State of the Union

No Evidence to Back Trump's SOTU Sex-Trafficking Claims: Reason Roundup

Plus: New York's CBD-foods crackdown, Laura Loomer gets booted from PayPayl, and more hits from last night's speech.



Trump uses theoretical trafficking victims to bolster the case for a wall. During last night's State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said that "human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery."

As you might expect, no evidence backs up such a claim.

Outlandish tales of depraved immigrants preying on innocent girls is one of the oldest tricks, however, when it comes to stirring up sex-trafficking fears in service of political ends. And in Trump's case, that's things like building a big border wall, preventing refugees from seeking asylum here, and portraying himself as the savior of an America overrun by people who don't belong, many of them criminals.

The sincerity of Trump's concern for migrant women and girls is belied by his actual policies. His administration has made it harder for people to seek refuge here on humanitarian grounds; tried to specifically prohibit anyone coming here from war-torn countries where these crimes are actually prevalent; and pushes border policies that drive desperate people into the arms of smugglers, where women in particular are more likely to face exploitation or abuse.

There's evidence to support Trump's claim that many migrant women will face sexual assault—not the "one in three" he cites, but still too many—and yet the reason these people can't come through safer means is a direct result of U.S. immigration policy. On the flip side, undocumented immigrants or legal immigrants doing sex work within the U.S. are also at greater risk in a climate where courthouses, hospitals, and police stations are increasingly stalked by immigration agents.

In New York City, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were known to hang around the city's "human trafficking intervention court"—a court meant for those deemed victims, not traffickers—and pick up women there on prostitution or unlicensed massage charges. Around 91 percent of unlicensed massage arrests in NYC are of non-citizens, according to Kate Mogulescu of Legal Aid.

It's unclear if these women were counted among the 1,500 human traffickers that Trump's SOTU speech cited as having been "put behind bars" by ICE last year. The number seems to come from a recent White House press release, which says that ICE and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) "made 1588 Human Trafficking arrests" in fiscal year 2018. (Though it's also possible Trump is referring to a favorite Pizzagate/QAnon theory.)

While I can't definitely say that the human-trafficking arrest claim isn't true, I'll point out that federal agencies generally put out statements about any sex-trafficking cases they're prosecuting, and those numbers don't nearly match the number of arrests the White House suggests. The ICE website shows nine press releases mentioning sex trafficking in the past year, and two mentioning human trafficking (neither of the latter about criminal cases). Adding general Homeland Security, FBI, and Justice Department press releases still doesn't get us anywhere near 1,500.

My suspicion is that the White House is counting anyone arrested in "human trafficking operations," not those arrested and indicted for human trafficking. This is an important distinction, since many of those arrested under these operations have nothing to do with human trafficking, labor violations, prostitution, or assault at all. But most of the time, ICE, the FBI, and politicians will use linguistic maneuvering to make it sound as if all the arrests were for sex crimes. (See also: "Trump's mythical crackdown on sex trafficking.")

If you actually read beyond the headlines about federal "anti-trafficking" initiates touting big results, you'll see that these almost never involve human trafficking charges and if they do, it's a small fraction of the total arrests. Instead, these stings and raids are used to check people's papers and arrest anyone they can for immigration violations, prostitution, drug possession, or other low-level offenses of the sort that can still get legal immigrants deported.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is right that President Donald Trump "tries to use" the issue of sex trafficking "to justify his wall." But Kristof somehow still thinks that empowering the Justice Department to "prosecute pimps more aggressively" will fall fairly on serious criminals and not also be used as a pretense to target disfavored groups. Under a Trump administration, that will inevitably fall on communities where federal agents think they may find people running afoul of immigration laws.

See my piece from yesterday on hotels, Homeland Security, and digital spying for more on the intersectionality of ICE and anti-trafficking efforts.


Financial deplatforming continues.


A new nanny state target for New York City.


• Read the whole State of the Union speech here if you're a masochist.

• Here's more on Trump's false crusade against trafficking, from The New Yorker.

• And more Reason State of the Union Coverage:

• Good morning from Twitter:

NEXT: Trump Said He Wants Legal Immigrants To Come 'In the Largest Numbers Ever.' Really?

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  1. Read the whole State of the Union speech here if you’re a masochist.

    Does it have the pauses for all my standing ovations?

    1. Hello.

      Well, I thought it was pretty good.

