Who Should Squelch Lies and Trolls on Social Media?

June 30, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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John Bauer (1882-1918), artist, in 1915: "Look at them," troll mother said. "Look at my sons! You won't find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon."

John Bauer (1882-1918), artist, in 1915: “Look at them,” troll mother said. “Look at my sons! You won’t find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon.”

By now you have read and seen the damage caused by the flood of misleading or harassing material on social media. Vulnerable teens have committed suicide, ordinary adults have become fearful and intimidated, fools have become enraged vigilantes, racists have infected those with weak mental immune systems, and President Chump has been elected.

Elizabeth Dwoskin’s recent article in the Washington Post describes how Twitter and Facebook and Google are trying to weaken the flood.

Colin Crowell is the Vice President of Policy at Twitter. Dwoskin’s article quoted something that Crowell had written recently, and it is worth discussing here, because it states a misunderstanding that is prevalent in all of the major social media companies.

Dwoskin wrote, ““We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth,” Crowell wrote earlier this month. He emphasized that Twitter users — “journalists, experts, and engaged citizens” — tweet side by side to correct public discourse every day in real time.”

The fallacy in Crowell’ argument is that the corrections are not really in real time. They are never soon enough. The misleading material reaches the public before any retractions or corrections appear, and sits out there, at least briefly unopposed.

Correcting misleading material is like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

Only a tiny fraction of those who see the misleading material will ever see the retraction or the correction.

Even among those who do see the correction, the first-seen version often makes the deepest impression.

The timing is such that most of the simple-minded and all of the malicious will propagate the uncorrected version.

Sociopathic liar that he is, Donald Trump regularly exploits this weakness of all of the media: public appearances, TV, the print media, and the social media.


That the misleading material is seen first, and the stickiness of first impressions – those are inconvenient truths for the social media giants. The social media giants do not want the expense that would be required to pre-disinfect the stream that flows onto their platforms, nor do they relish the potential legal battles that any gate-keeper may face.

Good technical and legal solutions are not yet known. But at least the social media should drop the self-serving illusion that they can evade at least some gate-keeping role.

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President Chump, You Cannot Distract Us

June 6, 2017 at 7:59 am | Posted in Abuse of Office, Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom | 1 Comment
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Orangutans can use objects in creative ways. Photo taken by Postdif from Wikipedia, at the Philadelphia Zoo on 8 May 2010.

Orangutans can use objects in creative ways. Photo taken by Postdif from Wikipedia, at the Philadelphia Zoo on 8 May 2010.

To President Chump –

When others point out inconvenient facts about you, one of your favorite tactics is to change the subject. You deliberately do something attention-grabbing, to distract the public’s attention away from the inconvenient facts.

When there are questions about the connections of you and your gang to Putin’s regime, you squawk instead about how those inconvenient facts became widely known. You squawk about leaks – you, who said “I love Wikileaks” during the campaign, when leaks had been crafted to harm your opponent, just like the more recent “leaks” that were crafted to harm Emmanuel Macron‘s campaign for the Presidency of France.

That doesn’t work any more. We are on to you.

Speakers and posters at the March for Truth on June 3 said so, loud and clear.

Every morning, you will wake up to us asking again about your taxes.

You will wake up to us asking again about your conflicts of interest.

You will wake up to us asking again about your loyalty.

You will wake up to us asking again about whether you are a security risk – you, the first US President ever to have been called The Leaker in Chief.  (Yes, that was one of the posters at the March for Truth.)

Perhaps Mar-a-Lago should be renamed Mar-a-Leako.

The March for Truth on June 3, 2017, in Portland, Oregon, which was one of its many cities.  Photographed by 'Another Believer'.

The March for Truth on June 3, 2017, in Portland, Oregon, which was one of its many cities. Photographed by ‘Another Believer’.

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Donald J. Trump is Persona Non Grata at our house

March 5, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Detail of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, retouched by Bluszczokrzew .

Detail of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, retouched by Bluszczokrzew .

