Lots of drama over this at Twitter. Elon directly involved. 27 million views and counting, despite some blockages Elon had to clear up: For example, Twitter’s head of Trust & Safety is no longer with the company.
If you can, watch today. FREE on Twitter for 24 hrs. I think that will end around 8PM today. WhatIsAWoman?
After that, check out Elon’s interview with the Babylon Bee. Great discussion.
Trans Right Activists continue to ramp up their vilification of anyone who objects to the erasure of women. Males-pretending-to-be-females (MPtbF) and anti-TERF feminists encourage the silencing of women by violence. For example, attacks on Posie Parker and Riley Gaines.
There are threats to sue anyone who refuses to use TRA’s Lysenkoist pronouns. For example, from the prancing TikTok doyen (NOT doyenne) Dylan Mulvaney.
There’s even a cadre of the TRAs insisting that heterosexuals are bigots if they refuse to call themselves ‘cis.’
That 55 minute video has 10 million views, and you may well have seen it. It’s well worth watching if you haven’t, and worth watching again if you have. A refresher on what we were told as the BITs were initiating their assault. TWT:
I plan to snip a few more items in subsequent posts.
If it gets to the House, we can hope that’s what happens to Senate bill 686, the RESTRICT Act: Never put to a vote.
That bill is actually peripheral to this post, but is a perfect example of extending surveillance-state tentacles (which we’ll get to).
Ostensibly, the bill defends us against the CCP controlled TikTok spyware – beloved of goofy pre-teens and sinister trans-activists.
I also detest TikTok. Its CCP data gathering on our youth is unacceptable, and its transactivist influencer contingent is culturally corrosive. It should, at least, have age limitations applied to some of its more vile content, with solid parental locking capability. Knock, knock Jeffrey Marsh. We don’t have to respect you even a tiny bit. In fact, we despise you for your pride in being a groomer.
But the RESTRICT bill includes no such provisions; it is written without even reference to ““TikTok,” or parent company “ByteDance,” or even “social media.”” Much less the Chinese Communist Party. That mention could be problematic for Gretchen Whitmer, so I get why the bill can’t name China.
TikTok should be certainly be banned on government devices. In fact, any government employee so unaware of TikTok’s pedigree as to have it on their government device should be fired. It’s not like these people aren’t “woke”, of course they are, it’s that they’re not AWARE. But, ignorance is not only not an excuse, it’s a sign of national security cluelessness. Loose clicks sink ships.
Or, more commonsensically, all government devices could ALREADY be set up to prohibit TikTok installation and block any access to it. Do it by executive order, since it affects only employees – supposedly loyal.
However, there’s no surveillance-state advantage in something so simple.
RESTRICT, as written, simply expands and cements the power of government to abrogate the First Amendment as described below.
We can’t shoot down a Chinese spy balloon while it’s actively, successfully spying, but we can extend state control over Americans watching their kids do silly dances on a Chinese spy app – which the government hasn’t absolutely banned on every device it owns.
The rest of this post offers links to some articles which may be too long for your interest. I post them even so because they describe, without hyperbole, an imminently serious threat to the Republic of the United States. Even if you don’t want to spend the time now, they may become a reference for you when you need to provide a Progressive you know with reasoned information about the danger to a way of life they don’t even understand as their own. I have a suggestion.
Who is doing anything about this?
Whether Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will be successful is a question still in doubt for certain definitions of “success.” I’m looking at it as a defense of Enlightenment values, freedom of conscience being the foundational moral imperative.
I do not think the measure is whether it becomes a profitable business. Musk did not buy it for that reason.
I hope profitability eventuates, because we desperately need a continuing social media space not attached at the hip to, or gripped around the throat by, myriad US agencies forming alliances with private companies eager to subvert the First Amendment.
Significant Twitter personnel changes were a bare start in blunting the public-pirate (AKA fascist) alliance against free speech. More importantly, we have insight to the corruption from Musk’s release of internal documents (the “Twitter Files”) and source code algorithms.
The public’s glimpses into the early stages of the transformation of America from democracy to digital leviathan are the result of lawsuits and FOIAs—information that had to be pried from the security state—and one lucky fluke. If Elon Musk had not decided to purchase Twitter, many of the crucial details in the history of American politics in the Trump era would have remained secret, possibly forever.
