Open Forum

Where you can't be off topic because there IS no topic

The floor is yours.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    TPM:

    The Prime Minister of Italy has shot down a big chunk of the Barr/Trump conspiracy theory about a Deep State plot against President Trump that allegedly gave birth to the Russia probe. Giuseppe Conte says Italy had nothing to do with the Russiagate probe or investigation. He goes on to confirm the extraordinary detail that Barr asked Italian intelligence officials to confirm or explain the actions of US intelligence officials. In other words, Barr has told foreign intelligence leaders that he does not believe his own country’s intelligence officials and and gone to Italy to ask if US intelligence officials are telling the truth.

    Our Republicans are broken.

    16
    1
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Claire Goiran from the University of New Caledonia and Professor Rick Shine from Australia’s Macquarie University were studying a small harmless species known as the turtle‐headed sea snake located in the Baie des Citrons, but would occasionally encounter the 1.5 metre-long venomous greater sea snake, also known as the olive-headed sea snake.

    Goiran and Shine believed the greater sea snake was an anomaly in the popular swimming bay as it had only been spotted about six times over 15 years. From 2013, they decided to take a closer look at the greater sea snake to better understand its importance to the bay’s ecosystem.

    “The study zone is in the most touristic bay in Noumea, so I often meet people when I am doing field work on sea snakes,” Goiran said. “When I was snorkelling on my own studying sea snakes, I used to meet a friend of mine called Aline that was snorkelling and taking photos on the same reef. In order to help me, she started taking photos of sea snakes and would send them to me by mail.

    “I was very happy, so she asked her neighbour and friend Monique to help me too. Monique asked another friend, and soon there were seven grandmothers helping me.” The group named themselves “the fantastic grandmothers” and range in age from 60 to 75.
    …………………………..
    One of the grandmothers, Aline Guémas, said she was not scared of the greater sea snakes despite their potential deadly bite. The grandmothers always keep their distance and never touch them. “That’s the job of the boss,” Guémas said.

    Her job was just to take videos and photos. Other members of the group helped with identifying the snakes and documenting their characteristics. The sea snakes could move quickly, making taking photographs difficult at times. But Guémas said “they are very slow in their movements when they forage for food”, making those times ideal for photography.

    Her friend in the group, Sylvie Shebert, said she was afraid of the snakes at first but has grown to appreciate them. “It has been interesting to learn about and discover their lifestyle and to work with the group,” she said. “It allows us to integrate our swimming with the scientific world by sharing the results of what we find with the researchers, such as the area where the snake is located, it’s condition such as if it is pregnant or not, that kind of thing.”

    Monique Mazière said “the snakes are not aggressive, just curious”.

    “Of course, we will never touch them.”

    Here’s to Grandmother’s everywhere.

  3. Teve says:

    Mike Memoli
    @mikememoli
    ·
    10h
    NEW: President Obama will attend the funeral service for Rep. Elijah Cummings on Friday.

    Per spox, at the request of Mrs. Cummings, “he will deliver remarks about the remarkable life and legacy of one of this country’s finest public servants.”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So now we have the associates of associates of the President claiming that Executive privilege may protect some of their communications.

    I await the Republican howls of protest at this legal stratagem to keep evidence of illegal activities hidden in 3…. 2…. 1…. Never.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I wonder what family will request that trump “deliver remarks about the remarkable life and legacy of one of this country’s finest public servants.”

    BWHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……

    Sometimes I just crack me up.

    3
    1
  6. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Trump’s eulogy for his father was all about the wondrousness of…Donald.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh my fucking Gawd, ROTFLMAO!!!!!!! This is beautiful. While Gaetz and company were busy committing felonies on camera, AOC was emasculating Mark Zuckerberg. The look on his face when he finally realizes she not only has him by the balls but she has a grip of steel… Just priceless, absolutely priceless.

    How AOC turned boring congressional hearings into electrifying moments

    Damn, the woman is good.

    6
    4
  8. I have a different take on AOC’s questions.

    I don’t want the government or a private company deciding when political ads are “lying.”

    9
    4
  9. Scott says:

    If there is a greater practitioner of douchebaggery in Congress than Matt Gaetz, I would like to know.
    https://www.tmz.com/2019/10/23/congressman-matt-gaetz-storming-impeachment-hearings-300-trump-democracy/

    I think this group is more akin to Code Pink than the 300.

