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The US Politics/Elections Thread 2.0


downzy

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11 minutes ago, SoulMonster said:

They still have the right to believe and say what they like. But they can't expect to be allowed to say whatever they like everywhere. Freedom to speech has never been total in that sense. And as a private company, Twitter is free to kick out anyone they want. Don't confuse this with their freedom to speech being violated. 

Also, do not forget, "Freedom of Speech" only goes so far.  For example, yelling "Fire" in a crowded movie theater (when there is no fire)  will still get you arrested.  Inciting a riot or inciting an all out rebellion are likely not protected under "Freedom of Speech".

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8 minutes ago, SoulMonster said:

They still have the right to believe and say what they like. But they can't expect to be allowed to say whatever they like everywhere. Freedom to speech has never been total in that sense. And as a private company, Twitter is free to kick out anyone they want. Don't confuse this with their freedom to speech being violated. 

I get those aspects and again, I completely disagree with many things the right has said. I'm just a little cautious about how the last week has gone is all. 

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48 minutes ago, SoulMonster said:

They still have the right to believe and say what they like. But they can't expect to be allowed to say whatever they like everywhere. Freedom to speech has never been total in that sense. And as a private company, Twitter is free to kick out anyone they want. Don't confuse this with their freedom to speech being violated. 

That is the libertarian argument. But I'm not a libertarian. My belief is that when a business gets as big as some of these tech companies, they no longer get to do whatever they please and they have some accountability to the public trust. After all, they never would have gotten as big as they did if the government hadn't made certain investments and inventions along the way. They are essentially the public square, so I'm totally for them being regulated as such. 

Think about this, where does the libertarian argument end. If you have politics that businesses don't like, can you be banned from air bnb, how about uber, how about being banned from the banking system, hell let's go all the way to a local grocery store refusing to sell to a guy. After all, they're private businesses!

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1 hour ago, RussTCB said:

I get those aspects and again, I completely disagree with many things the right has said. I'm just a little cautious about how the last week has gone is all. 

Think of Amazon as Invision and Parler as MyGNRforum.

Imagine if we allowed people to post violent threats towards other members or members of the public.  The software we license from Invision and the hosting services they provide require some form of moderation.  It is part of the terms and conditions for both software licensing and hosting services.  If we fail to provide such sufficient moderation, we would be in violation of Invision's terms and would be in breach of the contract we signed for their services.  They would be well within their rights to pull us off their servers and deny us access to their forum software.

With one notable exception, Parler and AWS isn't much different.  The exception being that Parler obviously wrote and own their own software.  But they still relied on Amazon to host their services.  They signed contracts with Amazon to provide basic moderation of their content, as required in Amazon's terms and services.  Amazon notified Parler on numerous occasions that it was in violation of its terms.  Parler chose to ignore those warnings and continue to operate as if the terms they previously agreed to didn't exist and no longer applied. 

The exact same thing happened with Subs when he owned this site with respect to Google Adsense and its policies around nudity and violent content.  He ignored all the warnings and eventually had the site's Adsense account suspended.  Can you really blame Google in that instance?  Similarly, is it Amazon's fault that Parler chose to ignore the terms it agreed to when it signed up to have AWS host its platform?

I would recommend reading this summary of Amazon's response to Parler's legal filing against AWS for breach of contract:

 

Keep in mind there is nothing preventing Parler from using another hosting service.  Or even yet, it could create its own hosting service.  Similarly, we could very well transition from Invision's hosting services to a third party or even our own if we wanted to.  It would be a pain in the ass but it's still an option if we needed to do it.  There's nothing preventing this forum from existing and operating as we see fit if we hosted ourselves.  That option is available to Parler.  

Anyway, just wanted to illustrate that "big tech" isn't preventing Parler or other conservative platforms from operating in the abstract.  They're just denying them from using their services.  AWS hosts 32 percent of all internet traffic (including this site).  They're big, but they're not a monopoly.  

 

22 minutes ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

It's that high? :lol:

50 percent of Republicans approved of Nixon's job performance the day he resigned.

Tribalism.  

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Could have posted this is several other threads, but considering the political tie-in to Kris Kristofferson calling out Toby Keith (who was just awarded the National Medal of Arts), figured this thread was appropriate  

 

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2 hours ago, RussTCB said:

I get those aspects and again, I completely disagree with many things the right has said. I'm just a little cautious about how the last week has gone is all. 

