Surprise: Report Claims Facebook Has Been Driving White House TikTok Animosity

from the manufactured-outrage dept

As we've been noting, Trump's executive order attempting to ban TikTok is not only legally unsound, it's not coherent policy. Chinese state hackers, with their unlimited budgets, can simply obtain this (and far greater) data from any of the thousands of companies in the existing, unaccountable international adtech sector, our poorly secured communications networks, or the millions of Chinese-made IOT devices or "smart" products Americans attach to home and business networks with reckless abandon. The U.S. has no privacy law and is a mess on the privacy and security fronts. We're an easy mark and TikTok is the very least of our problems.

With that as backdrop, it's clear that most of the biggest TikTok pearl clutchers in the Trump administration couldn't care less about actual U.S. consumer security and privacy. After all, this is the same administration that refuses to shore up election security, strictly opposes even the most basic of privacy laws for the internet era, and has been working tirelessly to erode essential security protections like encryption. If the U.S. was actually interested in shoring up U.S. security and privacy, we'd craft coherent, over-arching policies to address all of our security and privacy problems, not just those that originate in China.

Trump's real motivations for the ban lie elsewhere. As a delusional narcissist, some of his motivation is the attempt to portray himself as a savvy businessman, extracting leverage for a trade war with China he clearly doesn't understand isn't working, and is actually harming Americans. Spreading additional xenophobia as a party platform is also an obvious goal. But it's also becoming increasingly clear that at least some of the recent TikTok animosity is originating with Trump's newfound BFFs over at Facebook, who've been hammering Trump with claims that Chinese platforms "don’t share Facebook’s commitment to freedom of expression," and "represent a risk to American values and technological supremacy.":

"That was a message Zuckerberg hammered behind the scenes in meetings with officials and lawmakers during the October trip and a separate visit to Washington weeks earlier, according to people familiar with the matter. In a private dinner at the White House in late October, Zuckerberg made the case to President Donald Trump that the rise of Chinese internet companies threatens American business, and should be a bigger concern than reining in Facebook, some of the people said."

Nobody's getting specific on the details, but those Peter Thiel, Mark Zuckerberg, and Trump administration dinners last fall, not too surprisingly, focused a lot on the threat China poses to American industry:

"In a private dinner at the White House in late October, Mr. Zuckerberg made the case to President Trump that the rise of Chinese internet companies threatens American business, and should be a bigger concern than reining in Facebook, some of the people said."

On one hand, Facebook certainly has a case to make that if AG Bill Barr and state AGs impose poorly-constructed remedies that harm and/or hamstring Facebook, worse, less ethical foreign alternatives could come to dominate the vacuum that's created. On the other hand, this is Facebook and the Trump administration, and neither have been stellar examples of the "American values" the meetings sought to defend, so it requires some heavy logical lifting to presume Facebook's motivations here are predominately patriotic and altruistic.

Of course Facebook wants to build a narrative where U.S. companies are somehow exceptions to the privacy-violating unethical hubris that is the global norm. Of course Facebook wants to derail antitrust scrutiny of its own myriad failures and misdirect that scrutiny toward foreign competitors whose teen video data it covets. And of course Facebook wants you to believe it neither works closely with China nor exhibits many of the same bad privacy habits China routinely engages in. Aka an "opportunistic weasel," as Gizmodo puts it:

"...if these meetings happened the way the Journal is laying them out, then even if Zuckerberg isn’t guilty of calling TikTok a threat to our security, he’s very guilty of being a weasel. A weasel who isn’t afraid to cuddle up to an administration he’s ostensibly critical of, and offer up any other company, foreign or domestic, as a distraction to take the heat off antitrust scrutiny."

Facebook's self-serving posturing here may be accompanied by some legitimate concerns that hamstringing domestic social media giants in idiotic ways could only make things worse for U.S. tech in general, but it's also pretty hard to believe TikTok hysteria coincidentally reached a fevered pitch just as Facebook was unveiling its TikTok clone, Reels.

There are certainly whiffs of coordination here that go well beyond genuine concerns about the perils of regulatory over-reach. This being Facebook, how much coordination will likely emerge three months down the road, but Facebook, for its part, is claiming TikTok was never even mentioned at October meetings:

"Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in statement Sunday that "Mark has never advocated for a ban on TikTok." He also said it was wrong to conclude that policy decisions were driven by Zuckerberg.

"He has repeatedly said publicly that the biggest competitors to US tech companies are Chinese companies, with values that don't align with democratic ideals like free speech," he said. "It's ludicrous to suggest that long-standing national security concerns — raised by policymakers on both sides of the aisle — have been shaped by Mark's statements alone."

Zuckerberg could have easily avoided mentioning TikTok specifically at dinner, while having his policy folks and lobbyists repeatedly wind up Trump and Senate leaders on a TikTok ban. The problem with believing there's no unsavory coordination here requires leaning on reputations the Trump administration and Facebook simply don't have. Namely that either operates out of anything more than self-interest, or genuinely cares about the privacy and market ramifications of a teen dancing app. If either party is bothered by the insinuation they're not being truthful here, a good first step would be to perhaps stop lying constantly.

Whatever the motivation, it remains hard to view the TikTok ban as serious, adult policy given the track records of those involved with it, its legal shakiness, and the fact it won't actually accomplish any of its stated goals. It's a legally unworkable mountain of policy nonsense, and those who continue to pretend it's rooted in a genuine desire to protect Americans' data and security are giving the Trump administration -- and apparently Facebook -- credibility they've certainly never earned.

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Filed Under: china, donald trump, mark zuckerberg, privacy, social media
Companies: facebook, tiktok


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  1. identicon
    Pixelation, 26 Aug 2020 @ 7:53am

    How much did it cost?

    Facebook doing what overly large corporation do when they can no longer compete. Get the government to tilt the playing field.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 8:00am

    FB using the sacrifice gambit?

    "I don't have to run faster than the bear to get away. I just have to run faster than the guy next to me"

    • Jim Butcher, and, apparently, Zuckerberg.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 8:11am

    Re: How much did it cost?

    TikTok isn't exactly a direct competitor to FB...but they are a convenient scapegoat for Zuckerberg to throw into the jaws of a president hungry to be seen as "dealing" with Big Tech and China.

    In the probable words of Zuckerberg "Why eat me when that guy (points at TikTok) looks much more like candy, mr. orange hyena sir?"

    Given that TikTok was the platform which allowed a gang of teenagers to punk Trump in his Tulsa rally it can't have been a hard sell to persuade chief Soggy Cheeto to turn his evil incontinent orifice TikTok's way while Zuckerberg meandered off wiping the sweat from his forehead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 8:13am

    no surprise at all either! the surprise would be if the WH took no notice! but, just as in the Mega case, because those in govt get 'campaign contributions' from industry, as much as possible is and will be done, even when there is no case to answer! the industries in the US are so jealous of others success, so scared of losing a dollar to some other industry, in some other country (the majority of which knock US industries into touch, being better quality, more reliable, cheaper, repairable and longer lasting), POTUS has got to look after his 'mates'!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Bloof (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: How much did it cost?

    Trump was never going to target Facebook, they've been far too accommodating to him and his racist associates. The conversation about Tiktok most likely went 'Hey, we're losing users to a Chinese app so we'd like them dealt with, in return we'll continue to let you post anything you like without repercussion, continue to run hyper targeted racist ads, and we'll give your friend Tucker the power to fact check other politicians and news outlets to sweeten the deal.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    David, 26 Aug 2020 @ 9:07am

    "Trump's" real motivations?

    Trump's real motivations for the ban lie elsewhere. As a delusional narcissist, some of his motivation is the attempt to portray himself as a savvy businessman, extracting leverage for a trade war with China he clearly doesn't understand isn't working, and is actually harming Americans.

    You almost got it with "as a delusional narcissist" and then lost it again. The problem is that Trump will swallow any tripe as long as it is spoon-fed to him by someone fawning all over him.

    That's why he's the lapdog of Putin and other dictators and of Sean Hannity and other operators that have turned Fox News from a disreputable news organisation into a Trump echo chamber, forming a feedback loop of garbage-in, garbage-out targeting the Republican Party and the U.S. as landfill.

    A garbage compactor like Facebook would be a fool not to tickle Trump's belly.

    That's all there is to "Trump's real motivations". Don't assign more intelligence to him than to his handlers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 9:25am

    It's such a delight hearing people who AREN'T American citizens appreciate our values.

    Thanks, Mark!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 9:47am

    "Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in statement Sunday that "Mark has never advocated for a ban on TikTok." He also said it was wrong to conclude that policy decisions were driven by Zuckerberg.

    If I was having a conversation where I talked about the religion with a pope, funny hats and lots of speaking in latin historically the fact that I may not have named the catholic church specifically isn't going to prevent people from knowing who I was talking about, so even if I believed them that Zuckerburg never mentioned banning TikTok specifically talking about how terrible those foreign competitors are and how they aren't as dedicated towards americal values as american companies are, with TikTok being mentioned elsewhere on a regular basis it's not hard to connect the dots. Trump is stupid, but he's not that stupid.

    "He has repeatedly said publicly that the biggest competitors to US tech companies are Chinese companies, with values that don't align with democratic ideals like free speech," he said. "It's ludicrous to suggest that long-standing national security concerns — raised by policymakers on both sides of the aisle — have been shaped by Mark's statements alone."

    Nah, the ludicrous thing to suggest is that this has anything at all to do with national security concerns rather than stomping competition, riling up gullible people with some good old xenophobia and vindictively punishing a platform people used to punk Trump.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 9:59am

    This sounds like it may be similar to what is happening with Cisco and Huwei, I think it was? Ignore the bad things I'm doing and instead, look at the bad things they're doing!
    Oh, no bad things yet...?
    MADE IN CHINA!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 10:07am

    Re: FB using the sacrifice gambit?