      Dude told socialism off. To be frank, the West needed an American president to do that. That can’t be mocked or over stated.

      Also, he trolled those immature women in white hard. Those chants weren’t for all the good stuff like historic low minority unemployment. Nope they were cheering……themselves! Woooo!

      1. It sounded like they were at a Trump rally.

        Bad optics for them.

        1. Did Obama ever get the other side of the aisle to stand up and clap? Not only did Trump manage that but he got them to chant USA! USA!

          Speaking of bad optics. The Sanders scowl, the smug Harris rolling of the eyes, and the whole bizarre habits of Pelosi. From shuffling papers, reading notes and moving her lips as if she was biting the inside of her mouth. The Polident must have been bothering her. Maybe she was cursing Martha Raye under her breath too.

          The Democrats looked frivolous and silly for the most part.

          1. Did Obama ever get the other side of the aisle to stand up and clap?

            Oh sure–it happens all the time for supposedly “bipartisan” applause moments.

            Everyone knows they’re faking it, though.

          2. Speaking of bad optics, the Democrats ladies outfits and easy comparisons to the time when Democrats all used to regularly dress up in white and burn crosses.
            I’ve already seen a few photoshops where white hoods were added to complete the ensemble, and it hasn’t even been a day.

      2. Donald “The Uniter” Trump?

    2. Never tired of this WINNING!

  2. Can we all agree not to read, click on, or comment on yet another immigration thread? Silence is the only way to make them drop this BS.

    1. I promise not to comment if there are fewer than 20 comments already. Once it gets above 20, Katie bar the door!

    2. Why would we do that? Supporting unlimited immigration is the fundamental, non-negotiable position of Koch / Reason libertarianism. In fact, it’s what drew me to this site in the first place.

      1. good to see you didn’t hang yourself after AOC’s career ended last night.

        1. I have no idea what you’re talking about. AOC will continue fighting for the Koch / Reason immigration agenda for many years to come. And it won’t be long until she’s old enough to run for President.

          1. unbridled optimism is hot.

    3. What if they’ve all agreed to view silence as encouragement????

    4. +100

    5. I think the outrage is actually working. Shikha goes as far as admitting immigration is a “perceived” taxpayer burden
      and its worth it to make immigrants cough up their own money. That’s half way to recognition of the taxpayers costs of immigration.

      Like Andy Dufresne, we will chip away the nonsense, climb through 500 yards of shit, and came out clean the other end.

      1. I wish I could tell you that Shikha fought the good fight, and the Libertarians let her be. I wish I could tell you that – but Reason comment area is no fairy-tale world. She never said who did it, but we all knew.

        1. In this context, are we the sisters? Not a great look haha

          1. Buttsex is a big thing here at Reason. haha

    6. That would be pretty nice if you all did that.

  3. …an America overrun by people who don’t belong, many of them criminals.

    I can’t believe I read this line from ENB. I am so tweeting this out right now to all my 10 followers.

  4. Unbiased Journalist Ron Jeremy Junior of the Totally Unbiased National Laughingstock Wants to Start Suing Websites for Reporting on the Justin Fairfax Sexual Assault Allegations
    Calling libel law Twitter: If Justin Fairfax is indeed being smeared right now (his face is next to SEXUAL ASSAULT on many headlines and chyrons, for an allegation that media outlets couldn’t verify), what case does he actually have against accuser/publisher?

    ? Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) February 4, 2019

    1. Do your own research, Mr. Journolist.

      1. I know a lawyer could help. Brett something…

    2. Weigal is so stupid he doesn’t even understand the basics of libel law and the public figure doctrine. You would think a journalist would know the basics of what it takes to be held accountable for libel of a public figure, which Fairfax certainly is.

      You have to love Twitter for profiding these clowns an opportunity to show the world just how stupid they are.

    3. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Are you allowed to eat jelly doughnuts, Private Pyle?
      Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, no, sir!
      Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: And why not, Private Pyle?
      Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, because I’m too heavy, sir!
      Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Because you are a disgusting fat body, Private Pyle!

      1. Bigger douche bag Weigal or Will Wilkerson? That is like the heavyweight title of phony journolist douchebag.

    1. The law helps those who help themselves, bub.

      1. He gave gave consent when the spematazoa fertilized the ovum. He cannot withdraw consent retroactively.

        1. biological contract

    2. Not too late for an abortion.

      1. At least according to Virginia Governor Northam and state representative Tran.

  5. During last night’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump said that “human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.”

