Joe Biden Can't Tell The Difference Between The 1st Amendment & Section 230; Still Thinks Video Games Cause Violence

from the okay-boomer dept

Joe Biden is the latest Democratic candidate for President interviewed by the NY Times editorial board, and if you’re interested in tech policy, well, it’s a doozy. Biden seems confused, misinformed, or simply wrong about a lot of issues from free speech to Section 230 to copyright to video games. It’s really bad. We already knew he was on an anti 230 kick when he gave a confused quote on it late last year, but for the NY Times he goes even further:

Charlie Warzel: Sure. Mr. Vice President, in October, your campaign sent a letter to Facebook regarding an ad that falsely claimed that you blackmailed Ukrainian officials to not investigate your son. I?m curious, did that experience, dealing with Facebook and their power, did that change the way that you see the power of tech platforms right now?

No, I?ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I?ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he?s a real problem. I think ??

CW: Can you elaborate?

No, I can. He knows better. And you know, from my perspective, I?ve been in the view that not only should we be worrying about the concentration of power, we should be worried about the lack of privacy and them being exempt, which you?re not exempt. [The Times] can?t write something you know to be false and be exempt from being sued. But he can. The idea that it?s a tech company is that Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms.

CW: That?s a pretty foundational laws of the modern internet.

That?s right. Exactly right. And it should be revoked. It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I?m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It?s irresponsible. It?s totally irresponsible.

There is so much to talk about here. First of all, Biden admits upfront that the reason he thinks CDA 230 should be repealed is because of his personal dislike of Facebook’s founder and CEO. It’s one thing to argue that the platform creates harms and therefore we need a different regulatory approach, but to start out by saying you just don’t like the guy, and use that as the basis for punishing the entire internet is… really something.

Second, Biden seems to be (again) confusing the 1st Amendment with Section 230. It’s not Section 230 that allows people to post false things on Facebook. It’s the 1st Amendment. You know, the thing that Biden is supposed to “protect and defend” if he becomes President.

Third, the comparison with the NY Times is completely offbase. The NY Times is also protected by Section 230 if a third party says something on its platform, they cannot be sued. And, similarly, if Facebook itself said something that violated the law, it can be sued. All 230 does is put the liability in the right place: on the actual speaker. Facebook is not “exempt” from any law. Biden is just wrong.

Fourth, he’s not even talking about reforming 230, he’s talking about revoking it. That’s insane and would lead to crippling litigation and vast silencing of the public. It’s not even in the realm of reasonable discussion.

Fifth, notice at casual he is about lumping in the rest of the internet, just because he dislikes Facebook. Take away 230 for the entire internet, even as it’s what enabled free speech to really flourish on the internet. And, again, it’s amazing how confused he is thinking that 230 is the issue when it’s actually the 1st Amendment.

Sixth, the point about “editors” is also completely nonsensical. Editors have nothing to do with it, unless he’s saying that no one should be allowed to be posted on the internet unless it’s been edited first.

And just to be clear here, a lot of what Biden says in this interview is factually false. Yet, here, he’s arguing that the NY Times should be liable for posting his falsehoods. And Facebook should be liable if people repost them there. And I should be liable because I’m posting his nonsense here. This is not someone who understand even the first thing about Section 230, how the internet works, or free speech online.

He continued with more word salad:

CW: If there?s proven harm that Facebook has done, should someone like Mark Zuckerberg be submitted to criminal penalties, perhaps?

He should be submitted to civil liability and his company to civil liability, just like you would be here at The New York Times. Whether he engaged in something and amounted to collusion that in fact caused harm that would in fact be equal to a criminal offense, that?s a different issue. That?s possible. That?s possible it could happen. Zuckerberg finally took down those ads that Russia was running. All those bots about me. They?re no longer being run. He was getting paid a lot of money to put them up. I learned three things. Number one, Putin doesn?t want me to be president. Number two, Kim Jong-un thinks I should be beaten to death like a rabid dog and three, this president of the United States is spending millions of dollars to try to keep me from being the nominee. I wonder why.

Civil liability for what? What exactly is the legal violation he’s talking about? And notice, again, that he immediately resorts to a personal vendetta and stuff about Russia, ignoring that Facebook has a huge team constantly fighting and trying to take down Russian ads. Yet, Biden falsely states that Facebook was leaving them up to give Zuckerberg money. Does he not know how any of this works?

Of course, then he more or less admits the reason he hates Silicon Valley is because they opposed him on SOPA/PIPA. If you don’t recall, for years, Biden was one of Hollywood’s biggest friends in the Senate. Even once he became VP, he convened a “summit” about copyright in which he only invited maximalists. In the White House, he was the main voice pushing for SOPA/PIPA and apparently got quite upset when Obama eventually came out against the law. Here, he tries to rewrite history, pretending that SOPA/PIPA was just about “protecting” copyright and artists, when it was actually a massive tool for internet censorship — and notice how he calls an internet exec “a little creep.” He goes on to display near total ignorance and direct hatred for Silicon Valley and innovation.

There are places where [President Obama] and I have disagreed. About 30 percent of the time, I was able to convince him to my side of the equation. Seventy percent of the time I wasn?t when we disagreed, when he laid something out. And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America. And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- ? close to a billionaire ? who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people, you know the ??

CW: Like video games.

Yeah, video games. And I was lectured by one of the senior leaders there that by saying if I insisted on what Leahy?d put together and we were, I thought we were going to fully support, that they would blow up the network, figuratively speaking. Have everybody contact. They get out and go out and contact the switchboard, just blow it up.

And then one of these righteous people said to me that, you know, ?We are the economic engine of America. We are the ones.? And fortunately I had done a little homework before I went and I said, you know, I find it fascinating. As I added up the seven outfits, everyone?s there but Microsoft. I said, you have fewer people on your payroll than all the losses that General Motors just faced in the last quarter, of employees. So don?t lecture me about how you?ve created all this employment.

The point is, there?s an arrogance about it, an overwhelming arrogance that we are, we are the ones. We can do what we want to do. I disagree. Every industrial revolution, every major technological breakthrough, every single one. We?re in the fourth one. The hardest speech I?ve ever had to make in my life, I was asked to speak at the World Economic Forum, to give an answer on, to speak to the fourth industrial revolution. Will there be a middle class? It?s not so clear there will be, and I?ve worked on it harder than any speech I?ve ever worked on.

The fact is, in every other revolution that we?ve had technologically, it?s taken somewhere between six years and a generation for a government to come in and level the playing field again. All of a sudden, remember the Luddites smashing the machinery in the Midlands? That was their answer when the culture was changing. Same thing with television. Same thing before that with radio. Same thing, but this is gigantic. And it?s a responsibility of government to make sure it is not abused. Not abused. And so this is one of those areas where I think it?s being abused. For example, the idea that he cooperates with knowing that Russia was engaged in dealing with using the internet, I mean using their platform, to try to undermine American elections. That?s close to criminal.

I can’t even follow half of that word salad. It’s nonsensical word spewing. The fact that the big tech companies don’t employ so many people directly, completely misses the point that was being made: that the internet has enabled so many jobs around the world, not directly at those companies, but enabling so many people to start their own companies and businesses, and to create jobs at other companies because of the internet. Notice that Biden’s world view is totally focused on how many jobs are created by single large companies. That’s completely missing the point.

And that final paragraph is just bizarre. He’s suggesting government has to “level the playing field” with each new technological revolution. But he can’t explain when or how they did that. When or how did they do that with the Luddites? When or how did they do that with TV? When or how did they do that with radio? What is he even talking about?

