Tuesday’s World

A news round-up.

Roxanne Barr says she might to move to Israel

Former sitcom star Roseanne Barr is vowing to quit the United States and move to Israel, according to reports. Barr made her proclamation on another appearance on Rabbi Shmuley’s podcast where she said she is headed to the Holy Land, according to TMZ. 

“I have an opportunity to go to Israel for a few months and study with my favorite teachers over there,” Barr said, “and that’s where I’m going to go and probably move somewhere there and study with my favorite teachers.”

In Breitbart-speak this constitutes a “vow” to move, as if out of pique like those vowing to abandon Trump’s United States. But of course Barr has run afoul of the Resistance, and dared notice (publicly, for I don’t think she’s alone) Valerie Jarret sort of looks like the chimpanzee female lead in whatever godawful Planet of the Apes iteration we’re on now. Her defense–probably honest–would’ve made a great joke in a stand-up act back when we still were allowed a sense of humor: I didn’t even know she was black!

Those celebrities who abandoned their vow to abandon the States are making up for it by forcing others to bail. One celebrity’s good as another.

Barr also said that she made a “fatal mistake” in apologizing for the controversial tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Many felt the tweet was racist and the subsequent controversy ended in Barr’s firing from her hit sitcom. 

Barr’s isolation for supporting Trump in Hollywood must be so total the thought of an aggressive campaign fighting back–as she would if the right was calling for her head–is unthinkable. The Jews of Hollywood call her Hitler, the Jews of Israel shrug.

Barr said that liberals never accept apologizes [sic], but use them as weapons to destroy opponents.

A truism at this point.

*

Outside of Portland in Beaverton Oregon Nike’s campus-style headquarters sprawl over 213 acres, at last count (Microsoft’s massive Seattle-area campus is 500 acres). Avenues are named after celebrity sponsors who haven’t fallen out of favor yet for raping women or supporting Trump. Company security patrols the wooded bike lane surrounding the facility.

 This empire is putting forth Collin Kaepernick as the face of its thirtieth anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The reaction was, as they say, swift. Swifter than the flagging quarterback, who lost his starting spot before he found his moral outrage.

Nike’s stock price fell more than two percent in early trading Tuesday. It was the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones industrial average, helping to drag the average to a fall for the first part of the day. While some investors are likely nervous that the company’s decision to prominently feature Kaepernick could inspire a boycott, the stock price of main competitor Adidas was also down more than two percent. The broader stock market downturn was being blamed on worries about tense negotiations over Nafta.

The N.F.L. has struggled to contain the on-field protests, which have also included raised fists and other gestures, which league officials have blamed for dragging down the league. Television ratings have declined and certain segments of the fan base have reacted angrily. President Trump has made the N.F.L. a target for not firing players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Kaepernick has had a deal with Nike since 2011, but it’s unclear when he was picked for the Just Do It campaign. Seems at some point during the height of the controversy Nike decided to sign him for the ad. Not only is Kaepernick unique in being an unsigned player-sponsor, he’s the first to be picked entirely for political activism, not despite it.

Football faces the same demographic dilemma as the white population the NFL takes for granted, as participation fades at the high school level, under demographic-driven pressure from soccer. Not Nike’s problem. The NFL, no doubt wishing Kaepernick and his ridiculous afro would just go away, gets to open the new season with the kneeling controversy brandishing its own top-flight ad campaign. Chaos portends destruction, and this devil is delighted.

*

When the various social media platforms coordinated their deplatforming of Alex Jones, I thought it represented a new level of repression and a possible point of attack for those opposed to it. The Socials represent an information cartel if they’re colluding to restrict access, and the common response, that a platform is a private enterprise and a consumer can go elsewhere, is rendered even more meaningless.

Still, there isn’t enough coordination for TechCrunch, or at least the latest staff writer-with-a-foreign-name lecturing us on freedoms that never even occurred to people in his own cultural heritage (a new and growing cliche) to explain our principles to us:

What they now need to do is take the next step and start to coordinate policies so that those who wish to propagate hate speech can no longer game policies across platforms. Waiting for controversies like Infowars to become a full-fledged PR nightmare before taking concrete action will only increase calls for regulation. Proactively pooling resources when it comes to hate speech policies and establishing industry-wide standards will provide a defensible reason to resist direct government regulation. 

The social media giants can also build public trust by helping startups get up to speed on the latest approaches to content moderation. While any industry consortium around coordinating hate speech is certain to be dominated by the largest tech companies, they can ensure that policies are easy to access and widely distributed. 

Coordination between fierce competitors may sound counterintuitive. But the common problem of hate speech and the gaming of online platforms by those trying to propagate it call for an industry-wide response. Precedent exists for tech titans coordinating when faced with a common threat. Just last year, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube formalized their “Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism” – a partnership to curb the threat of terrorist content online. Fighting hate speech is no less laudable a goal.

The author laments Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects platforms from lawsuits for content, limiting the pressure that can be put on the Socials. “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

The act was of course stripped of its substance regarding the regulation of obscenity by the Supreme Court on free speech grounds. Now that there’s an established, monopolistic information cartel (and your internet porn is safe from interruption) the left and the powerful are having second thoughts about the provision.

Section 230 strikes me as the means by which this cartel might be compelled through law or litigation to provide open and free access. That protection from liability for content should come with a commensurate prohibition from engaging in political censorship. Of course, no one admits they’re engaging in political censorship; that’s what the ever-adaptable concept “hate” is for.

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