Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Can volunteers help people find vaccine appointments effectively?


"Blair Witch Project" 

Joanna Stern has a big writeup in the Wall Street Journal on tips for securing vaccine appointments online, particularly if you just became eligible.  Some of the suggestions are obvious – use the best browser extensions. 

She also suggested looking for Facebook groups with vaccine info for your state.  Virginia did not have one. 

I have already had both shots.  It was very difficult at first.  I tried the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington at first in early February, and got caught in a loop (recommended from my doctor).  Virginia set up a site, but allowed Fairfax County to keep its own.  I got Fairfax County’s to work.  I filled out a questionnaire and it notified me by email to make an appointment.  I did not see the email at first because of spam.  When I did, I found it would show appointments already closed when I went to them. But this problem quickly resolved.  Soon I had an appointment at George Mason University in Fairfax on Feb 27.

I also missed the invitation for the second appointment at first. When I proceeded, it offered me dates earlier than the full three weeks.  I took one two days early, and it warned me about this when confirming the appointment, but the vaccine appointment (at a pharmacy in Herndon) went OK and I wound up being vaccinated on live television (WJLA7).

Many of these problems are due to kinky websites with hasty “business analysis”.

Jennifer Levitz writes about volunteers who schedule appointments for seniors or people with poor Internet access.  Should I have felt morally obligated to do this for social credit?  I would wonder about having to get personal information from so many people to do this.  Also, the need is likely to be very short-term.  In my case, Fairfax County did improve very quickly in making its site usable with reasonable effort. Helpfulness in this area seems to depend on personal proximity with the people who need the help.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

YouTube demonetizes Steven Crowder and the circumstances sound bizarre


Las Vegas 2012

YouTube has permanently demonetized conservative commentator Steven Crowder (BlazeTV), apparently after making claims that the election in Nevada was stolen. Crowder created controversy in 2019 in a battle with Carlos Maza, which had tremendous fallout on many other channels. 

YouTube still holds the line on this, having painted itself into a corner, believing that any such claims on its channel, even by bystanders, could lead the company’s being blamed for inciting right-wing violence.

It does have policies for “controversial issues and sensitive events” (elections), or “harmful and dangerous acts” (largely related to weapons). 

Most commercially successful channels are consumer friendly, and often come from younger adults and college students, who are more concerned about their own careers and lives than “external” politics.   In my own situation in life, I have nothing to “sell” right now (my screenplay, novel, and music could change things later). 

The Verge reports on the incident with Sean Hollister. 

Tim Pool explains on his IRL show today why YouTube is being inconsistent with its own policy. Pool implies that YouTube is nervous about his conversational IRL shows because conservative guests can be unpredictable.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News raises a peculiar question, in my mind at least


Pro-Trump rally right after the 2020 election

Dominion Voting Systems has sued Fox News for making claims of potential election fraud, for $1.6 billion.  The Dominion attorneys say that Fox showed a “reckless disregard for the truth”.  Jazmin Goodwin reports for CNN.

Now consider a distant issue, YouTube’s ban on showing news coverage claiming the supposed 2020 election “steal” even when uttered by a protester who expresses the view in a demonstration, at least without counterveiling views.

If a protester uttered something “defamatory” and a news journalist aired it on a video, could the journalist (owning the YouTube channel) somehow be found liable for “defamation”?  I wonder.  (If journalists edited out possible defamation they wouldn’t be reporting the news accurately.  But YouTube seems to accept this kind of contradiction -- or else the question is, who gets to call themself a "journalist"?)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

States developing smartphone vaccine and test passports; will vaccines collar the variants they squeeze?


Catoctins, day trip 

New York State has sponsored a smartphone app that would tell a facility (convention hall, theater, bar, etc) your vaccination status and about recent negative COVID tests.

USA Today has the story, by Karen Weintraub et al. 

Other states would need to develop the same (by copying the open source software) and states would need to recognize each other’s info. 

I understand that NYS waives the testing an quarantine requirements for visitors two weeks after completing vaccination, for two+ months.  I hope this will extend to longer soon.

