Beyond the Cusp

May 2, 2022

Elon Musk Buys Twitter Promising Free Speech

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 1:20 AM
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There has been varied and copious reactions to Elon Musk purchasing Twitter. Some have hyperventilated, gone catatonic, feigned insult and virtually any negative panicked reaction one might imagine. While in the media a few thought that Elon Musk purchasing Twitter has potential to level the playing field and allow all sides at least some level of fairness, most of the media have reacted as if the current system was totally fair and needs no adjustment. We may be one of the smallest groups, those who have never had a problem with Twitter or any other net service we use. From our perspective, the entire debate depends on one’s interpretation of the First Amendment, which reads:

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, what speech is permitted by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, as written by the Founding Fathers at the insistence of many of the individual states?

Painting of the Founding Fathers Signing the Constitution

Free speech intends to allow unencumbered exchanging of ideas, politics, cat videos, insults, fawning agreement, viral videos and anything short of threats of harm in any form. We fully expect a period where new limits, and limits are necessary, which guard against anything which crosses with the law. This will eventually lead to a Supreme Court decision and we think we know what the first challenge is to come. Early on there will come a challenge to hate crime laws as an impediment to free speech. The opposing argument will claim that such speech causes mental anguish and other emotional distress. In our opinion, even hate speech is protected if free speech meant the American Nazi Party was permitted a parade and hold speeches in Skokie, Ohio. This specific case explained how complete the concept of free speech was held, unlike today. Numerous Holocaust survivors resided not only in Skokie but along the proposed route the American Nazis intended. These survivors of the most heinous institution in human history, the Nazis and their murder of six million Jews and another six million other people declared deplorable and unproductive, had to witness what for them was an abomination. Free speech is preserved for exactly that speech we find most distasteful provided it remains within legal bounds. We all have to also accept that what is legally acceptable changes with every court challenge. One item the protestations got correct; the fur is about to fly.

Beyond the Cusp

April 16, 2018

Congress to Take On Facebook


Actually, Congress will be taking on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Instagram, Vine, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, and the Internet generally. They are addressing it as the problem that Facebook had the information of thousands of accounts used by another company. But this exact same exchange of personal information had occurred in exactly the same manner with a similar company without any big brouhaha coming about. Why all of a sudden is this an emergency to repair what is being described as a catastrophe? Well, that is easy to explain. The former use of Facebook information by forecasting company who advise political campaigns worked for President Obama and his two Presidential campaigns. This time the company which used the data also worked on a campaign, the wrong kind of campaign, for the campaign of President Trump in the last election. That became a criminal act as it worked to aid a candidate who does not desire to grow government fast enough for the political heavy hitters’ proclivities. These heavy hitters behind our politics do not hold office; they hold the office-holders. These are the people who fund the campaigns of almost every incumbent unless the incumbent did not dance to their music, then they finance the party’s choice in a primary challenge. These are the people whose names many would never recognize unless we sit on the boards of any of the Fortune 500 companies. These are the people that control those boards by the same means that they control our political parties and the Congress and often they have undue influence on the person in the Oval Office. The problem is they have no control over Donald Trump simply because he is the maverick from amongst their group, otherwise he would be one of such people.


Congress is now coming to the rescue of the presumed hoards of people demanding that their private information be protected from such misuse as happened when the Facebook information was used in predictions of where the Trump campaign dollars would have the greatest effect and may have assisted his victory. People are absolutely jumping out of their easy-chairs and calling their Congress critters demanding they act. Actually, there are very few people who even care after the initial fabricated uproar over the fact that a Republican used the same methods Democrats use to assist the effectiveness of their campaign. How dare a conservative compete on a level playing-field, do they not know they must campaign in the dark and not use any such predictive information, especially when it came from liberal people’s postings on Facebook. This is the story that Congress is playing out in the media to explain that they are on the case and they will pass legislation which will now protect people’s information on social media, especially Facebook. The Congress is going to do what Facebook had already warned people is something beyond their control. How can Congress pass any law which will make Facebook and other social media perform a function they have already warned is beyond their ability? So, let us take a slightly less cursory look and dive just into the shallow end of this entire situation.


