The free speech stuff is coming up a lot these days because most people depend on businesses to get online and use our most free medium, the Internet.
A fellow who does analysis on RT, Lionel (a lawyer by trade), has his own YouTube.com channel https://www.youtube.com/user/LionelY2K/videos where he hosts commentary videos.
One of Lionel’s recent videos — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hp2ueSC7KY — is particularly interesting because:
– his topic is why we should be very displeased and politically engaged over twitter.com’s recent banning of Roger Stone, Republican political consultant. It’s not about what one thinks of Stone or his views, it’s that Stone deserves the right to speak and be heard as do the rest of us. But so long as we depend on private organizations (typically businesses) to convey those messages to us, we subject ourselves to private tyranny.
– (6m26s into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hp2ueSC7KY) as soon as Lionel listed the topic a commentary piece on Muller and Comey and (as Lionel says) “Boom! Monetization denied. Subject to hand review.” meaning YouTube flagged his NOT YET POSTED commentary so Lionel would not be allowed to use YouTube.com to make a share of the advertising revenue on this not-yet-posted video. YouTube.com had no idea what he would say but Lionel’s upcoming comments would not be treated the same as most of his other commentary.
This is why I think we need government-provided, high-speed, always-on, net-neutrality-guaranteed, Internet access as a right (meaning it can’t be turned off) using publicly-owned cables including fibre to the door for every American. You own your own routers and computers, everything outside your house/apartment is publicly-owned and set up so nobody can deny you bandwidth. It’s a huge project, lots of construction, system administration, and maintenance jobs but we have trillions for war, right? So paying for this shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, businesses can get on these lines too. I think this will incentivize development of a home-hosted server that can do the job so many users currently rely on centralized (read: censorious) hosters to do for them: video hosting, chat hosting, email hosting, etc.
Subject The reddit.com purge of “offensive” discussion groups has begun
far_right_banned_-_2017-10-26_22.42.38.png (~24 KB)
reddit.com is one of the most popular websites on the Internet. reddit consists of many discussion groups known as “subreddits” each covering a major topic, such as sewing. Each subreddit hosts a series of posts grouped into conversations. One can select a conversation like reading a thread in a mailing list and post or read whatever is there.
According to https://www.reddit.com/r/modnews/comments/78p7bz/update_on_sitewide_rules_regarding_violent_content/dovjcsf/ reddit.com has begun to delete “offensive” subreddits. This URL has a growing list of subreddits which have been banned resulting in showing a graphic instead of a collection of conversations. You can reload this page to keep up with subreddits being removed, although since reddit posters are hosting this list on reddit.com, this discussion thread or this subreddit could become banned at any moment (to me this suggests how naive so many of the reddit users are). The attached picture shows the graphic now seen at https://www.reddit.com/r/far_right instead of the conversation threads.
There is a big difference between a mailing list and hosting anything on reddit.com: an unmoderated mailing list typically immediately sends a copy of each post to all of the subscribers. Subscribers can easily keep their own copy of each post and refer back to those posts any time they like. On reddit.com, posts can be “banned” making them unavailable to anyone except the reddit.com admins.
It’s not clear if the banning actually deletes the subreddit information or merely hides it. But the censorship is real and happening right now.
Free speech: you’re free to say what reddit.com wants to read.
far_right_banned_-_2017-10-26_22.42.38.png~24 KBShow Download
This edition is media & Russiagate-heavy because of recent news documenting that HRC & DNC paid for it and were lying all along about their ‘outrage’ of not being covered. This carries consequences into war, explaining the Democrats’ failures to get elected, believing that HRC’s campaign was worthy of support or living up to the values her supporters alleged, and generally being more critical of news coverage.
Speaking of being more critical of news coverage, consider the lack of coverage at democracynow.org on the Russiagate developments: Amy Goodman has used Russiagate as a largely unexamined backing for her reportage repeatedly claiming (without evidence) that Russia somehow interfered with US elections, as I’ve pointed out in the past. Now that DNC & HRC payment is known, all we get from democracynow.org is a short headline story (https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/25/headlines/clinton_campaign_dnc_funded_research_for_trump_dossier) that doesn’t get into any of the implications I listed above.
Also, it’s important to cover what’s wise in interpreting what reason to reject claims about Russian so-called “interference” in US elections:
– it’s true that some Russians bought ads in media outlets and spent up to $100k to do this, and it’s true that this amount of money is orders of magnitude less than needed to have a discernable effect on US elections. But the amount of money spent is not a principled or wise reason to reject alleged interference in US elections. In fact this reason suggests that there is some undisclosed threshold where the amount of money becomes significant and interference becomes a viable claim. Freedom of speech as ethical principle is the wiser choice of reason to let others speak and be heard (including Russians purchasing ads on media outlets). So as much attention as money gets (in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klVerMut-0M and other places) I don’t concur that the amount of money spent is critical, I concur that it’s interesting.
– Americans also have to explain away how their government is able to use the “Voice of America” broadcasts wherever they want but not allow other outlets to speak and be heard by Americans.
– Russiagate also puts a fine point on how freedom of speech is precarious online so long as one continues to depend exclusively on corporate servers (most social media sites: Google’s YouTube, Twitter, Microsoft’s services, and so on). They have no legal obligation to carry your message and they can (and do) set up horrible terms of service that favor letting them do as Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince once said: “I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them [the Daily Stormer] off the Internet.”. Twitter appears to have done the same with RT’s ads (see below) and every other service can do the same. This is why we need government-run high-speed Internet access guaranteed to every citizen regardless of what they say online. Buying one’s own website (domain name, hosting, network connection, servers, etc.) still places one in a situation where they depend on some corporation to convey data to someone else. This is not good for free speech or (what I hope is seen as) a critical service most Americans need: high-speed, always-on Internet access.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAJjWBdd1Y8 — Documents show US supported Indonesian genocide. This was known before, but it’s good to have more documents to point to substantiating what others were telling us.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWx23DJadGc — “Saudi Arabia’s role in Syria cannot be overstated” anti-war activist and Sputnik host rightly claims about Syrian attack in 2013.
Self-determination: New Zealand
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/new-zealand-new-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-capitalism-blatant-failure-a8012656.html — I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a ridiculous reaction to New Zealand’s Kim Dotcom (wealthy Internet-business magnate who was likely unfairly accused of copyright infringement and seems to be suffering unjustly as the US drags out extradition requests and trial against Dotcom).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2HokwC7xKM — CIA makes fake science conferences
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Bk-8ZBKq4 — What you aren’t being told about NPR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaHSzH6AJQk — Millenials subscribers pay for older media which means older media likes Trump even while they make fun of him; he’s saving their jobs, after all. Trump’s distractions away from substantive items (like war, media examination, corporate control) allow the MSM to propagandize against Trump and reel in naive young people who make up a substantive part of the paying audience for MSM distribution now.
Russiagate: Sinking like the Titanic, but some cling tenaciously to its debris in hope it will vindicate their baseless assertions. Others begin to see that tying themselves to the Democrats/DNC was not a wise choice (but this is a rare view).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6wH7zx42NM — Twitter Deal: RT reveals ads offer made by Twitter before 2016 election.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gkqy-llIVo — Twitter bans all RT & Sputnik advertising citing “election interference”. In other words, this is a good time to flatly reject Twitter citing ridiculous reasoning (perhaps in reaction to being embarrassed at having offered RT ads deals per above) and censorship.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_luOO0zb5ZY — British lawmakers call for probe into suspicions that Moscow had a hand in supporting Brexit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKGxdgDXVDg — Left looking silly: Comedians who want a pass from the rigors of free speech, and left accused of sexual harassment: Louis CK who also has older man-younger woman (perhaps a minor) “relationship” movie coming out which can now be interpreted in a new light of his alleged abuse.
What really happened: DNC & HRC campaign paid firm for fake news to make Trump look bad and thus discourage people to vote for him.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g1f1UF9NgY — Russia is convenient scapegoat, despite complete lack of evidence.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XV5AgaYLAE — Dossier Hillary Clinton & crew got riled about was actually fake anger they knew they paid for all along. This means we can go back to anything HRC said and examine it anew in the context of watching how effectively she lied about what she was claiming (Russian “hacking”, Putin-approved “interference” in US 2016 election, Trump being peed on by Russian prostitutes in Russian hotel room, etc.). That last urologic joke now carries a whole new spin: those who tell the joke in the context of making Trump look bad end up looking like asses themselves for buying into unproven lies and conveying those lies to others. This means all of the late-night TV hosts who riffed on this joke end up looking like they don’t know what the news really is or are so hell-bent on anti-Trumpism for the wrong reasons that they are indistinguishable from partisan hacks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR8IAvtAeHQ — DNC & Hillary Clinton campaign paid former British spy (Steele) to gin up stories putting Trump campaign in a bad light. DNC funding of Steele exonerates Trump.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui_Q7XG8h7U — CNN bought into Russiagate later pushes “#FactsFirst” ad campaign despite a string of recent lies (examples cited) and being caught for supporting “actual malice”.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxijCV6amho — NAFTA renegotiations continue, now Big Beef gets some new attention. Trump’s pledge to deal with NAFTA is still on the table despite analysts’ claims that NAFTA could never be renegotiated.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imcd367aTVs — Big business doesn’t like NAFTA renegotiations because their power (some of which comes from NAFTA) could be threatened.
