2019/03/19

A Digital Tammany Hall

Twitter lawsuit

Having been subjected to Twitter's shadow bans myself, I was gladdened to hear of Devin Nunes' $250 million lawsuit against what his attorney calls a, "Modern day Tammany Hall."
California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a major lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of "shadow-banning conservatives" to secretly hide their posts, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints, and totally "ignoring" lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.
In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Monday, obtained by Fox News, Nunes claimed Twitter wanted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired until 2019, as he looked into alleged and apparent surveillance abuses by the government. Nunes said Twitter was guilty of "knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform."
The lawsuit alleged defamation, conspiracy and negligence, as well as violations of the state's prohibition against "insulting words" -- effectively fighting words that tend towards "violence and breach of the peace." The complaint sought not only damages, but also an injunction compelling Twitter to turn over the identities behind numerous accounts he said harassed and defamed him.
There's one major wrinkle in Nunes' plan: Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which exempts social media companies from the libel and defamation liabilities normally incurred by publishers.

Nunes' lawyer has an argument ready to answer a CDA Section 230 objection:
Although federal law ordinarily exempts services like Twitter from defamation liability at all levels, Nunes' suit said the platform has taken such an active role in curating and banning content -- as opposed to merely hosting it -- that it should face liability like any other organization that defames.
"Twitter created and developed the content at issue in this case by transforming false accusations of criminal conduct, imputed wrongdoing, dishonesty and lack of integrity into a publicly available commodity used by unscrupulous political operatives and their donor/clients as a weapon," Nunes' legal team wrote. "Twitter is 'responsible' for the development of offensive content on its platform because it in some way specifically encourages development of what is offensive about the content."
I'm no lawyer, but it sounds like Nunes' attorney is arguing that Twitter fails the three-pronged test used to determine if a defendant qualifies for Section 230 protection. Here are the criteria from the article linked above:

  1. The defendant must be a provider or user of an interactive computer service.
  2. The cause of action asserted by the plaintiff must view the defendant as the publisher or speaker of the harmful information at issue.
  3. The information must be provided by another information content provider. That is, the defendant must not be the information content provider of the harmful information at issue.

It looks like Nunes' lawyer is arguing that Twitter shouldn't enjoy Section 230 immunity from liability in this case because point 3 doesn't apply. Since Twitter encouraged and helped develop the harmful content, they're not just platform providers; they're content providers.

On a related note, guys like Nick Fuentes have been pushing for the revocation of Twitter, Facebook, and Google's Section 230 immunity based on similar logic.

The idea goes like this: If you run a digital public square, which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called his company, you should have two choices. One, you can let all users speak their minds uncensored. In that case, you're acting as a platform provider, not a publisher, and should be immune from liability.

Two, you can actively curate the platform and censor offending speech. But since you're taking an active hand in the kind and quality of content that appears on your platform, you've stepped over a line and become a publisher subject to liability.

Right now, Big Social gets to freely straddle the line. Nunes is right. They should have to pick a lane and stay in it.

We'll see if the pushback against Big Tech gains steam, and which direction it heads in. A certain executive order we were promised a while back would help.

In the meantime, escape to a future where not only is offending speech legal, so is hiring a mercenary to cluster bomb the guy who offended you!

Hope Is Not a Strategy

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2019/03/18

Ars Longa

birdhouse

Hang out around science fiction authors long enough, and you get the sense that they're all crazy.

John Scalzi claims that Donald Trump and the weather conspired to give him writer's block. Patrick Rothfuss and George R. R. Martin have cited similarly temperamental reasons for not finishing their popular series.

The ancient Romans had a saying, Ars longa, vita brevis. Moderns take it to mean that life is short, but works of art last.

We post-Renaissance types get the, "Life is short," part right. But ancients and Medievals didn't restrict the meaning of ars to "fine art". For them, it could apply to any craft.

The equivalent Greek word is techne. That's a big clue that everybody before the Modern era would have put Michelangelo and Steve Jobs in the same general category. Both made stuff according to a standard.

That's really what writing is. A carpenter makes a birdhouse by putting wood, nails, and glue together in the right configuration. An author makes a book by doing the same thing with character, setting, and conflict.

The arbitrary split between fine arts like oil painting, sculpture, and literature and crafts like carpentry, plumbing, and coding is a Modern novelty. We take it for granted, but historically it's an anomaly based on largely unexamined assumptions.

