We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

I should have believed what I saw in the streets with my own eyes

I have been in Dover for the last week and a bit, and it is like a different world compared to my usual haunts in London (and by the way, I heartily recommend the Allotment restaurant).

And as I walked down the street wearing my LEAVE badge, I was constantly getting nods of approval or thumbs up gestures from complete strangers. As I headed back to London yesterday, the chap sitting behind me patted me on the shoulder and launched into a friendly diatribe about “accountable government!”, and the driver of the bus (rail replacement service actually) grinned broadly and gave me a thumbs up as I entered the vehicle! And I found myself doing the same to others when I saw them wearing a similar badge.

And yet the media was constantly telling me we had already lost, and we might as well not bother, and thus I went to bed last night with a heavy heart.

I should have believed what I saw in the streets with my own eyes, and not what I read in the media.

Well, I dunno

The pro-Remain Daily Mirror has an odd choice for its front page:

Mirror front page referendum

Update: Mr Ed has suggested the following caption:

“THIS IS WHERE THE MONEY GOES”

I know what the Mirror is trying to say, but what with “REMAIN” being in capitals and larger type, the instant impression that it gives to me is that REMAIN is a deep dark hole sucking the hapless voter inwards to destruction. A valiant effort by the Leave mole in the Mirror graphics department, but judging by the final polls, it may not be enough. But don’t let the polls cause you to give up and not bother voting: the pattern has been that phone polls tended towards Remain and online polls towards Leave. I attribute this to “Shy Leavers” being put off from disclosing their true intentions to a possibly disapproving human being, particularly since the murder of Jo Cox. I could, of course, be wrong in this supposition. But it is worth a go.

My final Referendum thought? It’s one you could share with undecided left-wingers. A Leave win would increase the chance of Labour winning the next election, an outcome I do not want. But better a thousand times a party with the wrong policies in power for a few years in a system where we retain the power to throw them out next time than being sucked past the event horizon of the European Union, where all votes are votes for ever closer union.

Jeremy Corbyn’s heart really is not in this Remain business, is it?

Jeremy Corbyn admits Britain cannot put a ceiling on immigration while in the EU

Asked on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show if there was any kind of upper limit to the numbers coming into Britain, he said: “I don’t think you can have one while you have a free movement of labour – and I think the free movement of labour means that you have to balance the economy so you have to improve living standards and conditions.

“And so that means the EU’s appalling treatment of Greece… that is a problem. If you deliberately lower living standards and increase poverty in certain countries in south-east or eastern Europe then you’re bound to have a flow of people looking for somewhere else to go.”

I do not know what “balance the economy” means and I doubt Mr Corbyn does either. But at least he is not a weasel like Cameron. In a TV appearance allegedly aimed at persuading us to vote to stay in the European Union he resignedly says that the main claim of the other side regarding the most hotly contested issue, immigration, is correct. Then he says that the EU’s treatment of one of its member states is “appalling” and deliberately aimed at lowering living standards. Why he wants to stay in a union that wants to impoverish people is a mystery… or it would be, if he did.

My sunken hopes rise a little, given added lift by the fact that the dear old Guardian had this story on the front page for about a minute and a half before someone realised. It now can only be found if you already know it is there. For its part the BBC has clipped the key words off the beginning of the relevant clip from its own programme. Mr Corbyn answered a straightforward question in a straightforward fashion. That media organizations in favour of Remain seek to hide this rather than boast of it speaks volumes.

“They deleted EVERY other thread about the shooting”

These comments were all taken from posts to the Orlando shooting megathread on https://www.reddit.com/r/news/:

– Dear Moderators:
You are not journalists. You are not editors. You are not arbiters of good taste or what constitutes “newsworthiness”. Stay in your lane.
Your actions today have failed the Reddit community.

– You know whats crazy? I live in Orlando and I had no idea this was going on. I depend on reddit for my news 100% since it can rapidly deliver news from many sources that I can validate or discard. I have literally been up all night on Reddit and due to the apparent thread lockings and deletions, this story took 9 hours to make it to me — I probably live within thirty minutes of this place.
Unbelievable.

