Reason Roundup

FTC and State Prosecutors Join Antitrust Dogpile on Facebook

Plus: Sexual misconduct at the FBI, Tulsi Gabbard and Mike Lee don't understand the First Amendment, and more...

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and attorneys general are using Facebook as a test case for a massively expanded (and anti-capitalist) conception of antitrust law. Americans have many justified concerns about Facebook, from how the company handles user data to its content moderation policies to how the platform may be used to spread misinformation. To a lesser but still significant extent, Instagram is also subject to these concerns.

One gripe you don't hear from folks often, however, is that the same parent company owns both Instagram and Facebook (and also owns the messaging platform WhatsApp). It's not as if being suspended or limited on one app automatically carries over to the others, nor does good standing and popularity on one ensure these things on the others. Furthermore, there's zero indication that the problems plaguing these platforms individually would be solved or even lessened if only they had separate CEOs hemming them.

But consumer harm has never seemed to be what really concerns politicians about big tech.

In countless ways, they've shown that their real aim is grabbing more control of the internet and its social infrastructure, punishing platforms that have personally irked them, extracting money from successful businesses, and expanding their power to dictate decisions made by private companies more generally. Poke a proposal to hold tech companies "accountable," and you'll find little that would fix any actual issues people care about; instead, you'll see a whole lot of ideas that would give federal regulators, lawmakers, and executives more say over online speech and more power to control private companies no matter the sector they're in.

The FTC's new lawsuit against Facebook is no exception.

On Wednesday, the FTC unveiled yet another lawsuit alleging illegal behavior by Facebook. The meat of their claim is that Facebook is breaking antitrust law by owning not just the Facebook platform but also Instagram and WhatsApp.

Neither the FTC complaint nor another one filed yesterday by 48 attorneys general bothers proving consumer harm, which has historically been the standard when it comes to antitrust law enforcement.

New Tools to Attack Private Enterprise

"This is what is part of what is so concerning about using antitrust as a tool in the techlash," Jennifer Huddleston, director of technology and innovation policy at the American Action Forum, tweeted yesterday. "The consumer welfare standard provides an objective take. Doing away with it or overly expanding market definitions or consumer harm would impact far more than just 'Big Tech.'"

In fact, many on the left have admitted all along that this is their plan. David Dayen at The American Prospect perhaps put it the most succinctly: the antitrust arguments against Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon represent the government "using tech as simply a case study on what an invigorated legislative body can do to rein in the corporate power of any type."

Reigning in "corporate power of any type" sounds like something that traditional Republicans wouldn't want to go along with. But in the Trump era, much of the right has abandoned any free market or deregulatory principle that conflicts with punishing people or platforms that have pissed them off.

Larger consequences and disasters be damned—GOP lawmakers and enforcers are all in if it can be used to perform Sticking It to Big Tech to their base.

"Today's actions by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general against Facebook are the perfect example of political theater dressed up as antitrust law," said Jessica Melugin of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in a statement. "The FTC suit asserts that Facebook acquired Instagram and What's App to suppress competition. But when viewed through the lens of the U.S. antitrust law standard of consumer harm, the question becomes, so what? Facebook's superior resources and expertise took Instagram from a modest and glitchy app to one with a billion users as of 2018."

Melugin also notes that "three of the top five apps in the App Store in recent weeks didn't exist when Facebook purchased Instagram. Parler, MeWe and TikTok are all proof that Facebook's social media business faces fierce competition in an innovative sector."

Is Facebook a Monopoly?

Both the FTC suit and the one from the attorneys general "appear to have a lot more meat to them than the Department of Justice's astoundingly weak case against Google," writes Mike Masnick at Techdirt. (More on that case here and here.) "And yet… I'm still somewhat surprised at some of the claims made in both lawsuits that seem somewhat disconnected from reality."

Masnick sees some potential merit in claims about Facebook's application programming interface (API). But he notes that the antitrust angle is fundamentally flawed:

… a key aspect in any antitrust case is proving (1) that there's a market in which the company is a monopoly and (2) that the company leverages that monopoly in a manner that is abusive to competition. The FTC case argues that the "market" here is "personal social networking," which seems like a fairly narrowly defined market:

Facebook holds monopoly power in the market for personal social networking services ("personal social networking" or "personal social networking services") in the United States, which it enjoys primarily through its control of the largest and most profitable social network in the world, known internally at Facebook as "Facebook Blue," and to much of the world simply as "Facebook."

In the United States, Facebook Blue has more than [REDACTED] daily users and more than [REDACTED] monthly users. No other social network of comparable scale exists in the United States.

Of course no one denies that Facebook is the largest, but does that automatically make it a monopolist? In the space of "personal social networking," you could easily argue that there are a number of significantly sized competitors, including Twitter, Snap, YouTube, and TikTok (which, notably, is a relatively new entrant that was able to build up a large audience, despite the presence of Facebook).

Another hurdle here is that the FTC and the Department of Justice initially had no problem with Facebook acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp:

… both the Instagram and Whatsapp decisions were reviewed at the time—and approved by the FTC and the DOJ. If anything, this all feels a bit like revisionist history to go back many years later and say "well these were obviously anti-competitive" when they certainly didn't appear to be at the time of acquisition. And, yes, the lawsuits have quotes from people inside Facebook noting that Instagram and WhatsApp could potentially represent a competitive threat, but merely buying up some potential competitors doesn't automatically mean that it's anti-competitive behavior.

Masnick concludes that the FTC and attorneys general "complaints are stronger than the DOJ's complaint against Google. That's not to say that they are particularly strong."

Who Does Breaking Up Facebook Really Help?

The remedies the FTC is seeking are "especially onerous," notes The New York Times.

The agency wants to force Facebook to divest of WhatsApp and Instagram and prevent them from acquiring any other apps in the future.

Ian Conner, the F.T.C.'s head of competition enforcement, said the remedies would help restore competition and "provide a foundation for future competitors to grow and innovate without the threat of being crushed by Facebook."

[…]Facebook, however, will be able to show that Instagram and WhatsApp grew dramatically after being acquired. The company has said it invested millions of dollars in the apps after they were purchased, helping them amass billions of users and turning them into prime communication channels around the world.

"These transactions were intended to provide better products for the people who use them, and they unquestionably did," Jennifer Newstead, Facebook's general counsel, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

And if the FTC suit is unfounded, the suit launched by the attorneys general is doubly so. There's no reasonaside from attention seeking and trying to shake Facebook down for settlement moneywhy state attorneys general need to duplicate the FTC lawsuit.

"State antitrust actions, like this one against Facebook, don't protect the public and should be preempted by federal enforcement," suggests CEI's Mario Loyola. "States don't need to bring additional antitrust actions for the exact same conduct in dozens of different jurisdictions. All too often, the only real reason that states bring such cases is to shake down private industry in a rent-seeking exercise and shield their favored constituents from interstate competition."


QUICK HITS

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled this week that "Devion Gentry—a Muslim incarcerated at Nottoway Correctional Center in Burkeville, VA—can continue his lawsuit challenging a Virginia prisons' requirement that he shave his beard in violation of his right to practice his Muslim faith," notes the group Muslim Advocates.
  • Small blessings: A new study finds "no evidence of any increase in stillbirths regionally or nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic in England when compared with the same months in the previous year."
  • Another day, another round of lawmakers lying about the federal communications law Section 230 in attempts to give themselves greater control over online speech. The latest bills to this effect come from Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii):

  • In other ridiculously bad tech ideas…

  • "An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six sexual misconduct allegations involving senior FBI officials over the past five years, including two new claims brought this week by women who say they were sexually assaulted by ranking agents," the news agency reports.

  • President Donald Trump's obsession with abolishing Section 230 seems to be shared by folks in the Biden administration. "In a move that is not very encouraging, Biden's top tech policy advisor, Bruce Reed, along with Common Sense Media's Jim Steyer, have published a bizarre and misleading 'but think of the children!' attack on Section 230 that misunderstands the law, misunderstands how it impacts kids, and which suggests incredibly dangerous changes to Section 230," notes Techdirt.

NEXT: Is Same-Sex Marriage Secure?

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  1. Richard DeLisi is a free man after serving 31 years of a 90-year sentence for selling marijuana.

    “No one is in jail for marijuana.”

    1. It fits. Who the hell is Richard DeLisi?

      No one.

      Fact check: the claim is true.

      (hey, politifact – can i get a job doing these fact checks?)

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  2. Facebook did as they were told, and is no longer useful.

