Video Of The Week: Who Has The Right To Police The Internet?

This week our portfolio company Cloudflare made news when they made an exception to their long-standing policy of not terminating customers for hate speech and terminated The Daily Stormer.

In this interview with Bloomberg, Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince explains why he made that decision and why it bothers him so much that he and other CEOs have that power.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Pointsandfigures

    An African American friend of mine asked, “it took this for them to ban white supremacists”.It’s a pretty easy call not to give a hate group access. We all can nod our heads and agree.My worry is that we start sliding down the slippery slope. Why aren’t communist organizations hate groups? They have destroyed millions of lives, killed millions, imprisoned millions, tortured millions. What about groups like Antifa that seek to destroy the Democratic Republic? How about ISIS? Why just one Nazi site when there are more than that?Let’s make it a tougher call. If Cloudflare can decide not to do business with a bunch of Nazis because of some moral reasoning, why can’t a baker decide they don’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding?Glad that Matthew talked a bit about this at the end of the interview.Honestly don’t know where I stand on this. My initial presumption is if you put your shingle out in the public square to do business, you have to do business with the public. That means if a Nazi walks into your store and wants a cake, you have to bake it for them.I’d prefer for the private companies to try and figure it out rather than the government. The Department of Homeland Security is a case and point.Yet, startups refuse to service customers all the time based on their own internal resources. Consulting firms and other firms won’t do business with certain people for a large variety of reasons.I do know that CNN is out trumpeting that most of the conservative aligned groups are hate groups. They have already gone down the slippery slope.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      “Why aren’t communist organizations hate groups? They have destroyed millions of lives, killed millions, imprisoned millions, tortured milLions.”Indeed. Then there are religious organizations who have done the same. They must be hate groups.

      1. JamesHRH

        Any religion that actively participates in social justice of any kind is a political group and should be taxed and treated accordingly.Similarly, any religion that actively recruits members is a political organization and should be tested as such.

      2. Amar

        But isn’t this getting to the point of absurdity. Show me any ideology, world view that has stood the test of time. Look back long enough and you will find it resulted in the killing and deaths of 100’s of thousands if not millions, as it was shaped by the thoughts and actions of multiple generations. People being inherently imperfect, these processes tend to have expensive social costs along the way. There is no dominant world view that has not caused death and destruction on large scale – this is a function of how long it has been around.The ask should be to identify and encourage those world views which have demonstrated the ability to self-regulate in a positive direction. Their trend line should be making society better and individuals better. By this definition ISIS clearly is a world view that has nothing positive to offer so be done with it. Fascism (of all sorts) has proven itself incapable of learning and improving, so be done with it. Racism has nothing positive to better the world, be done with it.Beyond that, I think we as imperfect people have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. We absolutely have to find a way to thrive in a world with multiple worldview, many of which will espouse conflicting frameworks. Entropy is a constant so fighting it is futile :)Just to set the record straight – I am an immigrant and a US citizen. I love this country. I abhor nazis, supremacists and racists. It is possible you were being tongue-in-cheek and i completely missed the sarcasm 🙂

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Yes and yes.Yes – it does get to the point of absurdity. The problem is that it is easy to point the finger at groups YOU don’t like and call them hate groups but not recognize that the criteria you are applying would embrace other groups that you would be loathe to label the same way.Yes – you did kind of miss it 🙂 But that’s fine. It was only mildly ironic. There was the point above being made in a tongue in cheek way. I’m originally English and it’s the way we roll.

    2. PhilipSugar

      I think you should be able to decide you don’t want to bake a cake for gay wedding, and I can decide to never ever use your shop.I think CNN can do what they want. I won’t watch them anymore.Let me go on record. I can see opposing the second amendment, I can see opposing abortion. Both involve lives.But I cannot understand how you oppose gay marriage.Not letting two people marry that love each other is hateful.We all agree marriage is good why not for two of the same sexI can’t get married in certain synagogues or mosques so whatIf I decide to get spicy in my bedroom?? None of your business. Same for gays.If that somehow hurts the sanctity of your marriage?? Then your marriage sucks.And for just this moment, just this moment, pretend I hate gay people. I should rather have them married and not “running around being gay” same as not having premarital sex.

      1. Pointsandfigures

        to be clear, I don’t oppose gay marriage. I am throwing the question out there.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I’m sure you don’t. I am in favor of it. My point is that as a business you should be able to decide who to serve. Now the only sticky wicket becomes what if that hurts a group of people.So if you say we only serve white people that really causes a huge problem. So I might retract my you don’t have to bake a cake for a gay wedding upon further reflection.But you are right it is hard, because there are many people that now use the word “hate group” to try and ban those that do not agree with them.

          1. Pointsandfigures

            I think that is exactly where the slippery slope leads-“No Blacks Allowed, No Whites Allowed” etc. Or, No Liberals Allowed, No Conservatives Allowed. (Sounds like a college mandated Safe Space!) We cannot have that in America. We cannot allow violence in our streets-it’s exactly what the radicals want. Having Antifa take on the Nazi’s in Charlottesville was a really bad decision by whoever allowed it. Keeping them separate was the right call. Hitler took the streets over in Weimar Germany. Once he had the streets, he went for the rest. Here is a great description of how we derailed Nazi’s in 1949. http://www.chicagobusiness…. I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment but 100% agree with the ACLU decision not to defend groups that use firearms in protests. They should extend it to all means of inflicting pain and injury on humans. Have a good day.

          2. PhilipSugar

            You have a good day too. Made me think. You are right. But man I can tell you as somebody that has had one talk to me like they thought I was one of the 2×4 and bedsheets in the trunk club, it is repugnant.

          3. JamesHRH

            Business owners can refuse service based on behaviour, not identity. It’s in the public interest to forego an individual freedom of choice for the cohesion of the community.

    3. LE

      Honestly don’t know where I stand on this.I think the entire problem we are running into is that private citizens with no skin in the game are deciding what is right to do when they have no standing to do so. And they are using techniques fair and unfair to rile up others and therefore create a bad situation for businesses to earn a living. (Relates to large and small businesses).So for example if you decide to not patronize a particular merchant that’s fine. However if you use a megaphone to get lemmings to do the same to me it’s like yelling fire in a crowded theater. Not right. Why? Because the general public will go along with simplistic presentation and arguments. Only one reason. They have knee jerk reactions to things that often defy logic. They don’t consider all the facts that come up in due process. If you ask the general public many would agree we need judges and juries but the same people will quickly rush to judgement when anything happens and support the final and quick solution.We all know and can hypothesize why Matt Prince did what he did and was so deeply conflicted about it. [1] Peer pressure you can call it. The same thing we don’t want our kids to succumb to. In Matt’s case there is no doubt at all based on his past statements about ‘words are not a bomb’ (as only one example) that he was forced to do this as a result of pressure put on him by the business community, the press, investors and the masses. Did he make the right business decision? Well sure if a car is heading at you at 100mph you get out of the way. But is it really heading toward you? How lucky do you feel?One thing though. This would have blown over and it’s very likely that the publicity long term (if he stayed the course) would have actually been good for Cloudflare. And the initial heat that he was feeling there is no question that would have died down.[1] Unfortunately the timing was wrong (IPO) to take that chance. It’s really that simple:

  2. Pete Griffiths

    I sympathize with the guy. The stormers are indeed assholes but still more important, he woke up in a bad mood. Nuff said.

    1. Michael Elling

      New Katy Perry song? “I Flipped a Switch and I Liked It!”