    As pointed out elsewhere, Zuckerberg tweaked this a bit to become:

    I don't have to run faster than the bear because I don't want to get away. Instead, I'll ride the bear, pointing it at various threats and food sources so it doesn't have time to stop and realize that someone's on its back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    I’m sorry, but are you saying that Mark Zuckerberg is not an American citizen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 11:32am

    "Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in statement Sunday that "Mark has never advocated for a ban on TikTok." He also said it was wrong to conclude that policy decisions were driven by Zuckerberg.

    "He has repeatedly said publicly that the biggest competitors to US tech companies are Chinese companies, with values that don't align with democratic ideals like free speech," he said. "It's ludicrous to suggest that long-standing national security concerns — raised by policymakers on both sides of the aisle — have been shaped by Mark's statements alone."

    Believe it or not, I actually believe the spokesman is being completely truthful here. No one said that Zuckerberg was advocating for a TikTok ban specifically, Zuckerberg has made similar statements publicly, and I don’t believe anyone is saying that it was only Mark’s statements that were responsible for this decision, let alone the aforementioned “longstanding security concerns”.

    However, the spokesman is rather missing the point. Combine the broad statements likely made by Mark to Trump with Trump’s xenophobia—particularly against China when it comes to economics—and the humiliation he got from TikTok recently, and it seems clear why these actions by Trump were directed at TikTok specifically and why now. Mark never needed to mention TikTok specifically.

    It’s also the case that Facebook is at least a bit of a hypocrite in the consumer-security-and-privacy area even with regards to those broader statements, which the spokesman’s statement in no way addresses at all. That’s perhaps the main issue here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 11:34am

    I’m constantly amazed that Trump can be so highly critical of someone one second then actually take their advice seriously the next.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    David, 26 Aug 2020 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    How is that different from praising people to high sky that the stable genius has hired due to his superior unparalleled people skills, then firing them half a year later denouncing their character and stating that they got the job only because of begging and crawling before his greatness?

    Pomposity has no sense of irony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: How much did it cost?

    There is no good bet there - any moderation position is simultaneously too far and not far enough to someone. We can tell that because of the constant whining of Congress trying to get more influnce over the platform.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Could be ignorance could be a stupid antisemetic victim blaning trope of "Jews are untrustworthy because of how we treated them in the past including many expulsion. They clearly could harbor a grudge! Therefore they must never be citizens!" stupid pretzel logic of antisemites. I lean towards the latter because racists denying the citizenship of minorities is far too selective in their "slip up" targets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 1:19pm

    I am sure that this is not only coming from facebook. Google and Apple as well are feeling the competition coming from emerging Chinese technology which combines social, messaging, payment systems and even govt services all in one - apparently now you can even file for divorce directly in wechat. I wonder if the fact that Tencent owns a large share in Fortnite and is trying to break the monopoly on the stores is just a coincidence, or is part of a broader Chinese plan (incl. the hadrware side, with Huawei) to challenge the US monopoly in western markets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Bobvious, 26 Aug 2020 @ 2:23pm

    Facebook has a Tik-Tok clone?

    For Reels?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Bobvious, 26 Aug 2020 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: sharing American values

    I think OP forgot the /sarc tag and was joking that CHINA! CHINA! shared American values.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Bobvious, 26 Aug 2020 @ 2:49pm

    Re:Pomposity and Cognitive Dissonance

    Take this from Trump's daughter Tiffany:

    1. "As a recent graduate, I can relate to so many of who you might be looking for a job," says the daughter of the rich man currently usurping the position of POTUS and who would probably be dating her if she wasn't his daughter. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-ivanka-trump-creepiest-m ost-unsettling-comments-a-roundup-a7353876.html

    2. "My father built a thriving economy once, and believe me, he will do it again. " Asserts claims not established as fact, but currently performing well as soil-conditioner.

    3. "I urge you to make a judgment based on results, and not rhetoric." 6 million US COVID infections and 180 000 US deaths

    4. "People must recognise that our thoughts, our opinions, and even the choice of who we are voting for may and are being manipulated and visibly coerced by the media and tech giants," Hannity and pals?

    5. "If you tune into the media, you get one biased opinion or another. And what you share, if it does not fit into the narrative that they seek to promote, then it is either ignored or deemed a lie, regardless of the truth." Those are FAKE VIEWS ma'am.

    6. "This manipulation of what information we receive impedes our freedoms. Rather than allowing Americans the right to form our own beliefs, this misinformation system keeps people mentally enslaved to the ideas they deemed correct." See 4 above

    7. "This has fostered unnecessary fear and divisiveness amongst us. Why are so many in media and technology and even in our own government so invested in promoting a biased and fabricated view? Ask yourselves, why are we prevented from seeing certain information? Why is one viewpoint promoted, while others are hidden?

    "The answer is control. Because division and controversy breed profit." FINALLY we get the answer to the missing part of the Underpants Gnomes plan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfgAK_afMII

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2020 @ 5:49pm

    Re:

    It's what politicians do these days... Kamala trashed Biden and now he wants to use her as his last word.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: How much did it cost?

    "TikTok isn't exactly a direct competitor to FB"

    Depends how you look at it. Instagram (who FB own) just released a feature named Reels, which is essentially the same sort of thing as TikTok's functionality from what I understand.

    This could be FB trying to cash in on all the newly displaced used after TikTok is blocked, or it could be a planned thing that Zuckerberg was pushing for in order to get rid of another competing social network. Either way, there is some competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: How much did it cost?

    "Trump was never going to target Facebook, they've been far too accommodating to him and his racist associates"

    QFT. It's the main non-Fox outlet for all the misinformation that helped him win in certain vital areas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Aug 2020 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re:Pomposity and Cognitive Dissonance

    "Take this from Trump's daughter Tiffany"

    Oh yes, another in the long line of people at the RNC convention who are not politicians but are released to the cult leader.

    Actually, seeing her on the line up was kind of sad. For a long time it seemed she was the family member who wasn't taking part in the con game, but it seems they finally got to her. Maybe because she had that reputation, whereas they know that anyone not already a fully fledged cult member will only be watching the other Trumps for meme and comedy value?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 1:12am

    Re:

    "I’m constantly amazed that Trump can be so highly critical of someone one second then actually take their advice seriously the next."

    It all depends on whether the person in question has or has not given Trump a sense of importance in the last five minutes. As David indicated above, if you just tickled Trump's belly what comes out next will be a happy noise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Bobvious, 27 Aug 2020 @ 3:08am

    Re: Re: Re:Pomposity and Cognitive Dissonance

    Then we extend those statements with an unhealthy dose of echolalia and Dunning-Kruger.

    Trump is going to use the government resources to control the "situation" by restoring LAW AND ORDER!!!!!!!

    Republican Marsha Blackburn said, "Tonight I want to talk to you about another kind of hero. The kind Democrats don't recognise because they don't fit into their narrative. I'm talking about the heroes of our law enforcement and armed services,"
    .......
    "Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their radical allies tried to destroy these heroes, because if there are no heroes to inspire us, government can control us."

    "government can control us"

    "government
    can
    control
    us"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    greymatters (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 4:22am

    The trade war isn't working?

    I love Techdirt. One of the reasons I love it is because it tends towards the apolitical- almost all of the posts are quite focused on the science and research and ignoring the political winds. Occasionally you can see some liberal bias such as when it is (often) claimed that conservative voices aren't being silenced on social media, which isn't nearly as settled or clean-cut as Techdirt writers like pretend it is, but overall, it's pretty neutral.

    I take exception to the line about the trade war that it "isn't working, and is actually harming Americans." That's an incredible line considering that the actual article being linked specifically mentions how the trade war has caused us to rethink our global supply chains and our reliance on China. (among a few other positives) Even discounting the fact that someone needed to oppose China before they quite literally start bullying the entire world, that simple fact of rethinking global supply chains is a massive positive outcome of the trade war.

    Honestly, I'm not a fan of Trump. But that paragraph is clearly designed for one thing- bashing Trump. Let's bash Trump for all the terrible, stupid crap he's actually done, and not fall into the liberal media trap of crying wolf at everything he does. Because I'd much rather have Trump's aggressive foreign policy against China (even though that means some real tough short-term consequences) than Biden's head-in-the-sand, "C'mon man, China's not our competitior..."

    Saying that "Trumps real motivations lie elsewhere" is editorializing, pure and simple. I don't believe it belongs on Techdirt. Let's try and keep it clean people....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 5:04am

    Re: The trade war isn't working?

    No one wins a trade war.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    nasch (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 7:24am

    Re:

    Mark never needed to mention TikTok specifically.

    He may very well have mentioned them specifically and repeatedly. The spokesperson didn't say Zuckerberg didn't mention TikTok, he said "Mark has never advocated for a ban on TikTok." So he could have told Trump, "boy that TikTok sure is awful" but not actually said "you should ban it".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:Pomposity and Cognitive Dissonance

    ...and of course that these "heroes" supposed to save the people from the government are, in fact, all government agents is one of those cognitive trainwrecks the new republican party appears to be churning out nonstop.

    They're not even trying anymore. The whole GOP has been reduced to a Trump death cult which can't even be arsed to put up a political platform for his intended 2020 election and relies exclusively on getting people on a platform to channel Hitlerian rhetoric of scapegoating and fearmongering.

    I can't imagine the US crawling back out of this yawning abyss. Not this side of reforming their entire government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    nasch (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 7:31am

    Re: The trade war isn't working?

