DuckDuckGo Deserves Second Chance — DuckDuckGo’s head honcho Gabriel Weinberg shot off an unfortunate tweet, March 9, in which he declared the Duck would “down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation.”
One stupid tweet does not a cancel make and we are sticking with DDG as it still gets our little site far more finds than much bigger, and far more evil, Google.
Hopefully, Weinberg understands the ire, though, and grows a bit in his thinking.
The anger comes from a loss of trust.
Who’s to say what “disinformation” is? The New York Post reported in October 2020 that Hunter Biden’s laptop contained sexual misconduct and evidence of financial impropriety that involved China — and his father.
Now, the story is pretty much confirmed. Ponder that Biden voters.
Are reports that a reason for the Russian invasion of the Ukraine was biolabs funded by the U.S. to avoid restrictions on domestic research true? A week ago we were mocking it, not so much here but in other places. Now, we are walking it back.
Frankly, we shouldn’t have mocked it in the first place considering how we early covered claims that the U.S. funded gain-of-function research in the Wuhan lab from which Covid-19 is thought to have escaped.
Or twisted research in which beagles were tortured to death away from prying eyes.
That our tax money is going to foreign labs for experiments banned here ought to raise questions. It could very well mean that high-ranking American officials are guilty of crimes against humanity.
Hey Gabe, instead of hiding something, explain why you think things are untrue. You have the resources for research. Cite your sources and bring your receipts. Don’t be lazy and don’t pretend to debunk something that you can’t.
We are willing to give the Duck a second chance. For what it’s worth, we quickly found with it the link above to the Tucker Carlson story just using the keyword “biolab”.
The recent Facebook leaks have prompted a torrent of proposals for fixing social media’s harmful effects on society, including demands for more oversight by company executives, boards, or regulators. None of these addresses the core problem of the attention economy, which no amount of top-down control can fix.
The real problem is at the foundation: a business model that sells people’s attention to advertisers, which motivates companies to reward the content that most effectively manipulates people’s emotions. That in turn, because of the platforms’ scale and dominance, has knock-on effects for all of media, culture, and politics. The only path to a healthier internet is to build a new foundation, with a model that gives power back to people.
Social media giants already have too much control over discourse. They have user populations greater than the population of any country on earth, and their moderation policies affect many times more people than the First Amendment does. We should be wary of inviting these companies to referee discourse even more than they already do.
Instead, the key to a healthier platform is to flip the power dynamic: give the people themselves the power to choose what they pay attention to.
Free Yourself From Google — Google — and the rest of Big Tech — have combined political activism with profit and only a fool would think them honest brokers who care a smidgin about your interests or making your life better.
At best they see you as cattle. At worst a parasite.
Look at the below screen shot from yesterday’s searches to this site.
Note that DuckDuckGo found us 14.5 times as often as Google Search and almost twice as often as Bing, Yahoo Search and Google Search combined.
8kun Responds To Congress — The lawyers for Jim Watkins, who owns the social media message board 8kun, have responded to a letter from the One Hundred Seventeenth Congress Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol demanding he provide [m]isinformation, disinformation, and malinformation related to the 2020 election that appeared on 8kun.
The lawyers gave a excellence response that Watkins has posted on Telegram, Gab and Gettr that all should read so we are posting it with some minor formatting edits:
8kun Responds to Congress
September 7, 2021
One Hundred Seventeenth Congress Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
Microsoft Word – 8kun Jan 6 Committee Response.docx
Re: Select Committee 8kun Inquiry
Chairman Thompson and Members of the Committee:
We write in response to your letter dated August 26, 2021 asking 8kun to produce a broad range of information related to “[m]isinformation, disinformation, and malinformation related to the 2020 election.” Without doubt, it is the duty of all citizens to cooperate with congressional efforts to obtain relevant facts needed for legislation. Equally so, it is incumbent upon Congress to respect the constitutional rights of the witnesses it calls upon. To be more direct, the “Bill of Rights is applicable to investigations as to all forms of governmental action.”1
8kun will respond to appropriate requests issued by this Committee. But as the Supreme Court reminded Congress just last year, congressional investigatory and subpoena requests are valid only when they are “related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of Congress and must serve a valid legislative purpose.”2 Because of constitutional and pertinence concerns, we seek to narrow and better identify the information this Committee would like produced.
