Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How Times Change

Now we know what happens when you become a danger to the political class... as if we didn't before. What am I talking about? Facebook.

I mentioned some time back that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was giving off signs that he intended to run for President. If he does run, I think he wins. What's more, I think he's going to prove to be similar to Trump in that he's beyond the control of the elites and he has an ideology they won't like. I suspect Zuckerberg's ideology is businessman economics mixed with libertarian social policy combined with hints of old-school social conscience. That makes him an enemy of the elite, who want socialist-lite business practices, identity politics, and a heavy police state, and use social issues to sow discord.

Up to the point that I noticed Zuckerberg laying the groundwork for his political future, Facebook had largely been protected by our political and media elite. There were few allegations against it that hit the news, and those that did were scornfully dismissed. Social media is bad for the public? No proof! Facebook is invasive of privacy? Not in the modern world. The Europeans say Facebook invades privacy? What do they know? Facebook is biased in favor of the Democrats/Republicans/fringe? No they're not; they're just a platform. They promote conspiracy theories and fake science, like anti-vaccine crap... blaming them is like blaming the power company that supplies the internet. Facebook was made of teflon and had a thousand defenders.

But then Zuckerberg drifted toward politics.

Almost overnight, things changed.

I think the elite started to realize just how powerful and independent Zuckerberg could be with his own platform to reach most of the country any time he wanted without an elite filter to control him. Suddenly, stories appeared that Facebook was used by the Russians to help Trump win. Soon enough, the verbiage on this switched to Facebook "let" the Russians (or even "helped" the Russians) interfere with our elections. "Why, they could have stopped it, but they didn't!" We were even told that Facebook could have saved us all, but they choose profit and disloyalty over the American way.

Then came the deluge: studies say social media is evil... Facebook is the worst. Get away from Facebook, it makes you unhappy and stupid and other bad things! Facebook profits from bad science... somehow. Fake news fake news fake news!!! Facebook wrongly collects data and uses if to control their users. Did you know the Europeans have been after Facebook for some time, that must mean something! They have a monopoly... evil! They buy companies and make them vanish... evil! They invade privacy... evil. Some Facebook employees actually called their users "stupid" for giving them their data! They got worked by a Trump firm who collected data and misused it... no they "worked with" a Trump firm to do this! Isn't there a sexual harasser on staff somewhere? And so on.

Zuckerberg has been personally smeared into being the evil genius pushing each of these issues. Moreover, he's "at war" with his neighbors in California. He wants to build a wall in Hawaii to block the view of the ocean. He's heartless. Hitler was his grandmother!

Ok, I made that last one up, but since it became obvious that he's running, politicians left, right and center have turned Facebook into some kind of monster among us, and they are trying to destroy Zuckerberg any way they can. Watch for this. And the next time someone badmouths Facebook or Zuckerberg as the cause of something, ask yourself if what they say is even credible or if this is just another smear job. Ask yourself if this is an attempt to destroy a man who might be a powerful independent President before he can take the job.

Bonus round: Cynthia Nixon is running for governor of New York. That is hilarious! Another brainless actor who thinks their sex drive qualifies them to run a state. Wait a minute, come to think of it, that's probably the perfect description of a New York governor!



Koshcat said...

Interesting. I never used Facebook because I found it to be creepy and annoying. Still, faceless Facebook still has more heart and soul than Hillary.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I'm not a fan of Facebook either. It seems to be a place for low-brow people to fight reality-show style. What I do find interesting though has been the utter change in how Facebook is being treated suddenly.

I also do suspect that Zuckerberg will be president in the near future. I don't know if he will be good or bad, but I think he's coming.

Anthony said...

I have been reading tons of concerns about privacy on Facebook since it became a thing.

Every year or so there is some big kerfuffle, Facebook apologizes, loses a bit of popularity (temporarily), loses some stock value (temporarily) and writes a small check (for Facebook all checks are small). Below is a link to an article written in 2012 detailing eight of Facebook's biggest privacy flaps.


Anyway, I never saw Zuckerberg running as a big deal. Still don't. I'm not saying winning is impossible, but he would have to lay groundwork ahead of time. Trump and Obama before him had no track records of responsibility, but they did establish where they stood on stuff important to big chunks of voters through years of talk (Trump engaged in conspiracy theories and Putin praising for years before announcing his candidacy).

Last but not least I think you make too much of Trump's twitter account. The social media account that did the most to propel Trump into office was that of Anthony Weiner.

Anthony said...

The Austin bomber killed himself as cops closed in. Good riddance. Those attacks kind of reminded me of the DC sniper.

ArgentGale said...