    Occasionally you can see some liberal bias such as when it is (often) claimed that conservative voices aren't being silenced on social media, which isn't nearly as settled or clean-cut as Techdirt writers like pretend it is, but overall, it's pretty neutral.

    If I'm not mistaken, what Mike and others say is that there is no credible objective evidence for an anti-conservative bias in social media moderation. This is slightly different from saying that there is no such bias, but it is a good rebuttal to anyone claiming that the bias definitely exists. So... do you have any such evidence?

    Saying that "Trumps real motivations lie elsewhere" is editorializing, pure and simple. I don't believe it belongs on Techdirt.

    Did you mistake this for a news outlet? It's an opinion blog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    nasch (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:Pomposity and Cognitive Dissonance

    can't even be arsed to put up a political platform for his intended 2020 election

    In case anyone isn't paying much attention to the conventions, this is literally true. The Republican party did not produce a 2020 platform statement, and simply adopted the platform from 2016. This contains gems such as:

    "Our economy has become unnecessarily weak with stagnant wages. People living paycheck to paycheck are struggling, sacrificing, and suffering."

    "Our standing in world affairs has declined significantly — our enemies no longer fear us and our friends no long trust us."

    "The President and the Democratic party have dismantled Americans’ system of healthcare. "

    "The President and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable to the American people."

    "The President has been regulating to death a free market economy that he does not like and does not understand. He defies the laws of the United States by refusing to enforce those with which he does not agree. And he appoints judges who legislate from the bench rather than apply the law."

    "The President has refused to defend or enforce laws he does not like, used executive orders to enact national policies in areas constitutionally reserved solely to Congress, made unconstitutional “recess” appointments to Senate-confirmed positions, directed regulatory agencies to overstep their statutory authority, and failed to consult Congress regarding military action overseas. "

    "With all our fellow citizens, we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation."

    "All international executive agreements and political arrangements entered into by the current Administration must be deemed null and void as mere expressions of the current president’s preferences."

    Just a few of the things the Republican party is running on this year.

    https://prod-cdn-static.gop.com/media/documents/DRAFT_12_FINAL%5B1%5D-ben_1468872234.pdf

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 8:13am

    Re: The trade war isn't working?

    "That's an incredible line considering that the actual article being linked specifically mentions how the trade war has caused us to rethink our global supply chains and our reliance on China."

    First of all, I disagree with the article that the trade war revealed anything which wasn't already very well known.

    What the trade war did was nothing much except put the screws on a few US industries, after which Trump went over and signed the treaty with Xi Jin Ping where China got everything they wanted and then some.
    Leaving the US harmed by the trade war far more than China and still not in any position to reclaim it's manufacturing base or try to balance the trade deficit.

    "Because I'd much rather have Trump's aggressive foreign policy against China..."

    Trump keeps speaking up against China, to the US audience. The actual politics he runs seem to be anything but hostile. What he did was beat the war drums and back out of a trade treaty, let it all simmer, and then march obediently back to the table where he then gave China all they wanted.
    Meanwhole back home the US citizenry all ate the bullshit he'd sold them with smiles on their faces, thinking "That done showed 'em good!".

    After which he started pounding out the message that he had been tough on China and all his adherents ate it up like Candy. Meanwhile in Beijing Xi Jin Ping is grinning from ear to ear not believing his luck at finding a gwailo foolish enough to sell out his entire nation in exchange for some PR.

    The only "aggression" Trump shows towards China is the rhetoric he employs to con the gullible into thinking he's actually doing something, while pulling off the same winning formula he's used for 40 years - bullshitting the dumb patsies trusting him with their money for long enough to sell them down the river and scavenge what he can before the bankruptcy lands on his latest venture.

    "...than Biden's head-in-the-sand, "C'mon man, China's not our competitior..." "

    Biden may be the second worst possible presidential candidate for 2020 and I'd trust him only to sell lies not as easy to debunk as Trump's but in this he is at least factually correct. China isn't a US competitor.
    "Creditor" or "Owner" is more accurate at this point in time.

    To overturn that paradigm and turn the clock back to where China's leverage over the US is less than overwhelming will require monumental efforts which will absolutely screw the US economy for about three generations straight. Using policy far to the left of what even we europeans are used to.
    Good luck with that.

    The irony is that you can't even blame China. The idea to shift every cumbersome part of US industry offshore was all on the US from start to finish. A focus on short-term profit was what had you guys selling China the goose laying the golden eggs. And every decision made since just made the situation that much worse, even in recent times. US industry is just unable to abstain from a decent roi within a quarter or two whereas China's proved able to hold out for 50 years until their return of investment starts coming in.
    The sprinter will always lose a marathon, it's that simple. Until US business learns to plan for long-time investments China will simply keep winning this game.

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  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2020 @ 8:16am

    Re: The trade war isn't working?

    The massive rethink of global supply chains was way more affected by the pandemic rather than the trade war.

    Trade war -- China stops buying American goods like soy (huge farmers bailout happened) and things became more expensive for the US to order -- result: American businesses lose sales and pay more but they didn't really stop buying from China or doing their manufacturing over there

    Pandemic -- Supplies from China stopped and no matter what you were willing to pay you couldn't get it, plus global shipping ground to a halt (and still is pretty bad). -- result: American companies start the rethink of their current supply chains

    I think you are giving too much credit to the trade war.

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  35. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 8:37am

    'No, you are!'

    The funny thing is is that if you swap out 'democrat' with 'republican' pretty much all of those are accurate, as Trump and his cult have indeed done/caused them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 10:11am

    Hitchen's Razor

    Occasionally you can see some liberal bias such as when it is (often) claimed that conservative voices aren't being silenced on social media, which isn't nearly as settled or clean-cut as Techdirt writers like pretend it is,

    Mike and numerous others have been asking for evidence of 'conservative voices being silenced' on social media and so-far the response has been 'evidence' that doesn't hold up under scrutiny or just more assertions that it definitely is happening, trust us(or, as an article not too long ago noted evidence that conservatives are actually given preferential treatment), and at that point it does indeed seem to be pretty settled as not happening, or at the very least not happening on the scale being claimed.

    There's no 'bias' needed or involved in dismissing as unfounded claims that aren't backed by anything more than repeated assertions as to their truth.

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  37. icon
    greymatters (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 11:46am

    Re: Hitchen's Razor

    https://thehill.com/policy/technology/447145-youtube-demonetizes-conservative-commentator-after-sayi ng-he-didnt-violate

    https://www.businessinsider.com/youtube-google-censor-court-prageru-first-amendm ent-2020-2?r=US&IR=T

    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2013/05/28/study-finds-fact -checkers-biased-against-republicans

    Here's a snippet from the link above.
    "---as the Lichter study shows, "A majority of Democratic statements (54 percent) were rated as mostly or entirely true, compared to only 18 percent of Republican statements," probably has more to do with how the statements were picked and the subjective bias of the fact checker involved than anything remotely empirical. Likewise, the fact that "a majority of Republican statements (52 percent) were rated as mostly or entirely false, compared to only 24 percent of Democratic statements" probably has more to do with spinning stories than it does with evaluating statements."

    Beyond all of the above, I could give multiple specific examples where content created by conservative voices was deemed to be harassment, or threatening, but liberal voices calling for actual violence against their opponents weren't. The exact same kind of behavior on opposite sides of the political aisle, gets opposite results...

    Yes, Youtube is a private company and can censor if they want to. That doesn't make it right. And no, please don't argue that demonetization isn't censorship- they are literally picking winners and losers. Along with that, they aren't allowing comments and a number of other features for many of these right wingers.

    My point is simple. There is definitely evidence of bias playing out in social media- whether it is through the fact checkers or through the demonetization and restriction of users of their sites, or selective enforcement of their policies.

    I know the refrain- content moderation is a b****, they are always going to get some things wrong, and I could certainly point out a few examples where the opposite is true as well, where extreme liberals were demonetized, but to argue that there isn't a clear slant seems.... willfully ignorant?

    How many popular/famous left wing liberal youtubers do you hear about having to make their case in the court of public opinion in order to force the companies in question to change their restrictions/bannings? Yet somehow we mostly see it happening to right wingers? I consider myself a libertarian, so I expose myself to a number of views from both sides, (I'd highly recommend Contrapoints, for example) and so I don't believe I'm approaching this from as much of a bubble as others...

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  38. icon
    greymatters (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: The trade war isn't working?

    I don't disagree with the idea that the pandemic has had more of an impact in rethinking supply chains. I suppose I worded my argument poorly.

    The attitude is what's important, and supply chains are really only a small part of that equation- what we should be thinking about is the common American perception of China, ideas about how we should view its actions, and how to respond. And for that, I thank Turnip Trump's aggressive stance.

    Traditional foreign political thought was that as we embraced China on the global stage, it would become more democratic. The opposite has happened. And nobody- not Republicans, not Democrats wanted to face the juggernaut that China was becoming. Because it would mean a lot of short-term pain to wean ourselves of our dependence on them. It would be a fight that none of the politicians in power had the stomach for.

    The question that faced Trump was, "Do we ignore Chinese provocations- attempts to steal technology, forced tech transfers, massive subsidies, manipulation of currency, attempts at global censorship, or do we take a stand?" Trump made a clear political calculation, throwing red meat to his base so to speak, but it was also the right call. It was the right call long-term economically, politically, and morally.

    Why is it that he had to be the one to take that stand? Why didn't Obama do that? (and don't even get me started at what a half-assed attempt the pivot to the east was... good idea, but again, no political stomach for that particular battle. The avoidance of tough issues like supporting Taiwan and Hong Kong was shameful. Preaching engagement towards China over tough confrontations was pure cowardice, considering that China refused to play ball on that front in any way, using North Korea like a guard dog... You simply can't engage with them. (I speak as someone having lived there 5 of the last 9 years, and negotiations in good faith will never work considering the dynamics of their politics.)

