My Previous Post on Julie Inman Grant

A (friendly)* lawyer advised me that I should delete my previous post on Censorship Commissar, Julie Inman Grant. I question the concerns, but he is a lawyer and I am not, so I have deleted the post. I believe it is safe to say I think Inman Grant is extraordinarily dangerous, and I am appalled by her heavy-handed and self-righteous censorship. My previous posts on Inman Grant are here, here and here. Continue reading “My Previous Post on Julie Inman Grant”

RatS 27: Taibbi – Maintain Your Brain

We haven’t had a RatS for a long time. I think they were and are worthwhile, but there’s just been too much work with the day job of educational crusading to post much about the more general cultural decline. This one, however, by Matt Taibbi, struck a very strong chord. Taibbi is one of the very few consistently sane journalists on politics and the media. He is getting busier and angrier, and better, visibly exasperated at the increasing government and corporate control over social media and free speech. Taibbi has a particular loathing for censorious assholes in the legacy media, particularly in particular for the sanctimonious “misinformation” “experts”: see here and here for two recent examples. The following is a public post by Taibbi, with no particular target, simply a Mad As Hell scream.

Continue reading “RatS 27: Taibbi – Maintain Your Brain”

Misinformation and the Eulering Of Nate Silver

Sometimes it seems that there is no choice but to write a post.

Last week, Australia’s censorship asshole was back in the news. Julie Inman Grant and her team of goons have a new report out, which Inman Grant announced with a predictable warning of “a perfect storm” of online hate. Fair enough: I, for one, loathe this woman and am happy to declare it online. Or in person. Or by post. Or by carrier pigeon, if that’s all that’s going. Inman Grant’s hysterical message never really changes, however, and my loathing for her never really changes, so I decided to spare readers a new post. But then I stumbled upon a Twitter battle between Nate Silver and a misinformation guru. Still no reason to post: Twitter clowns are in plague proportions, of course. But then then I saw that the misinformation clown had decided to go in for a little Eulering. That was too much, and here we are. Continue reading “Misinformation and the Eulering Of Nate Silver”

The Westminster Declaration

A couple days ago, Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger and others launched the Westminster Declaration. Signed by 138 big shots and very big shots, the Declaration is a powerful statement on the importance of free speech and the current threat to it from very strong censorious forces. The Declaration begins,

We write as journalists, artists, authors, activists, technologists, and academics to warn of increasing international censorship that threatens to erode centuries-old democratic norms.

Coming from the left, right, and centre, we are united by our commitment to universal human rights and freedom of speech, and we are all deeply concerned about attempts to label protected speech as ‘misinformation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and other ill-defined terms.

And, later,

We stand for your right to ask questions. Heated arguments, even those that may cause distress, are far better than no arguments at all. 

That’s all you really need.

It’s a great statement, both in its general call for principle and in its naming of specifically dangerous legislative schemes. This includes singling out Australia’s idiotic and insidious draft legislation on “misinformation”.

The introduction to the Westminster Declaration is here, and the full statement and list of signatories is here.

Matt Taibbi Tells Europe to Go Suck a Bag of Dicks

Matt Taibbi is a great reporter. He is sometimes referred to as a gonzo journalist, which is not unreasonable given Taibbi’s wild early days, and given that for years Taibbi was the politics journalist for Rolling Stone, following in the footsteps of the legendary Hunter S. Thompson. But Taibbi is, at least now, very different. He is incredibly hard working, meticulous and very careful with his words. Which is why it was striking when, a few days ago, Taibbi told Europe to go suck a bag of dicks. Continue reading “Matt Taibbi Tells Europe to Go Suck a Bag of Dicks”

RatS 26: Taibbi – Are Authorities Using the Internet to Sap Our Instinct for Freedom?

Last week, Meta-Facebook-Instagram announced a program to combat “misinformation” during the referendum for the Voice to Parliament. This is a bad move, if for no other reason that it will be viewed, probably correctly, as the silencing of voices in order to support the Voice. The ironic anti-message will undoubtedly be clear to Voice sceptics. We had thought to write on this, but figured we’d already written enough on inappropriate Voice spruiking, and on the dangers of half-wit authorities declaring what is or is not misinformation.

M-F-I’s misinformation program is not just a bad move, however, for unintentionally screwing up the Yes guys on the Voice. M-F-I claims that their program is “contributing to democracy”, but there is a solid argument that they’re doing the exact opposite. Which brings us to Matt Taibbi. Again.

Continue reading “RatS 26: Taibbi – Are Authorities Using the Internet to Sap Our Instinct for Freedom?”

Twitter Deals With a Censorious Twit

A couple day ago we wrote about the Federal Government’s new, insidious plan to legislate on “misinformation and disinformation”. That distracted us from our writing about insidious legislation already in place, and the insidious nature of its recent application. Here we go.

Last week, Twitter was hit with a “demand” from Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner. Fanfared with an eSafety media release, a “Twitter must come clean” sermon from Inman Grant herself, and a predictably gullible SMH puff piece from champion stenographer, Jordan Baker, the demand was in form of a legal notice, “seeking information about what the social media giant is doing to tackle online hate on the platform”. Continue reading “Twitter Deals With a Censorious Twit”