‘Freedom from speech’

I love freedom of speech. But also freedom from speech.

There’s no reason to listen to idiots or extremists. They can say what they want — within the law — somewhere I don’t have to see it.

From xkcd.

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Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

With a rating of 4.36 / 5.00 on GoodReads, this book is popular. And depressing.

My takeaways:

  • Stop worrying about Russia. It’s the richest of the rich deciding American politics.
  • Charles and David Koch started as Libertarians. In fact, David ran in 1980 as candidate for Vice President for the Libertarian Party. In recent decades everything the Kochs do is to enrich themselves. #FollowTheMoney

  • The Kochs will cheat, lie, steal, intimidate to enrich themselves. The GOP are merely a means to an end.
  • The Kochs are good businessmen, employing many. For all the hundreds of millions they’ve spent, mostly on Republicans, they’ve made more back on legislation enriching the richest of the rich.
  • The 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made the situation much worse.
  • Because their business is mostly Petrotoxins, the Kochs are keenest on preventing action on climate change.
  • Currently Americans for Prosperity is the main Koch lobbyist.
  • The E.P.A. identified Koch Industries in 2012 as the single biggest producer of toxic waste in the United States.

The U.S. political system is a fail, I’d say.

40% think Trump is doing a good job. A majority of those, I’m guessing, believe what they hear on FOX News and right wing radio.

Americans so easily misled deserve worse education, worse health care, medical bankruptcy, etc. … There’s no helping people like that.

I keep thinking American voters will figure out the richest of the rich are taking too much money. They don’t

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016) is a non-fiction book written by the American investigative journalist Jane Mayer, about a network of extremely wealthy conservative republicans, foremost among them Charles and David Koch, who have together funded an array of organizations that work in tandem to influence academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and the American presidency for their own benefit.

Mayer particularly discusses the Koch family and their political activities, along with Richard Mellon Scaife and John M. Olin and the DeVos and Coors families.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Jane Meredith Mayer is an American investigative journalist who has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1995. …

In 2016, Doubleday published Mayer’s fourth book, Dark Money, which became an instant national best-seller, and the New York Times named it one of the ten best books of the year. …

Mayer revealed that approximately six investigators, led by former New York Police Chief Howard Safir, had been hired by the industrialist Koch brothers in an effort to try to dig up dirt in order to smear her reputation, and that accusations of plagiarism had been leveled at her. She responded by publicly airing those tactics of intimidation, effectively debunking the smear campaign.

 

best Facebook alternative – FriendFeed

Somebody needs to start-up an open source service like (R.I.P.) FriendFeed.

It was already perfect back in 2008.

You could have some Facebook feeds added to a service like this. See them without logging into Facebook.

Click PLAY or watch how it worked on YouTube.

FriendFeed was a real-time feed aggregator that consolidated updates from social media and social networking websites, social bookmarking websites, blogs and microbloggingupdates, as well as any type of RSS/Atom feed. …

On August 10, 2009, Facebook agreed to acquire FriendFeed. … bought for $15 million in cash, and $32.5 million in Facebook stock …

Facebook shut it down April 10, 2015.

American politics went batshit crazy starting with Newt Gingrich

I ignored American politics until 2004 when — inexplicably — George W. Bush was elected for a second term after being unbelievably bad in his first term.

What the Hell was going on?

Jim VandeHei explains why the USA has such extreme politics in 2017: Newt GingrichFox News (1996), MSNBC, CNN, Facebook and later Twitter, Sarah Palin and finally Trump.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert documented the idiocy.

It’s easy to say Americans deserve the politicians they have.

My fear is that other nations will evolve in the direction of the American way. 😦

Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter should be regulated

Great article.

Al Franken:

Last week’s hearings demonstrated that these companies may not be up to the challenge that they’ve created for themselves. In some instances, it seems that they’ve failed to take commonsense precautions to prevent the spread of propaganda, misinformation, and hate speech. …

… we can’t trust the companies to get it right …

… as has become alarmingly clear in recent months, these companies have unprecedented power to guide Americans’ access to information and potentially shape the future of journalism. It should go without saying that such power comes with great responsibility. …

ProPublica recently revealed that up until two months ago, Facebook allowed advertisers using the company’s self-service ad-buying platform to target more than 2,000 people who expressed interest in the topic of quote “Jew hater” and other antisemitic themes. …

As it stands now, Google and Facebook control 75% of all internet news traffic referrals …

Currently, Amazon controls over 83% of e-book sales, nearly 90% of online print sales, and almost 99% of digital audio sales.

Amazon has since used its unprecedented monopsony power to force publishers to agree to contract terms and conditions that the publishers say have stalled price competition …

… how do we ensure transparency and accountability from them going forward?

We must not let big tech threaten our security, freedoms and democracy

the future of the NEWS

What will the most popular news sources of the future look like?

I’m hopeful for the soon to be launched Wikitribune.

Evidence-based journalism

People today mostly get their news from TV (not bad) and social media (terrible).

My favourite news source right now is Axios, just 6 months old.

Smart brevity.

Axios covers 7 areas: politics, tech, media trends, health, science, energy, and future of work (AI, robotics, etc.).

They want to deliver the cleanest, smartest, most efficient and trust-worthy experience for readers and advertisers alike.

It was founded by Mike Allen, former chief political reporter for Politico. I like Politico too, founded in 2007. And  Jim VandeHei.

John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei left The Washington Post to become The Politicos editor-in-chief and executive editor, respectively.

So … Washington Post begat Politico begat Axios.

If interested, start by signing up for any of the Axios email newsletters.

 

 

STOP Facebook videos from playing automatically

One of my rules of good web design is that nothing should happen on the page unless I ask it to happen.

This is a BIG improvement to my experience on Facebook.

A simple extension called Disable HTML5 Autoplay for Chrome and Opera — and coming soon to Firefox — stops those videos from playing automatically. They will still appear in your Facebook News Feed, but they won’t start unless you click on them.

Cult of Mac

disable-html5-autoplay