  3. awaldstein

    NIck’s post on it yesterday was a good read on this as well.This is not a black and white thing and the profundity of it rests on its shades of grey and the challenges we struggle with as we make decisions.I’ve personally struggled with it around the my own decisions to block users whose rhetoric I find distracting and unhelpful. I feel much better to have come to grips with my own inclinations on it and don’t miss at all the noise I’ve cancelled out.My blog post yesterday is all about that thought process should anyone care to hear my thoughts

    1. PhilipSugar

      Blocking people out is completely acceptable. It is the way to deal with it. It is mind over matter, I don’t mind because you don’t matter. What trolls, bigots, racists want is you to engage. Your anger just fuels their anger.On a personal level it is whatever you want. As pointsandfigures and I went over this morning and Matt describes it gets tougher when you are a business because there is a line.

      1. awaldstein

        Agree.There are greater complexities with business obviously.What would you do if one of your board members started tweeting stuff that started to upset not only the customers but the employees?That’s partially rhetorical but as I tried to point out in my post, it is a discussion that lots of companies are having. And it is healthy to do so.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Or me? That is the toughest thing about the internet. Some read my posts and think I am a right wing fanatic. I am not.The internet mixes public and private.That is tough.For instance if my not married Fraternity Brother that I “share” a hotel room with for homecoming and graduation comes back and starts to talk to me about his exploits last night is that ok? (our room is always the communal spillover room because he is never there and we buy a suite)Yes.If that goes on in my office is it acceptable?Hell no.

          1. awaldstein

            Different world.So interesting.So lucky to be working today and still challenging myself in this every changing, oh so powerful, and ambiguity wrapped reality that we live and work in.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Could not agree more. Just a really different world.

          3. JamesHRH

            Context matters.

    2. Twain Twain

      The problem is that the network and the blockchain mostly sees it as a black and white thing. Shades of gray are provided by %.Now, we can ask ourselves whether black+white 0 or 1 and gray % are adequate for representing how we make decisions. It isn’t.But that’s the limitation of the technology available to support decision-making. See the paradoxes of the situation we’re in?https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…@InfoStack:disqus — Yes, please send WP.@jasonpwright:disqus — A decentralized web that still runs on this type of binary mechanism is as bad as a centralized web. It’s a maths problem that none of the blockchain/ethereum crew have even considered.It gets into the very roots of what is reasoning, truth, validity, intelligence, morals, ethics, the difference between language and logic etc. at the point of origin with Plato and Aristotle wrt Western philosophy on one side and the I Ching wrt Chinese philosophy on the other side.@myscrawl:disqus — I read this the other day: “In 1789 Gottfried Leibniz published a paper announcing his invention of the binary code. Twenty-four year later, after a Jesuit in Beijing sent him illustrations of the Chinese trigram and hexagrams, Leibniz published a second paper crediting the Chinese with inventing the first binary code.”There was definitely “lost in translation” between Western philosophy adapting Chinese trigrams and hexagrams. Leibniz framed it within the dualist thinking of democratic voting (thumbs up = 1 OR thumbs down = 0) because that was his education.The Chinese don’t think of anything as being binary 0 or 1 state or involving separation of emotion from logic in the way Descartes propounded either.Entanglement and integration of emotions and logic has been intrinsic in our writing itself since the oracle bones of 1250BC.And this is why the Chinese now have a head start in Quantum Computing because that’s about natural entanglement.

  4. Rob Underwood

    Two relate articles and three questions.Articles (Nick’s post is also a good read):-…- https://www.washingtonpost….Questions:1. To what degree should the internet be centralized? I.e., should this (the Cloudflare-esq) level of control reside with a handful of companies? We’ve moved from the original decentralized model – is that ok?2. What is the right mix of 1) shutting down of outlets, public shaming, etc. vs. ignoring altogether?3. How do we determine which views merit the full shutdown and name & shame strategy vs. which views are better “just” ignored (i.e., does the degree of repugnancy and danger change the answer to #2)?I am thinking a lot about these questions and how they interplay which each other. The events at places like Middlebury (the Charles Murray protests; note – I am not saying the Charles Murray thing and Charlottesville are similar, but they do seem connected around the topic of what speech does one listen to with an open mind; what speech does one ignore; and what speech/views does one actively seek to shutdown from being distributed) also seem relevant to this overall topic.

    1. Michael Elling

      It’s all about symmetry of risk (or lack thereof) as we discussed yesterday and I pointed out last week. TCP/IP (decentralization) was developed in a “trusted” institutional environment and arbitraged an inefficient voice protocol stack resulting in today’s imbalance of risk (and enormous wealth, cultural, racial and digital divides). It is permissionless and doesn’t follow societal conventions built up over millenia to balance risk. Nor does blockchain, an algorithmic solution, solve that lack of trust. Developers need to read more philosophy and sociology and really understand networks and network effects better.

  5. PhilipSugar

    I don’t know but I think a supreme court justice said it best. It’s hard to define obscenity but I know it when I see it.I do not think you have to do business with those you don’t like. As a matter of fact I think you shouldn’t.I live near where the hate groups are HQd. Look up Rising Sun, Maryland. It is a really nice place but if you go to the wrong Holler… out. My son gave me an address of 2244 instead of 244. Holy crap was I glad I was white and driving an old pickup. Disgusting.I have told the story of walking out and never coming back when I came in to my barber and she was conversing with a guy in the chair with swastikas, ss, and death head tattoos. Screw him, shun him.Now can those assholes march? Yes. But do I have to serve them? No.Do I have to serve up porn? No. Is it illegal? No.Again, I worry that people start thinking I can shout others down.First they come for others and then they come for you. (famous quote about..Nazis)But left or right it comes to a circle.These groups that decided to fight with those repugnant Nazi’s are just as bad.

    1. jason wright…one may choose to do business with whomsoever one wishes, but to not do business for reasons of ‘discrimination’ may not be legally acceptable.EDIT 14:27 GMT: it’s tricky. values do not always perfectly align.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Yes…see my post below, where I waffle. It is a tough slope. Because what if I decide I don’t like X group. Then they don’t get access? What happens when people start saying X is a hate group just because they don’t like their point of views.But damn, if you are in the KKK or neoNazi’s you are a hate group. I would just implore people to not use that term lightly. If you support Trump you are not part of a hate group.

        1. Rob Underwood

          This (“what if I decide I don’t like X group”) was the debate around bakers and florists refusing to prepare cakes and bouquets for weddings of gay people — some in religious argued it was a violation of the shop owners freedom of religion to be compelled to serve those customers.

    2. LE

      I have told the story of walking out and never coming back when I came in to my barber and she was conversing with a guy in the chairWhere do you draw the line with that? For example Cloudflare not only protects many end users but also protects ISP’s and webhosts who may offer ‘haircuts’ to offensive groups. Does CF now stand to loose business because they are aiding and abetting 2nd degree?One step further will you no longer post comments on AVC if you find out that Fred is an investor in a company that offers ‘haircuts’ to offensive people? Not Fred’s investment but do we know who sells to or who they deal with?I would have done the same thing because it would make me feel uncomfortable in that environment. But for that reason not because I thought the person cutting the hair shouldn’t be doing business with such a person and taking their money (although it seems business wise stupid to do so..).First they come for others and then they come for you. But this is precisely what is happening now. The mob rule that is forcing the hand of many businesses. Exactly what happened to Matt Prince and Cloudflare. Get enough people riled up about something and you can make things happen that go against many of our long standing values. Who needs trials and laws anymore?

      1. PhilipSugar

        The more I think the more conflicted I become. Just like Matt But I think JLM is right we need to discriminate against stupid.It’s why you will never see me comment to somebody without a name.Want to cover your face I don’t care if you are KKK or Antifa. You know you are wrong.When two shitheads meet the result is predictable.People need to start going to jail. And I mean ten years of hard labor.Yes, they need to bring hard labor back to jails.Jail should be misery Cool Hand Luke style.

