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Backpage.com Founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin Were Accused of Sex Trafficking by the Senate. Now They Tell Their Story: Reason Roundup

Plus: Europe's terrifying new "terrorist content" rules and zoning reform goes federal.

An inside look at how two longtime alt-weekly publishers became targets of a massive, panic-tinged political crusade. I spent July 3 and 4 in and around Phoenix with two of the most vilified men in America, Backpage founders James Larkin and Michael Lacey, who had been accused by senators of facilitating sex-trafficking and targeted by activists and attorneys general across America. I also spoke with a cadre of their family members, former employees, and oldest friends, including Phoenix business coach Francine Hardaway.

"They are the nicest guys. They are freedom fighters. They are not sex traffickers," says Hardaway, one of the earliest writers for what would become Lacey and Larkin's indie-press empire. "I mean, [that they are sex traffickers] is the most absurd thing I ever heard."

But as the founders of Backpage.com, Larkin and Lacey have been cast as complicit in an array of alleged evils. And they're certain its political.

"Part of the reason this has really worked is because you have Cindy and John McCain involved and they see an opportunity to even a score," says Larkin.

The McCains were far from the only enemies he and Lacey made in more than four decades running free newspapers including the Phoenix New Times and the Village Voice. In recent years, everyone from Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris to actor Ashton Kutcher and Joe Arpaio, the crooked Maricopa County sheriff pardoned last year by President Trump, have made them targets.

"We spent 40 years doing journalism, groundbreaking journalism, and they want to take all that away," says Lacey when we talk at his home just outside Phoenix on the 4th of July. Three months earlier, in April, armed and masked agents had raided the place on the day before Lacey was celebrating his new nuptials. They did the same at the nearby home Larkin shares with his wife.

Now, both men are tethered to Maricopa County by court order and ankle monitor as they await a trial that the feds say they need until 2020 to prepare for. In the interim, prosecutors have been busy seizing Lacey and Larkin's assets and pushing to disqualify their attorneys.

"I watched it happen to them all their lives that sooner or later, after they've proven themselves nine million times, somebody finds some way to stick it to them," Hardaway tells me. "Mike and Jim, their entire reason for going into business was to be free speech advocates. … And so they're easy targets for being free speech advocates at a time when free speech is a huge question."

Most people think the story of their arrest is a story about sex trafficking. But not even the current federal indictment against Lacey, Larkin, and several other former Backpage bigwigs alleges that, nor did CEO Carl Ferrer cop to it in his April plea deal with the feds.

The story of how Lacey and Larkin ended up here is better understood as one of political retribution meeting moral panic, greed, and good old-fashioned authoritarianism. It's one in which an array of very invested parties colluded to take down a company with financial assets and attitude in equal proportion, despite the fact that it was actively working with law enforcement and against sexual exploitation and underage prostitution.

"We didn't really care what politicians saw in us," says Larkin. "And that's come back to haunt us."

Read more here.

FREE MINDS

New European Union rules "will turn popular social media sites into EU-owned ATMs," warns Techdirt.

FREE MARKETS

Zoning reform goes bipartisan—and federal? It's great that people of varying political stripes are recognizing how local land-use restrictions can actually impede affordable housing. But do we really want Congress to take the reins on spurring local reforms? Some market urbanism advocates are suggesting so. At CityLab, urban planning researcher and Market Urbanism contributor Nolan Gray writes that "conditioning valuable federal dollars on an end to exclusionary zoning is an idea whose time has come." Read his case why here.

QUICK HITS

  • Prisoners are going on a labor strike in 17 states.
  • Protesters at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill last night toppled a Confederate statue known as "Silent Sam."
  • "Nastya Rybka," the Belarusian "seduction coach" who claims to have proof of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, pleaded not guilty to prostitution charges in Thailand, where she's been detained since February. Rybka recently told the Associated Press that she had given her audio and video to Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch and former Paul Manafort business associate with whom she had a brief relationship. "He promised me a little something already," she said. "If he do that then there will be no problem, but if he don't..."
  • "Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials, who will account for a 31.5 percent share," according to a new analysis.
  • Environmental activists take up the states' rights mantle.

Photo Credit: modified from cSpan screenshots

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I spent July 3 and 4 in and around Phoenix with two of the most villified men in America, Backpage founders James Larkin and Michael Lacey...

    ENB is going to get reason.com SEIZED!

  • ||

    Hello.

    As predicted. Heard some idiot on MSNBC accuse Trump of killing citizens without due process.

