InfoWars

So Alex Jones and InfoWars got themselves deplatformed by Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify. Probably if I didn’t know it, I’d never notice. Like everybody else, I’ve been there a couple of times and decided it was a waste of time, and brain cells. In other words, he ain’t on my playlist. But it does matter.

And that is why it matters. Infowars may be (and likely is) irrelevant.

But Elizabeth Heng is not. She is the daughter of Cambodians who managed to escape the Cambodian genocide. She is a smart, attractive, conservative candidate (endorsed by Victor Davis Hanson, no less) for the California 16th Congressional district, where last I read she was even with her opponent. Her first campaign ad was suppressed by Facebook, presumably for showing scenes of that genocide. It’s her personal story about why she loves America. Which the left has pretty much consigned to the memory hole.

There are plenty of others.

YouTube said this about Alex Jones:

 YouTube explained that, “When users violate … policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.” Facebook’s removals came after they decided that Jones’s material was violent: “Upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence … and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”

Which leads me to conclude. Who died and left these leftist wienies in charge? Where’s the protection for say Candace Owens, who got physically and verbally abusively run out of a Philadelphia diner the other day by Antifa, who never has a problem with YouTube censorship?

Now mind, this is not a First Amendment issue. These are all private companies, and as such, are not subject to it, unlike say a small bakery who does not wish to bake a cake for a gay wedding, because of their religion.

But the thing that needs to be decided is this.

  • Are these companies common carriers, like the phone company? Then they should (must, actually) be allowed (required) to carry all messages without regard to their content. That’s mostly what the tech oligarchy has argued over the years. I’m good with that as well. Actually, I think it the best possible model.
  • Or are they publishers? In that case, they bear the responsibility, and the authority to screen what they publish. They also bear a legal (and financial) obligation to stay within the guidelines. In addition, they are subject to anti-trust laws.

The choice is binary, one can not choose one on every day except every other Tuesday after the sailboat races. One or the other.

Then there is the whole ‘hate speech’ thing. There is NO definition of what ‘hate speech’ is, it all a murky quagmire of what this person or that person is offended by, even if it’s not about him. Mind you, we’re doing a bit better than the UK here, where you can go to jail for such mindless drivel, here you can’t, yet. But you can lose your social media, which many have spent a lot of time and money building into a profit center. Gone because some leftist tech puke has offenditis.

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Seven Years

I had a notifier from WordPress yesterday that I had been doing this for seven years now. I sort of knew that but it had slipped my mind. Our lives sort of slip into periods and seven years will work for that. I’m well into the ninth of those and likely will see a couple more, if God is willing.

Here are the very first few paragraphs  we published:

I recently had an opportunity to travel by train back to Nebraska from Philadelphia. As most of you who have ever traveled by train know, it gives you a fair amount of time to reflect on whatever crosses your mind. For some reason this trip (which I actually take roughly every year) caused me to reflect on the industrial powerhouse that was America. If you travel by train, you see a lot of industrial areas new and old.  What struck me this time was coming through Pittsburgh, northern Ohio and northwest Indiana was remembering these areas when I was a kid back in the 60’s, when it was very common still to see the black smoke and flames shoot into the air at the steel mills. These were the mills that industrialized America and made the steel that built the machines that won two World Wars and conquered a continent and fed the world.

It is commonly said that steel built the railroad industry and the railroads built the steel industry and it’s true; if one includes coal in the steel industry. What awesome plants they were, for instance, the main street of Gary, Indiana (itself named for a steel executive) ends at the main gate of US Steel Gary Works. And remember a basic element of US Steel; Carnegie Steel produced more steel than Great Britain in the 1890’s. Pittsburgh was much the same, only possibly more so. Here was the steel produced that made the railroads, which then made the largest common market in the world, and the steel for the agricultural equipment that still feeds the world, and the steel for the American automobiles and the weapons and transportation of the American military that won two World Wars  and the Cold War.

On this trip you pass by the old Pullman Plant in Michigan City, Indiana that built railcars, mostly freight cars in this plant (the passenger cars came out of the plant in Pullman, Illinois). Now it is an outlet mall, and American passenger trains have Canadian built cars. You also pass the ruins of the Studebaker plant in South Bend as well as the old Bendix plant (this one is still operating, now owned by Robert Bosch AG).

Most of the plants are still there, many in ruins, some still operating, that gave this region the nickname of the Rust Belt. There are a lot of reasons why it is now the rust belt; without going into those reasons, it is a melancholy sight for a person that remembers these areas in full operation to see it half shut down and falling into ruin. This may truly symbolize the greatness of America in the future, the country that provided a far better living to the average man than anybody had ever dreamed possible; and provided much of it to the entire world as well.

From Reflections on a Train Trip.

