Senator Klobuchar Proposes An Unconstitutional Law That Would Kill Legions Of People If Trump Were Still President

from the self-evident-unconstitutionality dept

This bill is so bad it was worth a second post.

There is a reason that the Constitution contains the provision, "Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech." And this new bill proposed by Senator Klobuchar (who really should know better) gets at the heart of it. Because what her bill would do is make a law that, at its core, pointedly interferes with freedom of speech by allowing the government to penalize certain expression. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that its choices for which speech to favor will be sound and healthy ones for society. In fact, given the performance of the previous presidential administration, there's plenty of reason to believe the result would be the exact opposite.

The mechanics of this interference are fairly straight forward. Her bill, "The Health Misinformation Act of 2021," would condition Section 230's platform protection to apply only to platforms that moderate user content as the government has decreed they should moderate it. The constitutional problems with this scheme should thus be readily apparent: First, it directly violates platforms' First Amendment rights to moderate user content as they see fit by effectively forcing them to moderate content as the government has decided they should, lest they risk the loss of a critical statutory protection they otherwise would have had. Secondly, the bill inherently allows the government to put its thumb on the scale of deciding which points of view are the allowed ones and which are the ones subject to legal penalty, which obviates freedom of speech since some ideas are obviously no longer effectively free to be expressed if they can attract a censorial government-induced penalty.

The Klobuchar bill would like to pretend that the means somehow justify the ends. The government certainly has a legitimate interest in keeping the population alive and healthy, so it's not an inherently corrupt goal she's trying to further with this bill. She just wants to suppress medical misinformation that has been prolonging the pandemic.

But there's nothing about the bill that confines it to such benevolent purpose. There can't be, because that's not how government power works, which is why we have the First Amendment because we always need to be able to speak out against the government when it gets things wrong.

And we know it gets things wrong. It has gotten things wrong even just with respect to this particular health crisis that the bill is supposedly limited to. At best it made innocent mistakes, like when it discouraged masks early on in the pandemic. But then there were people in the highest offices of government touting hydroxychloroquine snake oil and discouraging social distancing. There are still people in government discouraging vaccines. How can we possibly have a law where the government gets to decide what speech is favored or not when the government itself has, even within the very same health crisis that this bill is supposedly limited to, been so conspicuously unable to reliably make those choices competently? This crisis has already outlasted one administration, and while this one might like to keep people alive with credible, scientific information, the last one did not, and who knows what might be in store with the next one. But this bill would empower a Trump Administration as much as a Biden Administration to take away the right and ability of the public to speak out against its mistakes, no matter how deadly they may be. Because a government that can force platforms to only allow, for example, pro-vaccine messages on its systems can just as easily disallow them as well. And if it does, people will die.

Furthermore, if a bill like this could be allowed for this crisis, it could be allowed for any. The government can always articulate some reason for why free expression needs to be curtailed. And throughout history it has regularly tried. A law like this, if it could get on the books, would signal it to keep trying on every policy issue that can possibly bear on our lives and the security and stability of our country – which is effectively all of them. Because today it's health misinformation the government is unhappy about. Tomorrow it could be elections. Policing. Terrorism. The draft. Even potentially something as banal as tax policy. There's always a reason the government can cite for why society should not be exposed to ideas out-of-step with what it has decided are the better ones.

But it's the people's job to decide, not the government's. Per the constitution, it's not allowed to be the government's job. The Founders got the government out of the business of choosing which views could be permitted which could be punished with its "make no law" admonishment because there is no way for the government to pick the winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas and not risk serious damage to discourse, and with it the democracy that depends on it.

And everyone in government needs to remember that.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, amy klobuchar, ben ray lujan, content moderation, free speech, health misinformation, misinformation, section 230


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Bob Wyman (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 12:54pm

    Protocols, Not Platforms. We must find a way to lead...

    Perhaps I give her to much credit, but I assume that Klobuchar is not an idiot and thus that she recognizes the danger in her proposal. Thus, I am tempted to see this bill as an act of desperation more than as a well-considered approach to a general problem. Klobuchar is not the only one getting desperate. The failure of the technical community to lead by coming up with concrete proposals to address the problem of misinformation and credibility within the constraints of our Constitution is something that I think we will long regret.

    So, how many people who read these posts, or write their own, are actually part of the process of solving these issues? If you don't work at Facebook, Twitter, or Parler, are you at least involved in industry forums dedicated to crafting solutions? Are you a member of the W3's CredWeb (https://credweb.org/) working group? If not, why not? If you're working with some other group, what is it and how can others of us get involved in helping to define the protocols, features, or systems that might make it possible to mitigate this problem sufficiently so that we don't have to see desperate proposals like Klobuchar's being taken seriously?

    bob wyman

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    • icon
      Bob Wyman (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 8:37am

      Re: Protocols, Not Platforms. We must find a way to lead...

      Why was the comment to which this is a reply "flagged by the community?" I can see nothing objectionable in it.

      In any case, I think it is interesting to note that if we had "Protocols, not Platforms," then the discussion would be very different. There wouldn't be pressure on individual companies to censor content since no single company would control the entire discussion. If Twitter were simply one of several clients for a "Tweeting Protocol," I suspect that we'd see various client providers competing based on the qualities of the services they provided. Some would distinguish themselves by offering more effective or easier to use interfaces, others might offer unique moderation services. In fact, we might even see the development of a number of competing content moderation services which could be optionally selected by users. These moderation services would vary according to the focus of their moderation (sex, politics, use of language, etc.) or the techniques used (automated, manual, etc.). It would be more like the distribution of USENET Newsgroups where some ISPs block various newsgroups but any user who wants to access a blocked feed can find an alternative provider. Competing clients and services would also be able to support a great deal of variety in the provision of credibility signals, links to context, etc. We wouldn't have to rely on any single provider to pursue innovation in the way the discourse was supported.

      If there was an open "Tweeting Protocol" that provided for content to be passed through intermediary nodes, as with store-and-forward email, I suspect that there would be many who would argue that those intermediary nodes should not be permitted to impose moderation on messages that flowed through them and might be temporarily stored on their equipment.

      I would greatly prefer a world in which public discourse was distributed via open protocols supported by competitive services and interfaces. Unfortunately, supporting open protocols is often not in the commercial interest of incumbent large providers. (We saw, for instance, Facebook's refusal to support federated XMPP. Later, Google also dropped XMPP support.) We have protocols that could be used to provide what Facebook or Twitter provide, but it is exceptionally unlikely that anyone might successfully build an open system that provides an effective alternative to the existing walled services. This path-dependency should concern us all.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 9:03am

      Re: Protocols, Not Platforms. We must find a way to lead...

      The failure of the technical community to lead by coming up with concrete proposals to address the problem of misinformation and credibility within the constraints of our Constitution is something that I think we will long regret.

      The failure is not in the technical industry, but rather of education. There was also a recent problem of the government pushing misinformation for political objectives, indeed some politicians are still pushing misinformation. The technical industry is severely .limited in its abilities to address and fix social issues, and cannot be expected fix failures of government.

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      • icon
        Bob Wyman (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re: Protocols, Not Platforms. We must find a way to lead...

        if by education you mean training in critical thinking, I believe that while it would be certainly be useful, it is insufficient. Something more is needed. We can't expect the average user to critically analyze every piece of content to which they are exposed. They need triggers or signals to indicate which content might warrant extra analysis. So, where do the signals come from? I suggest that the proper response to "bad" speech is more speech.

        I'm intrigued by the potential that annotation systems might have as technical means to improve the process of public discourse. If every user, as well as "fact checking" groups, were able to make easily discoverable comments on or flag at least public content, then users might be much better able to discover which content should be more carefully analyzed.

        Imagine if web browsers supported an ability, using the W3 Annotation protocol, to create comments, ratings, etc. that users could choose to have displayed next to web pages. The browser might then offer an indication that "100 people approve, 200 disapprove" of the content on a web page or on some part of it. That notification that the content was controversial would be a useful signal for a user who had been educated in the methods of critical thinking and content analysis. That user might then inspect the specific annotations, perhaps filtered in useful ways (e.g. "only show annotations from people or organizations I trust") or employ other methods to assess the apparently controversial content.

        Annotation systems, at least for web resources, operate independently of those resources and thus impose no burdens on publishers. An annotation system like Hypothes.is or Dokieli can provide a great deal of commentary on a site with absolutely no impact on or cost for that site. In fact, many whose content is annotated don't even know it is happening.

        It seems to me that the "problem" with online speech isn't that people are able to say stupid or bad things, but rather that today they can often do so in ways that afford no opportunity for response. But, at least for content identified by an URL, etc. annotations systems can remove ability to speak without response. I think this would be a good thing.

        Whether or not annotations would be a useful technical measure, I must admit that no one has yet figured out how to make such systems popular enough to provide a useful counterweight. Nonetheless, I think it would be useful to create a dialog about how annotation might be used and popularized. From that discussion, we might see at least a partial technical solution emerge.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Protocols, Not Platforms. We must find a way to lead

          With the Internet, and the amount of accurate information that is available from trusted sources, adding more noise is not going to deal with misinformation. Teaching people critical thinking and research will help. The problem, so to speak, is that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Also, responses and counter augments do not need to be on the same platform, especially when a quick search will bring up good starting points with links to expert sources and discussions.

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  • identicon
    Jordan, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:02pm

    Wow

    Even if you could talk to this person and explain the legal ramifications they would lie to your face and claim they're being mis understood.

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      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:27pm

        Re: Re: Wow

        "I need to claim on Techdirt, the only place that I have any actual clout, that everyone over on this other website is an idiot!"

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wow

          Freedom of speech really annoys you people doesn't it?

          Meanwhile how do you know he wasn't also commenting on that thread?

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:36am

          Re: Re: Re: Wow

          "...that everyone over on this other website is an idiot!""

          Because if Klobuchnar's bill is considered in a positive light then everyone positing that view is indeed an idiot.

          It's really ironic that the alt-right is up in arms defending Amy over her attacking the "rights" they've been defending tooth and claw. That's pretty much proof positive that the only thing they were interested in from the get-go was to have a law on the tablets restricting freedom of speech. Even if that law is being built to hinder their anti-vax rhetoric.

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          • icon
            Alph (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow

            So this is something I've been toying with.

            Either the 1rst and 2nd amendment shall not be infringed/abridged and its a Binary matter, or they can both have reasonable restrictions placed on them in specific circumstances.

            Trying to explain to a 1rst amendment "no compromise" individual how their want to punish Social Media companies for kicking people off its platform ties into the 2nd amendment, and that they are hypocritical for arguing for one and not the other. Requires to many mental gymnastics.

            I agree that this law is too vague and could be abused, its a bad law, but we have other restrictions on speech like Yelling fire in a crowded area, just as we have restrictions on Firearms. One could also say that Firearm safety training is part of the 2nd amendment in maintaining a militia.

            It's unreasonable restrictions that need to be watched. This being one of them.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow

              "Trying to explain to a 1rst amendment "no compromise" individual..."

              Lamentably most "no compromise" 1st amendment individuals haven't, in fact, read the first amendment.

              And when it comes to the alt-right specifically they aren't really interested in the 1st amendment. Or the constitution, really. They're interested in being angry. Feeding their addiction to grievance. The people who go into actual honest withdrawal once they stop trying to hate people (and yes, the DHS published a study to that effect) aren't, in the end, in it for principles.

              They just have a narrative which delivers their desired conclusion. If you manage to convince them the narrative is broken they just get a new one which arrives at their desired conclusion.

              Consider that they can't bring themselves to understand 1A's "...congress shall make no law..." and instead try to claim sufficiently popular private property should be considered part of government...what they are quoting suddenly isn't the american constitution any longer. They're quoting The Communist Manifesto.

              Your argument only works with those of us who are reasonable and know the US constitution. And we, frankly, aren't the problem here.

              "...but we have other restrictions on speech like Yelling fire in a crowded area..."

              That specific example has the misfortune of being the most mis-quoted law precedent, ever. Anyone bringing it up probably needs to go read what it was actually about first, because even if you didn't misunderstand the lesson taught, your audience certainly will have.

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              • icon
                Bob Wyman (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 8:56am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow

                Yes, the Constitution says "...congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech..." The relevant question is: "What is speech?"

                I believe that "speech" is that which involves the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc. (i.e. speech has rhetorical intent.) The difference between us seems to be over whether or not we accept that the provision of a communications service, such as Twitter, involves expression or "speech" on the part of the service provider even though that service unquestionably facilitates the properly protected speech of others. I think providing a channel is not speech. Apparently, you think that doing so is speech. Putting aside that distinction, I suspect that you and I are both equal in our ardent support for the First Amendment.

                Also, I don't accept the relevance of the various references to newspapers. For newspapers and for all forms of the "press," the mere act of selecting what they will and will not publish is rightly seen as one of the means by which they speak. The press inevitably has perspective and expresses that perspective not only explicitly, in what they choose to publish, but also implicitly, in what they choose not to publish. (In this case, the failure to speak is speech...)

                And, by the way, I am not "alt-right." Not even close. I am a Democrat, always have been and expect that I always will be. I'm also frequently horrified by what folk on the Right say and I suspect that many of them have much less respect for the Constitution than they claim. However, I'm convinced that no matter how much I may disagree with what they say and no matter how much I wish they wouldn't, it is essential to defend their right to say it. As I've mentioned before, I think the proper response to bad speech is more speech. That is one of several reasons that I've argued in other comments that we should find a way to popularize the use of technical means, such as annotation systems, that would allow us to more effectively respond to at least online speech, whether or not the publisher of that speech provides facilities to do so.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2021 @ 10:21am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow

                  However, I'm convinced that no matter how much I may disagree with what they say and no matter how much I wish they wouldn't, it is essential to defend their right to say it.

                  Nobody is stopping them from finding or creating a site where they can say what they want. You are not defending there right to say what they want, but rather supporting their demand that they can hijack an audience and force their views onto people who do not want to listen.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Aug 2021 @ 7:13am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow

                  "...The difference between us seems to be over whether or not we accept that the provision of a communications service, such as Twitter, involves expression or "speech" on the part of the service provider..."