    Clearly, Biden and the establishment were happy for things to keep going the way they were. This is because they are in a protected industry, like lawyers and doctors. Nobody gave two craps about the average farmer/blue collar worker, as evidenced by everyone being all for trade deals like NAFTA which accelerated the outsourcing. (Remember how Hillary was in complete support when the TPP (which was a major part of the pivot to Asia) was being pushed through while she was Secretary of State , until Trump started focusing on it, showing how it was really bad for the average manual laborer in the USA? Then suddenly, she's against it? Wow... what a turnaround!)

    And yea, Trump is an opportunist, and his desire to make a deal and look good means we probably won't see much meaningful action/results, but without him, our politicians would still be trying to ignore all their bullying and abusive behaviors rather than both Republicans and Democrats now uniting in saying that they have to be confronted.

    Trump shone a spotlight on an issue that was long overdue for a re-evaluation, and so i say that yes, the trade war has done wonders. Its now in the public consciousness that china provides massive subsidies to important industries like solar tech or steel, putting American companies at a severe disadvantage. (yes, I know we subsidize our solar industry as well, but at an order of magnitude lower...) We all know about the Uighur crackdown and the genocide still happening as I write this. We know about the forced tech transfer, the outright government sponsored theft from private American companies. We now know how they are trying to bully other countries, create monopolies in important industries like the rare-earths, buy politicians all over the world, (think Hunter Biden, Australia) These are issues the average American was unaware of untilll.... Trump.

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  39. icon
    nasch (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    None of those references prove what you hoped.

    1: an example of a conservative getting moderated
    2: an example of a conservative getting moderated
    3: a finding that a fact checking organization found more conservative falsehoods than liberals, followed by an editorial claim backed up by zero evidence that this proves the fact checkers have a liberal bias

    Beyond all of the above, I could give multiple specific examples where content created by conservative voices was deemed to be harassment, or threatening, but liberal voices calling for actual violence against their opponents weren't.

    Go ahead then.

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  40. icon
    greymatters (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Ok. I'm confused. Please explain how none of them prove what I hoped...

    How do you figure that none of these equal liberal bias? Conservative voices being moderated despite clear evidence that their content didn't violate the companies policies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    nasch (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Firstly, that article was unclear. Some places it said policy wasn't violated, but it also said "We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies." Secondly, even if we accept that the person was moderated without violating policies, that still doesn't demonstrate a conservative bias unless we can tell either 1) why they were moderated, and no "it must have been because he's a conservative" isn't good enough or 2) liberals doing exactly the same thing he was and not getting moderated. And even 2 may or may not really demonstrate anything since as you say mistakes happen. YouTube makes millions of decisions and non-decisions every day. To pick out two and claim they prove an overall bias is questionable at best.

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  42. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Bloody hell, asked for examples and those are the ones you brought forth... Alrighty then, into the fray.

    From the first:

    Crowder has come under scrutiny after Vox Media journalist Carlos Maza — who identifies as queer and is of Cuban-American heritage — compiled a montage of Crowder using a string of racist and homophobic slurs against him in YouTube videos, including "lispy queer" and the "gay Mexican from Vox." In the clips, Crowder mocked Maza's sexuality, at one point pantomiming oral sex with a microphone.

    Can't imagine why they wouldn't want to be running ads on his videos with amazing content like that...

    Regarding the second, you might want to search TD on that subject, because it's not quite what that article would suggest. Youtube wasn't taking down or 'censoring' his videos, they were flagging them for restricted mode due to the content, and all that meant was that people who opted in to that particular mode wouldn't see those videos.

    During the lawsuit it was also revealed that a whopping 12% of his videos were being flagged for restricted mode(which again is opt-in), which puts him in the same range as The Late Show With Stephen Colbert(12.68%) and notably lower than such other 'conservative voices' as The History Channel (24.43%), Vox(27.27%), Last Week Tonight(49.78%) and The Young Turks(70.62%).

    Speaking of PragurU though they came up in an article earlier this month about the terrible 'conservative persecution' that's floating about these days, and lemme tell you they did not come out unscathed.

    (I'd provide the link but that would cause the comment to get caught by the spam filter, just search TD for 'Yes, Facebook Treats Trump Fans Differently: It Has Relaxed The Rules To Give Them More Leeway' if you want to read the whole thing.)

    In another case in late May, a Facebook employee filed a misinformation escalation for PragerU, after a series of fact-checking labels were applied to several similar posts suggesting polar bear populations had not been decimated by climate change and that a photo of a starving animal was used as a “deliberate lie to advance the climate change agenda.” This claim was fact-checked by one of Facebook’s independent fact-checking partners, Climate Feedback, as false and meant that the PragerU page had “repeat offender” status and would potentially be banned from advertising.

    A Facebook employee escalated the issue because of “partner sensitivity” and mentioned within that the repeat offender status was “especially worrisome due to PragerU having 500 active ads on our platform,” according to the discussion contained within the task management system and leaked to NBC News.

    After some back and forth between employees, the fact check label was left on the posts, but the strikes that could have jeopardized the advertising campaign were removed from PragerU’s pages.

    As for the third... gotta say a seven year old opinion piece by someone who pretty clearly has an axe to grind doesn't exactly make for a compelling case. 'This side is accused of lying more' is only a problem is they aren't lying more, and I'd point you once more to the article I noted about how at least some of the fact checkers are if anything giving 'conservatives' more leeway in that area recently.

    And no, please don't argue that demonetization isn't censorship- they are literally picking winners and losers.

    By allowing content to stay up but simply telling the poster 'we're not going to be paying you for this, or allowing you to profit from it on our platform'? That's quite the stretch as far as defining censorship.

    My point is simple. There is definitely evidence of bias playing out in social media- whether it is through the fact checkers or through the demonetization and restriction of users of their sites, or selective enforcement of their policies.

    Not... really? The plural of anecdote is not data, and while seeing a few well known 'conservatives' getting slapped down for rules violations or even for reasons not apparent may seem like a smoking gun you still have to factor in the fact that you're talking about platforms that deal with hundreds of millions of people and moderation to match, such that if you really want to show 'conservatives' are being unfairly treated you'd need to show a general trend of them being treated unfairly, not just point to individuals.

    I know the refrain- content moderation is a b**, they are always going to get some things wrong, and I could certainly point out a few examples where the opposite is true as well, where extreme liberals were demonetized**, but to argue that there isn't a clear slant seems.... willfully ignorant?

    That's the thing though, if pointing to individual 'conservatives' being treated in a manner that seems unfair is enough to show a trend then it seems that by your own admission it could be argued that the reverse is true. With how many moderation decisions social media platforms deal with on a daily basis I've no doubt that if you wanted you could find basically any category of people being 'persecuted' due to the sheer number of people involved.

    As for the slant, if you want to argue that it exists, you then need to answer the question of 'why?' Social media platforms are first and foremost businesses, while individuals within those businesses are likely to have various biases when it comes to the platform itself the bias that's going to take center stage is 'how can we get more people to use this platform and make us more money?', something which attempting(poorly) to drive off large swaths of people for no reason other than they call themselves 'conservatives' very much is going to conflict with.

    How many popular/famous left wing liberal youtubers do you hear about having to make their case in the court of public opinion in order to force the companies in question to change their restrictions/bannings? Yet somehow we mostly see it happening to right wingers?

    Without context that's a meaningless question, you'd need to factor in 'why were those people banned?' If more 'right wingers' are feeling the banhammer maybe, just maybe, it's because they're acting in a manner that brings it down on them then those on the other side more often?

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  43. icon
    PaulT (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "How do you figure that none of these equal liberal bias?"

    Because anyone who can be bothered to put 2 seconds of thought into the subject understand that simply showing that someone who happens to be a conversative was moderated does not prove bias. You have to also show people doing similarly objectionable things, with similar sized audiences, but different political leanings doing the same things but not being banned. Then address the other non-political reasons why different standards were applied (for example, is this the liberal's first strike but the conservative's 50th? If so they will be treated differently)

    As it stands, all your weak ass links prove is that YouTube don't wish to pay objectionable people for using their platform (though in at least one case they still allowed him use of their platform free of charge), and that idiot conservatives still don't know the difference between evidence and opinion columns.

    Now, do you have anything that an intelligent person would consider proof of bias?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    PaulT (profile), 27 Aug 2020 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "notably lower than such other 'conservative voices' as The History Channel (24.43%), Vox(27.27%), Last Week Tonight(49.78%) and The Young Turks(70.62%)"

    What... you mean that if you put things in the correct context, not only are these poor snowflakes not victims, but they appear to be given special treatment compared to some other voices? Shocked, I tell you...

    "If more 'right wingers' are feeling the banhammer maybe, just maybe, it's because they're acting in a manner that brings it down on them then those on the other side more often?"

    As I often say, if your problem is that the people who align with you politically are being banned for their white supremacist, homophobic and fascist views, the question you should be asking is not "why aren't people on the left not banned as well". It should be "why do I politically align so closely with literal Nazis".

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  45. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 12:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Responding to you, and "that one guy" cause im lazy and don't want to repeat myself.

    I have to say, I'd expect more reasoned criticisms from Techdirt followers, rather than a bunch of ad-hominem attacks.

    I actually don't like or approve of any of those right-wing voices. But I do believe in the principles of free speech, and as Masnik has so often stated, the solution to speech you don't like is more speech, not censoring speech.

