“several months prior”

The “March For Our Lives Demonstration”, which was supposedly inspired by the so-called Parkland school shootings, was planned “several months prior” to the drama performed at the Florida school

Everything about that “school shooting” was fake. Everything. It is beyond reprehensible that no one in the mainstream media will do any investigatory reporting.

Stopping harassment at Google

Well, this project sounds promising. After all, we know all about the terrible atmosphere of harassment at Google, where employees have been known to blacklist and physically threaten other Google employees on the basis of their opinions, right?

About 100 Google U.S. employees concerned about cyber bullying inside the company have organized into a group proposing new policies for conduct at the unit of Alphabet Inc, five people involved in the effort said in recent interviews.

Three current employees and two others helping to organize the group said it formed last fall. They said that among its proposals, which have not previously been reported in detail, are that Google should tighten rules of conduct for internal forums and hire staff to enforce them.

They said they want to stop inflammatory conversations and personal attacks on the forums and see punishment for individuals who regularly derail discussions or leak conversations. The group also wants Google to list rights and responsibilities for accusers, defendants, managers and investigators in human resources cases.

That sounds pretty reasonable, I have to say.

The group also desires greater protection for employees targeted by what it views as insincere complaints to human resources used as a bullying tactic and goading. The organizers said Google should be more attuned to when people seeking to stir animosity or expressing views opposite the company’s stated values try to take over discussions about race, gender and other sensitive subjects. 

Wait a minute…

“My coworkers and I are having our right to a safe workplace being endangered,” said staff site reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones, one of the lead organizers. She said employees experience stress and fear of physical reprisal when internal conversations are leaked to media, sometimes with writers’ names. 

Oh. It’s just the usual suspects crying to the media again.

You know, I expect criminals also experience stress and fear of physical reprisal when their crimes come to light. By Google SJW logic, newspapers should stop reporting on crime for fear of causing stress to criminals.


No longer the media’s darling

Sam Harris learns what happens when the media’s Narrative moves on and you are no longer one of its favorites:

In April of 2017, I published a podcast with Charles Murray, coauthor of the controversial (and endlessly misrepresented) book The Bell Curve. These are the most provocative claims in the book:

  • Human “general intelligence” is a scientifically valid concept.
  • IQ tests do a pretty good job of measuring it.
  • A person’s IQ is highly predictive of his/her success in life.
  • Mean IQ differs across populations (blacks < whites < Asians).
  • It isn’t known to what degree differences in IQ are genetically determined, but it seems safe to say that genes play a role (and also safe to say that environment does too).

At the time Murray wrote The Bell Curve, these claims were not scientifically controversial—though taken together, they proved devastating to his reputation among nonscientists. That remains the case today. When I spoke with Murray last year, he had just been de-platformed at Middlebury College, a quarter century after his book was first published, and his host had been physically assaulted while leaving the hall. So I decided to invite him on my podcast to discuss the episode, along with the mischaracterizations of his research that gave rise to it.

Needless to say, I knew that having a friendly conversation with Murray might draw some fire my way. But that was, in part, the point. Given the viciousness with which he continues to be scapegoated—and, indeed, my own careful avoidance of him up to that moment—I felt a moral imperative to provide him some cover.

In the aftermath of our conversation, many people have sought to paint me as a racist—but few have tried quite so hard as Ezra Klein, Editor-at-Large of Vox. In response to my podcast, Klein published a disingenuous hit piece that pretended to represent the scientific consensus on human intelligence while vilifying me as, at best, Murray’s dupe. More likely, readers unfamiliar with my work came away believing that I’m a racist pseudoscientist in my own right.

After Klein published that article, and amplified its effects on social media, I reached out to him in the hope of appealing to his editorial conscience. I found none. The ethic that governs Klein’s brand of journalism appears to be: Accuse a person with a large platform of something terrible, and then monetize the resulting controversy. If he complains, invite him to respond in your magazine so that he will drive his audience your way and you can further profit from his doomed effort to undo the damage you’ve done to his reputation.

