The implications are fairly dramatic if this is legitimate and were to be adopted / executed.
Specifically it would declare that sites like Twitter and Facebook are subject to the Communications Decency Act by virtue of their editorializing the content vs acting in more of a common carrier capacity. This is a really big deal for them (much more significant than losing federal ad dollars).
Can an executive order overturn this? Isn't there already precedent about this topic?
> Basically, a distributor under the First Amendment would be liable for content it distributes only if it knows or should have known about illegal content. So that would be a bookstore or newsstand. But a publisher, which would be like a newspaper, can be sued and face the same liability as the author....
Would Section 230 just mean that all online services and websites should be treated as distributors, meaning they’re liable if they knew or should have known about material? But what the Fourth Circuit said is that distributor liability is basically a subset of publisher liability. So by saying you can’t be treated as the publisher or speaker, that means that you’re not going to be liable at all.
That could have been very different. If the Florida court had been the first to rule, there’s a really good chance that you would have had a narrower interpretation of Section 230 that basically said, “Once you know about potentially illegal content, you have to take it down or face liability.” But that’s not what happened. So Section 230 has been this really broad shield.
IANAL, but reading that it sounds like 230 arguably was trying to ensure platforms would remain liable like distributors even in the face of good faith moderation efforts for content that they did not write themselves. But somehow the courts interpreted the statute to remove even distributor-level liability (i.e. for content they know or should have known is illegal) meaning they end up not liable even for illegal content that they know about.
The EO is doing two big things. One it is highlighting the limits within the statute placed on “good faith” moderation efforts — that is to allow platforms to perform “Good Samaritan” blocking of lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable indecent content, without being considered publishers.
Two, it is directing the FTC to consider whether platforms are performing unfair and deceptive trade practices by moderating non-illegal/indecent content which does not violate their ToS.
The executive order has no teeth as long as somebody finds the removed speech objectionable. And in this case, his speech wasnt removed, it was editorialized. It's a much more dangerous precedent to attempt to say "a private company is not allowed to speak in rebuttal to my speech," which is a downright nonsense claim. Of course a publisher can chime in with its own thoughts.
The other part about inconsistent with terms of service and inadequate explanation are also easily circumvented by having tos that say "we can remove whatever we want" and replying with "objectionable" and a clarification of why to every removable.
That all said, the idea of the Executive Order isn't completely nuts. If Twitter/Facebook have become the de facto public square, and they wish to remain it, can the government choose to extend first amendment protections to speakers on their platforms? In the same vein, should they be allowed to force non-anonymous use? Combined, Twitter/Facebook/Google can basically prevent ideas from spreading.
OTOH, if Trump thinks that the Courts have changed (either in genuine opinion on the legal question, or if he thinks that the courts—or, ultimately, just the Supreme Court—has become partisan enough to simply favor his preferences independent of any genuine legal interpretation) then issuing an executive order conflicting with the present precedent on either of those points is an excellent way to get into position to force a test of them.
And, in any case, it's an excellent way to fan conservative victimhood into an election-year rallying cry to the base.
Plus even if the courts decline it will then further fuel the victimization, which conspiracies and radical groups historically feed off of.
I've always believed creating martyrs over online speech is a minefield for radicalizing people. No longer venting into the void people become increasingly angry and isolated. The long term implications of this worries me a great deal.
I also don't believe our only alternative means allowing (legitimate) hate speech, as a more limited approach has worked in countless other scenarios without the endless scope creep we're witnessing. But today this debate seems to be long lost, Twitter et al are full steam ahead, and now we can only witness the implications and hopefully adapt...
it's a good question i hadn't considered though.
There's other problems with the "Nation-wide injunction" but if this EO gets issued that'll for sure be the next thing that happens, and I'm sure Twitter et al are counting on it.
Can anyone give a tl;dr of what the implications actually are? Maybe I'm just tired, but I'm having a hard time parsing what this would actually do (beyond soothe Trump's feelings after getting called out by Twitter).
If you really believe this is the right path to go down you should stop being a hypocrite and delete your HN account since you clearly believe HN has no right to exist in its current form.
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1. Platform vs Publisher. Alleges Twitter's fact checks to be editorial content, and thus does not benefit from platform protections. Ditto for other large tech companies.
2. Agencies need to review sites they advertise on and report on items including "viewpoint-based speech restrictions", and restrict funding if it is not "appropriate" for that agency's speech. Presumably a way to force companies to be friendlier to the sort of politics of the person who is making the report.