                  Speaking of ignoring 1A, I guess...

                  • The service provider would be the ISP or the company hosting the hardware. A platform isn't providing a service any more than a mall does when they set up a corkboard customers can use at will.

                  • The platform may not be using "speech" - they're using the "right of assembly" bit of 1A and the right of private property. And that's usually what I lean on when it comes to debates around section 230.

                  "I think providing a channel is not speech. "

                  No, but any legislation forcing a platform to provide a channel is very much compelling speech. The analogy would be between a person who will voluntarily shout the words you feed them, and a person who is forced to do so.

                  In other words, it's not a strict free speech issue for a platform to provide a channel or outlet on their own, but it certainly becomes one when that platform is compelled to provide that channel.

                  "I'm convinced that no matter how much I may disagree with what they say and no matter how much I wish they wouldn't, it is essential to defend their right to say it."

                  In this we concur.
                  I posit, however, that they are not entitled to use my soapbox or bullhorn to do it. They must get their own. Same as they must build their own Parler, Gab, GETTR, etc if they can not abide by the rules on other platforms.

                  They are entitled to speak - on their own property and in the public space. Not in someone else's back yard or on the dance floor of a pub.

                  "That is one of several reasons that I've argued in other comments that we should find a way to popularize the use of technical means, such as annotation systems, that would allow us to more effectively respond to at least online speech, whether or not the publisher of that speech provides facilities to do so."

                  I've a bit of a technical background and I'm afraid to say that the best we will be able to do is a system like Techdirt or Ars where limited audience feedback can rate the individual comments. Because I'm afraid trolls with and without agendas vastly outnumber reasonable people willing to offer input in good faith.

                  The various platforms offering forums have been - and are still - experimenting with input options, feedback options, types of moderation (including with 3rd parties), a metric fsckton of algorithms and neural networks. We can usually leave it to those platforms to hammer out methods which work for their respective audiences; lest they lose those audiences rather quickly.

                  The problem in the OP is that with the best of intentions Klobuchar suggests actual censorship. Thus this entire mess keeps revolving, not around a reasonable discourse on how moderation of user input is to be handled, but on whether the government should stand as arbiter over undesirable speech.

                  "I am a Democrat"

                  Which today lamentably only means "I am neither insane nor an extremist", the democratic party now having so wide a tent that it covers the full political spectrum, from what a european would call hard right to centrist. Eh, with social democracy represented by Bernie, more or less.

                  "I suspect that many of them have much less respect for the Constitution than they claim. "

                  I think it's safe to go out on a limb and call a spade a spade. The rhetoric employed, the policies pursued, and recent polls clearly show that if you can find one in ten republicans even mildly beholden to the constitution you're already bucking bookmaker predictions. Consider that when NPR read the "Declaration of Independence" on their cast the right wing went up in arms over the "liberal marxism" advocated.

                  It's time to abandon the hope of compromise or common ground with the current GOP. The sane ones already jumped ship and became democrats or independents. What you have left now are Trump's Very Fine People who in that infamous CPAC with the golden statue bellowed out a message of Blut und Boden to their ase from on top of a stage shaped exactly like the current symbol of the american neo-nazi movement, the winged odal.

                  Those are the republicans of today.

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                  • icon
                    Bob Wyman (profile), 7 Aug 2021 @ 8:34am

                    Hardware/Software distinctions aren't relevant to speech rights

                    You wrote:

                    The service provider would be the ISP or the company hosting the hardware.

                    Having spent 45+ years in the business of creating and providing computer services, I can assure you that the choices made by implementors concerning what is done in hardware and what is done in either firmware or software are much too arbitrary and anecdotal to be considered relevant in a discussion of speech rights. While most developers may be highly constrained in their practical range of choices, not all are so constrained. Having spent 11+ years working for a company that provided both hardware and software, Digital Equipment Corp, I can assure you that some developers do, in fact, have great freedom in deciding whether a function is performed by hard-, firm-, or software. Their choices do not elevate them to the role of deciders of what is and is not protected speech.

                    The distinction between “ISP” and others is also arbitrary and anecdotal if only because the largest providers of public forums often serve as their own ISPs, or own an interest in their ISPs. It is also the case that those who call themselves “ISPs” often provide services such as newsgroups, email, chat services, etc. that are functionally indistinguishable from those provided by “platforms.” There isn’t really much that distinguishes an ISP from a platform. In fact, if we had more “Protocols, not Platforms,” the only real difference between ISPs and platforms is that one would be more likely to provide support for open protocols while the other would probably rely more on closed systems. But even that distinction would be the result of arbitrary and anecdotal decision histories.

                    From the point of view of system design or architecture, the provision of the network communications functions which typify those considered to be ISPs are largely irrelevant. There is little useful distinction between communication that occurs within a system and communication that occurs between systems. The choice to use remote procedure calls, of any form, rather than local procedure calls, is largely arbitrary. Such decisions involve choices about optimizing investment, addressing performance or capacity concerns, etc. They don’t reflect inherent attributes of a system at the architectural level. Remember, before we had networking, we often relied on single-machine timesharing systems that provided services largely indistinguishable from those we enjoy today – except in scale. Thus, the choice to use networking should be considered too arbitrary and anecdotal to have bearing on discussions of fundamental rights.

                    Some claim that there is some essential difference between a service that merely passes messages in real-time and one that stores messages. This is also an arbitrary distinction since many of the “networking” systems, and even methods for in-machine messaging or procedure calling, repeatedly store messages which are in transit. Given the technologies we use today, storage facilitates the communication function, whether that function is to communicate immediately or with significant delays. It should also be recognized that a platform provider’s decision as to how long data will be stored is largely arbitrary. Some services will only allow a message to be viewed once and will then delete the message, others will allow repeated viewings of all messages ever sent. Some services will provide repeated viewing of messages until they reach some age and are deleted. These are arbitrary decisions that shouldn’t impact our view of the fundamental nature of the service being provided. The length of time that a message is stored is too arbitrary and anecdotal to have bearing on discussions of speech rights.

                    Those concerned with rights should be focused on the fundamental, technology neutral function which are provided. The question should not be: “How is the system implemented?” but rather: “Is this system an essential or dominant forum for public discourse?” For most systems, and some would argue all that exist today, the answer to that latter question will be “No.” Nonetheless, we need to understand what we would do if we ever answered “Yes” to that question. If a particular service or platform does ever become either essential or dominant in supporting or providing public discourse, should we regulate it differently from other non-essential, non-dominant systems? If not why not? And, if so, then how?

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:09pm

    Not such a good idea now is it?

    As with all pushes to give the government more power the one question she should ask herself is 'Would I be happy with my worst enemy being able to make use of this power the day it's put in place to the fullest extent that it even might be reasonably stretched?'

    If, as I suspect/hope the answer to that would be 'no', she would not be happy with a government run by the opposing party having this power, that's a good sign she shouldn't be creating it. If the answer would be 'yes' then that would merely serve as even more proof just how short-sighted and naive(or worse, power hungry) she is being here.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:15pm

      Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

      "As with all pushes to give the government more power the one question she should ask herself is 'Would I be happy with my worst enemy being able to make use of this power the day it's put in place to the fullest extent that it even might be reasonably stretched?'"

      This is the dilemma. The US would almost certainly be far better off as a society if people were forced to have vaccinations, if people with insanely large and unnecessary weapons arsenals had the surplus confiscated, lock up deliberately corrupt white collar thieves, etc. But, the moment the opposing party were in power they would use those same powers that had been established to make lives materially worse for others.

      Herein lies the problem with so many people trying to compromise when no compromise is available. It's pointless to try that with people who have announced they would rather see the country burn than reach a reasonable compromised position. But, the moment you decide that compromise is not the answer and you dictate positions, you hand power to those people to do ore harm when the tables turn, and they always do.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

        "It's pointless to try that with people who have announced they would rather see the country burn than reach a reasonable compromised position" W

        Not just see the country burn, but actually participate in the burning. If anyone doubts you they simply have to look at Portland, Minneapolis, Kenosha, or Chicago.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:44pm

          We could also look to the Pulse nightclub shooting, the Las Vegas mass shooting, the untold number of school shootings over the past two decades, and any other bit of gun violence brought on by both the easy availability of firearms and the willingness of conservative politicians to fight against even the most popular and base-level forms of gun control.

          We could also look at the murder of George Tiller, the Oklahoma City bombing, the murder of Heather Heyer, and any other form of right-wing violence/terrorism.

          Your whataboutism is boring. Try a new song.

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:26pm

            Re:

            Try this tune.. California has the strictest gun laws in the country, yet they have the highest gun death rate. Hell, Chicago alone has some 4K shootings each year. I'm all about getting rid of guns, as long as the Gov gets rid of theirs first.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:28pm

              You’re just mad because you can’t get an MRAP as easily as Sheriff Buford T. Justice can, aren’t you, Squidward?

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              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:36pm

                Re:

                You're scared. I get it. Rest assured; Just because the large man standing beside you has the right to carry a gun doesn't mean he's got a Uzi under his jacket. Just like the vast majority of people that own cars don't drive 100MPH. Or the vast majority of people that drink alcohol don't guzzle it thru a funnel and jump in a car. Or the vast majority of people that smoke weed don't own a Miami vice rated fast boat and smuggle it in from South America.

                You will always have criminals. That doesn't mean everyone else should lose their rights. It just means you need to do a better job policing the law breakers.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 8:48pm

                  Re: Re:

                  “You're scared. I get it.”

                  That projection is amazing.

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:15pm

                  Re: Re:

                  "You're scared. I get it. "

                  Fear varies. I'm not so pant-shittingly afraid of the people around me that I need to carry a gun on me at all times, but then I don't live in the US.

                  On the flip side, there's a far more significant risk of being shot in a public place in the US than there is in most first world countries, so why wouldn't you be at least concerned that today's the day that one of you gun nuts snaps?

                  Last time I was in the US, I wasn't scared of guns and the people who might carry them per se, but you do think about these things while on holiday. There were 3 mass shootings during that holiday, one in the same state I was staying. Where I'm from the gap between shootings can be measured in years, sometimes decades.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:18am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    ...and meanwhile the Swiss can obtain fully automated M16's, Kalashnikovs and Galils with an easily obtained license yet have one of the smallest gun murder rates per capita in the world.

                    It's pretty clear that many uniquely american problems stem from a deep set festering rot in their society. And them denying any such problem exists in the land of the free and home of the brave just keeps digging that rot deeper by the year.

                    • Police being able to, in most states, rob you blind at mere suspicion, through civil forfeiture.
                    • Stand Your Ground laws enabling any person to outright murder any other person and walk by claiming they "feared for their life".
                    • A society so riddled with violence "fearing for your life" often just means "seeing another person".
                    • A nation obsessed with seeing violence or lawsuits as the normal solution to every problem.
                    • Law enforcement so riddled with white supremacists even their FBI considers it the most credible internal threat to the US in a world where the american military has spent decades dropping bombs on armed civilians related to some of it's citizens from other nations.
                    • The whole nation seeded with actual bona fide Doom Cults like the Seventh Day Adventists and their belief in The Great Disappointment.
                    • Poverty rates only on par with other G20 countries because the US redefined poverty.
                    • The religious belief that despite all of the above the US is paradise upon earth and certainly better than any other nation to live in.

                    Used to be a "patriot" was someone who held their nation to strict standards and wanted it to evolve and grow. In the US? It's "my country, right or wrong"-type nationalism. Turns out that in the end King George won.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 4:35am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      There's certainly other problems than the simple availability of guns. The problem with the US is that it's so concentrated. In Switzerland, gun ownership is widespread due to military requirements. In the US, while the per capita level of ownership is as high, the actual level of gun ownership is more concentrated. Only around 37% of household own guns, meaning that the people who don't own guns are offset by the people who feel the need to own 20 of them.

                      I'm not concerned by guns on their own, I'm concerned by people who think they need to walk around in public with one of their extensive collection.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 11:17am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Only around 37% of household own guns, meaning that the people who don't own guns are offset by the people who feel the need to own 20 of them.

                        I'm not concerned by guns on their own, I'm concerned by people who think they need to walk around in public with one of their extensive collection.

                        If you believe that the 2nd amendment existed to allow the citizens to bring down a government that got too uppity, you're out of luck. The US military and law enforcement structure ​is so well-armed compared to the citizenry that an armed uprising without their support is doomed.

                        If you believe that the 2nd amendment was enacted just to allow citizens to be able to defend their homes against bad actors, then a followup question would be "does owning 50 guns allow you to defend your home more effectively than owning 2?"

                        I'm not opposed to gun ownership, but I do think it needs sensible restrictions. Something like being able to own a pistol or two for home defense, and a rifle for hunting, and no more. A collector can have guns that are rendered inoperable. Nobody needs a home arsenal.

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                        • icon
                          Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:54pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          If you believe that the 2nd amendment existed to allow the citizens to bring down a government that got too uppity, you're out of luck. The US military and law enforcement structure ​is so well-armed compared to the citizenry that an armed uprising without their support is doomed.

                          Well, look what happened on January 6 as a counterargument…Then again, 1/6 was indeed an inside job…

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:36pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Well, look what happened on January 6 as a counterargument…Then again, 1/6 was indeed an inside job…

                            That kinda supports the point though, doesn't it? Would they have gotten as far as they did without help?

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                            • icon
                              PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 11:59pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              All you have to do is contrast with the gassing of BLM. People standing outside doing nothing faced greater numbers and more violent opposition than people who had literally stormed the building promising to hunt and kill the vice president.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 11:58pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "2nd amendment existed to allow the citizens to bring down a government that got too uppity,"

                          Yeah, militias that were meant to stand instead of a government military. That didn't work out so well, from what I recall.

                          "a followup question would be "does owning 50 guns allow you to defend your home more effectively than owning 2?""

                          The sensible answer is "no".

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                      • icon
                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:56am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "I'm concerned by people who think they need to walk around in public with one of their extensive collection."

