Reason Roundup

Surprise! The Ban on Digital Sex Ads Didn't Work: Reason Roundup

Plus: digital privacy concerns down 11 percent since 2015

|

modified from Alex Endelman/SIPA/Newscom

"We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads." So claimed Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) in a piece of House Judiciary Committee propaganda posted to YouTube last month. In the video, Wagner and other U.S. lawmakers sing their own praises over the passage of FOSTA, the law that makes "facilitating prostitution" online a federal crime. Many politicians and journalists erroneously portrayed the law as a way to punish "child sex traffickers."

In a new Washington Post Fact Checker column, Glenn Kessler tears apart Wagner's claim to have "shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex-trafficking business." Even if the extent of "online sex trafficking" could be measured by simply counting the number of adult-oriented online advertisements, Wagner's assertion would still be what her GOP colleagues like to call fake news.

"When asked for evidence, Wagner's office sent a chart that tracked all sex-related advertising, saying that it showed weekly global ad volume dropped 87 percent from January to April," writes Kessler. The chart came from Memex, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that tracks and archives all sorts of sex-work advertising. ("DARPA Memex has since evolved into Tellfinder, managed by Uncharted Software," notes Kessler.)

But Wagner's chart shows that "the biggest drop in ads came after the shutdown of Backpage" by the federal government in April—before FOSTA became law. And "what happened after April?" asks Kessler. Wagner's office wouldn't share any more data, so the Post turned to DARPA and Uncharted Software for answers.

"It turns out that after that initial drop, advertising for the sex trade appears to have rebounded, such as on new websites that mimic Backpage with names like 'Bedpage,'" Kessler reports. He gave Wagner's claims "Three Pinocchios" out of a possible four.

Worldwide ads had a daily average of about 105,000 when [FOSTA] passed on March 21 and had dropped 28 percent by the time Backpage was closed on April 5. It then plunged another 75 percent and reached a low of 19,456 on April 17, for a total decline of about 82 percent.

But on the day the Judiciary Committee posted the video, sex-trade ads were back at about 50 percent of the daily volume before the law had passed; as of Aug. 11, they were at almost 75 percent.

Unchartered Software's director of research engineering tells the Post that "the volume of ads dropped dramatically after the shutdown of Backpage but has been climbing since. There is now a volume approaching what we observed before."

Previous Fact Checker columns at The Washington Post have tackled other whoppers politicians tell about sex trafficking, including some false claims made by Wagner:

Wagner, for instance, had claimed that the Justice Department estimated that 300,000 girls in the United States were at risk of being sex trafficked. But it turned out it was not a Justice Department figure but a number plucked out of a stale, decades-old study that had not been peer-reviewed and was largely discredited. We were pleased when many lawmakers stopped using such phony statistics—and anti-trafficking organizations scrubbed them from their websites.

A 2016 study funded by the Justice Department concluded that the total number of juveniles in the sex trade in the United States was about 9,000 to 10,000. The study also found that only about 15 percent of the children relied on pimps and that the average age of entry into the sex trade was 15.8 years.

FREE MINDS

Digital privacy concerns down 11 percent since 2015. Recent political concern for digital privacy has more to do with whipping up concern over scary Russians, the Trump administration, tech companies, and a host of other tangential targets than it does with some newfound committment to allowing the populace to keep secrets or an organic response to the demands of social media users. That last bit gets a boost from a new poll from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a part of the Commerce Department. The research shows that Americans were quite a bit less concerned about online privacy in 2017 than they were two years ago. In 2015, 84 percent of those surveyed said they worried about online privacy and security. In last year's poll, released today, only 73 percent had privacy and security concerns. The percentage who said privacy concerns kept them from certain online activities dropped from 45 percent in 2015 to 33 percent last year.

FREE MARKETS

Will Congress let small businesses be? The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Wayfair v. South Dakota opened the way for states to demand that solo entrepreneurs and small businesses start collecting state sales tax for online sales, even when the business has no physical presence in that state.

"Because Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce, it is now considering ways to address this newfound taxing authority," writes Jason Pye at The Hill, suggesting that Congress take the opportunity "to protect small businesses from these taxes….The strength of the American economy depends on it."

The Wayfair ruling paves the way for states to reach outside of their own borders when they collect taxes. This means that a small business in Texas with just a handful of single customers in New Jersey may soon have to comply with the Garden State's taxes—and many small business owners regard this development with concern. The fear for many of us is that the power to tax outside of [a] state's border will only be the beginning, and will be followed by the power to regulate businesses outside [its] jurisdiction.

More here.

QUICK HITS

  • A slew of suits accuse U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents of invasive and unconstitutional searches of female detainees.
  • Iran is turning to cryptocurrencies to get around U.S. sanctions, and this could serve as an excuse for all sorts of new U.S.-government meddling in cryptocurrency markets.
  • Actress Asia Argento, one of the first to come out publicly against producer Harvey Weinstein, "quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday" and she was 37, according to The New York Times.
  • "The death penalty not only inflicts unnaturally cruel punishment, but the application and implementation of the death penalty is, at best, arbitrary and capricious" and therefore violates the state constitution, opines Arizona Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Winthrop, dissenting from colleagues in a recent death penalty case.
  • Libertarians will get to appear first on the South Dakota ballots this year.
  • A former marketing director for Backpage.com accepted a deal from prosecutors. In exchange for pleading guilty to conspiring to facilitate prostitution, Dan Hyer will face a maximum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine and have 50 counts of facilitating prostitution and 17 counts of money laundering dismissed.
  • No jail time for Pennsylvania prosecutor Bill Higgins, who extorted sex from women arrested for drug crimes in exchange for leniency.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

184 responses to “Surprise! The Ban on Digital Sex Ads Didn't Work: Reason Roundup

  1. “We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads.”

