Tag Archives: politics

You Can be Sued for Blocking People on Twitter… if You’re the President

Some people hurt the president’s feelings and were blocked on Twitter. Turns out Donald Trump may have violated their first amendment rights by doing so. 

Say you’re the president of the United States (POTUS). You won the Electoral College election, but lost the popular vote by a wide margin. Most Americans do not want you to be the president of the United States. You don’t have any political experience, you have archaic social beliefs, you’re a poor orator, you’re violating the emoluments clause of the constitution, you’ve got suspicious ties to a foreign government, you’ve criticized freedom of the press, and perhaps worst of all, you’re quick to anger. What do you do if people start commenting on your Twitter posts in ways that contradict your statements with facts or mock your inexperience? You block them! That’s what you do if you’re @realDonaldTrump, you block the mean people saying true mean things about you. But the president of the United States needs to have a level mind and thick skin. They need to respond to criticisms, the voice of the people, in a dignified manner, not silence them. By shutting down a means of communication between the electorate and the public forum that Donald Trump himself set up willingly, Trump silenced voters. Turns out, that could be a violation of their First Amendment rights. 
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Verizon Posts Video Full of Lies to Ease People’s Minds Over the Death of Net Neutrality 

Call it a sign of the times, when those in power don’t to worry about people fact checking. They use their platform to say whatever they want, and assume people will believe it. Verizon, one of the biggest opponents to net neutrality, has posted a video claiming to not be working against net neutrality. In fact, we’re supposed to believe that the company that sued the government over net neutrality laws, won, and lead to companies instantly taking advantage of the lack of net neutrality isn’t against internet freedom. The entire reason the internet had to be declared a Title II protected service was because of Verizon’s lawsuit. To claim now that they’re not against net neutrality is preposterous on its own, but this video is something else entirely. It completely misrepresents public property as their own private property, ignores their monopolies, and completely misrepresents the issue and the conflicts of interest of those involved.

Verizon is trying to have their cake and eat it too. They’re trying to fight net neutrality while simultaneously retaining a public image that won’t disgust people. They may be underestimating our intelligence by just a little bit. 

The video is attached below. You can find a full breakdown of every misleading comment or outright lie over at The Verge. If you care about internet freedom, you likely won’t be able to make it through the video without feeling uncontrollable rage, so you’ll want to check out The Verge’s breakdown
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Trump Appointed FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai Announces His Plan to Destroy Net Neutrality, Internet Freedom

Ajit Pai. Credit: AP

What’s good for huge corporations is often bad for “the little guy,” that is, smaller businesses and individuals. However, the little guy, the individual, does have a way to piggyback off of the successes of those huge corporations. They can become lobbyists, politicians, or, in this case, the FCC Chairman. Pai graduated law school, worked on the Telecommunications Task Force, approving (or blocking) mergers and acquisitions, worked for the Department of Justice, and left government work for a time to be the Associate General Counsel at Verizon. He was only there two years before going back to government, where he’s been strongly pro-big business. 

That brings us to net neutrality. Net neutrality protects you and I from being gouged for our internet service any more than we already are. It forces all internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data equally. Imagine if phone companies didn’t have to do that with who you talked to. They could notice you call your girlfriend a lot, and start charging your double for calls to her. Or perhaps they don’t want you talking to Comcast customer service for very long, forcing you to get frustrated and switch to their service. That’s what they have planned for the internet, fast and slow lanes, data that doesn’t count against limits for their own services or partners. It’s a way to gouge both other companies and end users, controlling the services we can use. Net neutrality protects small businesses from being pushed out of the market by these giant bullies like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner (Spectrum). But net neutrality forbids these large corporations from taking advantage of their size for profit. That’s why they hate it. It’s why they lobby about it and push conservative politicians to fight against net neutrality and privacy. They’re against complete internet freedom, and we just elected their mouthpieces to the highest positions in government. 

That’s why Ajit Pai just released his plan to dismantle net neutrality this week, making internet freedom a thing of the past. 
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Silicon Valley Unites Against Trump

I’m typing this on a device that wouldn’t exist if not for an immigrant from Syria. Steven Paul Jobs was given up for adoption when he was born. His birth father was named Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, a Muslim man who grew up in Syria. He went to the American University of Beirut and later got a PhD at the University of Wisconsin. It was at the University of Wisconsin that  he met a wonderful woman and… well, Steve Jobs was born about 9 months or so after one of their nights together. He also would not be able to get in the country and father Steve Jobs had Donald Trump been president in 1954. That’s because Donald Trump recently set up a ban against immigrants and refugees from 7 Muslim majority countries, including Syria, specifically giving exceptions to non-Muslims. 

Yes, it’s a Muslim ban, it makes exceptions for “religious minorities” in Muslim majority countries. And most of Silicon Valley, including the CEOs of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft, have spoken out about it. 
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How Russia Hacked the Election for Trump

The header for the joint assessment document released to the public yesterday

By now, you’ve likely heard that Russia influenced the U.S. election through hacking. It’s been reported that Russians tried to hack the vote counts themselves and learn about our election process, but we currently have no evidence that they were successful in any of those attempts. That’s not what we’re talking about when we say Russia tried to hack the U.S. election though. We know of other hacking attempts were expertly targeted and successfully carried out by hackers orchestrated by Russian officials. These were the attacks against the Democratic National Convention (DNC), and may have helped Trump win the election. The Kremlin wanted Donald Trump to become the president of the United States, and, thanks to a successful hacking campaign, he may have gotten the bump he needed to win the election despite losing the popular vote by the widest margin in United States history. Between Russia’s hacking and fake news, it seems no one thought Trump could win the presidency on his own merit. 

U.S. Intelligence agencies have released the non-classified methods the Russians used, but did not release to the public how they were able to track the Russian hackers down. This is a good strategy, as revealing our security measures would help hackers dodge them in the future. Here’s everything you want to know about the attack, from why Russia has tried to influence our election, how the attack was executed, and how you can protect yourself. 
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Facebook’s Efforts for Fighting Fake News Starting to Take Shape

Facebook apps with automatic flagging of fake news. Russia, James Comey, and an electoral college that heavily favors conservatives in rural America may have lead to the election of Donald Trump, but he had help from another source as well, fake news that was spread on Facebook. Immediately before the election, fake news was more prevelant on Facebook than real news. Facebook is a key source of news for many people, who get updates not only from their friends and brands they follow, but also the news articles they share. Leading up to the election, fake news was being seen by more Facebook users–potential voters–than real news. Facebook didn’t realize how influential they could be before the election, and has announced that they’re taking measures to prevent fake news from carrying the same–or more–weight as real news. Facebook was unclear about their plans, but those plans are starting to take shape. 

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Facebook is Working to Control Fake News

After it was revealed that fake news spread through Facebook may have have had a hand in getting an actual comic book super villain elected as president of the United States, the company has finally realized that they have a problem. Critics have pointed out that Facebook has been responsible for spreading fake and inaccurate stories disguised as news for months, furthering the racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic alt-right, and spreading stories that made Trump look like a better choice than Clinton. Now, too late to prevent America’s fate, Facebook is taking action to stem the flow of fake news. Unfortunately, it sounds like they’re not completely sure how to proceed yet. 
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