        1. JLM

          .Go see Huntsville Prison in East Texas. They operate a farm with the guards on horseback with shotguns.Luke is there, but his hands aren’t too cool. No internet in the fields.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. PhilipSugar

            One of these days I will buy a ranch in Texas, and go back to my birthplace.

        2. LE

          Jail should be misery Cool Hand Luke style.I always have said that for certain white collar criminals they should be forced to work and clean bathrooms at NJ TPKE rest stops or similar as part of their punishment.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Could not agree more.

          2. JLM

            .#1 son gets a summer job working at Dan’s Hamburgers. Mom drops him off in a BMW. Manager assigns #1 to clean a restroom which was last cleaned when Texas was part of Mexico.Lots of smiles and laughing cause the new kid is getting the shit job. Literally.#1 calls me.I tell him, “Don’t let the son of a bitch see you wince. Get down on your knees with a toothbrush and make that fucking latrine shine. Make them eat shit because they can’t get to you. This is a test.”#1 follows my advice — cue the violins cause he actually listened to meThe crew says to him, “Dude, we were betting on what time the rich white boy would quit.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. JLM

      .Can’t get my mind comfortable with your tale, Phil.The barber is offering services on the public square and in walks a guy with Nazi markings. We know nothing about the guy other than his outward signaling. Maybe he’s wearing a tee shirt with a Nazi symbol? Can’t see into his heart or his soul.What would you have her do?”Hey, Nazi, take it down the road. I don’t cut hair for shitheads.”Is that different than not baking a cake for a gay wedding? Aren’t we asking her to police society? May be dangerous. I’m not comfortable with the alternative behavior we are asking of her.So, she holds her nose, is pleasant, cuts the guy’s hair and gets paid for her services. The guy leaves and then she cuts your hair?You ask her, “Barber lady, WTF about the Nazi shithead?””I have bills to pay, Phil. I cut hair. I don’t care about what a guy’s politics are. Hell, I’d even cut JLM’s hair. He’s a good tipper.”Then, you’re judging her motives. Maybe, she’s a single mom with two kids who have become addicted to eating?The public square and business is not to be left to be regulated by woman barbers even in Seville.JLMwww.themusingsofthatbigredc…

      1. LE

        Same girl had cut my hair (just retired) for longer than many AVC readers have been alive. I used to play this game where I would say outrageous things to her to see her reaction. Only one time did I see her wince. She was happy to take my money and my tip.Started to say some of the same things to the girl who replaced her. She has no issues with any of it so far.People definitely take this stuff to far. When I was growing up many friends who had parents born in America wouldn’t buy german cars. My dad had no issue with that at all despite as I have mentioned countless times having a big connection to that era. A local realtor that I deal with today is the same way ‘not going to buy a German car no way’. Look the bottom line is this. It’s a personal decision and you can decide to deal with who you want to deal with. But please don’t put pressure on others who may not think the same way.

        1. PhilipSugar

          I have a no asshole rule. You know how to get a hold of me the quickest? Curse at a support person. They can call my cell, interrupt a meeting, doesn’t matter where I am. You will hit my desk. And I will tell you that you have two choices: stop or I will fire you.I think airlines should start that rule.However saying “punch people in the face” nope.

          1. LE

            Curse at a support person.This above seems to indicate the support person works for your company. And I will tell you that you have two choices: stop or I will fire you.And the above seems to indicate that it is the support person (who works for you) that has cursed?

          2. PhilipSugar

            No. Curse at somebody that works for me.

          3. JamesHRH

            I love it. Every CEO should adopt this policy.

          4. PhilipSugar

            Damn straight. Somebody harasses you? I don’t want you to go to HR. You come right into my office. No appointment, no nothing. Everyone has my cell phone. You call my ass.

          5. JamesHRH

            There was a RI car dealer who used the exact opposite side of this principle for customer satidfaction.His deal was to give every layer of service a blank check ( $100, $1000 ) that they could use to make a customer happy. His theory – making them happy & keeping the customer will be expensive , when it got to his desk.Your approach makes it awfull expensive for customers to be jerks.It’s the perfect flipped application of the principle.If we screw up, fix it low.If customer screws up, fix it high.Never knew you were from Tx.

          6. PhilipSugar

            I am born in Fort Worth. Raised in Dallas. When you were born in Fort Worth more than a half a century ago…..even customs people from Canada 🙂 know you are a Texan when they see your passport. I can remember the stockyards.I have a rule from Seth Godin: “the customer is always right……..or they are not a customer”Giving people a blank check to satisfy assholes. Gets you assholes.It is not worth it for me to pay assholes to stay as customers. Go to my competitors. Have their employees take your shit.You know what the interesting fact is??? Out of about 10, 9 backed down and I fired 1. It is legend. My people don’t need to eat your shit.LE tells stories of giving a Porsche dealership a hard time and they gave him money. I would say you are not worthy of owning one. Go buy a Lexus.

          7. JamesHRH

            The Lincoln dealer – Steve Tisca – focused on satisfaction, cause you can’t make mistake people happy.It’s funny but it’s true.I agree with your Fire bad customers motto. But, lots of times, customers have valid complaints. Satisfying them quickly was the most efficient economic solution. And, I think it reduces bad customer behaviour when a junior person assssses your situation and says, ‘ you are right, here’s what I am going to do ( not my boss ).’ Makes everybody feel good.Tosca used to basically rebuild Lincolns & Mercuries on his lot, when the quality sucked in the ’70s & ’80s. He eventually had an all access pass to all of Ford. He could go anywhere he wanted.

          8. LE

            LE tells stories of giving a Porsche dealership a hard time and they gave him money. I would say you are not worthy of owning one. Go buy a Lexus.The story was:I bought a Porsche convertible which I had ordered and waited a half a year for let’s say. It was a completely new model that I never had a chance to drive. (718 Boxster S 6 speed; new engine type turbo). I picked it up, took it for a short drive and then drove home (over an hour). On the way home I was on 476 and could hear trucks through the convertible top. It 100% killed my buzz. I also didn’t like the sound of the new engine. Another buzz kill. Nobody buys a Porsche for transportation. It’s a 2nd car or N car. The next day I called the salesman and told him I was unhappy and wanted to know if they would take the car back. I was willing to pay for them to do that. He said ‘this never happened before’ and told me he would get back to me after he spoke to his managers or owner … whatever.I kept the car in the garage and didn’t drive it. It was brand new.A week later he called and said ‘well we can’t take it back because it’s already titled sorry it’s a used car now’. This all happened over the July 4th time period (last year) and I found out later when I called his finance manager that he lied and they hadn’t even sent the title back to the state that I live in. So it wasn’t even titled yet in my name. It would have been as if I took it for a long test drive (dealers do that all the time overnight try it etc. yes even Porsche the loaners are untitled new cars which they later sell as new!)He basically said ‘to bad can’t help you’. I knew that new cars competed with used cars at that dealership. They didn’t want to take it back because new car managers wouldn’t make money and it they would be less likely to sell another new car.So…I wrote Porsche NA in Atlanta and told them the story. They were concerned enough about what the dealer did to cover the cost (and then some) between the model that I bought that replaced it. You see that was after I found a completely new dealer that snapped up the ‘used’ (very limited inventory) car and sold me a new coupe (911 7 speed) that they had trucked in from a far away state. So you see that first dealer was full of shit. So they deserved what they got and I did Porsche a favor (and convinced them of that by giving them a longer version of the above blow by blow).So exactly why wouldn’t someone want me as a customer? They did this not because I am a big important customer (I owned 5 of their cars no big deal to a company that size) but because I was right.

          9. PhilipSugar

            I am thne wrong.

