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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Links - 23rd May 2019 (2)

As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom - "the grand irony is that many Democrats will side with the Trump DOJ over the Obama DOJ. Their emotional, personal contempt for Assange – due to their belief that he helped defeat Hillary Clinton: the gravest crime – easily outweighs any concerns about the threats posed to press freedoms by the Trump administration’s attempts to criminalize the publication of documents. This reflects the broader irony of the Trump era for Democrats. While they claim out of one side of their mouth to find the Trump administration’s authoritarianism and press freedom attacks so repellent, they use the other side of their mouth to parrot the authoritarian mentality of Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo that anyone who published documents harmful to Hillary or which have been deemed “classified” by the U.S. Government ought to go to prison.. let’s assume for the sake of argument that it’s true that WikiLeaks acted to help the Trump campaign and therefore should be disqualified from the protections of the First Amendment. To see how pernicious this argument is, look at how it was recently expressed by former Pentagon official Ryan Goodman and Obama WH Counsel Bob Bauer in justifying the prosecution of WikiLeaks... Just ponder the implications of this incredibly restrictive definition of journalism. It would mean that any outlets that favor one candidate over another, or one political party over another, are not engaged in “legitimate press functions” and therefore have no entitlement to First Amendment protections.Does anyone on the planet doubt that outlets such as MSNBC and Vox favor the Democratic Party over the Republican Party, and the people they employ as journalists spent the last year doing everything they can to help the Democrats win and the Republicans lose? Does anyone doubt that MSNBC and Vox journalists spent 2016 doing everything in their power to help Hillary Clinton win and Donald Trump lose? No person with even the most minimal amount of intellectual honesty could deny that they did so. Does this mean that Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein – by virtue of favoring one political party over the other – are not real journalists, that they are not engaged in “legitimate press functions,” and thus do not enjoy the protections of the First Amendment, meaning they can be prosecuted by the Trump DOJ without the ability to claim the rights of a free press? To state that proposition is to illustrate the tyrannical impulses underlying it"

Julian Assange evicted after smearing faeces on embassy walls, Ecuador president says - "Ecuador’s president has said that one of the reasons Julian Assange’s asylum was revoked was because he allegedly smeared faeces on the walls of the London embassy... “From verbal insults against Ecuador when he referred to our country as a completely insignificant country, and excuse me that I have to say this here, but even smearing his faeces on our embassy’s walls,” he said in an interview with the BBC.Mr Moreno said the 47-year-old had “exhausted our patience and pushed our tolerance to the limit” during his seven-year stay at the embassy. He also claimed that the Australian journalist had treated embassy staff in a “very bad” way – and that he even installed cameras to spy on them and broke into his phone. “The group he led tapped and hacked into my phone, my wife’s, and published private pictures of my family, my wife and my daughters,” the president alleged.One of the photos showed the president on a bed in a hotel room eating lobster.Some have suggested the photo was the final straw for the leader as it emerged at a time when austerity was being introduced into the South American country... Mr Moreno also claimed that Assange had interfered in his country’s politics, the Vatican, the US elections and the question of Catalonian independence in Spain... Mr Moreno finished by saying he thought “all Ecuadorians are relieved” Assange has gone and cited a recent survey that showed 80 per cent of the country’s population wanted him to leave."

Julian Assange Got What He Deserved - "London’s Metropolitan Police dragging Assange from his Knightsbridge cupboard as he burbled about resistance and toted a worn copy of Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State.Vidal had the American national-security establishment in mind when he narrated that polemic, although I doubt even he would have contrived to portray the CIA as being in league with a Latin American socialist named for the founder of the Bolshevik Party. Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno announced Thursday that he had taken the singular decision to expel his country’s long-term foreign guest and revoke his asylum owing to Assange’s “discourteous and aggressive behavior.” According to Interior Minister María Paula Romo, this evidently exceeded redecorating the embassy with excrement—alas, we still don’t know whether it was Assange’s or someone else’s—refusing to bathe, and welcoming all manner of international riffraff to visit him. It also involved interfering in the “internal political matters in Ecuador,” as Romo told reporters in Quito. Assange and his organization, WikiLeaks, Romo said, have maintained ties to two Russian hackers living in Ecuador who worked with one of the country’s former foreign ministers, Ricardo Patiño, to destabilize the Moreno administration... I might further direct you to Assange’s own unique brand of journalism, when he could still be said to be practicing it. Releasing U.S. diplomatic communiqués that named foreigners living in conflict zones or authoritarian states and liaising with American officials was always going to require thorough vetting and redaction, lest those foreigners be put in harm’s way. Assange did not care—he wanted their names published, according to Luke Harding and David Leigh in WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. As they recount the story, when Guardian journalists working with WikiLeaks to disseminate its tranche of U.S. secrets tried to explain to Assange why it was morally reprehensible to publish the names of Afghans working with American troops, Assange replied: “Well, they’re informants. So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” (Assange denied the account; the names, in the end, were not published in The Guardian, although some were by WikiLeaks in its own dump of the files.)... He has put innocent people’s lives in danger; he has defamed and tormented a poor family whose son was murdered; he has seemingly colluded with foreign regimes not simply to out American crimes but to help them carry off their own; and he otherwise made that honorable word transparency in as much of a need of delousing as he is."