At the end of this section he also insists that the internet is bad for children:

Well the tech industry, look, not everyone in the tech industry is a bad guy, and I?m not suggesting that. What I?m suggesting is that some of the things that are going on are simply wrong and require government regulation. And it?s happened every single time there?s been a major technological breakthrough in humanities since the 1800s, and this requires it. For example, you have children?

CW: No.

Well, when you do and you?ll watch them on the internet, it gets a little concerning. What in fact they can see and not see, and whether or not what they?re seeing is true or not true. It matters. It matters. It?s like ? well, anyway.

It’s like — well, anyway. Yeah. Look, there is false information on the internet. There is false information elsewhere. Hell, much of this interview with Biden is him spewing false information. Perhaps children shouldn’t be allowed to read it.

Or, perhaps, we teach our children how to be good information citizens, and teach them how to be skeptical and how to do more research. Perhaps, it’s the job of parents and school teachers and other mentors to teach kids how to take in, filter, and understand information. Having politicians who don’t know the first thing about the internet come in and tell them how to run things doesn’t fix any of that. Indeed, it only makes the problem worse, by sweeping reality under the rug.

Not that any of the candidates running for President seem particularly good on tech policy, but Biden’s outright hatred for the internet, and “creeps” in Silicon Valley seems to have completely clouded his thinking.

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Comments on “Joe Biden Can't Tell The Difference Between The 1st Amendment & Section 230; Still Thinks Video Games Cause Violence”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The subtext is amazing.

In the abstract, he’s talking about whatever point someone wants to make, because you can turn this nonsense into anything.

He’s basically as incoherent as the current president. Can you imagine a Trump-Biden debate? 2 hours of your great-uncles who hate each other trying to out ramble the other. Can we get a constitutional amendment that you have to pass a senility test before you can be elected president?

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The subtext is amazing.

"HE KNEW"

Of course he did. It was a deliberate political ploy. Have a dynamic, young, trendy and cool dude be the president, but dig out the mustiest old fossil you can find and force him onto your candidate as a VP in order to assuage the conservatives.

If Bernie ever ends up president he’ll be forced to have a snot-nosed trend-setting yuppie as VP.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The subtext is amazing.

"Did… did you just… compare Biden to Dick Cheney? Yeah i suppose that dude did make Bush look young and… uh… he made him look relatively younger, i guess."

No, i compared Biden to Bush junior earlier in the thread.
A GWB without the baggage of a gaggle of neocons sockpuppeting his every action, that is.

Except that by all accounts Biden is even dumber and more ignorant than GWB. I never thought I’d make that comparison, anywhere, but there you go…

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JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I keep clicking the insightful button, but all it does is toggle on and off instead of adding more. 😉

I’m pretty much an old fogey now myself, but I’m embarrassed at how many people of my generation have turned into senile old coots yelling at kids to get off their lawn. I’d hoped that by now, the worst of the Luddites would be too old to ruin things, but more keep taking their places every year. 🙁

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As medical technology improves, people will be able to remain in power for much longer than before. Sometimes I worry that, if we manage to remove the limits on the human lifespan soon enough, my generation (the millennials) will end up being seen by future generations as just as bad as the baby boom generation is seen by us.

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Zof (profile) says:

Agenda 21 wants video games to go away because:

1) Your number one video game franchise for the past decade has been modern warfare.
2) Gun games keep guns in the national consciousness, and keep the real things around.
3) Gun fans tend to vote a certain way.
4) Guns fans tend to live out in the country.

Agenda 21 doesn’t want you moving out into the country. It wants you moving into the city, so you can fill up all those combination business/apartment abominations they keep building.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sorry dude but I’m going to have take away your tin foil now. You’ve gone a little crazy there.

  1. Actually that’s false, the number one video game franchise for the past decade is NOT "modern warfare" (I think you actually meant "Call of Duty"). In terms of best seller, that would be Grand Theft Auto V. That’s not even the same publisher. If you’re talking all time? That honor remains with the king: Mario. That’s followed distantly by Pokemon, THEN Call of Duty.
  2. Yes, but no. There’s a LOT of OTHER things that keep guns in mind that are a lot more effective than Call of Duty. Movies come to mind as probably near the top of the list, or at least ahead of video games.
  3. Tend to, but not all of them do.
  4. You have no evidence for this and I would be willing to bet money it’s not true. A lot of the people I know who are "gun fans" live smack in the middle of the city.

Finally, Agenda 21 is a piece of paper. It has no wants or will. It’s also a non-binding resolution so countries are free to ignore it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Law enforcement are driving armoured vehicles around in the country.

[Citation needed.]

I don’t see them doing that in the city!

[Citation needed.] Also, just because you don’t see them doing it doesn’t mean they aren’t. Are you saying that major cities don’t have SWAT teams?

Regardless of all that, what do armored vehicles have to do with citizens with guns?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Agenda 21 wants video games to go away because:

BTW: those "abominations" you mention (combined commercial/residential buildings) have been part of North American vernacular architecture for longer than you’ve been alive. (It was quite common to see ground-floor retail with apartment or office spaces above it in new development before the rise of zoning in the 1920s and 1930s, and was further deprecated by the Second Great Suburbanization of the 1950s.)

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teka says:

Re: Re: Agenda 21 wants video games to go away because:

To be fair, some of the "mixed use" developments I have seen built, with a pod-person simulation of a ‘downtown’ on the edge of a monster-size block of apartments, are pretty crap. Not connected to anything, no real foot traffic options, no parking options, all entirely private property (even the roads) so there is ironhard control from the developers forever and no access to public transportation. Very meh.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Agenda 21 wants video games to go away because:

Research from 10 – 20 years ago you can’t find those links any more. Come on, they are shutting down what they don’t want us to know now, thus all the shitstorms aimed at whistleblowers. That fire that people had for posting a lot of relavent facts is but a dying ember in comparison to what it was. It all takes a degree of faith at any rate unless you are staring down the barrel.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Agenda 21 wants video games to go away becau

Well, sadly, by Hitchen’s Razor, I’m gonna have to disregard your claims unless and until you can provide verifiable evidence as support.

I also choose to apply a variant of Hanlon’s Razor to the claim that these old sites are being shut down to silence people rather than no one paying to keep the site up or something.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Agenda 21 wants video games to go aw

Please point to where I attempted to spread disinformation in that comment.

All I said was that Hitchen’s Razor and Hanlon’s Razor support my decision to disregard what you claimed unless and until you can provide some verifiable evidence in support of your claims that don’t equally support a more benign explanation of motive, which you haven’t. In fact, you haven’t provided any evidence for your claims.

What in that is disinformation? I didn’t even claim you were wrong. At most, I said that I have been given no reason to believe your claims, and so I feel no need to presume you’re right or to refute you.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Gun Games

My grandson got some Nerf revolvers for his sixth birthday. To hedge bets I got him a target box and a Nerf long arm so he can learn to target shoot.

It turns out Nerf guns are a pretty good trainer for the real thing: If you load them wrong, they jam. If you don’t mind the action, they misfire. They have rails for sights, but those are only as good as their calibration.

Nerf guns are more like real guns than any of the games that bother, and yet there’s no uproar.

In the meantime, games are becoming less shooty. Oh, the AAA games are stuck in a rut and are mostly vehicles for microtransaction markets (because those allow big companies to suck up revenues without much creative effort) but on the indie side of things, games now implement more aspects of survival, like foraging, eating, keeping warm and avoiding beasties rather than shooting them. Oh, and building shelters. Palaces. Citidels.