        2. JLM

          .My Dad, who fought against the Germans from N Africa to the top of Italy, would never ride in a Mercedes I owned. God did he have some stories to tell about the Krauts.At the end of the war, he captured a German railway engineering battalion and held them as prisoners for more than year. Seeing them in peacetime made him dislike them even more.When I hit a good lick, I bought an MB. I went to see him. He walked out and turned around and went back inside.I have been to see the concentration camps. I served with German officers — at Grafenwoehr — and some of them were real pieces of work. The anti-Semitism in Europe is real, virulent, and disgusting.I never met a single German who was willing to admit they had supported Hitler, but he was ELECTED to office by the German people. That’s how he got his start.When you are in one of those concentration camps, the air smells evil and you are on constant edge. You cannot think as if the evil is trying to get inside your brain.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Someday maybe use your background to write a theory that explains the uniquely Third Reich wacko behaviors. I wanted to know if that stuff could happen here so studied and tried to learn, but I never could explain those behaviors.The closest to an explanation I ever heard, and I don’t really believe it, was that Germany before unification had long been a favorite battle ground for their neighbors, and in the winters too many German children were living off the flesh of dead soldiers they found in the snow. Then somehow Prussia got an officer class that got angry, determined, disciplined, etc. and put a stop to Germany being abused. But I don’t believe that’s all there is to it.It appears that now Germany is fully serious about stopping anything that is even remotely like the old Nazi stuff. Maybe there is something about old stories and memories of their country being run over from England, the US, and especially Russia that has stuck in the Deutsche Kultur.Gee, Richard Strauss lived in the time of the Third Reich and wrote…which is really sweet and not ugly at all.

      2. PhilipSugar

        Well you didn’t read closely. She was conversing with him. And if you decide to have those markings I don’t need to talk to you to know what’s in your soul.If she was just cutting the shitheads hair? I would have stayed.

  6. StokeMoocher

    I think Cloudflare should have booted the site in question when it had knowledge of Daily Stormer harassing people that sent complaints to Cloudflare about the site. Cloudflare had a practice of forwarding complaints to Customers. This eventually changed when it learned about the harassment (I believe sometime around January 2015). Also, CF finally cut off the site after several domain service and network service providers finally pulled the plug. It was a PR move and nothing more.

  7. jason wright

    so the decentralised web needs to get fully up and running asap because it is unacceptable to have Matthew Prince or anyone else in the position to be able to just wake up one fine morning and decide to arbitrarily “flip the switch”. that is techno fascism. only a formal process of legal jurisprudence should have the power to order such a move.

    1. Rob Underwood

      It’s interesting to think about and consider a decentralized (governed) CDN that uses a consensus protocol on the block chain to decide what to distribute and what not to. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not – just interesting to ponder. (I am guessing @InfoStack:disqus would not be a fan)

      1. Michael Elling

        It’s not about who is right or wrong; or who is decentralized or centralized. It is about balance, sustainability and generativity. That’s what we see in nature. Networks are everywhere and their immutable laws are evident in everything we do. I would just add to everything I’ve said (just read my @disqus profile which is not anonymous and open to all, or my blog and my tweets) that neoliberalism (I did my graduate work at NYU’s Austrian school and had hot debates with my thesis advisor about stock market efficiency) is the real failure here. Good article to read: finished Machine Platform Crowd by McAfee & Brynjolfsson who try to understand network effects and explain everything about today and prediction of AI, platforms and social going forward. While a very well written and researched book, they ultimately fail at their objective. They are big neoliberalists who adhere to Kahneman’s economic decisioning Systems 1 and 2 based on gut (intuition) and logic (reasoning). Neoliberalists are missing Systems 3 and 4, namely emotion and morality (or what makes us human and social). (That does not put me in the Keynes/socialist/big govt camp either.) If we achieve balance across all 4 systems society will be more in harmony and balance than out of harmony and imbalanced.

        1. Twain Twain

          Where do systems 3 and 4 get bolted onto this foundation of western democracy? How can 0 or 1 and % describe the morals of the parties involved? It can’t.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. Michael Elling

            Are you suggesting there isn’t a way, or we just haven’t found one yet? Let’s take this offline. I’ll send you my WP on USSS.

      2. jason wright

        yes, and those not in accord with the evolving policies of the protocol may fork away and enact their own policies. seems to be an entirely natural process and not dictated. certainly not subject to the whims of any individual. what’s not to like?

    2. creative group

      jason wright:If Cloudflare wasn’t a private company we would agree with a quarter of what you stated. But it isn’t.It is strange depending on a person’s political leanings they will support a position that doesn’t make sense one day and the next day go on the lam on rights that appear straight forward. (An example that may not apply to you, Net Neutrality from the Right, no hesitation regarding charging and regulating who receives what speed at what cost when they didn’t create the Internet, etc.)Did you listen to the Prince video?Hate is a learned behavior. What do you choose to learn?

      1. jason wright

        even though i may not have learned to hate i still do not support the right of a CEO to make on-the-fly decisions about content generated by people who may have learned to hate. i do not support a culture of governance that could be abused by one individual to further a personal agenda. where do we draw the line, at hate, and does the CEO decide what is or is not hate? i thought law and courts decided that. if not then it’s anarchy.

        1. creative group

          jason wright:Prince did explain that reasoning in the video. He always noted that Cloudflare only covers 10 percent of the Internet and the site wasn’t taken off the Web just the support of Cloudflare.That POV can just locate another option.It is like the Right needs a boogeyman and has taken a page out of the lefts activists playbook.Protest loud no matter if it fits our narrative, let the narrative fit the Protest.UNAPOLOGETICALLYUNEQUIVOCALLYINDEPENDENT

          1. jason wright

            Cloudflare should go to court with this as an important test case of who has the power to police the internet, and create case law.

  8. anon

    This is an important move. One .thing to remember: the economic conditions always create the setup, the fuel, for such phenomena. Tech companies should not only make efforts to block hate, but also to actively spread the tech economic gains across people and society. Money that is accumulated in tax shelters and bubble IPOs do not help.

  9. LE

    I saw Matt when he was live on Bloomberg and I thought he did extremely well in presenting his point of view.I made a comment on Nicks blog with respect to this issue that was done prior to seeing Matt:…Here are two snips from that:You definitely don’t want people doing things out of emotion or lack of rationality and you certainly don’t want (and Matt has discussed this as well) people making decisions by doing what the crowd that yells the loudest demands. Asshole is definitely not a reason to ban someone.And what I would have done (ironically):What I would do? I would have taken it down.

  10. opoeian

    “When we hear there’s an allegation that there’s something that’s terrorist content or illegal content or otherwise, we turn to the experts in terrorism and illegal content, which is law enforcement legislators, regulators. And we say “Here is this content, what would you like us to do?” That to me feels like the principle of due process. That they are actually politically enshrined organisations who can make these decisions. As opposed to these decisions being made based on the political whims of me or Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos are” – Matthew Prince. Exactly!

  11. LE

    As it happens we are dealing with this exact situation right now.A person on a mission to “rid the internet of these types of things” just lodged a complaint about an organization that has been a customer since 2002. In the past 15 years nobody has made any complaints about them at all. Zero. Zip. Nothing. Now what they are doing is a problem to this person who bragged how they got their web host to remove them and now wanted to put the final nail in the coffin.. This is exactly the danger of all of this. [1][1] Is there offensive content on the site? Yes against many groups including jews, blacks, muslims, and Trump as well.

  12. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:It is troubling to find out he is troubled.No moral compass means a rutter less boat.Values and words matter.