  10. Guarneri says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Three thumbs up.

    3
    5
  11. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Not sure what the solution is. Social media presents a different challenge requiring different solutions. Rather than evaluating the ads for facts, how about banning political ads in the last month or so. I know that is problematic also from a 1st Amendment perspective and the platforms will scream bloody murder at the loss of all that sweet cash but the alternative is also bad.

    5
    1
  12. Guarneri says:

    “Damn that woman’s good.”

    I hear she does make a good Long Island Ice Tea.

    And then we have this: Lizzy Warren informs us that Waffle House is her fave. No doubt she meets to plot strategy there with HRC.

    In other news, a group of truckers tired of eating at the Love’s Truck Stop were seen filing into Le Bernardin…………

    1
    14
  13. @Scott:

    ” banning political ads in the last month or so”

    That would be a blatant and easy-to-strike-down violation of the First Amendment.

    One reform I think is long overdue is better and more frequent disclosure of campaign funding. Quarterly reporting made sense when everything was done on paper. Now that it’s all digital, it makes no sense whatsoever.

  14. @Scott:

    There’s an old saying that I think is appropriate here — the answer to “bad” speech is more speech, not banning speech based on some criteria of truth being enforced by a government bureaucrat or social media algorithm.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Why not Doug? You do it with trump all the time.

    1
    2
  16. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I don’t attempt to ban his speech, nor would I favor him being banned from Twitter due to the false claims in his Tweets.

  17. Bill says:
  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And she is asking Zuckerberg why Facebook shouldn’t hold itself to the same standard that the Daily Caller is held too. Seems pertinent to me.

    I don’t know all the ins and outs of Facebook’s business (like practically none)(is it receiving subsidies? Tax breaks?) but I think it goes without saying that it is subject to many federal laws and as such is subject to regulation. I know in a country that holds itself to the First Amendment standard of free speech these questions are difficult, but we have truth in advertising laws for products being sold so it’s not as clear cut as all would like it to be.

    Besides, she is making a political point. That’s all. Something we all agree she has the right to do.

    6
    2
  19. Teve says:

    Add Wilbur Ross to the list of cabinet members conducting gummint business by personal email.

    (Via politico)

  20. Scott says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I hear you. However, it has occurred to me that we may not even have agreed on the problem to be solved. I totally agree with transparency even though there is a 1A problem with that also. Is there a right to anonymity? And 1A doesn’t apply to foreign actors, right? How about foreign actors on American soil? I’m just thinking out loud here, I just think there is a fundamental dangerous problem with governance and elections when facts become so slippery.

  21. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I realise that our present common law that’s grown up around the First Amendment wouldn’t allow this, but isn’t it more of a case of where the line is being drawn?

    If we want the system to continue working, we may have to start insisting on the equivalent of No Fraud in political ads. We already require it for commercial speech–why not for political?

    It’s all very nice to insist that the answer to bad/lying speech is more and more speech–but do we in fact have any evidence that this in fact solves the problem and that the truthful view wins out?

    10
  22. @Scott:

    That is why we have a First Amendment, so people can speak out and push back when false claims are made. The problem isn’t the First Amendment, the problem is that there are a whole lot of people who, because of their hyperpartisan biases, are willing to fall for obvious lies on social media and elsewhere. There isn’t a single law, regulation, or corporate policy that can fix that.

  23. Teve says:

    So by protesting the “secret” investigation into Trump’s crimes, aren’t the House Republicans just encouraging Democrats to publicize and televise the testimony about Trump’s crimes? Are Republicans the dumbest motherfuckers on the planet?

    2
    1
  24. MarkedMan says:

    The answer to someone deliberately making a libelous or slanderous claim isn’t “more speech”, it’s legal action. If Microsoft decides to start a $100M campaign to call me a goat rapist the idea that my letter writing campaign is adequate recourse is absurd.

    6
    2
  25. CSK says:

    Trump boasted about the “big, beautiful wall” he’s building in…Colorado.

  26. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s all very nice to insist that the answer to bad/lying speech is more and more speech–but do we in fact have any evidence that this in fact solves the problem and that the truthful view wins out?