    Riiiiight. The mendacious assholery of the left knows no bounds.

    And about those clearances. Barry did it first. And bigger. Clapper was right at that time. That's too many people with clearances.

    https://politi.co/2N7Dy5C

  • Just Say'n||

    "Heard some idiot on MSNBC accuse Trump of killing citizens without due process."

    Every president has been doing that. The last president even had his attorney general give a speech at Northwestern Law School justifying extrajudicial killing of Americans abroad without any oversight from Congress or the Judiciary. No protests from college students during that speech, which goes to show the moral bankruptcy of the Left.

    Anyone who thinks that Trump isn't doing the same thing as his predecessor is ridiculous

  • Just Say'n||

    News: Ben Shapiro to speak at Northwestern University

    Leftists: Burn the campus down!

    News: Eric Holder is going to give a speech at the law school about how the president can kill you overseas based off of some secret list that no one can review

    Leftists: Nothing but respect for my president

  • ||

    My point is exactly what you said. It was okay when that little prick did it but....now they go nuts that Trump does it?

    Principles my ass.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Environmental activists take up the states' rights mantle.

    OMG they're advocating the return of slavery?

  • Bearded Spock||

    Involuntary servitude under the guise of "smart planning" regulations.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Who's David Hogg?

    The news cycle has moved no from that failed anti-gun crusade.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    The son of Boss Hogg?

  • perlchpr||

    Buddy, you're still destined for obscurity.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Prisoners are going on a labor strike in 17 states.

    Who let them unionize???

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Prison guard unions.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Fake News, of which there is soooo much (this time the very tired New Yorker) falsely reported that I was going to take the extraordinary step of denying Intelligence Briefings to President Obama. Never discussed or thought of!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018

    He never discusses or even thought to punish Obama? Racist.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Why on earth does a former president get, or need, intelligence briefings?
    A reminder of all the meddling they can no longer do?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It won't be so sacrosanct once Trump is a former president.

  • Shirley Knott||

    The very best things about Trump is how thoroughly he is tarnishing the image of president as all-father, hero, noble leader, and all the other fine-sounding lies.
    Pity the splash zone won't reach far enough, but it's a start.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump has wanted to destroy the holier-than-thou pedestal that politicians are placed on.

    You people are eating the checkers pieces.

  • Agammamon||

    RIght. You have a massive case of TDS.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yes, I'm sure that things won't just revert back to the norm when a Democrat is president.

  • ||

    This. Recently, Dems got pretty suspicious about Presidential power after both Nixon and W, but it didn't take too long for them to forget the lessons.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It lasts until they win the Presidency.

  • Juice||

    Nah, it'll go back to the way it was. The media will say that honor, civility, and respectability have returned to the presidency.

  • Rich||

    (this time the very tired New Yorker) falsely reported that I was going to take the extraordinary step of denying Intelligence Briefings to President Obama.

    This is incredible! Obama still gets intelligence briefings?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    After 8 years of briefings they decided he still wasn't intelligent enough.

  • Ron||

    he never read the intel briefings in the first place so why would he start now, hence it would be a wasted effort to deny him the intelligence now

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Tony, PB, shut your front holes:

    Healthline Website Says the Term 'Vagina' Is No Longer Gender Inclusive – Will Start Using "Front Hole" Instead

    Doctor Shortages Explode Thanks To ObamaCare — Who Could Have Predicted That?
    The survey found that a surprisingly large share of doctors, 45%, "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passed what ended up as ObamaCare. (To read more about ObamaCare, click here.)

    The survey generated plenty of attention — most of it from Democrats and the mainstream media who desperately wanted to get ObamaCare enacted. They viciously attacked the survey, calling it "shoddy," "out of whack," "ludicrous," "not trustworthy," "shabby" and "garbage."

    Turns out it was the critics of the poll who were shoddy, out of whack and not trustworthy.

    Subsequent surveys proved the IBD/TIPP poll right, including one taken in 2015 by the Mayo Clinic that found 54% of doctors suffering burnout, and a 2016 survey that found just over half say they participate in ObamaCare plans.

  • Rich||

    "This is gender-inclusive language that's considerate of the fact that some trans people don't identify with the labels the medical community attaches to their genitals." "For example, some trans and nonbinary-identified people assigned female at birth may enjoy being the receptors of penetrative sex, but experience gender dysphoria when that part of their body is referred to using a word that society and professional communities often associate with femaleness."

    Oh, for penetrative sex's sake!

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I've read fan fiction that wasn't half that ridiculous. Are we living in a parody of real life now?

