Reason Roundup

Aaron Sorkin, Mark Zuckerberg Feud Over Political Ads. Here's Why Sorkin's Wrong.

Plus: The ACLU sues the FBI, divorce rates are at 40-year low, and more...

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Aaron Sorkin versus Facebook: The West Wing and Social Network writer scolded CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an "open letter" in The New York Times yesterday. Essentially, Sorkin accused Zuckerberg of contributing to the decay of American democracy and being a hypocrite about free-speech principles, after Facebook chose not to remove an untruthful Trump campaign video and said it wouldn't be in the business of policing truth in candidate ads.

The dustup comes the same week that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his company will stop accepting paid ads for political campaigns or political issues at all.

Both mark a growing culture war over how social media content should be moderated and regulated.

The Sorkin op-ed in the Times was notable for several reasons. First, it featured the preening moral indignance and self-righteous scolding Sorkin is known (and loved or hated) for. For instance:

I admire your deep belief in free speech. I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment. Most important, it's a bedrock of our democracy and it needs to be kept strong.

But this can't possibly be the outcome you and I want, to have crazy lies pumped into the water supply that corrupt the most important decisions we make together. Lies that have a very real and incredibly dangerous effect on our elections and our lives and our children's lives.

It also needed three factual corrections, including one on a relatively significant point about American consumption of news from Facebook. (Also, Sorkin got the year of the release of his Facebook film wrong.)

Sorkin's piece makes an oblique reference to Section 230, alleging (falsely) that there's no way to hold digital sites and services accountable for user-generated content. ("The law hasn't been written yet—yet—that holds carriers of user-generated internet content responsible for the user-generated content they carry, just like movie studios, television networks and book, magazine and newspaper publishers.") It thus continues the Times' apparent inability to cover Section 230 and the moderation of user-generated content without having to issue corrections.

For the record, Facebook makes a lot of decisions that I disagree with and some that I loathe, but I think it's right not to set itself (and its massive force of low-paid content moderators) as the arbiters of online truth. Decentralization of knowledge production and information dissemination is one of the greatest gifts of the internet, and it can still be accomplished to greater or lesser degrees even within closed systems (such as Facebook or Twitter).

Twitter's decision to ban paid political content may sound sensible at first—that's the company's own ad money to lose, after all—but the logistics will be a nightmare. What makes an issue or idea "political"? Who decides?

Private internet companies can of course "censor" and censure and deplatform pretty much whomever they wish. But tough-on-content policies, attempts to censor ideas (not just obviously illegal content), and many of the excessively hands-on approaches that people advocate these days are a recipe for ensuring that grassroots voices, minority communities, and outside-the-status-quo ideas stay marginalized.

As an example: I help run a small, basically no-budget, nonprofit group called Feminists for Liberty. Since Facebook implemented its policies to crack down on "foreign influence" and fake political actors, we've had to jump through increasing hoops to have our Facebook page even exist. So far, we've been prevented from promoting events on the platform because we didn't have the right government form to submit to Facebook's inspectors. There must be many groups (and candidates, and causes) like ours, getting blocked by policies ostensibly meant to help promote freedom of expression and ideas online.

Meanwhile, bigger players (including those with nefarious goals) have little problem complying with new policies like these, and they can usually pay to find workarounds for major shifts. From search engine optimization to increasing social reach to building brands on TikTok and whatever's next, big players (in politics, business, entertainment, or whatever) have employed—and will continue to—whole teams of scientists, journalists, consultants, and others to figure out how to game algorithms, increase the appearance of "organic" reach, and so on.

On Twitter, major political players will find ways to get their messages seen regardless of whether they can promote posts. Smaller and less mainstream voices who may need a little paid promotion to get started or to stand a chance against massive entrenched industry groups or political parties will be the ones who lose out.

As Nick Gillespie notes, both Facebook and Twitter "are clearly responding to threats by legislators seeking to regulate social media." (See, for example.)

"The differing approaches to the issue of paid speech provide a good opportunity to discuss not just how political communications work in a post-broadcast world but also how the internet is falling short of its promise to radically alter the way people communicate and connect," writes Gillespie. Twitter's policy "represents a near-complete lack of faith in users to function as critical consumers of information" and "a fundamental betrayal of the ideals that helped build the internet into an unparalleled, open system of knowledge and information."