    As you might expect, no evidence backs up such a claim.

    Well, who do you think is doing it if not human traffickers and sex traffickers? Huh?

    1. Only hundreds do it, not thousands, idiot!

    2. I thought ports of entry were what sex trafficking was all about?

    1. And you thought being a billionaire would be fun.

      1. I think Notch did it correctly. Sell your companies, become billionaire, do whatever you want and stay out of the news (as best you can).

    2. You know who else had a mistress who made films intended for large audiences?

      1. Cecil B. DeMille?

      2. Eleanor Roosevelt?

      3. Huey Long.

    3. So that’s why they got divorced.

    1. No, they were just cowards who doxed him and hoped somebody more manly would do the punching.

    2. Could you imagine if Governor Coonman was a republican? Gillespie, Welch, and their hero Obama would all be in a ferocious competition with each other to see how much enraged spittle they could send flying around the room.

  6. What Was Missing From Trump’s State of the Union? America’s $1 Trillion Deficit

    They had to trim something, so if not spending itself then at least talk of spending.

  7. What if they want to be sex workers or do some mushrooms, Ms. Politician?
    ? Franklin Harris (@FranklinH3000) February 6, 2019

    Individual choice is fine as long as we’re all doing it together and it’s not something I can use to pad my resume.

  8. Now Reason is covering for human traffickers. I thought the Dems were the only ones in favor of human trafficking. Wonder what we pay the agent who was there to do? Guess he must have lied about what he does…

    1. The Central American drug cartels own the governments of most of the nations down there including the last two or three Mexican Presidents. They have billions of dollars in disposable cash. Yet, somehow we are supposed to believe they have never used that cash to buy any influence in the US or any American journalists or politicians.

      Yeah, the sound plausible.

      1. You think they could outbid China?

        1. Who says you can’t serve two masters? Also, the Chinese payroll in Washington though no doubt large and distinguished is only so big. The ones who can’t shill for the glory of China have to make a living somehow.

          1. “though no doubt large and distinguished is only so big”

            That’s what she said.

    2. Besides turning the first world into the third world, Shika appears to be all in on Tran’s infanticide bill as well.

      1. We need infanticide to make room for more immigrants.

        1. Darwinism of the 21st Century?

  9. Trump Denounces ‘Endless War,’ Teases Aggressive Stance on Venezuela in SOTU Address

    Everyone knows Venezuela would be over quickly PLUS it would give the president another opportunity to bask in the temporary glow of a press that fawns over decisive military action.

    1. Mission Accomplished!

  10. Honest question: for the caravan immigrants (not from Mexico), aren’t they supposed to seek asylum in Mexico first? Or are they allowed to just skip that step? I’m not up to speed on the protocol.

    1. yes, and “because laws don’t apply to the left”

      1. And does that bar them from seeking asylum elsewhere, like say, the United States?

    2. Mexico is allowing them to skip that step, they don’t want them putting downward pressure on wages in Mexico.

    3. Let me fill in the libertarian leftist argument:

      The United States is an evil racist place that no brown people would want to come to, but also the United States should have open borders no other nation would dare attempt, because not doing so is racist

    4. Personally I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t just ship all those people north to Canada. That would certainly be interesting since we’re now essentially saying that it’s no issue at all when a nation decides to ship large numbers of refugee’s to other nation.

      Honestly, why not ship them to Canada? Mexico is already shipping them to us, and plenty of people around here don’t see any moral issue with that at all.

      And if Canada doesn’t want them, well, that doesn’t matter one way or the other. They are obligated to take them, aren’t they?

  11. Read the whole State of the Union speech here if you’re a masochist.

    either my toxic masculinity made me read that as machoist

      1. we’ll never get an edit button if we don’t post comments with mistakes

        1. funny. wasn’t going to be able to go forward w/day if you didn’t close that gracias.

        2. That’s quite an either-or.

    1. Damn, you have more than one toxic masculinities?

  12. whiners.

  13. So the claim is that late term abortions are sometimes necessary for the health and or life of the woman. No question there are women who are ill or for whatever reason cannot handle the stress of a pregnancy and have to get abortions. But, those are late term abortions. If you have cancer and get pregnant, you don’t wait until 30 weeks in to terminate the pregnancy. The claim is that late term post viability abortions are medicaly necessary. Think about that claim for a moment.

