Patterico's Pontifications

8/5/2019

Democrats After Mass Shootings: Hey, Time To Make A Few Bucks Off The Dead

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:55 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Oh, sure, why not. Every cause needs Big Bucks to propel it forward. Every candidate needs money coming in to their campaign. Jump while the gettin’s good!

Just yesterday, I said:

…on top of these reactions, there is an even grosser reaction by the politicians and the media: how to most effectively capitalize on the tragedies. The intentional killings are almost immediately seen as an opportunity to push policies and agendas…It’s disgusting.

I should have specifically mentioned fundraising. Because some politicians aren’t above making a few bucks off the innocent dead if it can help further their cause. The end justifies the means, right? After all, people, there are elections to win… What? You think that’s crass? Oh, wake up, twit. This is American politics. Specifically, Democratic politics :

The Democratic National Committee is fundraising off of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that together left at least 31 people dead.

The DNC sent out a pair of fundraising emails from former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was wounded in a 2011 shooting. Giffords’ emails directly invoked last weekend’s mass murders in asking for donations.

“I am asking you to have the courage to act today. For every man, woman, and child whose life has been cut short by the epidemic of gun violence in our country,” Giffords wrote in an email sent out Monday afternoon.

“Split a $10 donation between my organization dedicated to ending gun violence, Giffords PAC, and the Democratic National Committee today. Together, we have the power to prevent gun violence and save lives,” she urged recipients.

Jumping in on the “let’s walk on the dead bodies and make a buck” exploitation were Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. They not only want to be your next president, but they also really want to get some cash coming in.

Elizabeth Warren’s pitch:

Yesterday, we woke up to the second mass shooting in just as many days. I’m heartbroken for El Paso and Dayton, and to all the families who have just endured unimaginable loss.

We need commonsense gun reform — now, before the next mass shooting, to stop the daily gun violence on our streets, and to make sure that our families and loved ones are safe.

But Mitch McConnell and Republicans in the Senate are blocking legislation that could help address this epidemic.

During the last election, we flipped the House. And in February, the Democratic-led House passed bipartisan legislation that would make a meaningful impact on this crisis.

But five months after passing the House, and more than six and a half years after Sandy Hook, that bill is still sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk. It’s inexcusable.

It’s clear Republicans don’t have the courage to do something about this crisis. We can’t wait for them to act — because they won’t. If we’re going to address the gun violence epidemic in our country, we need to take back the Senate in 2020.

I’ll fight my heart out to make sure Democrats win up and down the ballot in 2020 — but if we’re going to beat Republicans and the gun lobby, it’s going to take a grassroots movement.

Will you chip in today to help Democrats flip the Senate? Your donation will be split among funds that will go to the eventual Democratic Senate nominees in 23 races and Senators Doug Jones and Tina Smith.

Kamala Harris’s pitch:

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Brent Scher, who received the Harris fundraising letter, explains that even though the donations are going to political gun control groups through Harris’s ActBlue page, it is still fundraising via her campaign, so it has organization benefits.

So,to recap: 31 people have been killed by deranged madmen but it’s a-okay for Democrats to make some money off of the tragedy to promote their political candidates and causes. You goddamn amoral ghouls. But remember, don’t you dare offer any heartfelt condolences or compassionate prayers for the families impacted by these tragedies because that would just be some really unseemly bullshit, am I right??

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Guns in America

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 3:00 pm



[Headlines by DRJ]

Walmart faces pressure to stop gun sales after latest U.S. mass shootings:

Walmart Inc said on Monday there has been no change in its policy on gun sales after two mass shootings over the weekend, including one at a Walmart store, left 31 people dead in Texas and Ohio.

Years of public pressure led Walmart, the largest U.S arms retailer, to end assault rifle sales in 2015, and in 2018 to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. Some gun control activists and Walmart customers now want the retailer to drop sales of guns and ammunition altogether.

If the El Paso and especially the Dayton shootings taught us anything, it is that the quicker a person with a gun shows up, the sooner the shooting ends and the more lives that will be saved. In Dayton, the police arrived in less than a minute and lives were saved. In El Paso, the response time was 6 minutes but the shooter may not have been confronted for 20 minutes — the timeline and details are still unclear. If someone in El Paso had been armed, maybe fewer people would have died. (This is not a criticism of the El Paso police. They can’t be everywhere and high-paying oilfield jobs in Texas have led to a shortage of police that is affecting response times, as well as frequent overtime shifts.)

We count on our police but we also need to be armed. Asking Walmart to make it harder for citizens to arm themselves is the wrong thing to do.

— DRJ

Cloudflare Revokes 8Chan’s Service

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:10 pm



[guest post by Dana]

As of midnight last night, Cloudflare cut off 8Chan:

Early Monday, 8chan, the anonymous message board where the man accused of carrying out the El Paso massacre posted his manifesto, went offline.

The man most responsible for the outage wasn’t Jim Watkins, 8chan’s owner, or his son Ronald, the message board’s administrator.

Instead, the decision to take 8chan offline, at least temporarily, fell largely to Matthew Prince, the chief executive of the little-known San Francisco company Cloudflare.