It’s mildly amusing that Harris is only discovering now that the media in general, and Ezra Klein in particular, is disingenuous and utilizes character assassination as its stock tool-in-trade. Imagine what it is like for those who can be disemployed as well as discredited, Sam!

Well, you do not cease to amaze… “Junk science” is in the title of the article, and I “fell for it” (subtitle), because I didn’t do my homework (the thrust of the entire piece). Whereas in reality, you have been shown ample evidence that the science is mainstream, that I represented it accurately, and that your authors were cherry-picking it for ideological reasons.

Unfortunately for Sam, he has discovered how little interest those on the Left have in either the truth or in science, whether they are editors, reporters, or readers. The Narrative has moved on and Sam has been left behind, much to his surprise.

Judging from the response to this post on social media, my decision to publish these emails appears to have backfired. I was relying on readers to follow the plot and notice Ezra’s evasiveness and gaslighting (e.g. his denial of misrepresentations and slurs that are in the very article he published). Many people seem to have judged from his politeness that Ezra was the one behaving honestly and ethically. This is frustrating, to say the least.

Many readers seem mystified by the anger I expressed in this email exchange. Why care so much about “criticism” or even “insults”? But this has nothing to do with criticism and insults. What has been accomplished in Murray’s case, and is being attempted in mine, is nothing less than the total destruction of a person’s reputation for the crime of honestly discussing scientific data. Klein published fringe, ideologically-driven, and cherry-picked science as though it were the consensus of experts in the field and declined to publish a far more mainstream opinion in my and Murray’s defense—all to the purpose of tarring us as racists and enablers of racists. This comes at immense personal and social cost. It is also dishonest.

It sounds like Sam very much needs to read SJWs Always Lie.


The death of a thousand leaks

Facebook is now facing the same problem that Google has been dealing with for the last year, which is whistleblowing employees who are willing to expose the problematic behavior of their colleagues and superiors. Perhaps the loyalists should get in touch with Wired, so they can complain about how terrible it is that their threats and other misdeeds are being exposed to the public.

According to two Facebook employees, workers have been calling on internal message boards for a hunt to find those who leak to the media. Some have questioned whether Facebook has been transparent enough with its users and with journalists, said the employees, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. Many are also concerned over what might leak next and are deleting old comments or messages that might come across as controversial or newsworthy, they said.

I have no doubt that the so-called “Ugly Memo” is neither the last nor the worst thing we’re going to see coming out of the Facebook internal messaging boards.


Pity the poor refugees

Mr. Netanyahu, tear down that wall!

Friday’s demonstrations mark the beginning of the Palestinians’ return to all “Palestine,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech at the scene of the mass protests in the Gaza Strip.

“We are here to declare today that our people will not agree to keep the right of return only as a slogan,” he said. Haniyeh said that the March of Return was also aimed at sending a message to US President Donald Trump that the Palestinians will not give up their right to Jerusalem and “Palestine.” There is no solution without the right of return, he added.

The Palestinians “will never recognize the Zionist entity and will never give up on Palestinian land, and on Jerusalem; [the city] is ours and there is no solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] without the ‘right of return,’” Haniyeh said, according to a Hebrew translation by the Walla news site.

Haniyeh was speaking during a mass demonstration along the Gaza security fence with Israel, ahead of a planned six-week tent protest. Dubbed the “March of Return,” it coincides with Land Day, when Palestinians commemorate the Israeli government’s expropriation of Arab-owned land in the Galilee on March 30, 1976, and ensuing demonstrations in which six Arab Israelis were killed.

At previous peace talks, the Palestinians have always demanded, along with sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Old City, a “right of return” to Israel for Palestinian refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when it was established. The Palestinians demand this right not only for those of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are still alive — a figure estimated in the low tens of thousands — but also for their descendants, who number in the millions.