    Mission Accomplished

    1. Hello.

      WaPo fact checking is roughly on par with Factcheck and Politifact in the way they frame their findings.

      1. Plus, nobody is asking these Lefty groups to fact check. We already know they are lying to cover up the original item being ‘fact checked’.

        1. My favorite is when they say mostly true but lacks context, then proceed to supply incredibly biased left-wing “context”.

          1. WaPo: “Here’s your ‘context’ citizen” – proceeds to lie.

  2. Iran is turning to cryptocurrencies to get around U.S. sanctions, and this could serve as an excuse for all sorts of new U.S.-government meddling in cryptocurrency markets.

    just so long as you can’t 3D print them

    1. I imagine that Iranians will have a hard time buying Uranium with Bitcoin given that you can’t really even buy groceries with them.

  3. Digital privacy concerns down 11 percent since 2015.

    You better be afraid that the Russians will trick you into not giving the Dems the House.

    1. And worse, that they’ll do it on the cheap.

  4. suggesting that Congress take the opportunity “to protect small businesses from these taxes….The strength of the American economy depends on it.”

    can’t wait for the clear and straightfoward rules on what constitutes “small” and “business”

    1. Small businesses are those that can only afford a single lobbyist in DC. If you can’t afford even a single lobbyist, you ain’t even a business at all.

  5. BREAKING: Authorities have confirmed human remains found at a desert compound in New Mexico are those of a missing Georgia boy.

    NBC News: New Mexico compound where kids were being trained for school shootings has been ‘mysteriously destroyed’
    NEW DEVELOPMENT: Authorities have partially bulldozed the #NMCompound ? trailer that was the main dwelling on the property has been dragged out and seized. ammo/bulletproof vest/paperwork remain.

    1. They found the remains of a missing kid on the property. How are these clowns still out on bail? If child murder isn’t a serious enough crime to get you denied bail, what is?

      1. To be fair, the 8th Amendment does protect the right for every defendant to get non-excessive bail.

        1. “Non-excessive bail” does not mean no bail ever.

          1. Do you mean that bail cannot be denied or that $0 bail is not a right?

            I dont think those New Mexico defendants got $0 bail (Own Recognizance release), right?

            1. They have ankle bracelets and will have to pay if they violate bail terms. No money up front.

              $0 bail has never been recognized as a constitutional right, and I say this as someone who is well aware of abuses of the bail system for people who can’t even afford $500 bail.

              The people charged with this have no constitutional rightto $0 bail.

              1. I would agree that $0 bail is not protected by the 8th Amendment.

                I thought they had put up land as collateral or pay some amount of bail.

                1. The right to a speedy trial is there, partially, so that true dangers to society can be held until justice is served.

                  It is a compromise for a world that is not black and white.

                  1. The right to speedy trial is for the benefit of the defendant not the public.

                    The King of England used to hold people indefinitely, never gave them bail, and never gave them a trial.

                    All the rights enumerated in the BoR make complete sense given the Founder’s experience with the Crown.

    2. Bulldozed. Quick! Destroy the evidence!

      Next, the sheriff will give a press conference and say “we love our muslims. Oh! they’re so good; oh they’re so sweet.”

      1. The defendants will be overseas before any trial begins.

        1. Trial. lol. Who are you kidding? These poor men are the victims of circumstance and Islamophobia

        2. If there is a flight risk, the proper method is for police to follow the defendants not deny bail.

          Denying bail is unconstitutional.

    3. It is a rather odd story. Some fundamentalist compound in the middle of the desert, a dead kid, some other weird stuff, and it gets just a little play from the media.

      As has been said, I guess it does not fit the narrative. Which is why I rarely ever read the news anymore, the propaganda has become too obvious.

      1. Nobody who cares about America doing well is fooled by the MSM anymore. The People know. The media knows it.
        The Lefty power structure knows it.

        For the first time in known history a propaganda effort has been exposed completely and their efforts made moot.

        1. Don’t you remember the Maine?

          1. Maine? Its the 23rd State in the Union.

  6. A slew of suits accuse U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents of invasive and unconstitutional searches of female detainees.

    “Are you smuggling any foreign melons into the country under that sweater, ma’am?”

    1. Cross a border like a thug, get raped by government agents like a thug.

    2. Tacos hardest hit.

  7. The research shows that Americans were quite a bit less concerned about online privacy in 2017 than they were two years ago.

    if nothing is being worried about then there is nothing to worry about

  8. Actress Asia Argento, one of the first to come out publicly against producer Harvey Weinstein, “quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett, a young actor and rock musician who said she had sexually assaulted him…

    Yes, but unlike Weinstein, she didn’t do anything for his career.