  13. JLM

    .We need to take a stab at discriminating against “stupid” for a change.I have been conducting an informal study amongst my friends and contractors. I am in the midst of a remodel, lots of subs hanging around.I ask them if they know anybody who is a member of:1. A Nazi group;2. A KKK group;3. An Antifa cell; or,4. A BLM chapter.Except for one guy from Bonham, TX who knew some kids he went to school with decades ago, the answer is “NO.” He also said the main event for the KKK in Bonham was fish fries.Where do we see these things? On the boob tube and the Internet. It is absurdly obvious to say they are not mainstream which brings me to the issue of discriminating against stupid.What is stupid is giving these people an audience, a venue, a platform, any visibility.College Station, TX and Texas A&M University were approached a couple of weeks ago about a similar shindig as Charlottesville. The Chancellor of Tx A&M — John Sharp, big time Dem and former neighbor of mine — turned them down flat.The Mayor of Charlottesville was nuts to give them a platform. Before all of y’all civil libertarians begin to howl, let me show you what the 1st Amendment actually says:”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.” [CAPS ADDED]The 1st Amendment is really about the behavior of Congress — LAWMAKING — but it clearly states that the right of the people to assemble is predicated upon it being peaceful.Home rule cities have gigantic disciplinary and enforcement powers — building codes, traffic rules, etc. They control when, where, how, how long events in their cities will be permitted. Oh, yeah, they can require an event planner (shithead) to have a permit and hang specific conditions on that permit.The City of Boston is having a similar event today and has required a great number of requirements from the event organizers, who have agreed to comply with all of them.I still predict trouble as shitheads will be shitheads.I don’t dig censorship, but I think we are there. This will end up in the courts for decades because nobody will ever find the end of the string.I often wonder what Nazi shitheads do at their meetings. I’ve read Mein Kampf a couple of times and it’s a hard read, but the principles are easy to understand. I don’t see these limited vocabulary guys having intellectual discussions about MK. What do they do?Bottom line — discriminate against stupid, no events for shitheads who are violent, bit of censorship which will end nothing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  14. Frank W. Miller

    Cloudflare is a private company, they can do whatever they want unless it violates laws. And certainly dropping nasty foolishness falls into that category.There’s a reason the first amendment is first tho. People can say what they want without the government interfering. They just better get ready for the consequences like getting punched by another private citizen if they are saying Nazi crap.

    1. PhilipSugar

      Nope. You had me to your last sentence. You punch somebody you need to go to jail. Hard prison time.

      1. Frank W. Miller

        And they will. But thats not going to stop private citizens from punching Nazis.

        1. PhilipSugar

          You start putting people in hard core prison for 10 years? Yes it will. Look at why crime went way down…..what else happened??? Incarceration went way up. Curves match exactly just wikipedia it.Your attitude is why this stuff happens.

          1. Frank W. Miller

            Here’s a quote from my favorite blog post on this subject. Its a little tongue in cheek but it represents my view of these idiots nicely:On The Propriety Of Punching Nazis:What happened to letting the other guy throw the first punch?Nazis don’t throw the first punch. Nazis burn the first Reichstag.What about dialogue?Dialogue is for reasonable people acting in good faith. Dialogue is between two acceptable positions. “Taxes need to be raised” vs. “taxes need to be lowered” is grounds for dialogue. “Taxes need to be raised” vs. “Jews should be thrown in ovens” is grounds for a beating.But isn’t this sinking to their level?That depends. After you punch the Nazi, do you espouse the tenets of National Socialism?Isn’t this a slippery slope?After we defeated the Nazis in World War II, did we keep shooting people or did the troops come home and start having babies?The second thing.There you go. The slippery slope argument is nine times out of ten bullshit. Human beings are good with slippery slopes: we build stairs.

          2. awaldstein

            I agree.Trust me, my deep uneasy hatred of supremacists challenges me but you are right. Profoundly so.That is why we have these laws.

          3. PhilipSugar

            I agree with you. JLM posed does anybody ever see or know any of these people? Look at my post where I live.It bothers me. I feel it not just in the pit of my stomach but literally deep in my bowels. Literally. But I will not sink to their level and I strongly disagree with Frank Miller.If they do one physical thing, they also need to go to prison and for a damn long time. Spewing their hate? You know what that really is?? They hate themselves and the life they have made for themselves……seriously.

          4. JamesHRH

            Felonies around free speech events should have special circumstances penalties – I.e., threat to democracy, triple the sentence.

          5. PhilipSugar

            They should say fighting in a demonstration with any implement, throwing rocks, setting fire. Mandatory five years. Covering your face don’t care with a white or black hood means you knew you were going to do it. Another five.No parole. Hard Federal time. I want you to make me more money than you cost me. Six days of twelve hour work……sounds about right.

          6. JamesHRH

            As you likely know, my father was a terrific CDN criminal barrister, for over 50 years.He basically said to me, ‘Every precaution against convicting innocent people. No problem w guily going free due to poor police process or an ‘unproven ‘ ( actual Scottish verdict ) outcome.But once convicted, 8 hours of hard physical labour, no TV, no weight rooms, no socializing. Its punishment.I like the increments of 5.

          7. LE

            But once convicted, 8 hours of hard physical labour, no TV, no weight rooms, no socializing. Its punishment.Well at least one reason that prisoners are given privileges is that that way there is something to take away from them if they don’t behave.And exactly what do you do if they don’t do the hard labor if you are already punishing them with nothing? Put them in solitary as a last step?This is also at least one thing that many people are getting wrong about dealing with Trump. By not giving him any ‘love’ and zero approval 24×7 and ‘you suck big time’ literally all the time there is nothing to take away to keep him even a bit in line. What exactly does he stand to gain in a battle in which the other side would never let him even get close to winning or give him intermittent reinforcement?This doesn’t mean that it would work. But as a principle constant hate of 100% of what someone does is not going to work ever. Just basic human psychology.

          8. sigmaalgebra

            > By not giving him any ‘love’ and zero approval 24×7 and ‘you suck big time’ literally all the time there is nothing to take away to keep him even a bit in line.In Trump’s case, that’s not really right: He gets lots of love and approval, rivers of it. He got nothing but a hero’s welcome full of love at his last rally in West Virginia. For next rally in Phoenix, likely the same. He gets about 90K “likes” on each Twitter post. His approach to the riots in the last 10 days has been to go heavy on the sugar and light on the vinegar; he just praised 25,000 people in Boston, so some of them will like him.I like Trump a LOT. I’m a big fan. A LOT of people like Trump, a LOT, in the right places. Now for the right places, sure, not NYC, SF, or DC. For nearly all the rest of the country, he is from liked all the way up to a hero.Sure, the NYT-Hillary, Democrat, special interest funded, Goebbels style (“Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it; eventually even you will believe it.”), made-up, cooked-up, stirred-up, faked-up, gang-up, pile-on,lying, propaganda media has decided to declare a civil war on Trump. Until a few weeks ago, Chuck Schumer went along with this, just refused to cooperate, refused to do his job as part of the government.Sure, snowflake Maureen Dowd is really upset, may want a “safe space,” from her recent column at least at the first was apparently ecstatic about Obama and just devastated about Trump. Little Maureen is no doubt highly social, really good at fitting in and getting along socially, fits in beautifully socially with the NYT Democrats, liberals, socialists, etc., is a 100% died in the wood, fully dedicated member of the NYT-Manhattan tribe, is running on 100% emotionalism 24 x 7, doesn’t have a working rational neuron anywhere between her ears, was in total dreamy land about what she expected from Obama, etc. Dreamy land about Obama? Did she ever consider his record before POTUS? Had to be swilling some powerful 100% Naive-Gullible brand Kool-Aid daily not to see that Obama really hated the US.And WaPo, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Politico, Time, Newsweek, …, daily shovel out all the wild, nasty, unfounded, total nonsense accusations against Trump 24 x 7 they can. But, really, not many people are listening, fewer are paying attention, fewer are taking it seriously, and fewer are believing that stuff, and from the NYT on, from their confident predictions that, of course, Hillary was going to win and Trump was just a laugh, to the present, those media outlets are weak, down on one knee, and about to lean over and die.To respond to the mainstream (MSM) yapping mutt media, just look at the picture at…The people who want to hate Trump can’t see straight, can’t shoot straight, and are running out of soldiers and ammunition.