    If the child is viable and the pregnancy is a threat to the mother’s health, the solution normally is to induce labor. Indeed, this is one of the more common reasons why children are born premature. The mother just can’t physically handle being pregnant anymore so doctors induce labor at the earliest possible moment. I have never heard anyone explain how it is that an abortion is appropriate in such circumstances and inducing labor is not. And I can see no set of circumstances where that would be true.

    More importantly, if it were true and there were circumstances, then there should be women out there who have had to make the tragic choice of aborting their child late in the pregnancy in order to save their own lives when they would have preferred induced labor. I have never seen nor heard of such a case and I see no reason to think such cases exist. The whole thing is a bullshit lie.

    1. All I know is my sister is an old world 60s liberal feminist.

      High IQ and gifted. Highly educated. Solid business woman too. So she’s no dummy.

      She’s disgusted by what she sees from the progressive left these days.

      She views them as lunatics. This shit that NY pulled and Virginia did….Rome had it. And they had to put a stop to it.

      1. It is disgusting. Their position makes no sense. There is absolutely no medical reason for a post viability abortion. If the pregnancy is harming the mother, you induce labor and end it. Pre viability you can’t do that. And in the case where a pregnancy is threating the health or the mother previability, an abortion may be necessary for the health or the life of the mother. But post viability an abortion is always elective because you can induce labor to end the pregnancy.

        1. >>>Their position makes no sense.

          it does provided it ends every time with “yes I understand I just killed a baby and I’m kewl with it.”

          1. That is what they are doing. I don’t like previability or early term abortions either. But, I can at least see a reasonable case that it isn’t murder. But there is no reasonable case for post viability abortions. It is straight up murder for convience.

            1. And she – and my other left-leaning high IQ younger sister – loathes AOC, Sanders and Trudeau.

              They’re everything she doesn’t want her kids to be.

              When you lose the liberals….

            2. >>>It is straight up murder for convience.

              i think the whole racket is. feel free to do what you want with your body, but own what you did with your body.

              1. Now now Dillinger, we both know that the assumption is that women have no agency and can’t and shouldn’t be expected to live with the consequences of their decisions. Only men can be trusted to make decisions.

                Keep in mind that I absolutely understand that it takes two to tango, but unless she was raped she has culpability there. You’ll never hear a modern feminist or pro-choice argument that mentions that.

                This is, of course, hyperbole and sarcasm but it seems like a whole lot of people have never even bothered to examine the morality or culpability in these circumstances.

            3. If it’s okay to deny care once outside the womb why stop at some arbitrary definition of what constitutes a human? Why not, say, kill a toddler because the Terrible Twos?

              Laugh all you want but this is how they think. What’s the big deal? And they couch it in all sorts of ‘faux-reasoned’ logic. I blame bio-ethicists.

              Don’t cross that Rubicon I say.

              It’s the same exact thing with the anti-smoking campaign. I remember how it began and how some warned about how it was going to evolve. The concern was eventually smoking in public spaces would be banned and then it would extend into the private sphere. They were mocked and jeered and told they were ‘crazy’. Guess what? Here we are.

              1. There is never a single slope the Progressives don’t fall down Rufus. Every scenario that people write off as impossible at first ends up being the norm in a few years.

                1. They have to constantly escalate – “who is most woke?” is a zero sum game.

              2. I went from ‘meh’ on abortion and just took what my sisters said to ‘cautiously being pro-life’ (anti-murder). Just like how I was a swing voter alternating between Liberals and Conservatives, now I’m firmly on the ‘right’ because the progressive left are illiterate illiberal mental cases the way I see it. They pushed me in that direction when I was fine where I was as a ‘centrist’.

                I would like to add….it’s interesting how the Constitution is subject to change (claiming it to be living – which it isn’t I think) to the whims of the unprincipled left and their degenerate narratives but Roe v. Wade – which is just a SCOTUS judicial ruling – is etched in stone and in blood.

                By their behavior, they’re going to force people to rethink that ruling.

                1. I am the same Rufus. If you are talking morning after pills or truely early term abortions, I am pretty meh about it. But, once you go to yanking viable children out of the womb and dismembering them and selling their parts for profit, which is what Planned Parenthood does, I don’t see how anyone can be meh about it much less support it.