How can Israel possibly deny itself the manifold benefits of these millions of New Israelis, who are every bit as Jewish and Israeli as every current inhabitant of Israel? All they are seeking is a better life for themselves and their children, after all.

Don’t the Israelis understand that their economy will benefit incredibly from all these potential immigrants? Don’t they realize that they have a moral duty, under Jewish law, to tikkun the olam by providing a safe home for all of these poor, desperate refugees? Have they forgotten the sacred lesson of Ellis Island? Have they forgotten that once they were visitors in Egypt?

I understand there are also more than a few refugees from Syria who desperately need a safe haven as well. Perhaps they could become New Israelis by immigrating to the Golan Heights.

The ‘Great March of Return,’ orchestrated by Hamas, draws thousands of Palestinians to the Gaza-Israel border; riots ensue, prompting IDF snipers to shoot at main instigators; Defense Minister Lieberman warns anyone who approaches security fence is putting his life in jeopardy.

For shame! The Israeli border guards have killed 1216 New Israelis already. That is not who we are! Those are not Israeli values! What is Israel, after all, if not a nation of immigrants?


She should have read SJWAL

ML is not exactly surprised by David Hogg’s rejection of Laura Ingraham’s apology:

David Hogg is predictably still calling for boycotts of Ingraham’s advertisers, calling her apology inadequate. It’s a shame she didn’t read your book.

At this point I can safely state, without any sense of exaggeration or modesty, that if you have anything to do with the media or politics and you do not read SJWAL, you will fully merit the treatment that you’re going to get from SJWs sooner or later. Conservative commentators continue to demonstrate that they never learn anything from the various defenestrations that preceded their own, as they insist on demonstrating every single time one of them comes in for targeted public criticism.

Laura Ingraham rightly made fun of David “Totally Not a Crisis Actor” Hogg because he’s been getting rejected from various universities, then promptly backed down and apologized when the media’s little darling affected to have gotten his feelings hurt. As you can imagine, her apology completely resolved the situation, because SJWs always refrain from taking advantage of an apologetic conservative rolling over and showing his yellow belly.

Advertisers – including TripAdvisor, Nestle, Wayfair and Hulu – are dumping Laura Ingraham after she slammed Parkland survivor

TripAdvisor will pull its advertisements from right-wing television host Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program.

In a tweet, Ingraham mocked a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting in February that left 17 students and adults dead. The survivor-turned-activist, David Hogg, responded on Twitter by calling on his followers to contact Ingraham’s top advertisers. Ingraham later tweeted her apologies “for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland.”

Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111.  On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David immediately after that horrific shooting and even noted how “poised” he was given the tragedy. As always, he’s welcome to return to the show anytime for a productive discussion. 

What a brave opinion leader! The complete spinelessness and stupidity demonstrated by the hapless Ingraham aside, this episode demonstrates how fragile the Right is when it relies upon the Left’s infrastructure. Even a not-very-bright high school student can effectively take down a major conservative media figure with nothing more than a well-targeted tweet.

But there is a more important point here than the obvious question of “what part of ‘never apologize’ did you fail to understand?” If you live by advertising from converged corporations, then you can safely expect them to cut you off the moment someone complains that you are violating the current Narrative.

Ingraham’s cringing self-implosion demonstrates why it is so terminally short-sighted for conservatives to insist on continually maximizing their short-term interests in exposure over their long-term interests in a solid non-converged infrastructure. This is why I wouldn’t accept a television show on Fox News or CNN even if one was offered to me on a silver platter, as while such a show would be of significant benefit in the short term, it would vastly increase my fragility, whereas continuing to build up Infogalactic, Voxiversity, and other platforms will likely prove more beneficial to me and many others in the long run.

I have no sympathy for the talking heads who are shut down by their advertisers or the self-published authors who are shut down by Amazon. These are known risks and they cannot come as a surprise to anyone who has been conscious for the last four years. While you’re not necessarily part of the problem if you’re not helping build alternative platforms, you also are not part of the solution, and can’t expect much in the way of support or sympathy if you find yourself being deplatformed in the future.


