Clay Travis goes after Big Tech

The head of Outkick the Coverage hammers Amazon, Google, and the rest of the corpocratic tech elite:

Amazon, a company founded to sell books and promote the free exchange of ideas more efficiently, effectively enacted the largest modern-day book burning in world history by shutting down Parler. Amazon’s message was clear: if we don’t like your political perspective, you have no right to reach an audience on the Internet.

This should terrify every American.

And how about Google here? Google’s pledge upon its founding was to organize all the information in the world and to do no harm. That was literally written into their corporate charter. And now they are selectively removing information they don’t like from the marketplace of ideas, which makes the information they cite less reliable. It’s a total refutation of their founders’ aims.

Apple may be even worse. Apple has specifically censored its own content to avoid offending China. The company literally said it would produce no content that upsets China. Now, they are selectively eliminating political opinions from the public discourse that they don’t like .

Honest question: how do Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Google’s Sundar Pichal, the three leaders of these companies, sleep at night? The same is true of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Are they aware of what their companies are doing, or are they just sleepwalking our country into a Chinese-like Internet state? Are they really this afraid of people saying bad things about them online? How is there no billionaire tech champion for free speech in the country?

It’s not courageous to do what everyone else does in times of tumult and tempest. It’s courageous to stand up for the marketplace of ideas when everyone is screaming for censorship. That’s true courage. Is there no one out there in Big Tech who will stand up and say, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it?” Or are they all cowards?

As a result of monopolistic collusion on the part of Big Tech, Parler can no longer be downloaded, and it may soon be removed from the Internet entirely. Again, this is a modern-day technological book-burning lit afire by three of the biggest American tech companies in the world.

Instead of the government restricting speech, you have three “different” trillion dollar companies — Amazon, Google, and Apple — colluding to reach the same exact view at the same exact time. They are using their monopolistic market clout to effectively tell Parler it can’t exist. They are using their marketplace dominance not only to destroy the marketplace of ideas but to destroy the marketplace, period.

American Big Tech has become our own Frankenstein version of China.

Those who claim these deplatformings and bannings are not censorship “because private corporations” are being disingenuous. A corporation is not an actual person, it is a government entity that is deemed “a juristic person” by the government. Corporations are not people, they have no unalienable rights, and it is long past time for the people to begin reining them in.

Deceptive practices

The European nations are gunning hard for Big Tech:

US crowdfunding platform GoFundMe was handed down a hefty fine by the Italian competition regulator, which found its advertising and the way it takes a cut from donations to be deceptive and a violation of consumer rights.

The platform was ordered to pay €1.5 million ($1.8 million) for hiding the costs of donations from Italians using it to fund various causes. The California-based company was accused of deceiving people about how much they would actually pay when donating through the platform, by hiding transaction fees and the voluntary ‘tips’ that went to the company itself.

The platform had a default setting for how big its cut from each donation would be and saw its share of donations plummet as soon as it set it to zero for new campaigns after the Italian probe was launched.

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) started an investigation into GoFundMe Ireland Ltd, the international operator of the crowdfunding site, in March. It responded to hundreds of complaints from Italian citizens, who accused the company of falsely advertising its services as free.

The authority confirmed that there was a basis for the complaints. GoFundMe advertised itself as allowing fundraising “at no cost” on its front page and elsewhere. In practice, donors would pay extra on top of whatever amount they would type in on a campaign page. Part of this hidden cost is a transaction fee, which amounts to 2.9 percent of the donation amount plus €0.25 ($0.30) per donation, but for some campaigns, an extra may be billed as a “tip” to GoFundMe itself.

As you see, there are numerous angles of attack against the lawless Big Tech corporations. And even their home court turf of the California Superior Courts isn’t anywhere nearly as friendly as it used to be. 

FTC goes after Facebook

No wonder Silicon Valley was so willing to break the law in order to try to dethrone the God-Emperor. They know they won’t be permitted to keep parasitizing the real US economy much longer.

Forty-six states and the Federal Trade Commission have filed massive antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, seeking to force the company to divest major acquisitions such as Instagram and WhatsApp.

One suit filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is spearheaded by New York Attorney General Letitia James, leading a coalition of 46 states as well as Washington DC and Guam. 