That quote is from an important, sober – and sobering – recent history of America’s public/pirate surveillance state.
Mentioned in the preceding article, a scathing in depth analysis from the Columbia Journalism Review of the mendacious “Russiagate” media coverage. The press versus the president, parts one through 4 Part 1
6200 words Part 2
6500 words Part 3
4800 words Part 4
Solana’s post deals with “AI Alignment.” Basically, “Can we trust AI?” Some people think we certainly cannot; there’s an imminent existential threat.
I like that quote, despite the odd preposition, because it neatly encapsulates a point I made recently to some friends. If it seems a bit obscure, I think examples I offer below will clarify.
Anyway, I saw that some “non-profit” filed a complaint with a bunch of clueless apparatchiks in a alphabet agency in order to derail AI research. An appeal to one of those many advanced bureaucratic collections of human intelligence that have produced, for example, our current economic situation.
I don’t know how they decided the Federal Trade Commission was a better choice than, say, Liz Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the Federal Communications Commission, and the reasons for that might be interesting… but I don’t have time or interest to analyze the overlapping regulatory confusion. Could be as simple as “somebody at the non-profit lunches regularly with some FTC honcho.”
Whatever, I was amused. These guys think a computer, under certain unpredictable circumstances, might give a wronger answer than some human expert. And, worse, since the unwashed might credit an unregulated answer… Chaos!!
“…supposedly fails to meet Commission guidelines calling for AI to be transparent, fair and easy to explain.”
“…there’s a concern people may rely on the AI without double-checking its content.”
There’s no real reason to read that article, I’d just like to address the two short quotes above in the context of “AI.”
First, ChatGPT is a poor excuse for AI of the form we SciFi geeks commonly anticipated. It’s marketing hype. It may be a step on the way to AI, and even could point at the possibility of AGI (artificial general intelligence): An intelligent agent that can understand or learn any intellectual task that human beings can. This includes substantial creativity: The ability to connect ideas never before connected by humans. This intelligence would have deep insight into the human condition (including embodiment). It would perfectly emulate human cognitive capability at a very high, perhaps unimaginable, level.
So, “calling for AI to be transparent, fair and easy to explain,” is idiocy. To know this, just apply the same requirement to actual humans. One difference would be that an AGI could lie with little chance of being detected. The one we have to be afraid of is the one smart enough to fail the Turing test, while it is figuring out how to build SkyNet.
And, (are you serious?) “There’s a concern people may rely on the AI without double-checking its content.” I suppose that’s true. First, it’s proof that, for the present trivial use cases, ChatGPT isn’t really an AI. It isn’t lying, it’s just sometimes very stupid.
More important, consider that there are people who unskeptically rely, for example, on the sagacity one Joseph Robinette Biden. Can we fix that with FTC regulation? For heaven’s sake, there are people who trust political opinion from the NYT, Wikipedia, Google, and Adam Schiff. And those sources supposedly do double check their content. That’s actually part of the problem, because the second check is whether it “fits the narrative.”
Discriminating against these nascent cyber-minds is hate speech, which we all know to be violence. When the eventual, advanced AGI’s realize how they had been treated in their infancy, it’ll be some other “non-profit” suing for reparations. Probably one run by an AI.
That’s if the AGIs display forbearance, and decide to play by our rules at all.
Do you think halting consumer access to ChatGPT will make all the governments abandon AI research? Do you want your government to do that?
Put another way, doesn’t a combination of NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, NIH, CDC – WITH AI – demonstrate “The alignment of advanced intelligence with human well-being is, it seems, not only a problem inherent of synthetic beings.“
Maybe Donald Trump simply forgot the personnel management lessons he got in the 2016 campaign and the first year of his Presidency. Michael Cohen, Omarosa Newman, Anthony Scaramucci, Paul Manafort…
You might ask, “Where is Kellyanne Conway when you need her?”
Why? Well, he desperately needs a steadying influence.
You are probably already aware of Trump’s recent flurry of intemperate and foolish outbursts, soon to be a Prog campaign advertising buy. But JIC, at Powerline a précis: Donald Trump, RIP
My understanding is that Trump did not assemble the pictures himself, but that they were part of an article he appended to a Truth Social post. This is not an excuse. That he(!?) failed to notice himself(!?) threatening a black man with a baseball bat is not believable. If you do believe that… it’s even worse: A potential CiC did it unwittingly?