    In fact we have evidence that it doesn’t.

    Basically it’s what Churchill said: A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots. Also, you can’t debunk a lie or an erroneous claim without repeating it. That helps keep the wrong information alive. there’s more, but I don’t recall all the particulars.

    Another thing, is that often a lie is simple while the truth can be complex; or often a lie is simplistic black and white, while the truth is all shades of gray.

    The tribalism effect can’t be discounted, either. A good illustration is the famous “Music City Miracle” playoff game. Essentially, a kick return involved a pass which ended in a touch down. during a kick return, the ball can’t be passed forward, only to the side or backwards. the pass was a lateral, going back a little. It was legal. If you see the video, the pass takes place near a yard marker, a solid line running the width of the field, and you can measure the direction of the ball and see it’s not going forward.

    So that’s the truth: the pass was legal, and so was the touch down that decided the game.

    Fans of the losing team, though, keep claiming it was an illegal forward pass, and thus they were robbed of a victory.

    This isn’t very important, and still there has been much controversy and debunking. For really important things, this effect applies as well. Thus you can have tons and tons of evidence of Trump’s wrongdoing, and his tribe will discount it with or without consideration.

  27. Scott says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I feel as though we are in a suicide pact.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Leahy posted a new map of the US. He gets a 6.7 for trolling execution and style.

  29. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m not a lawyer but when stuff like this comes up I always hear from law types that to prove libel and slander you have to prove that the offender knew it was a lie. That seems like an absurd burden. I’d like to hear the pro and con arguments for why a better standard wouldn’t be ‘any reasonable person could find out it’s a lie’ or something similar. Otherwise, if I call you a goat rapist, and I was careful not to leave discoverable evidence that I explicitly knew you weren’t a goat rapist, I’m in the clear.

    But also I think this might just be fiddling at the margins. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m not sure that a functioning government can survive a combination of democracy, voter suppression, systemic bias toward a demographic of dumbasses, and right-wing bubble media.

    3
    2
  30. Kathy says:

    I wanted to talk about gambling, since we talked about stocks the other day, but I’ve a pile of work and won’t have the time.

    So next time.

    You’ve been warned 🙂

  31. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I saw. Apparently the audience applauded wildly and cheered when Trump made this announcement. I suppose they too think Colorado is a border state.

    Or…they believe so now because Trump believes it.

  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t want the government or a private company deciding when political ads are “lying.”

    So, who do you want? Nonprofit NGOs? Or do you advocating simply letting the liars succeed in their state-sponsored disinformation campaigns?

    4
    2
  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And Doug, As a private entity Facebook has every right to moderate what is posted on their forum, just as I have every right to tell guests they can’t say racist as fuck things when they are under my roof. And they already do moderate speech on their forum, as Zuckerberg stated in the hearing.

    2
    2
  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There’s an old saying that I think is appropriate here — the answer to “bad” speech is more speech, not banning speech based on some criteria of truth being enforced by a government bureaucrat or social media algorithm.

    So would you be OK with having lies labeled as such by a trusted agent, but not blocked or banned? Just trying to figure out whether it’s the ‘blocked’ or the ‘bureaucrat’ that you object to most.

    Of course, one man’s bureaucrat is another man’s public servant… I don’t see you complaining this way about all of those bureaucrats in black robes that run the judicial system.

    2
    1
  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Glad to see you say at least that. I rend to agree with @Scott: that free speech absolutism is going to destroy democracy in this country.

    But disclosure would have to go way past campaigns and cover all the dark money political activity run outside campaigns. Like the 501(c) groups involved in the IRS “scandal”. I may not agree, but I can understand an argument that rich people should be able to say what they want, as much as they want, but I’m damned if I can see any valid argument for being able to do so anonymously. I’ve long thought that when out in public congresscritters should be required to wear tee shirts like concert tour shirts, but with a list of their largest donors and amounts down the back.

  36. @DrDaveT:

    So would you be OK with having lies labeled as such by a trusted agent, but not blocked or banned? Just trying to figure out whether it’s the ‘blocked’ or the ‘bureaucrat’ that you object to most.