Antipope Francis

Many, if not most Christians have been extremely dubious about the legitimacy of the so-called Pope Francis. Now there are serious questions, even among Catholics, that concern whether the man is even a Christian at all:

Scalfari: “What about bad souls? Where are they punished?”

Bad souls “are not punished,” Pope Francis is quoted, “those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

On the first Holy Thursday, Judas betrayed Christ. And of Judas the Lord said, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed; it were better for him if that man had never been born.”

Did the soul of Judas, and those of the monstrous evildoers of history, “just fade away,” as Gen. Douglas MacArthur said of old soldiers? If there is no hell, is not the greatest deterrent to the worst of sins removed?

What did Christ die on the cross to save us from?

The Vatican swiftly issued a statement saying the pope had had a private conversation, not a formal interview, with his friend, Scalfari.

The Vatican added: “The textual words pronounced by the pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Sorry, but this will not do. This does not answer the questions the pope raised in his chat. Does hell exist? Are souls that die in mortal sin damned to hell for all eternity? Does the pope accept this belief? Is this still the infallible teaching of the Roman Catholic Church?

This is not Christianity. These are not Biblical teachings. In fact, this is not even religion. This is John Lennon’s Imaginism elevated and amplified by an extremely silly and not particularly intelligent man who has accidentally revealed his true thinking.

The Vatican’s attempt to sweep these uncomfortable opinions under the rug as being non-ex cathedra personal discourse on the part of an individual who merely happens to be the Bishop of Rome is not conclusive, but it certainly is damning by faint and evasive defensiveness.

Pat Buchanan is absolutely right to note the central question this raises. After all, if there is no Hell and there is no sin, then there was never any need for Jesus Christ to die on the cross. And yet, we observe daily the ways in which people are sinful, that evil exists, and that Man needs Jesus Christ.

That being said, don’t even think about trying to divert this into Protestant vs Catholic, Round 475,838. Any commenter who attempts to do so will be summarily spammed.


Mailvox: today is not the 1930s

MP explains why Smoot-Hawley is deemed to have been so important in the 1930s, and why tariffs cannot be a similar concern today even if we accept Jude Wanniski’s original case for its connection to the Great Depression:

I was reading some of your earlier threads and I noticed you had questions as to how the Smoot-Hawley Tariff came to be associated with causing the Great Depression.

The idea was first proposed by Jude Wanniski in his book “The Way the World Works.” Specifically, it is in Chapter 7, “The Stock Market and the Wedge.”

 I recently read the first 10 chapters of Jude’s book and I can say it is excellent overall and well worth reading, but the conclusions are vastly different from the normal interpretations of Smoot-Hawley. Basically, Jude was tracking the reportage of the Smoot-Hawley legislation as it was winding its way through Congress. Every time the legislation experienced a setback, the stock market would rally. Every time it experienced a success, the stock market would decline. When Hoover finally signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff into law, the market took a massive dive. Thus, you have the evidence of the Smoot-Hawley tariff causing the Great Depression.

This is good as far as it goes, but it begs the question as to why the market was so concerned about the tariff to begin with. Was the market really worried about reciprocal tariffs or a decline in economic activity? It turns out that the evidence in Jude’s chapter points to a different reason:

The stock market was tracking the tariff legislation because it was worried about a bond market dislocation. This is my analysis piecing together the evidence presented in chapter 7 of Jude’s book.

 Basically, before WWI, America was the world’s biggest debtor nation, importing capital from all over the world to build and invest in the United States. During and after WWI, America became the world’s biggest creditor. Out of the national income of $30 billion, Woodrow Wilson lent $11 billion to England and France to fight WWI. After the war, America lent an additional $14.7 billion for private and public investment, a lending boom that continued to grow throughout the roaring 20’s. This means that during probably the biggest boomtime in US history up to the period, where the economy grew to $100 billion before the crash, the United States was accumulating a massive bond portfolio where a sizeable percentage of assets were concentrated in foreign bonds.