    1. She seems like a legitimately bad person. She is the chic that Anthony Bourdain was seeing before he killed him self right? She was cruising around with some other guy?

      1. Not that what she did in any way excuses Weinstein, but it is just another example of how degenerate the Hollywood-Media Industrial Complex really is.

        It’s not an accident that the NYT told Ronan Farrow to pursue the sexual assault angle but not the pedophilia angle when he was pitching his “dark underbelly of Hollywood” series.

        1. Sorry, that was NBC News, not the NYT.

      2. This was pre AB. One story I read had hem “helping” her with the hush money. She is sketchy at best and any man who gets close to her going forward is a fool.

        1. I didn’t know who this chick was before the Farrow story, but everything I’ve seen on her afterward indicates that she’s uniquely fucked-up even when accounting for her Hollywood social class.

          The irony of these mental health cases pretentiously acting as if they’re the moral conscience of humanity, and being propped up as such by the media, is one of the biggest indicators we have that we’re living in Clown World.

          1. It’s a society that encourages and thrives on mental illness.

    2. One of the cracks in the me too movement which will eventually collapse in on itself. Actually, I’m surprised it’s been around this long.

  9. Wagner’s assertion would still be what her GOP colleagues like to call fake news.

    fake news, the macarena of sound bites

    1. The Macarena eventually went away. I’m afraid an Orwellian term like “Fake News” may never go away.

      1. Its not going to go away with that attitude.

        1. Fake news is as old as man. Gutenberg, right out of the gate, uses his printing press to spread “good news” that leads to hundreds of years of war between the followers of the Prince of Peace.

          1. “I come not to bring peace but the sword.”

            1. YHWH’s message has always been mixed. It loves us to death.

  10. Libertarians will get to appear first on the South Dakota ballots this year.

    No one goes for the opening act.

    1. The sounds of beer bottles being loudly dropped into bins while you read the name

    2. Everyone just picks “C” anyway.

      1. I like “None of the Above”

  11. At this point, given how much power the government has to indirectly award its friends and punish its enemies, I’m no longer accepting “this is a private company” when one of them sides with any powerful faction of the government. Strip social media of their common carrier protection. Go after them for consumer fraud for doing this to their customers. I don’t give a damn any more. You side with government, you are government.

    The censorship continues
    Pateron says it is PayPal this time.

    1. The government won’t order this just like they didn’t order bad loans to be made before the 2008 crash. It will just ‘nudge’ banks into making the ‘right’ decision. No explicit paper trail.

      NY Times: How Banks Could Control Gun Sales if Washington Won’t

      1. Banks wanting to pull of gun control schemes will probably be violating federal banking regulations soon, if they have not already.

        If if they dont, some banks will choose to bank with every kind of customer and come out the winner while these Lefty-loving banks will be the losers.

        1. Hence the behind the scenes ‘help’ from the government. Nothing explicit and direct, just the government helpfully listening to the ‘community’ of ‘stakeholders’ when judging a bank’s actions.

          1. Yes, “private” companies that are little more than an extension of government should not be looked at by libertarians as private companies, but as government.

            Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

            But that requires too much thought.

      2. How many guns are ought on credit? People may use the convenience of credit, but usually have cash on hand to buy the weapons outright. And when everyone pays cash for weapons, the government will lose some amount of tracking ability.

  12. Pulling Their Clearances Is Only the Start ? It’s Time to Stamp out Elite Privilege
    Let’s look at our elite’s track record of success. Don’t worry ? it won’t take long. We’re still chasing bandits in Afghanistan after nearly 17 years, the Navy can’t stop running into other people’s boats, and our best and brightest in the FBI are texting each other like teens while they try to undo the election. They can’t be bothered with things like, I don’t know, following up on warnings about psychotic freaks who get online and announce their plan to shoot up schools.

    The liberals are right about something ? privilege is destroying our country. But it’s not privilege based on what hellhole your great-great-great grandfather escaped from or the kind of biological plumbing you were born with. It is privilege based on your membership in a selfish, feckless, unaccomplished caste of schmucks that fancies itself our betters yet rejects, with the help of a complicit liberal press, any kind of accountability for the mess it’s made of everything.

    1. Tell us how you really feel.

      1. I’m not their biggest fan.

    2. that was a pretty good rant actually. well done.

  13. I live in Bill Higgins’s county. Fuck that guy. You may remember him a few years ago from charging some teenager for taking a photo of the kid humping a Jesus statue. The church that owned the statue asked him to drop the charges, but he would not.

  14. I think everyone who supports these sort of anti-liberty laws should dive into a wood chipper.

    Best of all, after all the non-libertarians are gone, it’ll be really quiet.

  15. Interested in opinions on what platforms ought to do (not what the law should force them to do). Feel free to elaborate below…

    Ideally, platforms (like Twitter) would censor:
    ? Alex Frell Levy (@alexflevy) August 20, 2018

    Animated gifs and echo chambers.

    1. Everybody with three names. Nobody needs three names.

      1. Hi. My name is “X”.

    2. I like how “illegal speech only”, “abuse/ trolling”, and “hateful rhetoric” are offered as three separate choices when we all know there’s a serious contingent hell-bent on making that just a single category. It’s like the gun-grabbers who insist they’re not gun-grabbers because they just support “reasonable, common-sense” gun control laws, you’ve got speech Nazis who insist they’re not anti-free speech, they just support “reasonable, common-sense” restrictions on speech that just entirely coincidentally happen to outlaw any speech they don’t agree with.