    Private entities such as Twitter and Facebook have a right to do whatever they wish. That being said, I would prefer that the default position would be for as few restrictions on speech as possible. Obviously, things such as personal threats or threats of violence shoud be banned, but if someone is saying thing that your or I think is untrue the answer is not to ban it. The answer is to respond with the facts.

    And I would absolutely oppose any government agency at any level deciding what is “true” in the context of political speech, with the obvious exceptions here being for libel and slander, which are difficult to prove in a political context.

  37. Scott says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/24/james-younger-luna-transgender-greg-abbott/

    Personally, I find this appalling. Too young to impose permanent biological solutions on a child that is not capable of participating in the decision-making. Should the state intervene? Compare and contrast with:

    – Withholding medical attention for religious purposes
    – Witholding vaccines in defiance of public health needs
    – Male circumcision
    – Female circumcision

    2
    1
  38. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I am well aware that Facebook and Twitter can do whatever they want. What I oppose is the idea that the government should force them to police contebt for “truth”

  39. Jen says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    That would be a blatant and easy-to-strike-down violation of the First Amendment.

    Can you elaborate on how you think this would be so, considering the fact that Facebook is a private entity? My guess is that it would have something to do with the time restriction being arbitrary, but I am curious because private employers have the right to restrict some political activity by employees in an office, and this seems kind of similar (ish).

    Edit: Just saw the response to Ozark Hillbilly, got it.

    2
    1
  40. @Scott:

    Nothing that is happening in that case is permanent. The mother is allowing the child to act and dress as the gender they identity with. This is the recommended treatment according to medical professionals. Contrary to the claims of some right wing media reports, the child is not being given any hormone treatments.

  41. Teve says:

    Nobody is complaining that Reddit allows politicians to lie in ads. Nobody is complaining that Slashdot allows that. Or Freethought Blogs or OtB or xkcd.com or The Verge or Gizmodo or Business Insider or a million other sites. They’re complaining about Facebook because Facebook is a monopoly and this is one of the downsides when you have a monopoly. Make Facebook open up its network so you can have competition in this segment. No venture capitalist will give anybody money to compete with Facebook, and they haven’t for nearly a decade, because they are an entrenched monopoly.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You seem a little confused Doug. Your first post on this topic stated:

    I don’t want the government or a private company deciding when political ads are “lying.”

    This all started with a video clip of AOC engaging in simple political speech highlighting Facebook’s hypocrisy in regards to political speech and has now morphed into “the government should force them to police content for “truth” ”

    I think you’re getting ahead of the game. Way ahead of the game.

    2
    1
  43. Bill says:

    The following is headline of the year…decade…maybe century material

    Rats drive tiny cars to gather Froot Loops — for science

    The original CNN version- Rats have learned how to drive tiny cars in exchange for Froot Loops – is even better but there is no link to it. You can go to the CNN homepage and scroll down once you wipe off your computer monitor.

  44. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Given that AOC has called for regulation of Facebook in this specific area, as have other members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and the fact that her line of questioning was clearly aimed at this idea, I disagree.

    Additionally, as I said, while I think Facebook has the right to set whatever rules it wants in this regard I would prefer it not become the policeman for what is and isn’t “truth” in a political context.

  45. @Teve:

    Facebook is not a monopoly. Your own comment identifies several competing forums for political exchanges, to which I’d add places such as Twitter and other social media sites.

  46. al Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I have a different take on AOC’s questions.
    I don’t want the government or a private company deciding when political ads are “lying.”

    I thought Zuckerberg answered appropriately, I tool am not sure that we want tech companies deciding what gets pulled down. There may be extreme circumstances that call for such action, but generally, ‘no.’

    Better fact checking and communication is the answer.

  47. gVOR08 says:

    It’s fine to say the antidote to lies is truth. But in this age of fragmented media and social media, how does anyone even find out what lies are circulating? Much less feed your message to the hundred people targeted for the lie? On a larger scale, how do Ds get their message to people who watch FOX “News “ all day, except when they’re listening to Limbaugh?

    I’ll also note that Warren’s stunt, placing a lying ad on Facebook, wasn’t protesting Facebook failing to fact check, but that Facebook decided to exempt political ads from fact checking in violation of THEIR OWN POLICY.