War and rumors of war
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODfXJwquQk8 — US officials from both corporate-owned parties and appointees don’t seem to know how many wars the US is in, including troops in Niger. This is a direct consequence of approving the AUMF — Authorization for Use of Military Force — which grants the POTUS “[authorization] to use…force against thost nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks…on September 11, 2001”. So just as the people of Iraq had seemingly nothing to do with those attacks, neither did the people of Niger. But both are under attack from the US today. Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from, is the US’ friend. Congresswoman Barbara Lee was the only vote against the AUMF, presciently pointing out that we should “step back” and prevent war from “spiraling out of control”. Who would have thought that signing a blank check for war would result in war?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOYFf8UZmCI — White Helmets’ reputation makes their latest claim of saving lives tough to take at first blush.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mlmsoJyqT4 — Rory Stewart, UK Intl. Development Minister says that all British citizens who went to fight with ISIS in Syria & Iraq should be killed. Why? Because of “their extremely hateful doctrine”, of course. The public pointed out the rule of law, and how this further radicalizes people against the UK, and Stewart ‘clarified’ his position.
Media and censorship
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKI1AfcYx6Y — Facebook’s means of censoring voices it and its friends don’t like is becoming more clear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-OioN0gmKk — Tony Podesta (former Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta’s brother) is coming under scrutiny in the ongoing Russia probe. Does this mean Democrats are being found to have ties to Russia that would fall under the same lame criticism as is ostensibly justifying this entire time/money-spending probe? Collusion isn’t illegal, but there’s still no evidence showing collusion between Pres. Trump and the Republicans with Russia. This is falling apart in an even more dramatic fashion, highlighting just how much Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOXB3lDTHjw — MSM is “envious & confused” about RT’s popularity.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS22PXLfxvk — as RT comes under pressure to “register” with US govt. and demonization from Democratic Party-friendly front groups publishing an inaccurate an RT guest list, an interview from 2013 with a YouTube manager regarding RT’s remarkable popularity on YouTube.com.
Kaspersky releasing their source code? No. Nothing really changes and this is part of the ongoing Russiagate controversy further revealing how bereft of proof against Pres. Trump Russiagate is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OyoxHEGJfs — RT’s report on this, which is typical of the media’s take on this issue.
– US, in their Russophobic fearmongering and diversion away from Hillary Clinton’s losing her 2nd POTUS race known as “Russiagate”, has targeted a bunch of things associated with Russia. One of them is Kaspersky software. US govt. claims that Kaspersky software is untrustworthy because it is Russian owned.
– Kaspersky software writes and publishes a nonfree (not referring to price, but referring to the lack of software freedom for users to run, inspect, share, and modify the program) anti-malware program. Another name for this kind of software is proprietary software.
– US govt. said they wanted Kaspersky off their federally-owned computers, and some American electronic stores also followed suit pulling Kaspersky from their shelves (such as Best Buy and Office Depot).
– Kaspersky recently revealed a plan to allow some unnamed set of security researchers and government representatives inspect the source code to Kaspersky’s anti-malware software.
– There is no evidence that Kaspersky software did anything wrong, no evidence justifying the US govt./American reseller reaction along the lines of reasoning they offer to back their decision (which is all too typical of the entire Russiagate affair).
Current situation/problem with most reporting on this:
– the proper reason to reject Kaspersky’s nonfree software is that it is nonfree — users’ software freedom is not respected when they get a copy of the software.
– this means that one should also reject all of the other nonfree software including nonfree anti-malware programs from Microsoft, McAfee, Norton, and others. This is a critical point that most reporting never brings to your attention.
– the reason to not trust Kaspersky’s nonfree software is the same reason you shouldn’t trust any other publisher’s nonfree software: no matter how technical and willing to inspect source code you are, you are prohibited from reviewing, running, altering, and sharing copies of nonfree program source code. That means even if you’re willing to hire someone to do this on your behalf, the only people you can hire are the very people you can’t trust.
– so what’s really on offer from Kaspersky here? *Some* people are being given read-only access to Kaspersky’s anti-malware source code. This small set of people have no license to modify the code they’re allowed to see, no license to distribute copies (either verbatim or modified) of what they’re being allowed to see, and therefore Kaspersky isn’t respecting their software freedom either. The rest of the Kaspersky anti-malware program users get nothing they don’t already have — nothing changes for them. So in the end, nobody gets software freedom with Kaspersky’s software and you’ll never know if any information coming from this small set of users is trustworthy. All of this in pursuit of clearing Kaspersky’s name with the American media which is still chasing a Russophobia they won’t admit to.
Regarding research into quantum cryptography
Here’s a note about my understanding of quantum entanglement aka what Einstein once called “spooky action at a distance”. Buckle up, this gets very weird very quickly.
It’s possible to “entangle” two objects (say, photons spinning one way or another) such that their spins are linked. This means we can know something about the system (the collection of entangled particles) but not the individual components. So one can predict the spin of one photon by looking at another entangled photon. You can’t tell which way they’re spinning until you measure the photon, so you could say that until you take the measurement the photon is spinning in all directions (much like Schrödinger’s famous cat in a box which, from an outside-the-box perspective, can be said to be both alive and dead at the same time until someone opens the box and “fixes” the state of the cat). The act of measurement is said to set the state of the object.
It turns out that the entanglement persists even if the photons are separated. Scientists have separated a pair of entangled photons many kilometers away and determined that they remained entangled.
This is exciting because this property of entanglement can be put to use for an encryption system (among other things). Long strings of entangled photons could be used as an encryption key that tells the parties on the communications channel if anyone is spying on the connection. If anyone eavesdrops on this connection the act of examination (listening in) would disturb the encryption key and alert the parties that their communication is compromised. Our current encryption system doesn’t detect spying in this way. Hence the NSA can make a copy of encrypted communication (say, in their new data facility in Utah) and break the encryption when they figure out how to do that and find out what we were doing without us knowing.
We could also use entanglement for high speed information conveyance. This would be very interesting and possibly increase the number of what we currently call ISPs for everyone; no more local monopolies.
We can’t put entangled photons in optical fibre connections because they degrade too rapidly to remain useful. But theoretically a satellite in space could send quantum information through space. Jian-Wei Pan, a physicist at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai, is working on this. Plans include:
intercontinental quantum key distribution between stations in China and
Austria, which will require holding one half of an entangled photon pair
on board until the Austrian ground station appears within view of the
satellite. He also plans to teleport a quantum state—a technique for
transferring quantum-encoded information without moving an actual
object—from a third Tibetan observatory to the satellite
according to https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/china-s-quantum-satellite-achieves-spooky-action-record-distance
NOVA’s “The Fabric of the Cosmos” chapter 3 by Brian Greene has a very good explanation of quantum mechanics and teleportation problems (hint: you must die in the process of scanning your quantum state to move your information and be assembled from particles on the other end!). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEorCX1I8CM has a recording of this chapter. It’s difficult to assimilate because the behavior quantum theory describes is so unfamiliar but it is fascinating. Quantum mechanics is very weird (much to Einstein’s chagrin, ultimately we live in a universe run by statistics) but one of the most repeatedly proven theorems in science.
Subject A note on avoiding online censorship with many copies
Date 2017-10-21 18:32
According to http://freebeacon.com/national-security/youtube-suspends-account-chinese-dissident/ Chinese dissident Guo Wengui’s YouTube.com account has a “strike” against it which means there is a 90-day block on new live-stream postings of videos. His other videos on the account are accessible.
I don’t read Chinese and freebeacon.com’s article doesn’t point to his YouTube.com page, so I had to guess at where his page is. It might be https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO3pO3ykAUybrjv3RBbXEHw
From the freebeacon.com article:
Guo has become widely popular throughout the world among Chinese and
others who see him as a leading figure advocating for democratic
political reform in China. His YouTube videos were widely circulated in
China and around the world despite censorship restrictions.
Guo is a billionaire real estate developer who has become a
pro-democracy activist and has been seeking to prompt reforms within
what he regards as a Communist Party-dominated “kleptocracy.”