      1. Makes you wonder if the article written on this poll isn’t designed to sum it up as “73% of people support some sort of restriction” …

    1. Special Counsel Robert Mueller personally intervened in the FBI’s investigation of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, striking a deal that allowed him avoid prosecution.

      According to a series of bombshell FBI documents released on Thursday, known child predator Jeffrey Epstein had a professional relationship with then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

      Flight logs show Bill Clinton flew on sex offender’s jet much more than previously known
      Clinton’s presence aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s Boeing 727 on 11 occasions has been reported, but flight logs show the number is more than double that, and trips between 2001 and 2003 included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including “Tatiana.” The tricked-out jet earned its Nabakov-inspired nickname because it was reportedly outfitted with a bed where passengers had group sex with young girls.

      1. What happened to the US Attorney who made the deal with Epstein? I bet Trump wouldn’t have anything to do with him, right?

    2. And, of course, crickets from Reason.

      1. Why would Reason care about fair trials?

        1. I’m sure they’ll get around to it. Look at all the great work they did on Rotherham.

      2. To be fair, I believe one of the columnists did put up an HnR post on this. I’m too lazy to go look for it, though.

    3. God bless judge Ellis for telling those scumbags in the media to go fuck themselves.

      He himself has been getting threatened because “Antifa” and the lowlife scum in the media (but I repeat myself) is pissed off that he had the nerve to decide that even Paul Manafort deserved a fair trial.

      1. Did he tell you who threatened him?

  16. “We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads.”

    This is unconstitutional violation of the 1st Amendment.

    1A: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    1A incorporated to the states via 14A.

    1. Yes, but you don’t understand. We’re at war against sex crimes AND this is for the children. That makes it doubleplusgood.

      1. I know its their favorite excuse.

        I also noticed that adult prostitution prevention did not get the support the Nanny-Staters needed so they now throw in how these advertising bans prevent child sex crimes too.

  17. A slew of suits accuse U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents of invasive and unconstitutional searches of female detainees.

    Stop trying to hide things in your sloppy purse, ladies.

    1. Are you hiding any meat in there? No? Would you like to?

  18. Because Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce, it is now considering ways to address this newfound taxing authority…

    Oh, God no.

    1. Electrons crossed state lines. Congress has the authority to regulate everything!

      1. Founders did not foresee electrons, so no constitutional protections.

        1. Electrons, while technically in the parchment the Constitution is written on, are not in the constitution. Suck on that SCOTUS.

  19. A former marketing director for Backpage.com accepted a deal from prosecutors. In exchange for pleading guilty to conspiring to facilitate prostitution, Dan Hyer will face a maximum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine and have 50 counts of facilitating prostitution and 17 counts of money laundering dismissed.

    Looks like stacking charges worked, boys!

  20. Catholic League on Twitter
    It is interesting to note that the most irrational, indeed hysterical, reaction to PA grand jury report is coming from conservative Catholics. They are singularly incapable of making a cogent argument, so all they do is vent like little boys. They are a pitiful lot.

    1. I guess what came out is so bad that they just can’t face it.

      1. It’s “bulldoze the churches and salt the ground they stood on” bad.

        1. If it were Mosques doing it, the Catholic League would be screaming to do that to Mosques and they would have a point.

  21. If we were watching this unfold from some other country, we’d question the US president’s wellness. “Is the president okay?”

    Even if he hadn’t been installed by a hostile foreign power hacking our election, Orange Hitler would still be unfit for office for mental health reasons. Regardless of the results of Mueller’s investigation, next year’s #BlueWave Congress must remove him from office.

    #Resist
    #Impeach
    #StillWithHer

    1. Nicely done. A-

    2. Best response: “You’ve tried this narrative before, fatty.”

      Stelter and his ilk really need to be shoved back into the lockers where they belong.

  22. First, the came for the straws…

    “A Rising Concern? After Straws, Balloons Get More Scrutiny”
    […]
    “Now that plastic straws may be headed for extinction, could Americans’ love of balloons get deflated too?
    The celebration of releasing balloons into the air has long bothered environmentalists, who say the pieces that fall back to earth can be deadly to seabirds and turtles that eat them…”
    https://www.edgemedianetwork.
    com/technology/science/264065

    1. Up next, Chinese lanterns.

      1. According to wildfiretoday.com, as of 2016, 29 states had banned them.

  23. “The death penalty not only inflicts unnaturally cruel punishment, but the application and implementation of the death penalty is, at best, arbitrary and capricious” and therefore violates the state constitution, opines Arizona Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Winthrop, dissenting from colleagues in a recent death penalty case.

    To be unconstitutional, a punishment needs to be cruel and unusual.

    Being punished by death in the USA is neither cruel nor unusual.

    With that being said, the criminal justice around the USA is fucked and needs to be fixed. Death penalty sentences need to be suspended until the system is fixed.

    1. I think if you look at executions carried out vs. death sentences, you might see that being punished by death is in fact unusual.

      1. Tolling for appeals doesn’t count toward sentences carried out in a non-rapid manner.

    2. Lethal injection – torture.

      Euthanasia – compassionate healthcare.