    There are a lot of authors these days pointing out that propaganda and autarchy don’t work by selling a false narrative. They work by sowing chaos, destroying the very concept of truth. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we need to find ways to defend objective reality.

    7
    1
  48. Teve says:

    When Standard Oil was broken up there were 147 other refining companies in America. There has not been a seriously-funded competitor to FB since Snapchat in 2012. No competition is bad for markets.

    3
    2
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You may need to add qualifiers or clarification to your statement. Just sayin’…

  50. Teve says:

    WSJ Editorial Page
    @WSJopinion
    · 4h
    Any president who is impeached and acquitted should be permitted to serve a third term, writes William Mattox https://on.wsj.com/31Ewq7b

  51. Teve says:
  52. CSK says:

    @Teve: Gonna take a lotta lips to cover an ass that capacious.

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I have a different take on AOC’s questions.

    I don’t want the government or a private company deciding when political ads are “lying.”

    So, you are in favor of ads claiming that various Republicans supported the Green New Deal?

    How about claims of medical benefits of snake oil?

    How about ads about how awful the Rohinga are (they eat Buddhist babies, or something), during the ethnic cleansing, that stop just short of telling people to kill their neighbor?

    Or Russian government actors buying ads to promote falsehoods to influence US elections?

    2
    2
  54. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: How would these conflict with the FTC’s truth in advertising law? Or does that cover only consumer products?

    4
    1
  55. Jen says:

    @CSK:

    I believe the enforcement authority for that would be the Federal Elections Commission, which is currently toothless as it lacks quorum to do business.

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    Make Facebook open up its network so you can have competition in this segment.

    I’m not sure how you would break up Facebook, even if you wanted to.

    You can’t take a meat cleaver to the social network itself, as that just cripples the product — your brother was on the wrong side of the divide, so no pictures of nieces for you!

    The ad network already has a bidding system for ads — and if there are complaints about this being abused to promote other Facebook products, those have been lost in the bigger complaints about Facebook.

    The generation of the timeline could be an interesting spot to add competition. Would users flock to Facebook-but-with-your-uncle’s-crazy-right-wing-lies-not-promoted-to-your-timeline-just-pictures-of-the-nieces? Wow would that be a privacy nightmare.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: And in the best of times, the FEC acts months after the offenses, and the election.

  58. @Gustopher:

    you are in favor of ads claiming that various Republicans supported the Green New Deal?

    If a false ad is being run, the answer is for the candidate to put forward the truth.

    Or Russian government actors buying ads to promote falsehoods to influence US elections?

    Policing ads to prevent foreign entities, and especially foreign entities, from running political ads is an entirely different issue since there are already laws prohibiting foreign involvement in American campaigns.

    1
    3
  59. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    No venture capitalist will give anybody money to compete with Facebook, and they haven’t for nearly a decade, because they are an entrenched monopoly.

    And yet, every few years we have another social network that pops up among those rowdy kids with their Tick Tocks and their Snap Chats and their Grinders. Twitter and LinkedIn and Google Plus and FetLife…

    If Facebook is a monopoly, it’s not a monopoly that squashes all efforts at competition through abuse of its monopoly power. And that’s what the anti-trust laws are about.

    They have a huge reach as a publisher, and they have terrible editorial policies, but it’s a problem more akin to media consolidation than general antitrust issues.

    I could see a case made that they are an unsafe product, using mental health as a measure, but that’s a whole different minefield of unintended consequences.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If a false ad is being run, the answer is for the candidate to put forward the truth.

    I could target the ad narrowly so it takes you a while to discover it, and the damage is done. Or if I have a bigger budget, I could make you spend your entire budget refuting my lies.

    You don’t really present a workable solution.

    Policing ads to prevent foreign entities, and especially foreign entities, from running political ads is an entirely different issue since there are already laws prohibiting foreign involvement in American campaigns.

    What if it’s not strictly a political ad? It’s an ad for my website of fake news, featuring Hillary Clinton’s Pizzagate Escapades because that’s the top story. Or it’s an issue ad, not explicitly telling you who to vote for? Maybe you like pedophile rings, we’re just here to inform you.

    It slides into the Rohinga example very easily.