1. Introductory Constitutional Principles
Congress has sporadically wrestled with contentious issues of the day by means of investigatory committees. Unfortunately, Congress also has a history of abusing that power through targeting disfavored political actors and associations.3 This is forbidden by the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.4
a. New Deal and “Un-American Activity” Analogues
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court struck down congressional investigatory attempts to chill political speech and association in U.S. v. Rumely. There, the New Deal Congress was irritated with the conservative agitator Dr. Edward Rumely and the Committee for Constitutional Government (“CCG”). They organized business opposition to New Deal legislation, perhaps too effectively.5 The House Committee on Lobbying Activity demanded the names of anyone who purchased books, pamphlets, or other literature from CCG.6 The D.C. Circuit found this inquiry to be outside the power of Congress.7
The Court concluded the House Committee could never be constitutionally empowered to generally investigate all aspects of lobbying. It could investigate particular abuses, particular people, particular records, or particular criminal endeavors. But the First Amendment would forbid Congress from examining, publicizing, or reporting the “names and addresses of purchasers of books, pamphlets and periodicals” because that would serve as a “realistic interference with the publication and sale of those writings.”8 The investigation into Rumely and CCG suffered from another malady: the congressional mandate to investigate was flawed. Congressional desires to examine attempts to influence, encourage, promote, or retard legislation or to influence public opinion are simply void under the First Amendment.9
Courts have sometimes upheld limited inquiries where authorizing resolutions are sharply focused about threats to overthrow the government. But the congressional power to investigate even serious threats to overthrow the government is not limitless. In Watkins I, Congress stressed the urgency of its need to root out domestic extremists and to “be informed of efforts to overthrow the Government by force and violence so that adequate legislative safeguards can be erected.”10 But the Supreme Court cautioned that broad congressional authorizations for investigations could produce disastrous results:
From this core, however, the Committee can radiate outward infinitely to any topic thought to be related in some way to armed insurrection. The outer reaches of this domain are known only by the content of ‘un-American activities.’ Remoteness of subject can be aggravated by a probe for a depth of detail even farther removed from any basis of legislative action. A third dimension is added when the investigators turn their attention to the past to collect minutiae on remote topics, on the hypothesis that the past may reflect upon the present.11
In short, congressional resolutions setting few boundaries on nebulous topics violate constitutional norms.12
b. Constitutional Limits at Hand: Watkins II13
Forcing raucous businessmen of the 1930s or unorthodox platforms of the 2020s to answer questions about the most nebulous of topics—the underlying causes of political violence—is an unworkable congressional command. Worse yet, prying into intimate ideologies and thoughts is a serious censorial chokehold. As courts have realized, the requirement that one reveal purchasers of books, pamphlets, or papers marks the start of a surveillance state. And just as courts would not embrace a surveillance state arising out of congressional investigations in the past, so too is this approach inappropriate today.
Compelling online platforms to share information about users who posted about efforts to “overturn, challenge, or otherwise interfere with the 2020 election or certification of electoral college results” chills the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans who were concerned about electoral integrity during the 2020 election. They have every bit as much a First Amendment right to peacefully gather with others, exchange ideas, and let their discontent be known by public officials as Rumely and CCG did. 14 Demanding that platforms produce mal-, mis-, or disinformation—terms that are undefined but that are usually euphemisms for speech the powers that be disagree with—works an equally pernicious chill against political speech in America. Once government is free to demand the names of users espousing unpopular, unorthodox ideas, free speech and free press rights on the internet disappear.