                        Even there. I think I wouldn't be shit-scared if I saw a swiss man walk around with a handgun or a slung rifle in Switzerland.

                        In the US, where "stand your ground" means the benighted moron can gun down anyone in the vicinity as long as he can establish that he was afraid for his life because Black Man Bad, Gays Will Give You Cooties, or The Guy Checking His SmartPhone Was Going For His Gun...I would be a lot more afraid.

                        And so would everyone else. Armed or not.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:36am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    "Fear varies. I'm not so pant-shittingly afraid of the people around me that I need to carry a gun on me at all times, but then I don't live in the US."

                    I get what your saying. I grew up with guns. I have a couple of pistols and a rifle. I don't carry them around like some kind of militia nut or anything, but I do have them.

                    "On the flip side, there's a far more significant risk of being shot in a public place in the US than there is in most first world countries, so why wouldn't you be at least concerned that today's the day that one of you gun nuts snaps?"

                    Absolutely concerned. You will always have nutbags. Be it guns, cars, booze, church, etc. Hell, you could take out a bunch of people in a crowd with a high speed oversized truck if you wanted too. I don't really fear the guns, i fear the actual people and underlying sociological reasons that cause them to want to kill many people to start with.

                    I don't think you can have the freedom to own a gun, and NOT have some instances of people using them illegally. Just like you can't have the freedom to own cars, and not have instances where they are used illegally.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 8:03am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "i fear the actual people and underlying sociological reasons that cause them to want to kill many people to start with."

                      That's bad enough. But then we have the various "Stand your Ground" laws and similar legislation...

                      When you know that the gun nuts know they can kill anyone they want if they can claim they were afraid enough, you too will have good reason to fear for your life in public.

                      "I don't think you can have the freedom to own a gun, and NOT have some instances of people using them illegally."

                      Of course not. The problem crops up when you have a society where everyone has good reason to fear everyone else because there are bloody laws stating that as long as you're afraid enough murder is a walk-away misdemeanor.

                      At that point you have a nation where...murder is as normal as purse-snatching is in other countries. Rolling that mindset back from a whole culture raised to it is...not going to be easy.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:11pm

              Re: Re:

              Yeah, and anyone interested in honest debate would know why those discrepancies exist well enough not to erect strawmen over here.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:52am

              Re: Re:

              "Try this tune.. California has the strictest gun laws in the country, yet they have the highest gun death rate."

              And Switzerland has a law mandating every adult over 18 to have in their house a fully functioning fully automatic military assault rifle and handgun. Their laws allow full-auto weapons with a license and non-automatic weapons without barriers to any resident. Yet they have one of the smallest gun murder death tolls in the world, by proportion.

              Sweden has more high-power hunting rifles per capita than the US does. And a far smaller gun murder rate, proportionally.

              Washington D.C. and Mexico city have some of the most draconian gun laws in the americas yet some of the highest gun murder rates, worldwide.

              TL;DR?

              It's not the access to guns which is the issue. It's the mental health of the citizenry which is responsible for the abuse of available weapons, and a culture which insists the answer to any problem is found in force of violence.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 8:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: There’s always one.

          Found the racist!

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      icon
      Bob Wyman (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:47pm

      Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

      It is clearly wrong for the government, or some corporation, to have the power to judge and control the content of public discourse. But, it is also quite problematic to endure a system that allows lies and misinformation to be spread as easily as they are today. So, where is the middle ground?

      What can be done to mitigate the problem sufficiently so that fools are not so easily tempted to encourage censorship?

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      • icon
        Cathy Gellis (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

        "It is clearly wrong for the government, or some corporation, to have the power to judge and control the content of public discourse."

        These are two very different things. We can always have more companies; but there only is one government.

        Sure, there may be issues with moderation choices companies make when they either make too many or too few (which they sometimes even do all at the same time!). But the consequences are nowhere near as severe as when it's the government making those choices about what speech to favor.

        Because a company's bad choices doesn't prevent you from getting a company that could make better ones; as long as you have the right to free speech you can even go start your own. But a government's bad choices can prevent you from ever having a better company, or, worse, a better government that might make better choices.

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        • icon
          Bob Wyman (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

          You wrote: "We can always have more companies; but there only is one government."

          Well, any government that exists today is only the latest in a very long sequence of previous governments...
          In any case, this often-cited government v. corporation distinction doesn't ring true for me. I think the reality is that at the time when the US Constitution was written, it simply wasn't conceivable that any non-governmental entity, other than perhaps a Church, would be able to accumulate sufficient power to have significant control over public discourse. But, today, some private entities at least match, if not exceed, the ability of government or churches to control public discourse.

          Madison's first draft of what became the first amendment read, in part:

          "The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable."

          In Madison's first draft, the focus was on protecting the "right to speak," rather than being limited to just who (e.g. the government) might be interfering with that right. My personal feeling is that once any entity, government or not, accumulates sufficient power to deprive or abridge our ability to engage in public discourse, then we should be concerned and seek to redress that power.

          The issue here is with the possession and use of power over public discourse, not just with who might be wielding that power.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:20pm

            I have One Simple Question for you.

            Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

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            • icon
              Bob Wyman (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:21pm

              Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

              Certainly the government should not be able to compel "any" privately owned service to host speech, however, the government does compel common carriers, such as telephony providers, to carry speech without moderation. Similarly, I think the government should be free to compel at least some web services to refrain from moderation of legal speech -- but only some, not "any."

              If one establishes a purportedly neutral, agenda-free channel for communication, and if that channel is successful in becoming an important part of the infrastructure for public discourse, I believe that the government should be free to declare it a common carrier and constrain its ability to moderate legal speech. On the other hand, something like a web service for "conservative" or "liberal" discussion, or a service hosting topical discussions, such as "dog breeding," should not be compelled to carry content not fitting that service's charter.

              My personal feeling is that services like Twitter, Facebook, and a very few others, have grown to the point where they are, in fact, essential elements of our nation's, if not the world's, infrastructure for public discourse. As such, they should be regulated in order to protect that public discourse from which they profit. These channels are distributors of general discourse, and, like many other distribution systems, they have many of the characteristics of "natural monopolies." Thus, they can be reasonably regulated in the same way that we regulate telephone companies, electric and gas distributors, or operators of our water and sewer supplies.

              I think the real danger is not in the regulation of a few, exceptional services, but rather in attempts to write or enforce rules that apply to all providers of discourse-based services. The danger is in writing general laws to control exceptional circumstances. It is essential that we recognize that not all communications channels are significant enough to warrant regulation and we should seek to regulate as little as possible even when regulation is justified. Also, we should recognize that even within the services owned by a single private entity, there should be distinctions drawn. For instance, rules that might apply reasonably to Twitter or to Facebook's public channels should not apply to a Facebook group that I host for discussions between fellow alumni of my high school. My "Alumni Group" is provides for a limited, topical discussion, it is not a general channel for public discourse. As such, it should be protected from external control even though other Facebook services are, I think, more reasonably regulated.

              So, No, I can't give you a Yes or No answer. The best I can do is say that it depends on the nature and power of the service. But, the mere fact that a service is privately owned is, I think, insufficient to determine if it should or should not be subject to regulation.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:43pm

                Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                however, the government does compel common carriers, such as telephony providers, to carry speech

                And the Internet equivalent of those are the ISPs, and net neutrality is the required law.

                My personal feeling is that services like Twitter, Facebook, and a very few others, have grown to the point where they are, in fact, essential elements of our nation's,

                And pre-Internet a few Newspaper owners, Studios, labels and other publishers exercised even more control over what could get published, and who could get published. There was no call for them to be forced to publish other peoples words, and most people has little beyond conversations and exchange of letters between themselves and friends and acquaintances. These days even 8kun gives people a far greater reach for their words than existed before the Internet.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:33pm

                Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                “I think the government should be free to compel at least some web services to refrain from moderation of legal speech -- but only some, not "any."

                Let me introduce you to the First Amendment.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 6:21pm

                Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                refrain from moderation of legal speech ... constrain its ability to moderate legal speech

                Time to break out the quote file for a quick copy/paste from one of my earlier comments again I see...

                'As a reminder racism is constitutionally protected speech.

                Sexism is constitutionally protected speech.

                Arguing in favor of torturing gays until they 'give up their sinful ways', constitutionally protected speech.

                Claiming that the nazis had the right idea and it's a shame they were stopped before they could really do something about those shifty jews, constitutionally protected speech.

                Saying that vaccines not only don't work they actively make things worse? You guessed it, constitutionally protected speech.

                Anyone who tries to argue that platforms should limit themselves to only excluding unconstitutional speech is arguing that all of the above and more should be exempt from moderation.'

                The store alongside the road is not the road. It makes sense to regulate the road(internet access in this case) because you need it to get to any of the stores(platforms) and losing that access costs you access to all of the stores/platforms, however stepping in and telling individual stores/platforms 'you're not allowed to set rules for customers/users because you're so popular' is something else entirely.

                'Popular' does not a monopoly make, and certainly not a natural monopoly, so if that's what you're going to use to justify regulations you're going to need to come up with something a bit more substantial.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 6:52pm

                  Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                  And stating that Koby is a goatfucker, constitutionally protected speech.

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                • icon
                  Bob Wyman (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 7:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                  Yes, even truly vile speech is protected. As has been demonstrated in cases like that concerning the Skokie Nazi march, even anti-Semitic gutter trash have the right to spew their filth. I do not suggest that we should limit their rights -- as much as I might wish they didn't use them. The problem, of course, is that any attempt to constrain the anti-Semites is likely to eventually have the unintended consequence of limiting the speech of "good" people. Fortunately, most speech is protected.

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                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 7:48pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                    You seem to be missing the point I was aiming for, I'm not arguing that their speech isn't constitutionally protected legal speech, it is, I'm pointing out that if you want to argue that platforms be required to host all 'legal' speech you are arguing that privately owned platforms must host that speech and more whether they want to or not, in direct conflict with their first amendment rights.

                    A sexist, racist, bigot in general or just a crazy person may have the right to speak but that does not and never has included a right to a platform to speak from(even the government isn't obligated to provide one of those), that was true when newspapers were the primary method of widespread dissemination of speech and I see no reason to change it now that digital platforms are taking up the position.

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                    • identicon
                      That Other Guy, 28 Jul 2021 @ 10:31am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                      Companies aren't people no matter how much they want to be, and their for aren't entitled to the same first amendment rights that citizens of the US are. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become the de facto public square of the 21st century and as such shouldn't have the right to wall off that public square from people they find objectionable. just like the Government doesn't have the right to escort any soapbox preacher out of an irl public square. I don't get why people are so comfortable giving NGO so much power to over their speech.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 10:40am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                        Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become the de facto public square of the 21st century and as such shouldn't have the right to wall off that public square from people they find objectionable.

                        You can keep repeating it all you like. It's still not true, and it's certainly not the law. Otherwise, sites like Parler, Gab, and Frankspeech (someday) would have to allow my opinions about simple-minded, whiny, bitching, conservative rubes who do nothing apart from complain. Well, that and a nice 'your god doesn't exist, and if he does, he's quite the asshole' to trigger the sniffers.

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                        • icon
                          Bob Wyman (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 4:17pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                          Repeatedly complaining that others are repeatedly claiming something is not very useful. It is apparent that you disagree with the idea that corporations should have different (often lesser) rights than people do. That is fine. You have a right to your opinion. But, others also have a right to maintain their disagreement with you. The issue here isn't the repetition, It is that we differ in how the law or Constitution should be interpreted.

                          Yes, the Supreme Court seems to agree with you that "Corporations are People," however, that remains a controversial opinion on which we should be free to differ -- even if, for the moment, that disagreement has little impact. Things may change. As we've often seen in the past, the Supreme Court may change its position once the full consequences of their past decisions are made clear. It is not guaranteed that the Supreme Court will forever maintain its current interpretation of the Constitution. As does everyone, they occasionally make mistakes and later correct them.

                          Personally, I find it very suspect that a corporation, other than one that qualifies as "Press," should be granted broad speech rights, particularly when those rights include an ability to restrict the ability of others to speak as they wish. My concern here is for non-press organizations who are in the business of making money by hosting or facilitating the speech of others rather the business of broadcasting or publishing their own speech. Thus, while I would strongly oppose any suggestion that the New York Times should be forced to publish anything that anyone might want published there, I am much less concerned about restricting the ability of a purely facilitative "carrier" service (like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc.) to restrict the legal speech of its users.

                          Under long-established law, we frequently impose on commercial entities an "obligation to serve" in a non-discriminatory manner. Operators of distribution systems (water, gas, electricity, telephony, etc.) are often required to provide service to all who request it -- whether or not they agree with the purposes for which their services will be used. (A telephone company must provide service to its union members, to those who oppose its policies in rate cases, and even to its competitors.) While such services are allowed to establish reasonable interconnection standards, intended only to preserve their capacity to serve, they can't otherwise restrict the provision of service for legal purposes.

                          I don't see how the distribution, for profit, of packets of data via social media sites, email systems, or any other interchange systems, differs enough from the distribution of any other good to require that their distributor be granted a right to control the content of what it distributed.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 5:26pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for y

                            The problem with forcing companies to carry speech is that those demanding that right are also those people who sill drive the regular users away from the site. If you restrict a sites ability to moderate speech, you also restrict their right to build and maintain a community that the majority want to join.

                            Also free speech and freedom of the (printing) press has never guaranteed that someone can use the outlet that they wish, or that other will hand over the audience that they have built, just that the government will not prevent them speaking or publishing their own words at their own expense.

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                            • icon
                              Bob Wyman (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:27pm

                              Moderation is okay -- if it is chosen by users (i.e. optional)

                              I am fully aware of the value of content moderation and often regret that better moderation isn't available. (I would really like to be free of all Facebook posts concerning sports or that are "quizzes," even when forwarded by folk I follow.) My objection is to the channel itself imposing moderation without my consent or input. I would not even object to Facebook, Twitter, etc. providing a moderation service to accompany their channel -- as long as I could opt out of it. Ideally, the channel services would others with access to the interfaces needed to build competitive moderation services. (Just as telephony operators are often required to provide others with access, at reasonable cost, to interfaces equivalent to those used by the telephony service when delivering value-added services. I'd like to see a generalization of this rule applied more broadly.)