    5
    1
  61. reid says:

    This is a fun one: I’ve seen reports that the WH is urging federal agencies to cancel subscriptions to NYT and WP. Awesome. That sort of nonsense alone warrants impeachment.

  62. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:First, you could easily split Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram. They used to be three separate companies and Zuckerburp bought them because he feared losing his monopolistic power. (Right now they’re frantically tying the backends of the three together so they can claim to the FCC in a few months that it’s technically impossible to separate them) Second, you don’t then have to break up FB, you make them open up the protocols. Like email–imagine if you could only send an receive emails through one company? It would be terrible. Have interoperability. Then other companies can compete with FB.

    I can send an receive emails from people at Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Comcast, Baidu, Jimbo@PandaPervert.biz, whatever. You should be able to store your profile and friends network with a multitude of companies and still see your friends’ stuff whether they’re on Facebook or some other service. Right now FB is using network effects to screw over their customers, lie to their clients, and other terrible things monopolies get to do. They put companies out of business by straight up lying about their video metrics. I could write about another million pages but Ima stop here. They have the power to abuse everyone they deal with because of path dependency and that shit needs to be fixed.

  63. Teve says:

    While I’m at it, Google should have to split off YouTube, and in my wildest dreams Microsoft should be stopped from destroying Slack and the Treasury department should tell Facebook that if it wants to continue this Libra business, the SEC will be in touch about their new unregulated security.

  64. Teve says:

    And yet, every few years we have another social network that pops up among those rowdy kids with their Tick Tocks and their Snap Chats and their Grinders. Twitter and LinkedIn and Google Plus and FetLife…

    Every one of those that was started in America–Snap Grindr Twitter LinkedIn GooglePlus and FetLife–was started in or before 2012.

    The only one that wasn’t, TikTok, is a Chinese app.

  65. Teve says:

    @reid:

    I’ve seen reports that the WH is urging federal agencies to cancel subscriptions to NYT and WP.

    You can’t trust information that comes from outside the cult. Fake News.

  66. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    You should be able to store your profile and friends network with a multitude of companies and still see your friends’ stuff whether they’re on Facebook or some other service.

    Right here you end up creating ties between your friends’ Facebook (communication suitable for grandma) and FetLife (communication suitable for someone tying them down while they are wearing a bunny suit).

    And that presents a lot of very serious real-world problems for people living in countries where bunny suits are illegal, or who don’t want their grandma to ever find out about the bunny suit because they are hoping to inherit money and she’s an angry old ditty, or kids whose parents don’t know they are gay/trans/whatever, or women fleeing abusive exes, or…

    The balkanization of social networks and identities is a huge source of privacy. It’s part of why Google Plus failed — no one trusted it not to let its circles bleed into one another.

    1
    1
  67. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    So, you are in favor of ads claiming that various Republicans supported the Green New Deal?

    Dude, I once had argument with a libertarian who was claiming there was no need for anti-bribery or insider trading laws because the market would sort that out. 😛

  68. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: There are a bunch of new ones… I don’t keep track, I’m old, And I’m not a nazi so I don’t need a Mammoth account, or WhatsApp, or SillyService du jour.

    And the older separate networks continue.

  69. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I wasn’t on FB for Years because of the problems with different circles of acquaintances needing not to see different aspects of who I was. I’m a liberal atheist in the Deep South, trust me I get that. When a friend got tired of not communicating with me like he did everyone else, he signed me up for a FB account under an alias and emailed me the password. I reluctantly joined and immediately set the strictest privacy settings. And I keep in touch with several dozen scientist friends I’ve known who are now scattered across the globe.

    But if FB screws me on privacy, what can I do? I can’t leave and stay in touch in any convenient way because those several dozen people are only on FB. And that gives FB a license to misbehave and even get people in Asia killed. That market needs to have open standards and not be controlled by one corporation led by a psychopathic mandroid.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    This whole Facebook flap may eventually work itself out–in that eventually social media will have the same gravitas that infomercials have. Future generations will approach the internet as something where 99% of the content is BS (if we’re not already there now). Or the owners of the entities (more likely the stakeholders, probably) will take action to protect their own credibility and that of their respective bandwidth empires. Either way, the problems of the current flap predate Facebook and social media in general. We have met the enemy, and he keeps being us.

