy that Facebook has suddenly purged groups and accounts associated with Qanon (Pizzagate, etc), as NBCNews reports

Picture: Downtown Milwaukee, embed, Wikipedia, click for attribution.  I was there in May 1992 and November 2000. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Cato paper explores tensions over expression political views online and the workplace

The Cato Institute has a paper, by Emily Elkins, dated July 22, 2020, “Poll: 62% of Americans say they have political views they’re afraid to share”. 

The issue has become increasingly more troublesome for conservatives. 

The issue also affects political donations, public and even private.

Employers do have conflict of interest rules, especially for those with fiduciary responsibility or management authority or even the ability to make underwriting decisions.  I’ve talked a lot about this before under “conflict of interest”.

Also relevant is that Facebook has been prodding users to run fundraisers for established non-profits publicly, and I wonder if that can lead to a “quid pro quo.”

Monday, August 17, 2020

Rupert Spira on the non-duality of consciousness, and why it matters; some private house parties now have "paper tests" for virus to screen guests?


In this 2016 video, Rupert Spira explains “Consciousness is not produced by the brain”. 

It is more fundamental than matter and can exist without matter.

When you have a beer, or have a serious brain injury what changes is not consciousness itself but the content of consciousness. 

We all maintain that our “conscious lives” have beginnings and ends because everyone believes it, just as everyone used to believe in a flat earth where, well, gravity still worked. But none of us remembers our birth or conception, and none of us has experienced our death.  For all we know, our lives remain as boxes in space-time, still to be accessed.

One of  Spira’s ideas is “non duality”.

Another item to mention:  CNN reports that wealthy people are having (illegal) house parties where they test everyone who comes for coronavirus.  I’m not sure how they do this, if they got the NBA paper tests, and if they can really get results in 15 minutes.  But the idea has been proposed for widespread use for business in the future.  More about this to come.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

A couple of important pieces on microaggressions; Biden and the Internet


I found a Facebook post by a black Minneapolis resident, Emily Osoto, who gives a very personal account of how microaggressions for race feel in a city thought (before the Floyd incident) to be nice, but deceptive.

The Startribune has an article about microaggressions and doctors and health care workers of color, by Emma Goldberg.

On another matter, Charlotte Alter has a long essay in the current issue of Time, “Inside the Democrats’ Plan to Win Back the Internet”.  She describes the Internet as a battleground state, and as a tool for recruitment, not discussion.  She never gets around to admitting Biden’s desire to gut Section 230.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Wiley Online Library publishes possibly game-changing paper on origin of SARS-Cov-2 outbreak in China before it spread to rest of world


Wiley Online Library has published an important paper by father and son team Karl Sirotkin and Dan Sirotkin, in a sequence called “Bioessays”, “Might Sars-Cov-2 have arisen via serial passage through an animal host or cell culture?” The tagline is “a potential explanation for much of the novel coronavirus’s distinctive genome.”  That genomic component is the infamous PRRA condon sequence.

The paper mentions the 2013 finding of a similar virus in a bat cave in SW China. It maintains that the Wuhan lab has that virus and many other similar samples, and the Chinese will not let WHO look at their notes.  It counters former claims that residents in the cave area carry antibodies (which might have been transient anyway;  what really matters is T-cell activity). Apparently that inserted sequence was not present in 2013.  It also maintains that infection in the Wuhan area was not known to be present until late 2019, although it does not foreclose the possibility that we will find out that it was.

It discusses gain-of-function experiments with various viruses, especially swine and avian influenzas, and notes that furin cleavage has been tried with influenza in the lab. Many viruses become more virulent if they are given the power to use or “cleave” more receptors.

It also discusses the possible role of mink farms in China and even mentions their presence in the Netherlands.

If it were established beyond reasonable doubt or even by preponderance of evidence that China had been “responsible” with intentional manmade risks, that could have legal implications and justify more war-time like measures against civilians in the U.S. – for all the job losses, the lockdowns have not been as stringent as they might have been, nor have the legal penalties for not following them.

