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Posts Tagged ‘internet monopolies’

Quick Thoughts on Trump’s Upcoming Order About Internet Monopolies

August 13, 2019 3 comments

A few days ago, I started seeing articles about people within the Trump administration leaking various drafts of an upcoming executive order which would allegedly “break the internet”. Other presstitutes have written pieces about how this order would “censor” the internet, and still others claim it would be “illegal” or something along those lines. As usual, my thoughts on this topic are nuanced and about the larger picture as opposed to most clickbait-type ‘hot takes’ found on the internet. Also, I am not going to pretend knowledge about the final version of that executive order nor will my views on this topic be popular with everyone.

So let us start by talking about the real reason why we are even having this discussion. It is no secret that the public image of internet monopolies, tech companies and basically anything they touch has suffered an irreversible decline during the past decade. Remember how you used to believe about Google, Amazon, FakeBook, Twitter, Apple etc were “innovators” in 2008-2009? Remember that time when most of you believed that Google could make no mistake and how their search engine used to just work. It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when Google did not deliberately crappify their products through generations of bad design or shove unpopular and monopolistic changes down their user’s throats. They once even had OK customer service. I know the previous sentence is hard to believe.. but it is true.

While Google has gone down the proverbial shitter to become an inferior version of IBM from the 1960s, it is clearly not the only tech company which taken that route. Indeed, I cannot think of a single internet or tech company which has not become an unpopular, inferior and shittier version of itself over the past decade. Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, FakeBook, Cisco, Twitter, Apple and even Intel have become sorry excuses of what they used to be a decade ago. Sure.. they have become more profitable and made their upper management much richer, but have lost the battle for their public image. But why would this matter? After all, monopolies and oligopolies don’t have to care about what their customers think.. right?

Regrettably for their autistic founders and sterile drones.. I mean workers, public image matters- even if you are a monopoly or oligopoly. That is why totalitarian governments in “communist” eastern bloc countries fell so quickly in the late 1980s to early 1990s. That is also why ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ works so well in China. The ability to deliver adequately, on time and fulfill public expectations is the most important predictor of whether an organization or institution retains public trust and good will. But why is it important to retain good will, if (as some autists at Google believe) one can manipulate perceptions at will. Well.. for starters, you cannot manipulate public perception over any significant length of time. Isn’t that obvious by now?

The second reason is more important and, as you will soon see, goes to the heart of the issue. Turns out, popular legitimacy is extremely important for medium- to long- term survival of any institution. Without such legitimacy even the most tyrannical institutions become fragile and implode under the slightest external stresses. Ever wonder why people in China have a far higher opinion of their government than people in USA. Here is a clue.. look at photos of the same part of any city in China from 1990 and today. Now do the same for USA. It is important to note that people who grew up in USA between 1933 and 1974 have a far higher opinion of government because they saw it largely deliver what was promised.

But how is any of this relevant to a proposed executive order which would gut legal protection to large social media platforms currently granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. See.. if something like this had been proposed by even an allegedly popular president like Obama in 2008, 2012 or even 2014, it would have elicited massive public outrage. There would have a series of large movements against such an idea, and a groundswell of popular support for tech companies. Do you see anything like that now, and don’t forget that Trump is an unpopular president by historical standards. So what changed between 2012-2014 and 2019? Well.. a lot, and none of it has helped the public image of internet and tech monopolies.

The precise moment when people started hating internet and tech monopolies varies from person to person, but here are some important milestones. For some, it was the progressive crapification of google maps and email starting sometime in 2012. For others, it was the SJW-led censorship in the wake of Gamergate in 2013. Many detested the underhanded tactics used by Microsoft to push Windoze 10 (aka spyware as operating system) on its customer base starting 2015. Others were mortified by Snowden’s disclosure about the nexus between large tech corporations and government surveillance agencies in 2013. Others started hating them after learning about how most smartphone apps spy on their users without explicit consent.