I think this should be looked at as a problem that modern Internet use was designed to create for non-technical users: instead of making videos available in many places (so when some are in some way disabled, even temporarily, other copies remain), people are encouraged to think that it’s right and proper to host everything in one spot. This makes censorship easy and effective for the admins of that one service.
Metaphorically speaking, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. License your work to share, and host copies on multiple servers including your own, and host copies via decentralized file sharing systems such as BitTorrent. One effective way to do this is uploading to https://archive.org/ — each archive.org upload is also available via BitTorrent. As long as the material is mirrored by other users individuals can keep copies available even if archive.org disables or deletes their copy.
Date 2017-10-21 12:08
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rt-kremlin-tv-adverts-on-tube-trigger-call-for-ofcom-inquiry-llk0v0p7m — Times of London article which apparently lies to its readers about RT and now calls RT “Kremlin TV”.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KiugspfwIY — RT’s response including a transcript of feedback to Times of London which, in print, they deny receiving, but in fact acknowledged. It seems that the MSM is having a hard time coming up with valid reasons for objecting to RT but that doesn’t stop them from making RT a scapegoat.
http://www.europeanvalues.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Overview-of-RTs-Editorial-Strategy-and-Evidence-of-Impact.pdf — a paper from the “European Values” group listing guests on RT shows and framing anti-2003 Iraq War RT ads as “RT’s Conspiratorial Advertisements about the Iraq War” (page 15 of the PDF)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQCQ-rCDnNU — Nikki Haley, Hillary Clinton are embarrassing themselves again: both claims RT is meddling in US elections and engaging in “warfare” against multiple countries, HRC claims RT is part of the reason she didn’t win the 2016 US presidential election and claims RT is starting a Scottish branch. RT says they have no such plans. But even if RT did, so what? How is that evidence of anything wrong or bad? Plus an entertaining point-by-point takedown of HRC. There’s no evidence to back up HRC’s claims and she offers none.
HRC: In Germany, members of Parliament have been hacked by Russia. Washington Post: “As Germans prepare to vote, a mystery grows: Where are the Russians?” New York Times: “German election mystery: Why no Russian meddling?”
HRC: “In France, Macron’s campaign was hit by a massive cyberattack just
before their presidential election” RT asking Macron: Do you have any
evidence that Russian hackers are hacking your emails? > Macron: No.
Guillaume Poupard, Director General of France’s National Cybersecurity
Agency: It’s not possible to say it’s obviously a state, it’s obviously
a criminal group, it really can be anyone. In the attack itself, the
simplicity of the technical part can make us think it’s just a simple
person who created it, and so this person can be in any country with any
kind of motivation.
HRC: Maybe you’ve even seen the ads in the London Underground from one
Russian-funded state propaganda source bragging “Watch RT and find out
who we are planning to hack next”. The fact is they’re also opening a
new Scottish bureau.
RT: Sorry to disappoint… We are not.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQQwBfux9i0 — another debunked “RT is propaganda” piece from a year ago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia40_u9-R1w — John Kerry dismissing RT as “propaganda bullhorn” 3 years ago.
Another Democracy Now embarrassment — We all know about how DN simply failed to cover the DNC lawsuit and its national ramifications. It looks like DN is passing up another story with national ramifications, thus potentially creating another embarrassment for itself: Mike Tolkin, NYC mayoral candidate, was banned from debating. Voting is on November 7, 2017.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbatGzQq8bQ — Redacted Tonight interview with Lee Camp.
https://www.democracynow.org/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=tolkin — as of the time/datestamp on this email, returns 0 hits.
This is noteworthy because:
1. Tolkin is in DN’s home town. It couldn’t be more convenient for DN to interview Tolkin about his candidacy, his week spent sleeping on the street to better understand the plight of the NYC homeless, or his other campaign planks.
2. DN has previously brought up NYC-centric stories — https://www.democracynow.org/search?query=new+york+city+mayor&relevance=1#search_results shows these stories: https://www.democracynow.org/2005/11/3/juan_gonzalez_analyzes_the_new_york where “Juan Gonzalez Analyzes the New York City Mayoral Race” which aired before that election, https://www.democracynow.org/2005/12/21/mayor_bloomberg_condemns_new_york_city “Mayor Bloomberg Condemns New York City Transit Strike, MTA Workers Hold Firm”, and https://www.democracynow.org/2005/12/21/a_debate_on_the_new_york “A Debate on the New York City Transit Strike”. So we know that these stories are acceptable to DN to run.
It’s important that DN is fine with running their analysis before the election because that means DN wants their reportage to be treated as a matter for helping voters determine their vote. Running an interview with Tolkin very close to election day or after the election means a reduced or no chance (respectively) for DN’s would-be interview to have an effect on viewers who can vote in that election.
These stories have national ramifications or pose opportunities to bring up national problems as well, and so does the Tolkin candidacy.
3. DN made a big deal out of their 2016 POTUS debate where DN inserted 3rd party candidates into the CPD-run debate footage, and gave the 3rd-party candidates the same questions and time limits.
Where is DN’s coverage of this? As Redacted Tonight’s host Lee Camp pointed out in his interview with Tolkin, Tolkin is running “to the left of the incumbent Democratic Party candidate Bill DeBlasio”.
As Gonzalez said in 2005 in the aforementioned story, “normally, an incumbent is already way up, you know, has a leg way up on the challenger”. What does that say about 0 hits on DN’s website in a search for “tolkin”?
Who benefits in this 2017 NYC mayoral race, and who benefits from this lack of coverage so far? The Democratic Party.
DN still has time to explore the issues Tolkin’s campaign brings up before the NYC mayoral election. DN still has time to interview Tolkin. Let’s see if they remain silent like they did about the revealing DNC lawsuit.
https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-counters-mpaa-and-riaas-rehashed-piracy-complaints-171020/ — one of the interesting effects of Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince’s comment about “kicking [Daily Stormer] off the Internet” is that it reveals Cloudflare can use whatever excuse it wants to cancel a Cloudflare contract.
Cloudflare claimed in their blog that “The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology.” but they don’t quote any Daily Stormer language to back this up, this doesn’t seem to rise to the level of canceling a contract (as opposed to sending a clearly worded rebuke) and Cloudflare’s policy used to be that it would not terminate a customer’s contract or take down site content “due to political pressure”. What’s more likely is that political pressure pushed for Prince to respond, Prince didn’t agree with (or didn’t want to be seen agreeing with) Daily Stormer’s white-supremacist views. So the contract was broken by Cloudflare. Prince’s naiveté on this knows no end, as he told CNBC “I would regret that as a policy, but it was just one instance. I don’t regret the decision.” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/24/cloudflare-ceo-matthew-prince-explains-why-he-booted-the-daily-stormer.html).
Cloudflare’s inconsistent choices have opened a new chapter in this story: other parties want Cloudflare to use their power to kick others off the service. MPAA & RIAA, corporate movie and music publisher lobbyists, want alleged file sharers to be kicked off Cloudflare’s service just as Cloudflare kicked off Daily Stormer.
Cloudflare published a paper in which they said they did not want to become “internet police”:
Slowly however, a wider net of intermediaries — from hosting providers
to search engines, eCommerce platforms and other internet players — have
been encouraged to help address new societal challenges, to help ‘clean
up the web’, and effectively become internet police. Innovation
continues but at the same time is threatened.
In their Daily Stormer cancellation they’ve completely gone against that so MPAA & RIAA accuse Cloudflare of “masking the location of sites” that allegedly infringe their clients’ copyrights thus making it harder to locate the original site and identify the owner.
The conflict between Cloudflare’s pro-free speech remarks and recent Daily Stormer cancellation is indistinguishable from Cloudflare doing whatever it wants (including breaking contracts ad hoc) and asking for an exception to adhering to free speech principle which amounts to freedom of speech for speech they like, contract cancellation for speech they don’t like.
I also offer a reminder that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbatGzQq8bQ is an example of the take on the news you won’t find in any mainstream corporate media. RT’s Redacted Tonight makes Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Jim Jeffords, Trevor Noah, Sarah Silverman, et al look like the corporate shills they are. Redacted Tonight is proof by existence that a comedy news program can be simultaneously funny, insightful, and challenge the status quo by bringing new views to an audience.
This is the second time in the past year Redacted Tonight has covered a story of substance (the national implications of Tolkin’s ignored NYC mayoral candidacy, and the lawsuit against the DNC) you simply won’t find coverage of in the mainstream media (or, sadly, Democracy Now, which is increasingly indistinguishable from the mainstream media particularly on stories that make the Democrats look bad).