- Unless they stop calling out Trump, they lose Section 230 protections. Section 230 is what allows a platform like Twitter or Hacker News to do limited good-faith moderation and not be deemed editorially responsible for every piece of nonsense someone tweets/posts that they don't get around to moderating. Without it, you either have to moderate heavily and get everything right, or not moderate at all. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communicati... - pre-Section 230, CompuServe did no moderation and was ruled not responsible for libelous user comments, and Prodigy did and was ruled responsible for something they failed to moderate, and people went "Wait a second, this seems like the opposite of what we want.") The executive order says, roughly, that the behavior Trump doesn't like isn't permissible under Section 230 and makes you editorially responsible for everything, so if you enjoy your Section 230 protections, you can't do that.
- The executive branch is discouraged from spending funds (i.e., buying ads) on platform that Trump doesn't like.
- The FTC will go after these platforms for unfair trade practices.
- The US attorney general will team up with state attorney generals to see if there's any state laws they can wield against these platforms too.
There are less-moderated forums out there, but they see less popular in the free market. I think the main argument for Section 230 is it made no sense to legally require the CompuServe model - both CompuServe and Prodigy should have been free to operate as they were doing.
Were it allowed to be executed, the biggest implication is that the US has become an executive dictatorship where the laws adopted by Congress can be rewritten at whim by the executive (under the pretext of “clarification” that is 180° opposed to both the text and the actual intent of the law demonstrated by the legislative history), and the Constitutional order and structure of government is a dead letter, which absolutely dwarfs any policy implications.
Not just now, but yes.
> I don’t remember the left up in arms about President Obama’s EOs
I don't remember Obama issuing an EO directing agencies to issue “clarifying” regulations directly opposed to the text and clearly documented intent of the underlying statute (much less doing so for the express purpose of obstructing private actors exercise of free speech rights in direct retaliation for them not remaining silent about the falsity of Administration claims while actively relaying Administration propaganda containing false claims.) But that's neither here nor there, as I also do remember the left opposing a number of Obama’s executive actions on Constitutional and policy grounds.
(Obama was no great friend of the left, being from the center-right—like all Democratic presidential nominees since at least Clinton, during whose tenure the center-right wing took dominant control of the party).
I mean if you think "left" means outright communism, I guess President Obama wasn't quite that far over, but he was certainly not "center" or "center-right" either.
DACA wasn't an executive order by the President but a memo from the Director of Homeland Security, and didn't involve issuing “clarifying” regulation in an attempt to reinterpret the law, only a decision about how to apply the widely recognized executive prerogative of prosecutorial discretion.
> I mean if you think "left" means outright communism
You are badly mistaken if you think there is nothing to the left of pro-corporate neoliberalism besides “outright communism”. Every Democratic Presidential nominee since Clinton has been a center-right corporate neoliberal that, policy wise, would have fit reasonably well into the moderate wing of the Republican Party (which, to be fair, overlapped in the center-right with the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, which wasn't dominant prior to that point) up until the rightward shift the Republican Party took to differentiate itself after Clinton was elected on a basically Republican economic platform.
The Republican Party has shifted hard left in the last twenty years, the Democrat party most certainly has not shifted right. Many Republicans in the Senate (and probably most of the house) could credibly just change to Democrats and nobody would even know the difference, and that's because the Republican Party has totally abandoned its roots. There are a few outspoken outliers, of course, but there has been essentially no actual conservative anything in the US since Reagan. JFK would never win the nomination as a Democrat today (for that matter neither would Bill Clinton), he'd have to run as a Republican as he would be considered far too conservative.
I remember Reagan, I'm guessing you don't beyond whatever caricatures your college professors sold you on, and you're looking at this solely through the lens of "oh my god the country isn't liberal enough", as most people on the left do. Reading your comment history tells me that's where this discussion is going and I won't bother to participate further.
1. 2015 "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule, which grabbed federal control over private property which happened to sometimes drain into a US coastal water or into a navigable US river
2. 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the Department of Education, that denied due process to students who were accused
Let's not ruin the HN comments by introducing this type of language.
So Trump is trying to tell the courts, via executive order, how to interpret the law?
I'm no expert, but I don't think that's how the different branches of government work.
1) CDA section 230 was written before the phrase "social media" was invented, when the Internet barely existed, and many people were still on AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy.