The lawsuit alleges that, over the last decade, Facebook illegally acquired potential competitors in a ‘predatory’ manner in order to dominate the market, and asks the court to consider splitting up the company by unwinding those deals.

That’s great, but I’d rather see the FTC ditch Section 230, then break up the online advertising duopoly of Facebook and Google. 

Converging the stock markets

There will be no avoiding the corporate cancer for those who seek public financing:

US stock exchange Nasdaq has warned listed companies they must appoint at least two “diverse” directors to their board – a ‘self-identified’ female and an “underrepresented minority” or LGBTQ person – or possibly face delisting.
Nasdaq revealed its plan to turbocharge diversity on its exchange in a proposal filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday. 
Under the proposed new rules, not only will all listed US companies be required to “publicly disclose consistent, transparent diversity statistics regarding their board of directors,” but “most” companies would have to either appoint “diverse” board members or explain why they hadn’t done so in a letter. 
The mandatory addition of “one [director] who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+” appears to leave room for Rachel Dolezal-style “self-identification” as something other than white, male, or straight – a potential loophole for companies that prefer to keep their current boards. Non-US companies and small firms would be permitted to appoint two female directors instead.
Listed companies would be required to publish their diversity stats within a year of the SEC adopting Nasdaq’s proposal, and be required to have “one diverse director” within two years of implementation. Depending on company size, they would have four or five years to comply with the two-director requirement. Those who fall short can escape delisting only “if they provide a public explanation of their reasons for not meeting the objectives.”

The reason this is NASDAQ and not the NYSE is because the companies in the DOW and the S&P 500 are, for the most part, established companies that have already been converged. Companies that list on NASDAQ are much younger and haven’t necessarily been saddled down with the diversity anchor, which would give them a competitive advantage.

Diversity in the board necessarily implies future diversity in the workforce, as the top priority for women and minorities in any organization is almost always to bring in more of their own kind. 

The black magic of corporate tyranny

It has taken a long time, but conservatives are finally beginning to comprehensively reject the idea that corporacracy is capitalism. And Alex Macris contemplates how corpocracy can become a form of legalized tyranny that deftly eludes the constitutional protections previously enjoyed by Americans:

If you’ve read the Parable of the Seasteader, you’ll already know that at sufficient scale the public/private distinction collapses — a private entity of sufficient size can have all the power of a public entity. It is certainly arguable that Facebook and Google have reached such size. Here, however, I want to discuss a different dilemma – government’s use of private entities to regulate freedoms it cannot directly abridge.

We’re going to look at one specific right (the right to free speech) and one specific set of Federal regulations (§ 1604.11) but the pattern I’m describing here has become ubiquitous in our country. Nowadays, almost anything government is forbidden to regulate, it can require corporations to regulate for it. The government has outsourced tyranny. Let’s see how this black magic is performed….

Government cannot regulate your expression of your viewpoint – but corporations can.

Most people understand that the First Amendment does not apply to private actors on their private property. A person or corporation can choose to allow free speech in their home or business, or can choose to regulate free speech, even viewpoints, as they deem. This “exception” to the First Amendment has been the case since the foundation of Anglo-American law, and it is absolutely necessary to protect the rights of property owners.

For instance, if I am running a bicycle shop, I am absolutely permitted to prevent my employees from putting up posters that say “bicycles suck” or telling my customers to “buy a scooter.” Likewise, if I am running a video game news site, I am absolutely permitted to tell my journalists not to write about the beauties of Sistine Chapel instead. And if I invite you to my home to binge-watch Babylon 5, and you express the offensive viewpoint that Star Trek is better, I am altogether within my rights to make you leave.

Admittedly, there have been occasional exceptions to this rule under the so-called state actor doctrine. Most notably, the US Supreme Court ruled in Marsh v Alabama (1946) that the First Amendment fully applied to expressive activities on the company-owned sidewalks and streets of a company-owned town. The precedent of Marsh v Alabama was expanded in Amalgamated Food Employees Union v Logan Valley Plaza (1968) then overturned in Hudgens v NLRB (1976). Since Hudgens, the state actor doctrine has waned in importance, despite numerous conservative efforts to sue online platforms.

We will put aside the so-far toothless Section 230 for a discussion another day. In general, private corporations can regulate the expression of viewpoints, even though government cannot, and that’s the law.