  3. President Donald Trump’s obsession with abolishing Section 230 seems to be shared by folks in the Biden administration.
    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    1. Well.. except the last boss wanted the changes to stop companies from colluding to censor political opinions they disagreed with. The new boss wants the changes to stop people they disagree with from being allowed to express their political opinions.

      I admit, the difference is subtle. But it is significant, nonetheless.

      1. Both sides want to use Section 230 to get tech companies to bow to their wishes. Your distinctions aren’t that different in that context.

        1. No they don’t. One wants them to stop censoring political speech. The other wants them to continue to suppress political speech. The fact that you say these things are equal is telling.

          230 is not a regulation, but a benefit of avoidance of legal liability.

          Again, if you think 230 is a valuable protection, extend it to all entities, not favored ones on the internet.

          1. Good news, it IS already extended to everyone! So you can stop bloviating about this issue you clearly know nothing about.

            1. If it is extended to everyone, 230 isn’t needed. Are you honestly this dumb?

              1. Without Section 230, a website owner would be liable for content that users post. Section 230 is beneficial because it encourages private parties to host websites where people can post content in massive quantities.

              2. lmao dude just stop digging

          2. No they don’t. One wants them to stop censoring political speech.
            That sound like Republicans want big tech to stop doing something.

            The other wants them to continue to suppress political speech.
            That sounds like Democrats want big tech to do something.

            Both sides want to use Section 230 to get tech companies to bow to their wishes.
            I guess I wasn’t wrong?

            In the end, neither side is showing that they are in favor of the property rights of these tech companies to do whatever they want with their property. Anything beyond that is a distinction without a difference.

            1. Except that liberals such as Sarah Jeong have been making the argument that social media is effectively the new town square. That was why she literally wrote the book on how Big Tech can justify censoring political speech it doesn’t like, under the rubric “public safety”.

              Big Tech can’t have it both ways. It they want to be treated like a de facto town square, they’re going to eventually fall under the mantle of being a public utility and will be regulated as such. If they want to have their private property rights be supreme and receive the benefits of Section 230, then it would behoove them to go back to the the more open, pre-Trump days when anyone could post what they wished.

              Remember, 20 years ago the consensus was that the Internet was going to ultimately undermine Big Media’s stranglehold on information because millions in their pajamas could provide an alternate source and perspectives for people to consult. You think it’s a coincidence that the country’s mass media organizations are just fine with Big Tech going full Oceania? Jeong wasn’t hired at the NYT for no reason.

              1. Except that liberals such as Sarah Jeong have been making the argument that social media is effectively the new town square.

                Well she’s a moron. Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook are private property.

                If they want to have their private property rights be supreme and receive the benefits of Section 230, then it would behoove them to go back to the the more open, pre-Trump days when anyone could post what they wished.

                That’s exactly my point in all of this. It’s not about section 230, it’s about do what we want you to or we’ll take it away. It’s become a protection racket, do what we say or we’ll shatter your business model.

                I’m kind of over the Section 230 thing. I don’t think the courts will ultimately hold Twitter responsible for posts that it can’t control and that even if what I believe is common sense isn’t codified in Section 230 any longer, it will be legal precedent soon after repeal. If the legislature and executive wants to hold this over Twitter’s head like a protection racket, let Twitter get the other branch of government to check their power.

                1. Well she’s a moron. Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook are private property.

                  Which was exactly the angle she said needed to be used to justify censorship of wrongthink.

                  Seriously, read “Internet of Garbage,” if you can get a copy. It’s basically a manifesto on how Big Tech needs to censor non-leftist arguments, and how to use existing laws to do so. You can’t be so naive to think that restricting the soap box to the point that it conceivably influences the ballot box won’t have consequences in an ideologically diverse society.

                  That’s exactly my point in all of this. It’s not about section 230, it’s about do what we want you to or we’ll take it away

                  And my point is that it was going to happen that way anyhow, because these entities owe their very status as a communications trust to the sponsorship of the federal government. If they thought they were going to benefit from libertarian-style regulations while acting in an overtly political manner, they were either stupid or arrogant enough that they forgot who really owns them.

          3. It is extended, with no special classes recognized, to any website that hosts user-provided content.

      2. Isn’t there some famous saying about good intentions?

        1. You have none?

      3. There are “political opinions” and there is outright lying. Regardless, the owner of a website should have the right to decide what user content they want to allow on their private property.

    2. Also Tulsi Gabbard

  4. “Trump’s judicial humiliation is nearly complete.”

    After four years of humiliating everyone else (or them humiliating themselves over him), he was due some.

    1. Counting chickens before they hatch is never a good idea.

  5. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled this week that “Devion Gentry—a Muslim incarcerated at Nottoway Correctional Center in Burkeville, VA—can continue his lawsuit challenging a Virginia prisons’ requirement that he shave his beard in violation of his right to practice his Muslim faith…”

    Hipsters of all faiths deserve self-expression.

    1. FYI, if I ever get convicted, my faith requires me to live in a free-standing house, go on long trips, hang out with friends in bars, and ignore authority.

    2. This will be interesting for the covid authoritarians. The beard requirement is done as a safety precaution. So are covid authoritarians for or against allowing the Muslim to not shave his beard?

  6. Small blessings: A new study finds “no evidence of any increase in stillbirths regionally or nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic in England when compared with the same months in the previous year.”

    Small blessings? I needed that additional club to beat the anti-maskers and lockdown-deniers over the head with!

  7. The latest bills to this effect come from Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii)…

    Ouch.

    1. Maybe we can stop calling them “libertarian-leaning” now?

      1. Have they ever been? Lee’s a boilerplate conservative Republican and Tulsi is a far-left Democrat whose primary skill has been suppressing her power level.

        1. No they haven’t really. They’ve both been outspoken on issues in agreement with libertarian positions, but neither would score well on a libertarian litmus test on a broader range of issues.

          Yet they have both had the moniker bestowed upon them by this very publication if my memory serves correctly.

      2. I would never have called Gabbard that. She’s better than most Democrats because she takes a stand against stupid military adventures and acknowledges that there are limits to government power.

  8. Do we get to make fun of the PA governor for testing positive?

    1. What party is he in?

  9. In this morning’s brickbat, Fist of Etiquette noted that not a single reporter bothered to ask the officials who ordered the cancellation of drive-in worship services to explain exactly how a worship service in which nobody leaves their car is a public health threat.

    Over and over I have hammered this drum on these pages. The media is both incompetent and corrupt.

    12 years ago as Obama was running, I opined that they were incompetent – failing to follow up on the most obvious and simple questions. Then Trump happened and it became obvious that they were operating as a propaganda machine, not a 4th estate.

    This morning offered further evidence in the form of NBC’s Today show. They ran a segment on the election. “Trump repeated his false claims that have already been debunked”. They put the “false” modifier in there a half dozen times. They said “disproven” over and over again. But they never once listed a single claim, much less any information about how it was disproven. They followed this up with a bunch of democrat lawmakers saying this is “unprecedented” and “I’ve never seen anything like it”.

    Like what? We don’t know. They never said. But they did say that the supreme court declining an injunction signaled an end to the court challenges (which is not true).

    They transitioned immediately to the FDA meeting to approve the Pfizer vaccine. Now, for those who don’t watch, NBC has been scare-mongering the vaccines all year. They repeatedly ran stories about people not trusting vaccines because “Trump is making false claims for political reasons.” They ran many stories telling us that Trump lied when he said a vaccine would be ready this fall.

    So a quandary… how to cover this? Well, they spent the last week talking about “Britain leading the way, showing the US how it is done” with their deployment of the Pfizer vaccine. They also ran stories about how Biden had a plan to ensure that the vaccine gets distributed promptly when he takes office – – using the military logistics to get it done (something that NBC told me was illegal and impossible when Trump announced it).

    NBC had their anchor talk with an FDA panel member, and ask questions about both “why is it taking so long?” and “how do you answer people who don’t trust the vaccine?”. It was an odd piece, because the anchor never acknowledged her own role in creating the mistrust, and pretended that it was external forces.

    In the end, it read like a propaganda piece, with the NBC anchor leading the administrator through a set of talking points designed to re-assure the public that the cavalry is on the way and the vaccine is safe… while being very careful to avoid even mentioning the role that the current administration played in getting a vaccine out in less than a year.