2) Section 230 was, in fact, intended for exactly the opposite purpose. It was written because previous court rulings indicated that moderating could make you more liable, and legislators realized that was precisely the opposite of what they wanted to encourage ("nobody would have any incentive to keep the internet civil"), so they wrote section 230 to make sure that sites weren't liable if they moderate but don't catch everything.
Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communicati... for details.
Yes, he is. He is telling the FCC, etc., to issue regulations “clarifying” section 230; regulations clarifying law exist specifically to guide the courts in application, and courts grant such regulations (where properly authorized under statute) great deference, which Trump clearly hopes to benefit from.
“Clarifying” regulation specifically is a message to the courts on interpretation; directing executive agencies to craft clarifying regulation is directing subordinate executive officers to tell the courts.
Correct but irrelevant.
I can tell people things over whom I don't have directive authority. “Clarifying” regulations are exactly the executive telling the courts how the law should be interpreted.
Courts can disregard them (and, in principle, will if they don't find them the issuing agency to have been empowered to enforce the law and thereby entrusted with that interpretive role, and even if they are authorized, they deference granted to them is not unlimited) but the fact that someone might not follow your direction to them doesn't mean you haven't given them direction.
EOs tell the EXECUTIVE BRANCH how to enforce laws.
They do not tell the courts how to interpret them.
Yes, EOs tell executive branch officers what to do.
One of the things this EO tells certain executive branch officers to do is to tell the courts how to interpret Section 230 by way of adopting “clarifying” regulations.
Courts ignore executive orders - especially ones from republican presidents, essentially always.
Not being facetious, I really like it.
Everyone should start by mass-complaining to the White House's reporting tool the recent Twitter change allowing people to censor replies.
You can scream whatever stupid shit you want in public but why in the world should you have the right to use someone else’s megaphone to do it?
Twitter does not have private posts like Facebook does, nor does this change purport to make such a thing. Its design is specifically to allow people to amplify their own personal echo chamber, and pre-silence disagreement.
The UI designer (hired from Facebook) who created the tool defended it with the notion that people should "want to watch people they admire have conversations" (his words).
That's not social interaction, that's television. A one way communication medium in which the screen tells the observer what to think.
It's also interesting to think about reddit and subreddits. When a moderator of a subreddit engages in the behavior described here, deleting comments and posts and banning users arbitrarily, stickying editorial commentary in threads, are they acting as publishers? Are the mods now legally liable in the section 230 sense? If not, is reddit a publisher and liable even though they aren't doing the editing? If reddit can enable mods to do it without reddit or the mods being liable, why can't reddit just do it without being liable?
If a company has an obligation to promote something against their will, violating their own right to free speech, how could a company like Hobby Lobby get away with an exemption on the same grounds?
I don’t see this getting past federal courts, even with a heavily conservative judiciary. The fallout would be far too great.
Both the left and the right are unhappy with different aspects of that, but neither wants to face up publicly to the fact that they can't have what they want without cutting the heart out of the First Amendment.
In the former case, one is worried that a company's right to spend their own money and control their own communications (or hire others to communicate on their behalf, which is standard practice), will lead to outsized political influence.
In the latter case, one is concerned that a company's right to control others' use of their product, because they happen to operate a platform that hosts a substantial fraction of the entire public discourse, will lead to outsized political influence.
The private property defense being deployed here is so facile that only a Libertarian could actually believe it. In practice you will not be allowed, for example, to simply buy real estate at a choke point and exercise your private property rights to determine who is allowed to come and go. Public rights of way will eventually be established if you inconvenience the public enough.
Obviously none of that is relavent to the USA, but kind of seems similar
Yes, take it from the conservative folks at CATO
"Patreon is and should remain free to disassociate itself from whomever it wants. Like all companies that have guidelines and content‐ moderation policies, Patreon is open to accusations of hypocrisy and inconsistently applying its speech standards. Anyone looking for a company that has been entirely consistent with its own content guidelines will be persistently disappointed.[...]
Classical liberals and other supporters of free association and free speech should indeed be concerned when the government undertakes initiatives such as the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point, which investigated banks doing business with firearms dealers (among others). But there is a world of difference between a government cracking down on peaceful citizens’ legal behaviour and a private company choosing to sever a business relationship.[...]