In Fact, Private Abridgment Is Often Required!

What most people don’t understand, however, is that private actor aren’t just free to regulate viewpoint. They are required by government to regulate viewpoints. What a paradox! Government can require a private actor to undertake regulation over speech that the government couldn’t itself take? Yes!

There is more, there is a lot more, there for the reading

“A blatant lie”

Joe Biden is publicly called out for lying about his connections to his son’s business dealings on Tucker Carlson:  

Bobulinski and Hunter formed a company in 2017, specializing in infrastructure investment. No deals appear to have been completed, and the firm folded in 2018. Joe had left the White House and was a private citizen at the time. Nevertheless, he has insisted he and his son never discussed business – which Bobulinski claims is untrue. 

‘That’s a blatant lie when he states that,’ Bobulinski told Carlson. ‘It’s a blatant lie. It was made clear to me that Joe Biden’s involvement was not to be made in writing, but only face to face.’

Bobulinski is listed as one of the recipients of a May 13, 2017, email detailing their business deal, and he claims that ‘the big guy’ mentioned is a reference to Joe, whom he claims Hunter regularly asked for business advice. 

Joe has always insisted he was not involved in Hunter’s numerous business ventures. 

It should be interesting to hear how the Bidens otherwise account for the massive payments made to Hunter by a variety of foreign sources. It’s not as if the guy isn’t a complete screwup totally incapable of doing legitimate business to save his life. 

These are direct, credible, and easily provable allegations. And given the other Hunter Biden scandal, there can be little doubt about them being true.

Devil Mouse seeks corporate chemo

But even if this is true, a corporate rededication to Mammon isn’t going to work, because they’re only attacking the symptoms, not the disease:

According to a source that has been reliable in the past, the sh-t is about to hit the fan at Disney,” says Doomcock. “I am told that getting the SJWs out of Disney is now priority one mandated by the sudden realization that sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason and a new understanding at the highest level that ‘get woke go broke’ is no longer just a slogan. Yes, you heard me right, as incredible as it sounds, my source boldly claims that Disney is now only concerned with one thing: profitability.”

Doomcock continues: “The proclamation is about to be sent out from on high to every corner of the enchanted kingdom: Disney is a for-profit business moving forward and from here on out the customer comes first. The woke party is over because the mouse is awakened with a terrible hangover and it’s a new day at Disney. My source tells me that huge policy changes are about to be made at Disney: Bad-mouthing fans no matter what they say or what side they are on will no longer be tolerated. That goes for everyone that works at Disney. Everyone. Including Brie Larson. Including the LucasFilm story group. And everyone that Kathleen Kennedy ever hired.”

Doomcock goes on to give examples of people at Disney attacking fans including Rian Johnson, Kathleen Kennedy, Brie Larson and Taika Waititi.

“I’ve been told explicitly that even someone like Brie Larson will no longer be able to work at Disney if she takes shots at fans,” says Doomcock. “The slack attitude and tacit support implied by silence that emboldened these woke wonders to highjack a corporate message and subvert corporate profits is no more. The LucasFilm story group will no longer be empowered to humiliate Luke Skywalker to strike a blow against the patriarchy. No more will Nick Fury be humiliated by having a pet cat take out his eye. ‘Get woke go broke’ is a phrase that resonates with Disney now and positive changes are on the way if this leak is true.”

The corporate cancer isn’t about how you treat or regard the fans, not at its core. It’s about what your position is on the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. It’s about your perception of your mission. Amazon is profitable. Apple is profitable. And yet they have planted the seeds of their eventual destruction, because Man does not live by money alone.

UPDATE: A Disney employee doubts the reliable source.

Since the furloughs happened in April, we’ve had 0 discussions about how the company will operate moving forward, what people who have been furloughed can do to get back to work, new efficiencies the company plans to take to stave off the bloodletting, or how we as employees can pivot our skills to be more valuable in the future. We HAVE, however, had many internal meetings about diversity and the need to look beyond traditional leadership strategies.

Translation: nothing changes. The corporate cancer continues to metastasize.

Big Bear wins a big one

The Legal Legion continues to #crush. More about this on the Darkstream tonight.