  • Bearded Spock||

    Morpheus must have uploaded dome malware into the Matrix; it causes the program to spit out situations so ridiculous people will start to question reality.

  • Bearded Spock||

    *some

  • Conchfritters||

    It's front holes all the way down.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Tony and PB are back holes.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its like throwing hot dogs down hallways, by now.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Their back holes are like black holes.

  • Rich||

    With all due respect, shouldn't it be "Middle Hole"?

  • Shirley Knott||

    There you go, paying attention to biology again, as if that mattered in the face of 'muh feelingz.'

  • perlchpr||

    Enh, too long. I'm just gonna stick with "cunt". It's short and to the point.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Just Say'n||

    Sounds like an article that Nick Sarwark would promote

  • perlchpr||

    "Next up, reclaiming the terms 'rape' and 'murder'!"

  • Bearded Spock||

    "The term 'genocide' doesn't always mean something bad happened"

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Perhaps they should examine how it got into that category in the first place.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Chesterton's fence is a horrible barrier to progress, and that asshole should know better than to leave things lying in the way when people are trying to get somewhere!

  • Just Say'n||

    Chesterton: Perhaps we should consider why this fence is here in the first place

    Leftist: That fence is a Nazi. It's only there as a barrier against the people

    Chesterton: Wha....the fence is a Nazi?

    Leftist: Are you sympathizing with that fence's genocide?

    Chesterton: I'm just...I don't...we're talking about the same fence?

    Leftist: Kill this fat Nazi!

  • perlchpr||

    I laughed. Thanks. :D

  • ||

    Elizabeth Breunig.

    Lol.

  • Just Say'n||

    The WaPo's token Catholic who just so happens to ignore the Church's teaching against socialism.

  • Shirley Knott||

    She's in good company. The missionaries and officials of the church did a great deal to move socialism forward in Central and South America, notably from the 50s thru the 80s.

  • Shirley Knott||

    She's in good company. The missionaries and officials of the church did a great deal to move socialism forward in Central and South America, notably from the 50s thru the 80s.

  • Shirley Knott||

    GD squirrels.

  • Just Say'n||

    This is what happens when you blaspheme

  • Shirley Knott||

    I usually blaspheme with intent. What did I say that was blasphemous?

  • Just Say'n||

    It's a joke.

    Although, suggesting that missionaries in South America led to socialist movements is not really a strong argument. The only example of a socialist movement that was tied with the Church, that I can think of, was the Montenaros in Argentina who were left-Peronists and were closely associated with some elements of the clergy

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Nastya Rybka," the Belarusian "seduction coach" who claims to have proof of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, pleaded not guilty to prostitution charges in Thailand...

    That's Gospozha Rybka if you're Nastya.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Pretty much gives away the plot that #MeToo is basically an anti-male movement. It's too bad, because Hollywood is a legitimate social cesspit that attracts the worst sort of amoral, hypocritical scum, who use their power to prey on the vulnerable.

    I keep saying that if the Republicans really wanted to stick it to the liberal entertainment industry, they'd pass a 95% surtax on all income in the mass media complex above $1 million, and a 95% tariff on all movies and music filmed, recorded, and distributed outside the United States. If they try to get around this by relocating their HQs to other countries, then its a 95% tariff to distribute their product in the United States.

    This is a multi-billion dollar industry, so we'd probably even be able to balance the budget!

  • Cathy L||

    I keep saying that if the Republicans really wanted to stick it to the liberal entertainment industry, they'd pass a 95% surtax on all income in the mass media complex above $1 million, and a 95% tariff on all movies and music filmed, recorded, and distributed outside the United States. If they try to get around this by relocating their HQs to other countries, then its a 95% tariff to distribute their product in the United States.

    This is a multi-billion dollar industry, so we'd probably even be able to balance the budget!

    And you are posting about this idea on a libertarian message board because...right.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Same reason that you're on here Cathy L. What he posted was not very Libertarian but funny. You post anti-American and anti-Libertarian things ALL THE TIME.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Save the passive-aggressive poasting for the kindergarten classes you like to troll for dates.

  • Rich||

    Junior Ian Goodson said he came out after he heard the statue fell because he wanted to see history. "It's a significant event for UNC," he said.

    "Also, it's fun getting drunk with a bunch of statue kickers!"

  • Cyto||

    I am a UNC alum.

    Silent Sam was a fixture on campus. The story of Silent Sam that was shared with all incoming freshmen was that his gun fired every time a virgin walked by.