Reading the previous two paragraphs may incite the knee-jerk response that broadly classifying authors alongside plumbers is materialist reductionism that sucks the soul out of writing.

Only if you think that plumbers don't have souls.

The appeal to mysticism as justification for placing fine art in its own airy realm high above the noise and odors of the trades betrays the same Modernist bias I'm calling out.

Ancients and Medievals understood that man is spirit and flesh at once, and thus all of his actions have a spiritual dimension. There is a role for both Martha and Mary. The shoemaker is no less holy than St. Anthony.

Cartesian philosophy, with its crude mind-body dualism, caused a rupture between the mystical and the mundane that's since plagued Western thought. The body perishes, but the soul is immortal, so the soul must take priority.

That appraisal doesn't jibe with the example of a God who holds the human body in such high esteem that He became incarnate.

Imposing a false binary that relegates skilled craftsmen to grunt status while elevating "real artists" has created a class of neurotic posers who perpetually fret about muses and demons. Meanwhile, we have to wait five years to find out what happens in book three.

And because heresies always come in pairs, you get small-soulded bugmen preaching the opposite extreme: STEM and the trades are the only fields of "real value". Jobs in the arts are decadent sinecures for losers who can't make it in the grownup world.

The fault lies in the choice of interpretive key. Too many grope at the arts in the darkness of either/or. The only light that can reveal the whole beast is both/and.

All craftsmen are human beings with immortal souls. Poetry is a craft. Setting up a network in an office building can be a mystical experience.

If you're an aspiring author, ditch the angsty writers' workshop BS, and nail yourself to the wood of your desk.

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2019/03/15

The First One's Free

Red Pills

The phrase "taking the red pill" has become a bit of a cliche in dissident circles. It's so shopworn that pointing out it's a cliche is becoming cliche. That's not to say the metaphor is ineffective. Tropes are tropes because they work.

It's also been frequently observed that getting redpilled, i.e. waking up to sociopolitical realities the powers that be would prefer you remain oblivious to, is not a one-and-done proposition.

One epiphany can't break the conditioning imposed by government, media, and academia. Instead there's a series of red pills the seeker of enlightenment must take, each expanding his awareness of the truth.

Realizing that the entire news media isn't just biased, but is knowingly and with malice aforethought pushing enemy propaganda, might be the first red pill most normal people take.

Back in the pre-911 days, most Fox News viewers and Rush Limbaugh listeners agreed that the mainstream media had a leftist bias. Of course, the same normies insisted there was nothing wrong with that. The shenanigans were in lying about that bias.

The media's mask has rapidly slipped over the years to the point that most people now understand it's not just a case of undisclosed bias. CNN, The Washington Post, and Buzzfeed are propaganda organs through which our elites wage constant psychological warfare on us.

Newspaper Trust

Becoming aware of enemy action is a starting point, not an endpoint. Once you realize the folks in charge really do have it in for you, a whole slew of other questions naturally arise.

Why do our rulers hate us? What do they want? Is nonstop media propaganda the only weapon in their arsenal?

Consider elitist toady Bill Maher's unctuous micturition all over half the country.

Puck Boyardee

As with all approved "comedians", Maher's job is to perpetually tell coastal urbanites the only joke they'll tolerate, because it strokes their all-consuming vanity: "You are morally and materially superior to those rubes in flyover country. You're on the right side of history."

Maher's brand of compulsive back-patting also serves to salve urban bubble dwellers' inescapable realization that they're essentially parasites living off the flyover rubes' useful labor.

The cosmopolitan jet set's deep, festering resentment over their total dependence on normal people also drives their compulsive need to viciously mock real America's beliefs. It's why we have nine-year-old drag queens shoved in our faces on TV.

Lactatia

The main focus of our elites' diabolical hatred is, of course, America's traditional Christian faith. Hence the relentless push for same-sex "marriage" and transgenderism and the merciless persecution of those who object.

Most people who wake up to the spiritual nature of the current conflict attribute the problem to a sudden rise in anti-Christian sentiment. Another red pill moment is understanding that this is a reversal of cause and effect.

An anomalous rise in secularism/nu-paganism isn't to blame for renewed persecution of the Church. Matters have only deteriorated to this point because widespread apostasy has made the Church vulnerable.

Ask yourself: If a majority of Americans truly followed a robust, traditional Christianity, would the Clown World circus still be in town?