          9. LE

            No I am talking about the people who don’t agree with him and want him to change and consider their point of view. By constantly barraging him with hate they have no chance to have their voice heard. It’s a classic ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. You don’t get this type of personality to change by just backing him into a corner. By saying ‘you are wrong, everything you say is wrong, you are stupid, you are an idiot’ there is no way someone will ever listen to you. It’s the exact opposite.Here is an example. We have a nice exchange frequently and consider each others point of view and information. But if I constantly told you you were wrong and did it (importantly) in a rude and obnoxious and hateful way you (or most people anyway) would completely shut me out. It’s really similar to how you deal with kids. But with kids you do have power over them you have things you can give them and take away.Let’s say I really despise hate groups and neo nazis whatever. There is no point in yelling at them. The best thing I could do is try to become close to them in some way and then I would at least be able to take the time to maybe brainwash them or enlighten them to my point of view. Would it work? Well more of a chance then by simply telling them everything about them disgusts me and they should go to hell.

          10. sigmaalgebra

            1 > No I am talking about the people who don’t agree with him and want him to change and consider their point of view.I don’t think we know much about those people: We know that the Fake Leak News screams out that Bannon and McMaster where about to have a dual with old single shot pistols on the south lawn of the White House, etc., but that’s got less credibility than the NYT that is worse than still wet, used Charmin.2 > By constantly barraging him with hateI don’t think that 2 are the same people as in 1, or the actual REAL people in 1 and not the cooked-up ones from the Fake Lying Newsies.On the Fake Newsies, let me insert:Sharyl Attkisson, long at CBS News, TEDx University of Nevada at…on a lot of the dirt in the media and why there seems to be so much fake news propaganda.We can observe:Akrapistan. It appears that Trump got angry with the advice he was getting on that shit pit, had his generals lie face down, put on golf shoes with especially long, sharp spikes, and walked and stomped all over the generals just to get their attention — that was some weeks ago.I’m guessing that for a POTUS facing big problems, mostly the advisors want to propose little pills that are easy to swallow now, even if they won’t really solve the real problems, that is, the advisors are timid and don’t want to propose a big enough and riskier solution. In this case, the POTUS has to get the advisors to make proposals that will solve the real problem, are serious enough and big enough, but are also so darned well thought out that they are low risk. To do that, as a start, a POTUS may have to have his generals stand at attention and get chewed out — get them to be several steps up in being serious. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Trump did a lot of that with his civil engineers, architects, mechanical engineers, lawyers, etc.Last night I tried to watch the TV movie Ike again. Sure, tough not to watch given that Lee Remick (WOW!) played the driver! The movie trivializes nearly everything and becomes manipulative trying to sell dish soap to the housewives in the TV audience. If interested in the important military history, that trivialization, manipulation are annoying. At some point, the fun parts of the movie are just to observe how the writer did the manipulation, that is, get a lesson in manipulative movie script writing if not military history!Well, I don’t know if it is true, but there is a scene where Marshall tells Ike to go to England, and Ike chews out the officers there, saying that in fighting “the German war machine” they look ready only for “tea time”. Even if Ike didn’t do that, apparently we are supposed to believe that at times generals need to do that. Similarly for the movie Patton when he decides to walk around his HQ early one morning and scare and chew out people for small things, even silly things, just to get their attention and level of effort way up. So, maybe Trump chewed out his generals over Akrapistan.Then recently Trump had his generals, likely with Tillerson, etc., meeting with him (the White House is having some construction, maintenance, remodeling, whatever) in NJ and Camp David. It appears that a lot of plans were put forward, that finally he accepted one, and we will hear about it tomorrow night. Dollars to donuts, most of the plan he accepted wasn’t his. If so, then he accepted what some other people were trying to tell him. But it appears that to get these plans he had to chew out his advisors, take the PowerPoint side that listed the four top options and say “None of those; so far your grade is F; get back to work.”Let me insert: Trump’s a bright guy, a smart guy, a perceptive, good judgment guy. Proof: First time at bat in politics, home run to the White House. Easy to do? I don’t think so! Proof: What he got done in the construction business. Proof: What he got done in the TV business. Proof: The awards he got, e.g., chair or some such of the NYC Israel or some such day. Proof: From his business success in NYC, NY, and sort of around the world, no way is he a social clod, interpersonal dummy, emotional intelligence idiot; instead he’s in fact, in practice, for getting results, darned effective working with people, even high level people in a county he has never been to before. Proof: As @JLM:disqus explains, Trump puts up 100 story buildings. We also know he renovates golf courses, etc. I admire those things: I can give a rock solid mathematical proof that I couldn’t give away $20 bills on Wall Street or give away ice cold, fresh lemonade in Burning Man.Net, IMHO, Trump is just a lot smarter than nearly everyone else paying any attention to him. When judging someone who is really smart, need to be careful; also need smart people.But back to taking advice: He got Dung Dong Ill Uno in Ping Pong Yang to set aside, publicly back down from, his Guam thingy. Smart stuff. First time for Trump in nuke big league international pissing matches. Dollars to donuts he put in a lot of his smarts but also accepted a lot of smarts from others.For the ISIS thingy: On the campaign trail, he kept saying he would “Bomb the shit out of ISIS” — the crowd went wild, and he got another 10,000 votes! But as I understand it, Mattis and Co. have taken different approaches, have made a lot of progress, especially have held down civilian deaths, also have done well in getting some Iraqis doing well in the fighting, and are close to being able to say that that septic tank is cleaned out, at least for now. For this, Trump likely accepted a lot of advice.Trump sent 50 or so cruise missiles, with 49 on target, or some such, at a military airport in Syria. That has apparently been a smart move, wrt Syria, Russia, ISIS, a lesson from Big Dog for the world more generally, etc. It was a sudden, surprising, gutsy, Big Dog slap down thing to do. Even if guess that he was partly reacting with his gut at the sight of some of the babies killed with Assad’s poison gas, I have to believe he was also using his smarts and getting at least a lot of consensus, maybe important input, from his relevant advisors.Can guess from @JLM:disqus that no way can one person put up a 100 story building without being really good taking advice from a lot of other people.For the Wollman skating ring, at one point he had a big concrete pour, seamless or some such, at least very much didn’t want to stop until done, that is, do all of it in one stroke, and for this supposedly he had concrete trucks in a queue for miles. So he had to plan this out, and THEN he had to get the HECK approvals from City Hall — he got it done. Smart guy at working with other people, and that’s close to being able to take advice from other people.For more? Apparently he’s slowly getting China house broken in the big world, for better trade deals, for our balance of trade, for generally getting China to behave, and especially for getting China to do what is needed wrt Ping Pong Yang.One thingy Trump already got from Peking Duck Tape is a statement to Dung Dong Ill Uno that if Uno attacks first, China will go neutral wrt a US response. That’s a start. Think that was easy? I don’t think that was easy. I credit Trump, but just how the heck suddenly is Trump an expert on the inscrutable Inner Kingdom or whatever? Dollars to donuts he accepted a lot of advice. Uh, I left out, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs Dunford just went to Peking Duck Tape, landed in camouflage fatigues, was met on the runway by the corresponding Chinese military dressed similarly — definitely military man to man — as another step to do better with China, Ping Pong Yang, etc. Smart stuff — bet Trump got and took some advice on that. IMHO, the WH has something of a campaign going on getting China to behave and it’s organized, likely by some people if not Trump “gamed out”, that is, as a tree.Net, IMHO Trump is good at working with people, taking advice, and making good use of it.On the Wall, well, apparently General Kelly was able to get a lot of the intended progress right away without a physical wall. No doubt Kelly talked Trump into that, that is, Trump took the advice of Kelly. Again Trump took advice, good advice. I suspect we really do still need the wall, but with what Kelly got started, Sessions, etc., we can make a lot of progress now.But advice from the Lying Fake Newsies in the propaganda media? Nope. E.g., in the last ten days, those newsies wanted Trump to take sides, name names, chastise, ostracize, etc. That would stimulate more division and violence. Instead, wisely, Trump tried to calm things down. Generally he used sugar instead of vinegar. So, there Trump, right, didn’t take advice from the Fake dumb dumb newsies.There’s a thing in principle Trump can do and in practice does do, and he’s got smarts and guts enough to do it: When he sees his enemies going wrong, screaming for him to bend in some stupid way, he doesn’t bend and, instead, lets his enemies continue going wrong. So, his enemies raise hell for a while — claiming that Trump belongs in a mental hospital, etc. — but soon are seen to have been wrong with Trump right. Then, soon as people see that Trump was right, he wins, big league. Of course he did that when he announced, when he won the nomination, and when he won the election — you’d think his enemies would get tired of being so wrong and losing so often!