VOA News has a discussion of vaccine company trials against variants, with special emphasis on Brazil’s which may be the most troubling;  protection specifically against Brazil is likely to protect against South Africa and several new variants in the US.  But it will take several months to test new vaccines well enough to use, although we hardly have time for full phase 3 trials. 

John Campbell discusses the concern that vaccines could drive the virus to mutate more quickly, unless given to everyone very quickly (around the world).  Existing vaccines do seem likely to prevent serious illness from variants with less likelihood of stopping transmissible asymptomatic infection that can be passed to the unvaccinated.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

"SAFE Tech Act", proposed by 3 Democratic Senators, conceivably could destroy all "self-published" or self-funded content online, however "unintentionally"



Democratic Senators Mark Warner (VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced a potentially “dangerous” bill called the “SAFE TECH Act”, which proposes to Amend Section 230.  As of this writing, I am unable to find an S number or official filing for it.   The official PDF is here.

The change to the wording of Section 230 is as follows:

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any speech provided by another information content provider, except to the extent the provider or user has accepted payment to make the speech available or, in whole or in part, created or funded the creation of the speech.

“(B) (c)(1)(A) shall be an affirmative defense to a claim alleging that an interactive computer service provider is a publisher or speaker with respect to speech provided by another information content provider that an interactive computer service provider has a burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence.”

The second clause Bc1a does not make a lot of sense read literally (it needs some punctuation, as it reads like a run-on sentence in high school English class).  I believe that it is attempting to give a platform or service a kind of “safe harbor” if it uses “good faith” in removing user content.

Senator Warner’s press release has some clues as to the intentions.

The sponsors claim that the purpose of the bill is to ensure that Section 230 “Doesn’t apply to ads or other paid content – ensuring that platforms cannot continue to profit as their services are used to target vulnerable consumers with ads enabling frauds and scams”.  For example.

The FAQ has more similar language. “A: The SAFE TECH Act makes clear that Section 230 immunity does not apply to any paid content. This would include advertisements as well as things like marketplace listings.”  The obvious reference is Craigslist, or an online personals or classified ads.

But the problem is that even ordinary websites (like my four blogs on Bluehost) are, quite literally, paid content because Bluehost has “made the speech available”.  If I were to set up my own server, even the telecom company has “made the speech available”.  Some individuals do this, with the assistance of infrastructure companies like Cloudflare.   The bill, read quite literally, might (even unintentionally) ban self-published content online from individuals without actual corporate or organizational credibility, as in theory it would pose an unmanageable downsteam liability risk for the host.

It would not affect self-published books (through companies like Author Solutions) because those companies indeed perform “content review” before publishing books for customers (so they take liability, they are publishers).

I doubt that the sponsors of the bill thought this possible interpretation of their language through to logical conclusions.  They probably don't realize that some people do create non-commercial content to inform (or maybe to persuade or even proselytize). 

Blogger (or Wordpress without a domain) would literally seem not to be “paid content” and neither would YouTube.  But these services are indirectly “paid for” by advertisers, even for blogs or videos that don’t show ads (as with Adsense). Senators, you need to learn to think like Judge Gorsuch!!

Aaron Mackey, India McKinney, and Jason Kelley pointed out some of these interpretation problems in a February 25 piece on Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Taylor Hatmaker offers a briefer critique Feb.5 on Techcrunch.  K. Holt discusses it on Engadget (Feb 5).

A web hosting company might reasonably decide to offer its services only to customers actually running transactional business, not just to express their own political opinions or even offer their own analysis (like this blog post, or previous posts of mine on coronavirus lockdowns or even on gays in the military the issue that got me started in the 1990s!)  Their reaction might be, “accept intersectionality and support your non-profit".  Don’t do this yourself!  (Or, they could consider agencies who vet people who want to have their own domains first, but essentially allow only people willing to speak for (intersectionalized) groups first or who represent recognized professional organizations or companies.) 