      One is killing someone with a toxic injection. The other is killing someone with a toxic injection.

      1. Lethal injection – torture.

        Scrambling fetus into goo and then sucking it out to be discarded into biobag – 100% untouchable.

      2. One is decided and carried out by the state. The other is decided by the individual or their family.

        Almost identical.

        1. Torture is torture. My point is either drugs cause painful excruciating death, or a quiet peaceful death. If there are no drugs for lethal injection that aren’t torture, then there aren’t any for euthanasia.

          1. The government should finally build the Euthanasia Coaster and rent it out for both state-imposed death sentences and patient requested euthanasia.

          2. Drugs are sold for euthanasia that are not allowed to be used for state sanctioned murder.

        2. Except that healthcare is being pushed into government control, but we’re not there yet so you’re not wrong here. The trajectory should be concerning though.

          1. Health Care Financing. There are no plans to have medical providers in employ of the state that I have seen.

            It’s already that way for the elderly, for 50+ years. I’ve yet to see the death panels that we were promised.

          2. Health Care Financing. There are no plans to have medical providers in employ of the state that I have seen.

            It’s already that way for the elderly, for 50+ years. I’ve yet to see the death panels that we were promised.

  24. “We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads.”

    We’ve got those girls back on the streets working for abusive pimps just like God intended.

    1. Being a whore is known as the oldest profession because no one has ever really tried to stop it. If we just put our minds to it, this time we can stop it.

      1. Its different now because… TOP MEN and WOMEN decide.

        1. Twice the derp, Same results.

    2. There’s a good opportunity for OBL to make the case that the patriarchy just doesn’t understand and appreciate “my body, my choice” like good progressives do.

  25. Digital privacy concerns down 11 percent since 2015.

    Stockholm or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

  26. And now for the news:

    “Chinese and U.S. negotiators are mapping out talks to try to end their trade standoff ahead of planned meetings between President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at multilateral summits in November, said officials in both nations.

    . . . .

    Scheduled midlevel talks in Washington next week, which both sides announced on Thursday, will pave the way for November. A nine-member delegation from Beijing, led by Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, will meet with U.S. officials led by the Treasury undersecretary, David Malpass, on Aug. 22-23.

    The negotiations are aimed at finding a way for both sides to address the trade disputes, the officials said”

    —WSJ

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-…..534528756?

    I’ve been saying that I didn’t see much of any compelling evidence to suggest that Trump wants free trade with China for a long time. I still don’t think this is in any way indicative of Trump’s desire to increase free trade with China. China’s currency and stock markets have been hammered because of the trade war, and it looks like China is ready to capitulate if Trump will let them save face. I’ve condemned Trump’s trade war, strategy, and trade goals with China, but just because I don’t like what he’s doing doesn’t mean it isn’t working. If the goal is less trade with China and to get himself reelected, then his strategy appears to be working.

    1. Sadly, anything that’s done can count as working insofar as it has any effect at all.
      We need to add “at least it’s working” to the long list of phrases that damn with faint praise.

    2. China is a hostile power bent on causing us all kinds of trouble and issues. Maybe trading with them is a bad idea? Perhaps getting cheap shit from India and Vietnam and selling to those markets is a better idea?

      Since when is “free trade” with China necessarily a good? If doing so comes at the price of helping to create a hostile super power, maybe it is a bad idea.

      1. I think you are on to something John.

        Since Nixon went to China, neo-cons have wanted American trade to turn the Chinese off to Communism. It has not worked in 40+ years. Communists are the natural enemy of capitalists.

        Maybe India and Africa are better trading partners in the long run.

        1. Trading with China hasn’t made the country any more free that it would have been and has done nothing but make them a much more dangerous adversary.

          1. To be fair John, trade with China has been great for the USA. Not only for cheap shit but for competition that pressures companies to make better and better products.

            With that being said, China is not building man-made islands in the South Pacific, get militarily aggressive with the USA, set up huge spy networks in the USA, and straight seize non-Chinese territory like Tibet for peaceful reasons.

          2. And then people scratch their heads on how it could be that since China started trading with the U.S. they’ve made a leap forward in technology and somehow their designs all look like American versions only with a different sticker.

            I’m sure there’s nothing strange at all going on there. Nope. They’re definitely not violating the basic tenants of essentially all our trade agreements.

            /sarc

      2. Perhaps getting cheap shit from India and Vietnam and selling to those markets is a better idea?

        Maybe we could get a trade agreement going with China’s competitors in the region. We could call it something like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or something. We might have to toss some sweeteners into the deal to get everybody on board, but we could write those off as a cost of Chinese economic containment. Trade favoritism to other countries would be a small price to pay compared to, say, slapping huge tariffs on Chinese goods or threatening military force. Good thing Trump’s a lot smarter than Obama, maybe we’ll get something like that instead of whatever stupid shit Obama would have come up with.

        1. We have no idea how managed that deal was going to be because Obama actively tried to keep everything his administration did a secret. Maybe it did have some sweeteners in it, but it’s stupid to pretend it was in any way Free Trade.

          Not that I’m defending Trump’s plan of turning the volume up on the trade wars we’ve been in for decades.