    And sure, it may be stretching the definition of the term to call demonitization censorship, but it is definitely making it harder, putting up additional roadblocks to them, nudging them towards not posting at all because of the hurdles put in place. If you have to complain and fight with youtube for every video you make... How could that not be seen as attempts to limit a person's speech...

    Its annoying that people assume I actually belong to that crowd just because I defend them. Again, protections for free speech aren't about protecting popular speech.. which again, Masnik also says. But in your haste to attack me, you both seem to forget these principles.

    It's clear that the opinion article I cited was for the study THEY cited. The other two are just the most famous/obvious examples. Arguing that there's no clear bias unless I can point to hundreds or thousands of individual bannings is ridiculous. You are setting the burden of proof so high that it would only be met by someone funded with a grant... Those two that i did cite were POPULAR conservative voices. What matters is their view count. If you consistently cherry pick the handful of popular accounts, you're doing way more damage than if you banned a hundred youtubers who had a hundred followers each...

    Please- why don't we flip the tables; you accept the burden of proof and show me a single popular liberal voice who has been targeted in a similar way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I make a fuller reply to Paul T. but I would appreciate it if you kept your attacks to attacks on logic rather than ad hominem bullshit.

    And you obviously have never seen Crowders videos. The man is a professional troll, and his homophobic "slurs" were him acting as a shock jock. Give me one video link in which he is seriously racist/homophobic slurs and not being sarcastic/bombastic to make a point. Just one. Go ahead. Do your research.

    as for conservative bias- allowing conservatives to get away with crap... , I get it- with a president just itching for an excuse to try and "crackdown", who is itching to point to liberal bias, I'd be cautious as fuck too. I'd bet dollars to donuts that fear disappears once Trump is out of office, and we start seeing more blatant attempts at censorship.

    frankly, you do make some acceptable points, but the problem with them is that you can't prove a negative, especially with regard to your last paragraph. The fact is that both you and Paul are requiring a burden of proof that is pretty impossible to meet without millions of dollars available to do the actual digging. Why don't we lower it to the one i asked Paul. Give me 1 anecdotal example of a prominent (read: more than 150k followers) left wing youtuber experiencing what we see happening to the conservatives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 12:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "The man is a professional troll, and his homophobic "slurs" were him acting as a shock jock"

    So, you admit he's an asshole doing things that are violation of community standards, but you think he should get a pass because you think he was only joking about it?

    "The fact is that both you and Paul are requiring a burden of proof that is pretty impossible to meet without millions of dollars available to do the actual digging"

    Bullshit. All we're asking is proof of the claim you're making. If you can't prove what you're saying how, why should the rest of us believe in a consporacy that we cannot see happening?

    "Give me 1 anecdotal example of a prominent (read: more than 150k followers) left wing youtuber experiencing what we see happening to the conservatives."

    I will, if I can find one being a Nazi or homophobic idiot to the same level as the ones you're defending. If I can't find one, maybe that's not a problem with the liberals?

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  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2020 @ 1:05am

    Hon Judge, Plaintiff is submitting another document for the record - asking the Jury a question: why Trump would feel compelled to do something for Facebook, getting all out of his way with these unprecedented exec orders, if he was not getting anything in return? The master of quid-pro-quo presidency has suddenly, in this case only, made an exception, or, as I was alleging all along, there is a ton of support coming from facebook and the moment came to pay back for it, helping consolidate facebook already unfair position on the market?
    Hon Judge, before dismissing the case because there are not enough proofs yet, pls wait for the next few articles on this series. My personal estimation is - elections will be a trigger for releasing a lot of behind the curtain documents, and in a few months it will become much clearer how much facebook has helped the alt-right and populist movements to build, consolidate and expand their bubbles.

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  49. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 1:23am

    Re: 'No, you are!'

    What was that sentence again? "Every accusation, a confession"?

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  50. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Wow. The vitriol. I guess that will teach me for trying to engage in a constructive manner. Thanks for diminishing my faith in humanity just a little bit more.

    I love how you directly respond to my arguments with more personal attacks and deflections. Let's ignore the antifa's avocation of violence, BLM's fry em like bacon, and countless other examples. Ignore and nitpick the examples I provide, then claim I'm giving zero evidence. good one.

    but seriously, don't bother responding. Cause I'm done with trying to have a constructive dialogue only to be shat on rather than taken seriously.

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  51. icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 1:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "Wow. The vitriol."

    Wow, if you think that was bad, wait until I inject some!

    "personal attacks and deflections"

    I didn't do any such thing. I did call one of the people you're defending a name for the actions you told me he committed, and I accurately described some of the other videos that have been banned. I did not apply any names to you.

    You're whining about something that does not exist in the comment I wrote, which seems to be par for the course here.

    "Cause I'm done with trying to have a constructive dialogue only to be shat on rather than taken seriously."

    You're doing no such thing. You lied about conservatives being singled out, then whined and took your ball home when asked for evidence.

    "Let's ignore the antifa's avocation of violence, BLM's fry em like bacon, and countless other examples"

    I'm not aware of any such videos. An honest person would be linking to them, not whining that the other person doesn't spend as much time on YouTube as you do.

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  52. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 2:33am

    Re: Re: Re: The trade war isn't working?

    "And for that, I thank Turnip Trump's aggressive stance."

    Except that he has no aggressive stance. He's been shouting a lot to give the impression that he's being "tough on China" but the reality of his foreign policy is that he's given China more leeway and more concessions than any last five or six presidents before him.
    That trade war? Most of the announced tariffs were never implemented - and good thing for the US too, as those would hurt the US by far more than it'd hurt China - so all he's managed to accomplish is saber-rattling at home to the cost of about 200k jobs and a significant cut in US GDP.

    "Traditional foreign political thought was that as we embraced China on the global stage, it would become more democratic. The opposite has happened. And nobody- not Republicans, not Democrats wanted to face the juggernaut that China was becoming."

    If US statesmen were ever that naíve the jokes on them. This isn't the first, second, or tenth time China has made a resurgence as a vibrant power on the world stage through history.
    But I don't think they were that naíve - because no one else was. Instead, skip to the second part of your paragraph about no one wanting to face the chinese juggernaut and add this at the end;
    "...nor did any US politician have the chutzpah to go tell their industry they'd have to cut their projected margins in half by not moving the manufacturing offshore."

    "Trump made a clear political calculation, throwing red meat to his base so to speak, but it was also the right call. It was the right call long-term economically, politically, and morally."

    It might have been if he actually did any of that. Emperor Xi still emerged from this faux "trade war" the hands-down winner. This was carved in stone around mid-2019. And Trump has been running around raising his abject loss to the skies and calling out his "great victory".

    And no dearth of gullible fools exist who ate the bullshit he sold them without even fact-checking it. Go google "marketwatch the-trade-war-is-over-and-china-won" for a decent easily read summary of the proceedings. Even some of Trump's own camp called the result "appeasement and concession".

    "Why didn't Obama do that?"

    Not the platform he campaigned on, and to be blunt any president who campaigns on such a platform is a lying bastard. For the US to breed a new golden goose to replace the one they sold to China back in the 80's will take around three generations of US industry becoming distinctly unprofitable and massive, persistent government subsidies of training a whole new generation of engineers and high-skill factory workers.

    "The avoidance of tough issues like supporting Taiwan and Hong Kong was shameful."

    Because no one wants an unwinnable war. Hong Kong was chinese soil to begin with and it was clear to everyone back in the 90's that when it was returned any Hong Kong citizen who didn't want to be mainland Chinese had better leave. Taiwan would be better off not trying to claim they are China - which is the main contention of the whole dispute anyway.

    "You simply can't engage with them. (I speak as someone having lived there 5 of the last 9 years, and negotiations in good faith will never work considering the dynamics of their politics.)"

    Not quite true. You can work with China well enough as long as it's understood that they aren't shifting their core values. The western focus on the nonsense of "IP" and the persistent demands of the west that China should cripple it's own industry to match those of the west are, and will always be, a non-starter.
    On lower tiers so much of Chinese commerce goes through networking. If you aren't part of the social network you aren't going to get an equitable contract.

    And this may come as a surprise to you, given the quality of your assumptions so far - why should China suddenly be the bigger guy and start playing fair when they now do unto you what you did unto them last generation?
    Don't expect fairness where you have given none in the past, dude.

    "Biden and the establishment were happy for things to keep going the way they were."

    Gonna skip this one since we can just state that Biden and "the establishment" are unable to comprehend and unwilling to sell the US the idea that the next few generations of US citizens will be facing depression while the country re-tools itself to competitively take back manufacturing from China. It's not that they're happy. It's that Biden's backers in the democratic party are facing a house burning down and now have to make the call on which of the kids they get to carry out. Being politicians they'll make that call and then pretend the child they couldn't save never existed. Right now the baby they want to carry out seems to be the US concept of equality and liberty. Not sure I'd trust Sleepy Joe the Windsock with that one, tbh...

    "And yea, Trump is an opportunist, and his desire to make a deal and look good means we probably won't see much meaningful action/results..."

    Actually, no. We are seeing results, of a sort. See, the democrats at least try to preserve their veneer of uprightness which means their malfeasance HAS to be less obvious - there must be no obvious harm.
    Trump has no such limits so he has, in his brief four years, caused more damage to the US, at home and abroad, than any ten democrat fumblefingers you could name.

    "...but without him, our politicians would still be trying to ignore all their bullying and abusive behaviors..."

    You didn't read a single line Obama had to say about China, did you? In 2009 he imposed steep tariffs on select Chinese products for evaluation and the feedback was grim - it hurts the US way more than it does China to start a trade war, even when China, in that case, didn't even retaliate. So it was already known that a US-China trade war was harmful to the US and a net gain for China in the long run. And yet Trump blithely went into that steel trap for the sake of PR.