Like the problematic scope of inquiry in Watkins I, the present inquiries at hand here in “Watkins II” are just as troubling. Where Congress sets out to investigate nebulous topics like “subversion and subversive propaganda,” unlimited “influencing factors” behind the January 6 attack, or how misogyny and racism might impact political violence, constitutional problems grow exponentially.15 But the scope of this authorization is beyond Congress’s power due to its invasion into protected First Amendment rights and its failure to offer pertinent queries related to its otherwise legitimate concern—the spread of real political violence. Much like Rumely, particular queries focusing on particular people, particular records, or particular criminal acts may be examined. Fishing expeditions into the closely-held thoughts and beliefs of the American people rest beyond Congress’s prying eyes. The controversies surrounding the 2020 election, well settled within the Beltway, are hardly settled for many Americans. Roughly one-third of Americans—almost 110 million people—believe that President Biden’s 2020 victory was the result of widespread voter fraud.16 The First Amendment encourages citizens to debate and talk about issues of self-government—without fear of the government collecting and pouring over their communications. As Congress continues in this direction, some citizens will fear to espouse, and some will fear to read, messages that those in power dislike. The million-fold eyes of Argus Panoptes become a reality by congressional fiat.17 The resulting shadow the government will cast over online discussion that does not conform to the dominant party’s narrative should frighten every American.
2. Past Compliance with the Committee on Homeland Security
Mr. Watkins, as a representative of 8kun (formerly 8chan) freely appeared before the House Committee on Homeland Security in September 2019 to address that committee’s concerns over the proliferation of online extremist content. In doing so, 8kun produced relevant documents and Mr. Watkins answered relevant inquiries about the site’s operations. We attach the submitted “Congressional Primer on 8chan” for your reference as ADDENDUM A. Notably, 8kun included more than fifty pages of voluntary interactions with law enforcement about particular criminal investigations. Where requests are focused and particular and do not run afoul of constitutional norms, 8kun is enthusiastic to aid Congress and law enforcement in their operations. We hope we may be equally helpful here.
It is Mr. Watkins’s desire that we continue 8kun’s practice of responding to lawfully issued requests and to provide as much respectful cooperation with your committee’s investigation as the First Amendment allows. However, the requests contained in your form letter dated August 26, 2021 are an unworkable starting point for cooperation. For example, item 1 requests production of “All . . . data . . . regarding your platform . . . .” Even if this sentence is read in conjunction with the items described in items “i.” through “iv.,” this request is so broad as to render compliance impossible. Other form requests, such as requests for “internal or external reviews and reports” regarding 8kun’s “algorithms” seem misdirected. 8kun is a small organization and a relatively simple website. There are no “internal or external reviews” nor are there website “algorithms.” This is but an entrée of errors— the requests, as written, need substantial clarification and focus for 8kun to attempt cooperation.
Please contact Mr. McDonald at your convenience to discuss your requests and determine if there is any specific information that the Committee is constitutionally empowered to seek and that Mr. Watkins is capable of producing. Alternatively, 8kun may be accessed through the internet at https://8kun.top/index.html. All of the information the Committee appears to seek is likely available in an open manner for viewing on the website. Should any substantive issues arise over related constitutional concerns, please contact Mr. Barr directly.
Benjamin Barr BARR & KLEIN PLLC 444 N. Michigan Ave. Ste. 1200 Chicago, IL 60611 Telephone: (202) 595-4671 email@example.com
Stephen R. Klein BARR & KLEIN PLLC 1629 K St. NW Ste. 300 Washington, DC 20006 Telephone: (202) 804-6676 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony McDonald The Law Offices of Tony McDonald 1501 Leander Dr., Ste. B2 Leander, Texas 78641 Telephone: (512) 923-6893 email@example.com
1 Watkins v. U.S. (“Watkins I”), 354 U.S. 178, 197 (1957). 2 Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, 140 S.Ct. 2019, 2031 (2020). 3 Barsky v. U.S., 167 F.2d 241, 263 (D.C. Cir. 1948) n.8 (“‘Hollywood Fires 10 Cited in Contempt. Film Heads Rule They Must Swear Theyre Not Reds To Be Rehired’. Washington Post, Nov. 26, 1947, . 1, col. 4.”). 4 See Rumely v. U.S., 197 F.2d 166, 173 (D.C. Cir. 1952) (Congress “represents the people, and its power comes from the people. It is not a source or a generator of power; it is a recipient and user of power”); see also U.S. v. Rumely, 345 U.S. 41, 46 (1953).