  71. Monala says:

    Fred Clark of the Slacktivist blog wrote this great post to explain modern US conservatism:

    But the core of [a quote by Frank Wilhoit] stuck with me: “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

    I was unable to shake it because it so precisely articulated what I was seeing. As a description of conservatism and of the behavior and agenda of conservatives, it proved to be unfailingly accurate.

    The principle also helps to clarify something that otherwise trips us up: the supposed “hypocrisy” of conservatives and conservatism. Merrick Garland, Stormy Daniels, “closed hearings” — we’re beset by a steady stream of such apparent hypocrisy and countless examples of conservative willingness to betray their purported core principles. But when conservatives are confronted with such evident hypocrisies they seem confused by the accusation.

    I think their confusion is genuine. They are not hypocrites. If Wilhoit’s principle is true — and I think it is — then their behavior is not inconsistent in itself nor is it inconsistent with their core principle: “There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

    This is why conservatives despise the CFPB and Black Lives Matter and #MeToo and the 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act and the Geneva Conventions. All of those things, in their view, make the fundamental error of attempting to require the law to protect out-groups or — even worse — of attempting to require the law to bind in-groups. The distinction between those groups, and the “proper” respective meaning of the law to each, is all that conservatism cares to conserve.

    Whenever a fence serves that purpose, they will defend and preserve that fence. If a fence threatens that purpose, they will do everything in their power to tear it down.

    5
    1
  72. Teve says:

    You know what this blog could use? A recent comments section.

    2
    1
  73. Mister Bluster says:

    Another one of Trump’s good people.

    Right-wing pastor says Trump supporters will ‘hunt down’ Democrats when he leaves office
    President Donald Trump’s supporters will “hunt down” Democrats and bring “violence to America” once the president leaves office, according to right-wing Christian pastor and conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles.
    On his apocalyptic TruNews programme, captured by Right Wing Watch, Mr Wiles said the president’s impeachment or “however he leaves” office will inspire “veterans, cowboys, mountain men” and “guys that know how to fight” to bring “violence to America” by hunting down Mr Trump’s political enemies.
    Co-host Edward Szall said “once the blood starts flowing, it’s near impossible to stop”.

  74. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: it would be kind of fun to see how cowboy mountain men do against a Reaper. Pew pew pew!

  75. Teve says:

    Why does Donald Trump’s legal team keep bringing making the unprompted point that a vice president can totally be prosecuted while in office?! (…wonders Mike Pence, probably.)

    Watch: https://on.msnbc.com/2BE5dqw

  76. Teve says:

    The funny thing is, if Donald Trump completely turned on Pence, and called him a gay communist loser, the evangelicals would go along with it! 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Yeah, that makes sense though. Pence was raised Catholic, so we can never (ever, ever) be sure that he’s not one of the deep cover agents for “the Whore of Babylon” just waiting for his chance to trick us all into taking the Mark of the Beast on our foreheads and doom us eternally. Can’t be too sure, ounce of prevention, and all kind of stuff like that.

    2
    1
  78. Guarneri says:

    Damn that woman is smart. She knows (how does Hillary know!!) that the Flashing Videos I put on the Dark Web – bwah-ha-ha – cost her the election.

    I thought I had gotten away with that one. Damn it all.

    1
    2
  79. MarkedMan says:

    I just had an object lesson in how little all this day to day up and down matters. I post (almost entirely for myself, based on the number of page views I get ;-)) my political advice for the Dems on this site. Someone asked me a question the other day about a three week old post (I didn’t get too excited about that amazing uptick in readership as it was inevitably a close relative with way too much time on her hands) and I had to go back and look at it and realized that the “scandal” that triggered it was so far off the front page now that I was having trouble remembering what it was about. As I read back through the posts I was relieved that I mostly minimized the triggering event in all of them, because almost none of that stuff is memorable even a month or two later.

  80. Jax says:

    I just discovered that since I bought my drone, there are all kinds of new accessories that were not available when I first bought it. Several of which include water landing gear. It’s one of those purchases that I never would’ve even considered needing, EVER, but now that I know it’s available, I feel compelled to buy it and am now thinking of all the stupid ways I can find to drown my drone.

    Also….fish pictures. The drone has zoom….how far down can I see in clear water?! I must know!!!