Cloudflare provides tools that protect websites from cyberattacks and allows sites to load content more quickly. It is a critical tool for sites like 8chan where extremists gather. Without the kind of protection that Cloudflare offers, 8chan can be barraged by automated, hard-to-prevent attacks from its critics, making it nearly impossible to stay online.

…Cloudflare’s service protects a large chunk of the internet, and for years, the decade-old company avoided making decisions about which sites deserved protection and which did not.

In 2017, Prince terminated services to the neo-Nazi hate site, The Daily Stormer. At that time, the decision to depart from the company’s content neutral position didn’t come easily :

“This was my decision. This is not Cloudflare’s general policy now, going forward,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told Gizmodo. “I think we have to have a conversation over what part of the infrastructure stack is right to police content.”

Prince explained in an internal email to staffers that he doesn’t think CEOs of internet companies should be in the position of policing content on their networks—he told Gizmodo he thinks that’s a job that should ultimately be left up to law enforcement if the content violates the law—but felt pushed to act because the operators of the Daily Stormer are “assholes.”

“I realized there was no way we were going to have that conversation with people calling us Nazis,” Prince said. “The Daily Stormer site was bragging on their bulletin boards about how Cloudflare was one of them and that is the opposite of everything we believe. That was the tipping point for me.”

The root concerns about making such a decision with regard to 8Chan, comes down to this:

On one hand, 8chan was clearly reprehensible, and depriving it of the protection Cloudflare provides would rid him of a troublesome customer and a huge headache. On the other hand, banning 8chan could set a bad precedent, and it could make it harder for law enforcement authorities to monitor violent extremists. Cloudflare, like other tech companies with a window onto dark internet activity, can share information about crimes with investigators.

The decision cut off 8Chan raised questions from Cloudflare employees:

Among Cloudflare employees, there was disagreement. Some thought that banning 8chan was a clear-cut moral imperative; others thought it could create a slippery slope to censorship. Douglas Kramer, Cloudflare’s general counsel, spent much of Sunday afternoon telling news outlets that Cloudflare would not ban 8chan because of its content, saying “We’re largely a neutral utility service.”

Hours later, Mr. Prince called me back. He had decided to cut off 8chan. He characterized the site as a “lawless” platform that had willfully ignored warnings about violent extremism. Its tolerance for hate, he said, made 8chan different than other sites where extremists gather, like Facebook or Twitter.

“They’ve been not only actively ignoring complaints they receive, but sometimes weaponizing those complaints against people who are complaining about them,” Mr. Prince said. “That lawlessness feels like a real distinction from the Facebooks of the world.”

[…]

Ultimately, Mr. Prince said he decided that 8chan was too centrally organized around hate, and more willing to ignore laws against violent incitement in order to avoid moderating its platform. The realization, along with the multiple mass murders that the authorities have connected to 8chan, tipped the scale in favor of a ban.

Matthew Prince’s blog entry details his decision for terminating service for 8Chan, and is well worth the read – no matter if you think this will just drive white nationalists underground, or whether you feel that anything and everything should be done to stop this poison from spreading, even if means possible censorship.

Note: 8Chan sought services elsewhere after Cloudflare dropped them. However, it hasn’t worked out well:

After Cloudflare dropped its protection of the site yesterday, 8chan adopted the services of Bitmitigate, but soon lost that too as the company providing Bitmitigate with services dropped them.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

President Trump: Remarks on the Weekend’s Mass Shootings

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:52 am



[guest post by Dana]

In the early hours this morning, President Trump made his first comments about the mass shootings this weekend, suggesting legislation tie immigration reform and gun control together:

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Just a short while ago, Trump made a statement from the White House about El Paso and Dayton in which he condemned white supremacy (beginning at the 41:16 mark):

From The New York Times:

President Trump forcefully condemned white supremacy in the wake of twin mass shootings over the weekend, citing the threat of “racist hate” and calling for national unity in devising a response.

“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Mr. Trump said. [“These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America”]

[…]

“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation and a crime against all of humanity,” Mr. Trump said.

Trump did not specifically address measures that gun control advocates argue are needed:

But Mr. Trump stopped well short of supporting the kind of broad gun control measures that activists and Democrats have sought for years, instead calling for stronger action to address mental illness, violence in the media and in video games, as well as “the perils of the internet and social media.”

Trump also called for laws that would ensure that those “judged a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms”. He also made this declaration: “Mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun.”

Moreover:

Trump called for law enforcement and social media companies to do more to combat extremism and spot warning signs of violence online. He also called for a reduction in the “glorification” of violence in American culture, laws to make it easier to commit those with mental illness and “red flag laws” to separate such individuals from firearms.

Trump also directed the Department of Justice to seek and prioritize the enforcement of the death penalty in cases of hate crimes and mass shootings.

Trump’s remarks from the White House this morning did not echo his earlier tweets suggesting legislation tying together strong background checks with immigration reform.

[Ed. As this point, the White House has still not provided the full text of the president’s remarks.]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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