Europe’s Ancient Great Stone Monuments Probably Had A Single Origin - "evidence suggests megalith building began in western France, and became an early meme."

I Interviewed the Sage of the Alt-Right. No, It's Not Ben Shapiro. - "The Economist recently profiled the well-known conservative pundit Ben Shapiro. The article itself was inoffensive, but the headline initially described Shapiro as "the alt-right sage without the rage." That is simply wrong, and it betrays The Economist's unfamiliarity with what the term "alt-right" means. No, Shapiro is not part of it. In fact, Shapiro has been a target of online harassment from some of the alt-right's members.Shapiro was understandably displeased about being casually lumped in with the tiki-torch marchers of Charlottesville. "If you lump me in with people who are so evil I literally hire security to walk me to shul on Shabbat, you can go straight to hell," he tweeted... In brief, the alt-right is a white nationalist movement that promotes an identitarian worldview: They think a person's worth is determined by his membership in a race-based group. The alt-right wants the U.S. to be a place for white Europeans and their descendants, and for the government to promote and protect the interests of white Europeans and their descendants. This is not a movement for black people, Hispanic immigrants, or Jews—all of whom represent a kind of "other" from the standpoint of the alt-right. Needless to say, these are ugly and overtly racist beliefs. They are also at odds with what Shapiro, as a Jewish man, represents.They are also at odds with what Shapiro thinks. To take just one example, Shapiro-style conservatives constantly bemoan identity politics. But the alt-right is all about identity; Spencer is actually in favor of identity politics"

The Washington Post Prints an Inexcusable Smear Against Ben Shapiro - "The Notre Dame fire — like every single significant tragedy — brought out some of the usual bottom-dwelling conspiracy theorists, and it is perfectly fine (good even!) to call them out for their irresponsible speculation. So it wasn’t terribly surprising to see a Washington Post piece this afternoon called “How the far right spread politically convenient lies about the Notre Dame fire.” It’s by Talia Lavin — who resigned from the New Yorker last year after falsely suggesting that a combat-wounded former Marine had an Iron Cross tattoo — and it takes aim at a number of the usual suspects, such as Alex Jones and Katie Hopkins... To any sensible reader, Ben is paying tribute to the apparent loss of one of the most magnificent buildings on the face of the earth. He’s lamenting the loss of a house of worship of a faith not his own. He is not casting blame. He is not trafficking in conspiracy theories. Moreover, he’s right — Western civilization is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Moreover, the cathedral itself demonstrates the Jewish roots of Christianity... He’s not only right, he’s gracious. As virtually any person with a passing knowledge of history knows, the history of the Catholic Church in France is stained with anti-Semitism. In this age, when historic grievances often cause people to actually exult in the suffering of old foes, Ben’s tribute to the destruction of a Christian cathedral in a land that did not always welcome Jews (and struggles to keep them safe today) is a welcome example of — dare I say it? — tolerance.Lavin glories in her status as a troll. But the Washington Post should know better. Instead, it printed an opinion that has no connection to fact, and in doing so they reproduced the gutter reasoning of a low-rent comment board in the pages of one America’s great papers. Its mistake is only magnified by the fact that Lavin connects Ben’s rhetoric to the likes of Richard Spencer and the New Zealand shooter. Does she not know (or care) that Ben happened to be one of the principal targets of the alt-right during the 2016 election? He spoke out against racism and anti-Semitism at great risk to himself and his family."
Anti-racism is just anti-whiteness

Meme - "straight up cracker here from the most crackery part of the US.
The reason white racism is increasing is because this generation of young white men were raised to be the least racist generation of whites to ever exist in the history of this planet. We grew up being taught that racism was bad, that we were ALL going to move past it and work together towards a better future. Even here in the most traditionally racist part of the country, nearly every young white boy in my generation grew up watching black athletes, black actors, listening to black musicians, etc. It was all normal. We were 95% post-racial.
So as we got older, we stuck our hands out in friendship to EVERYONE, like we'd been taught to... and then every nonwhite group on the planet came by and sucker-punched us from behind, called us evil white devils, and told us we deserved to die. We were ready and willing to move on from the past, the rest of you weren't. Instead of shaking our hands and marching off together, you chose revenge against the only white people whove ever let their guard down.
So now you's cant be our friends, and we're reforging the identity we were taught to shed."
Or, they got gang banged by white liberals for being white

Library Journal on Twitter - "Library collections continue to promote and proliferate whiteness with their very existence and the fact that they are physically taking up space in our libraries"
When you hate white people so much that you hate books and knowledge despite being a library
When will the book burnings start?