    This is a dangerous moment for the country. We lived through 8 years of hero-worship in the press while our government went to war around the world, toppling governments seemingly at random. And then 4 years of hysterical coverage, disinformation and propaganda designed to undermine the administration. Now we have a new administration that is guaranteed to be unpopular simply because it is helmed by two quite unpopular politicians, even within their own base.

    The initial move by the press seems to be to jump back in to hero-worship mode… but that isn’t really going to fly for Harris/Biden.

    The alternative press needs to step up at this moment. It can’t be just Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity sniping about the media from the far right. Every American who believes in the ideals of the enlightenment needs to stand up and do what they can to fix our 4th estate. It has been 12 years since we had a press that even pretended to be free and independent. I fear we cannot withstand another 4.

    1. Dude, they are going to double down.

      1. At least you can double down only once. If they were going to double up, then I’d be scared.

    2. Here’s your explanation. I tell you what to do and you do it.

    3. Our nation won’t be saved peacefully.
      New Normal it is.

      1. Still jonesin’ for violence, eh?

        1. Study much history?

    4. They are fine with religious freedom being destroyed. Now if it was a food truck or strip club, that would be a problem.

      1. It was never about religious freedom. It was (and is) about which religion holds power. Welcome to the Church of Progressive Justice.

    5. “…They followed this up with a bunch of democrat lawmakers saying this is “unprecedented” and “I’ve never seen anything like it”…”

      It’s what I expect, so I didn’t bother reading much past the headline in the Chron this morning:
      ‘The Lasting Effects of a Failed Coup’ or something close.
      No, it wasn’t the attempt to unseat Trump, whey were whining that going to court on the suspicion of crooked votes was a ‘coup’.
      The Chron’s ‘journalism’ is all editorial, while te ‘editorial’ is so much propaganda.

    6. Well, they spent the last week talking about “Britain leading the way, showing the US how it is done” with their deployment of the Pfizer vaccine.

      Did they happen to mention that the vaccine was turning out to have some pretty significant side effects for people with severe allergies? You’d think something like that might have turned up in the clinical trials.

      I’m not anywhere near an anti-vaxxer, but I’m actually pretty grateful that “vulnerable” demographics are going to be allocated this stuff first. I’m not in a group that’s all that vulnerable to this, and I want to see what the overall effects are before getting the stick.

      1. Allergies that studies show get worse if you over bleach/clean your house?

        1. And can turn into asthma if you wear a mask all the damn time…yes, those allergies. Why do you ask?

    7. The alternative press needs to step up at this moment.

      The “alternative press” isn’t going to do shit other than gripe about a few select hobby-horses, like they have been every time a Democrat is in office. You ever notice how every “independent” news outlet is constantly bitching about Republicans, but rarely about Democrats?

      They’ll continue serving as in-kind mouthpieces for the party at large, and job out on Election Day like they always do. There’s nothing “alternative” about them other than being a one-stop ad shop for escort services.

      1. Who do you consider the “alternative press”? Seems to me that there are plenty of right-leaning outlets that would count.

        1. The self-styled “independent” rags like the New Times-affiliated publications. Basically, if it has “Independent” in its masthead, it’s probably a far-left propaganda outlet that inevitably endorses Democrats for election.

          If you’re thinking of media like Newsmax, I’m not sure I’d classify them as independent. They’ve been around for quite a while now.

          1. OK, I see what you mean. Those that adopt the label “Independent” do tend to be quite left. But tons of them are old and well established as well. I would certainly include many of the right-leaning “new media” outlets even if they don’t call themselves “the independent press”.

    8. “The media is both incompetent and corrupt.”

      Only by your (and my) criteria.

      Commercial media has, by definition, always had one eye on the bottom line, promoting themselves and the business interests of their sponsors. I have to admit that media of all sorts, and pretty much all earning millions by the minute, have succeeded in saturating our lives with all sorts of mechanisms to attract our attention. And sell stuff, to us and us to others.

      And most media, especially commercial media, has always been politically linked and partisan. The past few decades have also seen them perfect the distribution of propaganda, and achieved measurable impacts on the thinking and behavior of people.

      As for corruption, do you mean they take money that influences their messaging? Or that they take money and don’t do what they were paid to do?

      1. I’m not sure what form the corruption of the media takes. I use “corrupt” in the same sense that one might say that a batch of ground meat had been corrupted by some contaminated meat.

        The 4th estate has a well-established function to serve in a democratic republic. They exist to disseminate information to the public, to inform us of what our leaders say and what they do. They inform us of issues in our communities.

        When properly functioning, the people would know what the president has to say about a topic.. say, relations with China. They would know what the government is actually doing about such relations (which may or may not comport with what the president says). They would know what the Chinese government and people think about this. They would know the larger context – what is our trade relationship? What are various industry groups saying?

        In short, we’d be getting the information needed to make informed decisions.

        But we don’t get that. Not by a long shot.

        What we get is corrupted. Thoroughly and completely corrupted. You cannot trust anything at all in the press these days. Not in a “it is all lies and completely made up” way, but in a “not one syllable of this is written with the intention of enlightening me on the issues” sort of way. They are propagandizing, and only propagandizing. Even when they cover a human interest story about a little old lady and her dog… it is always from a political propaganda perspective.

        I always had the point of view that the bias in the media was an honest one – that they hired left-leaning journalists from left-leaning universities who produced left-leaning news.

        Then the last 12 years happened.

        And then Russia-gate happened.

        And the CIA and FBI colluded to sow a disinformation campaign to undermine the president. And they used the New York Times. (directly. We know this from original source documentation) And they used CNN. And NBC news. And the Washington Post…. all the “trusted” news sources.

        And then the former CIA director who had been leaking and directing leaks to generate a false narrative got fired. And he went to work at CNN.

        And then the former FBI director who had been leaking and directing leaks to generate a false narrative got fired. And he went to work at CNN.

        And then I got a whole lot more cynical about the ultimate source of the corruption in the media.

    9. More like 20 years at low end.

  10. An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six sexual misconduct allegations involving senior FBI officials over the past five years…

    We’re allowed to talk shit about the bureau again? Trump’s presidency isn’t even cold yet.

  11. President Donald Trump’s obsession with abolishing Section 230 seems to be shared by folks in the Biden administration.

    There will be significant overlap between the two administrations. The fun will be watching what’s suddenly not a problem.

    1. George Orwell wrote something.

  12. More steady gains for Reason.com’s benefactor in this #BidenBoom.

    Charles Koch earned $47,500,000 yesterday.

    That’s why so many of Reason’s best writers endorsed Biden. They knew his economic policies would reverse the fundamental failure of the Drumpf years — the high-tariff / low-immigration economy that made it impossible for Mr. Koch to prosper.

    #GetReadyForTheKochComeback

  13. The U.K. is trying to criminalize paying for sex.

    Huh. I never realized it was legal over there.

    1. I think they mean marriage.

      1. And to think that nation once idolized Andy Capp.

    2. Everyone pays for sex.

    3. The ruling classes of Britain have always been fucked up about sex. The current elite might as well ban sex, at least heterosexual sex, and hasten their own end.

  14. Fix was IN! Politico DRAGGED for blatant bias with side-by-side screenshots of their Hunter Biden coverage pre and post-election
    https://twitchy.com/samj-3930/2020/12/10/fix-was-in-politico-dragged-for-blatant-bias-with-side-by-side-screenshots-of-their-hunter-biden-coverage-pre-and-post-election/

  15. First

  16. NPR gets money from taxpayers. (another then and now about Hunter)
    https://twitter.com/RealSaavedra/status/1337024957197348865

    1. More NPR

      How Private Money From Facebook’s CEO Saved The 2020 Election
      https://www.npr.org/2020/12/08/943242106/how-private-money-from-facebooks-ceo-saved-the-2020-election

      Bill Turner knew he had a tough job. He took over as acting director of voter services in Chester County, Pa., in September, just two months before a divisive presidential election amid a pandemic. Huge voter turnout was expected, and COVID-19 required election managers like Turner to handle mail-in ballots on a scale they’d never seen and confront the threat of their staffers becoming sick.

      These challenges had forced many election offices to burn through their budgets months earlier. Turner had previously served as the county’s emergency manager, experience that seemed apt for overseeing an election that many observers feared would become a catastrophe.

      With a tight budget and little help from the federal government, Chester County applied for an election grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a previously small Chicago-based nonprofit that quickly amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to help local election offices — most notably, $350 million from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

      “Honestly, I don’t know what we would have done without it,” Turner said.