And it is curious that few politicos are worried about the whole microtransaction / lootboxes paradigm — being marketed to children, mind you — which has the same effect on humans as gambling and is the cause of frequent incidents of kids emptying their parents’ credit card spending limits into these games.

So I call bullshit. Games are a diversion from real-world violence, or the new Satanic media like rock-&-roll and (for real) romance novels, the next new thing to have a moral panic over. Otherwise we’d here arguments that reflect the statistics (e.g. not many game-associated shootings but a multi-billion-dollar lootbox industry)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You could arguably make the case they don’t even care about their own kids, since Trump’s grandson (and likely the children of all the other politicians) plays all these "violent video games" and he seems to be ok with that.

That said, I’m sure they do care about their kids and other people’s kids, but they are playing the politics game. Video games are the cool thing to blame for problems, but they know if they actually try to pass anything about it, they’ll be crucified because they also know video games don’t cause violence, and at least 50% of the American citizenry (the percentage of people who actually play video games in America) would riot. But it’s an easy cop out to kinda sorta walk the line. Make a bunch of grand exclamations then do nothing about it.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

I generally don’t care which of the current crop of candidates ultimately lands the Democratic nomination. Whoever it is will get my vote in November. But Biden has long been a “hold my nose” vote for me, and this bullshit ain’t doing a damn thing to change that.

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crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Biden may be bad but your chances of getting someone anywhere close to as damaging as trump are negligible.

Biden isn’t a crisis. Biden may be wrong and he may be ignorant, even on many issues, he could cause all sorts of problems, but that is nothing. He will rely on people who have a clue in many cases. Biden is not someone where you will need to eventually admit that it doesn’t even matter if he is Putin’s agent actively sabotaging at every chance he gets or doing it "accidentally". Worst case Biden might be completely under the thumb of corrupt corporate interests but at least those interests wouldn’t be the downfall of the U.S.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’m not so sure about any of that. I can’t stand Trump, he’s a complete moron and an embarrassment to the nation. But between Trump and Biden I might just vote Trump. The devil you know… I don’t trust Biden not to make things dramatically worse. At least Trump is largely ineffective.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"I can’t stand Trump, he’s a complete moron and an embarrassment to the nation. But between Trump and Biden I might just vote Trump."

And that, right there, I can’t even condemn. An honest idiot is worse – by far – than a shady crook.

Trump at least has a sense of self-preservation. Biden would march his nation into oblivion wearing a vaguely goofy grin all the way.

That said Trump is such a smug shit about everything he fucks up I’d still advocate for the independent vote, if what you’re left with is between those two gormless lackwits.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"I’m still afraid Hillary Clinton is going to jump on the stage in her Wonder Woman garb!"

I’m no fan of Hillary either, if for no other reason than that she is the quintessential business-as-usual politician who the democrats tried to nominate solely and exclusively because "Hey, a black president worked, let’s try it with a woman this time".

Which would be fine except that there are plenty of qualified women politicians in the democratic party who aren’t quite so blindly toeing the party line as Hillary and as a result have an actual personality. Why not one of them instead?

The democrats lost because in the end they were all too chickenshit to let Bernie run because god forbid you get a politician who actually cared, and were too timid to dare launch someone who could actually stand out as something other than a "republican light".

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

At least Trump is largely ineffective.

He’s a glove puppet for the Far Right and he’s turned the sane people in the world against America. We think you’re crazy. Ineffective? He’s been very effective at:

  • Pulling America out of the Paris Accord
  • Caging kids – some have died
  • Family separations – kids taken from their parents and adopted out without their consent, then the parents were deported
  • Imposing damaging tariffs on China, hurting US farmers, who are basically receiving welfare
  • Rocketing the deficit
  • Rocketing the national debt
  • Cutting SNAP and other benefits to the poor while providing welfare to the rich via tax cuts
  • Rolling back environmental protection laws
  • Wasting America’s money on a wall that people can either climb, tunnel under, or walk around

Biden is a prat, but he wouldn’t do that!

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Biden is a prat, but he wouldn’t do that!"

Biden is basically GWB sans Cheney, Rummy, and Ashcroft. Trump screws over a thousand small things and undoes good things. To this day his primary concession to his voters is still the complete removal of all trace that there ever was a black US president, save for the pictures.

Biden, otoh, is the one who will manage to do actual harm out of a combination of a burning need to do something and utter ineptitude.

I fear the good-hearted moron given power more than the small-time con man given the same.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

"Trump is not our friend on tech."

Truly not. He’s not our friend, period. He’s not the friend of anybody who can’t impress him with a military parade and a casual "When MY people speak ill of me I can have them fired by a squad of soldiers".

I think the argument was about which choice of plague was least infectious and terminal, however.

You could argue that Trump pollutes twitter.
Biden reads like someone who’d prefer if that new-fangled ee-lek-troniks was put back in the bottle because it’s no good to anybody.

An argument I’m sure he got from his good pals at sony.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Not really. Trump has no idea how the presidency works, he thinks it is like a business where he is the CEO and his demands are are gold. Everything he does gets challenged in court, and usually thrown out. That is why I don’t want him impeached, because Mike Pence would get things done… the wrong things.

Biden at least knows how to play the game, and is obviously ok with supporting the people who give him money. I would rather Trump get nothing done than to have Biden codify laws for industries that would be very difficult to repeal.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Trump has no idea how the presidency works.. but it’s becoming pretty obvious that the presidency is more like driving a car than a computer..
Pretending you know what you are doing when you have no clue is about as far from harmless as you can get. Sure he might not be able to get anything he wants in terms of policy changes, but he also can’t handle anything that is actually important to handle like Iran, North Korea, Russia.. You don’t handle Russia don’t even bother worrying about who you want to vote for next time.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Worst case Biden might be completely under the thumb of corrupt corporate interests but at least those interests wouldn’t be the downfall of the U.S."

I’d have to say that even a candidate blindly devoted to Putin or Xi jin Ping wouldn’t be as bad as an honest absolute idiot.

It’s not in the interest of either China or Russia to see the US take a nosedive. But a big enough undiluted moron could faceplant the US ten feet into the ground before anyone else had the chance to stop him.

Ask the russians about Yeltzin. They’ll be saying "Thank god Putin came along". Even the ones who hate Putin and his authoritarian take on new russia.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"The US could lose the backing of its money. Don’t think you’ll see Russia or China coming to its rescue."

Both China and Russia have emergency plans on how to deal with a collapse of the dollar – which means the collapse of the engine which drives their own economies. That doesn’t mean it’s a preferred choice.

If the US dollar threatens to collapse both China and Russia will be standing in the door with gagging bagfuls of money offering vast loans…because there just isn’t a better lever for future negotiations than knowing you are in the presence of a debtor.

Why do you think China is getting everything it wants in its trade deals despite all the harsh language? It certainly isn’t because the US wants to remain a perpetual whipping boy for East Asia.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

That is WHY so many people voted for Trump. They wanted change, not more of the same. Unfortunately, except for Bernie, that’s all that’s on offer.

This is not to say that Bernie is the best choice, but assume the self-admitted socialist gets in; he then has to implement his policies. Without the weight of Congress behind him he’ll be limited to what he can get done via Executive Orders and believe it or not, you can’t rule by fiat.