But it’s a mistake to portray the ongoing debate about content moderation as one in which supporters of a ‘closed’ and a ‘free’ internet fight it out for supremacy. You’re not less free if a private company won’t host your speech, and an internet where those companies discriminate is not ‘closed’. Those who want a maximally tolerant venue for speech on the internet are welcome to build one. "
CATO is right-libertarian, but more libertarian than right. Describing them simply as simply “conservative” in this context is a bit misleading.
Platforms were given a free pass, provided they act in "good faith".
Publishers weren't given a free pass.
Hobby Lobby's case was not related to platform vs publisher issue.
I find this interesting and I'm not sure where I stand here.
On the one hand I'm not happy about an executive order that limits liability for online platforms. The onus for posts being on the user, protecting the platform, is a core part of running any service. On the other hand, this doesn't seem like it would make platforms liable for content that users post, instead it's liability for the content that the platforms choose to _remove_. I've never considered that angle before.
Would it be akin to compelled speech on the part of the platform, or does it make them more like common carriers that can't pick and choose who gets access?
I suppose the biggest risk here would something along the lines of having bad actors post content that follows the rules for a site, but is also obviously against the spirit of the site, causing the posts to be removed and opening the site to a lawsuit?
Here's an obvious test: this would also make the operator of a personally hosted blog liable if they moderate/remove comments (or for that matter, spam), if it were construed as "the result of inadequate notice, the product of unreasoned explanation, or having been undertaking without a meaningful opportunity to be heard".
You have no obligation to provide notice, reasoned explanation, or "an opportunity to be heard" to spammers, trolls, or anyone else you feel like moderating on your private blog. You can just nuke their comments from orbit. Anything suggesting otherwise is broken, and would either mean sites can't afford the liability of user-generated content at all, or provide a perverse incentive to stop moderating at all, which was exactly what CDA section 230 was intended to avoid. (The whole point of CDA section 230 was to avoid discouraging sites from providing moderation, because otherwise "nobody would have any incentive to keep the internet civil". Quoting Wikipedia: 'Section 230 has frequently been referred as a key law that has allowed the Internet to flourish, often referred to as "The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet".')
That's leaving aside the "compelled speech" argument, which is an entirely separate reason to consider this unreasonable.
That seems quite broad and doesn't seem to do anything to stop the current deluge of censorship.
Section 230 said that if a platform acts in good faith for those moderation reasons you list, that doesn't cause them to gain liability - they're still in the same place as if they didn't moderate. If they exercised active editorial control, then they'd be responsible (e.g., you can't just host a pro-harassment forum and solicit other people to post harassing comments and expect Section 230 to protect you), but as long as you only do normal moderation of obviously bad stuff, you're fine.
This draft executive order says, we're interpreting that part of Section 230 to specifically not count "deceptive or pretextual actions restricting online content" as normal moderation, presumably including things like flagging Trump's tweets for misinformation.
That leaves Twitter with two choices: 1) forfeit Section 230 protection and be responsible for all the content on their site (i.e., they'd have to heavily and reliably moderate every single tweet) or 2) stop flagging Trump's tweets for misinformation and do even less moderation so they maintain Section 230 protections.
Would you not agree that "deceptive or pretextual actions restricting online content" is broad and would be difficult to prove in court?
However there is a scotus case now which might change that.
Heck, the entertainment value alone would be worth it.
I fail to see how this is any different than that bakery years ago that refused to make a cake for that gay couple. Or a business refusing service because you're saying things against them. Or many of the other reasons a company might decide you cant shop or be a customer.
1. Twitter and Facebook (and other entities that try to fact check content) will be labeled as publishers and thus can be sued in court for libel.
2. The Federal Government will be banned from buying ads from internet companies that "restrict" speech.
3. The FTC and the Attorney General will investigate Twitter, Facebook, and related platforms for any potential violations of law or regulation.
For that reason I fully expect the tech experts in question to solve this new policy problem with some technology. Maybe a new categorization and preference-indication system, giving users yet another way to ignore their in-laws' award political voice, or whatever it is that routes around this latest missive.
> Are these things widely circulated before signing?
Something with this content would probably need to be coordinated between at least White House counsel, DoJ, and counsel for all or most of the agencies being given tasks under it to get the language right and make sure it was as workable as possible given the intent, so it would be in a large number of hands. Even if they were all fairly reliable partisan political appointees (and it’d be unlikely that there wouldn't be a lot of permanent staff involved), those are in some ways the most dangerous since, well, reliable Republican partisan attorneys and people who support a hands-off approach to regulating speech of business entities have a pretty big overlap.