Facebook Bans White Nationalism and White Separatism - "Experts say that white nationalism and white separatism movements are different from other separatist movements such as the Basque separatist movement in France and Spain and Black separatist movements worldwide because of the long history of white supremacism that has been used to subjugate and dehumanize people of color in the United States and around the world... the decision is likely to be politically controversial both in the United States, where the right has accused Facebook of having an anti-conservative bias... The new policy will not ban implicit white nationalism and white separatism, which Casseus said is difficult to detect and enforce. It also doesn’t change the company’s existing policies on separatist and nationalist movements more generally; content relating to Black separatist movements and the Basque separatist movement, for example, will still be allowed. "
Basically white people are evil

Facebook To Start Removing Content Promoting White Nationalism And Separatism - ""In its attempts to police the speech of over two billion people, Facebook runs the risk of censoring those that attack white nationalism, too," says Eidelman. "Further, every time Facebook makes the choice to remove content, a single company is exercising an unchecked power to silence individuals and remove them from what has become an indispensable platform." Eidelman says nothing is stopping Facebook or other platforms from using the same power to censor content on other topics, such as abortion rights or climate change. "For the same reason that the Constitution prevents the government from exercising such power, we should be wary of encouraging its exercise by corporations that are answerable to their private shareholders rather than the broader public interest""

Daniel Jordan - Facebook choosing only to ban apparently white... - "Facebook choosing only to ban apparently white people for 'hate' but openly allow dozens of Islamist groups to run pages on here and millions of Muslims openly celebrating Brunei stoning gays speaks to their double standards."
Comments: "That Mr. Zuckerberg is Jewish is quite besides the point. As you suggest, I think that he, and many other white elites, believe, consciously or unconsciously, that whites in virtue of their elevated social status are commanded by *noblesse oblige* to hold themselves to a higher ethical and moral standard than what is to be expected from the "people of color" . You could glimpse the same phenomenon in how the United States and Western Europe approached human rights abuses in sub-Saharan Africa in the 1970s and 1980s : the South African apartheid regime was the target of relentless moral condemnation and political pressure, and rightly so, for its human rights abuses; on the other hand, there were tinpot tyrannical black dictatorships in Africa that were extremely brutal to their citizens, and yet the Western powers said almost nothing about this because of what may be called the *bigotry of low expectations*, which is a way, perhaps, of saying "whites are better". The white South Africans were held to a higher standard of behavior. Noblesse oblige."
It is telling how muted the response to South Africa's contemporary persecution of whites today is. Or indeed how being concerned about it is seen as racism Considering it's the same country involved the inconsistency is especially apparent

Platform, or Publisher?: If Big Tech firms want to retain valuable government protections, then they need to get out of the censorship business. - "While the First Amendment generally does not apply to private companies, the Supreme Court has held it “does not disable the government from taking steps to ensure that private interests not restrict . . . the free flow of information and ideas.” But as Senator Ted Cruz points out, Congress actually has the power to deter political censorship by social media companies without using government coercion or taking action that would violate the First Amendment, in letter or spirit. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes online platforms for their users’ defamatory, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful content. Congress granted this extraordinary benefit to facilitate “forum[s] for a true diversity of political discourse.” This exemption from standard libel law is extremely valuable to the companies that enjoy its protection, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but they only got it because it was assumed that they would operate as impartial, open channels of communication—not curators of acceptable opinion... Section 230 encourages Internet platforms to moderate “offensive” speech, but the law was not intended to facilitate political censorship... platforms could not be held liable as publishers of user-generated content and clarifying that they could not be held liable for removing any content that they believed in good faith to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.” This provision does not allow platforms to remove whatever they wish, however. Courts have held that “otherwise objectionable” does not mean whatever a social media company objects to, but “must, at a minimum, involve or be similar” to obscenity, violence, or harassment. Political viewpoints, no matter how extreme or unpopular, do not fall under this category."
On Big Tech censorship
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