                  1. >>>support it

                    because power.

              3. If it’s okay to deny care once outside the womb why stop at some arbitrary definition of what constitutes a human? Why not, say, kill a toddler because the Terrible Twos?

                You switched positions from one sentence to the next. Or do you believe that withholding care is the same as killing? Because that opens a whole other can of worms.

                1. Yes Sparky it is killing. But you are correct that withholding care after birth is euthanasia not abortion and a different issue.

                  1. Yes Sparky it is killing

                    Just so we’re clear, you’re saying that withholding care from someone is the same as killing them. Yes or no?

                    1. did they ask for it?

                    2. Yes I am. If you show up at the hospital bleeding to death. And the hospital decides that Sparky isn’t the type of person that should be saved and just lets you bleed to death even though they have the ability and the duty as doctors to give you treatment. They have killed you. It may not be murder but not all killing is.

                      The key in this case is that you have a doctor who is treating the mother and necessarily any child she is caring. That creates the duty to provide care. That doesn’t mean everyone has the duty and if you bleed to death in my front yard and I do nothing, I have killed you. But when hospitals decide to withhold care from their patients so that the patients die, they are killing their patients just as surely as if they had shot them.

                      That doens’t mean it is always wrong. Some killing is justified. But it is still killing.

                    3. What is neglect, Sparky? If you have guardianship over a person incapable of caring for themselves and you withhold care, you will be held responsible for their death.

                2. Withholding care (aka. exposure) is exactly the same as killing… It is killing.

                  Ancient societies often exposed infants or the unwanted, like sick or elderly slaves. Even back then it was viewed as evil by societies not practicing it.

                  1. John|2.6.19 @ 11:18AM|#

                    Yes I am.

                    Fancylad|2.6.19 @ 11:19AM|#

                    Withholding care (aka. exposure) is exactly the same as killing… It is killing.

                    I guess both of you should be tried for at least thousands of counts of murder each. Maybe you can plea down to manslaughter, but I wouldn’t let you off that lightly considering the apparent vehemence of your position.

                    1. Sparky,

                      Did you just skip over the whole part about it being a doctor and their patient and how the withholding of care by someone who has a duty to provide such is not a generalized duty for everyone to prevent all harms? Did you miss that or just not understand it?

                      If you are in the hospital and your doctor witholds care from you allowing you to die, he has killed you. Maybe he is justified in doing that. Maybe you are going to die anyway and further care is just futile and would prolong your suffering. Maybe it is not practical to give whatever care you need to keep you alive. But, withholding the care and letting you die is killing you.

                    2. Sparky,

                      Did you just skip over the whole part about it being a doctor and their patient and how the withholding of care by someone who has a duty to provide such is not a generalized duty for everyone to prevent all harms? Did you miss that or just not understand it?

                      Maybe next time you’ll shut the fuck up and let the person that the question was addressed to answer it. It’s not up to me to keep you from stepping on your own dick.

                    3. Ooooh Sparky got caught and now he MAD!

                    4. John|2.6.19 @ 11:18AM|#

                      Yes I am.
                      Fancylad|2.6.19 @ 11:19AM|#

                      Withholding care (aka. exposure) is exactly the same as killing… It is killing.
                      I guess both of you should be tried for at least thousands of counts of murder each”

                      You namecheck John, and write .”both” but the question isn’t addressed to John.

                      Shut the fuck up with that liar.

                    5. “The key in this case is that you have a doctor who is treating the mother and necessarily any child she is caring. That creates the duty to provide care. That doesn’t mean everyone has the duty

                      You’re stupid Sparky.

                    6. Sparky,

                      If a parent stops feeding their infant and lets it starve to death, has the parent not killed the child? By your logic they haven’t.

    2. There are EXTREMELY rare instances in which a post viability abortion might be needed–a twin dies, severe deformity. The possibilities are there.

      In these cases, the mothers want the children and these are difficult decisions.

      And most states abortion laws allow for this. In the rare cases where it might become necessary. New York and Virginia among them.

      So what was the point of passing this new law?

      To add ‘mental health’ to the mix. And to define ‘mental health’ downward.

      Because there are people out there who believe that women who have carried children almost to term, healthy children–not the types covered by the other part of the law– are being forced to have these children because the government does not recognize that they are mentally unfit to care for them.

      And they believe that there are enough of these women that legalizing infanticide will benefit them.