– To me the funny thing about the censorship here is that the people who do it think somehow that they are helping the situation by deleting anything they don’t like or anything they think might offend somebody.
What they are really doing is creating more repressed anger and outrage. If you think that deleting comments about Islam will decrease animosity towards Islam then you’re sadly mistaken my friends. You’re simply creating more hatred by many who feel that any criticism of one particular group with one particular ideology is forbidden while it is open season on the rest of us. Let us remember a simple fact. Islam is an ideology like belief in Donald Trump or believe in magic pixie is forbidden while it is open season on the rest of us. Let us remember a simple fact. Islam is an ideology like belief in Donald Trump or believe in ghosts. It is not a race, or people, or color,. If you attack Islam you were simply attacking an ideology. Nothing more nothing less.
Please stop deleting comments– you are increasing anger not decreasing it

– Wtf? 50 people are killed and I have to look around for 5 minutes? Wtf reddit, don’t make me go back to getting my news from the fucking TV, alright? Just get your shit together.

– Its not even on the front page. This is going to be a monumental shooting event and its NOT EVEN ON THE FRONT PAGE.

– As soon as my boyfriend told me, the first place I came for information was Reddit. Not CNN, not CBS, not NBC. Reddit. Not a goddamn thing about it on the front page. Unacceptable.

– reddit is normally my first port of call for this sort of thing
It needs to stop being your first source. Reddit is about information control. You’re not getting the full picture

– I’ve been on reddit for 7 years (this is not my first acct) and I’ve seen its gradual shift from the pure, raw immediate news that put CNN to shame, to a useless, slow-moving organization that is more concerned with affiliate clicks, admin control and promoting ideology.
reddit used to be a serious option for people seeking help in the wake of some catastrophe. now it suppresses useful information

– You know it’s sad when r/the_donald is covering this more than the fucking main news subreddit. The amount of blatant censorship on here is ridiculous.

– I’m sorry, but this whole thing has been ridiculous. This situation has been unfolding for hours, it’s the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and the only evidence of it on the front page is stuff from /r/the_donald?
Mods you really dropped the ball here. In a (poorly executed) attempt to be unbiased, you ended up letting a completely biased source take over the flow of information. What the hell were you thinking?

– More than anything else, the actions of the mods this morning have fostered anger and resentment and suspicion. They have made the discussion about this site’s cowardice and emboldened those who accuse it of pandering to the PC left. The mods here have failed and permanently damaged the site’s credibility.
Shooter was Muslim. Stop hiding posts you fucking idiot mods. Who cares what nationality the shooter is, this is a tragic event you fucking cunts.

– There was a time I relied on r/news for up to date /recent news. I had to learn about this shooting through a fucking iheart radio notification. …seriously mods, get your shit together.

– Is it true that you’re banning users for mentioning that the shooter was a radical islamist?
People are right to be upset at those defending islam. It’s the only unreformed abrahamic religion–forever stuck in the 10th century. Fuck islamists and anyone who defends them.
This is absolutely abhorrent censorship. 50 dead and you’ve prevented discussion because something about it goes against your identitarian political agenda. I guess more people will finally realize what a shithole this place truly is. You fucked up.

– How is this not front page? I found out about this from facebook… so much for getting my news from reddit!

– They deleted EVERY other thread about the shooting. I woke up this morning and got the information from Drudge, not one r/news post made it to my front page. Unfuckingbeleivelable.

– Why isnt this on the front page? I cant find anything to do with the shooting in Florida besides from /r/the_donald

Most of the above Reddit posts had disappeared in the quarter of an hour it took me to write this Samizdata post. This was the leading new post:

– The actions of the moderators today have failed reddit. They have failed the LGBT community and humanity as well! Clearly, their need to protect their narrative is greater than their need to protect REAL human lives. A REAL tragedy just took place, and people can’t get off their high horse for two seconds to discuss something far greater than their stupid pride. We need to let it be understood that we as human beings will not tolerate such action, and will stand up against terrorism.

Related post: Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms. I have added the tag “deleted by the Guardian” to this post because it deals with a similar phenomenon to the PC deletions of reader comments for which that newspaper is well known, but wish to state that in this case the Guardian‘s coverage included the lead hypothesis that this mass murder was an Islamist terror attack from early on.

*

Added later: I note that the name of the “deleted” tag has now been broadened to cover the PC media generally. It is indeed done by the PC media generally and it has been going on a long time. Ten years less a month ago I wrote this post for Biased BBC: But… you talk like war crimes are a bad thing:

yet when bombers murdered your own countrymen in London a year ago you were so anxious to avoid being judgemental that you had someone go through what your reporters had written in the heat and pity of the moment, carefully replacing the word “terrorist” with the word “bomber.”

