Encountering Denial Without Getting Wet

Well, it appears that once again Identica is down. This is not unexpected. While the pump.io software is rapidly iterating, the Identica instance is a special case that doesn't necessarily keep up. Since it is done right now, I suppose I can make a blog post.

A horrible thing was heard on the radio today via WJR.1 A lunatic was denying that Hurricane Irma had occurred and that everything shown in television reports was just a bit of computer-generated imagery. As you might imagine, the sheer audacity in someone claiming that was hard to believe. The number of broadcasters having to club together to agree on making that happen would be enormous. Getting Prime Minister Theresa May to send troops to the Caribbean while the USA's Defense and Homeland Security departments deploy personnel certainly add a nice touch. Too many people would be involved to make it a conspiracy.

For the avoidance of doubt, a bibliography of stories from multiple sources about Irma is provided below gathered over the past 24 hours or so.


Chappell, Bill, and Colin Dwyer. "Irma Brings Floods, Tornado Risks As Weakened Storm Buffets Georgia." NPR.Org, September 11, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/11/550086785/hurricane-irma-weakens-into-tropical-storm-as-it-grinds-through-florida.

Deb, Sopan. "As Irma's Winds Rise, So Does a Debate Over TV Storm Reporting." The New York Times, September 10, 2017, sec. Media. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/business/media/hurricane-irma-broadcasts-safety.html.

"Delta to Cancel about 800 Flights Due to Irma." Reuters, September 11, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma-flights/delta-to-cancel-about-800-flights-due-to-irma-idUSKCN1BM1L6.

Dwyer, Colin. "The Rubble And Recovery Of U.S. Virgin Islands: 'Will We Survive The Aftermath?'" NPR.Org, September 10, 2017. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/10/549981547/the-rubble-and-recovery-of-u-s-virgin-islands-will-we-survive-the-aftermath.

"Factbox: Over 7.3 Million Lose Power from Irma in U.S. Southeast - Utilities." Reuters, September 11, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma-power-outages-factbox/factbox-about-5-8-million-lose-power-from-irma-state-and-utilities-idUSKCN1BM1KD.

Fedschun, Travis, and Nicole Darrah. "Irma Inundates Naples Area with Storm Surge after Second Florida Landfall." Fox News, September 10, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-powers-up-as-it-nears-florida-keys-back-to-category-4.html.

"Florida Launches Rescue in Wake of Irma." BBC News, September 11, 2017, sec. US & Canada. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41226596.

Gill, Joshua. "Christians Provide More Aid To Hurricane Victims Than FEMA." The Daily Caller, September 10, 2017. http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/10/christians-provide-more-aid-to-hurricane-victims-than-fema/.

"Havana Hit with Flooding from Hurricane Irma." CBC News, September 10, 2017. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/hurricane-irma-cuba-1.4282846.

"Hurricane Irma Sucks Away Tampa Bay Water." Fox News, September 10, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-sucks-away-tampa-bay-water.html.

"Hurricane Jose Passes Puerto Rico, Spares Caribbean Islands." Fox News, September 10, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/10/hurricane-jose-passes-puerto-rico-spares-caribbean-islands.html.

"Irma Weakens as It Tears through Florida, Becomes Category 2 Hurricane." CBC News, September 10, 2017. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/hurricane-irma-florida-sunday-1.4283014.

"Irma's Trail of Destruction in Florida Keys Revealed." Fox News, September 11, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/11/irma-s-trail-destruction-in-florida-keys-revealed.html.

Kay, Jennifer, and Doug Ferguson. "Aircraft Carrier Is Rushed to the Hurricane-Battered Keys." Cleveland 19 News, September 11, 2017. http://www.cleveland19.com/story/36333167/aircraft-carrier-is-rushed-to-the-hurricane-battered-keys.

Linehan, Adam. "Air National Guard Couple Wed In Uniform Amid Hurricane Irma Rescue Operations." Task & Purpose, September 11, 2017. http://taskandpurpose.com/air-national-guard-couple-wed-uniform-amid-hurricane-irma-rescue-operations.

O'Donnell, Wes. "The Real Reason the US Navy Keeps Hitting Merchant Vessels." In Military, September 11, 2017. http://inmilitary.com/real-reason-us-navy-keeps-hitting-merchant-vessels/.

Pritchard, Trevor. "'A Collective Freakout': Ottawa Woman, Husband to Ride out Hurricane Irma." CBC News, September 10, 2017. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-woman-riding-out-hurricane-irma-1.4282475.

Rannard, Georgina. "Not Everybody Falls for Irma Fake News." BBC News, September 11, 2017, sec. BBC Trending. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-41224792.

"Richard Branson Reveals Irma Devastation on Necker Island." Fox News, September 10, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/10/richard-branson-reveals-irma-devastation-on-necker-island.html.

Sullivan, Andy. "Florida Keys Evacuees Told They Cannot Return Home after Irma." Reuters, September 11, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma-florida-keys/tempers-flare-as-florida-keys-evacuees-wait-to-go-home-after-irma-idUSKCN1BM2DZ.

Sullivan, Andy, and Robin Respaut. "Floridians Return to Shattered Homes as Irma Crosses into Georgia." Reuters, September 11, 2017. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-irma/hurricane-irma-barrels-toward-caribbean-southern-united-states-idUSKCN1BG0KL.