That is in fact what the Left wants.  Individualized political speech like mine (when self-funded) isn’t accountable and its effect remain hidden, and weaken the “solidarity” needed to get massive reforms.  And then there is the whole psychology of “critical theory” to deal with, on top of everything else.

One way to get around this could be to make web hosts and other infrastructure companies (like Cloudflare) “common carriers”.  Usually these companies don’t moderate content and don’t recommend content with algorithms.  They are funded by consumers who publish, not by advertisers, and that is a distinction that observers (and lawmakers) often overlook. However, some of them started bouncing their most egregious customers after Charlottesville, and probably again after January 6.

There is a House hearing today on Section 230 with Zuckerberg, Pichai, and Dorsey.  This is House, not Senate, so it probably won’t get into the bill directly. And it seems to deal with social media platforms driven by ads and algprithms, not hosted content, which gets overlooked.  

Update: March 26 Ian Corzine has a one minute alarming spot on this, Feb, 5.  Again, this is an evolving topic. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

WSJ maintains that income inequality is not getting worse if you look at everything from Census


straw man at Baltimore Penn Station, 2011

Phil Gramm and John Early have an interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal questioning conventional wisdom on income inequality and Census reports.

They present a graph of annual Gini coefficients after correction for government benefits paid to lower income people and taxes collected, which they maintain shows that inequality is decreasing.

But the pandemic would obviously have distorted things in 2020, as lower income workers bore a disproportionate share of the sacrifices (including “people of color” and the like).

Accumulated wealth would also be a factor to consider.

And I personally think that cryptocurrency could start to affect this graph.  (Look at Tyler Mowery’s Twitter account, for openers.)  Think about the idea that someday we could convert “social credit” to wealth on the blockchain, if we wanted to.  But, ironically, that would contradict “critical theory”.

I worked for Census in 2010 (diennial) and 2011 (Current Population Survey).

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Student college athletes and their own "right of publicity" (and the NCAA's historic bucking of common law)


USC, Columbia, 2015

Recently there has been attention to the fact that college athletes, under NCAA rules, normally can’t accept their own brand scholarships or media deals using what would normally be an exercise of their own right of publicity. Vox had an article by Terry Nguyen in Jan. 2021, link.  ABC Good Morning America discussed this issue early today but does not have a link yet. 

This means that student athletes under athletic scholarships cannot profit under their own name from their athletic careers on social media.  However other aspects of college life, like academics (outside of actual exams, for example) can normally be presented.  A few channels about college life have been very successful, such as John Fish at Harvard.  However, my understanding is that John has run track at Harvard.  He cannot show that activity on his channel (I think he mentioned that once).

The NCAA is considering a change, although there has been some confusing jockeying with the Justice Department.

This started to change when California passed a law allowing student athletes their own brands in the fall of 2019 (CNBC).  

ESPN reported on progress in these changes nationwide at NCAA in Oct. 2019.   

There is a story on Yahoo! (Nov. 2020) maintaining that athletes will have more freedom in this regard Aug. 2021.  The Comeback had discussed this issue with respect to unions and potential video games April 2020.  Fishduck has an op-ed. 

I had written an essay about similar issues in the workplace as far back as 2000.  

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Business interruption insurance and Covid: Major litigation in Illinois may go forward


Midwest, 1940s, family estate picture

Some restaurant chains in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Tennessee are taking an Insurance Company, Business Insurance, to court, and a federal judge in Illinois is letting it go forward.  Business Insider has the story (paywall) by Grace Dean 

There is a question as to whether the insurance company needed to be more precise in wording its exclusion of viral pandemic over the usual policy on foodborne illnesse.s

Also at issue is what happens when businesses are shut down over government orders, because of a speculative public health concern (that an airborne disease spread by asymptomatic transmission will add to health care burdens exponentially, which is what happened).

Computer repair business owner Louis Rossmann, known for his videos with his charismatic cat, has pointed out that leases might be unenforceable if the government takes away the ability of the business to remain open to cover the lease.  But it’s unclear if this has been litigated. Instead, we have eviction moratoriums, imposed on residential landlords.