The fact that Trump’s Executive Orders are being treated as Holy Writ in some quarters is because people who share his opinions are running the show there.

What I’m saying is, if Bernie gets in, he’s unlikely to be able to fully implement his agenda because checks and balances will get in the way — not every Dem is an all-out left-wing proggie. You might as well vote Blue. Anything is better than Trump.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Some of us wonder if it would be better if Trump wins.

A status-quo Democratic administration will only usher in the next Mussolini wannabe, maybe even give Trump a chance for a comeback. If Trump stays in office, then we know we can only rely on the federal government (including SCOTUS) to run roughshod over the national landscape like Godzilla with Tokyo. Trump is, if anything, our first serious federal penetration tester, and some of the states are scrambling to shore up the damage that an antagonistic administration can wright. The resistance hasn’t disappeared, rather it’s operating at the county and state levels secure in the knowledge that the federal government will only make things worse if it takes notice.

If a non-Trump gets elected, he or she is going to have a huge, perhaps insurmountable agenda in order make the US any resemblance of democratic and stable, from re-balancing the wealth distribution to curbing the police and prison state to addressing our preponderance of toxic waste. Anything short and the precariat will continue to be susceptible to demagogy and will be prone to bring self-serving authoritarians into office again, and fascism and maybe even atrocity will quickly follow.

So we should hope that not only do we elect an ambitiously productive President of the United States, but also we elect in a statistically improbable congress that is aligned to work with the administration towards massive reform. Any less and it’s going to get really messy in 2024 or 2028 when the GOP and the people simultaneously believe the DNC is too weak to resist their neo-feudal agenda.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

They’re not entirely wrong, though. We’ve seen that Trump-style nationalism is enough to not just get him elected, but keep both his voting base and the members of his own party enthralled enough to let him piss all over the Constitution. That Trump is largely “ineffective” (and I’d question that conclusion) as an authoritarian is a stroke of luck. The next man who runs a campaign like Trump’s might be less incompetent — and thus better equipped to truly turn the United States into a fully-fledged authoritarian nightmare.

No easy solution to this problem exists. But a good start would be to vote enough Democrats into the presidency, both chambers of Congress, and as many state legislatures as possible to ensure that they can pass a whole bunch of laws (or even Constitutional amendments) that will reduce the amount of a damage that an authoritarian could do in the future.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Some of us wonder if it would be better if Trump wins.

this Is the age of stupid things being real.

One of the worst things I can say about democrats is they will give Republicans everything they need to work with and gloat about how proud they are about it. They can win so EASILY but it’s things like this that just pulls the last screw that can make a car that takes everyone home cuase doubt.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Blasphemy!

A status-quo Democratic administration will only usher in the next Mussolini wannabe, maybe even give Trump a chance for a comeback.

This might win the award for one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen written on the internet….

Wow, Dark Helmet without additional elaboration, I’d think you were trying to provoke me. Okay, let’s have this conversation. (I mean that literally, and not in a lets go to the beach and slice each other up at sunrise, like a couple of real-life, honest-to-goodness samurai. sort of way.)

What you said can be interpreted in three ways that I see:

~ Taken literally, that I’m on the top ten or even top one-hundred list of stupid things said on the internet. Considering the internet is huge and the competition for stupid is profoundly high, wow, thanks! I’m not sure what counts for a measure of stupid. Absurdity? Extreme candor? Incitement? Veritable evidence to the contrary? We live in the age of anti-vax, flat-earthing and climate denialism, and that’s just in the States. Heck, I bet Trump has said stupider things in his tweets alone. I’m just not that good, and can’t imagine I rank in the top thousand or even ten thousand most stupid on the internet. Still, I appreciate your vote!

~ Extreme, possibly violent abhorrence of the possibility of a second Trump term (either now or later). I agree with this sentiment! I’m surprised the United States has survived this long, though we have walked leagues along the road to ruin. I also suspect / am afraid Trump is a scorched-earth kind of guy. I think he will willfully sabotage the US from the Presidency once he fears his removal from office is near. So the US as we know it still has yet to survive Trump’s first term.

If Trump does get a second term, we definitely risk an increase in probability extreme things start happening (e.g. the nation begins to dissolve or Trump becomes president for life or an ermächtigungsgesetz gets passed through SCOTUS). Also, the world’s collapsing ecology becomes that much more dead. I totally don’t want Trump to have a second term either. Nor do I want another GOP authoritarian — one who knows how to use the intelligence and police states to hunt dissenters — to have a second go after a Democratic administration proves it is either incompetent, toothless or still in the pockets of the oligarchic establishment.

I’ve made my position clear enough, that Trump deserves no less than to have his corpse dragged through the streets of DC under a ticker-tape parade, or to be stabbed in succession by each and every one of his cabinet and principal staffers. I’m afraid of the possibility these will come true, but by then I will have been long evacuated to an unmarked mass grave.

~ Vehement disagreement. You’ll have to explain this one. I thought after George W Bush spent trillions on a war on false pretenses and introduced us to extrajudicial torture, using mercenaries and otherwise dismissing international war conventions (I made a list of all the quagmire points) the GOP was entirely unelectible. Conservatives were talking openly about how torture is right and proper and entirely acceptable. Heck, Obama was given the Nobel Peace Price simply for not being Bush. The Republicans couldn’t possibly look worse.

But then they did. Trump made his pitch to deport the Latins (all of them, starting with the illegals), re-enslave the Blacks (via the prison system), jail his enemies (especially Clinton), intern Muslims and nuke somebody (anybody! I made a list of that too, I thought Trump was too monstrous to elect. Period.

Oh man, how wrong I was.

Many people were wrong. It was called a black swan event. Sixty-three million voters felt Trump was entirely electable for reasons I only guess at (racism?, or raging at the establishment that wasn’t being very helpful to our overworked laborers?, or because saving fetuses from abortion is a higher cause than saving the entire species from toxic waste?)

But US voters seem to forget things. They forgot about torture and mercenaries and drone strikes and the surveillance state, and in ’24 or ’28 when everyone is still miserable and doing gigs and one paycheck away from homelessness while our billionaires are swimming through their lucre like Scrooge McDuck, it’s going to be really easy to blame it on the brown people again. And someone from the GOP is going to try to do that and will get votes for it.

Heck, Trump might. And his voters will forget his lies and his sexual-predator bench appointments and his brinksmanship and threats of nuclear fire and his profiteering, just like they forgot about Bush’s war and his torture. He’ll say his presidency was the best there ever was, and our voters will pretend it is true, if just to get the current bum thrown out of office.

I suspect voters will even believe Trump’s campaign lies again, or not care he can’t be truthful for more than thirty seconds.

Feel free, Dark Helmet to make a case to the contrary. I want to be proven wrong. I miss hope. So I’m all eyes and ears. By all means, make me eat crow.

PS: The Techdirt website on Firefox occasionally crashes my Radeon graphics driver. Only the Techdirt website. I don’t know why.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Blasphemic errata

I also suspect / am afraid Trump is a scorched-earth kind of guy. I think he will willfully sabotage the US from the Presidency once he fears his removal from office is near. So the US as we know it still has yet to survive Trump’s first term.

I can see that, alas. Malignant narcissist is malign.

Nor do I want another GOP authoritarian — one who knows how to use the intelligence and police states to hunt dissenters — to have a second go after a Democratic administration proves it is either incompetent, toothless or still in the pockets of the oligarchic establishment.

I’d LOVE to know why Obama gave Trump those extra powers on his way out of the door. What was that about, because it totally does what you’re saying here.