QUICK HITS

  • The historic St. Regis hotel in New York City was just sold to Qatar.
  • Huh:

  • Here's your periodic reminder that Section 230 (the federal law shielding online operators from some liability for some types of user-generated content) has repeatedly kept people from winning lawsuits like these:

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  1. ACLU is suing over FBI facial tracking.

    Just wait until they track gun ownership!

    1. The FBI has been tracking facials for decades.

      J Edgar Hoover was a big fan of man facials.

    2. They’ve already done a great job tracking the orange man, just wait til they get him and move on to tracking anyone who uses the wrong pronouns

    3. Hello.

      He really does look like an android. No wonder he founded Facebook to pick up chicks. With a dead stare and dead eyes like that…

      1. I love his chia hair. I wonder how often he needs to water it?

  2. Divorce rates in the U.S. reached a 40-year low last year.

    I blame same-sex marriage recognition.

    1. How about marriage rates? Are they up or down?

      1. Good question. According to the latest census data, marriage rates are also way down.

        Note, however, that the actual statistics quoted above were measured as the percentage of divorces of married women. So it’s not simply the demographics of fewer marriages in total.

        1. It matters though.

          If less knuckleheads get married and the majority of marriages are people who want to work things out through thick and thin, this might lead to less divorces.

          Marriages in past decades were a wide mix of unexpected pregnancies, shotgun weddings, stupid and selfish young kids, and sham relationships of gay folks.

          1. It’s like charter schools. They group kids from households who give a damn so they get better education metrics.

          2. How about sham marriages for heterosexual couples? Ilhan Omar has had at least one, maybe two.

      2. A lot are still getting martied, just without the license.

    2. I wondered the same thing. By using divorced women as the metric, could this be partly explained by lesbian couples being less likely to divorce? I don’t know if that is true, but if it is, there needs to be some way to adjust the data accordingly.

  3. Man Sues Twitter For $1 Billion Claiming His Account’s Suspension Violated His Right To Worship President Trump As A Demigod

    Demigod? Who is this heretic?

    1. Demi Moore?

    2. I know, right? He is at least an Intermediary power.

    3. What took Hercules 12 years to complete, Trump would have completed in 6 months.

      1. Hercules never faced the Gorgon named Hillary.

    4. Harry Ixodida.

  4. The historic St. Regis hotel in New York City was just sold to Qatar.

    A country taking ownership of property? Sounds like communism to me.

    1. Or monarchy. Not a shitload of difference in practice though.

      1. At least a monarch may be an inbred amiable dunce who can’t be bothered to hassle his people – the commissars on the other hand are all about telling people what to do and not do.

  5. We will no longer be the only state in the country where a woman cannot revoke consent to have sex once sex has begun.

    Next up: weeks later.

    1. For sale: Love contracts with no opt out anal and NDAs built in.

      Notary sold separately.

  6. More bad economic news.

    24 of the 25 richest people on the planet lost money yesterday.

    As Koch / Reason libertarians, our primary objective is to increase the wealth of these people. And the high-tariff / low-immigration #DrumpfRecession is making that impossible.

    #VoteDemocratToHelpCharlesKoch

  7. The Sorkin op-ed in the Times was notable for several reasons.

    It was delivered to each subscriber personally while walking quickly paced through hallways.

  8. Twitter’s policy “represents a near-complete lack of faith in users to function as critical consumers of information” and “a fundamental betrayal of the ideals that helped build the internet into an unparalleled, open system of knowledge and information.”

    Someone knows his customers well.

    1. Time for a Cuke before accessing my Twatter account.

  9. Even more bad economic news.

    Black/African American unemployment rate hits a new low – 5.4%

    Of course Drumpf supporters are seizing on this statistic as if it’s a good thing. But that’s because they’re not as educated on economics as AOC. Remember her words of wisdom — a low unemployment rate just means everybody needs 2 or 3 jobs to survive.

    #BlackUnemploymentShouldBeHigher
    #(BecauseTheyShouldOnlyNeedOneJob)

    1. Wow forcing Blacks/African Americans to work! It’s like reinstituting slavery.

  10. Hopefully this kerfuffle over political ads and content moderation leads to the end of the mass-advertiser-based model and the stranglehold of the ‘tools’ companies over the Internet.