5 Rumely would not disclose donors after being served with a congressional subpoena asking him to do so. See 96 CONG. REC. 13882 (Aug. 30, 1950) (statement of Rep. Buchanan); see also 95 CONG. REC. 6431 (May 18, 1949) (statement of Rep. Sabath) (“[M]any more millions have been spent on the part of many corporations and businesses who are endeavoring to . . . stop legislation which they are opposed to . . . . I have attacked these professional lobbyists for years. . . .This committee will recommend ‘teeth’ that can properly be enacted into law thereby eliminating these abuses”).
6 Particularly pernicious for the House Committee were sales of “The Road Ahead,” “Labor Monopolies and Freedom,” “Compulsory Medical Care and the Welfare State,” and the “Constitution of the United States.” Rumely, 197 F.2d at 169–70. 7 Id. at 173.
8 Id. at 174. 9 Id. at 173–74. 10 See Watkins, 354 U.S. at 204; compare with H.Res. 282, 117th Cong., 1st Sess. (legislative purpose to examine “facts and circumstances surrounding the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol and targeted violence and domestic terrorism relevant to such terrorist attack”). 11 Watkins, 354 U.S. at 204.
Microsoft Word – 8kun Jan 6 Committee Response.docx
12 See Watkins, 354 U.S. at 214 (congressional subcommittee related to rooting out risk of Communist overthrow of government could not rest its basis for information on the need to learn about “subversion and subversive propaganda” because such a request was overbroad and indefinite); compare with H.Res. 282, 117th Cong., 1st Sess. (racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia may be drivers for domestic violence extremism; listed congressional purpose includes an examination of “influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process”).
13 “Watkins II” is the authors’ nomenclature for the impending dispute over the present congressional inquiry into Mr. Watkins and 8kun. 14 The National Park Service authorized a gathering of up to 30,000 people for the Washington, DC pro-Trump rally. Stephanie Dube Dwilson, How Many Were at the MAGA Trump March & Protest in DC? Crowd Size Photos, HEAVY, Jan. 6, 2021, available at https://heavy.com/news/maga-march-trump- dc-rally-crowd-photos/ It is currently unknown what small percentage of the peaceful rally attendees committed acts of political violence at the Capitol.
15 U.S. v. Peck, 154 F.Supp. 603, 608–09 (D.D.C. 1957).
Microsoft Word – 8kun Jan 6 Committee Response.docx
Social Media Click Farms Manipulate Opinion — This video showing a click farm being used to get topics trending on social media. The idea is to get average folk to think that the mainstream beliefs they hold are somehow out of step if not out-and-out evil.
Hopefully, knowing this impels you to fight back. Yes, you can wax superior to those who conclude that social media consensus makes right.
Vax Tweet Gets Stew Peters Banned — Stew Peters of Red Voice Media says he was banned from Twitter after posting this:
So the White House, The CDC, The FDA, Moderna, Pfizer, the World Health Organization, and Johnson & Johnson don’t require you to have a vaccine to keep you job but the cube farm at which you work does?
Certainly is interesting to know. Wonder why Twitter doesn’t want you to.
While we confirmed the White House doesn’t have a vax mandate, we couldn’t find anything specific or up-to-date about the others. If Twitter had left this up, it may have been quickly debunked. Taking is almost an admission that it is true.