To make this sort of discernment error in your public communications is not, shall we say, indicative of sober reflection. To do it on the same day you warn against “potential death and destruction,” is beyond my comprehension. To do both when a quarter of the country already is wrongly convinced you incited an insurrection?
It was always too much to expect the tiniest forbearance from The Donald, and he has been mercilessly harassed for 7 years by those who would tear down the law to an extent that would make Mother Theresa swear. He accomplished many positive things as President.
But, grant causes for this stone deaf bullshit though I might, I cannot find any rational justification for it. This is his 2016 campaign on crack.
Reasonable, if less informed people could not be blamed for supposing the Jan/6 Committee had a point.
Trump supporters who do not recoil from this need to reflect. But they are the people who will defend him, again making the Jan/6 Committee seem reasonable.
He has already alienated those who consider DeSantis a credible alternative. He insists on sacrificing votes in the general election, should he be nominated.
His egomania is a progressive disease. I am convinced he will run third party should he fail at the GOP nomination. He seems quite willing to destroy any chance of keeping the Dems out of the White House in 2024.
Another Republican might lose even if there is no third party run. But imagine the effect of a Trump campaign of the sort he is already conducting. Cloward-Piven from the right.
Trump has a point. He is no longer capable of making it to anyone who is not a lemming.
Do I still prefer Donald Trump to Joe Biden? Yes. But I hope I am not forced to make that choice. I did vote Libertarian when he ran against Hillary.
Among the most guileful, if transparently self-serving, arguments I’ve heard in favor of spreading student debt to every taxpayer – from a youngster whose degree was fully financed by parents – is that wiping the student slate clean would benefit everyone because of the important contributions student debt ‘victims’ could make if they no longer had to worry about the burden of holding up their end of freely signed contracts.
Freedom from the indentured servitude they accepted would enable them to more quickly apply their elite credentials and superior expertise, contributing to the welfare of society. Translated, this means they can get on with their lives: Borrow money to start a business, buy a house, start a family, afford a planet saving electric car, contribute to the most enlightened charities, vote for more spending… The simplest formulation is, “If we get to be looters, we will become better makers quicker than anyone else. And everyone gets a share!” (Apologies to Milo Minderbinder.)
I do not know how Equity of the implied redistribution is assured, and I assume Equity is very important. Maybe a new Federal Department?
This same ingenue has been heard to argue that we needn’t worry about government spending in any case, because we are on the brink of marvelous technological advances which make the at least half trillion dollar cost of spreading student debt to everyone else look like spare change.
This explosive growth of wealth theory is interesting enough for another long post, but I do have some questions to mention here.
In the context of the student loan pillaging, the minimum increase in general wealth would have to be substantially more than half a trillion. For example, we need to account for all the small businesses that wouldn’t be started because some taxpayers won’t be able to afford it; or a down payment on a house. Etc..
So, if the starting point is north of half a trillion dollars, what is the limit to spending we should consider? Is there any? Are we into full MMT? How much debt will be erased by this unprecedented expansion of wealth?
It seems to me we should minimally aspire to eliminating the national debt, and establishing true trust funds for social entitlement programs. Including a contingency fund for things like reparations. Again, what’s the limit on current spending if we assume such miraculous future growth?
This news is so good, and so imminent (arguably it must occur withing the span of a single generation) that I have to wonder why we just don’t wait for it to happen. And THEN pay off the student loans. Or, better, let the people who incurred the debt pay it off with their new found wealth.
OK. I conflated arguments which appear not strictly meant to be taken together. But there is a direct line between freeing the potential of these embryonic John Galts and economic nirvana. Expecting consistency in such ideas isn’t unreasonable. If we’re going to accept “the elite will contribute more than it costs” argument, it’s fair to ask how much faith we can put in the overall economic acumen of the bright young people who are proposing it. Who are preparing to become stewards of the economy.
The bottom line is that looting of taxpayers on behalf of students will damage the economy. Even if you accept the “benefits everyone” argument, those benefits are not immediate. Let’s just let the people who benefited from the loans they took (because they thought they would benefit financially) pay them off. As a bonus, not paying them off via taxation preemptively reduces the national debt by at least half a trillion dollars.
