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FaceBook Relish

18 Jan

This was published yesterday at The Daily Caller.

In ancient times a virtual reality was a hypothetical discussion by philosophers and their students.

Plato has Socrates and a group of young men discuss what the just city should be like in the Republic and they quickly spell out what it would be like: simple, agrarian, egalitarian, self-sustaining, producing all the things it needs for everyone to lead a wholesome, healthy, peaceful life.

That is until one of the students asks about relish.  In order to produce condiments more land is needed and the economy becomes more complex, leading the friends of Socrates out of their hypothetical Eden, to ever more complicated regimes, each found wanting, until the symposiasts end up with a somewhat totalitarian state in which the rulers are philosophers who want to live the life of the mind and don’t want to rule, and the ruling political class of “guardians” unlike any historical ruling class we’ve ever met (excepting people named Kushner or Trump) denies itself any wealth, private families, or even knowledge of the identity of their own children – who are given up for adoption at birth.

Today we have virtual polities again, which we call social networks.  Now they aren’t so much the message – about how we should live or what justice is – but the medium by which we discuss this.

Like the hypothetical just city in the Republic our social networks keep evolving and getting more complicated.  And just like Eden, there are snakes in the grass.

The snake everyone is concerned about now is “fake news.”  FaceBook in December announced a plan to combat “fake news” that will soon be implemented.  FaceBook’s 1.7 billion users will be allowed to flag stories or links they think are fake news, which will then be sent to a small list of centrist liberal “fact checkers” who will decide if the story is not factual, and label it so.  If a user then wishes to share a story labelled as fake news they will receive a warning in a pop-up dialogue box asking them if they really want to share it.

People on the right are of course concerned that this will lead to rampant censorship of their opinions and news they think important, citing past reports that the Silicon Valley millennial cyber-guardians hired by FaceBook to “curate” its trending stories were accused of this in the past, with a rather lame rebuttal from FaceBook that this wasn’t true.  The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway pointed out that the “fact checkers” who FaceBook had contracted with so far (FaceBook says they are not paying the fact checkers) have partisan leanings and a bad record of sticking to facts.  Though I cannot find any pattern of left of center FaceBook users who were banned or had their postings deleted by FaceBook (and one can find many right of center or libertarian victims), the World Socialist Web Site‘s George Gallinis doesn’t trust the FaceBook fact checking regime either.

In December FaceBook sent a PR person who is a libertarian (not a liberal) to speak to center right groups and assure them that “fact checking” was not an attempt to censor their publications or suppress their views.  Indeed, she argued, by preventing the fake news produced by Macedonian teenagers or a California clickbait entrepreneur (who turned out to be a Democrat) from going viral and swarming the news feed, they would be freeing up more FaceBook “real estate” for everyone else.  This week FaceBook announced an additional initiative, where FaceBook staff will visit newsrooms and coordinate with mainstream journalists, local and national, including FOX News, to attempt to define which news is real and which is fake.

Which leads me to wonder if part of what motivates the fake news protocol is neither the need to suppress fake news, nor a desire to censor Trump (and Johnson etc.) supporters whose social media activities helped the candidate Silicon Valley supported lose her election (by keeping alive stories the legacy media had tried to quash).  Instead, Mark Zuckerberg is trying to free the best tables at his $17 billion restaurant from the low value customers using his internet for hours while only buying one cup of coffee, and make them available for paying customers, left or right, who want to buy some pricey relish.  Zuckerberg wants users to be clicking on links that paid to be boosted or advertised, not non-paying spammers who are clever with incendiary headlines.

As we know from Mr. Zuckerberg’s biography, The Social Network, he never planned to limit himself to a simple menu.  FaceBook evolved from being a social network to being a data broker and online store and advertising platform – because Zuckerberg (and his investors) wanted relish.  FaceBook collects data on its users so it can market itself to those who want to advertise to targeted groups of users (or pay to boost posts to them).  FaceBook even demands data most Boards of Elections don’t require:  FaceBook sometimes demands users email them a scan of a driver’s license or other government issued ID.  FaceBook claims it is verifying that people are who they say they are.  But by demanding IDs its also making sure that the mineable data in your FaceBook profile (birth date, gender, name, address) is correct.