Americans are indeed used to more individualism, and until mid March had not normally been used to the idea of being held responsible for making other people sick when they are not sick themselves. This idea is more common in large multi-generation households and in oriental societies.  They have also been befuddled by the sudden change in advice on masks, at one point in April being confronted with the idea they should learn to make masks at home if necessary, as if this were a civil defense wartime effort from the days of “duck and cover”.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Techdirt has enormous problems with ad-friendliness censorship


Mike Masnick has a disturbing tale about the problems of Techdirt with Adsense and its own content moderation.

This is apparently a problem for sites dependent on ad income and not using subscription or patronage for funding.

Techdirt thinks that moderating content for suitability for advertisers is almost impossible to scale.

This is similar to problems of demonetizing content on YouTube, where news reporting often shows objectionable or violent behavior, language, or promotion of weapons use or of hateful behavior – but in context it is still “news”.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Why American men feel, well, esmasculated by being expected to wear masks (to protect others)


Alex Abad-Santos has a valuable report on Vox Aug. 10, “Performative masculinity is making American men sick. American men are failing the pandemic.”

Of course, this is what is seen as personal bodily humiliation about being forced to wear a mask in public. That implies you are weak, or at least not invincible.  But of course we all know this is because of the novel nature of the new SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, and possibly the fact that it came from an international adversary, China.

Indeed, seen from a distance, the public health measures sliding into place very quickly after mid March 2020 make it sound like the whole planet is grossly contaminated.

If the contamination were from radiation, for example (Fukushima in 2011) we wouldn’t feel that way, there would be no choice at all.

The words “shelter in place” make it sound like the virus is a personal environmental contaminant.

It gets a little worse.  Medical personal must wear special masks, N95’s, and men must shave their beards for them to fit.  Imagine if we demanded that of all men in the general public. (There is a variation clone of N95 coming online called Respocare which is slightly more forgiving in fit requirements, but it might eventually become “required” of the public.)  You can take science fiction theater (like the program in the 50s with Truman Bradley) even further.  I don’t know whether hair root cells have vulnerable receptors, but imagine a contagious virus that targets them and also contagious.  Then everyone who have to be bald, maybe even of all body hair too.  How would anyone be sexually attractive according to our norms today (especially among whites)?

Here’s the Vox article.

The idea that your own breath, even if you don’t get sick yourself, could be a deadly weapon is a shocking insult to personal sovereignty, perhaps. Asian cultures are used to it.

Here’s a confrontation in a store in Tucson AZ.  A bellicose warrior is carried out of a retail place by a more attentive son. The dad obviously believes in Spartan "survivor of the fittest", that the world is a zero-sum game.  There is a gun shop in AZ where the owner doesn’t allow masks, too.

Public health is certainly infringing on our sacrosanct ideas of personal autonomy, but we've seen that before with the vaccine "debate". 

Monday, August 10, 2020

OK, why posting reviews on "corporate" sites seems clumsy


I haven’t reviewed books or movies on Amazon (or Imdb) for a long time, as it has been much faster to review them on my own blogs.

“Woodland” (which was to be titled “Crypto”) is a long waited horror film executive produced in part by actor Richard Harmon, who plays a photojournalist trying to rehab his life covering a remote area in the Pacific Northwest.  I do have some connection online to people who have worked on the film for several years.  I was asked if I would post a review on Amazon after I told them I had watched it on prime.

I have posted it, but Amazon tells me it may take several days for it to be moderated.

Now Amazon and IMDb moderate reviews to make sure they aren’t paid or don’t come from the producers of the content itself.  That’s perfectly understandable.  But most of the larger debate over content moderation has to do with downstream liability (copyright and defamation) and of harmful content or radicalization.

But it does give a preview of a future world were user generated content is much less spontaneous than it is now.  That can be an end result of gutting or removing Section 230 and of the Copyright Directive in the EU.

Update: Aug. 12.  The review was posted late Aug. 11, link.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

If you abolish law and order, you abolish individualism

I get regular fundraising emails from a lot of sources, but one of the groups that is particularly unwelcomely chummy is Truthout.  

I generally don’t like to ask for money in public myself, or sound blaze about asking people to “chip in”.  That’s just something I’ve never done (much) and it seems embarrassing, like begging.
Indeed, many of Truthout’s articles are very informative as to various scandals and environmental damage going on.