    That certainly drove its rapid adoption – but has long ago outlived that function and is now proving itself flawed. If all we’ve accomplished is to turn the Internet into a really manipulative version of our TV and remote control, then its long term impact is nowhere near as significant as anyone thought it could be in the early days.

      1. Yeah – but the remote control had nowhere near the shiny objects and geegaws and immediate feedback mechanisms of a smartphone. No likes, shares, swipes, and other operant conditioning.

  11. Republicans claim that Tim Morrison’s testimony exonerated Trump and they couldn’t be more wrong.

    https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1896548

    If Republicans believe that having Morrison testify, in public, that he was so worried about what Trump said that he thought it had to be hidden is a good thing … they’re probably going to get that chance. Then maybe they can explain how they feel about the rest of Morrison’s testimony, which tells the same story as everyone else: extortion, deception, and abuse of power.

    1. #TrumpUkraine is the tipping point. The walls are closing in. It’s the beginning of the end.

        1. It turned out that Hillary couldn’t be president in the first place, so how can it be that she can still be president?

          You have to be capable of winning elections to be president.

    2. Your fan fiction is worse than Kathleen Kennedy’s.

      1. Impeachment is guaranteed. Better learn to live with it.

        1. The same way Hillary winning in 2016 was guaranteed?

          I wouldn’t be terribly upset if Trump got impeached and convicted, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen?

    3. which tells the same story as everyone else, who heard it second hand from the WH janitor: extortion, deception, and abuse of power.

      FTFY

      1. Some of the witnesses, such as Vindman, who have testified are first-hand.

        1. Vindman was pretty blatantly clear that his was a policy disagreement, not a testimony that something illegal occurred. This was even in his written statement. But you and actually reading primary sources seems to not be a thing.

          1. Quote from his statement:

            “Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.”

            There is no policy in this quote. It is a straightforward assertion of what Vindman claims Sondland and Bolton did during the July 10th phone call with the Ukrainian Secretary of National Security.

    4. “It” would be pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into a pair of conspiracy theories, one having to do with unsupported claims about Joe Biden and the other wrapped around a ludicrous theory of “Ukrainian interference” in the 2016 election.”

      About those ludicrous conspiracy theories

      https://johnsolomonreports.com/debunking-some-of-the-ukraine-scandal-myths-about-biden-and-election-interference/

    1. Yeah, if it’s one thing that’s consistently ignored in American history for the last 40 years, it’s that the US had slavery.

      1. Until we pay the tens of trillions of dollars we owe in reparations, we must talk about slavery at every opportunity.

        1. White liberals committing mass seppuku would be a greater benefit than reparations.

          1. What better way to demonstrate intent?

        2. Do we deduct the tens of trillions of dollars paid in food, housing, medical assistance and rioting?

    2. Seems like, if you are going to go all revisionist, you’d want to pick the day the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. And the native Americans were, like, who the hell are these guys.

  12. Which news is fake?

    1) Bernie Sanders has another heart attack on Oct 31, after seeing how many types of candy was in circulation.

    2) President Trump finally takes over his Tweets personally and boy are people shocked what he tweeted.

    3) reason magazine sees the end of an era with Nick Gillespie leaving reason for
    Leather Quarterly Magazine.

    4) Halloween partier goes to party in California as mass shooter and 4 people get wasted.

  13. Majorities in six battleground states support House impeachment inquiry

    https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1896440

    Arizona: 53% support, 40% oppose; +13Florida: 49% support, 44% oppose; +5Michigan: 50% support, 46% oppose; +4North Carolina: 50% support, 45% oppose; +5Pennsylvania: 53% support, 44% oppose; +9Wisconsin: 51% support, 44% oppose; +7

    1. They are going to impeach President Hillary Clinton?

      Haha. pod has some butthurt handlers.

    2. The ones that have to get to +14 D before they can get that 50% mark?

    3. You know, I support an impeachment inquiry as well. I want charges sent to the Senate as quickly as possible, so the Senate can vote them down and (after a month of Democrats bitching and moaning) we can move on.

      1. Agreed. If I were polled at this point I’d say move this thing forward and have an actual trial. The Democrats are in complete control of what evidence is disseminated to their enablers in the press. Let’s hear from the other side.

    4. Since it’s almost certain that the Senate will not actually impeach Trump, this is what the Democrats are hoping to accomplish with the inquiries.