      Hail Moloch!

  14. PayPal bans pro-Trump activist Laura Loomer,

    there goes my hilarious idea to start calling it PayWall because of how in love they are with trump.

    1. She really is a dingbat.

  15. “California storms to get a rating from 1 to 5, like hurricanes”
    “The categories are necessary to cut through the hype that has surrounded atmospheric rivers in recent years, say the team of state, federal and university scientists behind the ratings…”

    I sort of doubt that ‘cutting through the hype’. In fact, they will promptly be cited as a requirement ’cause ‘CLIMATE CHANGE!!!!’

    1. You know that within a year or two every storm will rate 11.

  16. PayPal bans pro-Trump activist Laura Loomer,

    Loomer is a nut. She had it coming. I am sure the tech cartel won’t do anything bad with their power to deplatform people. Besides, everyone knows that there is no need to stand up for nutcases and bad people. What happens to them would never happen to you.

    1. When they came for the nutcases, I said nothing…….

    2. The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
      — H. L. Mencken

      1. Usually scoundrels and nuts are just people who dissent from the popular opinion. I have always found it pleasurable to defend such people.

        1. Like those illegal immigrant scoundrels.

      2. Doesn’t sound like Mencken. What is the source in his works?

    3. I remain persuaded that if there’s a constitutional and libertarian role for government in this, it probably has something to do with charges of collusion and unilateral contract rights.

      If Google’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, and PayPal are colluding in any way to undermine the ability of someone to reach the market, then they should be investigated for collusion.

      If these same operators built their platforms by offering to provide these people channels of communication and funding and these content creators then built their name brands on the strength of a unilateral contract–then those platforms don’t have the right to arbitrarily decide to not abide by that unilateral contract.

      1. If I put up a sign that offers a $100 reward to anyone who finds my dog and you go out and find my dog, I don’t have the right to suddenly decide not to give you a $100 reward–not even if the sign has a clause that says I have the right to change the rewards whenever I want. Those clauses are supposed to be ignored by the courts because if one party has the ability to change the terms whenever they want, then there is no contract. It just becomes legalized fraud.

        I promised I’d let you use my platform if you created content. You invested time, effort, money, and your brand in my platform, and I benefited from that–made money off of your content even! Now your invested time, effort, money, and brand have been lost–because I decided to change the terms? YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, and PayPal should probably be obligated to compensate the victims of their fraud for that.

        1. +100 Ken.

          I think this issue will self-correct since monthly users on FB and Twitter have gone down. It might just some minor deviation it also might signal that young people have moved on to some other platform.

          I can tell you that my young relatives only have FB accounts to give their older relatives “friends” and maybe post major life events. They use other platforms for hourly life updates.

          FB is very aware of this problem and personally, I think they are defrauding investors because they are counting those non-daily users as “active users”.

          1. Their earning, unfortunately, were up on advertising. Their customers are advertisers, and as they kick more people off the platform for controversial stuff, the advertisers are willing to pay more for ads and more people are willing to advertise.

            Over the long term, I would expect their user base to fall off. Even now, I’ve read, that the average user spends several hours a week less on the platform now than they did in years past. Eventually, they’ll be as clean as network television and the edgy stuff will go elsewhere.

            I’m not in favor of regulating Facebook, but if there were some regulation that came along? The idea that people should be able to maintain their contacts across services might not be entirely awful. The way it is now, it’s like if T-Mobile customers could only call and text other T-Mobile customers. What if they refused to connect their customers phone calls to customers of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or any other carrier?

            Facebook is kind of like that. Facebook’s market barrier is that if you leave the platform, you lose your connection to your contacts. IF IF IF and when they start acting like a monopoly, that will probably be the reason why.

            1. Facebook and Instagram in particular are damn near essential for building a small business. If you can’t get a social media presence, you are basically prevented from advertising and building a customer base in today’s society. Deplatforming is depriving people of the ability to make a living. It is a real threat to a free society and a dynamic econnomy.

            2. I personally think advertisers have been defrauding companies for decades by saying that the ads reach “x” people when they don’t. OTOH, companies keep buying into the bullshit that all advertising is massively beneficial to every company.

              IMO, a company like Coke does not need to advertise as much or as often as they do. A few well-placed targeted ads would keep them around. Their biggest advertiser is that they take up 50% of the soda isle at the grocery store. You are either going to buy Coke products or you’re not.