    Let me posit an alternative suggestion to you; That any political and financial analyst worth their salt knows that there are no good options on the US table. The US painted itself into a corner in the 80's and there's no way out which doesn't require extensive sacrifice by the US citizen. Democrat and republican statesmen who know the politics about this are aware of it and are all in the mode of damage mitigation because they've realize that so far the only solutions on the table so far are the sort of cure which kills the patient.

    "Its now in the public consciousness that china provides massive subsidies to important industries like solar tech or steel, putting American companies at a severe disadvantage."

    You realize that Obama was screaming about this back in 2009? What Trump did was to shoot US industry in the leg and point out that "Hey you're limping".

    "These are issues the average American was unaware of untilll.... Trump."

    And he made people aware they were on the brink by shoving them off it. That "silver lining" really isn't helpful.

    What is more, courtesy of him and the current GOP the republicans are now inherently unable to produce a single candidate, assistant or adviser capable of actually fixing the problem.

    You don't have two good options. You don't even have two bad options. You've got two options of which one is just very bad and insufficient - and the other one is a malicious trainwreck guided by a death cult.

    Talking about the good effects of Trump's administration is like highlighting the positive that the Zodiac killer's murder spree provided much needed public safety awareness.

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  53. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 2:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "How do you figure that none of these equal liberal bias?"

    Because for a liberal bias to exist you need to show that depending on political leaning the same type of content is moderated.

    Admittedly there's a divide here; Several conservatives claim the liberal bias based on the fact that many areas of bigotry and outright racism now falls under the umbrella of what an increasing base of "conservatives" now call "conservative values".

    If racism and bigotry are inherently conservative value then a bias against those values does indeed exist, because common decency is now biased against them.

    If infactual or outright incorrect statements are core conservative values then there is a bias against conservative values.

    If what they discuss is the evils of taxes, bad government money management, the dangers of socializing <market sector X>, or the hazards of <topic Y> and base those arguments on logic and facts then those conservative values probably stand just fine on any social platform.

    It's when those arguments are primarily based on pissing on someone else until they quit that moderation comes into play.

    Lamentably "conservative" values in the US today may indeed be the sort of values which inherently contain racism and bigotry. If that's the case then it is indeed plausible that like the openly bigoted Nazis and the KKK they aren't welcome in social platforms any longer.
    If "conservative" values are the ones Eisenhower used to espouse then those views probably ARE welcome for debate anywhere - except possibly among today's GOP where Eisenhower would come off as a hard leftist liberal...

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  54. icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 3:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    It's not really hard, though these guys do their best to pretend it is.. There are 3 questions here:

    1. Are conservatives being "deplatformed", demonetized and/or banned from social media platforms?

    2. Is this happening only because of their political views and not other actions or content?

    3. Is this happening to them disproportionately, i.e. "liberal" users doing the same things get a pass?

    These idiots love to argue with all the examples they have of point #1. But, they start whining when we point out that it fails the test in point #2 (which is why they refuse so often to give actual concrete examples - they know they're defending the indefensible). Then, when asked to provide their proof for #3, they devolve into whiny children, throw a tantrum and leave the argument.

    They're desperate to pretend they're being subjugated in unfair ways because of their political beliefs, but the reality always seems to be that they're hateful little children that no sane adult would choose to be around, and they can't take the fact that the adults are telling them that.

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  55. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Typical liberal illiberalism. My political point of view is morally correct, you are a racist, bigot, homophobe because you disagree. Great argument bud. Keep up those ad hominem attacks.

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  56. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 4:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The trade war isn't working?

    I can agree with most of your assertions. A few quibbles:

    "You realize that Obama was screaming about this back in 2009?"

    I wouldn't say he screamed about it. he bitched and moaned for about 5 months, and then went ahead and put little to no actual effort behind it, ensuring that the needle never moved. That way he got to have his cake and eat it too- pretend he was being tough on China without any of the actual consequences...

    "Let me posit an alternative suggestion to you; That any political and financial analyst worth their salt knows that there are no good options on the US table."

    I never argued otherwise, and if it reads like I did, then I was unclear. I believe that in making it an actual issue, by forcing everyone to talk about it, and staying on point about it, Trump did us a better service than Obama did, especially as he was at least willing to recognize the harmful effects of TPP and the like, whereas Hillary was calling it the "gold standard". Of course Trump has failed in terms of the actual fallout, but as you say, it was a no-win situation to begin with. But better to start taking the medicine now than wait for the leg to fall off, which is definitely the way the politicians on both sides of the aisle were headed.

    "And he made people aware they were on the brink by shoving them off it. That "silver lining" really isn't helpful."

    I'd argue that people are more willing to take a bullet now than they were in the previous years, as evidenced by rural (Read: farmers) support for Trumps trade war, even as they recognize the damage it is doing directly to their bottom line.

    Talking about the good effects of Trump's administration is like highlighting the positive that the Zodiac killer's murder spree provided much needed public safety awareness.

    to take your analogy to its logical conclusion, talking about previous administrations (Bush, Obama) as if they were really all that much better is really putting lipstick on the murderous pig. (Extralegal drone killings of American citizens anyone?) Yea... Trump and his admin sucks, but we shouldn't fall into the trap of crying wolf at every single shitty think the Trump admin is responsible for. It diminishes our arguments when he really does go over the line. I'd definitely argue that the average American perspective shift on China is a good and important outcome of this admin.

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  57. icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "My political point of view is morally correct, you are a racist, bigot, homophobe because you disagree"

    That guy you hallucinated sounds very wrong. Now, how about you address what I actually said?

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  58. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I would, but every time I bother with you, you ignore my arguments and go straight to the character attack. I've rebutted your arguments multiple times, and you have consistently deflected my responses with personal attacks. To quote Bernard Shaw, "I learned long ago to never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

    If you are actually serious- feel free to reread my comments and actually respond to them at face value. For example, the study that showed Facebook fact checkers were more than twice as likely to flag content from republican sources as from democrat. Such flagging reduces the chances of that content being seen, thus, censorship. The only reason I can think that you didn't respond to that specific issue is that you believe republicans are lying far more than democrats, and if you believe that, I have some nice coastal land in Florida I'll sell you for a song.

    And that's just the first article. Your response to the Crowder article was similarly asinine. Basically saying, "He's a racist and homophobe because I read quotes from other liberals calling him one, so clearly he is." Why don't you do what you keep trying to insist I'm not doing and provide EVIDENCE for your baseless character attacks.

    Unfortunately your argument is: "Several conservatives claim the liberal bias based on the fact that many areas of bigotry and outright racism now falls under the umbrella of what an increasing base of "conservatives" now call "conservative values".

    Anyone with half a brain can translate that to "My political view is morally correct, yours is immoral."

    I could go on an on about each of your arguments and how they just don't even bother to respond to the issue, but yea, let me refer you to the GBS quote above. But if you really insist on feeling morally righteous, go ahead and call all Republicans/conservatives liars, baskets of deplorables, racists and homophobes. See how far that gets you in the next election.

    What I find hilarious is that my original statement wasn't even all that controversial. I said the issue of censorship was unsettled. That it wasn't as clear cut as is often implied here. I have clearly met that goal and then some. I was NOT claiming that conservatives are being systematically discriminated against, I wasn't claiming to have evidence of some massive conspiracy, just that there is a lot of evidence, anecdotal and otherwise, that supports the assertion that it ISN'T SO CLEAR CUT. But yea, go ahead and launch some more straw man arguments. I'll sit here laughing at the ridiculous levels of double think and mental gymnastics required.

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  59. icon
    PaulT (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "I would, but every time I bother with you, you ignore my arguments and go straight to the character attack."

    Because you refuse to provide anything of substance, apart from a few links that were easily proven not to show what you claimed they did.

    "For example, the study that showed Facebook fact checkers were more than twice as likely to flag content from republican sources as from democrat"

    Yes... which surely disproves your assertion that conservative sources are being censored more?

    "The only reason I can think"

    Instead of inventing strawmen you could always discuss what others think, instead of applying what your limited imagination can conceive of. You'll get less negative comeback if you address what other are actually saying, instead of the misrepresentation that you imagined.

    "Unfortunately your argument is: "Several conservatives claim the liberal bias based on the fact that many areas of bigotry and outright racism now falls under the umbrella of what an increasing base of "conservatives" now call "conservative values"."

    No, my argument is that there's no evidence of anti-conservative bias based purely on their political views, and every time you try to prove otherwise you come up with examples of people who were actually hateful bigots who should have been kicked off no matter what their political leanings were. Your only defense thus far was "that homophobic bigot was only trolling for the lulz!". Not good enough.

    "What I find hilarious is that my original statement wasn't even all that controversial."

    Nor was it original. If people overreacted, it's likely because they're tired of countering the same unfounded claims that have been plaguing us for years without evidence. You're not saying anything that hasn't been debunked hundreds of times, unless you have new evidence to prove your theory.

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  60. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Nice. To quote Jake Peralta, "Ya boring."

    Still talking in circles without a hint of self-awareness, without addressing any of my rebuttals with any sort of substance, and continuing to make personal attacks. Buh bye.

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  61. icon
    nasch (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I would, but every time I bother with you, you ignore my arguments and go straight to the character attack.

    No, your arguments have been rebutted directly. I can link to the comments if you need.

    I've rebutted your arguments multiple times

    You have complained that you're being attacked. You've misunderstood how burden of proof works. I haven't seen anything I would call a rebuttal.

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  62. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    must be nice living in fantasy land.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I make a fuller reply to Paul T. but I would appreciate it if you kept your attacks to attacks on logic rather than ad hominem bullshit.