There is a pathos in that, a kid from the rust belt seeing it now with fresh eyes, in all its declining glory. It would get worse.

Our best year here – so far – was 2012 with all the excitement of hoping that Romney would win the presidency, and the heartbreak when he didn’t, which explains why 2013 was the worst.

But 2012 was also when my former blogging partner turned up, and soon became the dearest friend I ever had. The one person in the world who I could talk about anything with, knowing she would understand. It was she, above all, who brought me back to Christianity, and introduced me to the wonders of Walsingham.

But all good things (and bad things too) pass. We nearly lost her to cancer in 2014, saved only by what was clearly a miracle from God himself, followed by a long recovery with only limited contact. Then something went wrong between us, and almost two years ago, she was gone. Leaving a hole in my life and my heart that is permanent. Every day, I look at her picture, and wonder what she is doing, and wish she would answer my questions, and give me comfort.

She was a key part of how NEO developed and is still read often here. She brought a perspective that broadened mine and has much to do with why we write about the UK these days.

But by then blogging was part of my life. For most of my life, I followed in my dad’s footsteps, working with electricity, and like the industry itself, doing things with it that he wouldn’t have comprehended. Now, in retirement, I follow in Mom’s, an English teacher, and a good one. I don’t know how good a teacher I am, although as I’ve often said, bringing along apprentices to be better than I was, was one of my chief joys in working.

In any case, it is a habit now, and one I have no desire to break. I enjoy the research, the writing, and most of all, the commenters, here and elsewhere. If one isn’t careful, it can easily become a lifestyle, and an enjoyable one, that I have no intention of ending.

But, to go back to the beginning of this article, how different it is today. We have a president that doesn’t think the future is limited and is trying to get the government out of our way.

The numbers tell part of the story, and it is a joy to read them, as it is to see how an American business perspective changes the entire world. But it is not the important part of the story. The important part is that the sleeping (perhaps the word should be comatose) giant is stirring and once again America is becoming optimistic.

This is something that Romney, for all our hopes, couldn’t have provided, good man that he is. This is something that it took a real estate developer from Brooklyn, who understood the working people to make happen.

So maybe, for all the busted dreams, Obama was the medicine, foul tasting though it was, that America needed.

So here’s to many more, my friends, and yes #MAGA

 

Death of the Free Internet

Yesterday the EU essentially voted to kill the free internet, although there is one more step to make it valid. Let’s let Robert Tracinski of The Federalist tells us why.

This [Article 13] is ostensibly a measure to enforce copyright protections, but it is drawn so preposterously overbroad that it will catch everybody.

A proposed new European copyright law wants large websites to use ‘content recognition technologies’ to scan for copyrighted videos, music, photos, text, and code in a move that that could impact everyone from the open source software community to remixers, livestreamers, and teenage meme creators.

This law is calculated to destroy the free-wheeling Internet in five ways.

1) It restricts the flow of content on computer networks.

Article 13 reverses one of the key legal doctrines that allowed the Internet to thrive: the idea that computer networks are not “publishers” and are therefore not liable for the actions or statements of their users. This means that you can sue an individual user for libel or copyright infringement, but not the e-mail service or bulletin board or social media platform on which he did it. This immunity made it possible for computer networks to open a floodgate of content produced by independent individuals, without requiring service providers to serve as editors or moderators.

2) It creates an Internet surveillance state.

Article 13 would require big tech companies to establish the infrastructure to monitor and control all communications that go through their networks, which is precisely what they are already doing too much of.

3) It entrenches the big media giants.

The expense of setting up the electronic filters mandated in Article 13 is so great that tiny little startups can’t do it. Only the giants can do it.

But wait, it gets worse. Along with Article 13 is Article 11, dubbed the “link tax,” which requires websites to buy a license from established publications in order to quote, excerpt, or possibly even link to their material. Ostensibly, this is to protect publications from sites that “curate” content by stealing it, providing a link to the original source only after they have excerpted all of its key information and gathered all the Web traffic for themselves. But the egregious abuse of excerpts is already illegal. Article 11 replaces existing laws with something much broader and more vague, whose exact scope hasn’t even been defined yet.

4) It would outlaw legitimate uses of information.

As another opponent explains, “Automated systems just can’t distinguish between commentary, criticism, and parody, and mere copying, nor could the platforms employ a workforce big enough to adjudicate each case to see if a match to a copyrighted work falls within one of copyright’s limitations and exceptions.”

5) It would unleash false and malicious copyright claims.

Article 13 allows for mass uploading of copyright claims but imposes no penalty for making a false claim. This creates an incentive for bad actors to suppress information by targeting it with false copyright claims.