 Because the US was on a gold standard where $20 bought an ounce of gold, the only way for foreign entities to pay for their dollar-denominated debts was to sell to the United States, exchange goods for cash, and then meet the terms of their bond agreements. To guarantee that they could sell goods, gain cash and pay debts, European firms were dumping product in the United States.

The dumping was at first concentrated in the agricultural sector and it was wreaking havoc on farmers. Because farmers accounted for 25{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} of the population, they managed to push the Fordney-McCumber Act of 1922, a tariff of not only 34.8{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b}, but with a Tariff Commission whose duty was to equalize production costs as a condition for any tariff removal. Yet, throughout the 1920’s, not only did the dumping continue, it moved upmarket. Wisconsin Senators, by the late 1920’s, were complaining about Belgian cement undercutting Wisconsin cement companies.

Jude’s book provides great insight into what was going on in the 1920’s American economy. Warren Harding ran on a campaign of “returning to normalcy” by repealing the high income taxes of the war years. This caused the US economy to boom. By 1925, the top marginal tax rate was reduced to 25{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} and the US economy was roaring along.

Unfortunately, the malfeasance of the Wilson administration led the United States to lend enormous amounts of money to the rest of the world, a practice that continued among private sector banks throughout the 1920’s. JP Morgan would lend money to Belgian cement makers that would then export government-subsidized cement to the US, sell it, and then service the bonds, which reflected in higher stock prices for JP Morgan and Belgian cement companies, but would wreak havoc on local businesses that then lobbied for tariff protection.  This process was repeated across hundreds of different industries.

The stock market was not worried that the drop in international trade would tank the US economy. International trade was small as a percentage of the US economy, roughly 4{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} total. But, that 4{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} of international trade was servicing the accumulated lending that amounted to anywhere from 30-50{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} of the value of the entire US economy. The tariff meant that firms would not be able to service the money lent to them by Americans and, thus, lead to massive bond defaults.

What happens to the value of company stock if the company defaults on its bonds? The stock goes to zero.

That is what the market was paying attention to and why it was reacting the way it did to the Smoot-Hawley tariff.

We can see why today tariffs will not have the same effect that they did in 1929: the US is not the world’s biggest creditor. Our debtor status means that we are not vulnerable to a bond-market dislocation. Other nations are. We can safely go back to raising tariffs and building the United States.

Of course, this also explains why creditor nations such as Germany and South Korea are so inordinately terrified of what are, in reality, very small and modest tariffs. It’s not just their massive export sectors that are potentially at risk, but the huge financial Ponzi schemes that have been constructed on top of them. The various camels we call economies are overloaded with debt and there are an awful lot of things that look like straws these days.


Define truth, fellow humans

Jean-Louis Gassée concludes that the Zuckerbot thinks human beings are suboptimally cognitive bio-machines with an inability to penetrate falsehoods perpetrated by advanced forms of bio-machine processing:

Carefully reading and re-reading Zuckerberg’s words puts me ill at ease. Of course, simply complaining that Facebook’s CEO sounds well-rehearsed won’t do. He’s a pro at managing a major crisis. Persphinctery statements are part of the fare (from the NYT interview):

“Privacy issues have always been incredibly important to people. One of our biggest responsibilities is to protect data.”

But we quickly get to the misrepresentations.

“… someone’s data gets passed to someone who the rules of the system shouldn’t have allowed it to, that’s rightfully a big issue and deserves to be a big uproar.”

Here, Zuckerberg glosses over the pivotal fact that researcher Aleksandr Kogan accessed data in a manner that was fully compatible with Facebook’s own rules (see below). It appears that the rule-breaking started after he put his mitts on the data and made a deal with Cambridge Analytica.