To ask the question is to answer it. Anytime before the cultural revolution of the 60s, the freak show would've been run out of town on a rail.

Here's the red pill that's hardest for ex-normies to swallow: The West's decline is a direct consequence of the Enlightenment thinking that overturned centuries of tradition ca. 300 years ago. Clown World was baked into the Classical Liberal cake.

The advent of Liberalism started the countdown to the day when our store of Christian cultural capital ran out. When a people toss out a worldview based on objective truth and embrace a philosophy based on compromise, fallen human nature takes over, and this is the result.

But that's not the last pill in the bottle.

The Leftist death cult that is the ultimate logical conclusion of Liberalism tries to replace absolute truth by attempting to absolutize freedom. Thus, it's at odds with reality. God is undefeated. Clown world is destined for a fall.

That means what comes next, by necessity, will bear little resemblance to the neoliberal order we've known our whole lives. Clinging to Liberal concepts like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and blank slate equality only holds the door to Clown World open.

Here's the real choice:
  • You take the blue pill. You go back to sleep and persist in delusions like absolute freedom and equality. Clown World marches ahead on squeaky shoes.
  • You take the red pill. You wake up and embrace the fact that Christianity, in its traditional orthodox form is a necessary pillar of Western civilization. You realize that error has no rights and live your life accordingly.
I should have mentioned that there's also a time limit and a gun to your head--to everyone's heads. Either enough of us take the red pill to turn this clown car around, or the West lapses into a dark age--not the fedora-tipping fake kind, the real deal--from which no light can emerge.


2019/03/14

Combat Frame Data: XCD-103

XCD-103 Eisenpferd
  
XCD-103

Technical Data

Model number: XCD-103
Code name: Eisenpferd
Nickname: Iron Horse
Classification: heavy assault combat frame
Manufacturer: Browning Engineering Corporation
Operator: HALO
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19 meters
Weight: dry weight 105 metric tons, full weight 165 metric tons
Armor type: “1D” carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2950 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 44,730 kg, 4x 23,970 kg; top speed 850 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 36, 180° turn time 0.98 seconds; legs: top ground speed 155 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head; Vercingetorix laser targeting system
Fixed armaments: x2 80mm Vulcan cannon, mounted on shoulders; x2 3-tube missile launcher, carry graphene cap warheads, pop up from backpack in use
Optional ranged armaments: x2 3-tube missile pod, attach to pauldrons, can load high explosive, anti-armor, and other specialized ordnance; x2 3-tube micro missile pod, attach to legs, carry spray missiles, anti-beam cloud missiles, and ECM “chaff” missiles
Optional hand armaments: heat greataxe, stored in charging rack on backpack, carried two-handed in use; carbyne shield, attaches to left arm
Special Equipment: A.I. operating system

General Notes

"Father of the Combat Frame" Tesla Browning maintained his reputation in more ways than one when he produced the first 1-Series XSeed for use in the co-opted Project S. In keeping with his design philosophy of adding more weapons to existing technology, Browning started with the original XCD-001-1 Prometheus. He proceeded to add as many weapons and layers of armor as the frame could hold without critically compromising mobility. Always intended as an essay in the craft, the resulting XSeed was rejected as a targeting module for the Roter März and given model number XCD-103.

When members of the Human Liberation Organization assisted BEC in creating a soft A.I. operating system for the XSeeds, HLO mechanic Faust Hayden christened the XCD-103's A.I. iteration Eisenpferd or "Iron Horse" in homage to the heavy XSeed's ability to roll over anything in its path.

Like the XCD-104 Eschaton, the Eisenpferd distinguished itself by carrying no energy weapons. In contrast to the close attack XSeed, the XCD-103's loadout featured a dizzying array of ranged armaments. Its primary weapons were a pair of fire-linked Vulcan cannons mounted on its shoulders capable of firing 80mm rounds at blisteringly high rates of fire. These rotary cannons proved more than adequate for dispatching the Coalition's woefully overmatched Guardian combat frames.

To deal with harder targets, the Eisenpferd could be equipped with up to four missile pods bearing three tubes each. The two larger pods attached to the XSeed's pauldrons and carried heavy ordnance for taking out enemy armor and artillery. Two smaller pods mounted on the legs could load cluster bomb-style spray missiles to handle small vehicles and personnel. Various utility missiles, including rockets mounted with chaff and anti-beam gas-dispersing warheads, could also be fired from the leg pods.

