28 March 2018- 2 things: Facebook and filibusters

Taking back a big chunk of the day

Like everyone I’m concerned about the way Facebook lied about protecting personal data.  For a long while I’ve also been concerned about how much time I spent posting mostly news articles and reading what other’s have posted.  Also for a long while I’ve wrestled with the fact that what I’m seeing is not a natural process but rather an algorithmically altered time based on, well, I can’t be sure but after learning about Cambridge Analytica, I just know it wasn’t egalitarian.

At first Facebook was great.  Being able to find old friends and folks I’d worked with or served with in the military was a hell of a lot of fun.   Then the fun stopped when I kept finding formerly really good like minded friends had flipped 180 degrees.  It got very ugly very fact and I found myself living in a bubble with my new like minded friends and over time I realized the new friends I had made were using some of the same tactics as the old friends I’d lost. I was doing it too.  Many times it’s been pointed out something I posted in the heat of the moment wasn’t true.  How did I get that way?  I don’t want to be that guy anymore.

The only conclusion I could come to is everyone is being tweaked.  Everyone wants to fall into cliquish groups like in high school.  The biggest thing though is the pain of losing childhood friends, friends from college, friends I’d worked and served with.

It’s just not worth it.  You can’t swim in a cesspool without smelling like shit.  So I got out.  I’m lucky, I can just walk away but for many people they are dependent on Facebook for work or professional reasons, because they are far from home and it’s a fantastic way to keep in touch, or maybe because they’re just lonely.  There are many reasons to stay.   I realized I had none so I deleted my account.

There’s a certain aspect about Facebook that I call the “Look at me” condition. Then I realized it was big reason why I was continuously posting articles from major news sources reinforcing my belief as to what is right, it all of sudden stopped being fun or even meaningful. I realized it was only driving away all my friends who either think I’m totally wrong or they just prefer not to know what’s really happening  and want to live in their own world hoping it’s all just gonna work out.

Finally there’s the addiction side of Facebook.  I’ve come to the realization there are good and bad addictions.  Cigarettes are bad.  Books are good.   The amount of time I spent on Facebook was robbing precious time from more meaningful things.  Like making little podcasts for a handful of people.

For more on this, see the article “Be a pioneer – delete Facebook” by Jaron Lanier in the March 27th The Guardian.

A roadblock is looming for the March For Our Lives movement

The kids involved in this movement are truly alright.  So far they have done the impossible to shake the nation to its senses but sooner or later the luck is going to run out.  As the pro-gun groups battle back we are seeing really gross examples of photoshopped lies and  tv and radio propaganda like attacks on the amazing melting pot of teenagers.

I fully expect they will defeat the criticism and outright lies from the other side, and sure they will stumble at times but these kids are super savvy, they will recover.  There’s one thing, however,  looming on the horizon that can bring it all to a halt, the dreaded congressional filibuster.  Even if the movement makes massive gains in November’s elections, and I pray they do, it’s impossible to believe at this time that there will be super majorities in both houses able to override a presidential veto.

Even if the veto-proof majority does happen, the arcane phenomenon of the filibuster can keep legislation from even getting to the floor.    This leaves the other alternative of repealing the 2nd Amendment by way of a new amendment.  While the chances are slim, they are not inconceivable in today’s populist climate where amazing a majority of voters in both major parties agree on the need for meaningful, sensible gun laws.  It’s going to take a perfect ad campaign to sell it in enough states to make it happen, but it can happen.

The source of this thinking came from an article by retired former associate justice to the Supreme Court, John Paul Stephens, a Republican.  pdf copy here

3 thoughts on “28 March 2018- 2 things: Facebook and filibusters

  1. Facebook Previously Failed To Keep Privacy Promises, Ex-FTC Adviser Says

    March 27, 20185:00 AM ET
    Heard on Morning Edition

    Noel King talks to Tim Wu, who was a senior advisor at the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, when the agency settled with Facebook for failing to protect user privacy.


    Facebook says it is sorry. This past weekend, Facebook took out full-page ads in major newspapers apologizing for a, quote, “breach of trust.” The company placed the ads after news broke that a political data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica, reportedly used the data of 50 million Facebook users. One person who does not buy the apology is Tim Wu. He’s a former senior adviser at the Federal Trade Commission. And he was there in 2011, the last time that Facebook got in trouble for failing to keep its promises about privacy. Tim Wu is skeptical that the company will change its ways anytime soon.

    TIM WU: The problem the FTC was confronting was the problem, similar to now, that there were a number of abusive apps that you installed, and then they did a lot more with your data than you thought they were. And one of the big problems is that Facebook gave you the impression that you could control your own privacy by, you know, setting the settings in certain ways, but those settings didn’t do anything. They were, like, fake buttons.

    Read or Listen to the story here

  2. Trump’s big idea to unravel 2 existing regulations for each new one has already proven to be extremely hard to do and it didn’t take long for it to happen.

    The courts have found elementary legal mistakes in the Trump administration’s approach to agency decisions. Specifically, they have concluded that the administration has misread legal provisions, ignored factual evidence and bypassed required processes. And the courts have done so without breaking a judicial sweat.

    It’s just another example of trump’s “plain-talking-get-the-job-done-fast” mentality may have worked in his private business life but can’t work in government, despite the fact his business life is a string of failures and coverups.

    Read all about it

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