*

Further update: The Daily Caller reports, Reddit Bans Users, Deletes Comments That Say Orlando Terrorist Was Muslim. The article contains several screenshots, including one of the front page of Reddit with /r/The_Donald filtered out. It showed “not a single mention of the worst US terror attack since 9/11, worst shooting ever”.

Media giant Ziff Davis says “we hate money”…

Ziff-Davis has announced to investors “we hate money” and has decided to flush $100 million down the toilet by purchasing the poison brand “Gawker“.

What I love about capitalism is that it eventually punishes stupidity, unless said ‘capitalists’ have some sweetheart deal with a government, that is :D

Gross distortions about EU funding

There have been objections made to the claim made by the Leave campaign that “we send the EU £350 million a week”. Apparently, depending on how one makes the calculation, the net sum we actually send the European Union each week is £248m or even as little as £136m. So that’s all right then.

Even I, a Leave supporter, agree that the claim is deceptive and unjustified. We may send that amount to the EU but you have to allow that the EU sends some of it back. Gross is different from net.

But isn’t that the same lie told by every one of those thousands of compulsory European Union “gratitude” plaques?

null

Project Part-Financed by the European Union
European Regional Development Fund
Which since Britain is a Net Contributor to the EU
Actually Means Financed by You

To worshippers of state power, politeness matters more than truth

John Lloyd is by-lined as “co-founded the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, where he is Senior Research Fellow”. And he has written a very revealing article on Reuters. In this, he criticises Trump, Boris Johnson, Marine Le Pen and Beppe Grillo for using intemperate language in political debate. Now these are widely divergent figures coming from different ideological directions (but they do have one thing in common: I will leave the readers here to speculate what that is), and I am a fan of none of them. Even the odious Cameron comes in for a bit of criticism but he is a bit of an outlier compared to the above list.

Hillary “Clinton has admitted that it was a mistake that she used her private server to conduct State Department business when she was secretary of state”, so given that, John Lloyd feels Trump calling her “crooked” is simply beyond the pale. Likewise him calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” when she made an extremely dubious claim to be part Cherokee, is just ghastly.

Lying, well that is just politics (which is why Cameron may not be quite such an outlier after all, and he did share a platform with the person he “insulted”). But being disrespectful to a lying politico? Well clearly one of the pillars holding up western civilisation, not to mention all that is good and decent (but one could argue the typo “descent” is more appropriate), is being kicked away by these barbarians! Essentially John Lloyd, who is if you recall the co-founder of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, is writing about the frightfulness of lèse-majesté.

Oh I feel so much better about the state of journalism today having seen this.

Newton_Bull_farts_50

A long standing and quite appropriate traditional form of British political discourse.

New uses for copyright law

Much as I like to jeer at the Guardian, sometimes it does a good deed in bringing sinister developments to the public’s attention. For instance:

Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

As soon as the DMCA takedown request had been filed, Google de-listed the entire thread. All 126 posts are now not discoverable when a user searches Google for BuildTeam – or any other terms. The search company told Mumsnet it could make a counterclaim, if it was certain no infringement had taken place, but since the site couldn’t verify that its users weren’t actually posting copyrighted material, it would have opened it up to further legal pressure.

In fact, no copyright infringement had occurred at all. Instead, something weirder had happened. At some point after Narey posted her comments on Mumsnet, someone had copied the entire text of one of her posts and pasted it, verbatim, to a spammy blog titled “Home Improvement Tips and Tricks”. The post, headlined “Buildteam interior designers” was backdated to September 14 2015, three months before Narey had written it, and was signed by a “Douglas Bush” of South Bend, Indiana. The website was registered to someone quite different, though: Muhammed Ashraf, from Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Quite why Douglas Bush or Muhammed Ashraf would be reviewing a builder based in Clapham is not explained in “his” post. BuildTeam says it has no idea why Narey’s review was reposted, but that it had nothing to do with it. “At no material times have we any knowledge of why this false DCMA take down was filed, nor have we contracted any reputation management firms, or any individual or a group to take such action on our behalf. Finally, and in conjunction to the above, we have never spoken with a ‘Douglas Bush,’ or a ‘Muhammed Ashraf.’”

Whoever sent the takedown request, Mumsnet was forced to make a choice: either leave the post up, and accept being delisted; fight the delisting and open themselves up to the same legal threats made against Google; or delete the post themselves, and ask the post to be relisted on the search engine.