Sixty-three million voters felt Trump was entirely electable for reasons I only guess at (racism?, or raging at the establishment that wasn’t being very helpful to our overworked laborers?, or because saving fetuses from abortion is a higher cause than saving the entire species from toxic waste?)

All of the above. Many voted for him just to watch the world burn, per Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.

when everyone is still miserable and doing gigs and one paycheck away from homelessness while our billionaires are swimming through their lucre like Scrooge McDuck, it’s going to be really easy to blame it on the brown people again. And someone from the GOP is going to try to do that and will get votes for it.

We can help prevent that by getting out and talking to these people. George Wallace tactics only work to get people stomping the floor when that’s all they know. It’s the "all they know" that we should be working on.

He’ll say his presidency was the best there ever was, and our voters will pretend it is true, if just to get the current bum thrown out of office.

I’ll say this; Obama won two terms in the teeth of fierce partisan obstructionism. If the next incumbent wins both Houses, that’s the time to get stuff done. It’s the getting stuff done that will determine who gets in afterwards.

Heck, I bet Trump has said at least one hundred stupider things in his tweets alone.

He did. I think people are reluctant to believe the electorate of their home country is riddled with idiots who only care about how their echo chamber thinks things are going. DH has fallen into that rabbit hole. I follow people whose view differ from mine for a reason: we need to keep an eye on them. Remember, we’ve got disinformation farms running full throttle to complete the dismantling of liberal democracies all over the world. There’s work to be done so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Blasphemic errata

"All of the above. Many voted for him just to watch the world burn, per Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic."

When they have worked their entire lives, playing by the rule book, knowing that the company they are working for is making a profit, but still their job is moved overseas.

While being lied to during every election…

Finding that they are unemployable. Learning first hand that age discrimination is extremely popular, legal, and accepted in this country.

Don’t know why someone who has been screwed over that bad would be bitter.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Blasphemic errata

Yep. They’re not bitter about all of the above; if that were true they’d all be Bernie Bros. They voted for the racist because they wanted a right-wing answer to their issues, forgetting that the joke is on them; there ain’t one. Right wing policy is basically. "Screw you, poor people!"

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Blasphemic errata

"They voted for the racist because they wanted a right-wing answer to their issues, forgetting that the joke is on them; there ain’t one. Right wing policy is basically. "Screw you, poor people!""

Well, there IS a silver lining for them. Brown people (who aren’t them) get screwed WAY harder than white old unemployables.

So they get to stand in the same dole queue as the black people, but at least they’re at the head of the queue and get to make snide remarks at the people behind them.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Self-immolation

I think the problem comes when they’re getting immolated regardless. If the Right Choice and the Monster both are going to completely ignore your plight, voting in the Monster to send a message starts making more sense.

I have little faith for our next administration. George W. Bush promised to be a compassionate conservative and went far-right once he was in office. Obama ran on hope and change but mostly continued Bush-era policies. We’re still waiting for proper contrition regarding extrajudicial torture.

I think Sanders and Warren are sincerely going to try for the mass reform that is necessary. I’m pretty sure Biden or Buttigieg are not. If the Senate succeeds in acquitting Trump, demonstrating the stratification of our society, maybe a second Trump term will be what it takes to fragment the United States.

Because for most of my adult life, our nation has revealed its values to be entirely contrary to what I was raised to believe in.

You know, that by the people, for the people stuff.

We were supposed to be the good-guys.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Blasphemic errata

When they have worked their entire lives, playing by the rule book, knowing that the company they are working for is making a profit, but still their job is moved overseas.

While being lied to during every election…

Finding that they are unemployable. Learning first hand that age discrimination is extremely popular, legal, and accepted in this country.

Don’t know why someone who has been screwed over that bad would be bitter.

Mad idea: vote for someone who actually, genuinely cares about those things. The choice is between the man who would funnel the nation’s money up to the already rich or the one who would funnel the nation’s money down to the less well off. Which one would most benefit you and how?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Blasphemic errata

"Mad idea: vote for someone who actually, genuinely cares about those things. "

You mean someone who’d give equal rights to wimmin and nxxxxrs and wants to take their nonexistant cash in taxes and give it to a death squad who’ll cart off aunt mabel to some gubmint quack who takes her out back and shoots her?

Yeah, that’s mad.

You need to consider what those people currently voting Trump actually believe the world looks like.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Blasphemy!

The Techdirt website on Firefox occasionally crashes my Radeon graphics driver. Only the Techdirt website. I don’t know why.

Probably because of AMD’s shitty drivers. You can try to disable it under Option -Performance, disable "Use recommended settings" then disable "Use hardware acceleration". Firefox will use more CPU though, but if it gives you a stable experience if may be worth the tradeoff.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Malware in ads

I got suckered by a phishing trip around 2012, 2013 and it took me a month to wrangle my OS back from China’s hackers (they were in China. I don’t know if they worked for China).

Ever since then I’ve been browsing with a line-item script-blocker in place, let alone ad-blocking.

Though yes, it’d be hilarious if the script-blocking software was messing with my video drivers.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"But Biden has long been a “hold my nose” vote for me, and this bullshit ain’t doing a damn thing to change that."

You know, if what the dems come up with this upcoming election is Biden then maybe you should consider your independent options.
As some insightful and amusing AC stated in the first comments, there really isn’t much difference between Trump and Biden. If I had to name the obvious one it would be that when Trump says something which will screw everyone he has a smug shit-eating grin where Biden just keeps looking like a bemused shell-shocked Lemming. And either Trump is more actively malicious or Biden is just that great an actor who convinces people he’s a genuine dumbass who’ll ruin shit for everyone out of a misplaced sense of benevolent intent.

I’d have to say that Biden is a worse choice than GWB was, when it comes to the apparent intellect and ability to proportionately react to the real world.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"It doesn’t seem like word salad…"

Uhh…the transcript of Biden in the OP reads as if he was either having apoplexy when it was written down, having a paranoid episode featuring Zuckerman, or possibly flying his cough syrup express through la-la land.

The problem with Biden is that his real ability is best demonstrated when he doesn’t have a prepared speech to read. At which point in time we are reminded that without someone’s hands up his bum the ventriloquists doll isn’t exactly a mensa candidate.

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Nathan F (profile) says:

I could almost swear he was jumping out his his chair and screaming incoherently in that first block of quoted text.

Does he not have staff to do some research for him or is just being an idiot completely ignoring them? If he is ignoring his advisors now, what is he going to do if he gets elected to the presidency? Are we about to see another year of shuffling Cabinet positions right after elections like Trump did?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Are we about to see another year of shuffling Cabinet positions right after elections like Trump did?

I certainly hope so. A cabinet full of Trump cronies isn’t exactly good for the health of the nation, as has been demonstrated already.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Does he not have staff to do some research for him or is just being an idiot completely ignoring them?"

Yes, and yes.

You can usually tell when Biden hasn’t been extensively prepared on what to say. He comes off as an incoherent stuttering maniac who’ll push halfway remembered keywords into half a filibuster’s worth of nonsense and fire off the resulting broadside into anyone dumb enough to be standing nearby with a mic.

And the times when he’s actually able to speak properly? THIS happens;

"…And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- — close to a billionaire — who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people, you know the —— "

Video Games. Biden doesn’t know what a video game is. Meaning that his last actual connect to contemporary technological reality must have been before the 80’s…

He’s inimically hostile to digital technology, AND he’s basically a Bishop in the First Church of Copyright.