    Feel free to point to any 'ad hominem bullshit', because I just went through my comment again and I'm not seeing any, but funnily enough even if it is in there your own comment gave me the perfect cover: 'I was just joking'.

    And you obviously have never seen Crowders videos. The man is a professional troll, and his homophobic "slurs" were him acting as a shock jock. Give me one video link in which he is seriously racist/homophobic slurs and not being sarcastic/bombastic to make a point. Just one. Go ahead. Do your research.

    I believe Ken White has a rule for that sort of thing. 'Even if you only fuck a goat to prove a point, you're still a goat fucker'.

    'I was just pretending to be a bigoted asshole' does not in any way make his actions less disgusting, reprehensible, or deserving of the hammer.

    as for conservative bias- allowing conservatives to get away with crap... , I get it- with a president just itching for an excuse to try and "crackdown", who is itching to point to liberal bias, I'd be cautious as fuck too. I'd bet dollars to donuts that fear disappears once Trump is out of office, and we start seeing more blatant attempts at censorship.

    Yes I'm sure the mythical thing that isn't happening will get much worse should a certain thing come to pass.

    frankly, you do make some acceptable points, but the problem with them is that you can't prove a negative, especially with regard to your last paragraph. The fact is that both you and Paul are requiring a burden of proof that is pretty impossible to meet without millions of dollars available to do the actual digging. Why don't we lower it to the one i asked Paul. Give me 1 anecdotal example of a prominent (read: more than 150k followers) left wing youtuber experiencing what we see happening to the conservatives.

    PaulT basically already responded with what I would have gone with here in noting that if you make the claim then it's on you to provide the evidence for it, and if you can't it's hitchen's razor for the claim, along with noting that it's the actions that matter, not the political leaning. If a 'left wing youtuber' is acting as reprehensibly as the examples you noted then they damn well should get the hammer too.

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  64. icon
    nasch (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    must be nice living in fantasy land.

    See, this is the quality of your "rebuttals". This is why you're not being taken very seriously. When people push back on your claims, this is all you have.

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  65. icon
    greymatters (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    First off, I honestly have no idea how to respond with the mental contortions that must be happening in order for these arguments to make sense. I've made the evidence and links as clear as day. Your and Paul's refusal to see that I've provided actual counter-arguments is on y'all. To paraphrase Upton Sinclair, It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his argument depends upon his not understanding it.

    And really, you think Crowder is reprehensible? I bet you think Shapiro, or Peterson are also just as bad. Does that mean that you're one of those people who think that every joke about racism is inherently racist? Say goodbye to comedy people, the politically correct police are here! Say goodbye to hyperbole, oh wait, unless its BLM screaming for us to fry the pigs like bacon, or that covid hasn't killed nearly enough white men. Then it's acceptable hyperbole right? Jeeze you people have ZERO consistency.

    As for this little gem you left,"If a 'left wing youtuber' is acting as reprehensibly as the examples you noted then they damn well should get the hammer too."

    Amazing, and here i thought the horseshoe theory of ideologies had been debunked. Whatever happened to the liberal ideal of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." You. are. advocating. for. censorship. How in the holy hell can you consider that a good idea after the countless examples of how that goes horribly wrong on this blog alone? I guess neither of you agree with Masnik when he says that the solution to speech you don't like is more speech. Not very surprising, but certainly disappointing.

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  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2020 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    what you write is entirely inconsistent with Trump inviting Facebook at a private dinner to discuss business and ... poof... a couple of executive orders playing right into facebook's hand. If Trump was not getting help from facebook, he would not have done the dirty work for them.

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  67. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Aug 2020 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I've made the evidence and links as clear as day. Your and Paul's refusal to see that I've provided actual counter-arguments is on y'all.

    If we're not convinced it's probably because your evidence is garbage. One bigoted asshole and a hysterical fanatic got their wrists ever so slightly slapped and you expect people to see that and make for the fainting couches, accepting it as evidence that those poor 'conservatives' are suffering cruel oppression? Please. If you don't make a case you don't get to act shocked that people aren't buying it.

    And really, you think Crowder is reprehensible? I bet you think Shapiro, or Peterson are also just as bad. Does that mean that you're one of those people who think that every joke about racism is inherently racist? Say goodbye to comedy people, the politically correct police are here!

    Someone who 'entertains' people by mocking and denigrating others for what they are? Yeah, 'reprehensible' is just scratching the surface, that kind of person is a disgusting bigot and those that find him funny are little better. If the only way you can get a laugh is by mocking and denigrating other people for what they are then that says a lot about you, none of it good.

    As for the death of comedy I had no idea that it was impossible to be funny without also being a raging asshole/bigot, I guess I've just hallucinated any number of people over the years who were able to be funny without falling into one or both of those categories.

    Amazing, and here i thought the horseshoe theory of ideologies had been debunked. Whatever happened to the liberal ideal of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    You conflate being able to speak and someone else providing a platform to speak from. I'm fine with assholes being able to speak, but I've also got no problem with people or companies telling them 'not on my property'. If they want to wallow in their bigotry they can make their own social media platforms, last I checked there were a few of those for them around though for some strange reason most people avoid them like plague filled cesspits(can't imagine why).

    However, if you really want to stick with that 'meet bad speech with good speech' it looks like I get to break out the 4chan challenge to let you show your dedication to the idea. It's really simple, for a week straight you head over to the Mos Eisly of the internet, 4chan, and head over to their /b board, where people can post (almost) anything they want, the sort of thing that social media platforms would be facing if they went with your suggested 'rule'. At least once a day you must go through the entire list of posts, and while you don't have to expand any of them you must read every bit of text and look at every picture for a few seconds, no matter what it is, to really get an appreciation of all that 'free speech'.

    Do that for a week straight and then come back and repeat the idea that the proper response to bad speech is good speech and while I'll still disagree with you I'll at least give you the respect due for being willing to practice what you preach.

    You. are. advocating. for. censorship.

    Nice try, but no, 'not on my property' is not 'censorship', as the people can always go elsewhere to speak, they just don't get to use someone else's property to speak from without the owner's consent. By the standard you are setting a bar telling a drunk to get out after they were swearing at the staff would qualify as 'censorship', which is just a wee bit absurd

    How in the holy hell can you consider that a good idea after the countless examples of how that goes horribly wrong on this blog alone?

    Because as flawed as moderation can be at times it's still vastly preferable to the alternative of just letting the assholes ruin any social media platform they came across simply because they thought it would be funny.

    I guess neither of you agree with Masnik when he says that the solution to speech you don't like is more speech.

    Nope, unless my memory is really acting up pretty sure he has said on multiple occasions that he's fine with platforms kicking people off or removing objectionable content.

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  68. icon
    PaulT (profile), 29 Aug 2020 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    ...and this is why you people will never learn enough to become a part of reasonable society. When faced with opposing ideas, you back into a corner, whine like a child then disappear not having learned a thing about why you're wrong. You can't deal with reality, so you invent strawmen then lose your shit when people tell you they don't represent the people you are talking to.

    Enjoy your safe spaces and echo chambers, because this is all you'll experience when you look outside of them if you never honestly engage with others.

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  69. icon
    PaulT (profile), 29 Aug 2020 @ 2:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Well, you are the expert on that it seem...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. icon
    PaulT (profile), 29 Aug 2020 @ 2:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "If a 'left wing youtuber' is acting as reprehensibly as the examples you noted then they damn well should get the hammer too."

    That is what his type is missing. The same thing happens in political arguments - Trump gets criticism about openly boasting about abusing women, the comeback is often "well Clinton did it". They expect some kind of backtracking, not the response a morally honest person would say - "well, hang them both for it"...

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  71. icon
    PaulT (profile), 29 Aug 2020 @ 2:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "Your and Paul's refusal to see that I've provided actual counter-arguments is on y'all. "

    The point is, you haven't. You've provided weak-ass many time debunked arguments that don't stand even the most cursory examination, and a refusal to provide actual evidence for your argument.

    "Whatever happened to the liberal ideal of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.""

    It's funny that you call this a liberal idea, meaning that your "side" are happy to censor. But, I still support your right to say something. I just don't support your attempt to co-opt private property to say it.

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  72. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 29 Aug 2020 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I and others have pointed out other motivations for Trump to ban TikTok, including the fact that he was embarrassed at a rally due to TikTok users. I also noted that there’s nothing that proves and no reason to believe that Facebook singled out TikTok by name or anything; I actually used this to show that Facebook’s spokesman was missing the point in his denial.

    More importantly, how is any of that inconsistent with what was written?

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  73. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2020 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    If there is one thing Trump is consistent with, it's his "do something for me, I'll do something for you" attitude. Ukraine, Russia, NATO, Mexico, whatever - he always acts as a sort of salesman, broker, to close what he sees as his "deals". The idea that he went into a coordinated campaign against China which encompasses commodities, industry, 5G, and now social media platforms, and he did all that without clear political returns (shortsighted, egoistic gains), is just not consistent with all his previous actions. This is what I find inconsistent in what you wrote - that a credible motive for his actions is that he was just pissed by the Tulsa rally thing. And in any case Tulsa rally does not explain extending the reach of exec orders to Tencent, which happens to own... Fortnite. So what is the motive there - is he pissed that so many people are playing Fortnite, instead of voting for him? My easier explanation is that Facebook, Google and Apple asked him to put some pressure on Chinese competition, in exchange for non explicit but favorable moderation of conservative content on their platforms. I think that this second explanation makes much more sense, both economically and politically. This is also why there is no proof that conservative voices are actually censored on social platforms - because Trump is in their pocket and they drive the policy.

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  74. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Aug 2020 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    This is what I find inconsistent in what you wrote - that a credible motive for his actions is that he was just pissed by the Tulsa rally thing.