It's hard to deny that Zuckerberg has gotten me political class' attention in a bad way at this point. I was under the impression that he was just another Silicon Valley leftist until you brought up the accusations of Russian collusion. It'll definitely be interesting to see how all of this unfolds.

As far as social media itself and Facebook there's definitely a lot of problems associated with it and I keep my time on it somewhat limited. It's definitely a lot of drama and stupidity, though I do enjoy watching Larry Correia cut down trolls on his page. Still, it is useful enough to keep around, if just barely.

tryanmax said...

It'll be interesting to see where Zuck's politics veer once he's lost protection of the liberal elite. It may be naive, but I get a sense that much of Silicon Valley's pandering to SJW causes is self-preservation. Time will tell if Zuck is a believer or a subversive. (Or probably somewhere in the middle.)

AndrewPrice said...

Hi Anthony,

"Last but not least I think you make too much of Trump's twitter account."

When did I mention Trump's twitter account?

As for the rest, you've proven my point. Up to now, problems rolled off Facebook's back like water off a teflon duck. It's only been the past few months (since Trump's election showed that billionaires could win) that Facebook/Zuckerberg has been made a tar baby by the establishment. In fact, the Democrats are treating Facebook/Zuckerberg as the anti-Christ.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, On Silicon Valley, I think you have three types out there. There are the hard core identity politics types who want to crush the past and rebuild the world in the image of New Soviet Manwoman. I would say that Google's leadership falls into that category.

Then there are people who use identity politics as a shield to cover the fact their companies are all white and all male. I'm guessing that Apple largely falls into that category, though their leadership is largely gay. They seem to push these issues as a means of being hip, but don't practice them at all. Not surprisingly, these companies often have the worst business practices.

Then you have a third breed, like Zuckerberg, who play it very close to the vest. They do a little to the left, a little to the right, and largely claim to be apolitical. At the same time though, they are seen as ruthless business men and NOT good social justice warriors. I suspect those are the conservatives.

That said I think "conservative" means free market economics/free trade/less regulation, common sense business practices, libertarian social policies, one or two leftist urges (e.g. anti-gun), and not fringe on other issues -- the kind of conservative Sean Hannity would hate.

With Zuckerberg, it's very hard to tell what he stands for, but I've seen hints of the above -- free markets, libertarian social policy, no SJW credibility and won't let them intimidate him, the occasional slap down of both sides, otherwise kind of quiet.

Another one who may actually fall into this category is Jeff Bezos, believe it or not. He's not the liberal people think. In fact, liberals hate him more than conservatives do.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, The political class has been trying to crush him for months now. If you listen to their rhetoric, Facebook is an evil data stealing organization which is seeking to control mindless users with a health-damaging product. Even worse, they "illegally" used their data in conjunction with their Russian allies to steal the election from true 'merkican Hillary Clinton and give it to Russian spy and rapist Donald Trump.

Compare that with Zuckerberg's portrayal in films like Social Media and how Congressional Democrats always wanted him to come testify on various issues.

But then he made noises about running and Trump proved that rich outsiders really could win... and he became public enemy No. 1.

The irony is that no one even knows what he stands for -- I've only seen hints. Or maybe they do and this is why they're so upset?

AndrewPrice said...

Speaking of hints...

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, who is a pro-women-in-engineering activist, was one of the first to suggest that the #MeToo movement was making it harder for women than easier. That's sacrilege and more proof to me that the Facebook team is much further right than people realize. Only a handful of leftists have dared say that (director Terry Gilliam being the latest), and they almost always repent once the savaging begins. She didn't.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Good riddance to the bomber. I'm glad they've stopped him. I hope he rots.

I had the same thought about the DC sniper.

AndrewPrice said...

Off topic, I find it interesting that this bomber is being described as a "devout Christian" -- often in the headlines even.

Did the media ever describe any Islamic terrorist as a "devout Muslim"? Nope. To the contrary, they went out of their way to mention that they had warped Islam. Hypocrites.

ArgentGale said...

Andrew, that movie ( The Social Network ) came to mind as well. Aaron Sorkin doesn't hold back against people who offend his leftist sensibilities so Zuckerberg's portrayal in the movie was curious. You're probably right about his politics not conforming to either the Google or Apple model of leftism you described earlier. It would be easy for him and Sheryl to get the left off their backs with the appropriate groveling, virtue signaling, and donations but the fact they haven't backed down is definitely telling.

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, That's a great point. The left makes sure that the easiest path is to give them what they want. Zuckerberg could easily toss some money their way, talk about white privilege or put up free ads for Black Lives Matter. But they haven't, which I think speaks volumes to their mindset. I think the left sees this too and that's why they see Zuckerberg as a likely enemy.

tryanmax said...