Donald J. Trump is Persona Non Grata at our house.

We will not welcome him in, nor shake his hand. In fact, we will not let him in. We do not want to see his face – not in person, nor in the news. We do not want to hear his voice, nor his self-serving opinions.

This rejection also applies to John Miller and to John Barron/John Baron, if Trump again lies by pretending to be them, and feeds major newspapers “their” views on Trump, in a bizarre attempt to trick the newspapers into adopting positions favorable to Trump’s ‘brand’. For examples of Trump doing this, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Yes, the same Donald Trump who claims that every unfavorable news report is fake “news” has tried repeatedly to create fake news.

A national organization should host an online registry where millions of Americans, and millions in other countries, could declare that Trump is persona non grata to them, too.

The hosting organization should not be one like CREDO Action nor MoveOn nor the ACLU, whose positions on other issues are divisive enough to repel many of those who would otherwise sign against Trump.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) would be an ideal hosting organization. (The SPLC’s scope is much wider than its name indicates: it monitors and educates against bigotry and injustice against every ethnic group.)  So would any major environmental organization.

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Questions that Moderators Should Ask Trump in the Presidential Election Debates

September 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Conceited, Enemies of Freedom, Enemies of Planet Earth, Presidential election | 2 Comments
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The Presidential Election Debate on September 26 will be moderated by Lester Holt,

Lester Holt, Sept. 25, 2012, before departing Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Lester Holt, Sept. 25, 2012, before departing Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

that on October 9 will be moderated by Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper,

Martha Raddatz interviews John W. Miller, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, 24 September 2014.

Martha Raddatz interviews John W. Miller, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, 24 September 2014.

Anderson Cooper at Tulane University, 14 May 2010 . By Tulane Public Relations (Anderson Cooper & Tim Clinton) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Anderson Cooper at Tulane University, 14 May 2010 . By Tulane Public Relations (Anderson Cooper & Tim Clinton) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

and that on October 19 will be moderated by Chris Wallace.

Chris Wallace in Washington, D.C., February 23, 2010. Photo by Jim Greenhill from Arlington and Durango, USA - 100223-A-3715G-168 .

Chris Wallace in Washington, D.C., February 23, 2010
Photo by Jim Greenhill from Arlington and Durango, USA – 100223-A-3715G-168 .

Here are three questions that every moderator of a Presidential Debate should ask Trump.

Why hasn’t Trump released those of his tax forms that are not being audited?
If they will be released, when?


Trump admires Putin.
Putin supports Assad, the dictator of Syria.
Does Trump support Assad?

Trump admires Putin’s way of controlling Russia, and of suppressing dissent.
Putin’s techniques are completely contrary to the US Consititution.
Which of Putin’s techniques would Trump adopt, and which would he reject?

A moderator who does not ask these questions is not exercising due diligence.

An addendum to this post:

Mr. Trump, you have expressed your approval of the forcefulness of so many dictators:
– Putin;
– the Chinese Communist Party, for its brutal suppression in June 1989 of the demonstrating students in Beijing and in other cities;
– Kim Jong Un .
Please name the dictators – present (such as Assad) or historical (such as Saddam Hussein) – whose forcefulness you don’t approve. How do the dictators you do approve differ from those you don’t approve?

Mr. Trump, an op-ed by defense and intelligence experts Michael Morell and Mike Vickers says that “At the Comander-in-Chief Forum on Sept. 7, you [Trump] said that as long as Putin says nice things about you, you will say nice things about him.” If we were back in the 1930s, would you have said “As long as Hitler says nice things about me, I’ll say nice things about him”? After all, Hitler would have liked your isolationism, so he would indeed have said nice things about you.

Fact: Of all of the dictators, past and present, Trump most resembles Mussolini.

 

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Putin => Wikileaks => Trump

July 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Disinformation, Dysfunctional Politics, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | 2 Comments
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Trump Approves of Putin. Image created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com.

