We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, January 12. 2021
Greenwald in How Silicon Valley, in a Show of Monopolistic Force, Destroyed Parler. In the last three months, tech giants have censored political speech and journalism to manipulate U.S. politics, while liberals, with virtual unanimity, have cheered.
Is this about monopoly power, or just politics?
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
This is about commerce not politics. Our tech overlords are using politics as an excuse to destroy their competition. I call classic anti-trust restraint of trade and it will come back to bite them in the end. Amazon has a documented history f squashing competitors so it should be an interesting case.
And just who will take them on? It won’t be any of the attorney’s general from blue states. Do you think Merrick Garland will take them on?
It is not just the big tech companies acting in unison. Airlines, banks, credit card companies, they’re all coming after people with impure thoughts.
It will start with the EU - who have been the most reliable anti-trust voice in recent years, er, decades.
From there it will become a wedge issue that will divide the Democrat party in the US. The hardcore ultra-left already despise the tech giants (as they despise all corporations and other private businesses), and they will push for the US.gov to follow the EU's lead, while the establishment Dems will be unwilling to act against the bigs as long as they are stomping on the establishment's enemies du jour.
Meanwhile, even the establishment's support of the tech giants will be eroding because of two (admittedly, closely-related) factors: jealousy and envy.
1. Jealousy, because in the spirit of Gandalf's "There is only one lord of the rings; and he does not share power," the people sitting at the levers of government power will quickly grow tired of any hint that there might be someone who doesn't answer to them [watch for this to be a much bigger problem if Joe Biden happens to be sidelined].
2. Envy, because absolutely everybody envies both the power and the wealth of these companies; and the lure of taking a piece of either will simply be more temptation than the various power players can resist.
Establishment Republicans will - of course - be the mewling squishes that they have always been and treat the tech giants with appalling deference.
In the background, there will be continual wailing of conservative (and other) voices who are being silenced. For a while, this will counter-productively shore up the alliance between DotGov progressives and BigTech, but it will also weaken support for the tech companies among GOP politicians.
Before too long, some of the state AGs (most likely Republican to start with) will begin exploring their own anti-trust cases against Big-Tech. The first few of these will be met by bluster and bravado from the companies - and with threats from Congress to take Federal action limiting such suits. But, after a few more states join the effort (and after the Democrat state AGs push back against Congress), it won't be long before there's a tidal wave of states suing under their respective anti-trust laws. (Just like with every other major industry class action suit; once the possibility of a big payout is on the table, the states won't be able to stay away from the feeding frenzy.)
Of course, I could be wrong about all of that. It might also happen that the sharper heads among the Progressives are taking note of how easily a few big corporations can crush the disfavored, and, ala 'Game of Thrones', they'll stick a knife in the tech giants before there's any chance of some uppity CEOs doing them the way they did Trump.
Either way, look for the DeepState agencies (NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.) to be the biggest winners in the long run, as they will magically end up with direct control over the tools that Facebook, et al, are using to monitor and control all communication and economic activity.
Nice explanation. Freedom does not seem to have any winners here, but there are some paths that are much worse, and much quicker than others, and it is nice to see those are not inevitable.
Who are Parler's vendors? Anyone know? Maybe they could be boycotted as well.
Amazon was their host platform for servers and such. That's how they were able to pull the rug out from under their feet. Google and Apple removed the Parler app from their app stores.
I've also heard that Parler had a data breach just before their servers were taken offline by Amazon, so even if they find another provider, their security is questionable. Gab, on the other hand, has spent several years building out their own web hosting infrastructure and are not dependent on the big tech oligarchs. They also have a privacy-centric web browser called dissenter.com that I'm using right now. So far so good!
Word on the street is they're also working on rolling out their own smartphones, which would be awesome.
Recent interview with the CEO: https://www.revolver.news/2021/01/andrew-torba-exclusive-interview-gab-free-speech/
Parler is apparently in talks to have hosting services provided by the same provider to Gab.
The same game of threats and intimidation to prospective suitors that has played out for Conservative interests trying to stay afloat, has been keeping Parler hopping - the same kind of dirty pool - they get very close to a deal, get everything ready to go, put all of their energy into sealing the details and BAM ! The prospective suitor notifies them, with regret, that things cannot be finalized......