              With that being said, FB is lying about how effective their “targeted” ads are. A company can’t be sure and they take FaceFriend’s word for it. Maybe some customers say that they found the company via FB but I don’t think most people do that.

              You guys are definitely correct about FB customers being advertisers but users matter. Type of use and amount of use would seem to be very important to making advertising reach the “targeted” audience.

              I’m not in that biz and my family uses minimal advertising because we tend to feel the way that I mentioned. We get more sales from grocery store placement, contracts with wholesalers, and word of mouth customer satisfaction.

              1. I totatlly agree with you that all of these companies are lying about the effectiveness of their ads. For big, established companies, interenet and social media advertising is of dubious value. But for small companies that are just starting to build their brand and their customer base, social media is invaluable. And it is invaluable not because you target advertise. It is invaluable because it is by far the most effective way to spread your brand by word of mouth.

                1. I agree with you John, that advertising can make or break a small company.

                  Small companies also typically have small budgets for advertising, so targeted advertising makes a lot of financial sense.

                  Part of me thinks that the problems with FB and Google will self-correct when those companies loose huge market share to other social platforms and Duck Duck Go or some other search engine company conducts themself in an objective manner.

                  1. I think the social media platforms are going to shrink because as they get more censorious they will get blander and people will just get bored with them. Its like Tumbler kicking out all of the women who put up naked pictures. That is a whole chunk of people who now have less reason to bother with Tumbler. Every time Twitter kicks off someone who offends their SJW sensibilities, the platform gets less interesting and people have less reason to bother with it. And if people don’t use it, no one is going to pay to advertise on it. Someone, I forget who, said Twitter was going to end up being two feminists screaming at each other becaue one accidentily got a boyfriend. And that is an exageration that shows the heart of the problem.

      2. If they are working together to collude to control who does and does not have access to a widely available platform, that is absolutely a case where anti Trust law should apply.

        1. Isn’t it like blackballing a steelworker who joins a union?

          Paypal famously will delete your account for using Paypal to buy guns, gun accessories, or ammunition. If they’ve had discussions with Facebook, Google, or others about they won’t pick gun sellers that have been deplatformed by others, that’s collusion.

          I never bet on the courts these days not to find novel rationalizations for maintaining the status quo (Hello cannabis “commerce” and “penaltax”!), but if it’s collusion when it impacts steelworkers, it doesn’t stop being collusion just because you don’t like deer hunters.

        2. I think Anti-Trust would be a very effective weapon against asshole SJW corporate leadership who want the benefits of a corporation but want to violate the Public Trust that the company was founded on.

          If these asshole SJWs want to start a partnership or some other kind of company without the kinds of protections afforded corporations, then fine. Anti-Trust would likely not apply to non-corporations.

          I also think that the government would have to do a few Anti-Trust lawsuits and the rest of the corporations would fall into line and stop being so political. The threat of losing billions in stock value, would likely wake some corporate boards up. Plus, stock holders standing outside corporate HQs with pitch forks would work too.

  17. ‘No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year,’ Trump said before the large group of women stood up and cheered. ‘You weren’t supposed to do that,’ Trump joked before pointing out that the midterms had seen the largest number of women elected to Congress.

    The Great Uniter?

    1. more pussy for grabbing.

  18. I’ll tell you where there is an endless war.


    1. You might want to see a doctor.

      1. Might be referring to a couple of accidental discharges.

  19. “As you might expect, no evidence backs up such a claim.”

    Sure there is.

    It may not be persuasive or convincing evidence, but that doens’t mean there is no evidence.

    There is evidence that the sun orbits the earth. The sun has risen in the east and set in the west every day in recorded history.

    Anyone who says there is no evidence that the sun orbits the earth is wrong, and if their intentions are good, that doens’t make them any less wrong.

    1. Illia Somin was on Volkh yesterday whining about “fake news” and how misinformed the public is and won’t listen to their betters. It was a textbook example of someone missing the point. His examples of course included the evil Trump and his lies about things like the trade deficit being bad for the economy and illegal immigration from Mexico increasing crime. The first example is a value judgement. What is “good” or “bad” is a question of perspective and values. The second is verifyably true and the rebuttal that overall migration from Mexico has ended doesn’t rebut the point. Yet Somin calls it “fake news” because doing so just declares a position he disagrees with a “lie” and thus illegitimate relieving him of the duty to rebut it. This is how people argue now. Just declare their opinion to be a “fack” and any dissent a “lie” and therefore uncessary to engage or rebut.