    5. Yep, lefty ignoramus cites dailykos.

      1. Lefty dumbass didnt look in the population makeup of the poll.

  14. “”to have crazy lies pumped into the water supply “‘

    This is what politics does best.

  15. A fact that the fake libertarian scumbags and scumbagettas of Reason will never, ever bother to mention on here: there were more house democrats who voted AGAINST the impeachment inquiry (2) than there were republicans who voted FOR it (0)!!

    1. OMG, again with the complaints that Reason didn’t report on one’s pet issue.

  16. I got half way through reading the first part of this round up and started thinking “wait a minute, who is this writer guy and why should I care?”

    Aaron Sorkin? Who gives a shit?

  17. I admire your deep belief in free speech. I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment. Most important, it’s a bedrock of our democracy and it needs to be kept strong.

    But

    I’m practiced at doublespeak.

    1. Wow, how halfhearted is “I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment.”

  18. “Twitter’s decision to bad paid political content may sound sensible at first—that’s the company’s own ad money to lose, after all—but the logistics will be a nightmare. What makes an issue or idea “political”? Who decides?”

    Who decides?

    Management and the users.

    The shareholders elect a board of directors, and they oversee management. If the users don’t like the policies, they have a number of options:

    1) Use the service less.
    2) Use a competitor’s service (for Twitter, I suggest trying Mastodon)
    3) Buy stock and complain at the next shareholders’ meeting.
    4) Sell the stock and/or refuse to buy it in the first place.

    The way these issues should be decided is exactly in this manner–and that’s the way they are decided right now. The only reason anyone’s opinions other than the user’s, management’s, and the shareholders’ should matter is if the company violates their contractual obligations to users, management, or shareholders.

    So, basically, it’s up to you, personally. You can decide to use or not use the service, and if you don’t like what management does with their policies, you can buy the stock, go to the shareholders’ meeting, say what you want, and either try to change the minds of the board of directors or persuade your fellow shareholders to elect a new board.

    All of that’s up to you. If you can’t persuade the board or the shareholders to see things your way, then you can choose to sell your stock. If that doesn’t convince them to change their policy, then you can use the service less or stop using the service altogether.

    Incidentally, it works the same way if you don’t like the food at McDonalds.

  19. “I admire your commitment to the 1st Amendment, as long as what you show agrees with my biases.”

    1. Exactly. “And I’m sure any truly reasonable person is on board with this.”

      1. If you do not agree with Sorkin’s biases you are therefore not reasonable and beyond the pale
        . It is not that hard.

    2. Yeah, they’re mainly pissed that lefty clickbait sites aren’t being mass promoted through the site’s algorithm anymore.

      1. At some point, the lefty stuff becomes self-defeating from a competitive number of eyeballs perspective. We’re talking about advertising platforms here, and advertisers want to reach the eyeballs of people who aren’t left of center, too. I get ads for stuff that only serves to piss me off all the time. Why would you think I would support this shit?

  20. ENB is getting critical of social media censorship policies when it is her content is beginning to be threatened. Welcome to the party, though you are a bit late.

    1. Isn’t the line, ‘Welcome to the party, pal!”

    2. You’ve kept records on ENB’s every statement made for or against social media censorship?

      1. There are people here that even keep records of other commenter’s comment history. It’s fucking creepy.

        1. “There are people here that even keep records of other commenter’s comment history. It’s fucking creepy.”

          When someone makes claims like this, it’s good to be capable of reminding them:
          Tony|9.7.17 @ 4:43PM|#
          “I don’t consider taxing and redistribution to be either forced or charity.”
          Don’t want to be reminded of stupid statements? Don’t make them.

          1. Seems to me that saving comments just means that you’re letting that person take up space in your head rent free.

            1. It’s actually the opposite.
              By committing them to a database or spreadsheet, you don’t have to take up space in your head trying to remember

            2. “Seems to me that saving comments just means that you’re letting that person take up space in your head rent free.”

              Uh, you think I *memorize* that pile of shit? 1980 called and wants you back.

              1. You clearly care a lot about what people are saying over the internet. You clearly have a lot invested, and I bet you think about it a lot.

    3. Yeah, wait a minute, wasn’t this publication generally taking the stance that saying private censorship doesn’t matter?