Trumpian corporatists who think that all of society (whether government, business, or otherwise) should be united in reflecting the will of the head of state, at least as long as the current incumbent holds that position, or pay the price for disloyalty, aren't the norm even among Republican partisans. As much as Trump would like to fill the whole administration with them, there aren't enough of them remotely qualified to fill the needed roles.
My sense is that they use leaks as a way to ferret out who is disloyal, not get feedback from the Press, which they hate.
* prevent astro-turfing, especially by foreign governments
* require that sites engaging in moderation basically follow some sort of rule of law-eaque process (there are rules posted, and you cant be arbitraily blocked unless you break them)
Honestly in many ways those are things i agree with, but it seems inappropriate to do it with an executive order, and much of this seems vauge and could be used as a justification to put pressure on social media sites arbitrarily.
It's in the section about vague policies and opinions, but I don't think it actually does anything beyond saying "China bad."
But yeah, i think you are right.
e.g., if it suspects the tweet is about COVID-19 (whether mundane or outrageous), it links off to a broader information and fact-checking page about the topic. Likewise for voting fraud or any other hot topic.
What if it were independent of the tweet itself and just one of a small selection of header links like Reddit and others are currently doing with COVID-19?
Edit: Also, could they differentiate the levels of editorial based on tier of account? e.g., claim platform-status for the bulk, but accept legal responsibility for anything by the largest accounts which saw immediate moderator review.
I think that right of speaking freely in a public space is deeply important (no surprises there).
But if someone spews vile speech while standing on my front lawn, frankly I want them to stop.
So what is public space on the internet? What is the minimum level - the sidewalk vs the front lawn?
It's not twitter. Hardly anyone has access to it? It's specialised and not open in its protocols.
I suspect it's not even facebook - is it just plain HTML on a plain server, perhaps plainly hosted in your own home?
This is going to be an interesting debate.
What most young people or people on the left seem to want very badly is for tech companies to remove viewpoints they disagree with. Unfortunately the reality is that this is in fact political censorship. And it will lead directly to the type of censorship that China has.
Go ahead and click the downvote button until my viewpoint disappears. It doesn't matter anymore. I actually think that the possibility of real free speech online, if it ever existed, is dead anyway. Because, bizarrely, people are begging for more censorship.
I do not want tech companies to remove political opinions I disagree with (e.g. "We should go to war against Iraq," "Brexit is our only hope," "If you reduce taxes, society will be better off," etc.).
I want tech companies to remove lies that do harm (e.g., "Someone should really investigate whether so-and-so killed so-and-so," "You should drink fish tank cleaner," "If you vote by mail, your vote won't be valid and you risk committing a felony"). Our society/culture has ample precedent that lies that do harm are not worth protecting and are worth penalizing.
I do not want tech companies to give special protection to lies that do harm simply because the liar has a particular political affiliation or a particular political office. I want everyone to be treated equally regardless of their political affiliation and office.
(If there happens to be a nonzero correlation between political affiliation and the telling of lies that do harm, well, that seems like a problem worth sorting out for the good of society, but tech companies should not put their fingers on the scale. They should remove lies that do harm without regard to political affiliation of the liars.)
People on the right need to be more vocal here and elsewhere, we can't let the children and their feelings, run the ship or it'll end badly.
The effect on reality of a HN thread isn’t much and it’s not really a place for nuanced discussion.
The twitter thing doesn’t matter because the solution is obvious - we need decentralized platforms where such behavior isn’t possible.
Trump is in power and he has repeatedly requested that cable news be censored by the FCC.
2017: https://www.wired.com/story/fcc-chair-finally-says-agency-wo... “FCC Chair Finally Says Agency Won't Censor Trump's Enemies: Six days after President Trump suggested revoking broadcast licenses, FCC Chair Ajit Pai says agency won't act based on content.”
2018: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politic... “Trump suggests revoking NBC's broadcast license amid attacks on 'fake news'”
2020: https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/2017/web/hero_images/Redacte... his campaign threatens to sue TV stations who allow an ad against him to be aired
So just saying, let’s not just blame young people or people on the left. There are very loud right wing voices demanding that the media be censored in their favor as well right now by government force.
Personally I’d be more concerned at this point about government censorship than twitter adding a link to a post. There are many different websites on the internet, but only 1 US government.