But then I see an op-ed by Kristian Williams, “Abolishing police is a step toward ending white supremacy and capitalism”.  Am I supposed to chip in for my own personal destruction?  Taken literally, the op-ed seems to want to end “law and order” or respect for law, and restructure society into group-centered communes where nobody owns anything they can lose, so police are no longer necessary.  You got it, Marxism, Communism, mixed with the intersectional Venn Diagrams of the day (maybe with some hidden variables thrown in).
No, however, I have never taken to the streets. I’ve never had to.  But someone might want to force me to.  I get the idea that identariansim comes back to punish the individual in the oppressing group, as a personal criminal from benefiting (even ancestrally) from the undervalued labor of others.
It’s not about the me, it’s the we or the group.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Protesters charged with crimes for retweets; Georgia school suspension regarding lack of social distancing

Jaclyn Preiser has a story on The Washington Post about several persons in New Jersey charged for threatening (“cyber harassment”) police officers after they retweeted a message from a protester that could have doxxed a police officer thought to be making friends with enemies of Black Lives Matter.
The defendants have GoFundMe pages (linked by the Post if you want to help them).  It certainly sounds credible that the defendants thought they were transmitting legitimate news of possible police misconduct.

The Verge has a much more detailed story by Adi Robertson. It is very unusual for people to get into trouble for blind retweets (except as part of organized activity). 

The Post has another story (by Katie Shepherd)  about activists who believe they should not post on social media their own videos for fear that police will use it against other protesters.
In Georgia (video embed above), a high school student was suspended for posting a picture of a crowded school hallway without masks or social distancing on the theory that the school forbids personal photos on school property from being posted publicly.  That sounds like my own “conflict of interest” problem that I hav talked about before. The school has reversed the suspension (NBC story).

Picture: NE Georgia Mountains, April 2018, my trip. 

Thursday, August 06, 2020

States ordering visitors to be quarantined based on the 7-day performance of their home states in controlling conoravirus

Many states are requiring individuals who arrive from “hot spot” states to self-quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival.  Normal health department rules (taught in contact tracing courses) maintain that people may transmit the coronavirus within the two days before showing symptoms. But it’s also unclear how long someone has before showing symptoms, which may be a median of 5 days, but in extreme cases longer than 14 days. It’s particularly unclear how long people who never have symptoms could transmit the disease;  some have internal organ damage or clots anyway, but some may be truly protected by their T-cells except for superficial nasal infection they could still transmit to others.

Hot spot states are those with a 7-day moving average of 10 new cases per 100000 residents per day, or a 10% 7 day rolling average of a daily positive test result.   The first provision would logically mean that 3.65% of a state’s residents get infected a year.  The second would logically mean that either there are not enough tests are given (of people with few or no symptoms) or that really a lot of people are infected.

With widespread efficient mandatory testing of entire areas (maybe condo or apartment buildings) at some point in the future, we could find out that many more people are infected but totally asymptomatic (because of the way T-cells work).  It is unclear how these standards for quarantine would hold up, as ironically a much higher percentage of asymptomatic positives or previous infections would mean the disease is much less deadly after all.

But private citizens, given the huge fines for breaking quarantine especially in NYC (now with random entry checkpoints), are personally paying for the poor performance of other residents in some areas of their states, because of the uncertainty for public safety the presence of their bodies and breath presents, by inference.  That is a common moral theory of the Left, that people share personally the reparative penalties applies to their groups.
But you can also look at this as wartime, with arguments akin to conscription for enforcing quarantines.

Will this stand up in court if challenged?

In any case, let’s hope this all goes away when theaters and large venues can open again in NYC.  No one can afford the two weeks to go an event in another city.
I’ve learned of another movie pitch contest to be held in Las Vegas in October, but there is no way I can agree to travel to any such event given COVID and the uncertainty of quarantine traps.

Gov. Cuomo's site.

ABC7NJ report

The Hill's op-ed against the practice. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on DMCA abuse

Katharine Trendacosta and Corynne McSherry offer an important perspective on the Electronic Frontier Foundation site July 31, “What really does and doesn’t work for Fair Use in the DMCA” . They discuss the inadequacies of the Section 512 provisions in practice. 

The op-ed refers to a hearing July 28 “How does the DMCA contemplate limitations and exceptions like Fair Use?”