At least you can – comparatively – praise Trump for not believing in anyone or anything other than himself. Biden would fuck everyone over, believing he did the right thing all the way.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You’re assuming a complicit cabinet and party. Put three Dems in a room, you get five opinions.

The difference between Dems and the GOP is you can talk to Dems. Biden is basically conservative, and leans towards authoritarianism. The rest is a mixed bag of everything from democratic socialism to neocon.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"The difference between Dems and the GOP is you can talk to Dems. Biden is basically conservative, and leans towards authoritarianism. The rest is a mixed bag of everything from democratic socialism to neocon."

I’ll grant you that save for one detail.

Biden thinks he’s being conservative. What he actually comes off as is Old.
And with a mind as confused as Reagan in his last years just before alzheimer’s robbed him of speech.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"So then, which competent minders do we want to be actually running the show?"

…someone who wants to get the right shit done? Sanders, probably.

…someone who actually can get shit done? I dunno, does Putin have a twin brother? Think we can borrow a few of Xi jin Ping’s cabinet office clerks?

I may be talking out of a misplaced sense of optimism when I argue that current international politics suggest that’s what we’ve got…

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"This makes me furious. I hate the thought of having to choose between voting for a fascist and a luddite this fall."

A largely inept fascist or a fully backed luddite?

I hate to say it but Trump should be able to win even the democratic vote by just saying "I promise I won’t screw everyone" if it came down to between him and Biden.

Let’s all hope Bernie wins the primary.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Old guy, earnest well-meaning democratic socialist, as opposed to the corporate socialists currently running the country into the ground.

Look, if we’re going to describe giving unearned money or benefits to natural persons as socialism, let’s call giving unearned money or benefits to corporate persons as socialism too.

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Ben L (profile) says:

Ironic

This is ironic because Biden actually voted for the CDA. However, he was probably more a fan because it originally tried to compel sites to remove their smut, a provision which was found unconstitutional by Reno v. ACLU. As with how he has gone after "violent video games", it should be no surprise that Biden isn’t a fan of our Constitutional rights and the First Amendment.

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Rico R. (profile) says:

I was never going to vote for Biden in the primary, but the fact he helped create SOPA and doesn’t understand section 230 of the CDA really solidifies the fact that I won’t be voting for him! I pray to God he doesn’t get the nomination, because if he does, I’ll be forced to choose between the greatest threat to our democracy and the greatest threat to the free and open internet!!

But what about third party candidates?

If the greatest threat to our democracy wasn’t the incumbent President running for a second term, I might consider it, but I’d rather vote for the lesser of the two evils from the two biggest parties than throw away my vote and watch Trump get re-elected. Oh, how I wish we had a ranked voting system!

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Ben L (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I wouldn’t take Biden’s threats too seriously, at least not right now. It’s primary season and whatever candidate takes the most extreme positions on divisive issues gets the most attention. If he does get the nomination he’ll probably moderate his position to join the "reform Section 230" camp and support whatever "think of the children" legislation is down the pipeline. Perhaps that isn’t ideal, but it’d be the same thing under the current status quo.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

but I’d rather vote for the lesser of the two evils from the two biggest parties than throw away my vote

Because you and most other people believe that, politics will remain dominated by people who ignore the electorate, and the two dominant parties will take turns at looking after their rich friends.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"I might consider it, but I’d rather vote for the lesser of the two evils from the two biggest parties than throw away my vote and watch Trump get re-elected. Oh, how I wish we had a ranked voting system!"

Why?

You said it yourself. Neither of the two are acceptable – at all, really – and you’re already at the point where you’ve got a hard time to choose which is worse.

Now, the idea that a vote not on the two parties is wasted is an old fallacy and one which both parties have been pushing hard. As long as you believe that fallacy you will continue to get screwed, because the parties will realize that you guys STILL have no bottom line at which point you’ll say "Screw you guys, I’ll be voting for the indie guy without a chance because at least that way I get to sleep tonight!".

Neither party is motivated to change anything. Not until enough swing votes are lost to actually make them sit up and listen.

Anonymous Coward says:

It seems voters will have a choice between a right wing idiot who will destroy the environment and a old cranky ignorqant luddit who is willing to wipe out free speech on the web because he hates facebook.
Some experts say FB helped trump get elected because he ran a great election campaign on social media .Someone needs to tell biden the internet is a great platform for dissent and protest and minoritys to have a voice.
He she read about internet shutdowns in iran and hashmir.
Millions of people make a living from writing, streaming ,youtube, soundcloud,patreon etc
its democratic ,even people who cant buy a smartphone ,can use the web at
a free library or school .
you can gauge the wealth of a country by the no of people who have broadband internet acess or smartphones .
He has zero understanding of the american economy if he thinks its a problem that facebook or google do not employ 1000,s of workers.
google and facebook employ mods to take down content that is extreme or illegal .

You could just repace the name biden with trump and this article would
make sense .
Aoc cortez was elected in part because she use,s social media to reach out and communicate with voters .

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The statement “the first amendment” “allows people to post false things on Facebook” is over broad and incorrect regardless of the public figure exceptions, idiot.

Furthermore “False statements that are on matters of public concern and that defame public figures are unprotected if either the speaker has knowledge that his statements are false, there is a negligence in the statement, or there is "actual malice" to inflict harm.” It’s not as black and white as you’re misrepresenting it to be.

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And yet, it is still the First Amendment that allows people to post false statements (and everything else they are allowed to post) on Facebook. It is the root from which all free speech stems.

CDA 230 is a rule about properly assigning liability. It has nothing to do with what people are or aren’t allowed to say.

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You seem to think that because it does not protect all false statements, that makes Joe Biden correct and this post wrong.

I think you need to take a breath, stop being so mad, and give what Biden said and what we said another careful read. Biden is completely wrong about what section 230 does, and you are getting arrogant over a completely correct statement about the first amendment.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Lol so your defense for being incorrect about "the First Amendment that allows people to post false statements" is to change subjects? "Oh I’m wrong so I’m gonna call you arrogant."

But you’re also wrong about your second point. While 230 does not itself "allow" speech, there is no doubt that it enhances free speech with respect to false statements. Without 230, Facebook would be far more vigilant about auditing falsities.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

So you’re saying

otherwording (or in-other-wordsing) — noun — the practice of summarizing a point of argument in a way that distorts the point into saying something it does not and attributes the false interpretation to the person who raised the original point; a blatant attempt to make winning an argument easier for someone who is out of their depth in said argument

Example: You will often find the phrases “in other words” or “so you’re saying” at the beginning of an instance of otherwording.

See also: strawman; your post

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Why do you think anyone cares about your linguistic gymnastics?

You have no credibility at all, you are sometimes black, sometimes white, sometimes gay, sometimes bi, and always disgusting and disingenuous.

When you have nothing useful to say and no point to make you try to give someone who doesn’t care a lesson in something you understand very little about.

Are you a professor?

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

The First Amendment does allow people to post false statements. The fact that some false statements are exempt does not change that. I’m not sure why you struggle so much with that. Is it that you think speech is presumed unprotected until a court finds that it is protected? Because the opposite is true.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"The First Amendment does allow people to post false statement." This is false. You can’t make over-broad statement and then when someone says "hey that’s not true" be like "oh well I clearly only meant SOME of those things, I clearly meant to exclude others." You are being purposely misleading and you know it.

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

You are being purposely misleading and you know it.