    I think you underestimate his petty and vindictive nature. He was already holding china up as the boogieman to scare his cult into line, the covid-swap meet debacle at Tulsa just gave him a particular company to point to while getting back at them for allowing a bunch of kids to punk him, and between those two factors that would seem to be more than enough incentive for someone like him.

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  75. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Aug 2020 @ 12:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "This is what I find inconsistent in what you wrote - that a credible motive for his actions is that he was just pissed by the Tulsa rally thing"!

    We're talking about a guy who had a decades long battle with an author who described his tiny hands. The man is known to hold petty grudges for many years. Almost everything the guy does that isn't totally transactional is driven by his ego and his inability to take criticism. If you don't understand this, you haven't been watching.

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  76. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2020 @ 1:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    So surely you can point me to examples of exec orders signed because of grudge? The guy is vindictive and short sighted, yes, never denied that. But he is not stupid and much more often than not, when he uses executive powers, he does it to get something in exchange. There has even been an impeachment attempt because he discussed openly a "deal" with his counterpart. Then he said that he should get a finders fee for the forced sale of titkok. So to me, the idea that he had a dinner with Zuckerberg without discussing what they can do for each other is just unbelievable.

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  77. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2020 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Also - I would like to set priorities here. Trump is a corrupt, childish president. First - corrupt. Second - childish. So whenever I look at an explanation for something he does, I look at corruption & shady deals first, childish character second. In this Tiktok case, corruption motives justifies the exec orders against Tencent and then some. If I were to take your argument on grudge, then we could say that he fired Comey and Sessions because they were not nice enough to him, and he is now sending feds against BLM protests because they insult him. Of course not - he is using the federal powers to confront protesters for his personal electoral gain, the very definition of corruption.

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  78. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Aug 2020 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "So surely you can point me to examples of exec orders signed because of grudge?"

    Pretty much anything that he did to reverse decisions made by Obama, sometimes coming straight back with something that does almost the same thing as the one that had Obama's name on it? The man is known to be very petty.

    There's also plenty of articles out there that discuss the idea. Whether you personally agree with it, a lot of people think it's something he does.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/opinion/editorials/donald-trump-california-emissions.html

    h ttps://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-04-19-20-intl/h_94a6bdf85ca1c5e1aa7262eb 626757d9

    https://thehill.com/homenews/news/483156-sally-yates-pens-op-ed-blasting-trump-for-using-ju stice-dept-as-personal-grudge

    "So to me, the idea that he had a dinner with Zuckerberg without discussing what they can do for each other is just unbelievable."

    Whereas, to me, it seems to be the most logical explanation for some of his more illogical actions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Aug 2020 @ 2:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "If I were to take your argument on grudge, then we could say that he fired Comey and Sessions because they were not nice enough to him, and he is now sending feds against BLM protests because they insult him. Of course not - he is using the federal powers to confront protesters for his personal electoral gain, the very definition of corruption."

    Why not both?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2020 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "Why not both?"
    Absolutely, as long as we consider both, what exactly is the mix of motives is secondary in a way. I just feel that with tech companies specifically, journalists and commenters tend to dismiss the corruption dealing angle much more than in other areas of trump policies, falling in the trap of debating unproved conservative censorship, rather than focusing on hints of corrupt dealings that could very well lead to uncover the next (n-th) scandal in how trump manipulates voters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2020 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Fair point you make - perhaps what we can agree on is to consider both angles, without dismissing one or the other upfront.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Aug 2020 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    I get that, and in reality, there's going to a mix of different reasons. I just don't think you can honestly look at this administration and not realise that half of what's happening is because Trump is a child lashing out of those who bruised his fragile ego. If he can profit from that as well, he will go for that angle, but a lot of his actions are as easily explained by a reaction to some imagined or real slight as they are because of the grift.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83. icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Aug 2020 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    As I've mentioned, I have no doubt that both angles are true. But, the choice of things he chooses to react to are often visibly influenced by petty grudges. But, given the TikTok situation as an example, I have no doubt that the primary driver has been his bruised ego because the app was so closely related to his embarrassing failure of a rally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Sep 2020 @ 2:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The trade war isn't working?

    "I wouldn't say he screamed about it. he bitched and moaned for about 5 months, and then went ahead and put little to no actual effort behind it, ensuring that the needle never moved."

    Oh, Obama did announce - and unlike Trump, actually implement - targeted trade tariffs. The feedback was immediate - US industry took a hit while China's never budged.
    The reason Obama, similar to every other president before him since around 1990, has done very little other than telling people about it and exerting limited force is for the same reason neither he nor any preceding president has promised the US irrational impossibilities - they knew damn well any serious attempt would mean instant and lasting recession.

    " Trump did us a better service than Obama did..."

    Uhm...no. shoving someone out of an airplane without a parachute is NOT better service than someone informing the guy he has no parachute and might want to not jump.

    "...he was at least willing to recognize the harmful effects of TPP and the like, whereas Hillary was calling it the "gold standard"."

    Yeah, the various trade treaties are as "fair" as yesterdays gunboat diplomacy. Trump's broken clock being right twice a day still doesn't make him "less bad" than the corrupt status quo.

    "But better to start taking the medicine now than wait for the leg to fall off..."

    The entire point I was making is that Trump didn't prescribe medicine. He has none. He put a bullet in that leg. It's the sort of "wake-up call" which makes actually getting anything done about it harder. His was the worse choice of action, bar none.
    And as I have to remind you, once again, The only part where Trump was anti-china was in his at-home rhetoric, because what he actually DID was give Emperor Xi everything he ever wanted.* China now has a new trade deal which is - for China - a lot better than what they had before the "good and easy to win trade war".

    "I'd argue that people are more willing to take a bullet now than they were in the previous years..."

    There's one born every minute. They took that bullet not so shit could improve in the long run but in a way which wrecked that hope for the future. They martyred themselves for the con driven by a grifter who in aiding himself screwed them even further. And for this they now thank him because the only thing they read and hear is what that grifter keeps telling them.

    "to take your analogy to its logical conclusion, talking about previous administrations (Bush, Obama) as if they were really all that much better is really putting lipstick on the murderous pig. "

    Nope.

    Previous administrations have murdered a lot of people, sure. Let me know when that exculpates murder? We complained about GWB and we complained about Obama. And every time there's someone showing up making the absurd claim that because another murdering bastard has been in office, we shouldn't complain too loudly about the current mass murderer.
    Your logic, by direct extension, means we couldn't argue that Hitler was unfit for office.

    What makes Trump extra bad - arguably worse than GWB - is that no other nation (first or third world) would expect a death toll per capita of even a fifth of what the US has already suffered. Statistically the US current 180k death toll should have been around 30-40k at most.

    The US has had more people die than it lost in world war 1.
    2-3 times what they lost in Vietnam.
    One 9/11 in deaths every two days.
    All civilian.

    His ineptitude kills people in his own nation. Is the rest of the world happy about that? Not really. Neither madmen nor self-serving megalomaniacal clowns are welcome as neighbors.

    "It diminishes our arguments when he really does go over the line. "

    But that's the whole problem! He crosses the line in incredibly bad and harmful ways all the damn time. He does it so regularly he gets away with the sort of crap which would have had Obama or Clinton in an impeachment hearing in minutes just because everyone is too tired and harried to react at anything other than the bona fide catastrophes he's caused.

    China is a typical example - you are trying to argue reasonably about the commander-in-chief's lying through his teeth to the US citizenry at the same time he was selling US interests to China in ways no prior president ever did.

    "I'd definitely argue that the average American perspective shift on China is a good and important outcome of this admin."

    Not one which outweighs the harm done. Particularly when Trump himself is now responsible for making the skewed US-China trade relationship worse for the US by far.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Sep 2020 @ 2:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    Did you even read the part where he proved you wrong?;

    "During the lawsuit it was also revealed that a whopping 12% of his videos were being flagged for restricted mode(which again is opt-in), which puts him in the same range as The Late Show With Stephen Colbert(12.68%) and notably lower than such other 'conservative voices' as The History Channel (24.43%), Vox(27.27%), Last Week Tonight(49.78%) and The Young Turks(70.62%)."

    That right there? Already gives you a few numbers.

    Next up there's a problem worth noting which I brought up in a tangent; Is the current self-identified US "conservative" possibly quite often a racist and/or bigot and as a result current "conservative" values often in violation of social platform ToS?
    If that's the case then the complain about "bias" has merit, but means as extension that current US "conservatives" are ethically unacceptable.

    The the current GOP is littered with racists and bigots is self-evident after even cautious scrutiny of past on-record statesments by their current political poster children.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Sep 2020 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hitchen's Razor

    "...and he did all that without clear political returns (shortsighted, egoistic gains), is just not consistent with all his previous actions."

    It really is. Look back on the long, long time we have of Trump's public record; more than being a con artist who likes to "sell" everyone he meets another bridge - or class at Trump U - he has a nature best described as petty and vindictive. He spent years getting back at a journalist for saying he had small hands, has launched hundreds of lawsuits out what are evidently spiteful reasons, and has a general habit of personally going after anyone daring to criticize him.

    "This is also why there is no proof that conservative voices are actually censored on social platforms - because Trump is in their pocket and they drive the policy."

    True enough. This hypothesis is not eliminated or disproven by the pre-existing facts that trump has an easily bruised ego and a vindictive nature though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2020 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The trade war isn't working?

    Very interesting analysis. Thinking aloud - does that mean that the only way out would be to turn to Europe - specifically, Germany, to try to sort out trade imbalance and industry? In this sense, Trump was horrible. Perhaps any other could do a better job?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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