Another Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Mark Weinstein,  has created another social network, MeWe, that is a return to the original simple city, just a social network, not a data broker or advertising platform.  You can be connected to friends and you can join topical groups, but MeWe does not harvest your data.   (Weinstein is also a privacy rights activist and Edward Snowden fan who blogs at Huffington Post.)  MeWe has only 500,000 users today, but it was nominated in 2016 for a South by SouthWest award, the Austin tech venue that helped launch Twitter in 2007 (which now has 310 million users and $600 million in revenue).  Weinstein predicts MeWe will have 30 million users by the end of 2017 (around the size of MySpace, which still exists, unlike Friendster, the other social network that once competed with FaceBook, which went dark in 2015).  When I asked about how he will pay for the servers and engineers needed to scale up to what would still only be 2% of FaceBook’s size, Weinstein says MeWe will begin launching additional subscription upgrades, beyond the social network, for those who want to pay for them – encryption for chats, or an app like Slack.   He’s serving the relish – non-GMO, additive free – on the side.

Peter Thiel does DC

24 Sep
(There are 4 videos, Thiel’s remarks and 3 of Q&A covering bitcoin, The Social Network, Facebook, charter cities, and seasteading.  I’m busy today so come back tomorrow for all videos here, or check out YouTube directly.  I don’t know that anyone else recorded it.)

On bitcoin:

On charter cities and seasteading:

The reclusive Charles Koch on FaceBook

28 Mar
Recently Charles Koch appeared in many Libertarian’s FaceBook feeds as a suggested friend.

We all friended him.  Me.  My campaign manager friend in central Virginia.  An academic in southern California. Etc.

I was pretty sure it was a fake account, especially when he accepted my friend request.

It has been deactivated.

Bridget, Charles Koch has confirmed that you’re friends on Facebook.
You may know some of Charles’s Friends

Sean Malone Sean Malone
13 mutual friends
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Chad Reese Chad Reese
2 mutual friends
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Daphne Puerto Daphne Puerto
1 mutual friend
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Anthony B Pugh Anthony B Pugh
1 mutual friend
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Tyler Martinez Tyler Martinez
3 mutual friends
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Maggie Johnson Maggie Johnson
2 mutual friends
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We Need More Regulation – the FaceBook Addiction Crisis

29 Aug
Facebook Addiction Disorder — The 6 Symptoms of F.A.D.

Dr. Keith Ablow, the bald butch daddy psychiatrist FOX contributor often called in an The O’Reilly Factor to dispense advice about personal responsibility has one area where he thinks you can’t be allowed to take care of yourself – FaceBook.  He’s calling for FaceBook to have mandatory labeling to warn users that it can be addictive.

Since anything can be addictive, it’s difficult to view conservatives fads and fears about how something “new” is dangerous (birth control, rock music, social media) as anything other than an expression of their own psychological obsessions.  And it’s easy to see how the governmental nose they propose to stick under the tent will be abused (limiting and controlling  social media, from blogs to twitter, is something governments from Tehran to Cairo to DC would love to be able to do).  Ablow’s argument is shaky, with premises like an assumption that when people use FaceBook to build lists and networks (e.g. of tea party or antiwar activists, potential customers, alumni, neighbors,  etc.) they actually think these are “friends.”

But that aside, its not even original.  Ablow is just regurgitating a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode from over two decades ago.

Terms and Condition

17 Aug
A documentary, slightly comic, playing all this week in DC at the West End Cinema (23rd and M).

Here’s the trailer and some video of the discussion after the (DC) premier, including a call from Dennis Kucinich to “punch the NSA’s card” and a demented, miasmic Obama supporter who worries that Obama’s data collection on his supporters for his campaign will someday fall into the “wrong” hands.

Here’s the panel discussion:

Here’s Dennis Kucinich (in the audience) calling for the abolition of the NSA, and a slightly delusional Obama supporter worrying that the REAL problem is that Organizing for America did such a good job of data collection that the NSA will now vacuum up that data and an evil tea party president in the future will know who he is!  And maybe target him with the IRS!

Here’s the movie trailer:

More of the panel:

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, in the audience with his wife, calls for abolishing the NSA:

Reason magazine interview with Cullen Hollback, the director:

More of the panel:

And more panel:

And more!