                              If content moderation was optional and competitive, I think we'd see a great deal more useful innovation in moderation systems and much happier users.

                              The problem with non-optional moderation wired into the channel itself is that there is no way that any single operator can select "community standards" that accurately reflect the standards of all the different communities that use the channel. A simple example can be found in practice of moderating pictures that show exposed female chests. While there are many communities that applaud such moderation, and there are even some that would require it by law, here in New York, it is completely legal for women to expose their chests in public. So, how can a service justify banning the portrayal of something that is legal in this state? Is Facebook a higher authority than our State's Legislature or our Courts? I don't think so. On the other hand, individual New Yorkers, who might be offended or disturbed by exposure to this legal behavior, should be free to choose moderation services that shield them from such unwelcome sights. It should be the individual's choice, not the channels' or the platform's choice.

                              Community standards change over time. If we had had the Internet 100 years ago, we might have seen services that chose to ensure that blacks were excluded from "mixing" with whites or that Jews or Muslims were excluded. In those days, a service provider might have reasonably said that failing to prevent such mixing would hurt the commercial prospects for their service. Many would have accepted that as a reasonable belief. (Even today, we remain burdened with people who would agree with such a claim and who regret that such selectivity isn't the norm...) Nonetheless, it should be clear that this once "reasonable" moderation and selection would have caused a great and enduring harm. The problem here is that there may remain some kinds of statement, or type of speaker, or whatever, that is broadly considered a proper subject of moderation today but that we will discover, at some future time, should not have been moderated. One way to avoid non-optional moderation that enforces implicit and often unrecognized bias would be to ensure that individuals, not channels, are the ones who select the moderation regime.

                              So, no, I don't object to moderation per se. Rather, I object to the providers of channels which have become important components of our nations' infrastructure for public discourse imposing their idea of appropriate discourse on the rest of us. I believe moderation should be considered a value added service and I'd like it to be a competitively provided service. In any case, if moderation is to be done, it should done optionally and with the user's approval, it should not be required.

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                              • identicon
                                Rocky, 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:44pm

                                Re: Moderation is okay -- if it is chosen by users (i.e. optiona

                                Rather, I object to the providers of channels which have become important components of our nations' infrastructure for public discourse imposing their idea of appropriate discourse on the rest of us.

                                Here where your thinking fails. If people didn't like how a particular social platform is moderating content, why are a majority of people still using it?

                                In any case, if moderation is to be done, it should done optionally and with the user's approval, it should not be required.

                                Why? The owners of a social media company can set any rules they want in regards to moderation, what you want is that they should allow content on their platform they don't agree with. If for example one of the owners is of Jewish descent, how strongly do you think that person would feel about hosting content from nazis and white supremacists?

                                You whole argument is still rooted in the idea of forcing speech upon unwilling parties with the red herring thrown in about "optional moderation". You just have to ask yourself how well that would work by telling us of what kind of company would want to be publicly associated with bigots, misogynists, nazis and racists.

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                                • icon
                                  Bob Wyman (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 9:15pm

                                  Re: Re: Moderation is okay -- if it is chosen by users (i.e. opt

                                  You asked:

                                  If people didn't like how a particular social platform is moderating content, why are a majority of people still using it?

                                  In a democratic system, I believe we should be seek to protect the rights of minorities and not be guided only by the opinions or preferences of the majority. The exclusion of some, simply because most approve of that exclusion, is not a compelling case for exclusion.

                                  the red herring thrown in about "optional moderation".

                                  It's not a "red herring." I am trying to distinguish between what should be the subject of regulation and what should not.

                                  If we had Protocols, Not Platforms, as proposed by Mike Masnick, any moderation would be optional and implemented at the edges of the network since there would be no central component that could impose global moderation. Even if moderation was built into some implementations of protocol clients, users who disagreed with that moderation would be free to either switch to a new client or even to build their own. (Think about the way that spam filtering is done for email -- its all at the edges since there is no "central authority" able to inspect and filter all email traffic. Individual email services can filter what comes into or out from them, but no service can filter what flows between other services in the same email system.) I believe that some of the attributes inherent to "Protocols, Not Platforms" are things that we should require of platforms whose failure to support open protocols prevents our enjoying their benefits.

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                                  • icon
                                    That One Guy (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 12:52am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Moderation is okay -- if it is chosen by users (i.e.

                                    In a democratic system, I believe we should be seek to protect the rights of minorities and not be guided only by the opinions or preferences of the majority. The exclusion of some, simply because most approve of that exclusion, is not a compelling case for exclusion.

                                    Just to be very clear which 'minorities' do you think are currently being excluded from social media, which 'rights' of theirs are being violated by doing so and why do you think they are suffering that 'exclusion'?

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                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2021 @ 3:48am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Moderation is okay -- if it is chosen by users (i.e.

                                    You are making the mistake that participation in a discussion means that the people involved use the same platform. That has never been a requirement, as so long as all parties can read the words of all other parties, should they so desire. They can respond on a different platform. Pre-Internet, that was the way that political discussion was carried out via papers with greater or lessor lean towards one of the parties.

                                    Almost all of the pressure to force social media sites to accept any political speech is coming from those who wish to forceable convert everybody to their political views, and/or suppress others whose race, sexuality, religion and politics that they disagree with. Those are also the people who will work overtime to get round any filtering used to protect their targets, and create new logins to bypass block lists.

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                                  • identicon
                                    Rocky, 29 Jul 2021 @ 11:53am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Moderation is okay -- if it is chosen by users (i.e.

                                    In a democratic system, I believe we should be seek to protect the rights of minorities and not be guided only by the opinions or preferences of the majority. The exclusion of some, simply because most approve of that exclusion, is not a compelling case for exclusion.

                                    Now, please tell us what minorities are currently being excluded by the majority? Be specific and why those minorities are being excluded.

                                    It's not a "red herring." I am trying to distinguish between what should be the subject of regulation and what should not.

                                    Regulating moderation is regulating speech which is against the first amendment.

                                    If we had Protocols, Not Platforms, as proposed by Mike Masnick, any moderation would be optional and implemented at the edges of the network since there would be no central component that could impose global moderation.

                                    Which is completely different from forcing the current crop of social platforms to carry speech they don't want to be associated with.

                                    I believe that some of the attributes inherent to "Protocols, Not Platforms" are things that we should require of platforms whose failure to support open protocols prevents our enjoying their benefits.

                                    So, back to forcing platforms to carry speech they disagree with yet again.

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 4:58am

                            I’mma just handle all your most recent comments in this one for clarity and conciseness.

                            I find it very suspect that a corporation, other than one that qualifies as "Press," should be granted broad speech rights, particularly when those rights include an ability to restrict the ability of others to speak as they wish.

                            No company in cyber- or meatspace can be forced to host third-party speech it doesn’t want to host. If that fact somehow “restricts” your free speech rights, your rights weren’t all that “open” to begin with.

                            I am much less concerned about restricting the ability of a purely facilitative "carrier" service (like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc.) to restrict the legal speech of its users

                            GMail, you can get away with calling a “carrier” service. (Even then, I’d still be wary of doing so.) Facebook and Twitter, not so much. As Mike pointed out, “carrier” is about transport; Facebook and Twitter don’t qualify as carriers because they host speech. Whether anyone reads that speech doesn’t make the services carriers.

                            we frequently impose on commercial entities an "obligation to serve" in a non-discriminatory manner

                            And Twitter, Facebook, etc. all work under those rules. They’re not allowed to boot people only because they’re Black or they’re gay. But political affiliation is not a protected class; until it is, those services are free to boot people for posting political speech (you know the kind…) that those services don’t want to host.

                            I don't see how the distribution, for profit, of packets of data via social media sites, email systems, or any other interchange systems, differs enough from the distribution of any other good to require that their distributor be granted a right to control the content of what it distributed.

                            Facebook and Twitter don’t transport speech to your home, brick’n’mortar stores, or even other websites. It stores that speech on its servers and waits for someone to access it. When that happens, the speech remains on the servers for others to access. I wouldn’t call Facebook and Twitter “distributors” so much as I would call them “facilitators of communication”⁠—and unlike phone service, neither Facebook nor Twitter are required for communication between two or more people on the Internet.

                            Now, if you applied these arguments to Internet access providers (or ISPs, if you prefer the widely accepted jargon), you would have a far more pertinent point.

                            I am fully aware of the value of content moderation and often regret that better moderation isn't available.

                            Every comment of yours to date seems to fly in the face of that assertion, but carry on.

                            My objection is to the channel itself imposing moderation without my consent or input.

                            Some people object to having objectionable content (e.g., racial slurs) tossed onto their timelines and being forced to moderate that themselves. Service-side moderation tends to help cut down on how much that happens.

                            I would not even object to Facebook, Twitter, etc. providing a moderation service to accompany their channel -- as long as I could opt out of it.

                            “I don’t mind all the spam that would hit my mentions and all the work I’d need to do so I could keep my mentions spam-free. Really, I don’t!”

                            …said no one ever.

                            If content moderation was optional and competitive, I think we'd see a great deal more useful innovation in moderation systems and much happier users.

                            No, what you’d see are very few users opting out of such moderation after their timelines are flooded with spam, porn, spam porn (those sick fucks…) and every other kind of objectionable content. The average social media user will never want to moderate their experience without service-side moderation to help prevent a lot of the bullshit that would need moderating. They’d either let their timelines get destroyed or they’d move to a service that actually tries to moderate bullshit.

                            here in New York, it is completely legal for women to expose their chests in public. So, how can a service justify banning the portrayal of something that is legal in this state?

                            Under this logic, a New York–based service meant to be used by children would have no way of banning pictures of topless women. I hope you see exactly how fallacious that argument is now.

                            A service is allowed to pick and choose what kind of speech it will and won’t host. The government can’t (and shouldn’t be able to) make it host any kind of legally protected speech. If one Mastodon instance wants to ban Harry Potter–related content because J.K. Rowling is a TERF but another Mastodon instance allows it for the same reason, that is well within the rights of both instances. No one has yet explained why the government should be telling one of those instances that they’re wrong.

                            individual New Yorkers, who might be offended or disturbed by exposure to this legal behavior, should be free to choose moderation services that shield them from such unwelcome sights

                            If they don’t like how a given social media service moderates access to lewd content, they can go to a different service. They’re not entitled to make Twitter work a certain way for the sake of their individual comfort and convenience.

                            One way to avoid non-optional moderation that enforces implicit and often unrecognized bias would be to ensure that individuals, not channels, are the ones who select the moderation regime.

                            Again: Average social media users aren’t going to want to play moderator. They’re going to want to post memes and bullshit with friends. Making them moderate their experience to the degree that they’re doing the job a social media service would’ve largely done for them won’t make them more appreciative of moderation. It’ll make them leave that service for one that gives a good god’s damn about the user experience.

                            I object to the providers of channels which have become important components of our nations' infrastructure for public discourse imposing their idea of appropriate discourse on the rest of us

                            Two things.

                            1. That’s the price you pay for using third-party services.

                            2. If they were as important as you say they are, they would already be government-owned public utilities⁠—but they’re not, and they could shut down tomorrow without the government being able to stop those shutdowns.

                            if moderation is to be done, it should done optionally and with the user's approval

                            Twitter shouldn’t need to get approval from a billion people before it can punish people who post racial slurs. It shouldn’t need to get approval from any user to do that⁠—especially the user being punished for being a racist dick.

                            The exclusion of some, simply because most approve of that exclusion, is not a compelling case for exclusion.

                            And if Twitter were a democratic republic, you might have a point. But it isn’t. So you don’t.

                            Twitter is a privately owned interactive web service. It doesn’t require a majority of its users to say “ban this speech plz” before it can refuse to host certain kinds of speech (and the people who would post that speech). It isn’t a democracy⁠—it’s a tyranny, and one you’re not entitled to be part of even if you play by its rules.

                            I am trying to distinguish between what should be the subject of regulation and what should not.

                            Moderation shouldn’t be regulated beyond non-discrimination laws. The government shouldn’t be in the business of ordering services like Twitter and Facebook to host (or not host) certain kinds of speech. If you have any good arguments to the contrary, you’re not making them right now.

                            any moderation would be optional and implemented at the edges of the network since there would be no central component that could impose global moderation

                            Mastodon is a protocol, and yet the admins of each instance have the same right as Twitter and Facebook to moderate speech on those instances, regardless of what other instances do. (And they’re free to federate⁠—or not⁠—with instances that have different rules.) There is no “central” Mastodon instance or ruleset, yet instances can still engage in the service-side moderation of speech. That’s how Protocols Not Platforms should work⁠—whether you like it or not.

                            With all that said, I (still) have One Simple Question for you. Yes or no, Bobby: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

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                            • icon
                              Bob Wyman (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:01am

                              Mastodon does it right. (Protocols, Not Platforms)

                              You asked:

                              Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

                              I've answered this question several times. Once again, the answer is: Normally No. However, if a platform becomes an essential component of the nation's infrastructure for public discourse, the rules should change. As I've said, I agree now, and always have, that we should have Protocols, Not Platforms. Thus, my concern is with closed, unfederated services that do not use open protocols such as those that support Mastodon. When open protocols are used, it is the protocol, not any single platform, that is the essential infrastructural element. When protocols are the foundation for discourse, then anyone is free to select the service they use. If one service moderates excessively, users can switch to a different service that moderates differently or they can build their own service. This is as it should be. If discourse depends on protocols, not platforms, I don't think that the government would ever rightly interfere with activity on any particular platform.