Next, we’re treated to the resolute statements. Facebook now realizes what transpired and will make sure it won’t happen in the future:

“So the actions here that we’re going to do involve first, dramatically reducing the amount of data that developers have access to, so that apps and developers can’t do what Kogan did here. The most important actions there we actually took three or four years ago, in 2014. But when we examined the systems this week, there were certainly other things we felt we should lock down, too.”

Three rich sentences, here. And a problem with each one…

First, an admission that Facebook’s own rules allowed developers overly-broad access to our personal data. Thanks to Ben Thompson, we have a picture of the bewildering breadth of user data developers had access to:

(Thompson’s Stratechery Newsletter is a valuable source of insights, of useful agreements and disagreements.)

Of course, developers have to request the user’s permission to make use of their data — even for something as seemingly “innocent” as a game or psychological quiz — but this isn’t properly informed consent. Facebook users aren’t legal eagles trained in the parsing of deliberately obscure sentences and networks of references and footnotes.

Second, Mark Zuckerberg claims that it wasn’t until 2014 that the company became aware of Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of Facebook’s Open Graph (introduced in 2010). This, to be polite, strains credulity. Facebook is a surveillance machine, its business is knowing what’s happening on its network, on its social graph. More damning is the evidence that Facebook was warned about app permissions abuses in 2011:

“… in August 2011 [European privacy campaigner and lawyer Max] Schrems filed a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commission exactly flagging the app permissions data sinkhole (Ireland being the focal point for the complaint because that’s where Facebook’s European HQ is based).”

Finally, Zuckerberg tells us that upon closer examination Facebook realizes that it still has problematic data leaks that need to be attended to (“So we’re going ahead and doing that” he reassures us).

The message is clear: Zuckerberg thinks we’re idiots. How are we to believe Facebook didn’t know — and derived benefits — from the widespread abuse of user data by its developers. We just became aware of the Cambridge Analytica cockroach…how many more are under the sink? In more lawyerly terms: “What did you know, and when did you know it?”

Once more, sociosexual analysis provides useful insight. Remember, the Zuckerbot is not merely a Gamma, it is a Super King Gamma Emulation. And what do Gammas always believe? That their ludicrously transparent deceptions are impenetrable, of course.

Meanwhile, one of the Zuckerbot’s human assistants has let the sociopathic cat out of the bag:

On June 18, 2016, one of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s most trusted lieutenants circulated an extraordinary memo weighing the costs of the company’s relentless quest for growth.

“We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it,” VP Andrew “Boz” Bosworth wrote.

“So we connect more people,” he wrote in another section of the memo. “That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs someone a life by exposing someone to bullies.

“Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.”

Zuckerbot doesn’t care at all about its “fellow humans”. And it’s simply grotesque parody when it tries to pretend it does.


Facebook alternatives

Barron’s contemplates them.

The proverbial sky seems to be falling on Facebook (FB), with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreeing to finally answer questions from Congress in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers will be pushing Zuckerberg about the company’s privacy controversy, but the issues go deeper for Facebook. The fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting episode has exposed Facebook to two risks that aren’t getting much attention: One is the possibility, slight as it might be, that Facebook is newly vulnerable to competition. The other very real risk is Facebook’s ability to retain and recruit top talent in hypercompetitive Silicon Valley. The biggest names in the Valley routinely poach workers from one another.

First, those plucky competitors. I need not look further than my email folder. Idka, an advertising-free social network, on Wednesday announced its subscription-based platform would be free to new users through October 2018. The company, which has vowed not to sell or share user data, claims a 50{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} increase in new users and an 800{0e0118f8ae392893e7132af0e0c1b6af259b6ae2f64a392a36423d79bfd12d2b} increase in website visits in the past week.

I wonder where all those new users came from…. Seriously, though, if you’re not on Idka yet, give it a whirl. We’re going to establish a new Voxiversity group there later this week.