Bezos went from nerd in a cardigan to ripped, shaved-headed dudebro. He appears to enjoy displays of opulence. No question he's not among the socialist left. I'd file him in the same folder as Elon Musk.

AndrewPrice said...

Musk is definitely a good comparison. He and Musk are both second tier -- use SJW stuff as a smokescreen for misbehavior.

What's interesting about Bezos is that his employees seem to hate him -- he's viewed as a slave driver (and anti-union), the Washington Post staff hates him as he is not one of them, and I can tell you that he has no problem raping the crap out of unwary authors at Amazon.

As a general rule, Amazon is amazing for authors (70% royalty which is actually around 65%). But he's created this Prime and Kindle Unlimited plans for unwary authors. He suckered people in offering $2.10 per book viewed, which got their audiences hooked on getting the books for free under the program, and then he slowly lowered the price to about $0.25 cents per book, all the while claiming he was doing it to be more fair to authors.

I stayed away (as did anyone else with good sales), but hundreds of thousands didn't and are now barely earning anything. They're smug as hell about it too, but they are basically wasting their time as authors. You should see the Amazon board.

So while Bezos acts like a liberal at times, he's really quite ruthless and the leftists who know him don't see him as one of them.

Anthony said...

I’m a big Kindle Unlimited guy. I always wondered how it worked for authors. Now I feel kinda guilty. I am unsurprised Bezos drives people hard. Amazon not only offers next day shipping but same day shipping on millions of items. The logistics of that boggle the mind.

Anthony said...


Regarding this time being different for Facebook, that might be true but that is often a claim one hears at the beginning of recurring events.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Don't feel guilty.

Amazon got people in originally by offering $2.10 per book read. That struck me as fair since those consumers obvious weren't buying, so why not loan the book. (If they bought, a $4.99 book is worth about $3.29 to the author).

Then Amazon started lowering it. Most money-making authors saw the writing on the wall and jumped out somewhere between $1.70 and $1.40.

Then Amazon made this huge change where they went from paying per book to paying per page read. What they did was put out letters talking about people who wrote 10 page "books" ("scamphlets") and got paid the same as people who wrote "real" books. Gee, isn't that unfair?! Let's get them!

People ran with this. The "serious" authors wanted to drive out the "scammers." They didn't care that they were getting hurt so long as the scammers got hurt worse. Pure spite. (As an aside, a "scammer" became anyone who made a book you thought was too short or too pulp or "not serious.")

So Amazon came out with a payment scheme that worked out to 1/2 cent per page read. So a hundred page book read all the way through is worth $0.50. That's not worth it. But these people don't care because they are out to punish less "serious" authors and make the public finally discover their masterpiece. It's really asinine and there are thousands of these people all over the board -- most with less than $100 a month in sales.

In the end, nobody who's making money is in the Unlimited Program except as a loss leader to get people to consider their catalog. The people who are in it are generally angry at other authors. And in the end, if their books sold, they could leave the program and make lots more money.

So it really is a choice.

AndrewPrice said...

Yahoo's hyperbole-smear division has put an article on the front page of Yahoo equating Facebook/Zuckerberg with the tobacco companies. "Worse than Hitler" is not far off now.

Anthony said...

Liberals are boycotting a salon which worked on Ivanka. Stupid but unsurprising.


China Wong, the president of Salon Spa W, released a separate statement on Tuesday defending her choice to style Trump. Wong said salon employees were “taken aback” by the negative response.

“We believe everyone matters and deserves our indiscriminate care and kindness,” Wong wrote in the statement. “We were taken aback by the response to the image below of our Governor with Ivanka Trump who received services from our salon. We also recognize impact matters more than intent. While we are not a partisan organization we do see it as part of our mission to welcome people to Des Moines and serve everyone. We share images of our clients, some that are recognizable public figures, to showcase our work.”

Anthony said...

Trump and Biden are talking about who would beat up who. I remember the days when I used to laugh at other countries whose politicians engaged in that sort of nonsense. America is going to hell on a toboggan. That being said while I wouldn’t bother watching either guy in a debate I would pay to watch a boxing match between the two. Might as well enjoy the ride!

tryanmax said...

Trump's MO is simple: you knock him, he knocks back in kind. Yeah, it makes it really easy for someone to say they're going to beat up Trump and get him to say it back. LOLOLOLOL! /sarc

I'm beyond over it that the left and the press still think this is novel sport. It's to their own detriment anyhow. Trump is playing the victim card better than the victim-obsessed left ever could and they don't even see it.

No one who ever received the advice "They're just egging you on, don't give them what they want" ever had an easy time following it. Trump is an upper-hand fantasy come to life. If anyone wants to mock that, that's their perogative. Just know, it ain't pulling anyone away from Trump. Quite the opposite.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm going to agree and disagree. I think that Trump's critics on the left are smug bastards and people don't mind him blasting back at all. I also think they don't mind him blasting guys like McCain, who has made a living undermining his allies.