Online retail or media businesses have been little effected in the US as the lockdowns have been lenient and actually been easy for tech platforms to accommodate.  But that conceivably won’t always be true for hobby businesses that don’t “pay their own way”.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Congress holds hearing on "keeping disinformation out of the media"


Bird house, near Potomac US 301 Virginia

Alison Morrow comments on journalists making calls themselves on what is extremism and disinformation.

Many mainstream media outlets don’t have the expertise in house to judge whether a claim is reasonable to debate.

She excerpts a comment by HWU law professor John Turley that in the distant past, adversaries were trying to kill each other  The Internet has accelerated animosity that was always there.  He also comments on the idea of state media control, and notes that politicians may achieve control of narrative indirectly by pressure on platforms.

Here is her link to the February 24, 2021, on the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing, "Fanning the Flames: Extremism and Disinformation in the Media". Soledad O’Brien made the argument “stop booking liars”.

Friday, March 19, 2021

A look at the EU Freedom of Expression, and the Digital Services Act

Europa building February 2016 (cropped)

 Christoph Schmon (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has an important piece about progress on speech issues in the EU, “Twitter, Trump, and Tough Decisions: EU Freedom of Expression and the Digital Services Act”   

EU politicians were somewhat taken aback that most US social media companies have suspended Donald Trump, despite the unprecedented threat implied by the events of January 6. The events, for example, have led YouTube to double down on even incidental mention of “stolen election” by bystanders in videos on its platform.

Article 10(1) of ECHR seems to define freedom of expression as a “positive right”, with limitations.  Does it include “freedom of reach?”  In practice, the implications of the Copyright Directive (especially Article 13 and 17) could severely curtail a lot of user generated content, and could be copied in the US.  In the US, many rights are defined as “negative rights”, saying what Congress (or by incorporation doctrine, states) may not do.  My own chart on Rights should take into consideration these additions.

The EFF article covers the question as to whether hosting companies and perhaps social media platforms must host all “lawful” speech, but it does not consider “hate speech” as lawful (as it is in the US).  Platforms become concerned that “gratuitous speech” by more privileged persons might incite others (especially on the far Right) given resentment of extreme inequity.  In the end, the ECHR does not provide a requirement that all lawful speech even with this proviso be hosted.  That idea would be called “freedom of forum”.   But the EU does say that restrictions on political speech must meet strict scrutiny.

The article looks at the proposed Digital Services Act (DSA), along with a Digital Markets Act (DMA) which would provide procedural safeguards for freedom of expression in most cases.  It is “regulation of process” rather than of speech itself.   It also engages regulated public-private partnership.

Picture: Europa Building in Brussels, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

YouTube offers a seven-day delayed DMCA takedown, which will work for claimants "in good faith" only


Little day trip after vaccination 

Leonard French, on his Lawful Masses YouTube channel, lately keeps coming up with topics that my own audience needs to know about, and that often I haven’t heard of yet.

Here we go again.

Now YouTube offers copyright claimants a seven-day delayed takedown, which Google (which owns YouTube) explains here.

If a content creator takes down the video in the seven days, no copyright strike results.  There may be time for the creator and claimant to work out the claim privately, it the claimant acts in good faith. But that is the rib – the claimant needs to be willing.  A troll will not (and that will play into the Case Act).

French also makes a comment about the difficulties with YouTube’s self-certification program for content creators.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

California court considers a "new style" of (DMCA) copyright trolling


San Francisco 2018

Mike Masnick reports in Techdirt on a new style of copyright trolling.  The troll sends automated DMCA takedown notices to the platform (often YouTube or Instagram) and then agrees to allow the materials to be restored of the user pays the troll a fee, a kind of extortion.

So ENTTech (owning Paper Magazine) sued Okularity over this practice, regarding claims over photographs of celebrities.  The venue was in San Francisco.