      Sounds like they’ve changed their tune now that the policies are being enforced against the left too. They really don’t like it when the right speaks up for itself and holds these companies up to their own standards.

      1. I believe Reason’s general stance has been that deciding on what content they want to publish (“censorship”, if you want to call it that) is, of course, the private company’s privilege.

        However, it *matters* what big tech companies do. Reason reports on government and politics, but also on culture.

  21. “It seems our politics are often dominated by the idea that everything is getting worse. It’s not. In many ways things are much, much better than the recent past. It’s vital that we tell a balanced story about American realities — bad AND good . . . .

    — David French (@DavidAFrench) October 31, 2019”

    To the extent that the divorce rate is declining, I suspect it’s related to the marriage rate declining, as well.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/195951/marriage-rate-in-the-united-states-since-1990/

    People aren’t getting married right out of high school like they used to. They’re shacking up and watching pr0n. I understood French to be an evangelical. When he says it’s important to see the good with the bad, I’m not sure he was talking about the upside of people shacking up and wacking it to pr0n–but if he was, then good for him!

    1. The two are related, but because the statistic is per 1,000 married woman, I believe that is controlled for.

      1. Not sure I follow.

        If the divorce rate is tanking along with the rate of marriage, that may just mean that more marriages that are doomed simply never get started. From an evangelical perspective, if this is because pr0n, people shacking up, etc., or, for all we know, it’s because people no longer feel compelled to get married just because they’re pregnant.

        From an evangelical perspective, the good news is that we’ll soon be saving a lot of money on our heating bill, but I’m not sure that’s really good news if the reason we’ll be saving money on our heating bill is because we’re going to hell in a bucket.

        1. It’s good for the institution of Marriage itself. Divorce is a bad look on marriage.

          Is it good for society if fewer doomed marriages get started? Not sure. Are fewer marriages starting because of the reasons you state? Possibly. Are those reasons bad for society? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t think this study or David French is asking or commenting on an answer to those questions.

          When I ask some of my friends who are vehemently anti-marriage why they hold the views they have, the answer was almost always divorce. They were unwilling to take the risk that things could end badly in part because they agreed with the narrative that marriage in itself was flawed and typically ended in divorce. These people were typically the children of divorced parents. It’s understandable why they would feel the way they do.

          Sadly, this means they’ve left out the other half of the relationship dilemma. To avoid potential pain, they were signing on to an alternative future: 65 to 85 from retirement to death. 20 years is a really long time to be childless, alone, and insignificant in the world. The anti-marriage narrative that was spun in front of a younger me never mentioned this. I’m glad I never bought into it.

  22. face surveillance algorithms discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming people.

    *** facepalm ***

    1. I thought it was funny that they threw in all this identitarian social signaling stuff. I heard the tech is actually way more effective in identifying white people than it is at identifying people with darker shades of skin at the moment.

      1. It is, but that’s largely a matter of sample size and the 80/20 rule. There are a lot more “whites” with high quality face pictures than there are any other group, although East Asian and South Asian are both growing. Since machine learning uses examples to teach it having more whites (especially a decade ago when a lot of this started in earnest) means the models are better at discerning between different whites people.

        That’s also biased the models because of the 80/20 rule, and a valid spin off of the streetlight fallacy – the models were trained on the data available at the time, which altered their evolution, so that even now that there are enough pictures with differing skin color, bone structure, and dermal layers, the existing models all have tuning variables that work great on caucasoids but have negative predictive value on other phenotypes. If they’d started from scratch they’d be able to quickly get better, but the desire not to lose millions of dollars invested in refining existing systems discourages starting from scratch, even if that’s now clearly a superior solution.

  23. Divorce rates in the U.S. reached a 40-year low last year. “The divorce rate was 15.7 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2018, down from a divorce rate of 16.1 in 2017,” reports Colette Alrred, looking at recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

    I’ve never been particularly fond of divorce rate statistics. The common trope that I heard all through college was 50% of marriages end in divorce. It was an argument that stated that marriage itself was the problem, and not the individuals involved in it. Some of my friends for better or worse, seemed to want to discourage me from my own life choices, while justifying their own.

    But it’s also a stupid statistic (even though it is false). One person, who is crappy at relationships, could burn through 3 marriages. Someone who isn’t bad at relationships gets married once and stays that way. In this small statistical sample, 75% of marriages ended in divorce. It’s a way of collecting and presenting data that amplifies the narrative that marriage is bad. Comically, even if 50% of marriages end in divorce, it forgets what the other 50% end in.