No, I think you came into this conversation expecting an extremely basic level of 1A analysis by people who had never thought about it before, and are now being tripped up by the fact that most of the people here understand it quite well and are able to process that statement for exactly what it means.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

You can’t claim the First Amendment doesn’t protect false statements because it does, save for rare exceptions (i.e., defamation). I can call Donald Trump “a literal bag of dog shit” and not be punished for it because despite that statement being false, it is also a hyperbolic statement that no one would ever take seriously. I can also say “Donald Trump is a piece of shit” and still not be punished for it because it is both hyperbolic and a personal opinion.

You have yet to cite a Supreme Court ruling that says the First Amendment doesn’t protect false statements of fact that aren’t ruled defamatory. So either do that or go back to the shallow end of the pool, because you are way out of your depth here, son.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

This is a language issue that you are completely misunderstanding. When you make a positive statement "x protects y," the positive statement implies x protects all y. It’s up to you to clarify by saying "x protects some y." The opposite is not true for negative statements "x does not protect z."

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11

Quoting Leigh from an earlier comment:

The First Amendment does allow people to post false statements. The fact that some false statements are exempt does not change that.

Quoting you from an earlier comment:

"The First Amendment does allow people to post false statement." This is false.

Leigh’s statement was properly clarified. Yours was not. And of the two of you, I’d take Leigh far more seriously on this matter than your ignorant ass every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:17 Re:

I still don’t understand why you think that sort of thing would be a decent comeback. At any rate, I don’t actually eat cheese doodles. Like, at all. But even if I did, there’re these amazing inventions known as “napkins”, “soap and water”, “paper towels”, and “hand wipes” with which one can readily cleanse one’s hands of any cheesy residue before attempting to type something.

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Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

I see. So when Biden says "[Facebook] is propagating falsehoods they know to be false" he is being intentionally misleading in a number of ways, because not all content propagating on Facebook is falsehoods they know to be false, nor do all falsehoods they know to be false propagate, nor do they know all falsehoods to be false… right?

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

I don’t recall either Biden or you previously including the qualifiers that the false statements being spoken of are “about another person” and/or “that you have knowledge is false.” You are engaging in what is commonly known as “moving the goalposts.” We’ve been arguing that the First Amendment does protect false statements outside of certain narrow exceptions.

But at any rate, there are these things known as “hyperbole” and “satire” where a person can make a false statement about another person that you have knowledge is false, as in those cases the statements aren’t meant to be taken as true at face-value.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Purple skies majesty

The problem is when one states Latins are rapists and murderers or blacks can’t help shooting each other, and people who have a propensity to distrust the other are inclined to believe them without verification.

Jefferson and Madison tried to shape the US on the principal the common citizen could adult that is, sort out truth from falsehood from unknown, filter out the nonsense and rationally act in their own self interest (preferably their own enlightened long-game self interest).

The reality is that this takes a bit of training in critical thinking, also more hours of rest, family time and introspection than we allow our typical laborer (who is both overworked and underpaid) and a stable situation where food, housing, healthcare and community are all relatively secure.

Without these things, The Irish are taking our jobs starts to sound pretty sensible, especially when the rich put their funds to work in advertising it all day every day.

And so either we need to treat our people as adults, and then provide for them an environment where they can function as adults, or we need to treat them as children — including our elected and appointed officials — and make sure they can’t do anything that risks hurting others.

Or not, and let our civilization unravel the way all others do.

No, I don’t have a solution for this either. Human beings are meant for societies of around one hundred people or fewer. We’ve been circumventing our own instincts since agriculture.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Purple skies majesty

I worked my ass off for a construction company in California that paid cash every Friday. They deducted taxes from our pay and made us sign for our money acknowledging the IRS deduction. At tax time, I never got a tax statement from them, in fact no one did. I would have had a very nice return coming, but no chance. I called the IRS on them. The IRS came down hard on them, taking cars and houses from them and throwing the owners in jail for a short time. My point in all of this is that the IRS NEVER SQUARED UP WITH US. Never even did they ever acknowledge my 1040 without that companily’s statement (I forget the form). So what bullshit is that?

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Purple skies majesty

Did you get a payslip with your cash, or just cash? If you were working off the books receiving cash in hand, there’s no paper trail to follow to prove your case. That’s why you need to ensure you get a contract of employment and payslips so you have evidence of what you earned and what you were paid.

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Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Incarnations of Satan

Considering the quantity and quality of things associated with Satan (according to various sources) that is, in the 21st century, a grand endorsement. Satan’s business is into some pretty great stuff. I’d work for Satan Inc.

Contrast those things endorsed by God including LGM-118 Peacekeeper, nuclear war against the Soviet Union and about a few dozen ruthless authoritarian administrations and wars to change regimes. God likes war.

And that’s before we get into the usual things God is associated with hating, e.g. women’s rights, LGBT+ people and their rights, pictures of Muhammad and so on.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Incarnations of Satan

"Considering the quantity and quality of things associated with Satan (according to various sources) that is, in the 21st century, a grand endorsement. Satan’s business is into some pretty great stuff. I’d work for Satan Inc."

That, and the baphomet statue that church tries to put outside courtrooms all the time is a lot more impressive than some gilt-edged placque with the ten commandments on it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, it’s exactly true. The First allows all speech. It won’t protect you from a defamation claim or things like false product claims. 230 says liability for any such thing must be properly placed. But you can lie continuously without consequence as long as your bullshit doesn’t have a target who has standing to challenge you. Fox News even went to court and had that ruled on.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Biden is saying that 230 enhances free speech to such a degree that it essentially is what "allows" those false statements

And if he is saying that, he’s wrong. The First Amendment allows false statements to be spoken without government interference. 230 places the liability for such statements on the person(s) directly responsible for making those statements. 230 doesn’t “enhance” free speech; it protects the owners of a platform from being sued over things they didn’t say.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Facebook existing enhances free speech practically

Not…really? It provides a platform for speech, but that in and of itself doesn’t “enhance” free speech. Free speech is “enhanced” not by the existence of platforms, but by strong legal protections that allow for a broader range of expression, be it on Facebook or Twitter or a street corner.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

The First Amendment and all related jurisprudence “enhances” free speech by offering legal protections for speech; it allows for a broad range of speech to be expressed anywhere. Facebook’s existence doesn’t “enhance” free speech; it merely facilitates the sharing thereof. 230 doesn’t “enhance” free speech; it allows platforms to facilitate the sharing of speech.

Get rid of 230 and Facebook and free speech doesn’t go away or lose any other legal protections. Get rid of the First Amendment/1A jurisprudence and free speech loses all of its legal protections. Ergo, neither 230 nor Facebook “enhance” the fundamental right of free speech.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

With all the spamming of that URL you’ve done on this comments section alone, I have to wonder if you’re (a) trying to get the URL blacklisted in Techdirt’s spam filters or (b) trying to advertise a site for which you work. Either way, that site never rises to the level of quality satire that The Onion cranks out. Hell, even The Hard Times does a better job of it, especially with their gaming section.

Anonymous Coward says:

" It’s not Section 230 that allows people to post false things on Facebook. It’s the 1st Amendment."

…If Facebook, Twitter, et al, are not the government, and not bound by the 1st Amendment, and thus can choose to kick you off their platform, and given that Section 230 provides these sites with the immunity they need to be comfortable letting people post virtually anything… I don’t get your statement at all.