Still others got tired of a seemingly endless series of hostile site redesigns. Some got burned by interactions with Amazon, Paypal, Yelp, Uber and other “darlings” of tech sector. Many others have come to hate these corporations because of how they constantly mistreat and abuse their customers and this includes everyone from Microsoft and Apple to all those “voice assistants” which spy on you 24/7. Then there is Internet of Shit.. I mean Internet of Things, an idea so horrendous from a security viewpoint that I am still not sure whether anybody who buys “connected” and “smart” devices has any capacity for rational thought. And we haven’t even talked about arbitrary censorship etc on social media and sites such as YouTube.

To make a very long story short, internet and tech monopolies are now so hated and despised that a significant minority would vote for a presidential candidate whose sole campaign promise was to torture and kill anybody and everybody associated with this deeply tainted sector of the economy. And this is the environment in which Trump is going to sign his executive order about regulation internet monopolies in the near future. Regardless of how bad a solution his stupid flunkies come up with, it will be widely seen as good- if only because it shits on the aspy losers in Silly Valley and Seattle. And we have seen this dynamic before.. in 2016.

As some of you might remember, I was able to predict Trump winning the republican nomination and presidency because of my ability to sense the depth of hatred, contempt and disgust most people felt towards all those establishment parasites.. I mean politicians. It was this popular hatred for, and lack of trust in, certain institutions which allowed that orange conman to defeat 16 republicans and then HRC. We are likely to see a repeat of this, where even the most ineffectual and counterproductive legislation by Trump will be welcomed by a majority of people just because they enjoy seeing somebody finally kick Silly Valley types in the balls.

I cannot resist pointing out that the democratic party had multiple opportunities over the last decade (and even past 2 years) to start reigning in internet and tech monopolies. But they did no such thing, given how much Silly Valley contributes to their party. In fact, Obama went further than doing nothing and encouraged consolidation in tech sector and turned a blind eye to their ever increasing abuses. Let me make another prediction.. most people are going to get boners watching the aspy losers of internet and tech monopolies squeal like a pig after such an executive order is passed- even if its bad, stupid and dangerous in the long-term.

What do you think? Comments?

Freedom of Speech Matters, Even if the Provocateur is Alex Jones: 2

August 13, 2018 8 comments

As mentioned in the previous post of this series, laws to protect free speech are really about protecting unpopular speech. For a long time, organisations such as the ACLU understood that standing up for highly unpopular speech was necessary to prevent the creation of legal precedent to suppress other forms of free speech. Of course, that was before the ACLU was influenced and infiltrated by SJWs– and yes, I am aware of the irony my linking to a piece on a LIEbertarian rag such as ‘Reason’. But the point still stands- organisations which once stood up for the right to free speech, especially its unpopular forms, are now trying to justify their unwillingness to fully support obnoxious characters such as Alex Jones.

But why are so few willing to support Alex Jones? Sure.. the guy is an obnoxious character whose style of acting makes William Shatner seem restrained. But so are many other people, both public figures and private citizens. I mean.. there is no law against being a loud obnoxious asshole with a penchant for hammy acting. Nor is hawking “dietary supplements” of dubious efficacy a crime in USA- thanks to all that wonderful lobbyist-paid legislation passed in mid-1990s. In other words, Alex Jones is not any worse a human being than many YouTube celebrities I can think of right now. And let us be honest- the “conspiracy theories” he is purveying are no more sane or insane than what you see on TV shows such as Ancient Aliens, in its 13th or 14th season now.

So why have so many LIEbral idiots and presstitutes.. I mean “objective credentialed journalists” gotten their panties in a bunch over a character whose bullshit and scams are as American as they come. And why do they keep on repeating some nonsense about how his online presence is somehow hurtful to the mental and physical well-being of “normal folk”. Are they suggesting that people who peddle crazy shit and hilarious lies should not be allowed a public forum? Because if that is their central argument for deplatforming Alex Jones, they themselves are guilty of far greater crimes with infinitely higher real-world body counts than anything he is even remotely capable of pulling off. And they have doing it for a long.. long time.

Some of you might be aware that public support for wars as old as the Spanish-American War of 1898 was largely created by lies published by state-supported journalists of the day. The same can be said of WW1 and WW2. But since none of us are old enough to remember that, let us start something closer to out time- namely, the role of these “credentialed objective journalist” in pushing the Vietnam war to an ignorant and racist public in its early years. To make a long story short, the vast majority of american journalists (print, radio and TV) kept on selling the war to the american public until the 1968 Tet Offensive made it just too hard to ignore reality.