To play the hearing you have to open it in a new window and move the cursor (at least in Chrome).
The op-ed mentions the situation in the EU with the Copyright Directive where everything in most countries has to go through an upload filter now.

Section 512, US Copyright Office link.  
Section 1201, US Copyright Office, link. 

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

3rd Circuit defends public school students' off-campus speech in Pennsylvania

Sofia Cope has an important story on Electronic Frontier Foundation, “In Historic Opinion, Third Circuit Protects Public School Students’ Off-Campus Speech”.  The Third Circuit is in Philadelphia (where the COPA trial was held in 2006).

The case was BL v. Mahanoy School District (40 miles south of Wilkes-Barre). Here is the Opinion text
A student who had not made the cheerleading team shared some nasty stuff about the school on Snapchat, which is ephemeral.  Nevertheless, she was disciplined over the possibility her off-campus speech could create disruption at school.
The case is structurally a little bit similar to a situation that happened in the fall of 2005 when I worked as a substitute teacher (explained July 27, 2007). That incident is actually a backstory in a screenplay I will try to peddle. I am beginning to think there was actual misconduct by someone else (another teacher). 

Monday, August 03, 2020

Senate Commerce Committee looks at PACT Act and Section 230

United States Senate Floor

On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, The USA Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing, “The PACT Act and Section 230: The Impact of the Law that Helped Create the Internet and an Examination of Proposed Reforms for Today’s Online World.”
Electronic Frontier Foundation has an op-ed on the hearing by Sofia Cope and Aaron Mackey, “The PACT Act is not the solution to the problem of harmful online content”. 
The argument here seems a little bit forced.  Section 230 protection would end if a platform fails to take required action from a court when content is declared illegal (most likely CSAM, or related to FOSTA).  But the ruling might have been by default or not normally indicative of precedent, or the action might have happened with a SLAPP suit (or it might be motivated now by identarian SJW activism).
The law needs to be thought about in connection with another bill that is more controversial, EAEN It.

Wikipedia embed of Senate Chamber picture, click for attribution. 

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Radical Leftists extorting small businesses to support "reparations" and other Marxist-like agenda (in the name of BLM), one reason to "abolish police"?


A Cuban-immigrant owned business in Louisville KY is attracting its own demonstrators after far-Left activists, claiming to represent Black Lives Matter, made demands on the business for quotas in hiring, patronage of black-owned-business and even public support of the reparations movement.
The Louisville Courrier-Journal (Gannett) reports the story here (story by Bailey Loosemore).
There are some “extenuating” historical circumstances, including the gentrification of a formerly black neighborhood in which the business is located.

But structurally this would be like a webhost or social media company saying, if you want to use our platform and even promote your business or even self-publish, you have to raise money for an approved anti-racist non-profit first.
Tim Pool, in the video above, connects this to his own theory on abolishing the police, and it makes a crude sense.

Picture: Hills south of Louisville, embed from Wikipedia, click for attribution;  I drove through there once in 1970 in the way between Indianapolis and Bowling Green to visit a former grad school roommate. 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Bizarre Twitter trolling and DMCA misuse scheme described by EFF; also DMCA on Twitch

Electronic Frontier Foundation has an op-ed (no article author named), "Self-discovered Twitter troll Ryan Hitze discovers new way to troll Twitter: the DMCA".

The article describes a legal battler between former football star/lifestyle coach and journalist Luke O’Neal.

I don’t understand, in an economic sense, how the Twitter following and unfollowing (like a toggle switch) can work, and the 2018 Vice article is merely hard to follow.  But it’s very strange that any tech company would honor a DMCA takedown request, as it has nothing to do with copyright.  Theoretically you can talk about defamation or right of publicity, but these sound like a stretch by most common sense.   And Section 230 is what applies to those.

I do see something else relevant, however.  That is, referring back to my “Dangerous Thought Experiment” of the past (My “doaskdotell” home page video), that some day the tech industry (and maybe the law) may require people have a legitimate business purpose to have “branded” presence on the Internet at all. This is partly based on a more recent theory (since Charlottesville) that “gratuitous” speech represent a stochastic threat.  This episode shows the bizarre schemes site owners would come up with to make a site appear self-supporting if this was done. 
“TheScore Esports” explains that Twitch has been giving copyright strikes, leading to an “apocalypse”.