                              I would even support a law that required that if the government, or its agents, were to participate in a closed system, by posting announcements or whatever, that it should also be required to at least simultaneously post the same announcements using existing open protocols. This implies, of course, that if the government wants to use Twitter, they should be compelled to publish in such a way that Mastodon instances are given equal and non-discriminatory access to those announcements. The government, through its actions, should not be permitted to give a distinct advantage to a closed, private service if an open alternative exists.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:15am

                                Re: Mastodon does it right. (Protocols, Not Platforms)

                                However, if a platform becomes an essential component of the nation's infrastructure for public discourse,

                                The big social media sites are no critical to public discourse, as it was carried out long before they arose, and using even more heavily moderated platforms called newspapers. To argue that you must be able to use the big sites tells me that arguments are not honest, and you wish to use those sites as a propaganda tool to give an authoritarian minority control over society.

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                              • icon
                                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 8:13am

                                Re: Mastodon does it right. (Protocols, Not Platforms)

                                "However, if a platform becomes an essential component of the nation's infrastructure for public discourse, the rules should change."

                                And that's the whole problem. Your argument assumes that "If pigs could fly, we need FCAA regulation for pigs".

                                But pigs can't fly, and social platforms can not, by their very nature and common logic, become "essential" components of a nation's infrastructure. That assumption is a false premise to begin with.

                                It's like pointing at a bar and saying "Since democracy can not exist without this establishment, we must make it a government-operated public square"

                                At that point you've already given up on the concept of free speech - and property ownership - and are building a tower of pointless rhetoric.

                                "When open protocols are used, it is the protocol, not any single platform, that is the essential infrastructural element."

                                That's not really how logic works, any more than the existence of math means government has to secure access to pocket calculators.

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                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 9:12am

                                Normally No. However

                                Then your answer is “yes”.

                                if a platform becomes an essential component of the nation's infrastructure for public discourse, the rules should change

                                If a platform were that essential, it’d be run by the government by now. But it’s not, so it’s not. Social media services are not public utilities and they are not essential for discourse, communication, or anything else.

                                MySpace was once the most popular social interaction network. It could’ve been considered “essential” in the same way Twitter and Facebook are now. But now it’s not “essential”. Nothing lasts forever; one day, even Twitter and Facebook will face the end of their relevancy.

                                And popularity alone is what you what to hinge regulations on?

                                When protocols are the foundation for discourse, then anyone is free to select the service they use.

                                Even when they’re not, people are still free to select which service they use, if they use one at all. That’s how we know Twitter and Facebook aren’t as “essential” as you want to claim they are: Anyone can choose to not use them. I choose not to use them, for example, and I still keep up with discourse and communicate with other people just fine.

                                if the government wants to use Twitter, they should be compelled to publish in such a way that Mastodon instances are given equal and non-discriminatory access to those announcements

                                For what reason should the government be forced to post all its speech on every possible platform and through every possible protocol if it chooses to use Twitter for the same reason?

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                                • icon
                                  Bob Wyman (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 10:53am

                                  Re:

                                  You asked:

                                  For what reason should the government be forced to post all its speech on every possible platform and through every possible protocol if it chooses to use Twitter for the same reason?

                                  Imagine that there is a "White Christian Citizens Social Club (WCCSC)" whose membership includes the vast majority, but not all, of those who live in some town. I do not think that the government will have fulfilled its duty if it only provides notices of new mortgage or hiring programs to the WCCSC or if it provides them with notices earlier than it does to others. Even if the government rightly claimed that all notices provided to the WCCSC were also open to public discovery and inspection as filed in drawer 5 of cabinet 27 in the 2nd sub-basement of City Hall, I don't think that would offset the preferred access provided to the WCCSC. I would be especially concerned if other social clubs used a common, open protocol for distributing news and announcements among themselves and with others. In this case, I think it is clear that it is reasonable to direct the government to make use of common, open protocols, if they exist, and thus avoid giving any unavoidable preference or special access to the members of the WCCSC. In fact, I think it would make sense for the government to encourage the WCCSC to connect using that common protocol in order to reduce the complexity of government publication. On the other hand, if there was a Block Association that represented a string of 5 houses and they had some complicated or unusual method for receiving messages (perhaps messages must be physically posted on a bulletin board in the middle of the block), I think it would be reasonable for the government to honestly claim that they simply didn't have the resources to address such unusual needs.

                                  Now, you might believe that racially discriminatory clubs no longer exist. But, that doesn't matter. The point is that when the government speaks, it should take reasonable care to speak to all citizens and to do so without preference for any of them. Thus, if it speaks to closed groups, like those on Twitter, it should also seek out and speak to more open groups, like those federated using ActivityStreams protocols, Mastodon instances, or whatever.

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                                  • icon
                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 11:49am

                                    when the government speaks, it should take reasonable care to speak to all citizens and to do so without preference for any of them

                                    That’s why the government has its own websites. That’s why the government can command the attention of broadcast and cable news networks for press conferences. That’s not a good enough reason to force government speech upon services like Twitter or Mastodon instances⁠—or to force people to read it.

                                    if it speaks to closed groups, like those on Twitter

                                    FYI: Unless it’s a direct (read: private) message, every tweet on Twitter can be read by any member of the general public regardless of whether they have an account. There are no “closed groups” on Twitter outside of direct message conversations. Twitter itself is only “closed” in the sense that people can’t post to Twitter without an account.

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                                  • identicon
                                    Rocky, 29 Jul 2021 @ 12:15pm

                                    Re: Re:

                                    Imagine that there is a "White Christian Citizens Social Club (WCCSC)" whose membership includes the vast majority, but not all, of those who live in some town. I do not think that the government will have fulfilled its duty if it only provides notices of new mortgage or hiring programs to the WCCSC or if it provides them with notices earlier than it does to others. Even if the government rightly claimed that all notices provided to the WCCSC were also open to public discovery and inspection as filed in drawer 5 of cabinet 27 in the 2nd sub-basement of City Hall, I don't think that would offset the preferred access provided to the WCCSC.

                                    And that is entirely the failing of the local government by using a service that not everyone may want to use or have the means to access. And it still doesn't actually answer the question asked.

                                    Now, you might believe that racially discriminatory clubs no longer exist. But, that doesn't matter. The point is that when the government speaks, it should take reasonable care to speak to all citizens and to do so without preference for any of them. Thus, if it speaks to closed groups, like those on Twitter, it should also seek out and speak to more open groups, like those federated using ActivityStreams protocols, Mastodon instances, or whatever.

                                    See above.

                                    The solution for the government to provide notices etc to the public is to publish them on a government site, not relying 100% on 3rd party services.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2021 @ 5:27am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for y

                            Repeatedly complaining that others are repeatedly claiming something is not very useful.

                            The answer to that is to stop repeating factually wrong information. Think of how many lives wouldn't have been lost to a preventable virus if that had happened.

                            Eventually though, it does appear that those folks who continue to impress me with their stupidity are falling under the bus that is their bullshit.

                            Under long-established law, we frequently impose on commercial entities an "obligation to serve" in a non-discriminatory manner.

                            Butthurt conservative that no one wants to listen to is not one of those classes under long-established law. Feel free to fuck off somewhere else if you don't like Facebook/Twitter - why are you so against using your own 'freedom of choice?' If you want to be able to choose, say whether or not to wear a mask, why can't social media choose to not entertain assholes?

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                      • icon
                        Toom1275 (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 10:56am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                        Amazing.

                        Every word of what you just said was wrong.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 12:11pm

                        Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to make you host legally protected speech that you don’t want to host on property that you own?

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                        • icon
                          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 8:18am

                          Re:

                          It is a bit early to point the finger, but given that "Bob Wyman" keeps building his argument on the same fundamentally flawed assumptions of public visavi private Koby does, I'm beginning to wonder whether we can ascribe good faith here.

                          It's just one word wall after another trying to peddle the view that a sufficiently popular private forum should be considered core infrastructure.

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                          • icon
                            Bob Wyman (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 9:26am

                            Re: Re:

                            You wrote:

                            I'm beginning to wonder whether we can ascribe good faith here.

                            I affirm, although you need not believe it, that I am arguing in good faith.

                            I spent a long career, over 45 years, involved in the creation of tools to enable online communication. I got into the business, not because of a love of computers, but as an act of politics. I saw a need to help develop society's infrastructure for public discourse and for facilitating the preservation and access to the full record of human thought. So, I built tools to address the need. During my career, either for pay on my own, I built some of the first email, groupware, discussion, or PubSub systems. I was one of the earliest to build hypertext systems, etc. But, throughout my career, the thing that has worried me the most was the potential for private actors to envelope what I felt should be public spaces into private spaces for private profit. What you see here is simply my expressing that concern a bit more vocally and publicly than I normally do. My normal approach would be to just go build something that addresses the problem, but, these days, I'm busy and frankly tired of writing code. If you wish to know more about my background, see: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobwyman/

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 9:36am

                              the thing that has worried me the most was the potential for private actors to envelope what I felt should be public spaces into private spaces for private profit

                              For what reason should Facebook and Twitter, and the services that were the most popular social interaction networks before those two took off (e.g., MySpace, LiveJournal), be/have been considered public fora for any reason other than popularity? If the U.S. government were to seize the means of social media production by turning Facebook and Twitter into actual public fora, what should happen to those services if and when they decline in popularity⁠? And what should happen to the services that replace them, especially if they’re running on open source protocols? I mean, should the U.S. government be allowed to seize every single U.S.-based Mastodon instance if the collective of Masto instances known as the Fediverse somehow becomes more popular than Twitter?

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2021 @ 10:31am

                              Re: Re: Re:

                              The internet as a whole with it forums, blogs, information sites and social media sites is an infrastructure that has, and is enabling far greater participation in public discourse. The search engines enable anybody who puts in a minor amount of effort to access this vast trove of information and human knowledge. It works as well as it does because it is an anarchy using common protocols to enable access.

                              There is no need, and indeed it is destructive, to force everyone into the same tent. Unless you are an authoritarian, and wish to force your politics onto everybody else, you should know you need to attract supporters, and you do not do that by forcing your way in where you are not welcome.

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                            • icon
                              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Aug 2021 @ 8:20am

                              Re: Re: Re:

                              "I affirm, although you need not believe it, that I am arguing in good faith."

                              Then perhaps demonstrate that by not including quite as many false premises (examples pulled from the body of your arguments above);

                              "The point is that when the government speaks, it should take reasonable care to speak to all citizens and to do so without preference for any of them."

                              • You imply it doesn't? That assertion is a bit like demanding that government officials need to wear shoes. It's already the standard.

                              "the government does compel common carriers, such as telephony providers, to carry speech without moderation. Similarly, I think the government should be free to compel at least some web services to refrain from moderation of legal speech"

                              • These are two incredibly different topics. In one case you have core infrastructure where natural monopoly is the norm rather than the exception - in the other case you have someone's private property, no different in principle than someone throwing an open-door party in their living room.
                                This comparison is as weird as declaring that there's no distinction between patting someone on their back or patting someone on their genitals just because there's a one word difference in the situation.

                              " at the time when the US Constitution was written, it simply wasn't conceivable that any non-governmental entity, other than perhaps a Church, would be able to accumulate sufficient power to have significant control over public discourse."

                              • The constitution was written in a time when a private corporation could include the east india company, to name but one; It is therefore not a valid argument that global corporations weren't considered by the founders. (in fact, numerous letters written by Jeffersson and Franklin make clear that they were well aware that corporations could rival governments in sway and power, and dictate the public discourse completely).

                              And these are but a few examples of similar presentations of false premises, flawed analogies, and false assumptions richly peppering your discourse. Moreso they are in many cases identical to the broken logic employed by, primarily, the alt-right.

                              It's not a good look if your attempt at reasoned discourse is based on a EU north sea fishing quota's worth of Red Herring.

                              Hence the doubt expressed liberally by both me and my peers.

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                          • icon
                            Toom1275 (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 11:20am

                            Re: Re:

                            I'm beginning to wonder whether we can ascribe good faith here.

                            We can do so the first time he doesn't build his arguments off of false premises. Not before, not now.

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                      • icon
                        That One Guy (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 12:45am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                        Companies aren't people no matter how much they want to be, and their for aren't entitled to the same first amendment rights that citizens of the US are

                        ... who do you think runs those platforms and companies?

                        Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become the de facto public square of the 21st century and as such shouldn't have the right to wall off that public square from people they find objectionable.

                        No amount of repetition of a baseless assertion will make it a true one, the fact that platforms might be popular does not make them the 'public square' any more than a club in a town would become such just because lots of people congregated there

                        I don't get why people are so comfortable giving NGO so much power to over their speech.

                        Yes, the absolute horrors that are private property ownership and the first amendment, truly what madness has infected people in america that they would support such heinous ideas...

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:19pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                    "even anti-Semitic gutter trash have the right to spew their filth"

                    The question isn't whether they have the right to do so. The question is whether other people should be forced to host it against their will.

                    Should they?

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              • icon
                Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:13pm

                Re: Re: I have One Simple Question for you.

                Certainly the government should not be able to compel "any" privately owned service to host speech, however, the government does compel common carriers, such as telephony providers, to carry speech without moderation.

                You are missing the key element here. "Carry" and common "carriers." The whole point of common carrier is about TRANSPORT. Getting goods, people, or information from point A to point B. It's a very brief, transitory affair.

                It's VERY different to say someone must HOST content indefinitely.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:20pm

                A simple “yes” or “no” would’ve sufficed, but you had to go further, didn’t you.

                the government should not be able to compel "any" privately owned service to host speech, however

                Corollary to a famous saying about the word “but”: Whenever someone says “however”, you can disregard everything that came before it.

                the government does compel common carriers, such as telephony providers, to carry speech without moderation

                And if services like Twitter and Facebook were common carriers, you might’ve had a point. But they’re not. So you don’t.

                I think the government should be free to compel at least some web services to refrain from moderation of legal speech -- but only some, not "any."

                Such an act would be unconstitutional, but that’s not important right now, and I’ll get to why it isn’t important soon enough.

                If one establishes a purportedly neutral, agenda-free channel for communication, and if that channel is successful in becoming an important part of the infrastructure for public discourse, I believe that the government should be free to declare it a common carrier and constrain its ability to moderate legal speech.