The Court allowed this to go forward, on a variation of the usually unreliable 512(f) provision requiring a takedown party to have made a subjective fair use analysis of the use of the item.  ENTTech said this did not happen because the notices were cut-and-pasted and automated, and the Court is allowing the discovery phase of the case to go through.

It is not allowing the RICO analysis claim to go forward, however.

“Lawful Masses” Leonard French explains the case.  He notes that copyright does not seek to exist just because an owner doesn’t enforce it for a while on everybody, but trademark might.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Non Fungible Tokens and copyright of digital properties; Bayesian thinking and "social justice" controversies


Charlottesville 2020


Attorney Leonard French discusses the concept of non fungible token (NFT) on the blockchain (or on a blockchain, as there can be many) to establish ownership of digital property.

One problem is that someone could file a fraudulent claim of ownership, which would be a crime, in a manner comparable to falsifying closing papers for a real estate or land closing.

A NFT would not stop others from viewing the property or even storing it privately (although if they used P2P or BitTorrent they would still get caught).

Also today I found an 8-minute video by Julia Galef about the value of Bayesian thinking.     Yes, generally a Bayesian thinker (as a critical thinker) would be more likely not to overestimate the value of new evidence that seems to validate their (political or social) beliefs.  A good question might be, was James Damore’s essay at Google about gender in tech employment a good example of Bayesian thinking?

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Why the United States Can't Handle a Crisis (and many people can't either)

Wind turbine in Arbuckle Mts OK 2018

Second Thought has a damning video “Why the United States Can’t Handle Crises?

I’m reminded of a Ted Talk from 2017 by Helena’s Samuel Feinburg, which I linked in a post April 17 2020, which starts “We are terrible at listening to warnings about disaster.”

The video today goes through three crises:  Obesity, climate change, and coronavirus.

The obesity crisis is exacerbated by media manipulation by the sugar industry, based on research in the 1950s which established that over consumption of sugar was more destructive than fat itself (I remember the Mirkin diet from the 90s however).

The climate change crisis is illustrated by the catastrophe in Texas in February with the freeze.

And we’ve covered the politicization of the coronavirus at a personal level, like the mask issue, constantly.  The video accuses American’s for their selfishness leading to genocide.  But the usual answer for this kind of selfishness is something like doomsday preperism and localism, which is a paradox. 

But it primarily blames capitalism, like most of the Left, with the obsession of short term profits.  It has hollowed out the economy so that young people depend on a gig economy and can't afford to have kids.   Let’s say it blames extreme capitalism.  The video admits that Scandanavian style regulated capitalism can work.  It doesn’t convert that to identarianism and anti-racism. 

 But there are bright spots. Like B-corporations (maybe David Hogg's pillow company is a promising (not "right') idea.  

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Snapchat viral income, and controversy over Substack; do you need press credentials to be "acquitted" after filming police?



Taylor Lorentz reports in the New York Times, that people get paid big bucks for innocent snapchat videos that go video.  Paying for trick videos is seen as a way to compete with Tik Tok?

I don’t have a Snapchat account because I don’t have use for ephemeral content.  But I must say that the concept is surprising.  This link came from her Substack account but was published in the NYTimes.

Which brings up another point: some people are saying that Subtstack will destroy conventional journalism, as first noted in a notorious tweetstorm by Sarah Roberts, as analyzed now by Matt Taibbi. .

Here, Glenn Greenwald weighs in from his own Substack with his own take on Ryan Broderick.

My own position as a “commentator-journalist” as my second life grew starting in the late 90s (with my first book) would come into the discussion, as I have written before, when I speak about “gratuitous publication”.  But what’s noticeable here is the protectionism and turf protection, and the idea of “skin in the game”.  I would need to have more focus on an expertise area (maybe out of my music) to make Substack work for me. (Update: March 24, Intelligence in New York Mag: "Substack is a scam the same that way all media is", showing why unions won't work,  This sort of individualism replacing group activism is not sustainable?) 