Facebook Spouse in New York Congressional Race – Obama Crony Capialist?

12 Feb
Sean Eldridge, husband to Facebook founder and The New Republic owner Chris Huges, has a day job as a venture capitalist with something called Hudson River Ventures.  It’s a curious investment fund.  Rather than investing in worthy or profitable businesses simply, it invests (since 2011) only in businesses, it looks mainly like food and beverage businesses, in the Hudson Valley.  In other words, it loans money to people in the Congressioal district where Eldridge is running for office.

We don’t know how much of the money comes from semi-billionaire Chris Hughes.  Is The New Republic trying to buy a Congressional seat?

Hudson Valley Venture’s Facebook page emphasizes their ties to Obama (photos),  Chuck Schumer, etc:  “Proud that the Hudson Valley is featured prominently in today’s inaugural celebration (thanks to Senator Schumer!). Apple pie from Columbia County and maple syrup from Dutchess at the inaugural lunch!”

Hudson River Ventures, LLC is a small business investment fund focused on the Hudson Valley. 
Founded by Sean Eldridge in 2011, Hudson River Ventures works to empower entrepreneurs and build thriving businesses throughout the Hudson Valley. Hudson River Ventures is making strategic investments ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 in our target industry sectors. To learn more, contact us at


Chris Gibson vs Sean Eldridge

12 Feb
Here’s the voting record of New York Republican Congressman Chris Gibson, who is being challenged by millionaire investor/Facebook founder spouse/gay Democrat Sean Eldridge.

He seems to have voted against using federal funds to pay for legal challenges to DOMA.  He also consistently votes against extending or funding surveillance state measures like NDAA and the Patriot Act.

One wonders if Eldridge will be a step’n’fetchit gay who supports Obama’s drones, kill lists, and spying, as long as he supports equal slavery for gays.