We definitely have a problem if some groups are excluded from all major platforms of expression. That would lead to a society where some voices are silenced, and in democracies it is better to engage than to silence. We meet disagreements with arguments, not with exclusion.

BUT, I don't think that is what is happening here. Trump isn't being de-platformed because he holds a specific political ideology, I believe, but because he keeps spreading dangerous misinformation. Parler isn't running into problems because they are a right-leaning platform, but because they fail to moderate blatantly dangerous messages. So it isn't a left vs right situation, but companies deciding they don't want people expressing encouragement to violence n their platforms. 

This is not the "radical left" cancelling "the right", but Trump being kicked off because he spreads dangerous conspiracy theories and a social network running into problems because they suck at moderation. If Parler had only moderated better, there would be a dedicated platform for right-leaning discussions. If it their own fault for failing to keep their house clean. And they are free to start up a more well-moderated platform, or even make their own where they make the rules (within law).

Still, it would be a huge problem if the large platforms decided to censor all expressions they disagreed with, like anyone posting conservative content. Not because it wouldn't be their right to moderate their platforms however they wanted, but because it would result in a society where we would all sit in our respective echo chambers and never be challenged on our opinions. But again, as far as I know, all the major social platforms still allow all expressions that aren't urging for violence and law-breaking, and then I can't see any sides being cancelled. You can still post conservative posts on Twitter. 

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1 hour ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

That is the libertarian argument. But I'm not a libertarian. My belief is that when a business gets as big as some of these tech companies, they no longer get to do whatever they please and they have some accountability to the public trust.

Sure, but then you need to together laws that curb what such large, powerful platforms can do and not do. And there doesn't seem to be political will for that in USA.

As of right now, Twitter, Facebook, et al, are companies who only have accountability to their owners , as long as they operate under US law. This idea of having a social accountability will only work when put into law. Until then it becomes nothing but a hope and a dream.

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The idea that conservatives are being "silenced" on any platform is ludicrous.  

  • Fox News is the largest cable news network in North America
  • The fastest growing cable news networks are both conservative (Newsmax and OAN)
  • The most popular pages and most engagements on Facebook are conservative commentators.  Yesterday, 8 out of 10 of the top performing link posts in the US on Facebook are to conservative news sources (this doesn't change very much):
  • In radio, conservative programming doesn't just dominate, it's almost monolithic.  In reach, scope, quantity, and quality, right wing radio dominates the terrestrial air waves.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

My belief is that when a business gets as big as some of these tech companies, they no longer get to do whatever they please and they have some accountability to the public trust.

I don't disagree with that sentiment.  

 

2 hours ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

After all, they never would have gotten as big as they did if the government hadn't made certain investments and inventions along the way. They are essentially the public square, so I'm totally for them being regulated as such. 

But is Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon so monolithic that their current operations deny or prevent people from starting their own sections of the public square?  As I mentioned earlier, AWS accounts for 32 percent of all internet traffic, at least I believe in North America.  That's a lot, but is it monolithic?  In Parler's legal filing, they accused Amazon of cutting off service to give their competition (Twitter) an advantage.  But as Amazon pointed out, they don't host Twitter.  

I think the problem here is that people conflate social media platforms as the Internet.  They're not.  They're mature businesses that in some respects have achieved critical mass, but they have not become so dominant that it makes it impossible for others to create their own space.  The one exception I would agree with is Google, who has become dominant in search that it makes it difficult for others to offer a competing service.  I think Google is a good example of what you're talking about and deserves to be either broken up or regulated in a way that ensures equal access to everyone. 

2 hours ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

If you have politics that businesses don't like, can you be banned from air bnb, how about uber, how about being banned from the banking system, hell let's go all the way to a local grocery store refusing to sell to a guy. After all, they're private businesses!

Again, I think you're conflating someone's political beliefs with criminal behaviour.  Should a bank still be legally compelled and required to do business with Donald Trump now that he's partly responsible for a violent attack on the Capital building?