    Anyway, my point is I’m not sure how I feel about the “divorces per 1,000 women” marker, but it seems to be a better one than simply tracking the number of terminated marriages. It also shows that divorce is much more rare than I was lead to believe when I was getting married. I think it is a positive thing that this number is trending downwards.

    1. The other 50% of marriages end in death.

      -The Pessimist’s View

      1. >>The Pessimist’s View

        i’m an Optimist and death is the only other answer

        1. Most married men look forward to the sweet silence of death.

    2. Someone who isn’t bad at relationships gets married once and stays that way. In this small statistical sample, 75% of marriages ended in divorce.

      I agree with this, there has to be a better way of counting divorce. My ex-wife is ruining it for everyone!

  24. “I get a lot of use out of the First Amendment. Most important, it’s a bedrock of our democracy and it needs to be kept strong.
    But…”

    Sorkin can stop right there; he does not support A1.

    1. Prog: “I believe in free speech….but…”

      Semi-libertarian: “Lemme stop you there. No, you don’t”

      Prog: “I believe in free speech…HOWEVER…”

      SL: “Go on…”

    2. “…, but people who have ideas I disagree with can use the 1st Amendment as well, and that just is not acceptable.

    3. It’s better if they just come out for straight repeal rather than try to torture the First into saying the government can make you do things that violate your religious convictions, stop you from saying what you think, or that the Second doesn’t really protect the right to bear arms. Repealing the First or Second Amendment is much harder than BSing your way around it. Let them take the harder route!

      You like the First Amendment, but it needs to be repealed is where I’d like to see them go. It’s scary, but I think they’ll get swatted down by real voters when they go after the First Amendment too hard.

      1. I take the same view. If you want to impose gun confiscation, there is a perfectly legal pathway to get there – it starts with something called a constitutional convention. If you can’t get there from here, than you need to do a better job of persuading people to build a broad base of support for your cause.

  25. Elizabeth Warren has finally revealed how she intends to pay for Medicare for All:

    “Start with the Medicare for All Act — which I have cosponsored. The bill provides a detailed proposal for how to achieve our end goal. But as economists and advocates have noted, the legislation leaves open a number of key design decisions that will affect its overall cost, and the bill does not directly incorporate specific revenue measures. While much of this ambiguity results from the reasonable choice to delegate significant implementation discretion to the Executive Branch, it has also allowed opponents of Medicare for All to make up their own price tags and try to scare middle class families about the prospect of tax increases — despite the conclusions of expert after expert after expert that it is possible to eventually move to a Medicare for All system that gives both high quality coverage for everybody and dramatically lowers costs for middle class families.

    The best way to fight misinformation is with facts. That’s why today, I’m filling in the details and releasing a plan that describes how I would implement the long-term policy prescriptions of the Medicare for All Act and how to pay for it.

    . . . .

    “The $11 trillion in household insurance and out-of-pocket expenses projected under our current system goes right back into the pockets of America’s working people. And we make up the difference with targeted spending cuts, new taxes on giant corporations and the richest 1% of Americans, and by cracking down on tax evasion and fraud. Not one penny in middle-class tax increases.

    —-Elizabeth Warren via Medium

    https://medium.com/@teamwarren/ending-the-stranglehold-of-health-care-costs-on-american-families-bf8286b13086

    So, there you’ve got it–straight from the horse’s mouth. She’ll soak the wealthiest 1% of Americans and raise corporate taxes to the tune of $11 trillion–and the best news of all is that soaking the rich won’t have any impact on anyone else in the economy! Never mind where corporations get their revenue (out of the pockets of working Americans), we’ll all be saving so much on insurance premiums, we’ll hardly even notice!

    Assuming Elizabeth Warren is a lying sack of shit is giving her the benefit of the doubt, and, yes, that means anyone who genuinely, knowingly, truly believes in this fantasy–and would inflict it on the rest of us with enthusiasm–is even worse than a lying sack of shit.

    1. At least Bernie Sanders is honest enough to say that everyone’s taxes will go up a little bit, even if he does claim that the net health care expense will be lower. Warren’s plan is just an example of an even more dishonest version of Bernie’s plan. Does anyone actually think that taxes won’t go up for everyone when it comes to ANY type of Medicare-for-all scheme?