But if its real, i wonder what will happen to silcon valley. Part of the reason why internet companies like the united states is the legal environment is conducive to making online services. If that goes away, will companies move to other countries
I don't think this draft will survive for long.
Twitter’s algorithm determines who sees my tweets. Based on internal criteria my content is ignored while other’s is promoted, limiting my exposure and damaging my brand
I’m glad this move from the President will shine a light on the issue. In the least it may result in viable alternatives to Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and Google springing up.
I'm looking forward to this. If smaller social networks (or even federated networks) gain more traction due to this governmental shakeup, it will be harder to get censored as people can switch to the server that has the moderation style, or features (such as no ads but fees) they like.
There could be a silver lining in all this.
Although it is more difficult to censor a decentralised social network, attracting and migrating existing users from other social networks with a growing network effect on to a new platform is even harder.
Does not this sound like sci-fi, straight from the beginning?
As someone who's quite anti social-media, and the effect it appears to have had on our societies, I'm interested in how this plays out either way. It feels like a test that has been a long time coming.
Regardless, it seems the next rational step is for Trump to quit Twitter and encourage his base to do the same, or for Twitter to ban Trump and provoke his base to leave. Trump staying active on Twitter after this, or Twitter allowing him to, would be something beyond bizarre.
It’s as if a President in the late 1800s-early 1900s declared war on the printed press.
They’re going to reject his targeted ads, they’re going to aid Democrats in swing states to persuade the undecided swing-voters... it’s going to be mayhem.
I understand that no small amount of their traffic has to do with him using Twitter as his primary megaphone to the world, but they are under no obligation whatsoever to continue to provide him said megaphone.
One only has to hope that if that were to happen, no one would show him the Presidential Alerts functionality on all of our phones...
I’d say that’s insane and childish but I think we’re a little past that already
Certainly no platform is anywhere close to banning the ideas or platform of the Trump campaign or the Republican Party - they get debate and discussion but they certainly are not censored. They are firmly within the mainstream.
(I also think, in a broader sense, that people need to not rely on big for-profit tech companies for unpopular ideas. I think it's good for society that everyone from the boogaloo folks to the Unabomber get to be able to publish their ideas, even - and perhaps especially - when those ideas involve violent revolution to the social order. But I also think it's foolish to expect platforms that are profiting handsomely from the stability of the social order to fairly convey those discussions, especially if any of those ideologies gets close to making a difference. So, even if I thought that we had a problem with the big tech companies censoring discussions, it doesn't seem like a problem worth solving.)
No platform should be obligated to keep disruptive users around simply because those users happen to have a certain political belief.
Publishers are absolutely allowed to comment on the validity of the content they've published - why are you asking?
Twitter is benefiting from the fact they're classed as a _platform_. Platform != Publisher.
It's up to the courts to decide whether annotating content in the way Twitter has is editorial. Twitter opened a can of worms here.
If/When Twitter is classified as a publisher do you believe they will be able to comment on the validity of things they publish? Like, for instance, a newspaper would?
I begin to suspect that you don't know what the last word in that sentence means in regards to this particular action.
> The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable"...In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.
> It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-ﬁghting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.
> But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one—not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.
You can read an essay by Mussolini on the topic here , but consider practice vs theory. Fascism is usually cited in reference to Nazi Germany / Fascist Italy, both of aspired towards totalitarianism, featured callous disregard for human life, and possessed collectivist tendencies. Is the US you live in?
The use of fascism here isn't correct as it misses magnitude. Trump's authoritarian tendencies and nationalism is certainly aligned, but falls far short. It's the same way that 'socialism' isn't an appropriate way to describe the policies of Bernie Sanders.
But please continue to abuse language, knowing full well the power of connotation. You'll water them down to meaninglessness.
Well, there is no last straw for his hardcore supporters. They will support him no matter what he does.
There are many, many of us here who have been doing our best to get rid of him for the last 3.5 years, and to prevent him from having a second term. The majority of the country disapproves of him, but that's unfortunately not enough to get him to lose the election.
Foreigners do not get to see the bad state democracy is in here in the US, between the corruption, the heavy corporate funding of candidates and the lobbyists, the corporate control of media, and the suppression of voters.