Date 2017-10-20 19:21
https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2017/safetycalendar.html — a list of reasons twitter.com will suspend an account or “place the account behind an interstitial” (whatever that means) for expressing speech the service doesn’t like. For example, on 2017-11-03 twitter.com will:
— “start suspending accounts for organizations that use violence to advance their cause”
— update their policy “in the coming weeks to include hateful imagery and symbols” disallowing such symbols in avatars or profile headers. Don’t worry: “We will share examples of hateful imagery and symbols when the policy is finalized”.
— encourage other users to report “rule violations” in what twitter.com calls “witness reporting” (in 2017-12 and 2018-01).
None of this comes with clear definition of terms one needs defined to understand how this is supposed to be implemented. The vagueness twitter.com use these rules to explain stopping users from talking about sexual, religious, complaints about corporate power, and examination of freedom of speech itself. Parodies of twitter.com’s logo could be a “hateful image”, encouraging users to stop using twitter.com could be using “violence to advance their cause”, and so on.
So under corporate power this is how freedom of speech dies with modern-day online services:
— users agree to go along with centralization of services (agree to horrible terms of service),
— the service is thus empowered to treat the users any way the service owners want and use that power to impose increasingly restrictive limits over time (the owners undoubtedly point to a term in the terms of service which says the terms will change and users will agree to the changes by default),
— most users go along with the limits and see that their speech contradicting corporate power are eliminated from the service.
You’re much better off with a highly decentralized set of services run from your home (ala the https://Freedombox.org/ project where users will eventually be asked to buy a small, inexpensive server they plug in and run themselves and run FreedomBox on it so all of the services has sane, self-maintaining defaults) and multiple redundant ISPs to offer you service (including a desperately-needed government-run always-on ISP which is not allowed to cut you off).
Regime change war and being “cavalier”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyxdmuUUgDw — US wants regime change in Venezuela
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0VCbAY_06k — HRC objects to Trump’s ways of dealing with North Korea, calls it “cavalier”. But she had no objection to Obama administration’s rejection of the “double freeze” policy — a practical method to de-nuke N. Korea which is shared across Obama & Trump’s administrations. So how did rejecting “Double Freeze” go from being okay under Obama to “cavalier” under Trump? More HRC bullshit, I guess.
Compare two recent takes on the Weinstein/Hollywood morality scandal:
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/12/nbc_reportedly_axed_the_harvey_weinstein — from Democracy Now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWPDBXZslSE — from RT’s “America’s Lawyer”
The latter is significantly more informative and useful to properly diagnose what’s going on, who knew, and what could be done about it.
The DN interview gets speculative and shameful around the part about Seth MacFarlane’s joke on the Oscars broadcast:
AMY GOODMAN: And this is a clip of Seth MacFarlane announcing the 2013
Oscar nominations, when MacFarlane joked about what Harvey
Weinstein—about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior.
SETH MacFARLANE: The 2012 nominees for best performance by an actress in
a supporting role are Sally Field in Lincoln, Anne Hathaway in Les
Misérables, Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook, Helen Hunt in The
Sessions and Amy Adams in The Master. Congratulations, you five ladies
no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.
AMY GOODMAN: That was in 2013. Seth MacFarlane has since responded to
the resurfacing of his comment. On Wednesday, he tweeted, quote, “In
2011, my friend and colleague Jessica Barth, with whom I worked on the
Ted films, confided in me regarding her encounter with Harvey Weinstein
and his attempted advances. She has since courageously come forward to
speak out. It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the
Oscars in 2013, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a hard swing
in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing
and anger. There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse
of power such as this. I respect and applaud my friend Jessica and those
sharing their stories for their decision to come forward, and for being
champions of the truth.”
Just as the interviewees (IRIN CARMON, TOMI-ANN ROBERTS) apparently are free to speculate that MacFarlane was “punching down” (making fun of victims) instead of cleverly pointing out to the public that which Hollywood knew but the national or global public likely did not know, I am apparently empowered to conclude that they are reaching for reasons to be angry. The situation on its own wasn’t enough to talk about, so it was time to bring in MacFarlane’s joke here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLNwSsbyleM — Faith in US media continues to plummet. It’s no accident that Russiagate continues apace.
Freedom of speech
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIWNy_yTZpY — Only one democratic way to fight against what you disagree with — Putin.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcQ3GlEgYL4 — Univ. of Florida prematurely calls “state of emergency” for pending lecture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DNchiL-_yI — “The Resident” exhibits precisely the wrong take on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s comment about freedom of speech. “The Resident” even contradicts herself in the span of this piece.
Subject note on Patton Oswalt’s latest comedy special (but it’s politically relevant too)
Date 2017-10-18 23:07
A friend of mine showed me Patton Oswalt’s latest comedy special “Annihilation”. Oswalt begins with predictably corporate mainstream media-friendly and usefully distracting anti-Trumpisms (Hillary Clinton is described as a “very qualified” candidate while anyone who voted for Trump’s elector is indistinguishable from supporting racism). What’s really important for Oswalt? To get “a woman president” (no need to examine her political record or campaign funding sources) which in turn repeats the excuse that Hillary Clinton lost because she’s a woman. I suppose it’s inconceivable that she failed to carry even Obama’s votes because of her pro-war, pro-TPP, anti-environmental, Israel-can-do-no-wrong record.
At one point Oswalt delivered a joke about why Trump became US President — he did it for spite:
I empathize with Trump. I don’t sympathize with him but I get it —
I understand his origin story, I know why he’s got this job. You
know it too: he went to the Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama made fun
of him, “No you don’t, no! Fuck that. I’m takin’ your job. You don’t
make fun of me.”. And then he spent $40 million and broke his ass
for a year. Now he’s got the job, and the job sucks.
So the ostensibly “very qualified” Hillary Clinton wasn’t able to win against someone who ran for US President out of spite?
The special didn’t strike me as just unfunny but also thoroughly uninformed and notably unclever; a series of missed opportunities where I didn’t hear good jokes based on insights about what’s actually happening. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that political comedy should humorously take on why Trump became a duly-elected POTUS and simultaneously challenge an audience a little. Bring in some facts to help motivate the audience to more critically see Hillary Clinton and get away from needlessly alienating Trump voters. Look at where Clinton got her campaign money (Saudi Arabian business leaders, for example) and make reasonable inferences about what that means for her alleged feminism.
Election research tells us that one of the relevant factors to explain Clinton’s loss was anti-war support (3 swing states in particular — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — according to https://theintercept.com/2017/07/10/study-finds-relationship-between-high-military-casualties-and-votes-for-trump-over-clinton/), would-be Democratic Party voters who chose not to vote instead of voting for Clinton’s elector, Clinton’s inability to retain Obama voters (thus making it hard to have the racist-voter label stick), and a Republican Party vote which seems to have mostly held for Trump’s elector. A lack of Democratic Party support amongst voters apparently led to that party losing a majority of state governorships, control of the House, and the Senate. I thought everyone knew this was Clinton’s election to lose, what with her massive lead as reported by virtually all of the mainstream corporate media (well over 90% chance of winning), millions spent on media buys from a widely-supportive mainstream corporate media, and so much mainstream media time spent not analyzing her (apparently off-putting) record. How clever it would have been for Oswalt to convey understanding any of that and make jokes around these things which actually happened.
Speaking of Obama’s Correspondents’ Dinners, one recent event stood out during Obama’s administration: at the 2010 Dinner, President Obama made a joke about a drone attack on The Jonas Brothers, a musical group his daughters like (“Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you: Predator Drones. You will never see it coming.”). At that time Obama was one of the few people who had the power to extrajudicially assassinate anyone (including Americans and children). And he did just that. Obama killed thousands (mostly completely innocent people as far as we can tell). He killed anyone he wanted without due process thus making this drone quip not a joke at all but a serious reminder of the Peace Laureate’s power, and a reminder of his indifference to ethics and international law. There ought to be time to bring this up in a humorous way now that Obama is out of office. But that’s unlikely because the life-and-death power underlying Obama’s quip is very important to the Deep State/Permanent Government.
To explain this another way: I imagine that if Pres. Trump says something like this “joke” at any time in his presidency, people like Oswalt will be in an ironic bind: they can’t complain about Trump saying that joke without reminding people that the drone war exists. Oh what a tough row to hoe!
What we do know is that when Obama actually did say that, most mainstream media celebrated Obama (see https://theintercept.com/2016/05/01/d-c-elite-hated-larry-wilmores-drone-joke-last-night-but-loved-obamas-in-2010/). Even those who pointed out reasonable objections to Obama’s drone line stopped before spelling out the lethal consequences for drone attack victims or getting into the criminality of Obama’s murders. For example, John Oliver did a segment on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” about the drone war during Obama’s administration but Oliver scarcely connected the killings to Obama’s administration; more time was spent informing the public of the Trump family’s previous last name “Drumpf” and other non-lethal minor oddities presented so as to be embarassing to the Trump family.