In the dating world, this is phenomenon is also known as "breadcrumbing"
a.k.a. being strung along for as long as humanly possible before you realize you've been totally had
The only solution (in lieu of a legislative solution, which we're clearloy not getting) is to become technologically self-sufficient. Conservatives in tech need to band together to build out their own systems that cannot be sabotaged or deplatformed. Gab building out their Dissenter browser is an excellent start, but now we need financial infrastructure as well, SRE platforms, version control systems that aren't hosted on either GitLab or GitHub.
Also hardware. The Gab smartphone project is a good start but it needs to go beyond that, which means we'll need a supply chain.
The only way this could work is for conservative consumers to exodus en masse from the world of Google/Facebook/Amazon/Apple and actively fund these initiatives themselves in order to break the monopoly on our data and our services. Will people get off their asses, say "no" to the easy, and "yes" to the ethical? TBD. But we have to start somewhere and Gab is doing it.
Nothing good ever comes free. Ever.
And none of any of that matters while you're still dependent on the core routers and DNS infrastructure of the internet, on the fiber optics lines and satellite links.
Oh wait, if we replace all of those as well we've just created our own independent internet, completely separate, and disconnected from the existing one, incapable of communicating with it.
And of course we'll need our own computer manufacturers, chip factories, mines, transport companies, power companies...
Where and when will it end? We probably will need our own planet, and of course the means to get there. And don't get your hopes up for Elon Musk to be that means, he's heavily indebted to the US government as is.
Amazon's role was that Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon was providing hosting and virtualization of Parler's services. Parler PAID FOR AWS services, so in addition to the "conspiracy in restraint of trade", Amazon is also on the hook for contract violation.
And every POTENTIAL AWS client will know that you cannot trust Amazon to play nice with your servers. This may be the longest-lasting impact of Bezos shooting himself in the kneecap, and gutting his own company's ambitions. Certainly, it makes the US DoD look prescient in refusing to use AWS, going instead to Micro$oft's Azure to host their "JEDI" system.
I just downloaded dissenter.com and started to use it, not without some difficulty. Mac users will get a message saying it regrets not being able to download this app, which it disapproves of. A quick search showed me how to go into System Preferences and override the refusal. This browser is supposed to block ads and tracking; another nice feature is that it creates an automatic comment section on any website, whether or not the website has disabled its comment section, as so many have done in recent years. The comments are visible only to people running Dissenter.com. Boy, do the social media giants hate this browser. Guess how terrible that makes me feel.
Thanks! Glad you found the work around for downloading Dissenter on a Mac. I just did it successfully.
Is this about monopoly power, or just politics?
I’m still trying to figure out who owns who: Is it the democrat party running things and corporate America is their soldiers, or the other way around?
The forces arrayed against the middle have a lot of clout, but they are not really monolithic. It seems to me that they spring from at least three different sources: the Global Corporatists, the Entrenched Bureaucracy. and the Woke crowd. Media/academia and politicians from the Uniparty have a role but I don't know how to categorize them, whether they are players or are subservient pimps and shills for the others. I don't think these entities necessarily have identical motivations, or identical endgames, but they do overlap, since it's the same kind of people, with the same kind of backgrounds rotating in an out of these power centers. I don't think they are Communists, per se, but the Woke crowd is down with some kind of faux Communism. The Deep state/Corporatist alliance is more about some creepy, paternalistic, dystopia where law and economic economic policy comes from the top down and serves the interests of Global players, ie Multi-nationals and the Deep State. It seems to me that these forces have aligned over the last 12 years and what they have in common is either an antipathy toward or a condescension toward Working America and its traditional values. I know, I know, At the end of the day, it's is a distinction without a difference.
As Aggie has pointed out they don't have to be formally allied or interconnected to promote the same goals.
This is the new paradigm of annihilating a shared enemy. The objective is to stay clear of RICO-type conspiracy charges. The idea is to avoid triggering any of the investigative interests of the Law Enforcement and Justice communities.
How to do this? Well - we live in the age of mass communication. Tell a story - make it simple. Make it into a mission and invite the interest of the political / social masses. Broadcast it so frequently, and in so many forms and formats that it becomes not only easily recognizable, easily identified, but nearly ubiquitous.
Then the final step is just providing enough generic encouragement that people figure out they should act - but on their own initiative. Then, they'll break a window - start a fire - throw a rock.
For instance: Let's all just hate Trump, shall we? He's a racist
"The objective is to stay clear of RICO-type conspiracy charges. "
Well, they screwed THAT up when Twitter says to Amazon, "Please drive my newest and most dangerous competitor out of business", which is EXACTLY what RICO law was designed to punish.