#montypython

Social media giants poked the wrong rabbit

Zero sympathy and 100% self-inflicted wound. Trump warned the media behemoths and they thumbed their noses at him.

Trump’s executive order on social media giants will now remove the sanctuary status and open up these platforms for lawsuits based on shutting down free speech.

Some snippets from that order:

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.

As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes.  It is essential to sustaining our democracy.”

“It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.  Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)).  47 U.S.C. 230(c).  It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints

….Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a “publisher” of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation.  As the title of section 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability “protection” to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online platform) that engages in “‘Good Samaritan’ blocking” of harmful content.  In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from taking down harmful material.

It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.

One can only imagine the lawsuits that will come their way if they continue like this.

The media will no doubt smash Trump over this but isn’t free speech all about strongly disagreeing with others but defending their right to say it?!

In all fairness, if the social media platforms are as honest as they claim they’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Puritans are at it again

Now BBC has removed the ‘Fawlty Towers‘ episode that includes the “Don’t mention the war” skit from its iPlayer.

The irony is this was one of the defining pieces of the humour of Fawlty Towers. Have Germans signed petitions demanding it be removed over the decades it has been aired? No. Even a nation that is not known for its sense of humour are well aware of the comedy of the caustic Brits.

Why hasn’t the BBC removed all episodes for the misogynistic behaviour towards his wife Cybil and Polly the maid, the white supremacy and condescending actions towards the Spanish bell hop, Manuel and the lack of black actors who featured throughout the series apart from the doctor who removed Cybil’s ingrown toenail, ironically in the same episode as the Germans?

Where is the pushback? Our politicians are silent.

The sad thing is the very people making the decision to tell us what we can consume are the least qualified to be able to make those judgments.

Black humour is a British trait but Brexit extensions just ain’t funny anymore

While black humour is definitely a strong British trait, there is nothing remotely funny about further delays to execute a Brexit deal. Despite the highest turnout in British voting history, UK legislators continue to show their employers utter contempt. We all know how King Arthur was eventually forced to deal with the Black Knight in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail despite denying the obvious.

While many Remainers argue that there was a whole swag of voters that didn’t show up on the day of the referendum – meaning the majority didn’t support Leave – they clearly showed by those actions that it didn’t mean enough to get to the polling booth. Too bad if they thought “remain” was a formality. It is a bit late to complain after the result. Tell that to Americans who believed in Hillary Clinton’s coronation three years ago. They can’t stop banging on about being robbed. That is how democracy works. Complacency is no excuse. Do we change the rules? Hand out mulligans?

It isn’t hard to work out what is at stake here. The EU wants to turn the UK into a colony. PM Boris Johnson’s latest deal was week-old leftovers from Theresa May’s disastrous proposal. Any deal short of “no” will come with so many caveats as to beggar belief.

To say that people were “duped/misled/lied to” in the lead up to the referendum is deceitfully condescending. People knew exactly what they were voting for. Now they see the very people sworn to represent them, going out of their way to cede more power to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. The deal, as it stands, is the type of document a vanquished nation would be forced to sign – unconditional surrender. Blind Freddie can see that.

The greater irony here is that if politicians are so cocksure they can read the mood of the nation to the extent of lecturing citizens that they don’t understand the implications of Brexit they should use that same chest-beating confidence to win by a landslide. Surely was such conviction so iron-clad, they would call an election immediately. Yet the Remain camp steadfastly refuses, hopefully using the time to lock in cushy EU jobs post being turfed from office.

Maybe a crushing victory in the Rugby World Cup final this weekend will be all Britons need to know that they are capable of greatness on their own.

Chopping down a tree with a herring

How wonderful to have the elite try to lecture on our behaviours. Sir Ian Boyd, the UK Government’s chief climate scientist, has proclaimed that Brits must eat less meat, buy fewer clothes and reconsider heading off to Malaga on EasyJet during the summer break. He suggested that zero net emissions by 2050 will be unsustainable unless the government stops focusing on economic growth. Must have been talking to NZ PM Jacinda Ardern.

Unfortunately, politicians who run a campaign based on crimping economic growth won’t last very long in office when more constituents fall foul of such changes. Never mind, Sir Ian is likely to escape any hardships.

Sir Ian made reference to New Zealand, which has made a lot of effort to include wellness into the economic metrics. Despite the fact that evil Australia explicitly lacks “social wellbeing” in the wording of the official paperwork, CM has already shown the land down under outstrips NZ on a per capita basis across the desired metrics of mental health and so forth that Ardern champions.

Unfortunately, Sir Ian may get his wish, although not perhaps the way he intended. He can make reference to the fact we’re all consuming too much but the reality is that central banks have helped trade us into a corner that relies on front-loading ever more consumption to prevent the economy from imploding. Sadly, when the peons catch the brunt of this, they will be demanding the government dump environmental policies in favour of reviving the economy because marvelling at wind towers won’t fix their malaise. Jonathan Rochford of Narrow Road Capital sums this up nicely,

Just as the first step for an alcoholic is to admit their addiction and the damage it has done, central banks need to start by admitting they have gone too far with monetary policy and have caused substantial economic damage. An apology is owed to savers that have been punished for their prudence and to a generation of young people that have been substantially disadvantaged in their quest to purchase property without incurring excessive levels of debt. Central banks also need to admit that they have tried to use monetary policy to solve problems it simply wasn’t suitable for.”

Everything is a trade-off. However, ceding more control and regulation to governments and central banks around the world that have failed us so terribly to date have no track record to be demanding even more restrictions.

That means if governments want to hit “zero emissions”, stop telling the public how they must comply. Refrain from telling auto-makers they must be all-electric by 2040. How about just giving them the target and letting them decide by what means they will overcome the technological hurdles. That is how ingenuity is created, not by some new quango that will impose ever greater restrictions for next to no palpable return other than inconvenience and shared misery.

Monty Python described it best in the Holy Grail. The Knights of Ni demanded that King Arthur chop down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring. Sir Ian is expecting that of industry and the Britons themselves. Understandably the “It” word that eventually tortures the Knights of Ni to their demise is actually sustainable “economic growth.”