An even better joke would have been to point out the continuity of policy under the G.W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations: our many endless wars which chiefly benefit the war profiteers, our bank-run economy, our HMO-led healthcare delivery schemes, and more are different only in minor ways. All the same beneficiaries that would have been in-place had Clinton become POTUS, by the way. Trump made the Permanent Government/Deep State nervous for a little while during the 2016 campaign when he talked as if he would break with the bipartisan pro-war consensus (he questioned US hegemony and brought up that the Iraq war was based on lies, lies the “very qualified” Sen. Clinton fully supported). This is why you saw the big pro-war demonstration at Clinton’s 2016 DNC rally podium. It wouldn’t be long before we saw clear confirmation that both corporate parties really work for the big businesses.
And that’s whose interests jokes like Oswalt’s serve. This means Oswalt and Pres. Trump have something in common — they’re both weak against corporate power: Trump is weak against what’s known as the Deep State or Permanent Government, and comics (even Oswalt who said he was exceptionally well-paid appearing before drunken gamblers without telling a single joke) are weak against the mainstream corporate media by echoing their line instead of challenging it.
Date 2017-10-18 00:43
Just a few for now…
Russiagate lives on like a bad penny. When does this become war?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aluqEcCfM0 — RT being pressured to register as “foreign agent” in US which will have huge freedom of speech consequences. Not only is this bad news in itself, but where is Democracy Now! on this? I see no coverage of this in their website. Remember when DN cared about press freedom? The last RT headline on DN was from a year ago today 2016-10-18 — https://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/18/headlines/british_bank_cuts_services_to_russian_backed_rt_network — which itself offers no supportive free-speech commentary on it but is keen to point out that RT is “[A] station, which relies on state funds from Moscow”. When was the last time you heard DN talk about the BBC in a similar vein since it too (“a station which relies on state funds from London” since license fees are collected as a tax and evasion carries criminal punishment)?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuzExvS_tTo — Weinstein scandal doesn’t seem to include links to the Kremlin. How can this be? Doesn’t Russiagate bullshit require connecting anything unsavory to Russia in some way?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2kM3Ile9OQ — ‘Hustler’ publisher Larry Flynt offering $10M for “smoking gun” evidence to impeach Pres. Trump. I guess he’s done championing freedom of speech and ready to ever more publicly throw in his lot with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtLEHARp69I — Russiagate panel discussion and how this could lead to war with Russia.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjkuhTHhcKE — CNN claims Russian meddling is using the videogame “Pokemon Go” to somehow carry out meddling. No evidence, no coherent argument, just more sourceless accusation from fake news generator CNN. Plenty of good catchup on Russiagate here.
Email scandal revival
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DchDuBJ2Pkw — HRC’s email scandal is back in the news; Comey’s conclusion about the investigation appears to have been written before the investigation concluded. This is the James Comey who called Russia “certainly, in my view, the greatest threat of any nation on Earth”. As Comey told us in said conclusion, “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.” (https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/statement-by-fbi-director-james-b-comey-on-the-investigation-of-secretary-hillary-clinton2019s-use-of-a-personal-e-mail-system). In other words, HRC is special, you are not special.
Date 2017-10-14 19:08
A few notes on NfN #354:
Sheryl Sandberg is the “Lean In” author — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_In — but it’s worth being careful and narrow when supporting her words in the context of her position at Facebook because of how Facebook’s “core values and business plan” are implemented. It’s important not to endorse the spying that goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech, particularly when one relies on private organizations to carry one’s messages around the Internet.
Facebook is a proprietary system fully capable of rigging search results or failing to deliver messages thus favoring certain messages over others.
Sandberg’s words certainly were supportive of free speech and in the abstract are worth applauding as you say, but Facebook users are giving Facebook the power to shape and/or censor what messages they receive (powered by Facebook’s spying throughout Facebook and across other websites).
Facebook’s spying is inextricably tied together with Facebook’s power over speech. Every modern social media system currently in widespread use (Twitter, Google+, Microsoft’s new systems, Facebook, etc.) has the same power over its users but not every COO/CEO says what Sandberg said. So support for encouraging people to speak freely on Facebook (because they’re applauding what Sandberg said) means supporting Facebook spying as well. I think most people want to be able to speak freely and privately, only letting their discussions be monitored when they’re consenting to the monitoring. But I don’t think most computer users know that most tech-based conveniences they have are spying on them.
It might also be worth reminding people that corporate sentiments change. Cloudflare is a website caching organization; if one hosts a website that gets a lot of visitors, one can hire a website cache to make a copy of the site and handle visitor’s requests. This way of responding to website requests is cheaper than buying beefier server hardware or faster network connections.
Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO, went from saying something like what Sandberg said:
Even if it were able to, Cloudfare does not monitor, evaluate, judge or store content appearing on a third party website…We’re the plumbers of
the internet. We make the pipes work but it’s not right for us to
inspect what is or isn’t going through the pipes. If companies like ours
or ISPs start censoring there would be an uproar. It would lead us down
a path of internet censors and controls akin to a country like China.
in http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/anonymous-opisis-cloudflare-refuses-block-service-pro-isis-websites-1495758 and https://www.cloudflare.com/media/pdf/cloudflare-whitepaper-intermediary-liability.pdf before Heather Heyer died in Charlottesville, Virginia, to saying:
I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them [Daily Stormer] off the Internet.
Cloudflare says their terms of service support Prince’s decision to cancel the Daily Stormer’s Cloudflare contract — https://blog.cloudflare.com/why-we-terminated-daily-stormer/ says Cloudflare “reserve[s] the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion”.
So I don’t put much stock in Sandberg’s words for my own messages (I’m not on Facebook), nor would I recommend anyone else rely on Sandberg’s statement because that means encouraging people to submit to Facebook spying. I say that even while I too applaud the recognition of freedom of speech for its own sake. Instead, I recommend diversifying one’s message distribution — publish in multiple places and deny any one organization from having the power to prevent your messages from getting published. Also be careful that freedom of speech isn’t just a big come-on for spying.
The public could use end-to-end encrypted realtime message delivery where it’s not clear (except to the individual participants) who is sending messages to whom. The goal should be to cut out the intermediaries (due to spying) entirely while granting participants freedom of speech such that a user could choose to not receive messages matching certain criteria but nobody can stop one from speaking. Such a system is difficult to design and difficult to deliver.
Date 2017-10-12 22:15
Lots of media news notes today:
Hollywood organizations were apparently willing to keep the alleged Harvey Weinstein abuse a secret for years. It’s not surprising that some of these organizations would not want to be forced to reveal that they’re systematically paying women less too. This is very much like the food/drug companies not telling us what’s in the foods and drugs they sell us, but they’re a bit more clever about it — foods come with vague ingredients and percentage allowances for substances they don’t have to report.
NYT editor Nicholas Dudich (who claims to have worked on both Obama and Clinton’s campaigns, and claimed but later went back on a claim of Comey being his “Godfather”) reveals to Project Veritas that he knows and does manipulate the news by placing stories critical of supportive groups in less-likely-to-be-seen areas, being biased (instead of being “objective”) about stories, and in so doing violated the NYT’s ethics code. They have an ethics code?
YouTube appears to be “curating” what is promoted in its searches as well, hardly a content agnostic algorithm at work.
Russiagate is falling down, falling down, falling down…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap9IU4IocXA — No proof found of NYT’s claims of Kaspersky spying.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Pls2XZDg8 — Hollywood hypocrisy over identity politics as it becomes clear Weinstein’s alleged abuse of women goes back years and was silently tolerated because he made so much money for Hollywood companies and Democratic Party campaigns and causes to which Weinstein and his associates donated.
Russiagate falling apart more and more: the very people whose identity politics opinions were supposed to be the major reason for rejecting Trump and favoring HRC are found to have been harboring an abuser of women all along. My stars!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nadApeG9ZkE — Twitter and Facebook “content policing” violating freedom of speech?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcotMECVRw8 — Google and Facebook facing calls for tougher “content regulation” while Facebook CEO uses flooding as literal backdrop for his self-promotion. This is the fellow who may be running for POTUS in 2020.
People are coming to terms with the conflicts in their own desires — they want no more “fake news” but they also don’t champion free speech as a good unto itself which naturally includes recognizing that freedom of speech means speech gets messy. People say different often conflicting things and it’s up to us all to ferret through the messages and figure out what really happened. It’s possible to do this, but it takes more reading and critical thinking work than blind trust and a 30-minute news program can deliver.
