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How the internet will fall, step one: Remove anonymity

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How the internet will fall step one Remove anonymity

Should I have the right to spread “disinformation” on the internet? Some would say I do not. Thankfully, I have no intention of ever knowingly doing such a thing, but knowing that I can is part of what makes the internet what it is. More importantly, the anonymity the internet provides is one of the cornerstones for its usefulness in modern society.

If a leaked memo last week is any indicator of what’s to come, then my anonymity may no longer be sacred online.

Senate Democrats Are Circulating Plans for Government Takeover of the Internet

https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/31/democrats-tech-policy-plans-leakedHere’s how Warner is suggesting we deal:

Mandatory location verification. The paper suggests forcing social media platforms to authenticate and disclose the geographic origin of all user accounts or posts.

Mandatory identity verification: The paper suggests forcing social media and tech platforms to authenticate user identities and only allow “authentic” accounts (“inauthentic accounts not only pose threats to our democratic process…but undermine the integrity of digital markets”), with “failure to appropriately address inauthentic account activity” punishable as “a violation of both SEC disclosure rules and/or Section 5 of the [Federal Trade Commission] Act.”

Bot labeling: Warner’s paper suggests forcing companies to somehow label bots or be penalized (no word from Warner on how this is remotely feasible)

Define popular tech as “essential facilities.” These would be subject to all sorts of heightened rules and controls, says the paper, offering Google Maps as an example of the kinds of apps or platforms that might count. “The law would not mandate that a dominant provider offer the serve for free,” writes Warner. “Rather, it would be required to offer it on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” provided by the government.

Considering how bad the likely interference by Russian operatives through social media really was, it’s easy to see why many would embrace these measures. Nobody wants foreign entities swaying our elections, but what cost are we willing to pay to be protected?

This is a clear example of DC once again attempting to overstep its own powers. We do not need them telling private internet companies what to do and how to handle their members. If Facebook wants to implement these types of measures, so be it. As long as they’re doing so willingly, it’s fine. However, the government does not need to step in. They do not need to “protect” us from our own stupidity.

If I fall for a hoax article claiming President Trump urinated on Russian prostitutes, that’s on me.

Anonymity sucks, but it’s important

To be fair, I have been victim to anonymous trolls on the internet. It bugs me that they can say what they want about or towards me while hiding behind the moniker braveliberal1949, but I would never condone taking his/her right to troll me. They have their reasons for being anonymous and I will fight for their right to remain hidden behind their online persona.

Some would point to Russian interference as a reason to support attacks on our online privacy. It sucks that they can have teams of meat puppets out there trying to mislead as many people as possible. But that’s part of the game. It’s a tactic in the online war we all fight wittingly or not, one that requires diligence but NOT government interference. If they want to help expose foreign actors, that’s on them. They should not use Russia or anyone else as a reason to take away our digital rights just as they shouldn’t have used 9/11 as a reason to take away our other freedoms.

It’s a pretty crazy world online. There’s plenty of bad ideas, false concepts, fake news, and actors intent on hurting us. We have to deal with them. The government cannot provide us with a solution that won’t do more harm than good.

Foreign Affairs

Pulling out of the INF treaty isn’t just about Russia

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Pulling out of the INF treaty has very little to do with Russia

Russia has broken the treaty already, according to this administration as well as its predecessor. That’s enough to prompt President Trump to put out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, famously signed by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev in 1987.

President Trump to pull US from Russia missile treaty

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45930206The US will withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, President Donald Trump has confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said Russia had “violated” the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

My Take

This isn’t about Russia. Their actions are the excuse for pulling out, but the reason for doing so is because China has no such restrictions. They’re advancements in weaponry have prompted the United States and our allies to explore means of warfare that have been prohibited.

Until now.

This is a counter to China’s continued aggressive actions. Russia will keep doing what Presidents Obama and Trump already acknowledged. No we can step up our missile program as well.

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Jim Renacci pulls from leftist playbook, releases anonymous accusation against Sherrod Brown

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Jim Renacci pulls from leftist playbook releases anonymous accusation against Sherrod Brown

Dear Republicans: Don’t do this. Don’t do what leftists do. We cannot call them out for pushing uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegations when we’re pushing uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegations.

