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Technology Thoughts

President Trump doesn’t understand the concept of the “Public Square”

A draft of President Trump’s Executive Order “Preventing Online Censorship”

President Trump today signed an Executive Order that threatens Internet based social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. He says that these platforms are the 21st century equivalent of the public square and that the protections afforded by the First Amendment to the Constitution apply to these companies.

He has it totally wrong. The Internet is the public square and social networking sites are private companies that operate on the public square. If you don’t like what they do you can build your own site to compete with them. It’s important to remember that only the government is restricted from censoring you. Your school, your employer, or any private organization that you don’t control is allowed to control your behavior, to a certain extent, while on their property or using their service.

This is not to say that the big social networking companies aren’t partly to blame for his reaction. They are cow towing to a vocal minority that seeks to silence opposition to the main stream narrative of events of the day.

During this COVID-19 pandemic Twitter and YouTube have suspended accounts and taken down videos of scientists critical of the lockdown. I don’t believe that a person is sitting there at these companies manually taking down accounts and videos but this is done automatically when bunches of trolls flag accounts and videos reporting them as fake or harmful. That’s where the problem lies. It’s easy for humans to game the system of an algorithm that just responds to clicks.

The social media sites should relax their algorithms and just let the users decide for themselves. It’s bad enough that these automated systems create filter bubbles where all people see are views and news that support their own biases. Now we have these same systems shutting down debate.

I miss the early days of the Internet and the World Wide Web. It was such an open place to be where you could learn almost anything. You still can but you have to use a mental machete to chop away all the crap.

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Thoughts

Is COVID-19 the silver bullet?

The attempt to prove Trump colluded with Russia failed. The impeachment and subsequent acquittal in the Senate left Trump more popular. The pandemic of COVID-19 however, is the event the media and the Democrats have been looking for to kill off a Trump re-election.

The media, the Democrats, and some Republicans have loathed President Trump since he got the Republican nomination in the 2016 election. It blew into full blown psychotic hatred after he beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. They never could conceive of a President Trump. I didn’t want him as President either but I didn’t share the same hatred and fear of him.

They tried to take him down almost immediately with the Russian collusion baloney. Two years of the Mueller investigation and all the leaks from that fiasco that ultimately resulted in NOTHING.

Then the phone call to Ukraine. Leaked by a so-called whistleblower. A whistleblower that had no first hand knowledge of anything he/she/they were alleging. They pushed through impeachment on that basis knowing the Senate would not convict and remove him from office. They expected that hanging impeachment around his neck would be the anchor that would sink his campaign. It didn’t. He came out more popular than he went in.

Now, we have COVID-19. If you read all the news reports, the virus that causes it, SARS-COV-2, results in mild symptoms of a fever, cough, and trouble breathing for about 80% of people infected. Another 15% have more serious symptoms. The remaining 5% are serious enough to be hospitalized but less than half of them are at risk of death. And most people at risk of death are those above the age of 60 with already compromised immune systems.

The virus has probably been in the United States since late 2019. China tried to hide the problems they were having with the virus and allowed free travel from the area. There are 11 million people in Wuhan and it is a business center that have people traveling about all over the world. The virus has been out and it will remain out and perhaps most of us will contract it at some point like we do a cold or the seasonal flu.

The media started to report infections as if The Plague was unleashed across the world. We would hear daily counts of 5 more people confirmed infected here and 10 more there. Mind you, not 1,000 here or 2,000 there. But single digit infections in many cases. They started to realize that the more they created this anxiety in the public the more the eyeballs were drawn to their TV screens and web sites.

Federal regulations in place long before Trump took office prevented doctors and hospitals from testing and/or developing their own tests to confirm infections. This didn’t stop the media and the Democrats from blaming Trump for any kind of response.

To be fair, President Trump hasn’t helped his case. He downplayed the virus too much in his public statements. I don’t think he realized how ripe the public is to be whipped into a frenzy over nothing. His speech to the nation on March 11, 2020 was uninspiring to say the least. Evidence of that is the plunge in the stock market today.

They tried to kill Trump’s re-election many times since his election. Like a vampire he came back to life every time they thought they had him down. COVID-19 could be the silver bullet that puts his re-election in the grave.

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Thoughts

Republicans are truly responsible for Trump’s impeachment

For those with short memories or who were born after 1980 don’t remember or were never taught the details of President Clinton’s impeachment back in 1998. The short version is that Republicans had a strong dislike of Clinton, investigated him for things that had nothing to do with his presidency, and finally impeached him on one count of perjury and obstruction of justice. His impeachment happened ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ALONG PARTY LINES. This is why President Trump was impeached yesterday.

Did President Clinton perjure himself and obstruct justice? Yes. But, would he have committed those crimes if the independent counsel’s fishing expedition never occurred? No. The only reason he was impeached is because during the course of the investigation it was uncovered that Clinton was getting “serviced” by a White House intern. He lied about it and tried to hide it and committed crimes in the process.

The republicans at the time, and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, should have stopped the investigation once it careened out of control and away from it’s original mandate. But, they didn’t because of their strong dislike for the man and they never could let go of the 1996 election where Clinton beat President George H.W. Bush.

The impeachment of President Clinton has been in the back of the Democrats’ minds ever since. Along comes President Trump. Brash, boastful, unapologetic, and most importantly a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT. Add to that the fact that he defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, not by the popular vote, but by an Electoral College win.

So here we are once again. One political party cheapens the process of impeachment and 20 years later the other party makes it worse. None of this is good for the republic and neither side is abiding by their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”.

When will this madness end?

Categories
Thoughts

The latest Trump controversy is another non-controversy

First, here’s the video all the media is talking about but won’t show you. At least until YouTube takes it down.

Now, here’s a link to an article from Reason.com that tells you the truth about where the video was shown and how it probably wasn’t seen by too many people. I’m sure more people have seen it now than if the media would have just ignored the nonsense. Here’s a tweet that shows the room where it was playing. pic.twitter.com/O87stQDfrc As you can see the room is empty. It was an “art” display.

The legacy media are having their Dr. Zaius moment, paternalistically shielding their infantile audience (read: you and me) from ugly images and realities. This is not simply a revolting development but a deeply troubling one that will only accelerate the ongoing loss of confidence and trust the public has in media. According to polling done for the Columbia Journalism Review, fewer than 20 percent of us have a “great deal of confidence” in the press. The only institution held in lower esteem is Congress.
Yet the media seem happy to keep digging their own grave. Yesterday, for instance, The New York Times reported on what it called a “macabre video of [a] fake Trump shooting media and critics” that was shown at a conference held at one of the president’s own properties (Trump had nothing to do with the conference or the video, which the White House has condemned). You’d assume the paper would link to or embed the video in support of its characterization. But it refused to, even as it’s safe to say that it was the Times’ coverage that helped bring the video to a large viewing audience (that’s how I learned about it). Instead, it described the video, which was included in an exhibition of videos associated with pro-Trump “memesmith” Carpe Donktum

Reason.com

I’m not defending President Trump. I’m just kind of disgusted with how the news is manipulating people. They talk about “the Russians” but they really need to look in the mirror.

Take Meet the Press and Chuck Todd for instance. I ran across this tweet from the show:

Listening to Chuck Todd talk about what the President said and refuse to actually show the clip to which he’s referring is journalistic malpractice. What right does he have to withhold the information from the public? Here’s a tweet that has a link to the video of President Trump’s comments on former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter.

Just when I think things can’t get more ridiculous they get more ridiculous.