Social Media Icons

Social Media Icons


Facebook warned people when they opened their account in their use of service contract that there was no guarantee intended or implied that anything you placed on your account, regardless of the level of privacy you may choose, was not secure and could become public and should such occur, Facebook was not liable in any way, shape or form. Hopefully nobody was shocked or surprised by this revelation. We know that the people who wrote the code for every piece of the social media were not idiots. They likely were amongst some of the brighter people in computer coding and their understanding of the internet and networking and all other things related to these fields. They are definitely far more proficient than any member of Congress and probably more knowledgeable than the entirety of Congress combined as well as the bureaucrats who will write the resulting regulations to fulfill the legislation the Congress passes providing President Trump is ill advised and signs the bill. Still, eventually there will be a President who will be more than willing to shackle the Internet and assist any Congressional legislation through which they will actually end freedom of speech on the Internet. Do not mistake the broad and wonderful sounding words about protecting your information and making the Internet safe and your information safe because they are not even able to prevent others from breaking into the most protected networks the government uses and they have been unable to protect your information they collect and have in the multitude of government networks. The breach into the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was one of the seventeen largest computer data compromises in history, and they are going to protect your information on social media, right! From the article The hackers’ access was so extensive that U.S. officials said they think it is “highly likely” that every file associated with an OPM-managed security clearance application since 2000 was exposed. That was twenty-two-million people’s information stolen from a secure government database. We found other Federal Government data breaches with some of the worst being these three Department of Veteran Affairs with over twenty-six-million exposed, U.S. Voter Database where one-hundred-ninety-one-million exposed, and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had seventy-six-million made vulnerable. For a further list of breaches of Federal Government databases including the State Department and the White House can be found here. I feel much better now that the Federal Government means to secure my data and not the Federal Government desires to secure the Internet from information and other items they find troublesome.


The Federal Government has desired to sink their claws into the Internet and grab it by the throat and throttle it such that they can have control over what is allowed onto the Internet. The United States bureaucracy has salivated at each time there came discussions over perhaps finding some means of controlling the Internet which most often took the form of some form of net neutrality for the Internet. This was the idea that every source on the Internet would be required to present both sides of every subject and if they had articles or editorials which preferred right or left wing ideas, then they would be required to have a near equal number of the opposing side or they would be prevented from posting any more articles. This was to be something they were going to force the Internet providers to monitor and enforce. The main means which was often suggested was that the providers were to respond to complaints of lacking objectivity or too heavy a preference for one-sided political commentary. The reason for the enforcement based on complaint was simple and obvious, there would be more complaints against conservative bias than liberal bias which has been proven through previous imposing of net neutrality styled requirements which resulted in liberal imposed censoring. These previous discussions in Congress were heavily opposed by the Internet providers who simply all made the same claim, such an imposition would be onerous and result in their refusing service to all forms of societal and political opinion and news coverage in the Internet simply because otherwise they would need to hire an inordinate number of people to handle such requirements and simply refusing to carry such sites would be the only result. This, they claimed, would rob them of much of their paid usage and virtually all of their free sites. We will now admit out of fairness, BTC would be one of the sites which would be considered problematic and our ability to post and be carried in the United States would be terminated, and since our service provider is in the United States, we would be refused service under the ideas Congress has previously discussed. This discussion in the Congress, they will claim, will be different, they are simply going to make sure that social media will secure your information.


So, how can the government, particularly the Federal Government, guarantee to make your information on social media secure? Well, that is what is the interesting item, because the Federal Government does not do anything, they require other people, organizations or businesses to do things. The only thing the Federal Government produces are vague pieces of legislation which begets thousands of regulations produced by a myriad of bureaucrats. This is where we need to investigate what any Federal Government action to guarantee the security of your private information on social media would produce. First, it would put a scare across the Internet with many falling into a great panic with much hyperventilating and excessive flailing of arms while running around screaming, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” Then there would come the glum predictions of horrific changes and possibly the death of the Internet or at least social media. Eventually the screaming and running would end if for no other reason, people do eventually tire. Now would come the calmer and reasoned discussions with the wisest heads saying that the best approach would be to try to influence the regulations through lobbying and other means. As the regulations would be presented, the most important reactions would come from the Internet providers and the stockholders of the numerous social media providers. As the reactions to the regulations came in to the different agencies and pressures were applied to members of Congress and the department heads, then the different regulations would be adjusted, revised, retracted or doubled-down telling those complaining to just live with it. When each regulation was hammered out and reached the just live with it point, then the Internet providers and social media providers would have to find some means of meeting these requirements or closing up shop and thus avoiding culpability. Depending on what the consequences are for any and every data breach will be applied, some Internet providers and social media providers would choose to simply pay the price for such breaches and adjust the cost to their advertisers and members accounts which would very likely result in the end of free web sites and social media accounts. This would result in Facebook and the other social media providers losing much of their membership and people would be resorting to e-mail or even turning to some new system which uses radio networks which replace the Internet thus getting around the regulations being imposed on the Internet. There also is the long rumored Internet II which has had whispers for years about it being used by a limited privileged people who received invitations for Beta-testing and has thusfar not been brought to the general public. Even if there is no actual Internet II, should the Internet we currently utilize be overly regulated, then one can bet that a second Internet styled web will be developed and brought into direct competition.