                “If a bar becomes the most popular hangout in town, the government should be free to declare it a public forum and constrain its ability to moderate legal speech.” That’s your logic as applied to meatspace instead of cyberspace. If you still agree with your logic…well, as I said, I’ll get to that soon enough.

                something like a web service for "conservative" or "liberal" discussion, or a service hosting topical discussions, such as "dog breeding," should not be compelled to carry content not fitting that service's charter

                What makes their rights more worthy of protecting than the rights of services that claim to be (but in practice rarely are) “free speech zones” or whatever?

                services like Twitter, Facebook, and a very few others, have grown to the point where they are, in fact, essential elements of our nation's, if not the world's, infrastructure for public discourse

                They’d be actual public utilities⁠ if they were so essential that they couldn’t be allowed to fail/shut down. But they’re not. Twitter could go down tomorrow and we’d all find new services to use. Same for Facebook.

                If Twitter were to close down tomorrow⁠—no warning, no prior notice⁠—what could the federal government actually do to keep it from shutting down besides seizing the means of production (i.e., Twitter’s servers)?

                These channels are distributors of general discourse, and, like many other distribution systems, they have many of the characteristics of "natural monopolies."

                But they’re not “natural monopolies”. They’re not even monopolies of any kind. Twitter and Facebook compete with each other and aren’t owned by one company or the other. And despite not having the same reach as those two, plenty of other social interaction networks⁠—both services and protocols⁠—exist and compete against the Big Two. Popularity is not the sole signifier of a monopoly, no matter how much you want to think otherwise.

                they can be reasonably regulated in the same way that we regulate telephone companies, electric and gas distributors, or operators of our water and sewer supplies

                No, they can’t.

                To regulate social media, the government would need to regulate speech⁠—or, more precisely, what speech could be posted on what service. Put the constitutional question aside and ask yourself this: Do you want the government telling you what speech is “acceptable” to host on a service you own and operate? Do you want the government to make you host anti-queer propaganda, pro-Nazi memes, and other such bigoted filth?

                The logic of compelled hosting of speech always breaks down here because no one wants to be told they have to host stuff they don’t want to host. I doubt you’d be much different in that regard…unless you’d actually prefer to have the government force you into hosting racist memes that compare Black people to monkeys.

                the real danger is not in the regulation of a few, exceptional services, but rather in attempts to write or enforce rules that apply to all providers of discourse-based services

                The law would have to be written that way to ensure it doesn’t get picked apart for being biased against bigger companies. Using popularity as the sole determining factor of whose rights get trampled upon will always result in a complete shitshow.

                we recognize that not all communications channels are significant enough to warrant regulation

                For what reason, other than size/popularity, should Twitter and Facebook be regulated but Parler shouldn’t?

                we should seek to regulate as little as possible even when regulation is justified

                “…except when it comes to the Big Two of social media, then we need to regulate the fuck out of them even if regulation isn’t justified.”

                rules that might apply reasonably to Twitter or to Facebook's public channels should not apply to a Facebook group that I host for discussions between fellow alumni of my high school

                Why not? The group is on Facebook. Being on an open-to-the-public service should mean private pages still fall under the same regulations as publicly visible pages.

                I can't give you a Yes or No answer

                No, you could. But you don’t want to go on record as saying “the government should make Twitter host racist bullshit because free speech” by answering “yes”, which is largely what your answer was saying anyway.

                it depends on the nature and power of the service

                Again: Other than size/popularity, what makes Twitter and Facebook more deserving of regulation than Parler, Gab, or any given Mastodon instance?

                the mere fact that a service is privately owned is, I think, insufficient to determine if it should or should not be subject to regulation

                Assume that you own a Mastodon instance. Regardless of any factors such as size/popularity, should the government have the right to make you host Ku Klux Klan propaganda “or else”, even if the rules of your service ban such speech?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

            Freedom the press, back when the constitution was written, meant the printing press. In effect, freedom of the press is no more or less than the freedom to own and use a printing press. It most certainly was not intended to mean that you could force someone with a press to publish your words for you. The extent and limit of the first amendment is that the government is not allowed to pass laws that limit your ability to speak or seek publication of your words.

            There is an associated practical problem of gaining an audience, but the way to do that is to way what you want to say in a fashion that attracts an audience that will further spread your words. What you appear to be seeking is a means to force someone else to publish your words. Note also, that a conversation can take place where different speakers are using different platform to publish their words, and that prior to the Internet, such conversation only had a wide reach for those few people who could find a publisher, or get a letter to the editor published. For everybody else their reach was the few few people you could speak with, or correspond with, and whoever those people passed their words on to. When such words gained force, mass movements were born, and one way or another politicians forced to take note of the people..

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

            Others have already pointed out other problems with your argument(the right to speak doesn't equal the right to a platform to speak from) so I'll just go with an offline hypothetical comparison test:

            Say a club opens up in a town and over time it becomes increasingly popular, known as the place to socialize and talk with others. What rough percentage of the population would you say would need to frequent that club before the government would be justified in stepping in and telling the owner that their rules for acceptable behavior are no longer valid and they are no longer allowed to show people the door(excepting only the most extreme, likely illegal speech/actions)?

            Just because a platform may be a popular place for people to congregate does not mean it should be treated as public property and all that that involves, and if you really want to open the can of worms over regulating companies that can influence public discourse keep in mind that a lot of first amendment activity is going to be in the crosshairs there, not just social media.

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            • icon
              Bob Wyman (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 7:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

              The mere popularity of the club as a place to socialize would not be compelling and should have no bearing on the government's regulation. However, if the government came to use that club to make announcements, if the President of the United States and members of Congress used it to make statements not as easily accessible elsewhere or to receive comments from there more readily than from other locations, etc., I might judge that the club had become more than a mere club and suggest that it had undergone a qualitative transformation into something more -- an essential realm of public discourse that we might consider to be one which should not be selective in allowing admission.

              It isn't the popularity of the club that would be determinant. It is the role that the club plays in the public discourse of the nation, or of the community, that should be the focus of attention.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 7:59pm

                'You're a politician? Get out, we don't allow politicians here.'

                And the courts would disagree with you, as in the examples you gave the politicians in question were bound by the first amendment in how they interacted with the public regarding their accounts but never to my knowledge was a ruling issued that the platform itself was at all obligated or bound by the first amendment simply because politicians were using it.

                Even if they did agree with you that politicians making use of a privately owned forum strips the owner of control of their property the results are not likely to be what you seem to be aiming for, as in that case I've no doubt that most if not all platforms would very quickly put into place rules banning politicians from conducting any official business or issuing official statements on the platform/property in question as allowing them to do so would risk revoking the owner's right to control their own property, something few are likely to consider desirable.

                Far from enabling more speech your idea would see it notably reduced as platform owners became much quicker in giving people the boot to avoid liability and the loss of control over their property, which isn't exactly helping anyone.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

                What you are proposing is that the government can take over and change the rules of use of any platform by simply using it. Why should they be allowed to do that? The government can say what it wants on the platforms that it owns.

                Also note that public discourse does nor require everybody be on the same platform, and indeed that approach is more likely to reduce the discourse to public screaming matches between those people with strong opinions, while every body else finds some way of talking that avoids them..

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          • icon
            Cathy Gellis (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

            It's not really a question of whether the government v. corporation distinction rings true for you. They ARE different, as a matter of law and also practical reality.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

            “I think the reality is that at the time when the US Constitution was written, it simply wasn't conceivable that any non-governmental entity, other than perhaps a Church, would be able to accumulate sufficient power to have significant control over public discourse.”

            Allow me to introduce you to the East India Company.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

            I think the reality is that at the time when the US Constitution was written, it simply wasn't conceivable that any non-governmental entity, other than perhaps a Church, would be able to accumulate sufficient power to have significant control over public discourse

            What are you on about? At the time the US Constitution was written, the British East India Company was literally operating entire colonial empires and controlled nearly half of international trade. While an extreme example, literally hundreds of similar companies existed, with a long history of exerting control over everything they could get their hands on, even when not actually granted any such authority by their charters (which most were not). The founders were very well aware of the potential for companies to assert control.

            Even ignoring that, public discourse specifically was entirely controlled by a tiny number of press owners and suppliers, and even then could only be accessed by the wealthy or well-connected. Any honest analysis would suggest at worst the exact opposite, that the writers never conceived of a time when the rifraf would ever be able to participate in public discourse at all.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:34am

        Re: Re: Not such a good idea now is it?

        "But, it is also quite problematic to endure a system that allows lies and misinformation to be spread as easily as they are today. So, where is the middle ground?"

        Flawed assumption.

        Every system which won't allow lies and misinformation to be spread inevitably becomes a censorship tool, the abuse of which is guaranteed. The assumption that this can be regulated by law is as essentially horrifying as the speculation "Why do we need a trial by jury and judge if we know someone is guilty?".

        "What can be done to mitigate the problem sufficiently so that fools are not so easily tempted to encourage censorship?"

        Only one solution possible - education. The very first thing which needs to be taught children is to question. The US is uniquely disadvantaged in that large parts of it has become a case study in what it must have been like when the first thing to be taught children was unquestioning obedience and adherence to religious creeds. The racist redneck passes their hatred and bigotry on to their children. The bigoted religious puritan raises their child a bigoted religious puritan. The formative years are thus named for a reason. It's when the foundation is poured, in concrete, which dictates what sort of adult will emerge on top of it.

        Like Aristotle said; Give me a child until he's seven and I shall show you the man.

        That's why americans being taught their unvarnished history, as uncomfortable as it may seem, and being taught the tenets of critical thinking and empirical science is vital.

        The results of the US making a dog's dinner out of this can be seen by the fact that today some 25-30% of the citizenry are a lost cause. You literally can not teach them the error of their ways or show them anything they can't explain away as just another way for "the libs" to trick their own lying eyes.

        So for at least a few generations you're all just going to have to keep fighting those people until they all die of old age and hope that their children will not perpetuate the cycle of wilful blindness and malice.

        And you'll have to do it without falling to the same sort of corruption they take for granted.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:12pm

    Everyone can come up with an excuse for why their pet issues should get an exception. But free speech is only free if there are no exceptions. The freedom to say whatever the government approves of is no freedom at all.

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      But there are exceptions. You can't threaten to imminently harm or murder someone.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      Yet in many ways, that is what you already have. If you stand on a street corner and start shouting excerpts from highly classified government documents, you better believe you will be arrested as soon as the government finds out you are doing so. If you shout out lists of banking credentials, expect to be stopped. If you start shouting company trade secrets, you will assuredly be sued. If you start shouting that your neighbour should be lynched because of his skin colour or driven out of town because of his Jewish religiion, and asking passerbys to come help you, it will likely land you in trouble - though that may depend on the US region you do it in.

      There are restrictions on speech. It is not absolutely free and, particularly, it is not consequence free. Funnily enough, right-wingers who feel they should have access to every means osay whatever they want without consequence. Although they don't seem to feel that anyone else should have such privilege.

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      • icon
        Kent (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Your last paragraph puts me in mind of an extremely succinct description of conservatism, by Frank Wilhoit that has been floating around the internet for a couple of years:

        "Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

        There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect."

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Those things have nothing to do with free-speech. If you get arrested, it's not because your freedom of speech was curtailed, it was because you violated the terms of some contract of obtained trade or government secrets by questionable means.

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  • icon
    searoamer (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:00pm

    Government censorship

    Our government has a history of lying.

    This outrage about misinformation is an insult to our citizens. We can figure out what is true on our own and we don't need big tech or Amy K"s help.

    Covid exists in a cloud of misinformation. Rushing it to market without normal trials did not create an atmosphere of trust.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:17pm

      Rushing it to market without normal trials did not create an atmosphere of trust.

      Would you have preferred to see each company do full years-long clinical trials while thousands of people died in the meantime?

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        icon
        justme (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:48pm

        Re:

        nice strawman. the vaccine was unnecessary to end the pandemic. the solution was very simple. the vulnerable protect themselves and everyone else live their lives and get the virus. the fact is that this virus is only dangerous to a very small demographic. the lockdown, face diapers and everything else was just a power grab by the tyrants.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:00pm

          Re: Re:

          Your approach would have killed at least 2% of the population, probably more as health systems collapsed. Also it would leave a significant number suffering from persistent health problems cause by Covid.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:19pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Ah come on, that's just six million plus people dead(on the low end) and countless others with long-term health complications, surely that's a worthwhile trade-off to avoid having to wear the dreaded Face Diaper?

            (Seriously, what pathetic person thought that name would make the masks look stupid?)

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        • icon
          JMT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 8:52pm

          Re: Re:

          "the vaccine was unnecessary to end the pandemic."

          What's this "was" BS? The pandemic is not only not ending, it's getting worse because of selfish assholes who can't think beyond their own petty lives and consider anyone else.

          "the vulnerable protect themselves and everyone else live their lives and get the virus."

          If you actually looked at the long-term health effects suffered by some people who got the virus you might not be so enthusiastic.

          "the fact is that this virus is only dangerous to a very small demographic."

          So you're one of those selfish assholes? I'll be fine so fuck anyone else?

          "the lockdown, face diapers and everything else was just a power grab by the tyrants."

          Power to do what?! What possible benefit would "the tyrants" get from lockdowns and facemasks? These paranoid claims of tyranny never seem to explain why governments would actually want these things.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:40pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            "What's this "was" BS?"

            The sort of thing that comes from the type of person dumb enough to believe that "natura" herd immunity is reachable both without vaccines and within horrendous casualty numbers. Ask people how that worked with smallpox before the vaccine...

            "So you're one of those selfish assholes? I'll be fine so fuck anyone else?"

            This is a common theme, they always seem to assume that because they won't be in the affected demographic, then their convenience trumps others' safety. I'm personally getting tired of stories where an anti-vaxxer, anti-mask type is warning others that it is real after they got it and to take those measures before it's too late, but apparently the country is full of people who don't care about something until they're affected.

            https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/22/health/hospitalized-patients-covid-19-vaccine/index.htm l

            https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/05/us/covid-skeptic-hospital-plea-trnd/index.html

            (these are two examples that came up first in a search, there are many other examples if my Reddit feed is anything to go by)

            "What possible benefit would "the tyrants" get from lockdowns and facemasks?"