      The coronavirus pandemic — and Congress’ neglect — necessitated an unprecedented bailout of election offices with private money funneled through the little-known nonprofit. And the money proved indispensable.

  17. Resist!
    Not my president.
    #NeverBiden

    1. Impeach!!!

  18. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and attorneys general are using Facebook as a test case for a massively expanded (and anti-capitalist) conception of antitrust law.

    If only the Constitution foresaw government assaults on free markets.

    1. Shut up and bake the cake.

  19. Calling my shot now, the US will quietly reduce the number of cycles in Covid testing, which lowers positive counts, adopt the WHO definition of a Covid death, dropping that figure too, and the press will stop talking about the US being #1 on positive cases (ignoring China’s lies) and talk about us being #8 to #11 on a per capita basis. Thus Joe Biden, state power, and The Science all saved our lives.

    Reason will not mention any of this.

    https://swprs.org/the-trouble-with-pcr-tests/
    A PCR test is amplifying samples through repetitive cycles. The lower the virus concentration in the sample, the more cycles are needed to achieve a positive result. Many US labs work with 35 to 45 cycles, while many European labs work with 30 to 40 cycles.

    The research group of French professor Didier Raoult has recently shown that at a cycle threshold (ct) of 25, about 70% of samples remained positive in cell culture (i.e. were infectious); at a ct of 30, 20% of samples remained positive; at a ct of 35, 3% of samples remained positive; and at a ct above 35, no sample remained positive (infectious) in cell culture (see diagram).

    This means that if a person gets a “positive” PCR test result at a cycle threshold of 35 or higher (as applied in most US labs and many European labs), the chance that the person is infectious is less than 3%. The chance that the person received a “false positive” result is 97% or higher.

    1. the US will quietly reduce the number of cycles in Covid testing, which lowers positive counts, adopt the WHO definition of a Covid death, dropping that figure too, and the press will stop talking about the US being #1 on positive cases (ignoring China’s lies) and talk about us being #8 to #11 on a per capita basis. Thus Joe Biden, state power, and The Science all saved our lives.

      I’d say the chances of this are about 50/50, and if they do, they’ll cite the Science! as an ass-covering measure–“Oh, well, we’ve used Science! to determine that the high PCR cycles just weren’t giving us an accurate count of cases! Isn’t Science! wonderful?”

    2. While that may be true, deaths due to COVID have increased above the early pandemic. And while you might say this is due to calling everything a covid death, it is undeniable that we have a spike in excess deaths for SOMETHING right now.

      https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm#dashboard

      1. The line of excess deaths is the median value. That graph is terrible. It really needs at least 1-sigma bounds around it.

    3. 30 cycles of PCR is crazy high.

      I used to use PCR in the lab for basic genetic research. One use was to amplify copies of DNA that you wanted to use for a probe. Each cycle effectively doubles the count – so 2 cycles doubles the number of copies you have twice….. 4 times as much.

      So we are talking powers of 2.

      10 cycles is 2^10. That’s 1024 times as many copies…. so if you had 100 viral particles, 10 cycles would mean you have a hundred thousand.

      2^30 is 1,073,741,824. If there is even 1 molecule present, this would mean you have roughly a billion copies after 30 cycles. You should easily be able to detect a billion copies of the gene in question by very simple techniques.

      2^35 is 34,359,738,368. That’s past the point of useful. You’ll run out of primers and reagents before you come up with 34 billion copies of a gene. At that point you risk false positives being created by random annealing with junk DNA and accidentally amplifying a mismatch.

  20. “Consumer harm” has not been the standard in antitrust law for a long, long time.

    The Microsoft case from the 90’s paved the way. Ever since the Internet Explorer case, the EU and the US (and a few other governments) have simply used the courts and regulatory apparatus as a means to extract cash whenever they felt that these huge companies had cash to spare.

    It has been one of the more naked moves by government revealing their close kinship to organized crime.

  21. Re: Antitrust

    The US has created these big tech monoliths with an extremely hostile and crony-infested capital market. The last 20 years have seen the banking and investment markets become giant grift machines. They have increased regulation on public companies making it harder for small companies to go public. They have made it more difficult for small banks to survive, which has encouraged small companies to go to big banks or big investors to get money. This has concentrated wealth among the elite- the giant investment funds of cronies who are hip to hip aligned with the stewards of our government- so much so that we have the Fed printing money to buy stock.

    Consider that even as the number of IPOs in the country has dropped to about 50% of its 40 year average, existing companies have never been more valuable. Apple, for example, is worth more than the entire FTSE 100 combined (The largest companies in Great Britain)!

    Sure, the quick fix may be to break up Facebook or Google. But we will be back in this place 10 years later and in a much worse condition (since this power will ultimately be captured by more companies).

    If you want to stop Facebook and Google, make it easier for their competitors to access funding. Stop using the Fed and the Government to reward these cronies. Yes, it will take longer to manifest your changes, but we won’t be enabling an unaccountable government and their grifters at the same time.

    1. Who are you talking to?

    2. Yep, the answer is almost always more and more robust competition.

      Making it easier for competitors to enter the market isn’t going to magically cause people to stop using Facebook, Google, or Twitter, but having competitors constantly nipping at their heels will help to check their worst instincts. This is free markets 101, and there is over a century of history to show that it works pretty well. When it doesn’t, it is almost always because of regulatory capture.

      1. Except the problem is that, as I keep pointing out, these companies got as big as they did precisely because of government support. It’s not because these CEOs are so awesome at their job, it’s because they’ve had de facto government sponsorship from the Deep State and its proxies for 20 years.

        These companies got big through design, not through initiative. Expecting the government to suddenly provide competition for the very companies it enabled to grow into behemoths, at the expense of smaller competitors, is contradictory.

  22. Joe Biden says Hunter Biden laptop story is ‘Russian plan’ despite lack of evidence
    Jerry Dunleavy 10/23/2020
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/joe-biden-says-hunter-biden-laptop-story-is-russian-plan-despite-lack-of-evidence/ar-BB1ajFg1

    Biden responded by claiming, “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plan. They have said this is, has all the — four, five former heads of the CIA, both parties say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except him and his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”

    Trump retorted, “You mean the laptop is now another Russia, Russia, Russia hoax?” Biden claimed that “that’s exactly what I was told.”

    Trump dismissively said, “This is where he’s going. The laptop is Russia Russia Russia? You have to be kidding. Here we go again with Russia.”

    Earlier in the debate, Biden had claimed that “his buddy, Rudy Giuliani, he’s being used as a Russian pawn, he’s being fed information that is Russian — that is not true.”

    Politico reported on Monday that over 50 more than ex-intelligence officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan, had signed onto a letter related to the Hunter Biden laptop saga in an article titled “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” But the news article title is misleading, because in their letter the former officials never call the Hunter Biden laptop “Russian disinformation” themselves, instead citing a another news article claiming that “federal authorities are investigating whether the material … is part of a smoke bomb of disinformation pushed by Russia” but making it clear that “we do not know whether these press reports are accurate.” The officials also claim that the purported Hunter Biden laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation” but admit that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.”

  23. If Section 230 is the “First Amendment” why is the so much viewpoint specific online censorship? This is getting Orwellian.

    How about this: you want us to give you a special statute protecting you from lawsuit, you have to comply with certain free speech principals including viewpoint neutrality. Not necessarily the full First Amendment, but some guardrails to prevent the flagarant abuses we seen. Everyone can choose whether they want to “opt in” to 230 protection or not.

    We should look at 230 as another form or corporate subsidy (because it is). Are we getting the free and open internet that we were promised in exchange for this subsidy?

    1. Which committee of Top Men will decide who is delivering “viewpoint neutrality” to a degree satisfactory to our Government Overlords?

      1. The only committee of top men recognized by the Constitution. Otherwise known as a jury.

        If it’s not criminal don’t suppress it

        That’s viewpoint neutrality.

      2. Who addresses First Amendment issues now?

        Answer: the courts. If you plead Section 230 immunity as a legal defense, it should be your burden to show you are entitled to Section 230 protection.

        1. So, JesseAz above was arguing that Section 230 is flawed because it is supposedly not applied uniformly. He seems to think there is some special class of website owners who are privileged to Section 230 protections, while others are not.

          And there you are arguing that Section 230 should be a special protection that one has to qualify for.

          1. Yes. Is *is* a special protection. That is not up for reasonable debate. It’s not me “arguing” it should be a special protection. That’s what it is. I’m asking: should we hand out special protections for free or should should those receiving the special protection have to give something back in exchange for the special protection—namely, a promise to uphold the values of free speech.