Now for what is the most probable result of Congress deciding to make the Internet safe for the people and with guarantees that your information will be kept safe. First item is that no matter what regulations are pressed on Internet providers or social media providers, there will be very little actual changes as business is business and business has always found a means to minimize the problems, interruptions, complications and costs of regulations by some means as business only succeeds by providing their service or merchandise at the lowest possible price and with the minimalist imposition on their target customers. The quickest and easiest means for any business concerning the Internet to minimize the effect and interference of regulations will be altering their terms of service such that they warn that they will not be held responsible to protect you the customer or the advertiser from whatever ills the regulations try to make them be held responsible. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other social media already indemnify themselves from being legally responsible for protecting the information which you post to their service. They will probably need to adjust the wording and may even need to have every user actually check the box claiming that the new agreement has been read and understood and found to be completely acceptable. That done, they will continue with business as usual until the next time there is an uproar over some conservative leaning company, institution or candidate utilizing the personal information gleaned from social media sites demands that such an unforgivable usage of liberals’ information for political use other than those which they agree with politically. For those who claim that an equal uproar would come from the right or conservatives over liberal or left wing political entities had used stolen Facebook personal information, allow us to point out that the reason that there was a need to use presumed hacked information was because the left has been having access to just this information and was used by Barack Obama in his Presidential campaigns and there was no screaming. Perhaps there is only one regulation to end this entire potential invasion on the Internet, make the information available to all who request such and not just to those with whose politics those controlling the information agree. The only problem with that idea is that it would cause even louder screaming, as that would permanently level the playing field. Actually, it would cause quite a deal of lawsuits demanding access to information and long drawn-out appeals such that the case continues until the election has passed. People controlling information will always do whatever it takes to make sure that only those with whom they agree politically have access to said information as information is power and those holding power wield it to their own advantage, and that is life.


Beyond the Cusp


January 1, 2018

Is It Time for the Iranian Mullahs to Go?


President Trump has finished one job in the Middle East which has been on the “to-do list” for over twenty years. That, of course, was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and setting in motion moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. One can only hope and pray that he remains in office and on-top of this momentous project assuring that it is accomplished. Should President Trump not complete the embassy move within his remaining three years and not be reelected, then the next President could simply return to signing the six-month waiver provided in the 1995 Legislation calling for this relocation and place it back in limbo. That would be sad indeed. There was a threat which came from the various leaders of the Middle East about how this move would cause the entirety of the area to erupt into uncontrolled violence. Fortunately, the only real violence was contained to Gaza and selected locations for maximum effect in the Palestinian Authority areas. Sure there were demonstrations held for a day or two, three at the most around the Middle East, but these were obviously planned and though appearing violent and potentially destructive for the camera crews, they were likely more like the riot scene on a movie set with the action peaking when the cameras went on and some coaching and practice between shots for the noon and evening news shots in the capitals of the world. Watching these in person one would likely have seen them preparing for each live broadcast, “from the Middle East where rioting is ongoing,” But have we been shown the full extent of the demonstrations in the Middle East? The answer to that is a definitive no.


The media alluded to demonstrations in Iran after President Trump announced the embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem and a few had scenes of demonstrators protesting against Israel and the United States. In Iran this is a normal scene as this specific set of demonstrators are well trained and ordered in their mayhem and are employed ever Friday after prayers to whip up the crowd before the government official, occasionally the Supreme Leader himself, where, “Death to America,” “Death to Israel” and “Death to the Jews,” are chanted often rhythmically almost as if there were a conductor leading the chant. Even sports stadium chants which are often put to music are less synchronized. Such demonstrations from Iran are almost professionally conducted where a core leads a large gathering of extras in that evening’s routine. What is interesting is that there are protests still ongoing throughout much of Iran despite the camera crews ignoring them and the reporters seemingly having gone home. One has to wonder why these protests are not being covered. They have their own, “Death to (the person of their choice),” being chanted so we have to assume that these protests are not news worthy because they are not targeting the correct people to support the media happy story that Trump is a tyrant who won through Russian collusion and actually Hillary should be in the White House theme. That leaves one to wonder exactly are what the Iranians are protesting, why are they protesting, and what if anything should be done about these protests.


Below we have included an insider’s video placed on YouTube showing the demonstrations unedited and commentary free. For those desiring commentary beyond here, below the first video we include CNN coverage followed by Al-Jazeera English. After that we will give our hopes for Iran and the world, particularly the Middle East as Iran was placed into a beneficial position with numerous options other than placing everything into military conquest across the Middle East and could have assisted the people and made life more comfortable and, in too many cases, made basic survival and life easier for the working classes.