        2. JamesHRH

          No committed person with experience in the criminal justice system, from any angle, agrees with you.

      2. LE

        Exactly. Amazing how some people thought that was acceptable or were willing to look the other way.

      3. JLM

        .Punching people is never the winning course, said the guy who was trained in hand-to-hand combat at Ranger School and for 5 years in the combat engineers.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      4. JamesHRH

        Totally agree.

    2. JLM

      .There is a huge misconception as to what the First Amendment actually says:”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.”The First Amendment exerts discipline on Congress and its lawmaking. It infers that the right of the people to assemble is constrained by a requirement that such an assembly be “peacable.”Therein lies the issue. The assemblies of recent days were not peaceful. That is the basis upon which events should be permitted.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Absolutely correct.And this wording was no accident. The founders were well informed on the French Revolution. They were trying to design a Republic that would be as resistant as they knew how to make it to the forms of strife that had torn Europe asunder for centuries e.g. Religious conflicts at the state level, a complete absence of the pressure release valve of access to control the excesses of state power.How ironic if we don’t understand what they struggled so hard to put into place for us and tear ourselves apart.”If there is a lesson in all of this it is that our Constitution is neither a self-actuating nor a self-correcting document. It requires the constant attention and devotion of all citizens. There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” “https://constitutioncenter….That remains the question. Can we? One thing is for sure- it demands eternal vigilance.

        1. Girish Mehta

          The page from the diary of James McHenry on Sept 18, 1787 recording the exchange with Franklin. It is the paragraph on the bottom right, below the number 18 (presumably referring to Sep 18).”Well Doctor, what have we got a republic or a monarchy – a republic replied the doctor if you can keep it”.The last sentence on that page – the lady who asked the question was “Mrs Powell of Philadelphia”. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. Pete Griffiths

            Very nice, thanks Girish.

        2. JLM

          .The French exerted huge influence on the Revolution and the US. We do not pay sufficient homage to that reality. French troops and the French navy made Yorktown happen when they ran off the British fleet preventing Cornwallis’ retreat on water.Having said that, I will quibble that the French Revolution — a different gov’t and players than those who helped the Colonies — did not have any influence on the Bill of Rights of which the First Amendment was the, well, first amendment of ten to the US Constitution.The French Revolution is considered to have been 5 May 1789 to 9 November 1799.The Bill of Rights was submitted for ratification on 25 September 1789 and was ratified on 15 December 1791.The Bill of Rights was in drafting for a couple of years earlier than its submission date and, therefore, the time slots don’t work.You are correct that there was a lot of French political thinking embraced by the fledgling Americans and we had emissaries in France during the American Revolution, but the Founders were, generally, aghast at the violence of the French Revolution and it chilled our relations with them for years. Maybe, forever.Jefferson — who had been our Ambassador to France — was particularly troubled by the beheadings.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Girish Mehta

            I had the same question about the timing of the influence of the French Revolution. Franklin’s comment for example was in 1787 and like you say the US Bill of Rights was already in the works being drafted before 1789, ratified later.Maybe @myscrawl:disqus was referring to something specific in the period leading to the French Revolution…I don’t know. Its a interesting question.

          2. JLM

            .Many educated Americans could speak French and the French view of things was a good counterpoint to the English. And, of course, we were at war with the English.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Pete Griffiths

            HOLD ON NOW. ‘.”the French view of things was a good counterpoint to the English” WTF? When has that ever been true?’

          4. JLM

            . Uhh, French Republic/democracy v English monarchy? Just for starters.French Catholicism v Church of England?Escargot v fish & chips.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Pete Griffiths

            Escargot? Vs fish and chips!? That’s sinking pretty low!

          6. Pete Griffiths

            The European experience was a longstanding influence on the thinking of the founders. The ideas that led to the Revolution had been germinating for centuries. The notion of ‘rights’ for example, was profoundly important.The revolution ironically was a tempering influence on the enthusiasm for some of the ideas but was seen as a lesson to be avoided rather than a refutation of key ideas (eg rights)Interestingly it was not just the US that was profoundly impacted but such ideas fermenting in Europe. Russia too was turned upside down by the subversive notion of rights.

          7. Pete Griffiths

            For detailed study of the intellectual impact of the European experience and of the Enlightenment political ideas on the Founders (which was not uniform!) I cannot recommend the work of Jonathan Israel (Princeton Institute of Advanced Study) enough. I would venture to suggest that he is the leading scholar on this topic. He has written a good deal on this topic – “(Radical Enlightenment (2001), Enlightenment Contested (2006), and Democratic Enlightenment (2011) constitute a monumental trilogy on the history of the Radical Enlightenment and the intellectual origins of modern democracy.”You are absolutely completely and utterly correct about the Founders’ concerns about the violence of the French Revolution, just as they were horrified by the centuries of bloodletting that Europe endured as Catholics battled Protestants. That was what I was getting at when I said that it was these experiences of Europe that guided the Founders in their attempts to design a state that would be, so far as they were able (and they were acutely aware of the fact that whatever their solutions there was no guarant of success) at the very least resistant to such blights on society.I often feel, when people in the US discussion the constitution for example, that a course in European history should be a necessary pre-requisists for any study of the topic, for without some basic understanding of that history the ideas behind the Republic are free floating ideas rather than ideas deeply rooted in painful experiences and lessons learned over centuries.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        So UNfair of you actually to quote the actual text of the actual amendment to the actual Constitution!Instead the only fair play is everyone on an equal basis, just using their raw emotions, tribal instincts, garbage facts or no facts, and speaking from their sitting place!

      3. jason wright

        the problem comes when two separate groups of people expressing opposing views on the same subject intend to peaceably assemble at the same place and at the same time, which points to a possible workable amendment to the First Amendment. to avoid conflict either assemble at the same place but at different times, or at different places at the same time. if one group objects to this then it is i think fair to conclude that their intention is to restrict the First Amendment rights of the other group, which may be regarded as unlawful. as always i feel that everyone should be allowed to freely express their opinions on any subject (but be held legally responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their expressed opinions) that Matthew Prince got it wrong.