            The entire premise behind Section 230 is to promote the free exchange of ideas. It is not doing that function.

            I’m just pointing out that there is a logical middle ground between “repeal Section 230” and “everything’s fine let’s bury our head in the sand.”

            1. That’s a reasonable position, at least at first glance. It’s fraught with potential for abuse when you start looking closer at who in the government is going to decide whether a social media is adequately “promoting free exchange of ideas”.

              1. You don’t need a Bureau of Neutrality or anything like that. We don’t need a Department of the First Amendment, do we?

                Here’s how it could work:

                (1) I sue Mr. ISP.

                (2) Mr. ISP asserts a number of legal defenses: statute of limitations, etc. Among the legal defense is Section 230 immunity. Mr. ISP now has to establish the elements (whatever they ultimately are) of Section 230 protection.

                (3) The trier of fact then determines: has Mr. ISP met the elements for Section 230 protection? If “yes,” then the case is dismissed.

                1. As a social media site that hosts millions of posts every day, how many of these court cases do my lawyers have to handle every day?

                  1. Special pleading for special protection.

                    Wow, you sure screwed the pooch with that one.

    2. “If Section 230 is the ‘First Amendment'”

      Who are you quoting there? Section 230 is not the First Amendment. Section 230 is just a law that clarifies who is liable for user-provided speech (the user). It encourages websites to host user-provided content at scales larger than they could if they had to check and moderate each user-provided post.

        1. ENB’s wrong about that, then. Although, she is using it metaphorically, not literally.

          1. Well- duh!

            OMG. You thought I was saying Section 230 was *literally* the First Amendment? LOL.

            1. No, I didn’t think that. I was wondering whom you were quoting.

  24. Is Reason embarrassed they tacitly went along with ignoring the Hunter Biden story now? Even dismissing it somewhat in a few articles? Now that we know the investigation started in 2018, it involves China, and the DoJ put it on pause during the election? I mean, a future president’s son dealing with a primary trade party and taking bribes seems fairly applicable. Especially given the history of Biden’s family using Biden to secure favorable loans and business deals.

    Remember, we had:
    Twitter censoring the NYPost and Reason inferring the Post should just supplicate itself and remove the tweet.

    Facebook removing stories involving Hunter Biden.

    WaPo pushing and publishing Biden defense as the stories of Hunter being without merit.

    Claims from NYT, CNN, etc all claiming it was debunked.

    And Reason happily helping push along said narrative. Even during the Impeachment trial, the claims that nothing happened with Hunter were strong on this site.

    Stolen Valor hardest hit.

    1. And now we are supposed to believe the same Media sources who ignored and pushed “debunked conspiracies” regarding Hunter, who pushed Russia/Trump for 3 years, and other democratic narratives (fact checks that are “true but democratic narrative spin missing”) when we talk about the 2020 election and the apparent belief of the absence of fraud.

    2. How much of Reason’s webathon money came from China?

      1. Did you see the video from the CCP connected Beijing Professor who flatly admitted and said China has people in the highest levels of government and Wall Street? Who has the biggest ties to Wall Street and known connections to China currently? Democrats. Wall Street mostly donates to Democrats at this point and we have known connections in Feinstein and Swalwell now.

        1. Yep.

          https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/dec/6/china-agents-us-government-helped-influence-policy/
          “Now, I’m going to drop a bomb: Because we had people up there inside America’s core circle of power, we had our old friends,” said Mr. Di, adding that he needed to speak carefully because “I can’t sell out these people.”

    3. Report: Investigation into Hunter Biden went quiet due to DOJ policy around ‘overt’ action that could impact an election
      https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2020/12/09/report-investigation-into-hunter-biden-went-quiet-due-to-doj-policy-around-overt-action-that-could-impact-an-election/

      1. https://twitter.com/NatalieABrand/status/1336825040457883648

        Two sources familiar with the investigation tell CBS that the tax investigation of Hunter Biden began in 2018 report
        @ClareHymes22

        @AndyTriay
        . The investigation went quiet during election season due to DOJ policy around “overt” investigative action that could impact election.

  25. Taking a break from election stuff…

    I’m worried about the growing power and influence of the Chinese government, and what that means for a whole host of potential new fields in the 21st century, such as advanced computing, constant connectivity, energy, space exploration and exploitation, and genetic medicine, not to mention all the stuff we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

    There is going to be some sort of international framework for regulating these things, and while I don’t have much faith that the US and other liberal democracies are going to regulate them in the way I would prefer, I am pretty damn sure they’ll do a better job than the Chinese communist government.

    So, the US should be trying encourage these types of industries to set up shop here, and to create a regulatory environment that allows them to grow and compete vigorously with international competitors.

    Unfortunately, the US government seems hell bent on making it harder for them to compete by forcing them to jump through unnecessary regulatory hoops, or by making it harder for new companies to enter the market with innovative new products.

    1. So, the US should be trying encourage these types of industries to set up shop here, and to create a regulatory environment that allows them to grow and compete vigorously with international competitors.

      A large piece of that is having the US help enforce and stop stolen IP theft as well as Trademarks and goods. Why develop here if it will just be stolen by another country that now does not have to invest in research costs. Apparently any type of defense against China in trade markets is frowned upon by Reason.

      1. A large piece of that is having the US help enforce and stop stolen IP theft as well as Trademarks and goods.

        I agree.

    2. Why on earth would the US be doing this when it’s been selling out to China for at least 25 years, if not longer? This is from The Atlantic, of all places, back in 2018:

      “Normalizing Trade Relations With China Was a Mistake”
      Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, an alliance of economic nationalists, human-rights activists, and anti-communists sought to deny China MFN status every year. And every year that alliance was defeated by those who insisted that by opening the American economy to Chinese imports, the United States would gently nudge Beijing towards economic liberalism, multiparty democracy, and a rejection of hegemonic designs—predictions that haven’t exactly been borne out…U.S. multinationals have invested billions of dollars in the expectation that trans-Pacific trade will never face serious disruption. So while China’s corporate sector is invested in Beijing’s success in its latest round of brinksmanship, corporate America’s loyalties are divided.

      If even a globalist publication like The Atlantic was recognizing that US corporations, with the support of Chinese-connected politicians, were operating in an unequal partnership where China operated solely in its own interest while the US undermined its own, then there’s little reason for optimism that a Biden administration will change that dynamic. Not only is his own fucking son being used as a middleman for influence-peddling, but the Democrats themselves are both compromised by Chinese intel operatives, and their in-kind Ministry of Truth in the entertainment industry (and some sports corporations like the NBA) bends over to China on a regular basis.

      If our previous leaders hadn’t been so dazzled by Chinese money and the ease of outsourcing our manufacturing and environmental waste to China, this would have been far less of an issue. I can understand the Republicans doing this because they’ve been autistically focused on it since Nixon, thinking that we needed to get the Chinese on our side to counter the Russians. At least until the Clintons came along, the Democrats were willing to put up some resistance because those policies were fucking over their blue-collar constituents. Now that they are fully bought and paid for creatures for the Chinese, they have no incentive anymore to reverse course and start acknowledging that China is a hostile foreign entity.

    3. “such as advanced computing, constant connectivity, energy, space exploration and exploitation, and genetic medicine, not to mention all the stuff we haven’t even dreamed of yet.”

      Nuclear fusion seems to be making progress recently with the Tokarev reactors. And a 1000km/h maglev rail system is also in the works. When China does infrastructure, they mean more than cash handouts to poorly run companies like the airlines.

  26. It would be nice if Reason would do a story on Facebook, and Silicon Valley in general, use of anti competitive practices such as buy and kills and stolen IP instead of saying “look over here, they do nothing wrong on this front.”

    1. The Reasonistas are helping build back better I guess.
      They know corporatism and censorship on the internet services front is important for that future.

    2. Do you EVER check before asserting that Reason hasn’t addressed subject X?

      Found an example in about 15 seconds:

      https://reason.com/2014/01/12/intellectual-property-fosters-corporate/

      The other notable point in Shaffer’s essay concerns how IP tends to concentrate wealth in large business firms. He writes,

      There are many other costs associated with IP that rarely get attention in cost-benefit analyses of the topic. One has to do with the fact that the patenting process, as with government regulation generally, is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking that tends to increase industrial concentration. Large firms can more readily incur the costs of both acquiring and defending a patent than can an individual or a small firm, nor is there any assurance that, once either course of action is undertaken, a successful outcome will be assured. Thus, individuals with inventive products may be more inclined to sell their creations to larger firms. With regard to many potential products, various governmental agencies (e.g., the EPA, FDA, OSHA) may have their own expensive testing and approval requirements before new products can be marketed, a practice that, once again, favors the larger and more established firms.