    My (African-American) ex-wife and I met as students at UNC. We made out in the space behind Silent Sam. Frequently. And under the Davie Poplar tree. Now both are gone. I suppose that means that the bell tower, football stadium and the study carrels at the library are in trouble too....

    When I was in school we protested apartheid by building a shanty town on the lawn. My elders laughed at us because they protested the Vietnam War! And we just protested state-sponsored racial segregation. Now the kids are protesting a statue that honors the fallen dead alumni of the school. Part of the message of the statue is that they will never fire their gun - the statue has no cartridge box on his belt, so he cannot fire the weapon. It is a part of a series of anti-war memorials created in the north and displayed across the south.

    In short.... these kids don't really understand what they are protesting.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""In short.... these kids don't really understand what they are protesting"'

    That to understand requires an open mind.

  • Cathy L||

    Now the kids are protesting a statue that honors the fallen dead alumni of the school.

    "The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South – When "the bottom rail was on top" all over the Southern states, and to-day, as a consequence the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States – Praise God.
    I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head."

  • Just Say'n||

    We should review the commemoration speeches for all statues and then empower mobs to do as they like, rather than relying on the normal and civilized course of action. This is the fake liberal way

  • Just Say'n||

    Woe to those who praise the iconoclasts

  • Shirley Knott||

    Well, it's certainly the democratic way.
    Majority rule and all that.

  • Just Say'n||

    Mobs frequently represent the will of the majority and not just the vocal and radical fringe.

  • Cathy L||

    We should review the commemoration speeches for all statues and then empower mobs to do as they like,

    Or you could just not talk bullshit about what statues are memorializing and what "kids don't really understand."

  • Cyto||

    I've seen that referenced. Interestingly, Carrboro is named after that dude. When I lived in Carrboro it was mostly black and mostly poor. I have no idea why that dude was chosen to give a speech or what he had to do with it beyond that. But the statue itself was paid for and commissioned by the mothers and friends of the students who died in service of their state.

    The statue clearly depicts the state (personified as a woman) calling them to arms and the student laying down his books to answer the call. The statue is also explicitly "silent", as in "this gun will not be fired" - not quite the same form as the anti-war message you get at the Vietnam war memorial, but still a pretty explicit anti-war message. The artist did a whole series in the same style.

  • Cyto||

    I have no doubt that racist polemics were commonplace in the reconstruction and post reconstruction era.

    But you generally don't put up an anti-war statue that says "hey, look at how our sons were killed" when you want to subjugate or cow another race. You might put up a heroic statue of a general on horseback defiantly brandishing his sword... or put the heroes of the Confederacy on the worlds largest rock (Stone Mountain).... But putting a bunch of names on an obelisk or putting up an anti-war memorial to the fallen sons is a little oblique to be a defiant message of oppression. It is more of a warning to future generation to avoid the mistakes of the past.

    Still, if you wanna be outraged because some dude said something offensive at the time, so be it. That guy seems like a grade-a psycho no matter what time period you place him in. If they had placed a statue of that idiot, I'd have helped pull it down.

    Heck, now that I know who Carrboro is named after, I'd be all-in on renaming the town.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But as the founders of Backpage.com, Larkin and Lacey have been cast as complicit in an array of alleged evils.

    Mother-effers were probably letting plastic straws get trafficked all over their site.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Get thee woke Amazon!

  • Conchfritters||

    Where can I find a Belarusian "seduction coach"? Asking for a friend...

  • Shirley Knott||

    In a Thai jail, apparently.

  • Ska||

    There has to be an easier way....

  • Bearded Spock||

    I imagine there are many, many other things one can find in a Thai jail.

    The term itself implies a Farmer's Market of illicit debauchery.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Backpage?

  • Rich||

    Internet monitoring site?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Gymnastics practice?

  • Dillinger||

    WTA has a couple

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Belorussia?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Now, both men are tethered to Maricopa County by court order and ankle monitor as they await a trial that the feds say they need until 2020 to prepare for.

    "I spent two years in Maricopa County one pre-trial detainment."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The story of how Lacey and Larkin ended up here is better understood as one of political retribution meeting moral panic, greed, and good old-fashioned authoritarianism.

    Thank God we have judges as a check on this sort of thing.

  • Cyto||

    I don't think I would bury Kamala Harris down in the depths of the article about Backpage. She tried to make her name by prosecuting them. And lost. And then went back and did it again.

    She's the center of the "persecute backpage.com for trafficking" storm.