“Although we understood the user’s argument that something odd had happened, we weren’t in a position to explain what – our hope was that by zapping one post we might ensure that the thread remained listed.”

Mumsnet deleted the post, and asked Google to reinstate the thread, but a month later, they received final word from the search firm: “‘Google has decided not to take action based on our policies concerning content removal and reinstatement’ which (it turned out) meant that they had delisted the entire thread”.

Interesting though it might be to read about BuildTeam meeting the Streisand Effect, I do not assume they are in the wrong. But someone has found a clever new way to censor comment on the web. I can see this strategy might prove popular. How could it be fought? A related question, also unrelated to this particular case: how can companies protect themselves against dishonest bad reviews?

“Wherever this is”

The Shadow Europe minister, Pat Glass, has had a bad day. According to “Politics Home”:

A Labour MP has apologised after branding a voter a “horrible racist” while campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union.

Pat Glass, the Shadow Europe Minister, also said she was “never coming back” to Sawley in Derbyshire, after an exchange with a member of the public about immigration.

According to BBC Radio Derby, the unnamed voter had referred to a Polish family living in the town as “scroungers”.

Ms Glass told the station: “The very first person I come to was a horrible racist. I’m never coming back to wherever this is.”

Following criticism of her remarks, the MP said: “The comments I made were inappropriate and I regret them. Concerns about immigration are entirely valid and it’s important that politicians engage with them.

“I apologise to the people living in Sawley for any offence I have caused.”

The row has echoes of Gordon Brown infamously being caught during the 2010 election campaign branding Gillian Duffy a “bigoted woman” after she challenged him on immigration from Eastern Europe.

Echoes of Gordon Brown’s encounter with Gillian Duffy it might have, but this was not a case of an “open mic”. Ms Glass did not have Gordon Brown’s excuse: like Emily Thornberry, she chose to say what she did to a mass audience. [Later edit: Commenter Cal has pointed out that accounts differ on that point. She may have thought the interview was over. But as Cal also says, it’s revealing that she felt free to express herself in those terms to BBC reporters.]

I would guess that the insult to Sawley, and by extension to all those places like Sawley that parliamentarians never visit except when a vote draws near, is a bigger vote loser than insulting one man. She made it clear that the stops on her campaign trail mean so little to her that she could not even be bothered to remember their names. Anyone who has been embarrassed by forgetting a name might have some sympathy with that, until Ms Glass compounds the offence by making it clear that she regards her presence in such a place as a privilege that can be withdrawn as a punishment.

The brief era of freely commenting on British newspaper websites draws to a close

Bye bye, Telegraph comments. It was not always that nice knowing you but I shall miss you anyway. Er, I am right about Telegraph comments being abolished, aren’t I? Or have they disappeared for me alone due to my browser being full up or something?

For its part, the Guardian has drastically cut back on the number of articles open to comments, particularly in the section of the paper previously known as “Comment is Free”. The paper has run a dozen self-pitying articles by its columnists lamenting that their efforts to be “edgy”, “sassy” and “provocative” have worked and pleading for safe spaces where they can escape their readers. This piece by Joseph Reagle is a cut above the rest, but it is chiefly memorable for the most recommended reader comment by “Random Libertarian”. I am not this person, but feel I have a lot in common with them:

I’m not addressing this author in particular, but the whole Grauniad pushback against “abusive” comments.

Suggestion: Maybe you should stop writing abusive columns.

Don’t use a word deliberately chosen to portray climate-change skeptics as Nazis.

Don’t call people “rape apologists” when they question interpretations of statistics that show U.S. colleges to be more dangerous than war zones.

Don’t write stuff that assumes that all white people are racists, unless you can prove this to be true without Humpty Dumptying the meaning of the word.

Don’t write as if your political opponents are either eeeevil neoliberals or fat, pathetic dupes of the Murdoch media.

Try it. It might work

To comment on the Times requires passing a paywall, a moderator, and several years of your life.

The Daily Mail is the last, best hope for freedom to comment. But it gives you cancer.

On feminists objectifying women and male versus female styles of trolling

Hillary Clinton objectifies women by reducing them to mere body parts:

Mrs Clinton, meanwhile, said that she would win the nomination and unify the party. She gained perhaps her biggest applause of the night for taking on the moderators of this and past Democratic debates.

There had been “not one question about a woman’s right to contraceptive health care”, she said. In spite of attempts in some states to impose limits and “a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, saying women should be punished (for abortions)” it had not been discussed. “It goes to the heart of who we are as women,” she said.