But until then these CONartists.. I mean “honest objective journalists” had no problem reprinting press releases from the american government as news and publishing pretty much any other bullshit in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the system. It might come as a shock to some people now, but there was once a time when Americans volunteered for the Vietnam war- partly under the assumption that they were going to win it, based on the lies and bullshit spewed out by mainstream journalists of that era. Of course, things got real once it became hard to hide the increasing number of body bags and crippled soldiers coming back to USA.

So should all the journalists of that era who willingly and enthusiastically lied for the american government be held responsible for the unnecessary loss of life on the American and Vietnamese side? How many of those who wrote glowing articles about American intervention in Vietnam prior to the Tet offensive lost their jobs because of knowingly publishing lies and bullshit? What about NONE! But why stop there.. Remember the lies published by those “objective professional journalists” to help convince the american public of the need for first Gulf War in 1991? Or what about enthusiastically spreading lies about presence of WMDs in Iraq to justify the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003. Did any journalist lose their job over publishing government-sanctioned lies? Heck.. many of them still write in NYT, WP and appear on cable news.

If you support deplatforming Alex Jones because of some negligible real-life harm people who listen to his shows may have done, how can you justify the continued ability of those who cheerlead disastrous wars such the Vietnam War, Afghanistan War and Iraq Occupation to still have careers in journalism? Aren’t american journalist responsible for tens of thousands of american soldiers who got killed or crippled by those senseless conflicts? What about the millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians who died during Vietnam war? What about hundreds of thousands who died due to conditions created by war in Afghanistan and failed Iraq Occupation?

If you believe that some mentally unstable idiot who listed to Alex Jones show and then went with a semi-auto rifle to a Pizzeria in DC is sufficient for Alex Jones to be deplatformed, how can you justify the continued ability of the vast majority of journalist in USA who work for corporate news outlets to still have a job? If you think Alex Jones allegedly doxing parents of kids who were killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting is bad enough for him to be deplatformed, what do you think about all those mainstream journalists whose carelessness over the years has resulted in torture, imprisonment and death of their sources? Face it.. “credentialed objective journalists” who work for corporate news outlets in USA have been responsible for crimes that are thousands of times more horrendous than anything Alex Jones is accused of.

What do you think? Comments?

Freedom of Speech Matters, Even if the Provocateur is Alex Jones: 1

August 10, 2018 13 comments

As I briefly talked about in my previous post on this topic, the willingness of large monopolistic corporations to cut off essential services to an unpopular person without due process is highly problematic. Some of you might say that people like Alex Jones, who are cheerleaders of an ideology which hold private and corporate power to be supreme, deserve to be screwed by the very system they worship. And, Yes.. it is darkly funny and ironic that a prominent cheerleader for libertarianism got run over by large corporations acting as surrogate government agencies.

Some of those who commented to my previous post put forth excuses such as.. “they are private corporations”, “he was doing illegal things”, “Google, FaceBook and Apple are not monopolies” and “Free Speech protection does not apply to private corporations” etc. I for one find the sudden love among LIEbrals for private corporations, private property rights, insights into laws about monopolies and free speech rather amusing. Wasn’t it barely two weeks ago when LIEbrals were loudly professing to believe in exactly the opposite of what they are claiming this week?

Then again, establishment LIEbrals have been enthusiastically kissing the ground which Mueller and his fellow NeoCons walk on for almost a years now. They act as if the failed and highly expensive occupation of Iraq never occurred. They pretend that all these newfound icons did not lie through their teeth about the presence of WMDs in Iraq, how american soldiers would be greeted as liberators, how the occupation would cost less than 60 billion USD etc. And don’t forget all those ‘mainstream’ media outlets pimping fake intelligence in 2002 and early- 2003.

My point is that there is something very wrong and short-sighted about cheering on a bunch of wannabe tyrants just because they are persecuting some unpopular person first. And this raises the even bigger issue of why protection of free speech is so important. Let me begin this part by saying that we have laws to protect free speech because it is implicitly understood that free speech is often unpopular speech. Nobody is going to persecute you if you shout “USA, USA” at some game or “thank some veteran for his or her service”. Protection of free speech is, therefore, exclusively about protecting unpopular speech.