And I think it’s a good time to reiterate my earlier warning: don’t rely on one host for your published data. UPTV errs in uploading its programs only to YouTube. I think it would be wise for AWARE on the Air and News from Neptune to upload all of the episodes to multiple places. Take what RT is facing as a warning to you all: today YouTube is the chief news medium with more views than a lot of other places and a sustainable media model because people keep feeding it more video in a day than one can watch in decades of constant viewing. Diversify your audience’s sources and you increase the odds that your audience can see your work. Rely on one source and that source gains the power to censor your work.
Subject DN faces a possible challenge: How to report on Weinstein story without adversely implicating the Democratic Party?
Date 2017-10-12 12:50
Amy Goodman’s internal contradictions are coming to haunt her: she’s a Democratic Party supporter (as is evidenced by the stories she never brings up such as the now-dead DNC lawsuit and the confirming language she asks in questions I’ve cited to you talking about the Russophobic allegations without pointing out that they’re debunked and have ulterior motives) and I still believe (although I have no evidence to back up my belief) that she’s taking money from organized Democratic Party donors who are telling her “Don’t make the Democratic Party look bad”. We already know from her Iraq War invasion coverage that she finds it perfectly acceptable to interject opposing views when those views suit her: contradicting news stories with unembedded reportage, repeating summaries of such reports in her talks given on tours, and citing Hans Blix’s contradictory reports when the US Government would claim that Iraq had WMDs.
This gets to why the Harvey Weinstein story is so interesting and not just another abuse-of-power story:
– Weinstein donated significant sums of money to Democratic Party candidates, some small fraction of which was allegedly re-donated from the DNC to other Democratic Party-sympathetic causes in an attempt to make it look like the dirty DNC won’t further sully its image with Weinstein money. I say “further sully” because of the apparent legal but unethical and undemocratic collusion which resulted in stifling the Bernie Sanders campaign and letting Hillary Clinton become the Democratic Party nominee in 2016 (ultimately running a losing candidate instead of running Bernie Sanders, who even Donald Trump publicly admitted he would likely have lost to).
– Weinstein is on record abusing his power by taking advantage of women who want to be higher profile actors in Weinstein’s movies. This apparently went on for years and many people knew about it but nobody spoke up, including powerful people in the Democratic Party (this might be the reason why Hillary Clinton, alleged to have defended her cheating husband by threatening his mistresses to prevent them from speaking out, says so little about Weinstein today). This sullies the Democratic Party in multiple ways: they just lost a major presidential campaign run not on the issues but on morals — why vote for a man (Donald Trump) who said “Grab ’em by the pussy” when you can vote for a woman? Even after the election, Hillary Clinton’s feeling oppressed by Trump’s far-too-close distance from her during the televised “debates” was both a pack of lies and anything but professional. By the same token, we (ostensibly the DN audience) have to ask: why should we take DN seriously when its reportage is scarcely distinguishable from mainstream media news we’ve already largely dismissed, and tries hard to get away with making the Democrats not look as bad as they are and keep DN out of the fray?
– A significant part of the Weinstein story revolves around influence peddling via donations to political campaigns: Weinstein donates money to Democratic Party campaigns and causes, Goodman said in https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/12/tomi_ann_roberts_on_her_encounter “The New York Times reports Harvey Weinstein was represented in talks with the District Attorney’s Office by two defense lawyers with ties to Cy Vance. One of Weinstein’s lawyers at the time donated $10,000 to Vance’s election campaign only days after Vance decided not to prosecute the case.”. This makes me wonder if this is hitting too close to home with DN’s finances which I understand to mostly come from grants and donations. Perhaps DN is more like the corporate media she eschews in that they all do the bidding of their most organized and largest sum donors: corporate media won’t cover war in a way that runs against Northrup-Grumman’s interests (for instance) and DN won’t cover any story that involves the Democratic Party in a way that runs against her Democratic Party-favoring donors.
So while today’s show is filled with reports of women being abused and stories of how hard it is to come forward publicly about that abuse, I’m curious how much of this story (including its future development) will be said to be tied to the Democratic Party in DN’s reportage. After all, something has to explain how Weinstein was able to get away with this for so long and with so many people in-the-know and it can’t all come down to abused women too scared to speak out publicly. There are too many structural elements (like making movies that sell well) in place and at stake to be explained away by talking about scared abused women.
Subject Re: She’s playing both sides…Amy Goodman and Russophobic attacks
Date 2017-10-11 00:12
is good but a clip from https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/10/julian_assange_accusations_of_wikileaks_trump below is also good:
AMY GOODMAN: So then, more recently, let’s turn to Roger Stone speaking to reporters following his appearance in this closed hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. His interview with lawmakers was part of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
ROGER STONE: I made the case that the accusation that I knew about John Podesta’s email hack in advance was false, that I knew about the content and source of the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton was false, and that my exchange with someone claiming to be Guccifer 2.0, when viewed through the context, content and timing, was benign and innocuous.
AMY GOODMAN: Stone also told reporters he declined to name his WikiLeaks intermediary during the interview.
ROGER STONE: The reason I am not submitting that name is because the intermediary is a journalist, and our conversation was off the record. I’m an opinion journalist. He’s a journalist. I’m not going to burn somebody who I spoke to off the record. If he releases me, if he allows me to release it, I would be happy to give it to the committee. I’m actually going to try to do that.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, of course, Roger Stone isn’t a journalist, but what is your response to what he’s saying right here, that there was an intermediary between you and him, who was a journalist?
JULIAN ASSANGE: That the United States’ political culture has gone mad. Roger Stone is trolling epically the Democratic political class in order to elevate his profile. And it’s sad to see that Democracy Now! is buying into it.
AMY GOODMAN: Presenting the news is not buying into it. Presenting the news is having you respond to what he’s saying because you are the center of this, in this particular case, and it’s important to hear your voice.
JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, look, Amy—look, Amy, I’m getting annoyed. There is a historic event occurring this afternoon involving Catalonia, that could well change the nature of Europe, what forms of repression are acceptable within the Western world, and what moves populations can take in order to resist repression and come together to secure their self-determination. This has been the greatest Gandhian project that has occurred. Millions of Catalonians turning out to vote in the street are being beaten aggressively by Spanish security forces, being hacked by Spanish security forces, having their telephone exchange occupied, having their political leadership arrested, being threatened, as we saw today, with rebellion and put in prison for a minimum of 25 years.
That is going to spread throughout the Western world. The lessons of this are going to spread throughout the Western world to—yes, to secessionist movements, but also to the states trying to repress them and to repress people’s struggles for self-determination, in general. The discipline with which the Catalan population have carried out their referendum is astounding. Astounding, that millions of people are going to the polls, being beaten by the police, and not one image of them fighting back. Not one image. That’s incredible discipline. And similarly in their marches and so on. And if the U.S. left is not absolutely obsessed with what is happening there and the redefinition that is occurring of the nature of the relationship between population and state, well, I mean, I have no time for you.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we certainly had time for you today, Julian, and I think you made some really critical points, and they’re important. And I wanted to end on an issue that I also think that you care about, and that’s the issue of—well, Chelsea Manning is out of jail.
because it helps show that even guests are seeing there’s plenty of time for Russiagate on DN. I’m not sure the entire conversation made the transcript — the video has a recording of Assange answering her last question (that last question and Assange’s answer aren’t in that URL for some odd reason).
Meanwhile, RT reports that “another Trump-Russia collusion narrative bites the dust” in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuHPAOkRZWE
Subject She’s playing both sides…Amy Goodman and Russophobic attacks
From J.B. NicholsonAdd contact
To C. G. EstabrookAdd contact
Date 2017-10-10 23:59
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/10/julian_assange_accusations_of_wikileaks_trump 1st question is how Goodman handles this, just as I said before:
– she asks about this, no note of disbelief or editorial insert in her question allowing her to look like she takes the attacks at face value and thinks there’s something serious in them.
– leaves it up to the guest to point out these attacks are debunked, lies, and have ulterior motives. This further lets Goodman tell her (Democratic Party donors?) something akin to “that’s what a guest says and she can’t control what guests say. But at least she didn’t say that!” while simultaneously getting out the debunking via the guest.
This is radically different from how she handled other stories where the mainstream media carries one message (say, Iraq has WMDs!) and we know that’s not true (Goodman interjects with a report from Hans Blix). You get to know what Goodman wants you to take away from /her/ statements there, hence her show’s rise in audience circa run-up to G.W. Bush’s Iraq War.
There’s something going on here and I think Goodman is on the wrong side of it.
Subject Re: Russiagate: Where are we now, why does this matter?
Date 2017-10-05 22:01
C. G. Estabrook wrote:
‘…”Russiagate” hasn’t risen to the level of anyone being killed…’
What do you make of Seth Rich’s death?
We don’t yet have complete evidence that Seth Rich’s death is tied to this. It would be quite ironic to make his murder a part of this without proof while (quite rightly) demanding proof of the other assertions which constitute “Russiagate”.