Katie Robertson and Rachel Adams report on the acquittal of (conventionally employed) journalist Andrea Sohouri when she was filming police in Iowa at a legitimately anti-racist protest.  You can film the police, but she was apparently accused of refusing to disperse.  She had press credentials and claimed this was her job.  I can’t really make such a claim if caught in such a situation, although the pandemic has made me careful anyway.

Wikipedia embed picture of downtown Des Moines, HQ for many insurance companies, click for attribution 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

With more women outperforming men at work, younger men become poor marriage prospects



Timcast IRL has a couple of recent videos about the problem some younger men have trying to attract women, who prefer older, more economically successful men. Partly that’s because the dating apps allow or encourage it.  Conversely, high earning career women have a hard time finding men who can match them (second video).

George Gilder wrote about this problem in the 1970s and 1980s with his books “Sexual Suicide” and later “Men and Marriage”.  Of course, there is a big exception from high-performing younger men (some of them YouTubers). 

My own mother was 26 when she married my father at age 37 in 1940.

In my young adulthood, “latent homosexuality” in men was feared as creating situations where women would be stranded.  But that was 1961.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Biden administration sides with school district in off-campus social media speech case


near Penn State, 2010

Damon Root writes in Reason that the Biden Administration is supporting an anti-free speech stand in a case Mahanoy School District v. BL   

The case involves as student who gave the finger to the school when she failed to make a varsity cheerleading squad, on Snapchat, which is ephemeral (supposedly).

The school disciplined her, but the Third Circuit agreed that her speech had been off-campus. (It’s about 15 miles south of Hazelton, PA, in the old anthracite coal country.)

But the Biden administration maintains the situation could affect order and discipline in the public school environment.  Oh, where have we heard that before?

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Twitch straddles the line on Copyright issues with Metallica, and its bizarre

Arlington playground

 Twitch is back at it again on Copyright issues.  It apparently replaced music from Metallica on Blizzard's gaming channel without telling users, while keeping it Blizzard's  YouTube and own Twitch channels, as in Electronic Frontier Foundation's "hall of shame" report here

Twitch created a furor with a lot of music takedowns last fall, without giving apparent rights for counternotice (Verge story), after massive input of takedowns for old clips. We've covered the quirks in the DMCA takedown law before, and the platform does not have to let you appeal. 

I've wondered a little bit about "original music" which these days, is often melodically related to music written before in a manner that remains obscure.  (There is amazing similarity between an organ Toccata by Percy Fletcher and an early Schumann piano toccata.)  Some composers say that all "composing" includes some copying (like Shostakovich copying Bruckner).  I wonder if this could become a problem down the road. 

Friday, March 05, 2021

YouTube policies make it difficult for right wing groups to hold public conferences and present their videos (or do they?)


Landing in Orlando 2015

Conservative gatherings are finding that they have to tell guests not to talk about the election (or at least Trump’s claims that the election was rigged) or risk losing access to YouTube, as in a story on ReclaimtheNet today about Right Side Broadcasting.  which made a lot of videos recently at CPAC in Orlando.

Recently I linked to another story on their site concerning news coverage of protests making these claims, which even can include protests of coronavirus lockdowns.

If a conservative group wants to cover these claims, it would seem to need to use a “free speech” provider like Bitchute or Odyssey, although its possible the Left could put pressure on them through hosting and infrastructure layer companies. .

Although I certainly accept the results of the election as a whole, there are some issues with absentee voter processing that need a lot more attention than they have gotten; Big Tech seems to be trying to stifle talking about this out of fear that conservatives will use this topic to drive away minority voters (as with numerous state laws being proposed).   There is also an unusual fear of accidentally triggering violence among na├»ve and mentally unstable visitors (as with January 6, and earlier incidents like PizzaGate).

With the vaccine issue (and I have taken the first shot, Pfizer), yes, I get it: it’s important to get people vaccinated quickly to stop the variants and prevent a possible catastrophe that we don’t see coming.  Tech doesn’t like to see amateur speech that will drive away the common good of getting everyone immune if possible.  With the lockdown ideology issue, it is much murkier, as there is so much uneven personal sacrifice.  And WHO and CDC have often not gotten it right at first, when amateur speakers did. 

