Political Discussion Thread II

Is that the NSO software out of Israel? Clickless malware install, and it’s had a pretty big impact/distribution.

There was also a huge multi-article spread in The Grauniad about it.

Yep, exactly.

I read the Grauniad article, too, but thought I’d post from a source that the local non-Grauniad fans would possibly read :wink:

A couple of things filed under “It’s more complicated than that…”

So it’s unclear how many graves are children from the school and how many are area residents affiliated with the church that used to stand on the same site. Also, why are so many people so bad at communication?

And then this:

Now, before you all start sharpening your ideological axes, consider this little detail:

(Emphasis added)

There’s been enough research on causes of violent crime and gangs that it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out likely causes and possible solutions, but that would take concerted bipartisan effort, tax expenditures, and a strong dose of corporate social responsibility. Honestly, it’s a hard sell in Canada, too - there’s a strong enough contingent of “be tough on crime and lock them all up” that proposing we spend money on prevention rather than cure does tend to garner vocal opposition.


I’ve discussed this before, but root cause mitigation is well evidenced (admittedly, that’s a broad term and some areas are better researched than others, nonetheless though). However, it’s also mostly focused on areas that don’t let politicians brag much, and aren’t particularly ideological. As a result, despite many of them having been proposed repeatedly, we’re still sitting here acknowledging basic changes like stripping lead from pipes and walls would have significant long term impacts on violent crime rates, without actually doing it.

Sorry for the slow reply Ars, but it’s that section of law that covers how people are responsible for what they put on the internet, not the place they put it.


Re: 230 - yes, and there are politicians on both sides of the aisle gunning for it because they don’t understand that it doesn’t do what they think it does. They probably also don’t know (or choose to forget) that it was a bipartisan initiative and very deliberately worded the way it was.

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I certainly understand the impetus behind the most recent rallying cries to overhaul 230 : protecting people against the misinformation about vaccines which is not only endangering individuals but the ability for the country to get back to functioning. Delta numbers are increasing rapidly and there’s only one way to deal with that. But that’s really the only “good” reason so to use the words “slippery slope” would be laughably underselling it.

I’d like to imagine there was a way for FB et al to moderate their own platforms. It’s not only whack-a-mole impossible but how can they be expected to be the “arbiter(s) of truth” to quote Zuck (good god did I just agree with Z?)?

Third party moderation? That sounds horrifying.

Hey, maybe if they killed 230 then platforms would get sued into oblivion and social media would become a dinosaur.

So, only bad options exist other than status quo : platforms moderate the most egregious and harmful content. I’m afraid convincing someone to not do something (get vaxed) doesn’t fall under the same umbrella as promoting violence or abuse.

So unfortunately society really has no choice but to combat mis/disinformation with information and/or let idiocy destroy society, which seems inevitable no matter what.

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There are plenty of potential areas to look at for this - it’s just those areas are not generally speaking even adjacent to 230. Laws concerning things like monetization, privacy, design, etc could all be looked at. There’ve been proposals about this before, ranging from transparency (forcing disclosure of how algorithms work and why something is recommended) to requiring including fact checking information in designs.

More succinctly, we should look at requiring social media to meet certain minimum standards in areas like transparency and function much like other products.



OK this is actually a helpful piece, as it picks apart how Critical Race Theory came to be such a flashpoint. Probably to no-one’s surprise, the answer is misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and misapplication.

Still, a useful resource link.


Well balanced article. A couple of small things stood out :

There’s a cartoon that circulates among critical race theory supporters showing children, one tall and one short, trying to peer over a fence to watch a baseball game. Equality, the illustration explains, is giving children the same sized box to stand on - with one child still unable to see over the obstacle. Equity, on the other hand, gives the shortest child the most boxes, so that everyone can see the field.

A great affirming metaphor until one tries to apply the image to real life, at which point it breaks down. Equity is good in principle but a lot more challenging to implement.

An elementary school in Cupertino, California, for instance, asked third-graders to label their own power and privilege in an “identity map”. At least 30 schools recommended that students should read Not My Idea, a children’s book that called racism “a white person’s problem and we are all caught up in it”. Its author, Anastasia Higginbotham, has argued that “any place where there are white people has violent white supremacy embedded into it” and is not shy about labelling her discussions on race as “CRT”.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons. This can’t possibly be a good idea to saddle kids with this. Teens, fine, but kids need to be kids while they’re still kids.


That was a surprisingly good read, I’ve generally been dubious of criticisms of CRT since the academic work is both not relevant to K-12 for the most part, and insightful as well as a useful framework for examining legal and economic systems. The article’s examples of other things being passed off as CRT actually explain a lot of the backlash.


In one example of that cartoon I saw, there were three phases. The final one simply removed the wall completely. Again, nice idealism but tricky implementation.


Less tricky, more expensive in that case. Given we’d just be talking about free college. More problematically it runs into the same problem affirmative action does, namely it doesn’t solve the issue of bad K-12 education in much of the US. Which really is more than just a matter of money.

Nonetheless, it is at least a better idea in principle anyways.

But it’s what you really need to fix if you care about the future.

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Well, one of the things - there’s some pretty extensive issue with college here too. Nonetheless you’re right, America’s K-12 system is basically a trashfire at this point across much of the nation.

Somewhat different, but I liked the general take on this:

True, that. I’ve heard some pretty literate and intelligent NFL players speak, and I’d honestly much rather hear from them than many politicians. Unfortunately, I fear they would be too smart to actually get elected, as politics seems determined to be a race to the bottom.


It’s a fair point, but honestly a significant portion of the problem isn’t the view of activists, but what politicians are really in office for - getting elected. Politicians hold office for jobs that they qualified for not by being good or even decent at those jobs, but by being good at getting elected. And the very skill set and attitude that leads to getting elected is counterproductive to doing a good job at what you’re elected for quite often.


I’m not entirely sure how many times I’ve said this in this thread but…

“The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
And so this is the situation we find: a succession of Galactic Presidents who so much enjoy the fun and palaver of being in power that they very rarely notice that they’re not. And somewhere in the shadows behind them—who? Who can possibly rule if no one who wants to do it can be allowed to?”

― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


The two main goals of a politician:

  1. Get elected.
  2. Stay elected, a.k.a. get re-elected.

The abysmal thing is, look at the professional politicians you get in England…

The clown prince:

The sleeper agent:

A short look at Johnson and Rees-Mogg should convince anyone that engagement by non-professionals is necessary…


It seems that a number of Republican states are abandoning the concept of Public Health measures for ‘Public - Who Cares?’ instead.

At the back of this is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that seems to want to make State governments pretty much all-powerful arbiters of everything. End result: states including Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, Florida and Missouri are legislating out of existence tools that have been used for literal centuries to limit the spread of communicable diseases during an emergency.

All in the name of individual rights. Which makes no logical sense, since not being infected by other people when said infection is preventable seems like it’s also an important individual right.

Why is the right so often wrong?