People and companies should be allowed to interact and do business with whoever they want.  We do it all the time here.  There is zero fucking chance I would bother owning and running this forum if some of the previously banned people had a legal recourse to remain as active members.  Your politics is very different than mine.  Other than our loathing of Donald Trump, there's not a lot you and I agree with.  But have you ever been suspended for posting your beliefs?  There's a reason you don't have any warning points.  The people who get tossed from here do so not because they hold contrasting view points to mine, but because they can't abide by the rules of the forum.  Having the government regulating me as to who gets to post on this forum is not the answer.  It their words and actions result in being shunned from various businesses, well, that's on them.  

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1 hour ago, SoulMonster said:

Sure, but then you need to together laws that curb what such large, powerful platforms can do and not do. And there doesn't seem to be political will for that in USA.

As of right now, Twitter, Facebook, et al, are companies who only have accountability to their owners , as long as they operate under US law. This idea of having a social accountability will only work when put into law. Until then it becomes nothing but a hope and a dream.

You're right, there need to be laws to regulate these companies, but there's not enough will for it at the current time. But I do see principled leftists who'd love to regulate these companies, and on the right the love for laissez faire economics and libertarianism is starting to break down, so they may be more open to it too. So that will could come over time.

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32 minutes ago, downzy said:

But is Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon so monolithic that their current operations deny or prevent people from starting their own sections of the public square?  As I mentioned earlier, AWS accounts for 32 percent of all internet traffic, at least I believe in North America.  That's a lot, but is it monolithic?  In Parler's legal filing, they accused Amazon of cutting off service to give their competition (Twitter) an advantage.  But as Amazon pointed out, they don't host Twitter.  

I think the problem here is that people conflate social media platforms as the Internet.  They're not.  They're mature businesses that in some respects have achieved critical mass, but they have not become so dominant that it makes it impossible for others to create their own space.  The one exception I would agree with is Google, who has become dominant in search that it makes it difficult for others to offer a competing service.  I think Google is a good example of what you're talking about and deserves to be either broken up or regulated in a way that ensures equal access to everyone. 

Again, I think you're conflating someone's political beliefs with criminal behaviour.  Should a bank still be legally compelled and required to do business with Donald Trump now that he's partly responsible for a violent attack on the Capital building?

People and companies should be allowed to interact and do business with whoever they want.  We do it all the time here.  There is zero fucking chance I would bother owning and running this forum if some of the previously banned people had a legal recourse to remain as active members.  Your politics is very different than mine.  Other than our loathing of Donald Trump, there's not a lot you and I agree with.  But have you ever been suspended for posting your beliefs?  There's a reason you don't have any warning points.  The people who get tossed from here do so not because they hold contrasting view points to mine, but because they can't abide by the rules of the forum.  Having the government regulating me as to who gets to post on this forum is not the answer.  It their words and actions result in being shunned from various businesses, well, that's on them.  

I want to hit on a couple of things. Are the big tech giants completely monothlic, no not completely. But do we really want everyone to segment themselves into their own little corners of the Internet. I think we should be promoting discussion between disparate political factions, not further tribalization.

As far as this forum goes, it wouldn't be big enough to worry about regulations of the ones we are talking about. There would have to be some sort of means test to say, if a company is over a certain size (by whatever metric you want to use) then it falls under government regulations for censorship. If you're under that cap, you can be more liberal with who you want to censor.

And no, I don't think all speech is allowable. We have case law related to the first amendment which spells out what is and isn't protected speech. You can't make direct threats of violence, and I'd never support forcing companies to host people who make those direct threats (or host child porn or something sick like that). But there's a line, where for say, someone says, you know, I think we need less immigration, maybe even a moratorium, That isn't a direct threat of violence or something that goes against 1st amendment case law, that's a political opinion. 

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Politicians need to be held accountable for what they say. Wherever they say it.

If I lie in a court of law, I commit an offense and can be held accountable.

If politicians lie, they should be equally be held accountable.

The problem here is that the things that people in power (be it politicians or otherwise) say and do have more influence than "normal" people, yet some of those people think they can say or do whatever they like, however untrue, without consequences. This is the root cause issue here. These people can perpetuate half truths, lies,  with no evidence, and get people riled up into a fury. That's essentially what Trump has done for weeks. The speech last week was only part of it. Everyone that has pushed the election fraud issue is culpable. There should be consequences. But people in power seem to get away with it.