            "Mah freedumbs" types have become convinced that masks don't work and it's only used a sign of compliance, while they claim that the only reason for lockdowns is for governments to exercise their power of the population and no other reason.

            It's sad, really, the US could probably have avoided the worst of the pandemic if people had just done what was right early on, and it's their refusal to comply that's made more extreme measures necessary more often.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:55am

              "Mah freedumbs" types have become convinced that masks don't work and it's only used a sign of compliance, while they claim that the only reason for lockdowns is for governments to exercise their power of the population and no other reason.

              Conservatives have largely been taught to distrust the government. (To wit: Reagan and his “most terrifying words” quip.) But what they weren’t taught were the critical thinking skills necessary to help them discern when⁠—and why⁠—to distrust the government. That’s how you end up with people who think measures meant to protect public health and curb a national pandemic that has killed over 600k Americans in a year-and-a-half are one step removed from “the next Holocaust”.

              (Side note in regards to this conversation thread: “face diapers”? Really? Well, at least it’s appropriate, given all the bullshit coming from their mouths…)

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 4:41am

                Re:

                "“face diapers”? Really? Well, at least it’s appropriate, given all the bullshit coming from their mouths…"

                It's a common refrain from people who think that their temporary comfort outweighs the lives of others.

                Oh, and during my lunch break I read this further example:

                https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57958358.amp

                Guy spends months mocking COVID and basic health restrictions, claiming that his god will protect him, then dies in fear and agony of something likely preventable if he's had just done what was suggested to him.

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              • icon
                Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 9:04am

                Re:

                I have coined a new term to describe people such as anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, fascists, and other trouble-starters: Chaotifer, i.e. one who brings chaos.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:28pm

          Re: Re:

          "everyone else live their lives and get the virus."

          Which, would have left millions dead, millions more with long covid symptoms and plenty fo opportunity for many more variants to appear with unknown changes in transmission rates, fatality and ability to be vaccinated against.

          You people are psychopaths, but you've fooled yourselves into thinking you're on the side of good.

          "the lockdown, face diapers and everything else was just a power grab by the tyrants."

          Only because you idiots refused to do the right thing by choice. In places where people did the bare minimum and din't try to invent a conspiracy, people have been living mostly normal lives. The more you fight against basic healthcare measures, the more you make the more extreme measures necessary.

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 9:17am

          Re: Re:

          and everyone else live their lives and get the virus

          You first, mofo.

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            icon
            justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:27pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            i have no fear of the virus. throughout the entire "pandemic" i've lived my life just like before. i traveled, ate out, shopped, went to bars & hotels, went to theaters, etc. and i never wore a bask except when forced to by a business. i never got sick and an still alive. the fear porn pushed by the media is clearly working on you. you must lack critical thinking skills. oh btw, people in my family did get the virus and everyone is just fine. you need to turn off cnn & msnbc.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              “you must lack critical thinking skills.”

              It’s projection all the way down with you idiots.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 12:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "i have no fear of the virus"

              Nor did a lot of the unvaccinated morons I've read about recently - well, until they had to have tubes down their throats, they seem to change their tune a little at that point.

              I don't know you and you seem like someone we'd be better off without, but I sincerely hope you don't have to have that happen before you join the land of the sane and educated.

              "people in my family did get the virus and everyone is just fine"

              Good for you. Might I suggest you reach out to families who weren't that lucky, maybe that will stop you being such a self-obsessed asshole?

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            • icon
              techflaws (profile), 1 Aug 2021 @ 3:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              i have no fear of the virus.

              So, you're even dumber than I thought. No surprise there.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2021 @ 8:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                no, you're just a millenial pussy who's never done anything risky or physically difficult in your life. what mountains have you climbed? to what depths have you dived? from what heights have you jumped? none of that because you're a pussy. your perspective on risk comes from your couch in your mom's basement. you expect a risk free life and fear everything. you have no idea how to defend yourself. you own no firearms and if some dirtbag breaks in your house you can't and would never defend yourself. you want the gov to be your mommy and protect you from the big bad virus. you've never accomplished a thing in your life and never will. your income reflects your iq and they're both low. you're a looser.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 1 Aug 2021 @ 11:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Did you ever consider that if you actually talked to people and found out their real demographics and opinions that you're have a better time talking to them, rather than erecting flimsy strawmen to beat up on? The way you do it, all you end up with people laughing at how pathetic and scared you are of real people.

                  "you're a looser"

                  Why is it that nobody who uses the word as an epithet can ever spell it?

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                • identicon
                  Rocky, 1 Aug 2021 @ 11:08am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Why are you talking about yourself in 2nd person?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 10:03am

          Re: Re:

          nice strawman. the vaccine was unnecessary to end the pandemic.

          Glad to hear that it's over! Those unvaccinated people getting the delta variant must just be faking it.

          What say you in response to conservative voices doing an about-face and promoting the vaccine now? Are they lying now or were they lying then?

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            icon
            justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:23pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            anyone promoting the vaccine at anytime in history is/was lying. if you want it then go for it, it's a free country. what i hate is the propaganda surrounding it, the gov and private business requiring it. if you've been infected you don't need the vaccine. if you're under 60 and healthy you don't need it. the whole thing is just a series of lies coming from too many people. the vaccine is an experimental drug and requiring people to be guinea pig is just wrong. many people know that they don't need it. just like the worthless flu vaccine. no one should be required to inject a drug to participate in our society.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              if you've been infected you don't need the vaccine. if you're under 60 and healthy you don't need it.

              Let's say you're right, and you don't need it. You get infected, and you're asymptomatic. But who cares, you'll be fine, right? People over 60? Screw them, they all need to stay home because how dare the risk to other people affect your life in even a minor way. So you're out and about, spewing the virus all over the place because you're not wearing a mask, and someone vulnerable to the virus is infected from your spew and dies. Congratulations, someone just died as a direct result of your lack of consideration and compassion for the rest of humanity.

              But then, given your comments here do indicate a lack of consideration and compassion for the rest of humanity, you probably don't care that your selfishness led to someone's death. You've got a movie to go to.

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                icon
                justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:35pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                asymptomatic transmission is very difficult as it does not happen very often. no science says that it does. if you have such proof post it here, but you're just repeating what you hear on msnbc

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:36pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Here you go:

                  https://jammi.utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/jammi-2020-0030

                  Conclusions: Our one-in-six estimate of the prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and asymptomatic transmission rates is lower than those of many highly publicized studies but still sufficient to warrant policy attention.

                  I'm curious what your threshhold is. At what point does a pandemic become deadly enough for you to think about the welfare of more than "you & yours?"

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              anyone promoting the vaccine at anytime in history is/was lying.

              So it's a worldwide conspiracy then, to promote the vaccines?

              what i hate is the propaganda surrounding it, the gov and private business requiring it.

              No, that's not what you actually hate - you hate being considerate because you are a selfish asshole that suffers from Dunning-Kruger.

              the whole thing is just a series of lies coming from too many people.

              Oh, and you can prove this? It would be immensely entertaining to see you try.

              the vaccine is an experimental drug and requiring people to be guinea pig is just wrong.

              mRna-vaccines has been researched since the 1980's, they where just tweaked for SARS-Cov2.

              many people know that they don't need it. just like the worthless flu vaccine.

              You should really go and look up excess mortality due to flu, or do you think that is lies too? I bet you are one those people that goes to work having the flu, spreading it among your co-workers.

              no one should be required to inject a drug to participate in our society

              No one should be allowed to participate in our society if they can't take basic precautions against spreading deadly diseases.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:46pm

              if you're under 60 and healthy you don't need it.

              Tell that to the families of every person under the age of 60 who died of COVID-19, both before and after vaccinations were available. Tell that to the families of every child under the age of 18 who has died of COVID-19, too.

              Vaccines save lives. Your selfishness puts them in danger. Get vaxxed, wear a mask, and stop thinking your convenience and comfort are more important than other people’s lives.

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                justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:31pm

                Re:

                apparently numbers are hard for you so i'll break it down for you. total deaths under 51 years of age (cdc does not break down at age 60, but the added 10 years is very little) is 29000. that is 4.8% of all covid deaths. as a percentage of total us cases that is .08%. many of those 29000 would have died of something else too. so statistically the number is very, very small. as humans we live our lives with risk all the time. if you believe you can live a risk free life then you're a moron. we all accept risk for all the things we do in our life. so yes for people under 60 this virus is irrelevant. worry about something that actually matters.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:57pm

                  Re: Re:

                  Now I'm starting to see it...you're advocating for a geronticide, aren't you?

                  Something to keep in mind, especially if you hate those damn liberals fucking things up - those old folks comprise a significant percentage of your voter base.

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                  • icon
                    Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:45pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    I think "senicide" is a better word than "geronticide" seeing as "senicide" uses "sen-" and "-icide" which are both from Latin and "geront-" is from Greek, which makes "geronticide" a macaronic term like "automobile" and "genocide" (oops, I undermined my own argument!).

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 4:03pm

                  Re: Re:

                  yes for people under 60 this virus is irrelevant

                  and the people over 60, all 50+ million of them... should just stay home so their vulnerability doesn't inconvenience you?

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 5:13pm

                  Translation: “Sure, this disease has killed thousands of people under the age of 60, but who cares? It’s also killing off thousands more people above the age of 60. I say that’s reason enough to French kiss potential disease vectors.”

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                • icon
                  Toom1275 (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 8:02pm

                  Re: Re:

                  You can tell someone is lying about Covid when they act like death is the one and only outcome that matters, pretending the 30-40% chance for long-tetm, possibly life-long debilitaring side effects including lung scarring and decreased lung capacity, brain blood clots and "brain fog", constant nausea, etc. doesn't exist.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              what i hate is the propaganda surrounding it

              And you came to your view of the vaccine how, exactly? Can you explain your qualifications as to why you shouldn't be viewed as another crackpot nutcase?

              the whole thing is just a series of lies coming from too many people.

              Can you elaborate on the logistics required to perpetuate such a 'lie' on a global scale? I'd love to hear how they did it...

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 12:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Can you elaborate on the logistics required to perpetuate such a 'lie' on a global scale? I'd love to hear how they did it..."

                The global thing is hilarious. Sure, we can't get the UK to properly negotiate fishing with the EU, China and Russia are doing their best to undermine the US economically and politically, many countries are engaged in decades-long blood feuds but everyone will co-operate 100% to kill millions of people with zero disagreement in order to... sell a vaccine?

                The problem with these people is that the fantasies they come up with are way more elaborate and unbelievable than real life.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              anyone promoting the vaccine at anytime in history is/was lying.

              Yeah, fuck Trump! That orange-dyed piece of shit! Fuck him and his warp speed shit.

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      justme (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:22pm

      Re: Government censorship

      very true. it is almost always the case that "misinformation" is speech that someone dislikes and not speech that is untrue. there are countless recent examples of censorship based on "misinformation" only to later be allowed. the idea of censoring people's speech about covid information because the speech is "misinformation" is ridiculous. someone making a false statement about covid harms no one. if you're not adult enough to discern what is true and what is not then that is your problem. is seems clear that the concept of personal responsibility does not exist anymore.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:37pm

        Re: Re: Government censorship

        someone making a false statement about covid harms no one.

        You might as well claim that making false statements about firearm safety harms no-one, which would be just as correct.

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          justme (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

          give one objective example of false information that would absolutely harm me. just one. i'm waiting.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

            'Masks aren't just useless they make things worse', 'social distancing isn't a big deal', 'Covid is no worse than the yearly flu'...

            I could probably go on for a while but it really shouldn't be hard to see why giving people false information when it comes to a deadly pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands in the US alone might have some negative consequences.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

            So about that apology that you owe That One Guy...

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 10:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

            The suspect is not dangerous.

            The building is safe.

            The hurricane won't affect you.

            Flooding won't happen.

            The air in the mine is safe.

            Need more dipshit?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 2:48pm

      Re: Government censorship

      We can figure out what is true on our own.....

      Apparently you cannot, as the evidence is out there for speeding up the introduction of vaccines.

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        justme (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:00pm

        Re: Re: Government censorship

        i made no statement or assertion about the merits of speeding up the development of vaccines. i simply said that the public can and should be able to make their own decisions about what is true. i know it's a new concept for you but this is called liberty.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:26pm

          i simply said that the public can and should be able to make their own decisions about what is true.

          And they are absolutely free to decide that the vaccine is effective based on all available data and get the jab themselves…or to become a potential vector for the Delta variant. Similarly: If their job requires them to be vaccinated, they can decide whether to get the vaccine or find a new job.

          If they want to risk their own lives, fine. So be it. I just wish they’d think about all the other lives they’re risking in the process.

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            justme (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:44pm

            Re:

            you're confused. you are responsible for your own health, not me. my vaccination status is irrelevant to your health. the vaccines either work or they don't. if they don't then you're all fools. if they do they you have nothing to worry about.

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            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:24pm

              Re: Re:

              With your endless stream of lies, you continue to prove you lack any capacity to figure out what is true on your own.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:38pm

              Re: Re:

              “my vaccination status is irrelevant to your health”

              Not if you work in healthcare, among other fields it isn’t. But hey if you want to be charged $35,000 for a tube to be shoved down your throat that’s your business.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:41pm

              Re: Re:

              " my vaccination status is irrelevant to your healt"

              You're probably dumb enough to believe that, too. Lucky this isn't an airborne pandemic or anything...

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:39am

              you are responsible for your own health, not me. my vaccination status is irrelevant to your health.

              I’m vaccinated, but assume for a moment that I couldn’t get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions. Your vaccination status is relevant to my health because it could determine whether I contract COVID-19⁠—and whether I could die from it if I did.

              The same logic applies to the flu: If you’ve been vaccinated against it, the chances of you catching and spreading it go down dramatically. (But it’s never 100%; I speak from experience.) That means you present less of a risk to those around you, be they complete strangers or family members.