So Secretary Clinton believes that the core of a woman’s identity is decided by her stance regarding contraception or abortion (as if all women had the same stance), or, more limiting yet, decided for her by the stance of her local jurisdiction regarding contraception and abortion. Time was when feminism was about refusing to define women by so-called women’s issues.

While I am on the subject of the decline of feminism, Guardian Clickbait-profiteer Jessica Valenti says in an article for which comments are closed,

I’m tired of having to explain, over and over again, why the tone of the comments under my pieces is indeed sexist

I strongly agree that the Guardian moderators have the right and are right to delete insults and ban those uttering them. When it comes to threats they should contact the police in any case where it appears that the threat might be credible.

But I’ve read many, many Guardian feminist articles and their accompanying comments and observed a few things.

The typical insult thrown at a woman writing online by a male troll is vile by convention. He will either denigrate some aspect of her physical appearance or sexuality, or will call her by the name of a body part. Conventions matter. These insults still hurt because all sides know they are meant to hurt. But looked at objectively, they are meaningless. The things referred to are not actually bad things. I am a woman who writes online and I have had a few such insults. I mentally sent them back to their originators with knobs on, then turned to other matters.

The typical insult thrown at a man writing online by a female troll (the Guardian sub-species of which is usually found writing above the line) is to accuse him of something that, if true, would actually be vile. She will typically call him a “misogynist”, a hater of women. That really is a bad thing to be. Worse still, she might call him a rape-apologist, a rape-enabler, or a would-be rapist. To truly be any of these things is evil. Yet such terms are frequently thrown around very casually at targets who have done no more than act in what the feminst writer sees as a sexist way, behaviour which may even be acknowledged by the writer to be unconscious, or at those who have simply expressed disagreement with her version of feminism.

I’ve had a few of this type of insult too, in the days when I used to comment on the Guardian website using a screen name that did not clearly indicate my gender. They made me far more angry than the body-part type of insult. What did I do to get me called a rape-apologist? I argued that not every claim of rape is true.

The Times smears Cruz, to his advantage

By now I should have got over my bemusement at how “[a] feature of British reporting on American affairs is that even newspapers that sell themselves as right wing or too grand to take a side in US politics take their tone straight from the Democratic party”. I haven’t. It’s still weird. It has almost stopped working but they haven’t stopped doing it. A case in point: this article in this morning’s Times by or posted from a person or place with the delightful name of “Boer Deng” will not displease the Ted Cruz campaign team.

‘Hypocrite’ Cruz hounded out of the Bronx by pupil protests

He was forced to cancel an appearance at a high school in New York on Wednesday when pupils threatened to walk out if the event went ahead. The same day, a rally was disrupted by protesters who called him a “hypocrite only looking for money and votes”.

Politician looking for votes – shock horror! Peaceful political rally disrupted – yay wonderful! Times readers are not likely to think either of these things. The recent redesign of the Times website seems to have wiped out all previous reader comments ever, but, trust me, previous stories like this one about protesters disrupting Donald Trump’s rallies called forth a stream of comments along the lines of “I am no fan of Trump, but this is thuggery”. Getting back to Cruz:

His win in the Midwest on Tuesday has paved the way for a challenge to Donald Trump at the national convention this summer. However, the limits of his staunch, right-wing brand were laid bare as he was practically chased out of the Bronx, a diverse borough that is home to many Hispanic and Asian immigrants.

Some of whom might have wanted to hear the views of one of the candidates for the office of President of their country. Tough.

In the past, he has made remarks about women that many have found misogynistic.

Any chance of a link to the exact words of these remarks so that readers could judge for themselves whether that oft-quoted expert “many” is correct in this assessment?

Mr Cruz had hoped to gather at least some support from socially conservative ministers in some Bronx neighbourhoods, but was overwhelmed by animus from the locals.

Or rather, some of the locals. The ones who got to decide that the likes of “socially conservative ministers in some Bronx neighbourhoods” who might well have not shared their animus and wished to hear Mr Cruz speak were the wrong sort of locals so their wishes didn’t count.

This may come as a surprise to paramount leader Deng, but it is possible for a politician to still gather support despite being “chased away” or even by the fact of being chased away.

His campaign team quickly retreated to the whiter, more conservative northern part of the state, where he received a warmer reception yesterday morning.

If the category “white hispanic” had not already been invented for George Zimmerman it would be necessary to invent it for Ted Cruz.