      Increased concentration also contributes to the debilitating and destructive influences associated with organizational size. In addressing what he calls “the size theory of social misery,” Leopold Kohr observes that “wherever something is wrong, something is too big,” a dynamic as applicable to social systems as in the rest of nature. The transformation of individuals into “overconcentrated social units” contributes to the problems associated with mass size. One sees this tendency within business organizations, with increased bureaucratization, ossification, and reduced resiliency to competition often accompanying increased size. Nor do the expected benefits of economies of scale for larger firms overcome the tendencies for the decline of earnings and rates of return on investments, as well as the maintenance of market shares following mergers. The current political mantra, “too big to fail,” is a product of the dysfunctional nature of size when an organization faces energized competition to which it must adapt if it is to survive.

      1. Dude, that story is almost 7 years old…

        1. Dishonesty is all WK has.

  27. Lets do stories on every elderly Dem and their mental states

    New Yorker: Dianne Feinstein’s ‘short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic’
    https://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2020/12/10/new-yorker-dianne-feinsteins-short-term-memory-has-grown-so-poor-that-she-often-forgets-she-has-been-briefed-on-a-topic/

  28. ‘tater

    https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/1319805995049254912
    “Over the past 24 hours, the Hunter Biden narrative pushed by President Trump and his allies in right-wing media has started to unravel,”
    @oliverdarcy
    writes in the latest edition of
    @ReliableSources

    8:00 PM · Oct 23, 2020

    1. Greenwald went off over this yesterday and today.

  29. https://twitter.com/awstar11/status/1336842501328568322

    Swalwell is a weird dude who lead the charge against Trump & family regarding the “Russian Collusion” hoax when all along, he was far more guilty of corrupt interaction with foreign spies
    Quote Tweet
    Chris Hayes
    @chrislhayes
    · 17h
    Swallwell’s defensiveness here is weird because he’s not accused of doing anything wrong! Just being kinda duped by a spy.

    1. https://twitter.com/ericswalwell/status/1082792198096277504

      “Stated plainly, the President’s son met with a Russian spy.” On
      @DeadlineWH
      about #NataliaVeselnitskaya

    2. Apparently she became a family friend based on Swalwell’s dad and brother. Even after he was given the defensive briefing against her.

  30. https://twitter.com/ShimonPro/status/1336784978789720065

    Here are some more details as
    @evanperez
    reported.
    – Investigation started back in 2018
    – Has to do with business dealings in China.
    -Investigation was put on hold around the election because of DOJ policy. -New investigative actions began after the election.

    1. Investigation was put on hold around the election because of DOJ policy. did this policy start with Hillary.

      note to always be running for office so as not to be investigated

  31. Fox News is obsessed w/Axios’ story about a suspected Chinese spy targeting
    @ericswalwell
    , running segment after segment after segment on it. The network is dishonestly suggesting it’s equivalent to “Russian collusion” — even though their own digital stories contain this graf.

  32. https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1337005077408714753?s=19

    People didn’t believe me when I warned antifa weren’t going to be pacified if Trump lost the election. Now police are unable to reclaim territory in a major US city & are asking public to simply avoid the area.

    Portland police:
    “This is the area affected by an occupation in the Humboldt neighborhood. Streets are barricaded and there are reports of aggressive behavior by people involved. If at all possible, please avoid the area. Those with homes and businesses here, please use caution.”

    1. Property rights are not a concern at this “libertarian” publication. What part of mostly peaceful do you not understand?

      1. You are talking about Reason? The same publication that has hosted Nancy Rommelman’s series of reports from Portland?

    2. Goggle says that neighborhood is 352 acres and has 1921 households. And the government just abandoned it. What the fuck? It’s goddamed Beruit now.

    3. Insane. One family lost everything because they took out a mortgage they were unable to repay. Now, their neighbors get to lose everything they have ever saved up just because they live on the same block.

    4. Deal with them like the branch davidians

  33. Reason at one time would have done a large expose on how left wing Silicon Valley is and how they promote socialist causes including suppressing news that the left deems “irresponsible”. Instead we get this pablum on if Facebook is a monopoly. Classic misdirection.

    But we all know who’s funding this joint and why the tone has shifted.

  34. Carlson: Rep. Swalwell Remains on House Intelligence Committee Despite Alleged Relationship with Chinese Spy
    https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2020/12/09/carlson-rep-swalwell-remains-on-house-intelligence-committee-despite-alleged-relationship-with-chinese-spy/

    1. https://thefederalist.com/2018/08/03/sen-dianne-feinsteins-personal-driver-20-years-chinese-spy/

      Reports: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Personal Driver For 20 Years Was A Chinese Spy

  35. https://twitter.com/Timcast/status/1336689199790088193

    These are editorial guidelines

    Time to start suing Youtube as they are now issuing direct guidance on what you can publish outside what is prescribed in Section 230
    Quote Tweet
    Jack Posobiec Flag of United States
    @JackPosobiec
    · Dec 9
    YouTube’s reasoning for the new policy is essentially ‘you are not allowed to criticize the government’

    1. outside what is prescribed in Section 230

      How so?

      1. You can’t be helped in this discussion.

    2. Imagine if 30 years ago the phone company was monitoring calls and the post office was checking your mail for the wrong sorts of opinions.

      Of course this isn’t a crisis of censorship or an attack on freedom of speech for ENB and the DNC squaddies here in the comments, because apparently libertarian beliefs aren’t applicable outside of “government”.

      1. The lefty “libertarians” in the comments here define libertarianism as whether you hate Trump and his supporters or not. You expect them to think of libertarian philosophy deeper than what the government does?

      2. Mother’s Lament: I don’t believe in private property.

        1. Lol, that’s not even remotely applicable to how a service misrepresents functions to its customers and changes terms of service without mutual agreement.

          You’re so mindblowingly dishonest.

  36. Infographic of what happened in Georgia election night.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/what-happened-in-atlanta-on-election-night-2_3607130.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2020-12-09-5

    Includes discussions of ex-legislatively changed elections laws at the heart of the Texas suit.

    1. https://twitter.com/bradheath/status/1336767769124155394?s=21

      “The brief also argues that executive officials shouldn’t be able to mess with voting rules. But Texas — the plaintiff in this case, the state they’re supporting — did that very thing. The governor used executive power to extend the early voting period, among other things.”

    2. https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-extends-early-voting-period-for-november-3rd-election

      Governor Greg Abbott today issued a Proclamation extending the early voting period for the November 3rd Election by nearly a week. Under this proclamation, early voting by personal appearance will begin on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, and continue through Friday, October 30, 2020. The proclamation also expands the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk’s office, allowing such delivery prior to as well as on Election Day.

      “As we respond to COVID-19, the State of Texas is focused on strategies that preserve Texans’ ability to vote in a way that also mitigates the spread of the virus,” said Governor Abbott. “By extending the early voting period and expanding the period in which mail-in ballots can be hand-delivered, Texans will have greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while at the same time protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.”

  37. FB never got around to fact checking

    https://twitter.com/andymstone/status/1316395902479872000
    While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.

  38. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1337036684429504513

    Yes, and the Balkanization of American media prevented it. Their side never broke ranks and none of them covered what was in it. They threw away all their credibility to protect Joe Biden.
    Quote Tweet
    Graham Allen
    @GrahamAllen_1
    · 1h
    Replying to @JackPosobiec
    Hunter Biden’s laptop would’ve changed the election. Truth.

  39. https://twitter.com/KanekoaTheGreat/status/1336888380940947457?s=19

    DOMINION????

    Watch this demonstration of Dominion’s adjudication process❗️

    Now, ask yourself why did these counties adjudicate so many ballots & how many ballots were adjudicated around the country❓

    Fulton: 106,000
    Gwinnett: 80,000
    Maricopa: 28,000
    ????????????

    1. In both Georgia and Arizona ballots are adjudicated by a three person panel with bi-partisan membership.

      Also, wouldn’t manipulation of this sort show up in a recount? Presumably these ballots needed to be adjudicated because the electronic tabulators couldn’t read them. That would happen again during a recount, so the same ballots would be flagged as needing adjudication. If that processed differed during the original count and the recount, it would show up as a discrepancy between the two.