  • Conchfritters||

    "Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials, who will account for a 31.5 percent share," according to a new analysis.

    I predict good things from Generation Z. The shittiness seems to skip a generation - sorry Millennials.

  • John||

    You never know, but generation retard is certainly a low bar for them to clear.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Consider that Gen Z has never really known what a pre-Twitter world looks like.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You mean there was a time when the facts had to trickle in and were not instantly global in 280 characters or less?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Here we go again. Eveyone realizes "generations" are totally made up, arbitrary categorizations of diverse individuals, right? The only purpose of "generations" is to serve as something for the media to project their random thought onto.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    One thing Gen X is famous for is protesting the Vietnam War and being a bunch of Hippies.

  • Mike Laursen||

    No, worse. Gen X were envious that their older siblings got to protest the Vietnam War and be a bunch of filthy Hippies. So, they had to invent Punk Rock to feel good about themselves.

    (See, total projection on my part.)

  • lap83||

    Didn't boomers invent punk? I know my mom is a boomer and she was a bit young to have been a hippie although she remembers them. Think Don Draper's daughter from Mad Men

  • Mike Laursen||

    Kinda my point about the generations being a totally arbitary thing, but you could lump a lot of the people who invented punk at the tail end of the Baby Boomers or the leading edge of Gen X. It's all a bunch of arbitrary baloney, anyway.

    And, of course, if you really look into it the people involved in creating punk were of a wide range of ages, and it can be argued that several early 1960's bands were "punk".

  • Mike Laursen||

    And I AM basically Don Draper's daughter from Mad Men. Well, except for you, know, that I was a boy and my dad was a gardener, but same age.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If they side with the government, they are the government.

    Alternative Start-Ups Cut Off from Financial Services in Overnight Political Purge by Stripe
    Two alternative crowdfunding sites and one YouTube alternative start-up were effectively shuttered over the weekend by Stripe, a payment processing company. Freestartr, a free speech answer to Patreon, where conservatives like Laura Southern have been discriminated against; Bitchute, a YouTube alternative that grew to popularity after YouTube deleted or demonetized conservative channels; and MakerSupport, a fundraising platform also in competition with Patreon, were all affected. All of these platforms are very clear about staying neutral and allowing all speech on their platforms regardless of politics. The MakerSupport website reads, "MakerSupport is a platform for creators, by creators. Finally, crowdfunding is simple! We believe that creators of all stripes should be able to earn a living doing what they love." Each alternative site is dedicated to providing space for anyone.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    "This canceling of our business was done for political reasons by Edwin Wee, a Democratic political operative turned Stripe employee, and it exposes the libertarian lie that one can simply just go and create a competitor if one dislikes Silicon Valley ventures," said Charles C. Johnson, CEO of Freestartr. "You can't. We need to get over that canard."

  • Cyto||

    Look, if you don't like it, just go out and create your own banking system....

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Look, if you don't like it, just print your own currency.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Why, so the left can just claim that "you didn't build that!"

  • Shirley Knott||

    Someone should point out that no one promised 'simple.'
    There are always ways and means, even if one must first launch a payment processor before launching the business they intended to start. Or the business fails on or before launch. Sorry, cupcakes, but that's true for most start-ups.
    Nobody is promised anything but protection from force and fraud.*
    No company is required to do business with anyone, and vice versa.
    Even when it is, when compared to some sketchy fantasy, sub-optimal, it's the best we can get.

    *terms and conditions apply, not valid in all jurisdictions, warranty void if tampered with, tag not to be removed under penalty of law, etc.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    even if one must first launch a payment processor

    Then run into 'regulations' to 'protect' people from the unscrupulous, which protect existing entities from competition. Eventually, you get into a "start your own" where you have to jump through government hoops to do so.

    The government is too big and everything is too regulated for anyone to say the government is uninvolved in this.

  • perlchpr||

    I absolutely agree. If the goverment is going to grant someone a legal monopoly, they really do need to require it to serve everyone.

  • Cyto||

    And lest we forget... all this "unbanking" of unpopular businesses started with the Obama Administration and Operation Choke Point.

    And it is of a kind with the "de-platforming' we see now in the internet world.

    This isn't just "the free market". This started with the government and a political ideology.

  • John||

    This isn't just "the free market". This started with the government and a political ideology.

    Bingo. It is corporate fascism.

  • Just Say'n||

    Operation Choke Point is my favorite

    Want to venture a guess at what Senator was the lone opposition to this?

    Want to venture a guess at what Senator was a fan of this program?