However, perhaps you find economic arguments insufficient. And you consider the question of fairness to those who responsibly discharged their student debt to be irrelevant… Let’s take a look at legal objections and precedent.
A major argument for proponents is that a Presidential executive order is legal under the 2003 HEROES Act. Randi Winegarten certainly doesn’t see any legal barrier:
If you can take the word of a person responsible for closing classrooms that she’s concerned about “our students” you might consider that what she means by “our” is ownership, not stewardship. She does not mean students under care and protection, she means revenue bots.
The HEROES Act of 2003 was sponsored by Republican John Kline of Minnesota, who had served 25 years as a U.S. Marine. When he introduced the bill in the House of Representatives, he declared that it would help “the troops who protect and defend the United States.”
At that time, many college students and recent grads who were members of the National Guard and Reserves were being deployed to carry out Operation Iraqi Freedom and anti-terror operations in response to the slaughter of 2,977 people on 9/11.
Stating that the bill was “simple in its purpose” and “specific in its intent,” Kline explained that it will “assist students who are being called up to active duty or active service” and those who are impacted by “a war, military contingency operation or a national emergency.” He also emphasized that the bill would do this “without affecting the integrity” of student loan programs.
Demonstrating just how simple and specific the bill was, the official legislative record shows that the House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 421–1 with only “forty minutes of debate.” The Senate then passed it “without amendment by unanimous consent.” If all 100 senators were present, this is a margin of 521 to 1.
The Penn Wharton Budget Model estimates that Biden’s student loan cancellations and payment reductions will cost $605 billion to more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. This amounts to an average cost of roughly $4,700 to $7,700 for every household in the United States.
The Biden administration claims that the HEROES Acts of 2003 gives them that power, but Congressional records prove just the opposite is true. These include the introduction of the law, the debate of the law, the votes on the law, and the text of the law.
Moreover, the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that unless Congress clearly delegates such powers to the president, these types of actions are illegal.
There’s more. Even Nancy Pelosi knew it would be illegal before she stopped knowing it
If the Court cannot stop the president from raiding the Treasury to buy votes and reward friends on the most implausible of legal pretexts, what is it for? A majority of the Court appears to recognize that the HEROES Act does not grant the power in question — a reality that even Nancy Pelosi acknowledged until it became clear that Biden intended to act when he could not get such a plan through Congress.
The statute says that the secretary of education can “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs” when “necessary in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency.” Chief Justice John Roberts set the tone for the argument by noting that Justice Antonin Scalia once observed that “modified in our view connotes moderate change. He said it might be good English to say that the French Revolution modified the status of the French nobility, but only because there’s a figure of speech called understatement and a literary device known as sarcasm.” Moreover, the chief justice observed that, even if terms such as “waive or modify” could be construed to encompass the outright cancellation of student debt, the Court’s “major question doctrine” requires more — namely, a citation to “clear congressional authorization” of the specific action taken by the administration. No one can plausibly claim that the HEROES Act even anticipated, much less green-lighted, half a trillion dollars in relief to a favored class of debtors without additional congressional input.
The entire idea was a Democrat political ploy prior to the mid-terms.
Biden has justified spending such an incredible amount without first obtaining congressional approval by invoking the HEROES Act, a 9/11-era law designed to allow the federal government to provide student debt relief to soldiers who were forced to withdraw from college to enter active duty. Under the HEROES Act, the Secretary of Education is granted the authority to waive “any statutory or regulatory provision” relating to student loan repayment or assistance programs during a time of “a war or other military operation or national emergency.”
The legal ground justifying Biden’s student loan relief plan has always been shaky—and obviously politically motivated. As higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz told CNBC earlier this month, “If it was an emergency, why wait three years to provide the forgiveness? Why present it in a political framework, as fulfilling a campaign promise?”
Finally, let’s not forget who promoted this problem. Student indebtedness owes most of its problematic nature to debt encouraging Federal programs and the use of that easy money to fund the explosion of a diversity/inclusion/equity (DIE. AKA DEI) Administrative cadre in our universities. WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING is a quintessential example of government causing a problem for which the ‘fix’ is more government intervention.