The Iranian people rose up against the government and the stolen election in 2009 in the Green Revolution, probably with hopes that United States President Obama, who had shown some interest in assisting Iran, would take their side allowing for a reformation of power structures and the people given their freedom and the nations permitted to engage in economic reform. When the Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad and the others in power decided that the protests had to end, they called out their special forces known as the Basij. These Basij are a volunteer paramilitary force who operates under the command of the IRGC* and are often dressed as civilians without any identifiable uniforms. The Basij are an internal security, law enforcement and special religious or political force and morals policing which use shaming and often severe physical violence and torture as they are given great amounts of latitude with minimal oversight. This was greatly evident when they were turned loose on the 2009 Green Revolution protesters. President Obama took a strong stand on the Green Revolution, unfortunately backing the government crushing of the protests with heavy tactics resulting in the deaths of numerous protesters. The Basij came riding motorcycles initially using clubs and eventually using rifles. The visual which portrayed the violence with the most emotion grabbing heartbreak was the needless shooting death of Neda Agha-Soltan who became the image of that failed reaching of hope. We are approaching a point where we may suffer 2009 Green Revolution redux. That will be the point where the world will need to answer the same questions again, intervene and support the demonstrators or simply sit back and cry over the violence and deaths.


Neda Agha-Soltan Shot by Basij Militias in 2009 Green Revolution in Iran

Neda Agha-Soltan Shot by Basij Militias in 2009 Green Revolution in Iran


The coming days and weeks may be the first true test of President Trump and his foreign policies. Thusfar President Trump has been a mixed bag on foreign policy sometimes appearing to simply repeat the last item any of his advisors had whispered in his ear. That leaves for a mixture of views so disjointed that finding a common strand becomes challenging. His most steady positions have been his support of Israel and meeting his promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, demanding that the Europeans actually carry their weight and meet their obligations to NATO and other treaties, and that the United Nations actually commit to the functions it was intended to attend and perform functions beyond, or preferably instead, sanctioning Israel as if they were the world’s sole problem. President Trump has shown Tweet-support for the Iranian demonstrators. We have included his #IranProtests Tweet (see image below). Of course, pressing the little bird on your phone posting #IranProtests is great but is not actual foreign policy. Fortunately, the State Department has also come out in support of the Iranian protesters. That is also a huge turnaround from their 2009 position when they were in lockstep with President Obama and selling out the farm to please the Iranian Mullahs. The problem comes when we look at what the Iranian power structure will most likely do when they grow tired and have had enough of these demonstrations. Their track record makes guessing their next move unfortunately all too easy.


President Trump’s #IranProtests Tweets

President Trump’s #IranProtests Tweets


If only the world were so easy that a simple tweet including any # with name of problem would solve things. The news panned President Trump’s #IranProtests tweet as minimal and next to useless, a long call different than they reacted over an earlier White House Tweet. Anyone remember the drooling over the sentiment and great power of a tweet back a few years. You remember the Tweet of the century, or so one would have thought. We will include a picture to help you below. That’s right, we are talking about the picture of Michelle Obama with the seriously forlorn look holding her #BringBackOurGirls little sign when Boko Haram kidnapped an entire school of young Nigerian girls. That tweet sign was supposed to force the return of the girls because how could the terrorists resist such pressure. We claimed that tweet was worthless and we feel that President Trump’s #IranProtests might be a nice soft way of stating where he stands, but Tweets are not solutions, not when Michelle Obama did one and not now with Trump doing one. Perhaps a short, prime time speech on the Iran protests and the United States support of people seeking freedom and a governance which addresses their needs first rather than waging wars across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.


Michelle Obama holds a sign with the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag


The Iranian regime will, at some point in the not too distant future, turn on the protesters with ever-increasing violence. When this begins, President Trump will need to take a stand and do so with something a whole lot of a bit stronger than another #IranProtests sent from the Presidential I-phone. That is when Donald Trump will need to call up that Presidential Donald he boasted we would see once he was in the White House. He has made some impressive and very poignant speeches when abroad but this time he is going to need to make one of those style speeches from the White House quite possibly with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Norman Mattis (former four-star Marine General), Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford (an active four-star Marine General) and the White House Chief of Staff John Francis Kelly (former four-star Marine General) with the retired Generals wearing their dress uniforms just for effect and to make the statement in a manner which the Mullahs, even Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khamenei will understand. The Middle East is where the strong horse is respected and all others eat sand, some literally. Many Americans will protest making such a gaudy show of the President surrounded by so many men of military bearing, but sometimes one must speak in the language your target audience, in this case, the Iranian leadership all religious, political and military will fully understand. Targeting the speech and framing the message, as seriously as intended is what matters. Would it help the President if the media were to take him seriously and not instead find every nit-picky thing to berate and weaken the speech and its effect as they have done in the past would be working against the demonstrators and their hopes as well as the President. We would hope that the media would take the speech and its intent and enhance its seriousness and weight as backing for the Iranian people, but perhaps we hope for too much.


Beyond the Cusp


* IRGC = Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps


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