      1. If you wanted to actually debunk conspiracies you would go investigate how the recount happened. They largely just rescanned the ballots. It wasn’t an audit. But if you were honest you would have known this already.

        1. IE, they would not re-adjudicate the ballots in a recount. They would settle for the original adjudication.

          At this point you’re just a partisan. You started as such on your first sock creation day.

          1. I am aware of what was done and not done in the recounts, at least up to a point, but you seem to know more, so could you answer two questions for me?

            1) Assuming you are correct, if the original adjudication was conducted by a three-person panel with representation from both parties, why is there a reason to question the original adjudication?

            2) Do the ballots have a unique identifier that the machines can recognize, and is there a record of the adjudication decision stored along with that identifier, such that on a re-scan the machines would just look up that decision and apply it again? That would seem to be necessary for what you are saying happened to work. Otherwise, those ballots would fail to be read by the machines during the recount for the same reason they failed to be read by the machines in the original count, and would have to be adjudicated again. Can you clarify?

        2. “They largely just rescanned the ballots.”

          Georgia did two recounts. The first of the recounts was by hand. No scanning.

          “It wasn’t an audit.”

          You have been asked, more than once, to describe exactly (no hand waving) exactly what you want done in an audit.

          1. This is easy.

            The governor promised to do a recanvass, an audit and a recount. They pointedly avoided actually doing the audit or the recanvass.

            The recanvass would inevitably invalidate the election. This is unavoidable and does not require any malfeasance. The mail in ballots were not carefully checked for signature matches. They may not have been checked at all.

            Careful checks would invalidate several percent of the ballots. Since this did not happen before the ballots were counted, it would happen on the recanvass.

            This would inevitably be a number much greater than the margin of victory, invalidating the election.

            This has been studiously avoided in all of the disputed states. The only recanvass allowed thusfar has been a small sample ordered by a judge in Arizona. The Democrat expert found that 11% of the signatures did not match. (the republican found less, but still much more than required to invalidate the election).

            It looks like they are all going to avoid doing the recanvass. If they do, chaos ensues. It is unavoidable simply due to the percentages involved.

  40. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1337031828608258049

    They called Bobulinski a traitor when he told the truth [about Hunter Biden]

    Remember that

  41. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1336804284478988290

    Remember when Tapper told
    @NYPost
    to delete their tweets reporting on Hunter?
    Quote Tweet
    Jake Tapper
    @jaketapper
    · Oct 27
    6. So twitter and the @NYpost are in a standoff about rules the Post violated that are no longer the rules.

    Twitter says NYPost can end this immediately by deleting the tweets in question.

    Post editors suggest they won’t do so.

  42. https://twitter.com/yinonw/status/1336902407620415488?s=19

    1/ Let’s take a journey to where “science” got us in 2020.

    Santa Clara County (CA) was the first in the US to lockdown. They “followed the science” with perhaps the longest lockdown in the world. Gyms never opened. Indoor dining *never* opened. How did that work out?

    1. That whole thread is a hilarious dunking on blue states. Those leaders and the people who voted for them deserve all the contempt they get.

  43. Fuck Facebook. It played with corporatist fire and deserves to be burnt.
    It wasn’t a free market company competing on a level playing field. It hoovered up grants and tax breaks. It hopped into bed with politicians, it used bureaucrats as footsoldiers and used state and federal regulations to wage war against competitors.

    Alphabet needs to broken up too for the same reasons. Sow the government wind, reap the government whirlwind.

    1. What whirlwind? One where they become even bigger and better protected? That’s what the result will be.

      1. How in the hell do you figure that?

        1. Because that’s how it always turns out

          1. AT&T is now the only phone company, Microsoft is now the only computer company.

  44. https://twitter.com/RepSwalwell/status/300721171396190211

    Happy Chinese New Year! 2013 #YearoftheSnake is about progress, focus, and discipline. I’ll apply these principles in the 113th

  45. https://twitter.com/KanekoaTheGreat/status/1336953438140174336?s=19

    Ron Raffensperger, the CTO of Huawei, sure seems interested in Georgia politics and has a twitter feed dedicated to TDS.

    Wasn’t Huawei recently designated a national security threat?

    Raffensperger. . . Where have I heard that name before?

    1. Huawei is a company run by evil scum. I had a chink coworker steal designs and gave it all to Huawei (not allowed back in the US like that matters, he’s a hero to them) . The chinks are the same as all socialists, steal and murder the productive people tk get what you want and burn the rest. Never trust a Chinese national and if anybody tells you they trust the Chinese stop telling them anything

  46. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1336789091342544914

    They waited until all 50 states certified before “breaking” the Hunter Biden investigation

  47. https://twitter.com/ezralevant/status/1336759505623855106

    The biggest scoop I’ve ever had in my life. Trudeau invited Chinese troops to learn winter warfare tactics at the Canadian Forces Base
    @GarrisonPet
    . 34 unredacted pages of cowardice and appeasement towards China, hostility towards America.

    1. Mother’s Lament has no comment. It’s Canadian politics, so doesn’t interest him.

      1. Yeah, if it’s one guy he’s a fan of, it’s Trudeau.

      2. I didn’t see Ra’s link, but I already knew about it. Trudeau Sr. was a communist so it’s no surprise that Jr. wants CCP troops nearby. He doesn’t trust the DND.
        A Prime Minister doesn’t have the clout of a president though, so it’s more stupidity than a real concern.

        That said, I forgot to tell you to fuck yourself today.
        Go fuck yourself, White Knight.

  48. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1336778667352084488
    In every sci-fi future there’s a sort of merging of corporate power and government power that asserts authority over everything

    In unrelated news: The head of Facebook funded $400 million of the administration of our presidential election this year

  49. https://twitter.com/GPIngersoll/status/1337048494784307201

    Researchers identify new personality construct, TIV, “Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood”

    The compulsion to be a victim, which involves four dimensions: moral elitism, a lack of empathy, the need for recognition, and rumination.

    1. Trump checks off the last three.

  50. https://twitter.com/adamhousley/status/1336907774911909888?s=19

    After lying about it for 4 years. I don’t know what to think, or who to trust anymore outside my contacts. Truly. I have my contacts and I keep them close cause they’re the best in my opinion…but overall…our government at all levels is lost right now. Irrespective of party.

    “The FBI admits to ongoing searching of Seth Rich’s laptop documents too.”

  51. > Removing 230 will not stop sites from taking down content. It will encourage more of it.

    Well duh! People don’t understand what Section 230 is, and Gabbard is pandering to them.

    Section 230 means that companies are not liable for what their users post on their platform. Get rid of 230 and suddenly Facebook is liable for what you post. You better believe they’ll be taking down everything they can! Every post that goes up will have to be moderated first, and if one goes up that someone in the government doesn’t like, Facebook goes down.

    Also, the Reason commentariat. Section 230 is the only thing keeping it up. Seriously dudes.

    1. Don’t care about Reason. I’m going to stay here and point out them being assholes until the website dies.

    2. You always ignore the pertinent part. If they’re going to be free of liability, explain why this special protection should given:

      “(230) provides “Good Samaritan” protection from civil liability for operators of interactive computer services in the removal or moderation of third-party material they deem obscene or offensive, even of constitutionally protected speech

      You don’t get sued and you can fuck around censoring constitutionally protected speech.
      Again, that’s not kiddie porn takedowns or criminal threats, but constitutionally protected speech.

      1. Yep, just treat Twitter like the NY Times letter to the editor section.

        1. If you repeal section 230, Twitter will be much more like the NYT letters. It will take a significant amount of time between you posting your content and someone green-lighting, editing, and publishing it. I can only imagine the number of letters that the NYT gets and never publishes, because they don’t want to be accountable for what’s in those letters. That’s Brandybuck’s point.

          For someone who (I’m guessing) despises the mainstream media, it’s funny that you’re for pushing online outlets in that direction. Donald Trump doesn’t win the primary if he doesn’t have an outlet like Twitter to get his message out. The MSM wasn’t going to comply.

          1. Exactly. The point of Section 230 is to allow social media sites to handle user posts at scale.

          2. You sound like a Net Neutrality Truther.

      2. It’s the most anti-libertarian thing ever, but all the Reasonistas are shilling for it because they’re whores.

        1. It’s the most anti-libertarian thing ever

          Only if you believe that a platform can and should be responsible for every way in which its users are using the platform. It strikes me of holding gun or car manufacturers liable for the actions of their customers.