But when Trump attacks someone earnest or someone unsuspecting, those are the moments he hurts himself.

Anthony said...


I think this crap diminishes the country, but as I've said many, many times picking petty fights is a huge part of Trump's appeal with the talk radio wing of the party so I absolutely agree isn't going to damage Trump.

That being said, while Trump can ooze his way away from damage from childish insults, (alleged) sex with porn stars and what have you, its not clear the rest of the party can. Remember Trump's brother from another mother Bill Clinton.

Of course, losing a Congressional majority would arguably help Trump. Like you said, victim is Trump's favorite role and I'm sure if the Democrats won Congress they would give him a lot to complain about.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, Anthony, my main point is that if one wants to separate Trump from his supporters, saying he lowers the nation's esteem won't do it. Americans have been fed a steady stream about how crap their country is and how the rest of the world thinks it's a laughing stock from all sides for far longer than I've been around. Trump represents the devil-may-care attitude that says, "If I can't make you happy, I won't even try."

But here's the real conundrum: It's not that Trump supporters necessarily believe that the country's reputation is in the crapper. To the extent that they do, they don't see that as important. They're just happy to have everyone else caught in a "gotcha" for once. "Is Trump ruining the United States' reputation now? Or was it ruined before? Were you lying to me then? Or are you lying now?"

As for whether the GOP can weather it, see above. If there's any hope (or desire) to save the GOP from Trump, the best reaction to his shenanigans is to *shrug* them off and focus on Republicans with actual ideas instead of just a book to sell. *cough, cough* Ben Sasse *cough, cough*

Anthony said...

Who said anything about self esteem or reputation (international or otherwise)? I am talking standards of behavior.

There is no saving the GOP from Trump. Once he won the nomination that was it. Parties always remake themselves in the image of the president, at least while he is in office.

Anthony said...

McMaster has been kicked out, Bolton is the new National Security adviser. Doubt it will translate into any big policy shifts. Wonder who will go next week?

Anthony said...

Black Lives Matter isn’t completely dead yet, just mostly dead. They were able to stop fans from attending a game in Sacramento after an ‘unarmed at the moment’ vandal was shot at night while fleeing officers. The police released footage which shows the guy they shot had run from them and whose audio indicates he was ignoring instructions when they put him down. Looks clean to me. I always got the impression fleeing from cops was a sport in CA. That is a stupid, dangerous game to play.


The body camera videos show the brief encounter between police and Clark, lasting less than a minute, from the moment one of the officers yelled: "Hey, show me your hands. Stop. Stop."
Police said the officers entered the front yard and saw the suspect along the side of the home. Police said the man "turned and advanced toward the officers while holding an object" extended in front of him.
"Show me your hands!" one of the officers yelled. "Gun, gun, gun."
Seconds later, officers opened fire as they took cover near a wall.

tryanmax said...

Anthony, what is the reason for standards of behavior, much less to be concerned over whether someone follows them? If it has nothing to do with one's standing, individually or as a nation, I don't know what the point of even laughing is.

Anthony said...


If you can’t see the funny in two elderly men who haven’t been in a physical confrontation in decades engaging in the sort of tough talk usually heard in middle school, I don’t know what to tell you.

Anthony said...

They are having that March against guns today. Nothing will come of it but it sounds like it is well attended.

Also I must tip my hat to that French cop killed after he traded places with a hostage. What incredible courage. As is often the case the French authorities knew the killer was a terrorist months in advance but were content to watch.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I'm chuckling about the impotence of the gun rally. They've attracted the usual celebrities and activists and they've exploited children as prop and they've made asshole speeches accusing everyone else of being the problem... and soon they will go home having achieved jack sh*t.

Hogg is even whining that he's "tired" after a WHOLE month of trying to bend America to his leftist view and nothing changing. Never in the course of human history has anyone struggled so hard for so long to feel so self-important... and it didn't work. So sad.

AndrewPrice said...

I do feel really bad for the cop though. What an amazing human being. It's a tragedy when people like that die. I hope he is somewhere better. RIP

Anthony said...

Reaction to Trump signing that ginormous spending bill (which included money for everything but what he wanted) after threatening to veto it is very entertaining.

Trump had as much to do with the creation of the spending bill as he did with the tax cuts but while Trump gets full credit for the tax cuts, Congress and Trump's cabinet are to blame for the spending bill. Kind of a modern twist on papal infallibility.

It will be interesting to see which specific cabinet members catch most of the blame and either fall on their swords or are stabbed in the back by Trump.

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