      3. China is a hostile power bent on causing us all kinds of trouble and issues.

        You just lit the big sarcasmic signal. He should be along at any moment to tell us that tariffs are only bad when we impose them on others, and that when others impose them on us we should just ignore it because we’re only declaring war on ourselves and all that sort of bullcrap.

        1. Tariffs are not imposed on others. They are a tax on people who buy stuff. They are imposed on one’s self.

          You protectionists seem to think that a tariff is something that is paid for by others. It’s not. It’s paid for by you and everyone else who buys stuff.

          If you think making stuff more expensive is the road to prosperity, so be it. I can’t change your mind.

          But it goes against what every economist has said for the last two and a half centuries.

        2. By the way, this is now hitting close to home. A family member who runs a lobster wholesale company has lost twenty five percent of his business thanks to China retaliating against Trump’s tariffs. MAGA or something.

          1. So its China’s fault for these new tariffs.

            Trump instituted retaliatory tariffs in June 2018.

        1. OMG. Is this the type of stuff you get your military news from? That video with info supposedly taken from the Rand Corporation report.

          As an example, the guy in the video tries to make fun of China for needing to use trains to get weapons to the front as it ‘antiquated from WWI’.

          The USA also uses trains to move weapons around the USA.

          That video had a few good points that are taken from the report but does not evaluate the information very well.
          Defense.gov- China military

          The biggest problem for China is its inability to project power beyond its borders.

          A secondary problem for China is the location of American allies or potential allies near its borders. The USA has no such potential allies for China close to the USA.

      4. “China is a hostile power bent on causing us all kinds of trouble and issues. Maybe trading with them is a bad idea?”

        I don’t believe this is borne out by recent history.

        Before China started working to join the WTO, they were a force for instability and communist revolution all over the world. Nowadays, when we hear about “Maoist rebels” in various parts of the world, they’re describing the group’s ideology rather than their funding.

        Trade with China has turned China into a force for stability in the world. They don’t want to see rebellions in any country where they’re trying to extract natural resources. They’ve become a force for stability in places like Africa–which can also be a bad thing.

        Whatever trouble and issues China causes us, I do not believe it is a function of our trading with them. In fact, they used to cause much more trouble and issues than they do now–and the solution to those problems was trading with them.

        The point would be underscored even further if Trump is able to get concessions from them by threatening their access to our market.

    3. But how do you feel about Trump’s 7-D Wizard Chess mastery in the military parade episode? I’ve been seeing the narrative being pushed that Trump never actually wanted a parade, never had any intention of having a parade but simply was trolling the Left by throwing out the suggestion that we have a big shiny display of patriotism knowing full well that the Left would take the bait and start screaming about how much they hate patriotism. What a genius Trump is!

      See, this is why I don’t suffer from TDS, I suffer from TSDS – Trump Supporter Derangement Syndrome. AYFKM? Trump wanted a parade and they cheered, Trump cancels the parade and they cheer even harder. Is there any question this is a cult of personality and Trump is their Messiah?

      1. I don’t see that as 7D wizardry. I see it as just another example of Trump knowing how to push the media and his opponent’s buttons and get them to take an unpopular position. A lot of people liked the idea of having a military parade. It is not like it is unheard of. He got the idea in France for God’s sake. But he knew that proposing it would cause his opponents to have a stroke. I think he wanted one but saw the purpose in proposing one as more than just his desire to have one.

        This is Trump’s move; take a position that will inflame his adversaries and force them to take a position that is unpopular or sounds unreasonable to anyone but other partisans. He did the same thing taking Brennen’s security clearance. He took Brennen’s clearance and not Comey or Clapper or an of the other former Obama people’s clearance for a reason; Brennen is by far the most loathsome and hard to defend. Never Trumper David French was all over NR last week defending Brennen and saying he shouldn’t have lost his clearance. If your goal is to discredit French among Republicans, is there a better way to accomplish that then to have him defend John Brennen?

        1. “We’re going to have a great big parade to celebrate all the wonderful things our boys and girls in the military do. It’ll be beautiful, just like how the French and all those European countries you press types all love do it”.

          – Unhinged ranting by his opponents against the military and America follows.

          – Trump grins.

      2. I don’t see the military parade as much of an issue.

        I think it’s silly and expensive, and I don’t really see anything to it other than that.

        I think Trump is a patriotic guy, and he’d like to see Americans become more patriotic.

        I think Trump’s base is likely to be the kind of people who dig flyovers at baseball games and think military air shows are cool. He might exploit this issue like he exploits the NFL kneeling controversy, but I think that’s all there is to it.

        I don’t see any 3-D chess there. Just a politician looking to exploit patriotism as a political issue.

        Reagan did more or less the same thing by calling for a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

        Bush Jr. exploited the Terri Schiavo case to fire up his base.

        The Obama campaign claimed that Romney tied his family dog to the roof of the car and drove like that all the way to Massachusetts.

        The Romney campaign countered with the charge that Obama actually ate dog when he was in Indonesia.

        I see the military parade as kinda like that.

      3. Some of us support Trump’s Libertarin-ish policies, opposed the parade, and laughed at the TDS from Trump haters after he did not go through with the parade.

  27. Incontrovertible evidence that the government directly facilitated the aerial bombardment of 40 children is an obvious national scandal, but won’t be treated as such unless Omarosa or Mueller weigh in https://twitter.com/cnn/status/1030601424747544576 ?