    Somebody should talk some sense into me.

  81. DrDaveT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And I would absolutely oppose any government agency at any level deciding what is “true” in the context of political speech, with the obvious exceptions here being for libel and slander, which are difficult to prove in a political context.

    So, if a politician were to deny that the holocaust happened, you would object to having schools point out that this is a bald-faced lie?

    You seem to have this quaint notion that there is a bright line between “political speech”, which (like puffery in advertising) does not have a truth value, and other types of speech. Speech like holocaust denial, or incitement to riot, or dismissal of everything scientists know about climate change, or flat out lying about the content of conversations, or completely made-up statistics about immigration or the economy or the size of a crowd. Hint: there is today very little substantive speech that is not political speech. Expecting individuals speaking truth to counter an orchestrated campaign of lies is rather akin to expecting individual gun-owning citizens to counter an invading army.

    3
    1
  82. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri:

    She knows (how does Hillary know!!) that the Flashing Videos I put on the Dark Web

    I thought the only people on the dark web were pedophiles. Oh, wait…

    1
    1
  83. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: There is the problem that governments will also teach students about the War of Northern Aggression. Or quietly ignore race riots in the history of the North.

    I’m not a free speech zealot, or a crazed conspiracy theorist, but I know that governments will lie (see Trump, Donald).

  84. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: Talk some sense into you ?! You should post those pictures!

  85. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: I mean….I did buy the insurance that covers water damage, soooooo…… 😉

  86. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m not a free speech zealot, or a crazed conspiracy theorist, but I know that governments will lie (see Trump, Donald).

    Sure. Given. But Doug seems to want to ensure that ONLY the liars get to use official channels to spread their disinformation. Because Freedom, or something.

    2
    1
  87. MarkedMan says:

    We’ve had a number of discussions on vaping. Here’s a really good podcast explaining what we know and don’t know from a scientific perspective. Caution: the host has a mega Australian accent and traffics in Dad jokes, which I find charming but makes my kids cringe.

    I haven’t listened quite to the end (and have got to get working) but so far she didn’t mention at least one thing I think relevant to the discussion. The vaping sicknesses and deaths we are seeing are fairly acute, showing up within months or even weeks. We don’t see these types of problems with cigarettes. Instead it takes decades to reveal the full horror smoking visits upon the body. We are in the early, early days of vaping and really have no idea what some of these additives will do over the long haul.

    1
    1
  88. @DrDaveT:

    You are either misunderstanding or misrepresenting my position.

    I oppose censorship whether its done by the state (in which case it is violation of the First Amendment) or by private entities (who are, of course, free to make up their own rules). This means the forum should be open to everyone.

  89. MarkedMan says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, have you ever seen a forum open to everyone, no moderators, no rules, that didn’t devolve into a cesspool of screaming loonies?

    2
    1
  90. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Unfettered, completely unrestricted free speech is awesome!

    …is what the founder of 8chan used to think.

    3
    1
  91. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: Given that she knows, how is it that the hit squad she sent to kill Vince Foster and Seth Rich hasn’t visited you yet? Shouldn’t you be hiding in a spider hole in some third world country with no internet access?

  92. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: You guys are taking advantage of the fact that Doug uses the comment thread to channel his unfiltered Id. Remember that when he says something like “[a]nd I would absolutely oppose any government agency at any level deciding what is “true” in the context of political speech… (emphasis added),” he’s doing so with absolutely no thought whatsoever about what that statement actually means.

    Lighten up on him. He doesn’t really mean any of it.

  93. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Proving my point above. 😛

  94. Teve says:

    There’s weird speculation right now on Twitter that Barr wants to indict Democrats for Russia’s 2016 interference.

    Hillary? Obama?

  95. Teve says:

    Ben Collins
    @oneunderscore__
    ·
    4h
    I’m out of things to say on Facebook, except this. They have chosen Breitbart as a trusted news partner.

  96. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    You know what this blog could use? A recent comments section.

    I’d love to see regular posts on what we were talking about 3 months ago, a year ago, 5 years ago. Because we are so focused on the day’s headlines, I fear that today’s scandals push yesterday’s out of mind.

    Just yesterday, some offhand comment reminded me: Whatever happened with Epstein?