Date Bill No. Bill Title Outcome Vote
Jan. 23, 2013 HR 325 To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 Bill Passed – House
(285 – 144)
Jan. 15, 2013 H Amdt 4 Offsets Cost of Disaster Relief Appropriations Through Discretionary Budget Cuts Amendment Rejected – House
(162 – 258)
Jan. 15, 2013 HR 152 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 Bill Passed – House
(241 – 180)
Jan. 1, 2013 HR 6726 Congressional Pay Freeze and Fiscal Responsibility Act Bill Passed – House
(287 – 129)
Jan. 1, 2013 HR 8 Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012 Concurrence Vote Passed – House
(257 – 167)
Dec. 20, 2012 HR 6684 Spending Reduction Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(215 – 209)
Dec. 20, 2012 HR 4310 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Conference Report Adopted – House
(315 – 107)
Nov. 30, 2012 HR 6429 STEM Jobs Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(245 – 139)
Nov. 16, 2012 HR 6156 Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(365 – 43)
Sept. 21, 2012 HR 3409 Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(233 – 175)
Sept. 20, 2012 HR 6429 STEM Jobs Act of 2012 Bill Failed – House
(257 – 158)
Sept. 20, 2012 H J Res 118 Congressional Disapproval of Department of Health and Human Services Rule to Waive Certain Requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) Joint Resolution Passed – House
(250 – 164)
Sept. 19, 2012 HR 5912 Prohibits Public Funding for Political Party Conventions Bill Passed – House
(310 – 95)
Sept. 14, 2012 HR 6213 No More Solyndras Act Bill Passed – House
(245 – 161)
Sept. 13, 2012 HR 6365 National Security and Job Protection Act Bill Passed – House
(223 – 196)
Sept. 12, 2012 HR 5949 FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(301 – 118)
Aug. 2, 2012 HR 6233 Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(223 – 197)
Aug. 2, 2012 HR 6169 Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(232 – 189)
Aug. 1, 2012 HR 8 Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(256 – 171)
July 31, 2012 HR 3803 District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Bill Failed – House
(220 – 154)
July 31, 2012 HR 828 Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(263 – 114)
July 31, 2012 S 679 Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 Bill Passed – House
(261 – 116)
July 26, 2012 HR 4078 Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act Bill Passed – House
(245 – 172)
July 25, 2012 HR 6168 President Obama’s Proposed 2012-2017 Offshore Drilling Lease Sale Plan Act Bill Failed – House
(164 – 261)
July 25, 2012 HR 459 Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(327 – 98)
July 25, 2012 HR 6082 Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Offshore Drilling Plan Bill Passed – House
(253 – 170)
July 19, 2012 HR 5856 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013 Bill Passed – House
(326 – 90)
July 19, 2012 H Amdt 1416 Prohibits Use of Funds in Contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act Amendment Adopted – House
(247 – 166)
July 12, 2012 HR 4402 National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(256 – 160)
July 11, 2012 HR 6079 Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 Bill Passed – House
(244 – 185)
June 21, 2012 HR 4480 Domestic Energy and Jobs Act Bill Passed – House
(248 – 163)
June 19, 2012 HR 2578 Conservation and Economic Growth Act Bill Passed – House
(232 – 188)
June 7, 2012 HR 5855 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for 2013 Bill Passed – House
(234 – 182)
June 7, 2012 HR 436 Repeals Excise Tax on Medical Devices Bill Passed – House
(270 – 146)
May 31, 2012 H Amdt 1160 Project Labor Agreements Amendment Adopted – House
(218 – 198)
May 31, 2012 HR 3541 Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012 Bill Failed – House
(246 – 168)
May 18, 2012 HR 4310 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Bill Passed – House
(299 – 120)
May 18, 2012 H Amdt 1127 Repeals Indefinite Military Detention Provisions Amendment Rejected – House
(182 – 238)
May 18, 2012 H Amdt 1140 Prohibits Reductions to Strategic Nuclear Arms Required by New START Amendment Adopted – House
(238 – 162)
May 17, 2012 H Amdt 1103 Limits Funding for War in Afghanistan to the Withdrawal of U.S. Forces Amendment Rejected – House
(113 – 303)
May 16, 2012 HR 4970 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(222 – 205)
May 10, 2012 HR 5652 Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(218 – 199)
May 9, 2012 HR 2072 Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 Bill Passed – House
(330 – 93)
May 9, 2012 H Amdt 1096 Prohibits Use of Funds in Contravention with the Defense of Marriage Act Amendment Adopted – House
(245 – 171)
April 27, 2012 HR 4628 Extending Student Loan Interest Rates Bill Passed – House
(215 – 195)
April 26, 2012 HR 3523 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act Bill Passed – House
(248 – 168)
April 19, 2012 HR 9 Income Tax Deduction for Small Businesses Bill Passed – House
(235 – 173)
April 18, 2012 HR 4348 Extension of Surface Transportation Funding and Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill Passed – House
(293 – 127)
March 29, 2012 H Con Res 112 Limits Federal Appropriations for Fiscal Years 2013-2022 (“Ryan Budget”) Joint Resolution Passed – House
(228 – 191)
Feb. 29, 2012 HR 1837 Water Resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Bill Passed – House
(246 – 175)

Christopher 'Chris' Patrick Gibson
Full Name: Christopher ‘Chris’ Patrick Gibson
Current Office: U.S. House – District 19, Republican
First Elected: 11/02/2010

Next Election: 2014
On The Ballot: Won, Conservative, Republican, Independence for U.S. House – District 19

Family: Wife: Mary Jo; 3 Children: Katie, Maggie, Connor
Birth Date: 05/13/1964

Gibson: US cannot be world policemen anymore

11 Feb
Gay Democrat Sean Eldridge, husband of New Republic owner/editor and Facebook founder Chris Hughes, has filed papers to run against Gibson.  We have not researched Gibson’s voting history on individual rights or gay issues.

Gibson: US cannot be world policemen anymore
Gibson addresses his Veterans’ Advisory Board

KINGSTON – Congressman Christopher Gibson told his Veterans Advisory Board meeting in Kingston on Monday that as the war in Afghanistan winds down, the US can no longer play the role of world policeman as it has since the end of the Cold War.

Gibson said while al Qaeda is “a determined enemy” bent on destroying the Western World, the US must change its military mission.

“If we think differently then I think we can reorganize our armed forces and we can still have the world’s most formidable armed forces and deter other nations that would want to do us harm without putting us in all these spots all over the world,” he said.