It's like Brexit. That was sold on lies and deceit, yet the result went the way it went without any consequences to the people that perpetuated those lies. Crazy when you think about it.

There should be extra accountability for people in power. Not the same or less.

If I turn up late to a concert, nobody gives a shit. If Axl Rose turns up late, he is inciting a riot. So accountability relative to position can happen - it just doesn't happen consistently or enough.

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57 minutes ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

But there's a line, where for say, someone says, you know, I think we need less immigration, maybe even a moratorium, That isn't a direct threat of violence or something that goes against 1st amendment case law, that's a political opinion. 

Do you have an example of a social media platform censoring someone because they advocate for less immigration?

Again, what I'm having a hard time understanding is where this concern about big tech censorship is coming from.  I just don't see it.  Facebook is dominated by conservative commentators.  You or anyone else can still post conservative view points on Twitter.  AWS didn't boot Parler off their services because it hosts strong conservative opinions.  In its legal response, it illustrated numerous examples of Parler failing to curb calls for violence against politicians.  This has nothing to do with Parler being a home for conservatism.

What I do see is conservatives pissed off because their ability to perpetuate false information on various social media platforms is being curtailed.  But should social media platforms be legally bound to allow false information to be spread on their networks that could cause harm or perpetuate baseless information?  I see idiots call for the repeal for section 230.  But what do they think would happen?  "Censorship" of this kind would only get worse since platforms would then be liable for falsehoods and salacious information transmitted on their networks.  

1 hour ago, Basic_GnR_Fan said:

There would have to be some sort of means test to say, if a company is over a certain size (by whatever metric you want to use) then it falls under government regulations for censorship

And who gets to decide what is and what isn't censorship?  Is it a panel or tribunal?  Is it one bureaucrat?  Is this person or tribunal politically appointed?  Do owners and corporations lose their 14th amendment rights solely because they reach some arbitrary metric? 

Do you see why this is a problematic proposition at best? 

At worst, it would create a system by which the party in power gets to decide what is and what isn't censorship. 

Forget for the fact that such a system would fail, unequivocally, under any first amendment test - do we really want bureaucrats deciding what people can and cannot say? 

I get the response is, "well, should that power be provided to one tech guy."  Fair enough. 

But there's no constitutional guarantee that what you have to say is protected on social media platforms.  Freedom of speech does not come with an entitlement to whatever platform they choose.  The New York Times is the biggest newspaper and print platform in the US.  Is David Duke entitled to speak his vile filth in the NYT because they are the dominant publisher in print?  Duke is free to say whatever he wants to whoever wants to listen.  But he's not entitled to speak it in the NYT solely because it's the dominant player in print. 

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Biden made an excellent speech yesterday and I really hope he can get those things done.

We need those vaccines to get out quickly to everyone who wants the shot. We're all still waiting here and everywhere else.

Hope we can get those vaccines and try to get most of us protection against this virus.

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I knew there was a silver lining somewhere. The NRA file for banckruptsy 

https://us.cnn.com/2021/01/15/business/nra-bankruptcy-new-york-texas/index.html

See, this is what happens when you donate all your money to the GOP 

:rofl-lol:

I know they're gonna bounce back at some point. I just hope they get better leaders and bit more common sense and  compassion

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2 hours ago, PatrickS77 said:

Yeah. And nevermind that persistent rumours that Melania is looking for divorce, once this is over.

I wouldn’t worry for Donald in the love department. Seems he’s got his next suitor all lined up...

 

 

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Washington DC looks like a ghost town except for the soldiers.

I hope no one does something stupid and we have a blood bath on our hands. All it takes is one person shooting their gun and there you go. 

I can't wait for this week to be over. 

I watched Bill Maher last night. He talked about the woman soldier who got shot and died. He talked about how she was served in the military and came home to start up her own business. It seems she had to take out a small business loan for her business during the covid and her interest rate was 189%. What the fuck? Of course she couldn't pay the loan back and blame the government for it. California is one big mess and they don't seem to give a shit about their citizens. I thought how she figured she might make a difference and get help by showing up to protest, but we know how that went.

So many Americans are hurting now and it doesn't seem to me any of the federal or local governments are helping them out.

What has happened to America? Just too sad and fucked up.

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