        2. You know what else is anti-libertarian: not respecting private property.

          1. Government doesn’t start regulating their property when they remove extra liability protections dimwit.

            You’re as dumb on this as every other topic.

            1. Is it extra liability protection to say that gun manufacturers aren’t responsible for how their customers use their products? It seems like common sense to me that a company shouldn’t be liable for the actions of their customers; Section 230 just codifies common sense.

  52. https://twitter.com/Katelyn_Caralle/status/1336769441326096386

    Rep. Eric Swalwell said he severed all ties to Chinese Spy Fang Fang in 2015 after he was briefed by intelligence officials.

    His father and brother are still friends with her on Facebook to this day. Swalwell’s dad, also named Eric, liked a picture she posted on March 12, 2020.

  53. Tell me again how the “Great Reset” is just a conspiracy theory?

    Pope Francis [whose church rapes children] is backing a new movement to redefine capitalism as a force for good
    https://qz.com/work/1942727/pope-francis-backs-the-council-for-inclusive-capitalism/

    Now a new global alliance, with Pope Francis as its moral leader, is pushing to rescue the heart of capitalism and reorient it as a force for social good. The founding members of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican comprises large corporations like Bank of America, BP, Estée Lauder, EY, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, Merck, Salesforce, and Visa. It also includes grant-giving bodies like the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, government bodies, and the International Trade Union Confederation, the world’s largest workers’ rights group.

    1. Turfing an actual sitting pope for the first time in many centuries and installing a globalist prog always struck me as weird.
      I’m not Catholic and so I don’t know all the ins and outs, but it smelt fucky.

      1. “Now a new global alliance, with Pope Francis as its moral leader, is pushing to rescue the heart of capitalism and reorient it as a force for social good.”

        Cripes, it’s the Whore of Babylon. Luther and Calvin were right after all.

      2. White american catholics are to christians, as white “jews” are to judaism. They are both ethnically based political social clubs, that are pretty much entirely atheistic.
        The tan catholics are mostly socialists too, but at least they believe in god.

    2. Hooray feudalism!

  54. LUV your take on this stupid ass Facebook anti-trust farce, Elizabeth, but, goddamnit, it’s raining homonym horrors! “Rein in!” “Rein in!” Like a horsie! Not “reign” like a king!

    1. Everyone at reason is an editor, but no one actually edits.

  55. https://www.howitworksdaily.com/inside-a-coronavirus-test-lab/

    As time goes on they will definitely be getting more and more accurate, but when I was there they were still finding their feet with how the test worked and what the good controls were to include. I don’t know the percentage error at the moment, but when I was there I think it was a 30 per cent error rate. That’s fairly high, but you have to remember that, in normal science, you do everything at least three times, whereas there you have one go at it. I do PCR tests a lot, and the threshold would usually be pretty high. But, in this circumstance it was low because they wanted to account for any detection of the virus. There are a lot of factors that can influence a test and I think when you do a test you should take it with a pinch of salt. You should definitely question a negative result if you know you have symptoms.

  56. https://twitter.com/jtLOL/status/1336357232271831041

    Look how
    @Twitter
    frames the
    @EricSwalwell
    story. It sure is good to be a Democrat.

  57. I’m extremely reluctant to weigh in too heavily on section 230 arguments, but Gabbard’s message has some qualifying language (…who act like publishers). I’m not saying Gabbard is right here, and I know little about the remedies proposed in her legislation, but Big Tech has a major speech problem that… in my humble opinion needs some addressing. I still say it needs to happen via a large # of (perhaps class-action) suits for Terms of Service violations.

    1. As I’ve pointed out several times here, most of the major social media sites have a clause in their terms of service that essentially says “you agree not to sue us for changing our terms of service”.

      1. And as has been pointed out to you, such clauses would be unconstitutional in every other contract form. It would be considered unconscionable. Look it up dummy.

        1. Yeah, companies that have statements indemnifying themselves from lawsuit don’t stand up in court. There’s lots of ‘immunity’ shit that corporations and landlords do that are merely ways of scaring people off of lawsuits, but most lawyers will tell you, they’re meaningless clauses.

        2. That is a good point. Point taken.

  58. https://twitter.com/jtLOL/status/1336777049650900995

    Dictionary dot com Changes Definition of ‘Court Packing’ to Help Democrats

  59. Does ENB similarly believe that Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and Buck Duke’s tobacco empire (at the beginning of the 20th century) were NOT monopolies?

    Then again, since Rockefeller and Duke weren’t left wing socialists, and didn’t conspire to rig/steal a presidential election, ENB would have likely demanded Teddy Roosevelt break them apart into smaller competitors.

    1. ENB doesn’t know who any of those people are.

      1. Lol, you’re probably right.

      2. Then again, since Rockefeller and Duke weren’t left wing socialists

        I can’t speak for Duke, but Rockefeller wasn’t far off from being a socialist.

      3. careful, or robby will come to defend her.

  60. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eric-swalwell-gun-owners-nukes/

    In a tweet on 16 November, Swalwell responded to a gun rights enthusiast who said the Democrats’ proposal to confiscate or buy semi-automatic rifles would result in “war” due to resistance from the gun owners, stating “it would be a short war” because “the government has nukes.”

    1. At least Uncle presumptive president (illegitimate) elect Joe only threatened to use hellfire missiles on citizens who believe they have inalienable civil rights

      1. Fact check: Gaffe, so should be ignored.

    2. Not many americans have the stomach to become a martyr. It wont be hellfire missiles, it’ll be the local swat team murdering your whole family.

  61. The same dishonest left wing media/propaganda outlets that campaigned for Joe Biden (by censoring truthful NY Post articles about Hunter Biden’s laptop, e-mails and corrupt business dealings with shady foreign companies in China, Ukraine and elsewhere) are now reporting about Hunter Biden on their front pages (but still haven’t acknowledged they conspired to deny Americans access to this critically important information before the election).

    1. what difference, at this point, does it make?

      My biggest disappointment with trump, is that he did fuck all to actually drain the swamp.

  62. In open borders news, Powell says she has evidence of a plane-load of fake Chinese made ballots arriving from Mexico. No doubt they are just trying to escape their oppressive government and open up a food truck in this country. But orange Hitler is probably in the process of developing cages capable of holding the innocent wide eyed fake ballot children. #LibertariansforforeignelecgioninterferenceaslongasitsnotRussian
    /OBL

    1. Sidney Powell says a lot of things.

  63. Left wing Democrats and propagandists want to protect their politically allied monopolies from being sued, while they vehemently oppose Mitch McConnell’s efforts to prevent greedy lawyers from filing thousands of frivolous lawsuits over covid.

  64. Finally, my paycheck is $ 8,500? A working 10 hours per week online. My brother’s friend had an average of 12K for several months, he work about 22 hours a week. I can not believe how easy it is, once I try to do so. This is what I do.. Here is More information.

  65. Comix legend Richard Corben died.

  66. https://reason.com/volokh/2020/12/10/are-some-of-the-state-attorneys-general-supporting-the-texas-election-suit-getting-cold-feet/

    “First and foremost, it is notable than only six of the states that joined yesterday’s amicus brief (Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah) were willing to join today’s motion to intervene and join the Texas Bill of Complaint.”

    1. “In other words, these six states are endorsing everything in the Texas and Trump Bills of Complaint, including the absurdly stupid statistical claims, the misrepresentation of what occurred in other Supreme Court litigation concerning absentee ballots in Pennsylvania, and the Trump’s briefs uncited claims about Georgia absentee ballot rejection rates that are directly refuted by the data released by the (Republican) Georgia Secretary of State, in addition to the underlying legal theory that states can sue to challenge the lawfulness of election rules and their administration in other states.”

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  67. No sympathy from me. Under constant dinning from Faecepuke et alii the Great Unwashed voted 98% for the initiation of force instead of for a party whose planks would abolish the FTC. As Mencken predicted, most voters are getting what they deserve.

  68. The Golden Pheasant is also known as The Chinese pheasant. Its wonderful golden colors have nevertheless given it the more common Golden Pheasant name. The bird is not only super beautiful in colors, but also looks nice! They are native to the western coast of China, but they are also bred in certain places. England is the largest breeder of the Golden Pheasant.

    When the male Golden Pheasant wants to attract his friends or a girlfriend, he shows his feathers. Then comes a beautiful orange cape that covers everything except his glittering yellow eyes. What a picture!
    The Golden pheasant

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