Trump Approves of Putin. Image created by thepoliblog.WordPress.com.

 

(After writing this posting, I searched for URLs to cite as evidence for what is asserted in it. It immediately became evident that others had come to the same realizations: see the articles by Abby Phillip and by Amber Phillips in the Washington Post. But since different aspects are emphasized in what follows, it seemed non-redundant to go ahead and post it.)

 

Putin is the Tyrant of Putinia (which has replaced Russia).

Putin ordered his minions to hack into the computer files of the Democratic National Committee to steal the emails and plans of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Putin wanted to use that information to boost Trump’s chances in the US Presidential election in November.

Putin wants Trump to win.

Trump and Putin like each other’s philosophy and style. Both are authoritorian and greedy. Each hides his insecurity by projecting brazen self-confidence. Neither of them gives a hoot about the constraints imposed by laws, or even Constitutions.

Trump also drools over the potential for business opportunities in Putinia.  So he is careful to always ‘make nice’ to Putin, and never challenges what Putin does.
Some leader of the free world Trump would be! He has a built-in conflict of interest.

Putin cannot legally afford to admit that he is responsible for the hacking.

Also, if it were known that the release of the information was intended to aid Trump, then the impact of the released information would be diminished.

So Putin had the stolen information forwarded to Wikileaks. Having Wikileaks release the information gave Putin deniability.

Wikileaks – having no sense of privacy and decency, and deserving none – eagerly made the stolen information public.

Releasing the stolen information can have had only one possible purpose: to embarrass and hamper Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Trump is guilty of many things, but he had no knowledge of this.

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Trump’s Tax Forms

July 1, 2016 at 9:26 am | Posted in Conceited, Disinformation, Enemies of Freedom, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Upside-down version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Upside-down version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Trump has repeatedly promised to release his tax forms for the past several years, but has always delayed doing so. He is stone-walling.

Prior candidates for the Presidency have released theirs.

Trump claims that his tax forms contain nothing interesting.

But a recent article in the Washington Post shows that Trump is a hypocrite.

The article, by Robert Costa and Karen Tumulty, is about Trump’s vetting of possible running mates.

The article says
“The contenders under the most serious consideration … have been asked … to answer more than 100 questions and to provide reams of personal and professional files that include tax records and any articles or books they have published.”

So Trump knows that tax forms reveal important information about a person’s character and actions.

He refuses to release his tax forms. What is he hiding?

Either his income is much less than he boasts,
or his contributions to charity are much less than he boasts,
or both.

Those are the only possibilities.

One of those three must be true.

No matter which of them is the truth, any of those statement proves that
—————————-Trump is a liar,——————————————
———————————-and—————————————————
—————–Trump doesn’t believe what he says.

But we knew that already. This is just additional proof.


For previous posts about The Trump, see here, here, here, here, and here.

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Trump’s Selective Isolationism Would Endanger US Support For Israel

April 3, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Dysfunctional Politics, Presidential election, Terrorism | 1 Comment
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Flipped version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

Flipped version of Trump Sr. at Citizens United Freedom Summit in Greenville South Carolina May 2015, photo by Michael Vadon.

As long as the US remains fully engaged with the rest of the world, actively promoting open stable societies and allies, it makes perfect sense for the US to aid Israel. Israel is an open society, socially and technologically advanced (apart from its short-sighted ‘lebens-raum’ policy of settlements, and is a steadfast ally.

But Trump wants to drastically reduce US involvement with the rest of the world – to save money!

Does Trump know what pennywise and pound foolish means?

If we pulled back fron NATO, does he think that we would still have international partners for embargoes, sanctions, and for cooperation in fighting terrorism?

Does he think that we would have diplomatic and military allies when we suddenly needed them?

Trump’s policy would unleash unintended, undesireable consequences.

Here is just one that he hasn’t thought of.

If the US became isolationist, as Trump favors, then US aid to Israel would become an anomaly. It would become an exception. It would stick out like a sore thumb. It would soon cease.

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