UPDATE: Dear Gammas. You can’t force a reset on my Unauthorized password by requesting it. I know it looks like you can, but you can’t. And yes, we anticipated you would try that.

UPDATE: Oh, Sweet Saint Justinian. I’m told those morons on Reddit actually think that the Bears’ arbitrations were dismissed as well as Owen’s. Not only were those 90+ arbitrations not dismissed, not only are they not frivolous, but every single one of them is likely to be found to be in default as per the recent US District Court ruling in Dekker, and at least 72 of them are almost certain to be awarded damages due to Patreon’s catastrophic decision to twice violate its own Terms of Use and its waiver of group action.

“The poop is everywhere!”

Lawyer and YouTuber Viva Frei acquired a complete copy of the original backer arbitration claims – courtesy of the Norton Law Firm – and analyzes them as well as the judge’s final ruling on the preliminary injunction:

And there you have it, a thorough update and breakdown of the Patreon lawsuit and a further illustration of the fact that when you’ve stepped in poop, sometimes the best thing to do is stop walking around and tracking it everywhere. Patreon definitely stepped in poop, and by the way of their highly-questionable amendment after the fact to try to undo their own mistake, I think they have just tracked poo-poo all over their house, in their bedroom, in their bed, on their pillowcase… the poop is everywhere!

He was clearly impressed by the case constructed by the LLoE, as he described it as “very intelligent” and even “genius”. And this didn’t even begin to get into the poop-tracking accomplished by the filing of the lawsuit and its inevitable consequences in the form of the amended claims by the 72 Bears being sued.

Tortious interference in California

I have to admit, I initially assumed that Patreon was unexpectedly handed an advantage on at least one of the outstanding issues by a ruling from the California Supreme Court this week:

California recognizes two different torts involving interference with economic relations – interference with performance of a contract and interference with prospective economic advantage.  Originally California courts treated these two torts as essentially the same, the the only difference being that interference with contractual relations required the existence of a binding contract.  In 1995, however, the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff pursuing a claim for interference with a prospective contractual or economic relationship had to plead that the defendant’s conduct was wrongful.  Della Penna v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., 11 Cal. 4th 376 (1995).

Contracts that are terminable at-will occupy a sort of middle estate between these two torts, leading to the question of whether a plaintiff pursuing a claim for tortious interference with an at-will contract must plead that the interference was independently wrongful.  Yesterday, the California Supreme Court held that tortious interference with an at-will contract does require independent wrongfulness. Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc., 2020 Cal. LEXIS 4876.

Although the Court recognized that in an at-will contract the parties have more of an expectation of continuity of the relationship than when no contract exists, it found that there is no legal basis in either case to expect continuity from the perspective of a third-party.  The Court also found that legitimate business competition could be chilled if independent wrongfulness is not required.

As I commented on SocialGalactic, this particular decision by the California Supreme Court looked unfavorable to Big Bear on first glance, as well as almost comically untimely. However, it did at least serve to demonstrate that his case was very far from frivolous, considering that the court appeared to be addressing, for the first time, one of the primary issues at dispute in his arbitration.

Upon the LLOE’s review of the ruling, however, it quickly became apparent that despite its apparent relevance to his case, the Ixchel decision actually has nothing to do with Big Bear’s claim for tortious interference on the part of Patreon. This is for four reasons:

  1. As defined by the supreme court, an at-will contract requires mutual bargaining by the parties. The Patreon Terms of Use are a contract of adhesion that prevents bargaining and is unilaterally imposed upon one party by the other, so they are not an at-will contract.
  2. An at-will contract is, by definition, terminable at will by either party. The Patreon Terms of Use cannot be terminated by the user. Even if a user deletes his account, he remains bound indefinitely by the terms. So, again, the Patreon Terms of Use are not an at-will contract.
  3. Patreon did not terminate its contract with Big Bear or even delete his account. What they did was delete his creator page, deny his access to the platform, and prevent patrons from paying him.
  4. The Ixchel decision is not analogous to Patreon’s contract with Big Bear, but with Big Bear’s separate contractual relationships with his patrons.
It’s important to avoid confusing the user’s account with the contract between the two parties. They are two very different things. But the CA Supreme Court’s decision did add a little excitement and drama to what is otherwise an incredibly boring process, so that was fun.