Some of what we don’t know includes the complete details on how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks. We know that they were copied (the evidence points to someone copying the data from the hosting server to a USB key, which is quite feasible) but we don’t know exactly who did the copying. We know that these emails were somehow conveyed to WikiLeaks but the full chain of hand-off is not known. It would be good to have the details so we can connect the dots and tell the full story.
Maybe Seth Rich did this himself (we’re told his job included IT work in the DNC), maybe he passed the data to someone else who got a copy to WikiLeaks, maybe the chain is more involved somehow.
That said, I think it’s highly unlikely that:
– Seth Rich would be murdered for no reason.
– it’s a coincidence that Seth Rich’s so-called “robbery” left no clear indication of being robbed such as a missing wallet. It’s far more likely Rich was murdered on purpose and nothing was stolen from his body because the murderer worked quickly to escape being identified as the murderer.
– Julian Assange would bring up Seth Rich’s murder apropos of nothing as Assange did in that Dutch(?) interview. That mention is really the most clumsy behavior I’ve seen from Assange; I’m used to him being far more careful about his speech when he’s explaining anything about WikiLeaks’ publications. And this interview could have bad consequences for future whistleblowers who question going to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks also offered a $20k reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s killer.
– Seth Rich’s job in IT and the DNC played no role in getting the DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Server admins are usually in a position to do stuff like this, part of the reason I don’t recommend anyone use their work resources for personal purposes (particularly bad for state workers as their activity on work-owned equipment is subject to FOIA requests) or vice versa.
And the rush to label it a ‘conspiracy theory” fit only for the Alex Joneses of this world?
“Russiagate” is labeled a conspiracy theory to use that language as a slur intended to dismiss those who challenge any of the claims made and thus try to do away with people who bring up uncomfortable questions.
Those who like war and/or the Democrats (a largely overlapping set of people in Congress and corporate media) stand to benefit from this distraction from the truth. But their inability to bring the facts to their defense means they need to get rid of the pesky questions somehow.
Russiagate: The Democrats in high dudgeon and Democracy Now is helping them.
I’m calling it: Democracy Now (DN) is in the tank for the Democrats and can’t be relied on to analyze the now year-plus situation regarding the Russophobic lies.
We’ve had over a year of allegations that Russia somehow interfered with or “hacked” the US election, colluded with the Trump campaign to manufacture his electoral victory, wreaked havoc with various other US systems (electrical grid via Vermont, for instance), and created election problems in other countries (France, Germany, for example). DN talks about this stuff in headline stories and interviews like today’s interview with Masha Gessen.
The problem: Not one of the allegations has been backed with evidence. Every single claim is debunked by people on the scene or someone in a position to know what really happened. DN doesn’t report the follow-up details.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtIFmkAfYY does a good job of explaining the latest and overall situation. Russia Today (RT), named in many of these Russophobic attacks by name, does a far better job of covering this than DN.
So how well would that have played, say, during the run-up to the latest US Iraq invasion? We’d get government figures claiming weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq and never hear from Hans Blix and others saying otherwise.
Considering that in the current situation with Russia, we’re talking about another major world economy, a large population, and a country with nuclear weapons we should ask: Why should we settle for less than the complete story? Who benefits from this? The Democrats in their apparently unending pursuit
Consider Nermeen Shaikh’s question to Gessen from https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/5/russian_journalist_masha_gessen_on_trump
NERMEEN SHAIKH: The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee
announced Wednesday it’s reached the conclusion that Russia interfered
in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This comes as CNN reports a
number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and
Wisconsin, two states crucial to Trump’s victory in November. Republican
Senator Richard Burr said his committee was still examining evidence to
determine if there was any collusion between Moscow and the Trump
This question gives considerable setup information but no information on many salient counterpoints needed to properly understand what’s going on and who benefits from the lies.
Dan Kovalik (author of “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Villify Russia”) was interviewed by RT’s Ashley Banks in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtIFmkAfYY and Banks’ question explained things differently as well as conveying the nonsensical nature of this so-called investigation including pointing out many interesting counterpoints:
– collusion is not illegal.
– $100k of Facebook ads won’t buy enough of anything to overcome a multi-billion dollar PR effort (which is what the Democrats spent). As Richard Blair, Virginia state senator, puts it, “They’re talking about $100,000 worth of ads? That is a drop in the bucket. I mean that’s like throwing a small pebble into the Atlantic Ocean. You’re not going to affect anything with $100,000 worth of ads.”.
– the ads weren’t aimed at benefiting Trump or Clinton. Sen. Chair claims this constitutes “raising havoc” but is really just free speech. Democracy is messy.
– Hollywood movies and CNN lies are a part of the means by which the US tries to influence other countries political affairs including elections.
– no evidence linking Russia to these ads.
– not clear who exactly is being pointed to by talk of “Russians” buying ads: Russian citizens, citizens of other countries (including Americans) who happen to live in Russia, the Russian government, other people of some other organization?
– 25% of the ads were seen by nobody.
– why is ad buying considered “meddling”?
– Kovalik says “56% of the ones [ads] they claim are from Russia didn’t appear until after the 2016 election”.
– Dept. of Homeland Security retracted their claims of “hacks”
– What about the Morgan Freeman campaign spot that said Russia interfered with our election and that we were at war with Russia? Remember when DN was “the war and peace report”? Hollywood actors used to be victims of McCarthyism and now they’re pushing the new McCarthyism.
DN’s questions don’t get into any of these important counterpoints, Shaikh gives the side that makes it look like this investigation is being conducted by people whom we have no reason to raise questions about, and that the investigation itself should be taken seriously instead of looked at as a money and time-waster while far more important issues are in dire need of national attention (war reduction, war budget reduction, establishing a national jobs program, and more).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtSrtYo1lEI has more from RT on the Senate reporting that alleged meddling had no effect on vote totals:
Chairman US Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr: “We can certifiably say that no vote totals were affected, that the tallies are accurate, the outcome of the election based upon the count of votes — they did not in any way, shape, or form that we’ve been able to find, alter that.”
And then Burr launched a new Russophobic evidenceless offensive: Russia is trying to create havoc in upcoming elections!
I guess we get to watch out for that scare tactic play out more. I know a German official said something similar before the recent German elections in an attempt to be able to pre-deflect undesirable German election outcomes.
And another new threat that could become a reduction of reporter’s freedom of speech (something DN used to talk about): labeling RT a “foreign entity” and what precisely that constitutes for RT. RT’s Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan (summary version and followup reportage on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D3YfX_Ok1s and full version of conference is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxiQCilMrnw) talks about the unprecedented pressure RT faces now: social media sites being pressured not to work with RT (Google is dropping RT from one of its advertising package on YouTube despite Google telling RT that RT is “most watched TV news network on YouTube”), US considering making RT America “register as a foreign agent” in the US would mean RT American employees must supply personal details (not quite sure which details), RT America must supply transcripts of their shows, and RT America wouldn’t be able to get interviews with US officials. This could, as Simonyan said, push RT out of the US and the whole effort is against freedom of speech.
Where is DN on this threat to being boxed out (very much like a third-party or independent candidate is boxed out of debates with the two corporate parties)? Nowhere, as far as I can tell (judging by looking up stories on the DN website); DN simply doesn’t report this. The Russophobia has been going on for over a year and DN’s reporting is weak. The marginalization from modern media is rather new, so I’ll see if something develops on DN in the days to come.
Currently NfN and AOTA are hosted exclusively on YouTube.com. I understand why: the UPTV production facilities are used to using YouTube and YouTube has a large audience.
But https://www.dailydot.com/via/youtube-mashup-remix-copyright-universal/ describes why it’s important to diversify your hosting choices.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLyz42xXZvw is the story of another banned-from-YouTube story.
If “The Resident” is right, and what she says is quite reasonable, this is a golden opportunity for AWARE and NfN to seek getting copies of its own videos for self-hosting on their respective websites while all the videos can be fetched with some time, some storage, and a single youtube-dl command (youtube-dl is free software available at https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/). Even a directory of uploaded videos for each show would do the job, in a pinch.
But making YouTube your sole means of distributing the shows online seems like a bad choice to me.
I continue to recommend uploading to multiple places including archive.org. I don’t know of any stories of censorship involving archive.org.
Russiagate: leaked information sows doubt on Russian meddling claims.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsXIKaegYrQ has still more reminders of recent stories of evidenceless Russian interference or allegations of “hacking”. We can add the following issues to the long and growing list:
– Catalonia’s fight for independence involves RT’s coverage of Catalonia’s fight for independence, therefore RT shares in the blame. El País complains that RT has run 42 articles about the fight since August 2017. A news agency reporting news? Oh no!