      1. +100

  20. What is with that infantile clapping emoji?

    It always looks like Pringles potato chips.

    1. Too much wine?…..02-01-2019

      1. Pringles are addicting, I gotta admit.

        Mold-injected, hardened vegetable goop sprayed with sodium and acetic acid CLAPCLAPCLAP

  21. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is indeed still alive (for now at least) despite skipping the State of the Union, and Governor Coonman is still the governor of Virginia, and doing governor-y type things such as signing bills into Virginia state law.

    1. And Fairfax is still Lieutenant Governor doing whatever it is he does despite the country being told all last fall that you must believe all women. The videos going around of various Democrats in Congress saying they have never heard of the allegations against Fairfax or just running away to avoid answering questions about it are priceless.

      1. I’m 99% certain that he’s not going anywhere and the story will be just about forgotten in another week or two.

        At least some people in the JournoList are still talking about it though, which is more than you can say about the utterly shameless con artists here at Reason who dismissively hand-waved the story away on Monday.

        1. It will go away but it won’t be forgotten. The significance of the Fairfax allegation and the Governor Coonman affair is that their continued presence in office greatly reduces the Democrats’ ability to shame Republicans. The next time some Republican councilman in Alabama says something “racist” and the Journolist makes a national story out of it and expects every Republican in America to apologize for being associated with such a racist party, Republicans will just point to the continued service of Governor Coonman and the whole thing will turn into the punchline to a joke.

          1. +100 John.

            1. Thank you. And Governor Coonman is awsome. I am so stealing that.

              1. Some really great nicknames are coming out recently.

                Grandpa Gulag, Governor Coonman, Senator ‘Koko’ Booker, Al Frankenstein….
                List of nicknames

                1. “T-” *holds forearm vertically and crosses other forearm on top horizontally*
                  “Bone!” *points to elbow*

  22. “And in Trump’s case, that’s things like.. preventing refugees from seeking asylum here.”

    Since when did refugees = immigrant? There’s a difference. Just because you come from a poor country does not make you a refugee.

    1. Sorry, dont know how to do the text
      That’s an article headlined:
      Virginia AG admits blackface photo as chaos deepens

      1. “Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) on Wednesday said he had worn blackface to a party while he was an undergraduate in college, deepening a political crisis that has now ensnared the three top officials in the Commonwealth’s government.

        In a statement released Wednesday, minutes after Herring held an emergency meeting with the state legislative black caucus, the attorney general took responsibility for appearing in the photo.”

        1. The Virginia Democrats must have had a mutual political suicide pact, and decided to go full ‘tard all at once.

  23. So what was Trump’s verdict on the state of the Union? We still a shithole country with the shittiest immigration policies, shittiest border control, shittiest trade agreements, shittiest defense deals, attracting the shittiest shits from the shittiest shitholes all over the world to come rape us with all the shitty shit we just let the shitty shits do to us? Or has Trump decided to stop hating America so much and eased up on the talking shit about what a shithole country this is?

  24. Sex trafficking! The Congress of the US of A has sat on their collective fat asses since as long ago as I can remember. They have done NOTHING to make immigration policy for the US make any sense at all. To pick on Trump is . . . Eh! Not particularly moving.
    The hate Trumpers are not pro America. They are anti Trumpers. Which means they are not doing the job they were elected to do. They are not upholding or defending our Constitution. A quick read of said document would make that clear.

  25. Why is Reason magazine claiming that one must be a “masochist” in order to read a transcript of the president’s state of the union speech?

  26. The speech was fantastic, but nobody should read it. They should watch it. Most of the substance is in the interaction with Congress.

    Walls work. They’re effective and efficient. That’s why Democrats have always voted for them until Trump. Also, every President since Reagan, including Clinton and Obama, explicitly admitted that we have a border crisis, but didn’t do enough about it. Now because of Trump, they deny there’s a crisis. Sex-trafficking is real, and a mountain of evidence indicates that women and children are exploited every step of the way in the various situations (gangs, drugs, trafficking, coyotes etc) which are caused by our choice to leave the borders relatively open.

    Reason is aiding and abetting all kinds of atrocities and abuse.

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