  1. Find the radio station online at http://www.wjr.com/.|||

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Mirror Early, Mirror Often

The news over the past week was fairly disturbing.1 It could also be said that the concept of "net neutrality" is rather effectively dead in the United States of America. Those who might have championed it have also killed it with calls for censorship due to a recent outcry over banning "hate sites".2 The big questions over statuary and other monuments that came out of the recent conflict in the Virginia community of Charlottesville are what fuel this right now.3 Conservative writer Erick Erickson expects violence may increase based upon the current state of events.4

One website, The Daily Stormer, has been chased away from most of the public Internet which is otherwise known as "de-platforming". A variety of news sources have covered this remarkable chase. This has happened in the background of continuing protests and counter-protests with a flare-up in the Massachusetts community of Boston.5 Most recently the domain name registrar NameCheap revoked the registration of that site after GoDaddy and Google had both done so.6 There was even an attempt to request a so-called enhancement of Tor to block the site after it had retreated to being a hidden service there but the request was blocked as it would have been against the basic purpose and reason for Tor to exist.7 The Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence project apparently has been taking action for multiple years to try to get some of these withdrawals of service to take place.8

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has spoken about the situation from an expressive rights perspective and noted that a slippery slope was present.9 The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that it was a small step to designate groups like Black Lives Matter as a hate group that needed to be eliminated from the Internet too.10 Similar concerns were raised by the CEO of Cloudflare, Matthew Prince, who withdrew his company's services from The Daily Stormer where he even noted that a member of his company's staff asked if that act was the start of the Internet dying.11

In light of all this recent news, I remain concerned. The Canadian commentator Rex Murphy has written, perhaps quite rightly, that these are quite crazy times in the United States of America.12 My work building off work at the Chaos Communications Conference on reviewing the Outernet satellite platform continues.13 The original plan was to present that work at OggCamp 17 but due to family circumstances as well as the unpredictable nature of my day job that did not happen.

Our very centralized Internet is very rooted in the United States of America. Twitter, RedHat, Netflix, FaceBook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and more are all companies headquartered in the United States of America. Parts of the Linux world are not headquartered here but major pieces are here let alone a major portion of core Internet infrastructure. This presents a signficant point of failure not in terms of these resources simply vanishing but in terms of the output becoming filtered quite hard. There need not be any governmental action to make it happen. If anything the howling mobs are causing statues to be pulled down across the United States of America. The Lincoln Memorial in the capital has been defaced over the past week.14 A bust of Abraham Lincoln in Chicago was set on fire.15 Multiple people are facing charges for toppling a Confederate statue in North Carolina.16

First the mob demands "net neutrality". Now it throws it away calling for "good censorship". What is next? Cultural hegemony through consolidation of Internet providers in the United States of America does lead to problems when the culture starts to go to war with itself.

Mirror early, mirror often, mirror locally.

  1. N.B. Not everything is available directly online in a free-as-beer fashion. Some items cited were found via Lexis-Nexis which is why footnotes are used in lieu of simple links.^

  2. Steven Overly and Ashley Gold, "Tech Firms' Fight against Hate Could Haunt Them," POLITICO, accessed August 20, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/19/tech-firms-fight-hate-backlash-241807.^

  3. Jon Schuppe, "As Confederate Statues Fall, so Might Markers to Other Controversial Figures," NBC News, August 18, 2017, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/toppling-confederate-statues-fuels-opposition-other-markers-n793966.^

  4. Erick Erickson, "Here Is Why the Violence Is Going to Escalate, And Escalate Quickly," The Resurgent, August 15, 2017, http://theresurgent.com/here-is-why-the-violence-is-going-to-escalate-and-escalate-quickly/.^

  5. "Boston March against Right-Wing Rally Draws Thousands," BBC News, August 20, 2017, sec. US & Canada, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40980175.^

  6. Adi Robertson, "Namecheap Has Taken down Neo-Nazi Site Daily Stormer," The Verge, August 20, 2017, https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/20/16170370/namecheap-host-take-down-neo-nazi-hate-site-daily-stormer.^

  7. "23270 (Allow Tor Relays to Be Configured to Block Selected Hidden Services, Including Racist Hate Sites)," Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki, August 18, 2017, https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/23270.^

  8. Barbara Ortutay, "After Charlottesville, Tech Firms Banish Extremists," Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), August 18, 2017, B; Pg. 5.^

  9. Rachel Sandler, "Warning Issued Following Silencing of Stormer; Digital Rights Group Sees Dangerous Step for Free Speech," Dayton Daily News (Ohio), August 19, 2017, Z5.^

  10. Levi Sumagaysay, "Google, Other Tech Companies Warned over 'Dangerous' Banning of Neo-Nazis, Hate Groups," The Mercury News (California), August 18, 2017.^

  11. Matthew Prince, "Why We Terminated Daily Stormer," Cloudflare Blog, August 16, 2017, http://blog.cloudflare.com/why-we-terminated-daily-stormer/.^

  12. Rex Murphy, "American Madness; Politics In The U.S. Has Become Unhinged, And Not Just Because Of Donald Trump," National Post (Canada), August 19, 2017, ISSUES & IDEAS; Pg. A19.^

  13. Reverse Engineering Outernet (Hamburg, Germany, 2016), https://media.ccc.de/v/33c3-8399-reverse_engineering_outernet.^

  14. Miranda Green, "DC's Lincoln Memorial Vandalized with Spray-Painted Expletive," CNN, August 15, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/15/politics/lincoln-memorial-vandalized/index.html.^

  15. Fran Spielman and Mitch Dudek, "Alderman Says Lincoln Bust in West Englewood Burned," Chicago Sun-Times, August 17, 2017, http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/674297/.^

  16. Jonathan M. Katz, '4 Surrender in Toppling of Confederate Statue in North Carolina,' The New York Times, August 17, 2017, sec. U.S., https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/durham-duke-robert-e-lee-statue.html.^

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