[S]tock-market manipulators could use bots to claim copyright over news about a company, suppressing its sharing on social media; political actors could suppress key articles during referendums or elections; corrupt governments could use arms-length trolls to falsely claim ownership of footage of human rights abuses…. It’s asymmetric warfare:…. Bots will be able to pollute the copyright databases much faster than humans could possibly clear it.

More, and more detail at The Federalist, linked above.

It is a blatant grab for censorship by the elites, for the elites. Not something we are unfamiliar with if you can’t compete with something outlaw it. In theory, it should not affect us here in the US. Yeah right, if you read that privacy notice on this and every article on this site, it is there because the EU mandates it.

Europe is a dying market, but it is a very self-important market, with a very entrenched ruling class, who would much rather you didn’t know what they were up to. Just like HMG with regard to Tommy Robinson, where we got the word on the internet and America and Australia have embarrassed the British government.

It’s doubtful that we would have ever heard about his arrest (or likely even him) if this had been in force. Nor would we have heard about the green revolt in Iran a few years ago.

It is a pernicious measure, which has the power to remove the truth from the public sphere, and ways around it must be found if we cannot kill it. Because this could kill freedom of speech, perhaps only on the internet, but…

What you don’t know, you can’t speak of.

 

Another Wild Sunday Morning!

And a joke, from Ace’s

Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, “Where did you get such a great bike?”

The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.

The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, “Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you anyway.”

From the Speccie:

On Tuesday Captain Shults contacted air traffic control shortly after 11AM and, after identifying her Boeing 737 as Southwest 1380 and noting that it was carrying “149 souls,” she calmly advised them that she had a serious in-flight emergency that required her to put the plane on the ground immediately. ATC then asked, “Where would you like to go? Which airport?”

The following is a condensed version of Captain Shults’ response:

The closest one, Philadelphia. We’re single-engine descending… We have a part of the aircraft missing… If you would have them roll the emergency trucks. It’s on engine number 1, captain’s side… could you have the medical meet us there on the runway, as well? We’ve got injured passengers.

Shults conveyed all of this in the same unemotional tones most people would use to order a ham sandwich. She then landed the plane as smoothly as if she were putting it down after a routine flight. Her next act, after graciously thanking the ATC guys for their help, was to go back and speak with each of the passengers as she and the rest of the crew helped them off the aircraft.

If I read correctly, she is also the first woman pilot of the Navy’s F-18. I’d fly with her anytime, anywhere. BZ Captain.

 

Of course!

Mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine as always.

And you know, for the last 53 weeks (about) we have managed at least one post per day, and I’m tired. So, I’ve lined up some of my best posts (in my opinion, anyway) for you, and I’m gonna take a few days mostly off, although I’ll look in some, so comments are welcome. Enjoy.

Ah, here’s my ride, I’m outta here!

 

 

Zuckerberg Talks, Facebook’s Problems Even Worse

From Investor’s Business Daily.

Public Relations: After days of silence in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up a storm. Given the kinds of things he’s been saying, it might be better if he went back to his Silent Zuck routine.

Case in point is his interview with Vox.com, in which Zuckerberg managed to generate a new round of bad press over Facebook’s privacy scandal, talked about having some sort of Supreme Court decide what constitutes “acceptable speech” and how Facebook (FB) hampers independent media outlets. Oh, and he apparently thinks patriotism is arcane.

The latest privacy flap came when Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook scans private messages sent over its Messenger app and blocks those it deems inappropriate.

During the interview, he talked about blocking “sensational messages” that Facebook believed were meant to incite harm. “Our systems detect that that’s going on,” he said. “We stop those messages from going through.”

On Wednesday, Facebook officials confirmed the practice to Bloomberg.

The public response has not been favorable. One Twitter user commented “Facebook is the new NSA.” Another tweeted “Facebook: The world’s youngest surveillance state.”

Completely unacceptable, in my opinion. Either Facebook is a common carrier of information, rather like the phone company, or it is not. If it is not, then it is a private message service, and needs to be transparent in its advertising and public relations that it only carries messages for its favored people and groups, even if that undercuts its model of making (lots of) money by selling its clients information to all and sundry.

“You can imagine,” he said, “some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.”

It’s a good thing Zuckerberg wasn’t around when the founders were drafting the First Amendment.

But what exactly does he think would constitute global “social norms and values” in a world that includes countries where gays are executed, infidels killed, political opponents jailed, and free press suppressed?

Zuckerberg also talked about how his company “worked directly” with the German government to monitor content before elections there, saying that “if you work with the government in a country, they’ll actually have a fuller understanding of what is going on.”

That prompted the Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman to write: “The idea of Facebook working with governments around the world to filter news is more frightening than almost any commercial use of user data one can imagine.”

We could not agree more.

I couldn’t agree more either. Worst of all worlds really, being exploited for your personal data, by who knows whom, not to mention various repressive governments, and yes, I include Germany in that category. I wonder when we will start seeing Europeans going to jail for Facebook posts? Shan’t be long, I imagine, the British police are already monitoring Twitter.

At another point, Zuckerberg appears to dismiss pride of country as old fashioned.

“One of the things I found heartening is if you ask millennials what they identify the most with, it’s not their nationality,” he said. “The plurality identifies as a citizen of the world. And that, I think, reflects the values of where we need to go.”

Well, what really is there to add to that. He has his opinion. I and millions of others have a directly opposite opinion, mostly because we are intelligent enough to recognize that some countries are better than others, and some are clearly evil.

He really ought to stop digging, the hole is plenty deep to bury him in, but he won’t, not least because he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room well world maybe. Watching people blow things up is strangely fascinating though, isn’t it?

And the Trumpets Sounded

Blogging is a funny thing, often you end up having friends, all over the world, who you are fairly sure you’ll never meet. I’ve met people from every continent (but Antartica) and quite a few have become friends, and a fair number of them have been featured here, over the years.

One of them is TonyfromOz, who told us this week about his ten years of blogging. His actual career (and the reason he started blogging) is a fairly close parallel to my own, and I was going to talk about it today. But Tony got superseded today. I hope he understands, actually I’m sure he will. Maybe some other day.

This summer will mark my seventh-anniversary blogging, and yes, I still enjoy it, although it is occasionally a strain, to find something to say, and to keep it suitable for work, as we say. Over that time many other bloggers have come into my life, and sadly a majority of them have gone, almost all are missed.

Sometime in the fall of 2011, I got a like from an unusual source, danmillerinpanama, the Gravatar showed a gentleman about my age, in a quite nice Panama hat. The likes continued to come as did mine on his blog, and so did occasional comments both ways, and something unusual here reblogs both ways. As I came to know Dan, I found that in some ways our outlooks were similar, and in some, they were quite different. We were both wise enough to understand that did not preclude our friendship.

Dan’s personal blog is here. One could profitably spend some time there.

One of the more interesting things is that we both greatly admired Robert E Lee, not least for his conception of duty. Our outlook on the world was quite similar.

So today I was very saddened to read on Warsclerotic, where he was the editor, in addition to making some posts on his own blog, that he had passed over. They were kind enough to share what Dan’s wife, Jeannie had written.

Dear Joe,
Dan asked me to communicate with you should he not make it through the latest of his health problems.
He felt a deep connection with Isreal, with Warsclerotic, and with you, Joe.
Please forgive my delay in communicating with you.  It, as you must know, has been a tremendously difficult time for me.  I needed some time to recover even the tinyest bit of perspective.
Please keep him in your prayers.
Best,  Jeanie
Here is what I wrote to our families:
*********

Dan and I started our adventures together almost 26 years ago. Over the years, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve won and we’ve lost. Always, our

​mutual ​

love and respect made it possible to overcome the inevitable obstacles that present themselves over a lifetime.

Dan died last Sunday afternoon. I will miss him forever. He has preceded me in this last and greatest adventure of all.

As was his wish, I will spread his ashes over the finca he loved so well.

​​

Rest in peace

​ and
Namaste, My​Darling

Curriculum Vitae and subsequent life:

Herbert Daniel Miller was graduated from Yale University, cum laude, and the University of Virginia Law School where he was notes editor of Law Review and a member of The Order of the Coif. After he graduated, he joined the United States Army JAG Corp where he was Special Courts Marshall Judge for the Country of Korea. Upon returning to civilian life, he joined the law firm of Koteen and Naftalin in Washington, D.C. until he retired as a partner in 1996.

Thereupon, he and his wife cruised in the Eastern Caribbean as well as Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia in their sailboat, Namaste. They achieved their Dive Master certificates in Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. In 2002, they reached Panama, spending a month in the Kuna Yala Islands on their sailboat before settling in Western Panama.

He leaves behind his wife, Jean Fiester Miller, his son, Nicolas Miller, his daughter, Elizabeth Korchnak and his sister, Margaret Zilm, his nephews Andrew and Gregory Zilm, as well as three grandchildren.

There are a certain number of us around, who have known each other (through our blogs) for years, and have become friends. Dan was a leading member of that group for me. After all, not that many American bloggers post YouTubes of Harlech Men or Scotland the Brave and connect them to our posts. He taught me much, while never denigrating anything I did.

One of our favorite quotes from General Lee was this:

Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things.

You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.

Dan epitomized that outlook, he’ll be mourned and missed for many a day here.

Rest in peace, dear friend. As our Navy friends say, “Fair winds and following seas”.

We’ll take the duty, amongst us.

And may God give comfort to Jeannie and his family.

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