A lot of choice, especially the president is decided for people, and what people see and hear is heavily controlled by the media which themselves are beholden to the same large corporate interests that finance the elections. We just had what would pass as a very centrist candidate in any European country compared to a communist and a nazi and suggested that he would hang people in Central Park by the media that was supposed to be informing people. All because he wanted to do a few things like spend 1/7th of our military budget to give people free college education. The corporate and establishment interests had a freak out at the prospect and wound up spending over $1 billion during the primary against him. All to ensure that voters are once again left with a choice between a guy who will do more of the same things that have been a problem, and another guy who will also do more of the same things. That’s what you are up against. That’s why it’s not just as simple as “vote him out”.
That war was based on a lie and resulted in the death of more than 100,000 civilians and cost $1 trillion.
It revolts me to see GWB on the talk show circuit, being buddys with Ellen and the media portraying him as some cutesy old geezer on to show off his amateur paintings.
lol don't bet on it (i haven't!). you're greatly underestimating his base and greatly overestimating voter turnout.
Is there a prediction market for this? I'm willing to bet 20:1 he wins and I'm prepared to put down $100 right now.
i don't think it will be a final straw - i think it could be a confluence of things though
>As anti-government protesters demonstrated in Timișoara in December 1989, he perceived the demonstrations as a political threat and ordered military forces to open fire on 17 December, causing many deaths and injuries. The revelation that Ceaușescu was responsible resulted in a massive spread of rioting and civil unrest across the country. The demonstrations, which reached Bucharest, became known as the Romanian Revolution—the only violent overthrow of a communist government in the turn of the Revolutions of 1989.[
Seriously? What do you think of Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, etc? So dramatic people are these days.
Let me put it this way: he's a terrific final act. A great summation of what has been a story with its ups-and-downs, but is primarily a lesson in what not to do.
> I’m genuinely curious, what’s the last straw?
Is there evidence for the idea that large changes to political structures are made on the basis of last straws? I surmise that this is not a terribly useful lens.
> He takes a dump on the Whitehouse lawn in order to show how powerful he is?
My experience is that very few Americans have any pride for the whitehouse lawn (and for the things I presume for which you are using it as a metaphor). The grandeur of the American state is not a source of inspiration for us.
> My view of America has forever changed, no matter who comes next.
Then I suspect your view has become more acute and more accurate. Our government has failed us for generations, but done so with a slick veneer of statesmanship and sobriety. This idiot, as you rightly say, is giving what we've endured a face.
2. You think you will be downvoted here, is it due to humans with differing views or this website’s management’s bias, and what does that mean for your point?
3. Do you not know that conservative talking heads and influencers go wildly viral every hour of every day on all 3 of these networks, reaching audiences far outside their conservative following?
2. It's simple, liberals are more prone to downvote and censor than conservatives.
3. They reach their followers, Twitter, FB and Google reach everybody.
2. No I am asking do you think people are downvoting you or do you think this website is penalizing you for saying conservative leaning things?
3. Where do you think conservative influencers get their new followers?
If they play the game right (posting engaging content that people would want to share) their content goes viral and they get huge algorithmic discovery from new audiences.
It’s why you upload a video you want to get lots of views to YouTube instead of Vimeo, the discovery engine helps you get a bigger audience.
But it doesn’t mean you are silenced if you upload to Vimeo or even your own website, it just means that you aren’t playing YouTube’s game and as a result won’t get YouTube’s completely free search, related and social traffic boosts.
2. Yes, I think this website (the users who react to the more political posts at
least) penalize conservative views. It's not unique to HN of course, if anything it's better than the rest, but it's pretty obvious yes.
3. You compare some personalities that only reach those who are interested in what they have to say with big corps that are unavoidable on the internet and that editorialize every piece of information we're getting, from our news, the video we watch etc.
The way this will go is: Twitter sues, judge almost certainly issues an injunction, Trump administration appeals, and we go from there.
And it's working, perhaps a third of the population believe this, and another third is losing it's trust in the entire system.
He doesn't need total support, just enough steadfast support while keeping the opposition dazed and confused.
Neither point will be fun to respond to.
So again, in what way is Twitter even slightly possibly like a utility?
I don't see anything in the order that prohibits speech, instead focusing on questioning if Twitter et al. qualify for platform protections. Plus some other ad-money ammunition.
An argument could be made that this EO itself violates the first amendment as it's clearly in response to the tweet fact checks, thereby silencing twitter?
I'm going to say I believe the courts will block this, but it will look good to Trump's base in an election year.