After Trump threw a tantrum over Twitter doing the bare-minimum to fact-check his deliberately misleading tweets, Trump announced plans to sign an Executive Order that forces social media to "protect" "free speech." Because government-approved top-down authoritarian control of private companies is apparently now a central tenet of the Republican Party.
Content Moderation expert Kate Klonick shared a draft of the order.
You can read the full document here, which hinges on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (as well as the continued wolf-crying fantasy of "conservative censorship"). If you want the sparknotes, Vice has a pretty comprehensive breakdown:
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As far as legislation goes, the first subsection of 230 is concise and powerful: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
In the order, Trump also makes the argument that social media companies' actions should not "infringe on protected speech," which would be a massive change from Section 230 as it's currently worded, which makes an explicit carve-out for restricting protected speech. This will, unequivocally, change the internet as a whole and make it worse.
Sure, he pretended it was all a "Democrat hoax" for the last 2 months; neglected to do anything but downplay the virus for those 2 months; repeatedly used the pandemic as an excuse for anti-Asian racism; and brought his own precious economy to a grinding halt as unemployment reached record highs.
But according to a new ABC News / Ipsos poll, 55 percent of Americans think that President Trump is doing a good job with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Political Polls / Survey USA presents similar results:
I'd like to see ol' Donny wriggle his way out of this one, nevertheless, etc etc.
Coronavirus upends nation, as three in four Americans' lives changed by pandemic: POLL [Kendall Karson / ABC News]
Image: Public Domain via US Department of Defense and Gage Skidmore/Flickr via CC 2.0
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I'm gonna need some pepto bismol to cure the headache that I have from trying to think about this logic.
The crucial part:
You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that would have an impact or much have an impact on corona?
Speaking of coronavirus and vaccines, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has claimed that US medical will have performed close to a million coronavirus tests by the end of this week. That's good news! What's not good news is that some test kits have already been contaminated, after the CDC had already sent out hundreds of flawed test kits in the first place. So far, the US has tested has tested about 500 people total; according to the Association of Public Health Laboratories (via Politico), we'd still only be able to run about 10,000 tests per day across the country under ideal conditions. As such, it's not clear how Hahn reached that conclusion of one million test kits. Maybe he was using Trump inauguration math?
FDA chief's claim of 1M coronavirus tests by end of week stirs controversy [David Lim / Politico]
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In early September 2019, President Donald J. Trump tweeted something dumb. Specifically, this time it was about the encroaching Hurricane Dorian, and the places that it would or would not hit.
At the time, there was no indication that it was ever going to hit Alabama. But Trump's stubborn ego — so unwilling to admit to, well, anything — turned life into hell for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It reached a point where Trump literally drew on a map with a sharpie to make it look like he'd been right all along, and the central office of the NOAA was publicly disavowing efforts by the Birmingham, Alabama office of the NWA to deliver accurate information to the very same people who would potentially stand in harm's way, or who might be tempted to make irrational decisions in a panic over the president's false information.
In short, it was a perfect microcosmic storm of everything wrong with the Trump administration.
This past Friday, January 31, the NWA and NOAA released a trove of 1,000 emails relating to the incident, revealing the panic behind the scenes as different government agencies found themselves torn between protecting the public, and protecting the president's fragile ego. Read the rest
Barry Ritholz maintains two stock indices: the Oligarch Index contains "companies that Trump liked" in his public communications; the Drain the Swamp index has "companies that Trump trashed."
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