    I’m sure it will be treated as a national scandal by CNN, just as all the innocent civilians killed by Obama’s signature drone strikes led their news broadcasts for days on end.

  28. The research shows that Americans were quite a bit less concerned about online privacy in 2017 than they were two years ago.

    Hmm. Because of what was announced in 2015?

  29. CA will be afterward

    Why China Will Reclaim Siberia
    One day, China might want the globe to match the reality. In fact, Beijing could use Russia’s own strategy: hand out passports to sympathizers in contested areas, then move in militarily to “protect its citizens.” The Kremlin has tried that in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and most recently the Crimea, all formally part of other post-Soviet states, but controlled by Moscow. And if Beijing chose to take Siberia by force, the only way Moscow could stop would be using nuclear weapons.

    1. Ah, the famous Sudetenland Siberians.

    2. Russia uses that strategy against countries like Georgia and Ukraine that don’t have nuclear weapons. Trying it with a country that does, entails an entirely different set of challenges and risks. China would be nuts to try and do that.

      1. I see we’re still not questioning the narrative that Russia is the big bad guy and bent on expansion for… reasons?

        1. Russia is terrible and a country anti-thetical to liberty.

        2. Russia still has 15,000 nuclear weapons. And Siberia is part of Russia. So, it defending it would not be expansionism. Your comment makes no sense.

  30. Libertarians will get to appear first on the South Dakota ballots this year.

    Why? Is their candidate named Arnie Aaronson?

    1. Acme Aaron.

  31. I suspect things in Venezuela will come to a head soon.

    “The president’s new measures include a new currency called the sovereign bolivar, which will lop five zeros off the existing tender. Many economists said the move fails to address the real cause of inflation: uncontrolled printing of money.

    The rollout comes as Mr. Maduro plans to raise the minimum wage to about $30 a month from less than $1.

    Economists warn the measures will drive inflation even higher than the 1,000,000% the International Monetary Fund projects this year. The government, which is in default on $6 billion in debt, is expected to print more bank notes to make up for a loss of export earnings that has come with the drop in oil production.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ve…..534723307?

    —-WSJ

    Imagine you’re a business owner, and your customers are already struggling to deal with an inflation rate of 1 million percent. Now, overnight, the government has announced that you must pay your employees 30 times what you were paying them before? Might as well grab a pitchfork or a torch because you won’t be in business for long.

    The situation is untenable. The USSR wasn’t authoritarian enough to keep a lid on a situation that maybe wasn’t that bad. If I were setting the over/under on seeing Maduro’s head on a pike, it would probably be about three months. If I were betting on that, I’d take the under.

    1. Venezuela is turning into Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe never came to a head. It just lingers on as an ongoing humanitarian disaster. I would love to think Maduro will end up at the end of a rope someday soon, but Mugabe not ending up there makes me skeptical he ever will.

      1. Maduro, much like Mugabe, has firm control and support of the military. As long as that holds, he’s not going anywhere.

        1. I am not sure it’s true that Maduro has firm support of the military.

          Maduro has impoverished everyone. He’s not making his military officers rich at the expense of white farmers.

          1. He hasn’t impoverished anyone. Capitalists have. And the people believe him.

            1. Maduro is wildly unpopular.

            2. He’s even being blamed by the Chavez supporters for having ruined the revolution somehow.

            3. It’s like American communists saying that the USSR wasn’t really communist because they skipped a step.

              It’s like a leftist law: Whenever leftist policy fails, it’s never the fault of the policy. It’s because the wrong person was in charge of implementing it.

        2. Precisely. When he was in power, Chavez deliberately reformed the military and purchased hardware that’s best suited for the purpose of preventing internal uprisings, not supporting national defense against external threats.

          1. purchased hardware that’s best suited for the purpose of preventing internal uprisings

            Like what the feds have been doing with police forces?

            1. I’m not a fan of a lot of his work, but War Nerd had an article about this years ago that outlined Chavez’s purchases pretty effectively.

    2. I’m wondering how long it will be before the Democrat Party calls for Venezuela to be bailed out by U.S. taxpayers.

      1. The American middle class is, as always, the plowhorse for world socialism.

      2. How long until Joe Kennedy’s back on TV shilling for “the people of Venezuela”?

        Our Friends in Venezuela

        Oil “Donated” by CITGO

    3. The president’s new measures include a new currency called the sovereign bolivar, which will lop five zeros off the existing tender. Many economists said the move fails to address the real cause of inflation: uncontrolled printing of money.

      You know, when I read that many scientists say that water is wet, I really, really, really want to hear from the ones who didn’t want to go out on a limb and state for the record their opinion on the matter. I mean, I guess “many” economists might mean “all of them but the ones working for the Venezuelan government and don’t want shot”, but I’d like to hear a real economist arguing that lopping 5 zeroes off the currency is just the prescription for fixing what ails Venezuela.

      1. “Many” is a weasel word, but in this case, I can understand using it. It’s kinda common knowledge. Who wants to call up an astronomy professor and ask him or her for a quote saying that the earth orbits the sun?