  • Juice||

    Want to venture a guess at what Senator was the lone opposition to this?

    If it's not Rand Paul I'd be disappointed.

    Want to venture a guess at what Senator was a fan of this program?

    Most of them? But Biden would be the most strident supporter.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Oh, I agree that's the big problem.
    I am not willing to hear 'libertarian lie' trotted out in what will undoubtedly turn into strident calls for more regulation, more oversight, more government.
    As presented, the lie is about libertarianism, not about "go out and start your own."
    The young entrepreneurs I've worked with are all very clear on where the impedances arise. More people should try launching a business and experience the red tape first-hand. It's a learning experience for most.

  • perlchpr||

    I am not willing to hear 'libertarian lie' trotted out in what will undoubtedly turn into strident calls for more regulation, more oversight, more government.

    Yeah, I want to respond to that guy, "What part of the current banking system is it that you would characterize as 'libertarian'?"

  • Just Say'n||

    The Chinese Cultural Revolution this time around is profoundly dumber than the last time

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But do we really want Congress to take the reins on spurring local reforms? Some market urbanism advocates are suggesting so.

    Congress can only eff it all the way up.

  • Bearded Spock||

    But it will be uniformly effed up across the US, so there's that.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    EU Commission Moving Forward With Legislation Demanding One Hour Removal Of 'Terrorist Content' https://t.co/Nv9Fu5XBNa
    — WILL INVESTIGATE FOR FOOD #GODBLESS (@TimCushing) August 21, 2018

    Hopefully the identification of said content as terrorist is equally as knee jerk.

  • Rich||

    Miami Herald endorses House candidate who claims aliens took her aboard a spaceship

    "I went in. There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship — not like airplanes," Rodriguez said in the interview. She said she was visited by three large, blonde beings.

    The newspaper's editorial board acknowledged in its endorsement that Rodriguez Aguilera "is an unusual candidate," but agreed with her assessment that her past comments about aliens aren't an issue in the race.

    Unlike past comments about, say, front holes.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Bill Weld has found his 2020 running mate.

  • Cyto||

    1997 was a long time ago.

    I have to remind myself of that. Because it doesn't seem that long to me. Back in 1997 there was a lot of discussion about how the internet was going to work. The hard left was the center of "leave it alone". Not for business reasons, but for reasons of free speech.

    The right - the moral majority right, not the fiscal conservative right - wanted to regulate and hold companies accountable. The very existence of comments sections was in doubt.

    Every board that allowed user content was full of racist trolls and shocking sexual images (for those too young, "rickrolling" was what the tame folks did. Most places you'd get goatsexed or tubgirled.

    People wanted to sue the website if a user defamed them. Over the next few years a compromise was worked out. Web sites don't control user content, and they are not liable for that content.

    Now the left has swung around 180 degrees. They want newspaper publishers to go to jail if a call girl advertises in the classifieds. And they want social media providers to block "offensive" content.

    I really wish they could go back to the beginning and listen to themselves. They are worse than their farthest-flung fantasies of what the right wing politicians would do to free speech.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The left speaks for the 99%. If they can speak then the people can be heard.

    The left represents the 99%, whether the 99% like it or not. If they have power then the people are represented.

    Only they can speak, only they can have power - that's real democracy.

  • Just Say'n||

    It's amazing how they speak for the 99% and then garner only half the votes in the country or less

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The 99% are too racist and stupid to recognize who is really looking out for them. Better leave them out of deciding who represents them. The people best qualified to represent them are also best qualified to decide who is qualified to represent them.

  • Rich||

    they want social media providers to block "offensive" content

    like Cyto's moaning about how they want social media providers to block "offensive" content.

  • Cyto||

    Sorry, that's confusing to me. What's the objection?

  • Ron||

    The right - the moral majority right, not the fiscal conservative right - wanted to regulate and hold companies accountable. The very existence of comments sections was in doubt."

    Please provide citation. As I recall it was Al Gore calling for censoring all things on the net and the left stood along with him on that issue. while it was Reagan even earlier who said let the net be what it is and don't tax it.

  • Cyto||

    Reagan? WTF? Reagan was out of office for at least 8 years before there was a consumer level internet available.

    The debate didn't really become a debate until the late 90's. Before then "online" was in the semi-walled garden of AOL, Prodigy or Compuserve. Only academics were on the internet proper at the beginning.