Free speech is about calling an asshole an asshole. It is about openly criticizing unjust institutions and systems. It is about organizing and protesting against injustice and unfair treatment. It is about expressing viewpoints contrary to the popular narrative. It is about expressing a dissenting viewpoint in as colorful a manner as you choose. Free speech, especially unpopular speech, provides a feedback mechanism for society to find out and address problems, both temporary and systemic- if it chooses to do so. As you will soon see, there is a good reason behind my decision to put a photo of Alex Jones alongside MLK, Malcolm X and Larry Flynt in the attached graphic.

I am sure that a few of you might be scandalized by my decision to compare the current travails of Alex Jones to such historical and notable figures such as MLK and Malcolm X. That comparison is however far more accurate than many of you would want to admit. For starters, the biggest controversies surrounding MLK and Malcolm X during their lifetimes centered around what they said and the causes they openly supported. Let me remind you that Jim Crow laws, overt “legal” discrimination against blacks and generally treating them as less-than-human was the accepted way of doing things in USA as late as the mid-1960s. In other words, their speech was unpopular speech.

Now ask yourself, have you heard of any instance of either MLK or Malcolm X being denied phone connections by the Bell monopoly of that era, because of their unpopular views? I am sure many whites would have loved to see that happen, but it did not. But why not? Well.. there were laws and regulations that prevented monopolies such as Bell from denying service to people without due legal process. Long story short, they could not deny telephone connections to anyone who paid their bills on time and did not intentionally damage their rented equipment.

The same was true for gas, electricity and water utility companies. Similarly, it was quite hard for major public venues (even at that time) to deny them space for holding large meetings. Compare that to the situation today. Do you think FaceBook would have let groups which openly protested “existing laws” exist on their platform? Would YouTube keep hosting videos in which someone like MLK encouraged his supporters to break “existing laws” even when those laws were clearly unjust. Let me remind you that majority of whites in 1960s were against civil rights and racial equality.

To put it another way, even somebody like MLK would have been deplatformed by internet and communication monopolies such Google, FaceBook and Apple if they had existed at that time. Let us now talk about Malcolm X, or more specifically what he said in his more well-known speeches. Do you think he would be able to remain of social media platforms such as FaceBook, YouTube etc after his famous ‘The Ballot or the bullet‘ speech? Ever considered that a lot of what he said in his other speeches would have gotten him multiple strikes for “hate speech”.

Or what about Larry Flynt, whose first famous conflict with the establishment was over his decision to publish spread nudes of women in the 1970s. And yes, I know they were very hairy- because it was the 1970s. Was the telephone company able cut his connection because they disagreed with the ‘morality’ of his business decisions? What about the press who printed his magazines? Moving on a bit further, do you remember how he got himself into that famous supreme court case. In case you don’t, he used his magazine to incessantly troll religious and conservative frauds such as Jerry Falwell. He won the case and they made a film about it later.

The point I am trying to make is the laws to defend Free Speech are really about defending Unpopular Speech. There is a reason why the standard for what constitutes Free Speech is set such that it is not easy to suppress it with spurious claims of libel and slander- especially if you are a public figure. To be clear, this does not mean you can libel and slander people in a malicious manner. In fact, I know people who received satisfactory settlements against certain well-known news outlets who had libeled and slandered their good name.

If Alex Jones libeled and slandered people or actually incited violence against specific individuals, he should be sued by the affected individuals and the case should be tried before an independent judge and jury and under conditions where his legal counsel can cross-examine the plaintiffs and their witnesses. In other words, even somebody like Alex Jones deserves the benefit of due legal process. His fate should not be decided behind closed doors and on the whims of some petty and unaccountable tyrants employed by internet monopolies such as Google, FaceBook and Apple.

In the next part of this hopefully short series, I will talk about why corporate media outlets peopled with supposedly “professional” and “objective” journalists are a far bigger hazard to public well-being than an alcoholic clown continuously screaming at the camera and hawking nutritional supplements.

What do you think? Comments?