              COVID-19 is a public health crisis⁠—a pandemic. Your being vaccinated isn’t only a safeguard for your health. It helps protect others by neutralizing the spread of the disease. That you think your health is the only health that matters during a pandemic is selfish to the point of sociopathy.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 4:46am

                Re:

                "Your vaccination status is relevant to my health because it could determine whether I contract COVID-19⁠—and whether I could die from it if I did."

                a.k.a herd immunity. Which is the entire point of vaccination programs - to achieve that without millions dead unnecessarily.

                "Your being vaccinated isn’t only a safeguard for your health. It helps protect others"

                This does seem to be the biggest sticking point, unfortunately. As soon as people understand that these actions are about helping others and not just themselves, they don't want to do it.

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                justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:03am

                Re:

                if you were a person unable to get the vaccine and are worried then stay home. again, not my problem. this is a virus that has a 99.8 survival rate and those who died are almost all elderly and those with underlying health problems. a vaccine us completely unnecessary to control it. you're probably stupid enough to believe that children need the vaccine. you people are all collectivists. just believe faucci the moron and wear your face diapers.

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                • identicon
                  Baron von Robber, 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:12am

                  Re: Re:

                  Wow, you really lie hard for this virus. Do you owe this virus money or something?

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:37am

                  Re: Re:

                  "if you were a person unable to get the vaccine and are worried then stay home."

                  There's countries where this is possible, where social safety nets, employee protections and other social programs allow a person to live and work without concern in extreme situations. The US is not one of them.

                  "this is a virus that has a 99.8 survival rate"

                  Clearly not true, as that would mean around 331k dead if everyone in the US gets infected, but the US currently has nearly double that number with only around 10% of the population confirmed as having been infected. Plus, death is not the only problem with the virus.

                  "those who died are almost all elderly and those with underlying health problems"

                  What was this guy's underlying health problem?

                  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57958358.amp

                  I mean, apart from the "I don't need the vaccine and god will help me".

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:41am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    Wow, sorry my calculation was off... US population is 330 million, 0.02% of that is 66k. Current deaths in the US are 627,040, with around 35 million confirmed infected.

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                    justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:32pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    outliers don't prove your point. the death number are all wrong. they counted people who died with the virus but not from it. i don't believe any of the stats. they redefined the term "case" to include people who simply contracted the virus but never got sick. all these things to drive up the stats and create fear. it's all bullshit.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      “ i don't believe any of the stats.”

                      Some bro this is why you’re full of shit. The actual real stats have undercounted COVID cases not overcounted them especially in the early days before we had decent tests. Not to mention countries/counties where they wanted to suppress the problem. But that doesn’t fit with your smug cunt narrative. So again if you want to invite a tube down your throat or your grandmas because you don’t like the inconvenient facts that’s on you and the people you infect and quite possibly kill.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:47pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      i don't believe any of the stats.

                      Yup, they're all lying to you. Everyone, except that random YouTube guy who gave you the information that you've decided is credible to run with.

                      I've heard the same thing about voter fraud. Thousands, nay MILLIONS voted illegally, but no one has seemed to be able to show exactly how it happened. Except Mike Lindell, of course - he has the answer, but is sitting on it because he likes the way it feels on his ass.

                      The logistics of what you people are convinced is probable is mind boggling. But when it comes to 'prove it' there's just 'muh beleefs.'

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 12:11am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "the death number are all wrong"

                      I assume you have proof of this?

                      "i don't believe any of the stats"

                      The fun thing about reality is that it sticks around no matter what your diseased kind makes of it.

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                        justme (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 6:37am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        here's a new flash for you. government is always corrupt and always lies. period. you're very naive.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:48am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Yup - all the more reason to trust someone on the Internet. No one on the Internet would ever consider lying to you.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:41am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "here's a new flash for you. government is always corrupt and always lies"

                          Also news flash: the figures are not just coming from the government.

                          I hope I don't read a story about you gasping for air as your final moments are muddied by the realisation that the disease is real and you're just another statistic, but rather that than someone your type infected having to suffer.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 8:23am

                  Re: Re:

                  again, not my problem.

                  You may not consider it your problem, but you are everybody else's problem by acting in a manner that can endanger them and their loved ones.

                  By the way, why do you keep on using flue statistics for a virus that is at least 10 time more deadly?

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                    justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:29pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    you are mentally retarded if you think i've endangered anyone. look up the definition of personal responsibility.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:57pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Not my job to do your homework. But you are definitely endangering people. I know facts are hard for you but it’s true.

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                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 27 Jul 2021 @ 1:33pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      you are mentally retarded if you think i've endangered anyone. look up the definition of personal responsibility.

                      Personal responsibility is the willingness to both accept the importance of standards that society establishes for individual behavior and to make strenuous personal efforts to live by those standards.

                      Going about your daily life as normal when there's a pandemic isn't personal responsibility - that's being a selfish asshole.

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                        justme (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:32pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        society has not established any standards. unelected bureaucrats like faucci or tyrannical governors have set policy that most of the country disagrees with.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:55pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          unelected bureaucrats like faucci or tyrannical governors have set policy that most of the country disagrees with.

                          I haven't seen anything that suggests "most of the country" disagrees with various mitigation strategies, so I'm going to go [citation needed] on that one. Besides, disagreeing with something doesn't mean you don't think it's necessary. I might not like wearing a mask, I might not want to wear a mask, but I will if it's called for.

                          also "society has not established any standards" for individual behavior? ...what?

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                            justme (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 6:35am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            so you're that dumbass wearing a mask in your car while driving by yourself. why would you wear a mask just because some authority told you to do so? the fact is that masks do nothing useful to block this virus -- nothing. if wearing a mask makes you feel good then go for it, but i will NOT do it. just know that you look an idiot when you wear that face diaper.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:44am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              the fact is that masks do nothing useful to block this virus -- nothing.

                              You are wrong.
                              "The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts."

                              You say that masks do nothing? Where's your evidence? Or are you just repeating what you've heard on Fox News and OAN? Let's see you back up your statements with more than "I don't believe the stats" and "the government always lies" - or leave the adults to discuss and you can go slink back into the corner with your selfishness and anger and victim mentality.

                              just know that you look an idiot when you wear that face diaper.

                              Oh no, you think I look dumb when I wear a mask. Whatever shall I do?

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                                justme (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:52am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                the virus is smaller that what the masks are able to filter. its a very simple math problem. just go read the docs for the masks and you'll see.

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:36am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  The virus does not leave your body as individual naked virus particles, but rather contained in droplets that come from breathing. Those droplets are caught by most masks, and that helps to stop the thread. The size of the actual virus is immaterial to the practical effectiveness of masks.

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                                • icon
                                  PaulT (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:39am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  "the virus is smaller that what the masks are able to filter"

                                  Yes, and masks are built to filter water droplets containing the virus, not raw molecules. So?

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                        • identicon
                          Rocky, 27 Jul 2021 @ 6:28pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          So you think society at large is okay with people ignoring a pandemic so they can go about their lives as usual? If you don't understand discretion and personal responsibility, all that's left are inconsiderate assholes - and you are one of them.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 7:44pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          We elect people to hire experts to help guide policy. I know facts are hard for you but society indeed has established an evolving set standards of conduct and behavior. You just don't like them because they inconvenience you slightly. You also seem to misunderstand the meaning of tyrannical and most.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:41pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      look up the definition of personal responsibility.

                      Totally agree - that's what the Jan 6 chucklefucks are learning when they bought into the last pile of horseshit those people were selling. Then again, feel free to not learn. It's what you guys do.

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                        justme (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 6:38am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

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

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                        justme (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 6:38am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        right, as i'm paying for your welfare and food stamps.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2021 @ 7:58am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          right, as i'm paying for your welfare and food stamps.

                          Ooooh! Looks like I struck a nerve! Hate feeling like someone's making you look stupid?

                          Did it bother you that I pointed out that the folks who bought into the lie are now finding out how stupid they were? I'm sure they're just sitting in jail telling themselves what they're experiencing is fake.

                          It'll be the same for those unvaccinated folks soon enough. No worries, though - they can just tell the doctors what it isn't while they drop dead. Believe me, I don't care about you people - I really hope Darwin shows you people that life is harder when you're stupid.

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                            justme (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:36am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            go ahead and wear your face diaper and you're the one looking stupid.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2021 @ 7:47am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              If you think wearing a face mask makes people look stupid, you are the one who is being stupid. Unfortunately it is others who will likely pay the price of your stupidity.

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                                justme (profile), 29 Jul 2021 @ 8:06am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                you live in a libturd bubble. leave your bubble and you'll find that people abandoned the face diapers a long time ago. i have to look really hard to find anyone with a mask. america (woke cities are not america) has had enough. many, many entire states are maskless. so yes, you all look like idiots. and there is no federal mandate that will work make us to comply. not gonna happen. even libturd los angeles the people are defying the mandate. the actual thinking people of this country have had enough of this crap.

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                                • identicon
                                  Rocky, 29 Jul 2021 @ 12:24pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  And thus spoke the selfish asshole.

                                  Also, being ruled by ones emotions isn't considered thinking - it's being stupid.

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

                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 28 Jul 2021 @ 8:42am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "right, as i'm paying for your welfare and food stamps."

                          You need to work on your strawman designs, this one's barely able to stand up, let alone withstand your weak attacks.

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

                    • icon
                      Toom1275 (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 8:04pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      [Projects facts not in evidence]

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 10:24am

                  Re: Re:

                  you people are all collectivists.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

                  HTH

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 8:04am

              Re: Re:

              My drinking while driving is irrelevant to your driving. Seatbelts either work or they don't. If they don't you're all fools. If they do then you have nothing to worry about.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 10:21am

              Re: Re:

              if they don't then you're all fools. if they do they you have nothing to worry about.

              Not to worry Chet - there's a whole lot of vaccinated people out there who just don't think those people are worth wearing masks again for. The unvaccinated not worrying about that trend in particular is likely to be their biggest mistake yet.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

          For people to be able to make up their own minds they need accurate information, without a lot of conspiracy theories to confuse them.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            justme (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 4:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

            we're all personally responsible for discerning the truth and finding the facts. we don't need censorship to "help us".

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

            • identicon
              Baron von Robber, 26 Jul 2021 @ 5:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

              Given the unvaccinated that are dying, it seems some do.
              Politics is like traffic. The slow ones move to the right.

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

            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 11:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

              we're all personally responsible for discerning the truth and finding the facts.

              Sure. And one way to discern what is truth and what is not, is NOT TO HAVE BLATANTLY FALSE INFORMATION being spread around as if it was accurate.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:49am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

                Which is why Section 230 needs to go: the arguments about COVID misinformation are proving that defamation causes too much harm to be allowed to stand.

                People who would believe lies about COVID and a vaccine despite massive scientific evidence to the contrary are certainly very likely to believe lies about someone with whom they disagree or who they dislike.

                Those who rely on Section 230 may not be as safe as they think, however. Someone may be immune for linking to defamation about someone, yet that linking creates a preponderance of the evidence that the person has been the "original publisher" of other defamation, which would give the probable cause necessary to conduct discovery.

                In other words, if someone links to a Google lie about someone, that should be grounds to file a lawsuit and get discovery to find other, actionable defamation, such as in a workplace over a water cooler where 230 protection doesn't apply, and where hostile-environment doctrines can kick in, triggering EEOC complaints, after which further defamation could trigger retaliation complaints.

                Note that none of the above scenarious would touch Section 230, yet would allow individuals to get civil justice.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 2:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

                We need a Department of Truth.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:41am

              we're all personally responsible for discerning the truth and finding the facts.

              Do you want facts that discomfort you or “facts” that fellate your biases?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2021 @ 12:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

              You should definitely write that down as once they put a tube down your throat you can’t talk. Wouldn’t want those last words going to waste.

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

        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

          You're entitled to your feefees but not to your facts. Try again.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:13am

      Re: Government censorship

      "Rushing it to market without normal trials did not create an atmosphere of trust."

      Emergency measures. With more people dead within a year than the US army saw during all of world war 2 it is reasonable to apply expediency rather than a test programs which would have seen another the death toll rise even further.

      When your house is on fire the only testing you get to do on whatever you use to put the fire out with is "Is this inflammable?"

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:14am

        Re: Re: Government censorship

        [Addendum]

        Also, it's not as if the Sars-CoV-2 vaccine sprang from a vacuum, as research had been going on around Sars-CoV-1 for well over a decade.

        This vaccine program was, for all intents and purposes, as extensively tested as most annually created flu vaccines.

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

        • identicon
          TFG, 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Government censorship

          And the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is built on something like 30 years of research. These vaccines weren't "rushed" per se - they took advantage of advances in both medicinal technology and communication techology to greatly speed up the R&D process.

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

  • icon
    Doug Wheeler (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 3:28pm

    Sounds like some other countries we know

    Many of these new proposals (from both parties) are starting to sound a lot like the systems in place in North Korea, China, and the USSR (while it existed). Even the justifications for restricting speech sound the same.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 9:55pm

    STOP ELECTING STUPID PEOPLE!

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

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:01pm

    Klobuchar Stupidity

    What are we doing??? How can we elect people like Sen. Klobuchar to office???

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

    • icon
      Shel10 (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 10:04pm

      Re: Klobuchar Stupidity

      Our Constitution is so clear - Congress shall make no law abridging..... Etc.

      I'm certain that Demos could find a Judge that would say this is constitutional.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:42am

        Ironically, given the way Republicans have packed federal courts with conservatives over the past few years, the chances of such a judge being a conservative instead of a liberal/progressive are higher than you’d likely care to admit.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Jul 2021 @ 3:19am

      Re: Klobuchar Stupidity

      "What are we doing??? How can we elect people like Sen. Klobuchar to office???"

      Ironically this is the first thing you've ever said with which all liberals can fully agree. Klobuchar picking up the weapon you guys were advocating for all this time is just as bad as when your boy was grasping for it.

      Klobuchar needs to go, and the democratic party needs to draw the line by sending her to the doghouse until she realizes that the suggestion to gun down section 230 out of political expediency is as bad when a democrat advocates it as when a republican advocates it.

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


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