    Then people began moving away from AOL's curated version of the internet... and even away from Yahoo's hand-selected lists. At the same time, blogs and user comment sections became popular. In the AOL world, comments had moderators who would approve comments or ban people. Some places still do it that way.
    Slashdot was one of the first to deal with the problem of spam comments, trolling and off topic rants by introducing a system of meta-moderation - where users grade other user's moderation efforts.

    There were plenty of censors running around heading out of the dotcom boom. But the biggest voices for a complete hands off approach were coming from the academics who were used to being able to invent new protocols and transport layers and just put them up on the internet. They didn't want any interference. And they certainly didn't want any censorship. Most of them came from a left point of view. But there were plenty of voices in business coming at the same conclusion from the right. Still, I'm making a point about the shocking about face on the part of the left, so that's what I chose to highlight.

  • Happy Chandler||

    That's exactly the opposite of what happened.
    Previous law was that you couldn't moderate comments or you were liable for them. See Stratton Oamont v. Prodigy. Odd fact: The defamation that Stratton Oakmont (the company from Wolf of Wall Street) claimed was actually true.

    The law passed said that no digital provider was a publisher of user-generated content. Period. Specifically to allow content monitoring. It's a simple concept: If you don't write the words, you're not responsible. See Blumenthal v. AOL. Also, just yesterday, the lawsuit that got the furthest, suing under California law and not being immediately dismissed, was shitcanned on appeal.
    http://www.techdirt.com/articl.....form.shtml

  • Cyto||

    Thanks for the clarification. Since I was all over that debate at the time, I've apparently conflated multiple threads into one thing.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Protesters at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill last night toppled a Confederate statue known as "Silent Sam."

    I'm old enough to remember when iconoclasm and mob rule were bad things that traditional liberals opposed. I also remember when writers here hilariously suggested that toppling confederate statues mourning the war dead is totally different from Robert E. Lee statues and that's different.

    Looking forward to the woke apologia of this illiberal action this afternoon!

  • Just Say'n||

    "Nastya Rybka," the Belarusian "seduction coach" who claims to have proof of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, pleaded not guilty to prostitution charges in Thailand, where she's been detained since February. Rybka recently told the Associated Press that she had given her audio and video to Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch and former Paul Manafort business associate with whom she had a brief relationship. "He promised me a little something already," she said. "If he do that then there will be no problem, but if he don't..."

    LOL- you pushed a crazy conspiracy theory with no basis and fact and you just can't let it go.

  • Sevo||

    Looks like the Ozzies would prefer lower electrical rates to feel-good posturing:

    "Australian prime minister drops bid to limit emissions"
    [...]
    "Some lawmakers including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott argue the government should be focusing on cutting electricity prices instead of cutting emissions."
    https://www.sfgate.com/world/
    article/Australian-prime-minister-
    drops-bid-to-limit-13169275.php

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anybody else catch the last episode of Preacher?

    SPOILER ALERT!

    Just after Jesse's granulated soul finally fell out of the Pope's butt-hole, and the Preacher started strangling Herr Starr with the Pope's entrails to keep him from getting the vial, it struck me that we're in a weird world as far as free speech on television is concerned.

    You can put practically anything on television these days. Last season, there was a string of episodes that treated Hitler sympathetically. Poor guy was just terribly misunderstood--and the victim of bullying!

    You can't criticize gays, blacks, or Mexicans, I guess. Other than that, it's pretty much a free for all.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Here's the scene:

    TOTALLY NSF-fucking-W!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gvz3gH3EVfo

    Yes, that is the Pope's butt-hole. Jesse exploded in the scene immediately prior.

    Playing "Joy to the World" was a stroke of genius.

  • Just Say'n||

    anti-Catholic bias has long been observed as the last acceptable bigotry

  • Cyto||

    A lot has changed.

    I've been trying to share some old movies that I enjoyed as a kid with my children. Movies from the 70's and 80's had a lot more profanity than they do now. PG movies from back then would have prolific swearing - profanity like you don't often see in R rated movies today.

    But that's not all that has changed. Nudity was kinda perfunctory. Most mainstream movies had boobs at some point. You almost never see boobs in movies anymore. But they are all over TV dramas.... where they never existed.

    All of that is odd, and really apparent if you try to translate yesterday's stuff to today.

    And the humor... .hoo-boy. Yeah, there's lots of stuff you just can't say any more. Lots of racial stuff. Lots of gay jokes that just wouldn't fly today.

    And the violence today is orders of magnitude bigger than it was back then. But it is somehow less personal. More cartoonish, I suppose.