– El País claims there’s a “global network that acted in favor of Donald Trump and Brexit turns attention to Spain” in https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/26/inenglish/1506413477_994601.html
– El País also says “Incorrect headlines such as EU will RESPECT Catalan independence but accession procedure must be followed.” but RT’s headline read “EU will ‘RESPECT’ Catalan independence but ‘accession procedure’ must be followed”. The words ‘respect’ and ‘accession procedure’ were quotes from someone else, the president of the EU Commission (video shows a quote).
– German elections gave Merkel a 4th term but allowed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party through to the Bundestag too. Politico blames a “Russian ‘botnet’ with links to Russia” for the rise of the AfD. There’s no evidence to back up Politico’s claims.
And now there’s a new theme in Russiagate: The lack of evidence is now evidence of something amiss!
– Washington Post says Russia already has influence in Germany in https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/09/22/why-vladimir-putin-isnt-worried-about-the-outcome-of-the-german-election/ “Russia’s corruption of German elites is well advanced.” So don’t question that, just accept it blindly and proceed with your lives.
– euObserver says German parties are already pro-Russian in https://euobserver.com/elections/139110 quotes a nameless source “[Russia] does not need to engage in the same kind of operation in Germany because four out of the main five parties there already take a pro-Russia line” in reference to “the SPD, the AfD, Die Linke, and the liberal FDP party”.
– but the best one comes from the liars at the New York Times (home to the articles telling us why we needed to invade Iraq) in https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/world/europe/german-election-russia.html “Russian influence operations, or active measures as they are known, tend to work only if no one is expecting them”. So it’s promoting claims without evidence (translation: lies) that helps us! Thank goodness for the noble “journalists” (translation: war party stenographers) who keep us from experiencing the awful wrath of those dirty Russian meddlers!
A Stanford study concluded that “fake news didn’t tip election against Clinton” https://observer.com/2017/02/stanford-study-fake-news-hillary-clinton-election-loss/ says:
Allcott and Gentzkow concluded, “Our data suggest that social media were
not the most important source of election news, and even the most widely
circulated fake news stories were seen by only a small fraction of
Americans. For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a
single fake news story would need to have convinced about 0.7 percent of
Clinton voters and non-voters who saw it to shift their votes to Trump.”
They added, “For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election,
a single fake article would need to have had the same persuasive effect
as 36 television campaign ads.”
TV is still king for news delivery and we all know $100k (the amount said to be spent on Facebook ads) won’t get you very far in national advertising.
In fact, the article also says:
The two fake news stories most widely believed in the study, as Empty
Wheel noted, happened to be pro-Clinton articles.
So this whole angle of Clinton and the Democrats blaming online trolls is even more clearly bullshit than it appeared to be on first blush when reading the transcript of the claims from the following:
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia): “What really concerns me [are reports] there were upwards of 1,000 paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia, in effect taking over a series of computers which are then called botnets that can generate news down to specific areas” — from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/russian-trolls-fake-news_us_58dde6bae4b08194e3b8d5c4
James Clapper, Dir. National Intelligence: “This was a multifaceted campaign. So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.” — in http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/01/05/russia_used_fake_news_to_influence_the_election_james_clapper_says.html You remember James Clapper, the guy who told us the NSA wasn’t spying on us.
Hillary Clinton at the “Code Conference” on May 31, 2015: “If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to — as we now know — the 1,000 Russian agents who were involved in delivering those messages. They were connected to the bots that are just out of control.” — in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgdJlzuaJ6k
Nobody asked how these alleged “1,000 Russian agents” connected to “bots” which are said to be “out of control” yet managed to conduct an effective campaign against her campaign?
So the old plot (Russian “hackers” or “bots” under tight coordination or “out of control”) is falling apart and the new plot (Pres. Trump’s businesses are a means for Russian mobsters to launder money) isn’t getting much press. Could it be that the old plot is getting crushed under the lack of evidence and weight of counter-evidence like the Stanford study, and the new plot isn’t bearing fruit as quickly as needed to hide the weaknesses of the old plot?
A couple reactions to segments of the latest News from Neptune. Thanks for mentioning my notes and sharing them.
Michael Moore’s flop play “The Terms of My Surrender”:
The New York Times has a disapproving review of Moore’s play as well (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/theater/review-michael-moore-bragging-on-broadway-in-the-terms-of-my-surrender.html): “you don’t have to disagree with Mr. Moore’s politics to find that his shtick has become disagreeable with age”, Moore “wants to help liberals turn their Post Traumatic Trump Disorder into practical action that might protect the country from four years of kleptocratic depredation” but he “falls short of offering seriously useful ideas about how individuals can make a difference […] Details are scant. Run for school board, he recommends. Be Rosa Parks. Download [an app]”. How vague and corporate-friendly.
Even within the guidelines of what NYT is willing to publish, it stands out to me that Moore’s play isn’t getting a good review from a member of the anti-Trump/pro-war mainstream media.
According to the NYT Moore’s ‘Surrender’ is a work-in-progress people are being charged to see: parts are cut between performances, Moore’s delivery is stuttery and “semi-impromptu” where “Moore affects a cute, common-man delivery that fools no one” even though the Belasco theater crowd (“including a few shills”) “claps for almost all of the bait he tosses”.
The NYT review points out Moore’s latest doesn’t dare specifically identify what he wants people to do to challenge what he finds objectionable about the Trump administration. But the NYT reviewer seems to be doing the same thing in finding Moore’s vagueness objectionable. I think it’s hard to identify policy choices that are both unique to the Trump administration and easily identified as horrible (these choices leave people dead, for instance). The continuity of policy across US administrations is simultaneously the most damning part of the Trump administration so far but it can’t be raised in a way that would benefit the Democrats that the mainstream media wanted to win.
Morgan Freeman’s piece with the “Committee to Investigate Russia” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz9PNoecNxU
Is it dangerous or silly? That’s a good and tough question. Put me down for ‘dangerous’: I see that it’s silly, and I’ve seen Morgan Freeman do silly stuff before — see any of his work on “The Electric Company” in the 1970s — and propaganda from other times and places often looks silly (how hamfisted was American propaganda of the past?) but pushing for war with Russia (which the piece starts with, “We have been attacked. We are at war.”) strikes me as remarkably dangerous no matter who is president in either country. Nuclear accidents are frequent, nearly launching an attack is far more common than commonly known, and if executed in full, disastrous. We’re fortunate that Putin seems to be dismissively looking on at our endless baseless accusations of Russian interference (interference in US election, taking over the US electrical grid via Vermont, interference in French election, interference in German elections, to name a few).
Where are we on Russiagate now: still no evidence to believe the many vague and weak claims made. The claims are shifting again: now $100k of Facebook ads are enough to cause the US government to claim Russia “hacked” the US election. There’s no evidence this happened, or that $100k will buy enough ads to overcome billions spent on campaign coverage, but the claims are so weak now that calls for evidence are almost superfluous. Instead the entire issue is done away with by asking “so what?” or “how is this different from people using their freedom of speech?”.
Why does this matter?
(Two copies of the same debate) encapsulate the current spate of allegations and reason why this matters. This is worth watching if only to see:
– how there’s still (despite months of assertions) no evidence to back up “Russiagate” accusations.
– that these accusations help foment war with Russia (more neoconservative war policy here),
– that these accusations distract attention/blame from the Democrats who can’t explain why they stuck to neoliberal economics and neoconservative war policy against a presidential candidate their candidate should have beaten handily,
– that we stand to lose more of our civil liberties (particularly freedom of speech) as we tolerate these baseless accusations — media organizations being treated as “state agents” put on lists for some kind of action (censorship, considering shutting them down because they advertise for themselves?, sanctions),
– And that repetitive emotionalism like what you’d expect to hear from an mildly injured child (“Johnny called me a name!”) is the only thing the Democrats have going for them in this fight. Budowsky’s contribution here is horrible because he is backing a horrible argument.
Indirectly this point about freedom of speech and restricting the media should be raising debate at Democracy Now. Years ago Amy Goodman would point out when other media organizations were silenced, threatened, or when journalists were harmed. “Russiagate” hasn’t risen to the level of anyone being killed* but if anyone can get away with making RT (named by name numerous times throughout Russiagate hearings and documents including in that shameful government report published during the last days of the Obama administration last year) less available, this is a real threat to media outfits that want to proper investigative journalism or make connections reported elsewhere.
I think that Lionel’s reaction does a good job of expressing my dissatisfaction with the mainstream coverage of Russiagate stories, my dissatisfaction with DN’s willingness to go along on Russiagate coverage (even though Lionel never mentions DN), and the harm Russiagate stories pose the longer Russiagate is taken seriously.