      1. “At least Bernie Sanders is honest enough to say that everyone’s taxes will go up a little bit”

        So he’s a flat-out liar also.
        A “little bit”, like Warren is an indian.

      2. Like I wrote, assuming she’s a lying sack of shit is giving her the benefit of the doubt.

        Would the holocaust have been better if Hitler had been honest about his intentions from the very beginning?

        I think that would have made his followers even worse. Pretending they didn’t really know what he was about gave them a fig leaf to hide behind. Being honest about wanting to destroy our healthcare system and replace it with something Hugo Chavez would have loved does not make him better than Liz Warren. If she’s lying about her intentions, maybe she’s capable of shame.

      3. ‘A little bit’.

        Lol.

        Hoo-kay.

        1. Well that’s his claim. Of course they probably won’t go up just “a little bit”. But at least he’s honest enough to say they will even go up at all.

          Warren is just plain lying.

    2. It’s fucking dishonest as hell. She’s claiming that killing employer insurance plans and taxing them for the same is going to put money back in people’s pockets. But they aren’t going to get a higher salary from their employer, because that money just goes straight to the government instead of the insurance company. And of course, the issue of actual *cost* growth is never addressed.

      At least Bernie is honest that everyone’s taxes will go up.

    3. Good grief, she’s so full of shit. It’s unbelievable anyone could possibly support this candidate

  26. Is ENB really this stupid?

    “Here’s your periodic reminder that Section 230 (the federal law shielding online operators from some liability for some types of user-generated content) has repeatedly kept people from winning lawsuits like these:”

    All 230 has done is block lawsuits over contractual terms like the Megan Murphy suit. The lawsuit linked would have no chance with or without 230. This is how desperate the favored legal protections crowd is. They lie and ignore lawsuits of merit.

    1. You’ve got Senator Hawley’s talking points down pat!

      1. No, he’s right on this one. Section 230 of the CDA has no impact on this suit (as described by ENB, I’m assuming that’s a fair description).

        Section 230 only says that a company (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reason) who hosts other people’s content isn’t liable for the other people’s content – it’s the other people who are liable for their own content. It then goes on to say that this is true even if the content host (we call these “platforms” now) engages in moderation, but not if they actively solicit content that breaks the law (Roommates.com decision held that Roommates can be liable for fair housing discrimination because they directed posters to indicate what sex roommate they want, which is illegal, and because Roommates solicited that illegal act they can be liable for it too).

        This case (as ENB summarizes it) is entirely about breach of contract – the service provider said they’d do one thing, then they did another, in a contract of adhesion (clickwrap is a contract of adhesion). Section 230 only grants immunities to other people actions, not your own, so it has literally nothing to do with this case.

  27. President Trump and Emperor Xi were supposed to sign Phase I of their trade war truce at the APEC meeting in Chile later this month. However, due to an active protest movement erupting in Chile, the APEC summit in Chile has been cancelled. There was some concern that this meant the U.S./China trade war truce might not happen as scheduled. Put those concerns to rest.

    “China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement, about 60% of total deal, after APEC in Chile was canceled do to unrelated circumstances. The new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!

    —-President Trump on Twitter

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1189895935721197570

    Getting the trade war over and done with before some socialist shithead like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren can have a chance to get in office is of monumental importance. If Trump doesn’t succeed in ending the trade war, there is no good reason to think that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren will do so. Even if it weren’t the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, a pragmatic libertarian might support Trump in 2020 just for that reason.

  28. >>>contributing to the decay of American democracy

    love a good Lorax Complex

  29. In 2018, the overall U.S. divorce rate reached a 40-year low of 15.7 divorces per 1,000 married women

    Wait, what? Why is this specific to ‘married women’?

    1. That question is so homophobic.

    2. Women are victims of divorce.

      1. often the impetus as well.

        1. Haha. Sorry, I meant to say that “Women are the victims of divorce.”

  30. Speaking of Facebook…

    Look who’s figured out how to game the Facebook algorithms!

    https://popular.info/p/facebook-allows-prominent-right-wing

  31. Beto is not going to be the Democrat candidate.

    Kamala Rouge just fired her staff in New Hampshire, so it looks like she is out of the race too.

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