  15. sigmaalgebra

    > Video Of The Week: Who Has The Right To Police The Internet?Let me see: IIRC, we in the US have something we call our Constitution. Maybe I remember something there about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, due process, our three branches of government, one of those branches that passes laws, another branch that enforces the laws, another branch that executes the due process, something about those things.So if party A has broken some laws, then, sure, let’s hear about it! We are awash in laws and law enforcement at every level, with lots of courts and judges.Well, I don’t know what party A has said, believes, wants, etc., but before we take action against them I want to know about what laws, what due process, etc.And if action is taken against them, I want that to be fully legal, say, from law enforcement, judges involved, etc.For a CEO to throttle what some party A does that is not illegal, heck no. The CEO should be sued in civil court, criminal court, whatever, to the fullest extent of the law. But I’m not sure there is any legal case for party A against the CEO. In that case, the CEO can hang up a sign that says “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.” and follow that sign. I would hope that such signs and behavior don’t become a way to “to police the Internet”.Eventually for restaurants we saw too many of those signs “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.” and passed some laws reading, e.g., from Google search “public accommodation,” with(a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.Then that was a case of some people in effect needing the law in order not to show the sign. So, a CEO of a corporation with a BoD, especially a public corporation, may want such a law so that he or or his company’s stock value, etc. can’t be attacked from (A) people who don’t like the sign if he does show it or (B) people who do like the sign if he doesn’t show it.Generally I am opposed to determining such situations, such signs, pulling down statues, castigating party A, “to police the Internet,” by mass demonstrations in the streets, but my opposition as just one person will have little or no effect.So, I suspect that if the CEO of Cloudflare wants to get rid of some of his customers, then it will be legal for him to do so. Then if party A is massively unpopular, they should hide their name and, under some other name, go to another content distribution network or some such.But, again, we shouldn’t look to, pressure, or encourage CEOs “to police the Internet” in such ways.To raise such a question after the events of the last 10 days or so suggests that rather suddenly we are being pushed, somehow, into some amorphous, ambiguous collection of politically correct and powerful social norms. E.g., the leaders of the norms can punish victims by mandating a case of “silent treatment”. So, party A might find that, with such policing of the Internet, they can’t get an IP address, e-mail address, etc, when they have committed no crime, have not been charged with a crime, have not had a trial, but, instead, quietly in secret, have been charged, tried, found guilty, and punished all without knowing it or having any way to appeal it or stop it. In business, such a silent treatment might be regarded as “collusion in restraint of trade” since party A can’t get an IP address, etc.So, uh, CEOs, etc., policing the Internet? According to what rules, laws, authority, due process, rights? Sounds like the line in the bar scene in the first Star Wars with “We don’t serve their kind here.”.Party A has the same rights as everyone else. I did hear something about equal before the law. I heard more about a nation of laws, not people.So, hysterical X is able to scream that we should settle the score with party A. That might be inciting violence and illegal. If it is just freedom of speech, then okay. But law enforcement needs to execute the laws, not hysterical X.Sorry ’bout that. I know; I know; apparently a lot of people believe our Constitution is junk, doesn’t mean what it says, is out of date, should just be ignored, etc. Did I mention sorry ’bout that?And I don’t even know what party A said, and I don’t care to know except, was it actually illegal? I have yet to hear anything about actually illegal.What does occur to me is the Fake News nasty propaganda media pointing to some party A, saying that they are dirty dogs, filthy, the worst ever, un-American, that we should denounce, renounce, criticize, chastise, ostracize, reject, isolate, sabotage, etc. them. And if decent, upstanding, moral, ethical, middle of the road, patriotic, true blooded, honest American citizens want to go after despicable party A, then stand aside, have the police stand aside, and hope the swinging clubs find their targets so that we can finally be rid of party A, degenerate, dangerous, destructive, despicable, depraved, dastardly, party A. Gee, we could have the final solution to the long standing cancer of party A!!!! We can have the true democracy of street justice!Some people might start screaming that people in party A have no right to walk on the streets, hold public office, live in neighborhoods or go to schools with decent people, drink at public water fountains; people in party A must wear identifying arm bands (so sneaky they are at looking like decent people), pay special taxes, etc.Sounds a lot like inciting violence to me. IIRC from history, such screaming such stuff, inciting violence, lack of due process, about party A has resulted in some really nasty chapters in human history.Somehow, I’m not very comfortable with people outside of proper law enforcement going after party A.Gee, after we go after party A, party B, and party C, all that will be left are you and me, and I’m not so sure we shouldn’t go after you in party D.Looks to me like people who want to banish party A also want to destroy our Constitution, seriously weaken the US, maybe start a civil war.”Civil war”? That’s what some weeks ago I wrote Senator Schumer, told him that it looked like he and the Democrats no longer wanted to do their jobs helping to govern the country but, instead, wanted to pursue a civil war.Ah, maybe I’m wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. So, maybe the CEO of CloudFlare is right, we should junk our sick, old Constitution? Maybe?Somehow I don’t think so.

  16. Dan Epstein

    On topic, kudos to Cloudfare for doing what they think is right, even though it was difficult.

  17. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!Carl Icahn’s failed raid on Washington article in the New Yorker…The insight on how he views the empty vessel is priceless but far from surprising.UNAPOLOGETICALLYUNEQUIVOCALLYINDEPENDENT

  18. Ryan Shea

    I find this situation very troubling for several reasons.The digital world is becoming more and more important and is starting to have a greater influence over the physical world. In the future, we’ll use augmented reality to help us see and almost invisible earbuds to help us hear with greater context.See the White Christmas episode of Black Mirror or read the book Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. In these cases, we have pieces of software that help define reality, ranging from the identities of people to physical locations.We have to ask ourselves how much power we want to give the software providers of these services. How much power should companies have over our eyes and ears?A less extreme and more modern example of this can be seen with the domain name system and social networks and search engines of the internet. These services define reality. I see internet services as part of the physics of the digital world. They should be seen as gravity or air.We need to upgrade our internet infrastructure so it is no longer run by individual entities.We need a system where CEO’s like Matthew Prince of CloudFlare and Sundar Pichai of Google don’t have to bear the burden of having to decide who gets to be on the internet and who gets to be protected on the internet and who can be found on the internet.This is why decentralization of internet infrastructure is so important.I’m looking forward to a world where the internet’s domain name system and public key infrastructure is not run by corporations like Verisign but instead is collectively maintained by all of the computers on the internet, much like email or Bitcoin.There’s a whole movement around making this vision a reality. We can look to open source communities around technologies like Ethereum and IPFS and Blockstack and see what they are enabling and what they’re working towards.Matthew Prince has it right that due process and law enforcement are the mechanisms we should rely upon here. Political whims by individual technologists should not be considered.As the EFF says, the domain name infrastructure is not where the fight against vile behavior should be taken.

  19. sigmaalgebra

    So Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince puts a sign in his shop window “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”Matthew’s friends congratulate him: (A) They mention ugly Party A gathering before the town courthouse with the outrageous, provocative, threatening, un-American act of carrying lighted candles, scream that Party A should be refused service, and that there is no place for “their kind”. (B) His friends move to have counter demonstrations of decent people ready to get a final solution to that long outrageous Party A.Some of Matthew’s skeptical neighbors simply ask “What laws has Party A violated”?. Some of Matthew’s alarmist friends react with screaming that such skeptical deniers are racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-American, terrorists, unstable, unbalanced, immoral, etc. and spray paint slogans on their houses, try to get the local private school to expel the skeptics’ children, etc. The alarmists scream that they are being made to feel uncomfortable by the skeptics and demonstrate with signs reading “One country. One government. One leader.”!

  20. Pete Griffiths


  21. sigmaalgebra

    Apparently some Democrats and newsies don’t like some 100+ year old statues from US history. Gee, then maybe we should use some of those old statues to replace those Democrats and newsies! Couldn’t be any worse off than with the statues. Besides, get to save some old statues of US history!Why do I have to be one to propose such obvious fixes? Why didn’t we hear that from the newsies???A modest proposal: Maybe we should give each of the Democrats and newsies some tooth paste and a tooth brush and have them start cleaning the statues, starting with Mount Rushmore and continuing in DC with the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument! They get to do a little honest work for a big change; that should help build much needed character!