The bad news is, that’s what’s happening with Jim Renacci as he fights an uphill battle against Sherrod Brown:

Jim Renacci issues statement from lawyer describing unsubstantiated allegations from unnamed woman against Sherrod Brown

https://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2018/10/jim_renacci_issues_anonymous_s.htmlThe release includes a lengthy statement from Laura Mills, a Canton attorney and former Renacci business partner and political donor. In the statement, Mills says the woman told her friend about the encounter as the MeToo movement unfolded. It occurred while the woman was alone with Brown, who was divorced at the time, through her work, Mills said. The friend then contacted the Renacci campaign, which referred the woman to Mills, the statement says.

The statement does not provide a date, a location, supporting evidence or identify the woman, but describes her as “a very credible source and a professional woman.” It comes a day after Renacci told reporters and editors with the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’d heard from “multiple women” with abuse allegations against Brown, while providing no additional details or supporting evidence.

The worse news is that many on the political right are cheering him on. Here’s one from Conservative Review:

Sexual assault claims against Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown put his post-Kavanaugh hypocrisy on display

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/sexual-assault-claims-against-dem-sen-sherrod-brown-put-his-post-kavanaugh-hypocrisy-on-display/It’s amazing how putting a shoe on the other foot can change a man.

Let’s take Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, as an example. He’s running for re-election in a state President Trump won in 2016. The campaign of his GOP opponent, Jim Renacci, claims that he’s recently been accused of sexual misconduct by an unnamed woman.

Now let’s take a look at how this has changed Brown’s reactions to uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct.

Here’s another from HotAir:

Uh oh: Woman claims “unwanted” sexual advance by Senate Dem in “late 1980s”

https://hotair.com/archives/2018/10/19/uh-oh-woman-claims-unwanted-sexual-advance-senate-dem-late-1980s/Quite frankly, I prefer the old rules. They not only did a better job of getting to the truth, they discouraged last-minute smear attacks rather than incentivizing them. I’m happy to apply the old rules to Sherrod Brown in this case as well — and to argue that Brown has disqualified himself for office by abandoning due process and fair play.

I suspect that Brown won’t be the last Democrat to get torched by the fire they set to those values in attempting to intimidate Kavanaugh into withdrawing. But I will welcome the strange new respect we get for due process out of it and the end to the neo-McCarthyism that they have immeasurably boosted. We warned them about the Kavanaughnsequences.

To be fair, both Ed Morrissey and Nate Madden posted their stories to highlight the hypocrisy of this new sensibility towards sexual misconduct accusation. If it weren’t for the treatment Brett Kavanaugh received, neither respected conservative writer would have touched this story. They did so more to speak out against the mess the left has created and not to add credibility to the accusation.

Nevertheless, we’re stuck in a societal state that feels obligated to go after the opposing side regardless of how credible an allegation is. It’s a partisan, divided world we live in now and the sexual misconduct game has made the situation even worse.

Sherrod Brown is an awful Senator. He deserves to lose, but chances of that are slim. If he were to lose because of these anonymous allegations, then our arguments for confirming Kavanaugh are moot.

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Foreign Affairs

First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

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First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova is allegedly part of Project Lakhta, a Russian operation intended to sow political division ahead of the midterm elections as well as other elections around the world. She has been charged by the Justice Department for interfering with the United States political system.

Here is the press release from the DOJ:

Russian National Charged with Interfering in U.S. Political System

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/russian-national-charged-interfering-us-political-system“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities whenever feasible, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case.”

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. Project Lakhta includes multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in the United States, members of the European Union, and Ukraine, among others.

My Take

This story will be spun from its surface assertion of Russian interference helping President Trump and other Republicans win in 2016. That assertion is inaccurate as the DOJ release indicates, but it won’t stop mainstream and leftist media from calling this the smoking gun against Trump’s presidency.

What this project allegedly did was push forth divisive messaging that was intended to affect people on both sides of the political aisle. This is important to understand because it wasn’t intended to drive one candidate or another. It was designed to take whatever political position any given person has and amplify their anger towards the opposing side.

Russia knows if they push the far right further to the right and the far left further to the left, our own anger will fuel the division. They are taken advantage of our freedom.

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