Rusty Nales says:

What-Me-Worry warts

I find it odd that nobody has mentioned the fact that the voting system itself is probably fully compromised by corporate interests. If that is not repaired, it simply does not matter who you vote for. The next POTUS will have already been selected for the win and the actual vote-count will have zero effect on that outcome – save to legitimize it. National denial anyone??

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cattress (profile) says:

Who needs to teach whom?

I don’t think it’s the children that need nearly as much instruction and guidance on the internet as their parents, and especially grandparents. As evidenced by this exact nonsense. Children have always embraced the new technology, activity, means of art or communication, and the parents have always thrown themselves into a full on moral panic because things were different when they were kids. Bicycles used to raise the ire of parents of girls because of the independence it gave the girls. Bicycles! And novels were thought to corrupt the children and drive them to suicide.
And I would put money on not a single presidential candidate being able articulate what 230 actually does and why it’s a good thing.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who needs to teach whom?

First of all, grandparents? We were at the cutting edge of that new technology. It was twenty years later that the internet became the playground for every lawyer, every corporation and every government employee!

Secondly, I’d like to read your articulation of 230, please.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Who needs to teach whom?

"First of all, grandparents? We were at the cutting edge of that new technology. It was twenty years later that the internet became the playground for every lawyer, every corporation and every government employee!"

Yeah and Biden…is actually in our generation. Too damn many who grew up in the burgeoning internet era who condemned it all as a "fad" which would go away soon, and something "only the nerds" were interested in.

The oldtimers who are 70-90 today are often all right. The 40-60 year olds however, ay caramba, what a load of useless entitled drecks…

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Who needs to teach whom?

"I have never met a single person who thought the internet was a fad."

I have never met any either. But I have heard, by several politicians, those exact words.

Which, ten years ago, was another eye-opener for me when it came to just HOW detached from reality a politician can become and still be allowed to hold office.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Who needs to teach whom?

Grandparents – yeah, like one sixth of you were even paying attention. Part of that group actually built the stuff, and some more were at the "cutting edge". Not much different than the current crop. Most don’t donow how anything works, and most have the same varieties of cultural hangups, even if the hangups themselves are different. They are the same as 8000 years ago.

cattress (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Who needs to teach whom?

Thank you, that’s the point I was making. Older generations panicking over the new things changing the way the younger generations live.
Biden doesn’t understand how Facebook as a "news source" is fundamentally different than NBC or WaPo. TV and Newspapers only publish minimal, if any, content from their audience, like letters to the editor and viewer call-ins, which are often scrutinized by editors in advance. If Facebook was liable for everything users said then it would just cease to exist. And while some people love that idea, the truth is that is pretty damn selfish attitude. Don’t like Facebook, don’t use it, it’s that simple.
And more to my point, I’m 38, have an almost 2 year old, and my mom is 58. My mom has shared a hoax about some new kind of poisonous spider killing people locally, random "missing persons" posts which have zero media coverage confirming any such person is missing, and has told me breastfeeding is gross and absolutely unnecessary after 6 weeks, that my concerns about walkers and old toys from before the nineties are perfectly safe for my daughter, they didn’t kill me as a child after all, I shouldn’t be so paranoid. I think it’s clear who needs to learn how to vet their information sources. And my toddler can figure out how to exit and find the different apps for her on my phone, as well as open the camera app, switch to selfie mode and take pictures of herself (she much prefers books, and playing with toys, canned goods and my pots and pans, but sometimes she plays with my phone too) It won’t be long before I’m struggling to keep up with her knowledge, and I will embrace the challenge.

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Anonymous Coward says:

The biggest take away is the Biden cant speak English

And you know, from my perspective, I’ve been in the view that not only should we be worrying about the concentration of power, we should be worried about the lack of privacy and them being exempt, which you’re not exempt.

Huh?

And I was lectured by one of the senior leaders there that by saying if I insisted on what Leahy’d put together and we were, I thought we were going to fully support, that they would blow up the network, figuratively speaking.

Give that to an English teacher and ask if it is a well formed statement.

And how about this:

Well the tech industry, look, not everyone in the tech industry is a bad guy, and I’m not suggesting that.

WTF?

You’ve got to feel for the person who had to type up the transcription.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: The biggest take away is the Biden cant speak English

Adding to that, you know what MY biggest takeaway is?

Joe Biden is just about 50. Bernie Sanders, by comparison, is 79.

…and yet Bernie can stand up and debate IT and tech infrastructure without making an ass of himself. While being witty and coherent, to boot. He’s actually more tech-savvy and less socially fossilized than some dude 29 years younger than him.

That scares me. Biden isn’t that much older than I am, and yet has apparently managed to completely miss the last 30 years of technological progress. In what sheltered bunker was he living all this time?

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Zeke4544 says:

Speaking of free speech and honest information

Speaking of free speech and disseminating information — look how stridently and blatantly Google is protecting Biden.

Recently Scott Adams made a cogent point about whether Biden — the Democrat frontrunner for US president — was a potential blackmail target for the Ukraine to exploit.

Run a search without quotes for something like "Biden potential blackmail Ukraine." Try setting the search for the past week.

Run these exact search parameters on Google, then on DuckDuckGo.

The results are as different as night and day. Google ostentatiously ignores the terms and pushes pro-Biden anti-Trump articles, whereas DuckDuckGo accommodates the actual terms in the search.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Google not presenting the exact search results you wanted (or thought you deserved) is not censorship. Google not carrying a specific website in its search results, or removing specific websites from its search results based on copyright notices or other legal issues, is not censorship. You’re not entitled to have your site listed in Google, Google is under no obligation to list it, and your site not being listed in Google doesn’t prevent you from exercising your free speech rights.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh I have seen them totally eliminate search results from one day to the next. On very dishy searches where it might be protecting the public from technology deemed to be too dangerous to some corporations. Example I searched for electronic equipment or the physics which allowed electronic devices to destroy other devices from 20′ away through a wall as my neighbor had destroyed the tailend circuitry to my very expensive DVD Recorder/ VHS Recorder one day and found a lot of info describing the electronic means for this problem. When I applied the search the next day.. NOTHING. Absolutely nothing on the entire subject.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Assuming what you say is true, Google didn’t take down the websites with that information — only links to them that were stored in the search engine databases. Google has no obligation to keep any given link in its databases for any reason. It lacks the power to take down a website it doesn’t own (or doesn’t have legal standing to take down).

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

No, it moderated those results. Moderation is a platform operator saying “we don’t do that here”. Discretion is you saying “I won’t do that there”. Censorship is someone saying “you can’t do that anywhere” before or after threats of either violence or government intervention.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I have no experience with Google censoring content, no. And even with moderation, I’ve seen no evidence of anything suspicious going on.

At any rate, I’m asking for evidence of your specific claim of that specific event, or in the alternative, that Google censors (or rather, moderates) search results for the specific reason you allege. Anything more general than that is insufficient.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

What Stephen is saying is, if Scott Adams was better known and more relevant to people’s interests, his page would float to the top. Try getting people to search for topics with his name in the mix, then see what happens. When Scotty is the go-to for information, that’s when his views will come front and centre.

Is he interesting or useful enough for that to happen?

Organic SEO occurs when content is actually, objectively useful. The sneaky ad farms are a nuisance.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"What Stephen is saying is, if Scott Adams was better known and more relevant to people’s interests, his page would float to the top."

I’d have to say that even if Scott Adams is a cartoonist, "Dilbert" is one of the better known ones. I’m somewhat surprised it doesn’t get a high ranking in google searches.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says: