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?

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Thursday Report and Civil War 2.0

I need to thank The Other McCain for picking up on yesterday’s post and expanding on some aspects of it. I agree with him.


Steven Hayward reminds us that

Because as near as I can tell, what Cambridge Analytica did was exactly what the Obama 2012 digital campaign did with Facebook, with the active cooperation of Facebook it would seem. No one made any fuss about that at the time. But as I never tire of pointing out, if liberals didn’t have double-standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

In other words, this is a very stupid ‘scandal’, for lack of a better term.


Maybe, just maybe, the Congressional Republicans are not quite as stupid as they sound. If David Catron in The American Spectator is correct, this is rather clever. I have no reason to doubt him, I just don’t know.

The Democrats have ceaselessly clamored for the inclusion of cost-sharing reduction and risk mitigation programs. But they cried “foul” upon discovering that the leading Republican sponsor of the “stabilization bill,” Senator Lamar Alexander, had stipulated that the Hyde Amendment would apply to the bailout funding: The Los Angeles Times reports:

Democrats said they were shocked Monday to find out that Alexander had approved restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions that would, they said, make it impossible for women to purchase abortion coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.… Those restrictions were not in an Alexander-Murray measure released in 2017, they said.

The Democrats know the abortion lobby will crucify them if they accept such language. More to the point, so does the GOP. The stipulation was obviously inserted to force the Democrats to choose between propping up Obamacare and angering the abortion industry. Senator Alexander feigned surprise to find that the Democrats were so worked up:

Heh!


I think we need some Kurt Schlichter, just for reality’s sake. Civil War in America, yep, not likely but it could happen. But what would happen? Carry on, Colonel.

It’s obvious that the central tenet of the Democrat Party platform is now hatred and contempt for Normal Americans. Taking their cue from the elites in Europe and Canada who are stripping dissenters of their free speech rights and religious freedoms, the leftist elite is moving to solidify its hold on power here with the eager assistance of tech companies and the moral support of the Fredocons who yearn to return to pseudo-relevance as the ruling class’s slobberingly loyal opposition. In California, the leftist government is practically firing on Fort Sumter. And nationally, these aspiring fascists are especially eager to disarm Normal Americans – doing so would be an object lesson in who’s the boss, as well as solving that frustrating problem of the Normals having the ability to resist. […]

There are two Civil War II scenarios, and the left is poorly positioned to prevail in either one. The first scenario is that the Democrats take power and violate the Constitution in order to use the apparatus of the federal government to suppress and oppress Normal Americans. In that scenario, red Americans are the insurgents. In the second scenario, which we can even now see the stirrings of in California’s campaign to nullify federal immigration law, it is the blue states that are the insurgents. […]

Let’s talk terrain and numbers. Remember the famous red v. blue voting map? There is a lot of red, and in the interior the few blue splotches are all cities like Las Vegas or Denver. That is a lot of territory for a counter-insurgent force to control, and this is critical. The red is where the food is grown, the oil pumped, and through which everything is transported. And that red space is filled with millions of American citizens with small arms, a fairly large percentage of whom have military training.

Remember what two untrained idiots did in Boston with a couple of pistols? They shut a city down. Now multiply that by several million, with better weapons and training.

Let’s look at the counter-insurgent forces in the Democrat oppression scenario should they attempt to misuse our law enforcement and military in an unconstitutional manner to take the rights of American citizens. There are a lot of civilian law enforcement officers, but the vast majority of the agencies are local – sheriffs, small town police departments. They will not be reliable allies in supporting unlawful oppression of their friends and neighbors. The major cities’ police departments are run by Democrat appointees, so the commands would be loyal. But the rank-and-file? A small percentage would be ideologically loyal. More would be loyal because that’s their paycheck – they could be swayed or intimidated to support the rebels. Others would be actively sympathetic to the insurgents. This is true of federal law enforcement agencies as well.

And the military? Well, wouldn’t the military just crush any resistance? Not so fast. The military would have the combat power to win any major engagement, but insurgents don’t get into major engagements with forces that have more combat power. They instead leverage their decentralized ability to strike at the counter-insurgents’ weak points to eliminate the government’s firepower advantage. In other words, hit and run, and no stand-up fights.

For example, how do a bunch of hunters in Wisconsin defeat a company of M1A2 Abrams tanks? They ambush the fuel and ammo trucks. Oh, and they wait until the gunner pops the hatch to take a leak and put a .30-06 round in his back from 300 meters. Then they disappear. What do the tanks do then? Go level the nearest town? Great. Now they just moved the needle in favor of the insurgents among the population. Pretty soon, they can’t be outside of their armored vehicles in public. Their forces are spending 90% of their efforts not on actual counter-insurgency operations but on force protection. Sure, they own their forward operating bases, and they own a few hundred meters around them wherever they happen to be standing at the moment, but the rest of the territory is bright red. As my recent novel illustrates, American guerillas with small arms are a deadly threat to the forces of a dictatorship.

But the military is so big it would overwhelm any rebels, right? Well, how big do you think the military is?

Keep reading, this is reality.

Something Kurt doesn’t talk about here but is also true. America, or rather American patriots, invented modern insurgency warfare, it was called partisan warfare back then. It’s the old ‘hide behind a tree and take out an officer’ thing that we did, that unnerved the King’s forces back in the Revolution. Ugly as it is, it works, as Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox showed. Eventually, it got so bad that Lord Cornwallis’s forces were pinned into the Yorktown peninsula, waiting for the Britsh fleet, which never came, but the Continental army, naked and barefoot, did, and their muskets worked just fine, as did the captured British artillery.

Kurt’s other scenario is just as valid, and just as true, and just as catastrophic for the left.

And this is why free men, do not give up their arms. It’s also why we are prudent and careful about provoking such ugly scenarios. But I suppose if you think history began with Barack Obama, you wouldn’t know that.

And just a note, we all enjoy thinking about these unlikely scenarios, it’s a common diversion. But real wars are won by logistics, how hard is it to derail a train? wreck a semi? blow up a substation? How you gonna feed the cities without fuel, without electricity, and without food and water? The left is living in a fantasy world, if it goes beyond words, and they’re trying to make it. They lose, fast, hard, and ugly. So does everybody else in the world, of course. And the biggest loser is the US Army, which goes back to being detested just as the King’s soldiers were in the 1770s. No winners at all, except the most important one, freedom.

Thursday Videos

Seems like I’ve been sitting on a few videos, either because they haven’t fir what I’m writing about or they’re a bit long, or both. So here are some of them.

From Laura Perrins at The Conservative Woman. Yes, it is aimed at a British audience, but it is true for us as well.

Another from Laura, and one you want to watch, Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia

British sports, or is that sport?

Some truth, slightly NSFW, a lot of truth is these days

And more truth, the objective kind.

Are you tired of Jordan Peterson yet? Me neither, here he is with Ben Shapiro.

Have a good day.

 

 

Land of the Formerly Free

British police stand guard at the entrance to the US Air Force base at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, Britain December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Radburn

A sad one today, that I hope will anger our European readers, it surely would in America. From The Daily Caller via The Daley Gator.

Northumbria Police in Britain warned online users that anyone who posts “offensive” and “potentially criminal” comments about grooming gangs will be tracked down and prosecuted.

The police force launched an investigation on Facebook comments posted to its Facebook page in response to stories about the Operation Shelter scandal. During the scandal, white British girls were groomed and sexually abused by gangs made up of mostly Muslim Pakistani men in Newcastle. 18 men were convicted over the sex crimes.

So that tells us plainly that if you are in Britain and you call a Muslim a Muslim and/or you refer to the government especially the police not doing their jobs and covering up that fact, you will be prosecuted. Not the kind of thing a free country does.

According to Chronicle Live and Breitbart, police reviewed every comment on the page after a member of the public complained that the posts made references to the convicted criminals’ race and religion—two of which were then recorded as racially aggravated public order offenses.

The police decided that there were eight comments that required action and have since tracked down six people responsible for posts “deemed to be offensive and potentially criminal.”

The story goes on to state that they all are remorseful. Well, I suppose I would be as well, if I had a police constable standing on my doorstep. Not that this is new, back in 2013 I wrote about a Baptist preacher in Norwich who dared to hand out Christian tracts at Norwich’s gay pride parade. He too was threatened very seriously with prosecution. You can read about it here, including documents.

While many of the groomers’ sex crimes against young girls were, by their own admissions, racially-motivated, Judge Penny Moreland allowed the convicts to receive lesser sentences because she believed the victims were targeted “not because of their race, but because they were young, impressionable, naïve and vulnerable.

So, even if the judge was correct, and these crimes were not racially motivated, which she is not by the perpetrators own words, because you are young, impressionable, naïve, and vulnerable, not to mention a working-class white, you are no longer equal under the law. Well, that seems to me to be what she explicitly said.

By the way, the grooming in Rotheringham, and elsewhere is still going on, in the very sight of the British police and government. Quite a few elsewheres, in fact, if what I read is true.

Note that I am referring to the government here, which is so corrupt that it is afraid to do its basic job, providing for the common defense, for fear that someone will call it racist. Well, you know what, the way it is selectively enforcing the law is, you got it, racist.

There was an article published yesterday, that said that without the Constitution, the United States would become “a sh*thole”. The author has much right in that assertion, and the proof is Britain.

Things are, of course, even worse in Germany, but that is not any great surprise, is it?

What was it that that old white Brit, Thomas Jefferson wrote one hot and muggy day in Philadelphia? Oh yeah, this.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Too bad that Her Majesty’s Government has forgotten their heritage, for those words stirred, in Britain, no less than in what would become America, fully a third of the population, including Burke, William Pitt the Elder, and Charles James Fox to support the colonies in Parliament. May they once again stir the hearts of freedom-loving Britons.

If I’m honest, if they don’t I foresee a time when Britain will be just another slave state, or in the current cant, a sh*thole, because that is the direction they are going.

Mike Rowe on Logical Fallacy (and Grammar)

The Rightscoop noted yesterday a notable Facebook exchange from Mike Rowe. Rowe is of course nearly always worth listening to,, and this is no exception.

Off The Wall

Chuck Atkins says…

“One of the tenants of white nationalism is that college educated people are academic elitests. Comment? No? I’m not surprised. You never take a political stand because you don’t want to alienate anybody. Its bad for business. I get it. But there is a current of anti intellectualism in this country – promoted by Republicans. Those people love you, and they think your initiative is their initiative. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is kickin our ass academically.”

Hi Chuck

Since we’re being candid, allow me to say how much I dislike your post. Everything about it annoys me – your smug and snarky tone, your appalling grammar, your complete lack of evidence to support your claims, and of course, the overarching logical fallacy that informs your entire position. What really bugs me though, is the fact that you’re not entirely wrong. It’s true; I haven’t shared any political opinions this week, in part anyway, because doing so might very well be “bad for business.”

What can I say? I work for half-a-dozen different companies, none of whom pay me to share my political opinions. I run a non-partisan foundation, I’m about to launch a new show on Facebook, and I’m very aware that celebrities pay a price for opening their big fat gobs. Gilbert Gottfried, Kathy Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, Milo Yiannopoulos…even that guy from Google who just got himself fired for mouthing off. There’s no getting around it – the first amendment does not guarantee the freedom to speak without consequences. And really, that’s fine by me.

So no – I’m not going to share my personal feelings about Charlottesville, President Trump, or the current effort to remove thousands of statues of long dead soldiers from the public square. Not just because it’s “bad for business,” but because it’s annoying. I can’t think of a single celebrity whose political opinion I value, and I’m not going to assume the country feels any differently about mine. So, rather than blow myself up, or chime in with all the obvious observations about the cowardly scum in the pointy hats, I’m going to talk instead about my belief that comments like yours pose a far greater threat to the future of our country than the existence of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson, or a monument to George Washington. Ready? Let’s start with a closer look at your claims.

You say that White Nationalists believe that everyone who goes to college is an “academic elite.” You then say that Republicans promote “anti-intellectualism.” You offer no proof to support either claim, but it really doesn’t matter – your statements successfully connect two radically different organizations by alleging a shared belief. Thus, White Nationalists and The Republican Party suddenly have something in common – a contempt for higher education. Then, you make it personal. You say that Republicans “love” me because they believe that my initiative and “their” initiative are one and the same. But of course, “their” initiative is now the same initiative as White Nationalists.

Very clever. Without offering a shred of evidence, you’ve implied that Republicans who support mikeroweWORKS do so because they believe I share their disdain for all things “intellectual.” And poof – just like that, Republicans, White Nationalists, and mikeroweWORKS are suddenly conflated, and the next thing you know, I’m off on a press tour to disavow rumors of my troubling association with the Nazis!

Far-fetched? Far from it. That’s how logical fallacies work. A flaw in reasoning or a mistaken belief undermines the logic of a conclusion, often leading to real-world consequences. And right now, logical fallacies are not limited to the warped beliefs of morons with tiki torches, and other morons calling for “more dead cops.” Logical fallacies are everywhere.

As I type this, a Democrat on CNN is making an argument that says, “because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, those Republicans now opposed to tearing down his memorial are “pro-slavery,” and therefore aligned with the modern day KKK.” That’s a logical fallacy.

Over on Fox, a Republican is arguing that “any Democrat who has not yet condemned the Senator from Missouri for publicly wishing that Donald Trump be assassinated, is guilty of wishing for the exact same thing.” That’s a logical fallacy.

Yesterday, on The Science Channel, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a noted astronomer, tweeted that the ability of scientists to accurately predict the solar eclipse, was proof that predictions of global warming were also accurate. That’s a logical fallacy.

Want to hear another one? Imagine something like this, unfolding over on MSNBC.

“Good Evening, America, our top story tonight… Chuck Atkins is a racist! Why? Because he can’t spell. Just look at his grammar! In a recent post on Mike Rowe’s Facebook page, Mr. Atkins, while bemoaning America’s global academic standing, not only misspelled “elitist,” he used “tenants” when he meant “tenets.” He neglected to use a hyphen in “anti-intellectual,” and he misplaced several commas and apostrophes! But why is he a racist, you ask? Simple. Because everyone knows racists are ignorant. Chuck Atkins is clearly a poor speller. Poor spelling and grammar are signs of ignorance. Ergo – Chuck Atkins is a racist! Boom! The matter is settled!”

There’s not much we can do about the news, but here on Facebook, I think we can do better. This isn’t Twitter. We’re not limited to a few inflammatory sentences and a flurry of emojis. Take a moment, Chuck. Think. Make a rational argument. Otherwise, just link us to a cat video. People love those, and they’re almost never “bad for business.” (Unless of course, the cat gets hurt. People hate that.) Just don’t assume that people will care about your beliefs, if you’re not willing to back them up with some relevant facts and a rational conclusion. Here, for instance, are a few facts that matter to me, with respect to my foundation and the recurring charge of “fostering anti-intellectualism.”

mikeroweWORKS is a PR campaign for the skilled trades. For the last nine years, we’ve partnered with numerous trade schools, raised millions of dollars for work-ethic scholarships, and called attention to millions of jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. But that doesn’t mean we’re “anti-intellectual.” We’re not even “anti-college.” We simply reject the popular notion that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people. And we’re hardly alone.

Millions of reasonable people – Republicans and Democrats alike – are worried that our universities are doing a poor job of preparing students for the real world. They’re worried about activist professors, safe spaces, the rising cost of tuition, a growing contempt for history, and a simmering disregard of the first amendment. These people are concerned that our universities – once beacons of free speech – now pander to a relatively small percentage of students who can’t tolerate any political opinion that challenges their own. And they’re concerned – deeply concerned – that millions of good jobs are currently vacant that don’t require a four-year degree, or any of the catastrophic debt that comes with it.

Again – these are not the concerns of “anti-intellectuals.” They are the concerns of people who care about the future of the country. I don’t know how many of these people are Republicans, but I can assure you that no one who actually supports my initiative is remotely confused about my feelings on education, because I’ve been crystal clear on that topic from the very beginning. To quote Thomas Jefferson, (while I still can,) “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free and live in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” On this point, my foundation does not equivocate.

In other words, Chuck, I have no idea what The White Nationalists think about my efforts, or the Republicans, the Democrats, the elitists, the Italians, the Presbyterians, the unions, or the self-proclaimed anti-intellectuals. And really, I couldn’t care less. My question is, why do you?

Mike

PS. Ok, I’ve just re-read this, (in a desperate search for typos,) and I want to apologize for pointing out that you’re a lousy speller. This is probably not the time to trot out The Grammar Nazi, but your tenor and tone pissed me off, and I responded in my own snarky way. Sorry.

PPS Maybe this is how political correctness begins? Maybe we start by correcting each other’s grammar, and then move on to the business of correcting everything else? Today a missing hyphen, tomorrow a missing monument. Or, maybe not.

That pretty well answers that, I think. 🙂

Education, Students Loans, and John Adams

quote-education-makes-a-greater-difference-between-man-and-man-than-nature-has-made-between-man-and-brute-john-adams-314611John Adams once wrote this to Abigail:

“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

Personally, I think higher education in this country has lost its way. Easy money has converted it from what Adams thought his grandsons should study to what he had studied. It has become little more than a trade school, a factory for diplomas, and often a very expensive one.

Now mind, there is nothing at all wrong with trade schools, we must, if we are to live even moderately well, know how to govern ourselves, and defend ourselves, not to mention fix the roads and plumbing. That is all very honorable, but it does not require, although it often benefits from, an education in the classic liberal arts, and the practitioners always do. But it does not require it.

To me, Adam’s second tier, that his sons should study, is represented these days mostly by the so-called STEM courses: science, technology, engineering, math. They are the middle way, more abstract thinking, and vision but rooted in the practical, adding to that an ability to communicate clearly and effectively, and you create the world of tomorrow. This is the realm of the inventor/entrepreneur: the Edisons, the Bells, but also the Thomas Crappers, the Commodore Vanderbilts, the Carnegies, and also Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, not to mention Dr. Jonas Salk,  those who take ideas, and make them practical, and bring them to market.

But that third tier, has little direct connection with the practical. this is where we learn about ourselves, and learn to make men better. It is the highest expression of civilization, if it is not, something has gone wrong. There is an upper limit, and it is quite low, on the number of people who can be supported adequately to study this. In large measure, the prosperity of Britain and America in the last four hundred, or so, years, has allowed us to lead civilization, because we could afford to think, to question, and to discuss, these matters.

And so, if you are a high school senior, you likely want to go to college. Why? To be a better barista? Well, no doubt you will be, but enough better to justify the cost? Or to be an engineer? That will justify much more education than being a barista will, but not an infinite cost. Always, always, as you enter the job market, your value is based on what you know that is relative to the job on offer. If I’m hiring an apprentice, I don’t expect you to know much about electricity (and most of that will be wrong) as I expect you to have a strong back, and a willingness to learn. Frankly a know-it-all with a degree is less attractive than a high school drop-out who desperately wants to earn a living. And that is the trap, my young friend, when you come out of college, with that expensive degree, in whatever irrelevant (to me) subject, bought with borrowed money, you are worth no more in the market that drop-out working for his next meal, and that’s what I’ll pay you. Will you advance further and/or faster? Perhaps, that’s up to you, your application of your knowledge (and ability to learn) and your attitude in a number of ways.

Hard words? Perhaps, but they’re also true ones won in the school of hard knocks provided by experience. Here are some more

And always remember that you do not go to college to learns stuff. You go to college to learn how to think, and learn.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
John Adams, The Portable John Adams

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