Right Site Broadcasting, by the way, is promoting a film “The Plot Against the President”.  I hadn’t heard of it.  Watch the pitch “at your own risk”.  Note at 3:00 in the video where the speaker says “we can’t” talk about that.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

David Brooks got paid to promote the idea of "weavers" without having to become one

Front of the Doerr-Hosier Center at the Aspen Institute - 2


It’s odd that wise man David Brooks, ethics columnist of the New York Times, was getting paid by the Aspen institute itself funded by Facebook and other wealthy donors, to write about social capital and his “weaver” concept, BuzzFeedNews story by Craig Silverman and Ryan Mac .  

There is the obvious question of conflict of interest (for New York Times readers), but the bigger question seems like hypocrisy.  Is Brooks willing to live like a “weaver” (right out of “Silas Marner”) himself?

Critical theory, however, his “weaver” idea is not.

Aspen Institute picture, embed from Wikipeida, click for attribution 

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

YouTube keeps taking down news videos showing extremists complaining about the 2020 election (wants context inside the video???); also, Parler and Section 230


Tidal Basin 2007

Once again, YouTube has taken down News2Share videos (FordFischer) and this time gave his channel the first of three allowable strikes.

One of the videos is an argument between Trump supporters and apparent Antifa on inauguration day, in an encounter filled with hyperbole typical of anger and extremism.  Ford’s Twitter URL for this is here.

 The video is backed up on Odyssey (embedded here).

A second video was taken at a MAGA march in December, and was used by Rolling Stone (paywall), link 

Again, the problem seems to be that there is no context within the video.  YouTube community guidelines seem to imply average viewers won’t understand news context unless they are explicitly spoonfed so and will think this is actual advocacy.

Contextual overlays within the video might solve the problem.

I have some older videos like this myself on my channel, but none since mid November 2020, before stricter policies went into effect.  Occasionally, however, I have filmed events or confrontations that no other news outlet has covered at all. 

 (Update: March 4:  Ford's appeal was denied.  YT claims its violates "spam, deceptive practices, and scams".  I don't see how that is true;  the protesters are just expressing their political opinions.  I think YouTube fears that when independent journalists film and publish extremists' protests, that others will be drawn into public extremism just to get the attention of the media.  However, there have been other instances when Ford interviews a protester, the protester "calms down" and starts to reflect on why "they" are there.   March 5:  ReclaimtheNet has a story on this latest incident.   March 7.  Daily Dot has a similar story where YouTube doubled down on its "election integrity policy" even though it creates absurd situations, because of the recent threats and occurrences of violence mostly from Trump supporters.  March 11.  Fischer has his own piece in Daily Dot, and has, with suspension lifted, re-uploaded three videos with his neutralizing commentary, for example this.)

As for “Beware March 4”, the Capitol seems pretty secure.  I don’t intend to be downtown as I have too much homework now (like screenplay to turn in, etc).

Also, here is an important piece, dated January 21, 2021, from International Governance, Parler, and Section 230.  We will start hearing more about 230 again soon. Parler appears to be back up and I have an account, which I have not posted to.  I looked at Gab the other day and saw nothing too terrible, plenty of reputable journalists use it.  

Monday, March 01, 2021

What is "identity socialism"? Do fundamental rights disappear during external emergencies (like the pandemic)?


Minneapolis East Bank 2011

PragerU has a running battle with YouTube getting demonetized, but it pretty much tells it as it is.

Dinesg D’Souza explains how Marxism and class warfare got transformed to “Identity Socialism” by a few generations of campus professors by some Lagrangian substitutions or race or gender for “working class”.

Also, Namoi Wolff and Tucker Carlson explain how fundamental or natural rights weren’t dissolved just because of a pandemic (link) .  My own 1998 lecture at Hamline in St Paul MN about my first DADT book started out talking about natural rights.  How does that affect lockdown ideology?