  32. Last week, some of us were discussing how change really comes about, and I was arguing that change always comes from the bottom up. The only way we’ll see change is when the American people decide to want something, first. The politicians are always the last on board. Once the American people decide they want a libertarian society, the politicians we already have will fall all over themselves to be more libertarian than each other.

    I’ve taken example of this from segregation to integration, public acceptance of gay marriage, and the legalization of recreational marijuana. In all cases, it’s the people who get out ahead of the politicians–that’s when change happens. If we want things to change, our only option is to persuade our fellow Americans to want change. The idea that the change we want will come from electing better politicians just has no basis in reality.

    One of the examples I used of politicians getting out ahead of the American people is ObamaCare, the only meaningful part left of which is the preexisting conditions exclusion–the part of the bill that the American people actually support (regardless of whether they should). I’ve been reading of another excellent example of the same phenomenon in Australia–in regards to a carbon tax.

    1. Long story short, under a lefty PM named Gilliard, Australia implemented a carbon tax, which was marginally popular–right up until the moment people started receiving their electricity bills. It became so wildly unpopular, that the Australian people voted Gilliard and the left out on their asses–and got rid of the carbon tax. The center-right coalition they voted in is now led by Turnbull, who looks like he’s about to get the boot himself–on the back of having his NEG legislation rejected, which was being slammed within his own center right party as a stealth carbon tax.

      “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has staged another dramatic retreat on energy policy in the face of a dire threat to his leadership, removing climate change targets from the National Energy Guarantee in his second policy reset in four days.

      The revised scheme will go ahead without federal legislation to stipulate a 26 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions under changes aimed at averting a challenge from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.”

      —-Sydney Morning Herald

      http://www.smh.com.au/politics…..4zyht.html

      When they’re talking about his enemies in the party, they’re talking about enemies within his own party.

      1. Moral of the story? Change doesn’t come from politicians. It comes from persuading your friends and family. Believing that change comes from politicians is one of the central conceits of elitism. That’s why elitists like Hillary Clinton calling the people she needed to persuade “deplorable” was so profoundly stupid. Don’t be stupid. Don’t buy into elitism.

        What you say to your friends and family is far more important than whom you vote for, and there is no greater purpose for libertarians than to preach the libertarian gospel. There’s probably nothing worse you can do for the movement than persuading people that whom they vote for is more important than anything else either. If you believe that, subconsciously or otherwise, then you’re already thinking like an elitist.

      2. P.S. My point isn’t that enviromentalism is futile any more than my point is that libertarianism is futile. The only thing that’s futile is trying to save the environment without persuading the American people. People willingly make sacrifices for things they care about all the time, but you have to persuade them to make those sacrifices willingly. Libertarianism is even easier than that to sell. All we have to do is persuade people not to sacrifice their freedom.

  33. Bake the cake, bigots:

    The Compulsory Society
    But it would be foolish to analogize the situation of gay or transgender Americans in Colorado in 2018 to the situation of black Americans in Mississippi in 1930 or Arkansas in 1964. There is widespread tolerance and accommodation, and America’s sexual minorities have social, economic, and political power far beyond what African Americans had in the 1960s.

    Why compel Jack Phillips to knuckle under? Because you can, and because you hate him. Hate is an inescapable part of tribalism, and hate is now the single most important organizing principle of the American Left.

    1. I think it’s also “making an example” of him. The Left fears that if even one person “gets away” with dissenting, it could spread.

    2. Like I’ve pointed out before, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is supposed to be a bipartisan board. The current board has 1 Republican, 3 Democrats (one of whom moonlights as a drag queen), and two “unaffiliateds”. The “unaffiliateds,” Carol Fabrizio and Jessica Pocock, are a lesbian and a gay rights activist, respectively, while a former member during the period when the suit was brought, Heidi Hess is a lesbian and gay rights activist whose board re-appointment was recently blocked by Republicans in the state house.

      It’s no accident that Phillips was singled out by the commission, and continues to be attacked by it.

    3. Maybe they should set up a separate, but equal, mechanism for same sex couples to get wedding cakes, right?

      1. Why do that when there are plenty of places to get a wedding cake already?

  34. >>>For Use on MK82

    do bomb manufacturers put “for use on x bomb” on the bomb parts?

    1. Good question.

      Does not look like any labeling I saw when I was in. But that was long ago.


  35. The chart came from Memex, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that tracks and archives all sorts of sex-work advertising. (“DARPA Memex has since evolved into Tellfinder, managed by Uncharted Software,” notes Kessler.)

    What the fuck?

  36. Uh oh, the Manafort jury is released until Tuesday.

    Looks like Mueller’s teams has real problem convincing everyone that Manafort is guilty.

  37. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .
    http://www.geosalary.com

  38. When people are asked to use gut instinct to stop real but rare horrors, relying on racial stereotypes and other biases tends to rule.

    Is that why the cops pulled a gun on my friend the day I moved him and his babby mamma into my town. It’s strange how one of the other regulars at the Wellness Center died of a drug overdoes latter that night in the Wellness Center bathroom.

  39. When people are asked to use gut instinct to stop real but rare horrors, relying on racial stereotypes and other biases tends to rule.

    Is that why the cops pulled a gun on my friend the day I moved him and his babby mamma into my town. It’s strange how one of the other regulars at the Wellness Center died of a drug overdoes latter that night in the Wellness Center bathroom.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.