    I remembered "the Goonies" as a popular kiddie movie, so I tried to put it on for my little ones. Ooops! Every other word was a curse word. We didn't make it 3 minutes. It was a little after my time, so I didn't really have a specific recollection of the movie.

    But yeah. Things have really, really changed. Game of Thrones would have been a hard X back then. And most PG-13 and some R stuff would have been G or PG.

  • perlchpr||

    Yeah, I watched "16 Candles" again a couple years ago, and was shocked at how poorly the "hey, my girlfriend is blackout drunk and has been annoying me, wanna fuck her?" subplot has aged in my own reckoning of "what's acceptable".

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    No more yanky my wanky.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Long Duck Dong

    *Booonnnnggggg*

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    You almost never see boobs in movies anymore.

    Why bother when they're a staple of premium cable channels? Playboy used to be the go-to source for boobies, but the internet's killed their business model.

    Your point about how perspectives have changed is noted, though. I was watching Austin Powers 2 the other day, and there's no way in hell Myers would get away today with a lot of the jokes and content he put in there.

  • John||

    http://www.blackenterprise.com.....-400-year/

    The number of black owned businesses jumped 400% from 2017 to 2018. Trump is the worst racist President ever. Look how black people are suffering under his rule. They are having to start their own businesses because they can't get a job.

  • perlchpr||

    They are having to start their own businesses because they can't get a job.

    Hahahahahah, it's true. I've said it before, if Trump walked across the Potomac, the next day's WaPo headline would be "Trump Can't Swim".

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Uh-oh, Manafort jury is deadlocked on at least one count.

    POLITICO
    ‏Verified account @politico
    8m8 minutes ago
    BREAKING: Jurors on Tuesday indicated that they're struggling to reach a unanimous verdict on at least one or more counts against Paul Manafort in his bank-and tax-fraud trial

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Funny how at least one of the jurors is voting Not Guilty (for whatever reason) and the other jurors refuse to vote Not Guilty even though there is Reasonable Doubt of at least one of the jurors.

    There is literally reasonable doubt that Manafort committed the crimes and all the other jurors refuse to acknowledge reasonable doubt in this case.

    I see the comments of Lefty website lit up with even more conspiracy theories. [Threatened jurors for Not Guilty] [paid off juror for Not Guilty] [Russians!!!]

    Not a single Lefty acknowledges that jurors might be [threatened to find Manafort Guilty or else].

    Lefties hate America and its system of checks and balances, like Jury Trials and Reasonable Doubt.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Which is obvious by their "Lock him up" chants. They are not shouting "bring him to trial". They just want to go straight to the punishment phase.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They could give two shits about Manafort. This trial is an excuse against Trump even though everything Manafort is accused of, happened while Obama was President.

  • Agammamon||

    Funny how at least one of the jurors is voting Not Guilty (for whatever reason) and the other jurors refuse to vote Not Guilty even though there is Reasonable Doubt of at least one of the jurors.

    Yeah, 'cause if one juror votes 'not guilty' then all jurors should vote not guilty.

    But you know what is funny? You're assumption that the guy voting 'not guilty' is doing so because he doesn't find the evidence persuasive yet the ones voting 'guilty' are doing so because fuck Trump.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It will be interesting to see the spin if he's guilty on some, but not all.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Lefties are already shifting into that spin mode.

    The Media is reporting that its Guilty on all counts but one when that is not what the jury said in the note to the court.

    Not a single Lefty is admitting that Trump will pardon Manafort the second he may be convicted. They really think he is going to jail for life.

  • Agammamon||

    They're going to twist themselves into knots trying to justify it - same as everyone does when the government inevitably fucks a case up and someone is in the jury stand facing nothing but a 'lying to the FBI' charge - or is in the dock for charges completely unrelated to the offense they were originally nicked for. There was a military lawyer that got picked up on charges of passing information illegally between his client in Gitmo and people outside. 2 years later he's in a court-martial for *adultery* charges - everything else in the case having collapsed for lack of evidence but the adultery being discovered in the course of the investigation and that's all we have left . . .

  • Agammamon||

    Fake News, of which there is soooo much (this time the very tired New Yorker) falsely reported that I was going to take the extraordinary step of denying Intelligence Briefings to President Obama. Never discussed or thought of!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2018

    I need some context here - since there's no link. Why would *Mr.* Obama still be getting intelligence briefings?

  • Cyto||

    It was reported last week that all former high ranking officials get weekly intelligence briefings.

    Must be one of the perks. With that access you can run around selling consulting services to big companies and foreign governments for very large dollar amounts.

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