In the event that an enemy made it through Eisenpferd's defenses, the XSeed carried an enormous two-handed heat axe capable of bisecting a combat frame in one swing. It also mounted a carbyne-reinforced shield on its left arm for close quarters defense.

The XCD-103's devastating firepower exacted a cost in speed and mobility. It was the only 1-Series XSeed limited to subsonic flight, and its ground speed was relatively ponderous. These drawbacks left Eisenpferd vulnerable to fast-moving attackers. Browning compensated for the XCD-103's lack of mobility by giving it the thickest armor of any CF to date. Not only could the Eisenpferd withstand a direct hit from practically any conventional weapon, its superconducting carbyne armor could channel one-third of an energy weapon strike into an onboard capacitor of the type carried by every XSeed. This system made the Eisenpferd highly resistant to energy attacks and invisible to radar as long as its capacitor wasn't full.

Since the XCD-103 lacked energy weapons of its own, Browning solved the problem of discharging its capacitor in a novel manner. He installed a pair of retractable 3-tube missile launchers in Eisenpferd's backpack. Each tube stored a warhead containing a miniature version of the XSeed's graphene capacitor. The warheads could be charged from the main capacitor to make more room for absorbing attacks. When fired, a primer charge in each warhead unfurled its mini capacitor and released its stored energy on impact. A fully charged graphene cap warhead could rival low-yield nuclear detonations. Eisenpferd could also bleed off its capacitor charge via less spectacular tunable IR laser.

Despite its unequaled offensive and defensive capabilities, the Eisenpferd's pilot had to keep a close eye on his ammunition. If the XSeed ran out of missiles and bullets, which could easily happen in the heat of battle, it risked being left to face faster enemies with only its axe and shield. This factor made teamwork with the other XSeeds a must.


Update: Thanks to my valued readers, the Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40 crowdfunder was a rousing success! I'm making excellent progress on the book, and perk fulfillment should begin soon.

Did you miss out on the campaign? No problem! Pick up the original martial mecha thriller Combat Frame XSeed, and have it read in time for the sequel's launch.

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2019/03/13

Put Down the Ayn Rand

Wherein author Alex Hellene speaks authoritatively on a subject that weighs heavily on my mind, as well: busting the Big Tech trusts.
Get over your knee-jerk “Muh private businesses!” conditioning and realize these tech giants do not care about the Constitution, fair play, freedom of speech, competition, or any classical definitions of what we call “capitalism.” The Masters of the Universe are unelected individuals with gigantic organizations that have as much power and influence as governments.
“Build your own platform!” “Vote with your wallet!” “Use something else!”
Loser talk! These attitudes are why we are where we are. You can’t just “build your own Google.” The way things are structured are anti-competitive.
And Google, Facebook, et al. have more information about you than even the government. Why do you trust big tech with that?
Oh, right: “Because all businessmen are heroes!”
Put down the Ayn Rand for a second and realize no they are not. They may start as heroes, and small business owners and entrepreneurs–who represent the majority of Americans–are amazing people. But there comes a point in the cycle where corporations do amass too much power and influence and get to throw their near-limitless money around to bend the rules to favor them. Bye-bye competition!
Some call this “crony capitalism.” Others “corporatism.” I call it “inevitable.” Whether the system is a democratically representative republic or a socialist autocracy, the end result is the same.
You may not like to hear it. The prospect may offend your deeply ingrained free market sensibilities, but Alex is absolutely right. Big Tech delenda est.

To those who object, "But we shouldn't give the government any more power than they already have!" I answer as follows:
  1. The government already has the power to break up Big Tech.
  2. Big Tech kommissars are already acting as de facto bag men for the government. Why go to the trouble of burning books when you can have Amazon ban them?
  3. "Business good. Government bad," is a simplistic false binary made wholly irrelevant by Big Tech's ongoing rampage against dissenters.
It really does seem as if their capitalist conditioning is overriding the self-preservation drives of most Republicans--even Republicans widely considered to be outsiders. Consider President Trump's response to social media's anti-Conservative bias.

Just Be Good

Contrast that answer with two Democrat candidates' positions.

Warren FAG

Yang Agree on this

On a positive note, it is encouraging to see both wings of the uniparty pushing back against Big Tech censorship. Hopefully something will come of it.

Reminder: Today is the last day of the Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40 crowdfunder. If you want to get the book early and choose from a dazzling assortment of cool perks, this is your last chance!


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