Blessed Are the Shitposters

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“I want everybody’s name!” Former governor of South Carolina and current presidential contender Nikki Haley came out hard yesterday against both free speech and privacy rights. And, lest one think it was merely a one-off, she reiterated her same proposal in multiple venues.

“Every person on social media should be verified by their name,” said Haley on Fox News, citing “national security” as the reason. You’d get rid of Chinese, Russian, and Iranian foreign bots this way, she claimed, and you’d restore online civility.

“They need to verify every single person on their outlet. … I want everybody’s name,” she said on the Ruthless podcast later. Besides the point that this would involve the federal government compelling social media companies to do its bidding, it says something darker about Haley’s attitude toward speech and privacy rights.

Anonymous speech allows for the pursuit of noble causes, like leaking and whistleblowing and writing things like the Federalist Papers, as well as less noble ones, like shitposting, memeing, and satirizing. It allows for experimenting with new ideas and it provides a useful bulwark against having your political beliefs associated with your professional identity, which too frequently results in canceling and other forms of unpersoning. Anonymous speech isn’t some throwaway thing that only trolls care about (and also, trolls deserve rights, too); important things stem from the intersection of speech and privacy rights.

Situation in Gaza worsens for civilians: Early this morning, Israeli forces announced they had entered the grounds of Al Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip. Communications out of there are very limited and most journalists have struggled to make contact with sources over the last few hours.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is responsible for the horrific mass slaughter of October 7, reportedly maintains a command in the tunnels below the hospital. Though many people in the West are casting doubt on this, there is a large pile of evidence that indicates these tunnels—and critical parts of Hamas’ infrastructure—are right below the hospital, thus the Israeli military’s move to enter.

“A New York Times journalist in 2008 watched armed Hamas militants walking around Al-Shifa Hospital in civilian clothes and witnessed Hamas execute a Palestinian man accused of collaborating with Israel,” wrote The New York Times‘ David Leonhardt yesterday, for example.

“Israeli officials allowed Times reporters to view photographs that appear to show secret entrances inside the hospital that lead to a military compound underneath,” adds Leonhardt. And, “Israel has released audio recordings that purport to contain conversations in which Hamas fighters discuss tunnels under Al-Shifa as well as videos of interrogations in which captured militants discuss the tunnels.”

American intelligence officials support the Israeli military’s claims. The Gazan health ministry—controlled by Hamas—disputes them, as have some foreign sources over the years.

An invasion on hospital grounds will undoubtedly result in civilian lives lost. Thousands of people have sought refuge at Al Shifa, which is crippled by power outages, lack of medical supplies, and unable to provide adequate medical care to those in need. Innocent Gazans really have nowhere safe to go.

The bill does in fact come due: Last week, Moody’s—one of the biggest credit rating entities—lowered the credit outlook of the U.S. government from “stable” to “negative.” It’s almost like endless borrowing to pay for runaway government spending comes with consequences.

“The change reflects Moody’s belief that ‘downside risks to the nation’s fiscal strength have increased “and may no longer be fully offset by the sovereign’s unique credit strengths,”‘ The Wall Street Journal reported,” per Reason‘s Eric Boehm. “Moody’s calculates that interest payments on the national debt will consume over a quarter of federal tax revenue by 2033, up from just 9 percent last year.”

“Moody’s could hardly be more clear in saying how America’s mix of political dysfunction and its increasingly unwieldy pile of debt could trigger that future downgrade,” adds Boehm.

“Moody’s just downgraded our credit rating outlook to negative because of our out-of-control government spending and deficits,” said Rep. Andy Harris (R–Md.) on Twitter/X. “We cannot, in good conscience, continue writing blank checks to our federal government knowing that our children and grandchildren will be responsible for the largest debt in American history.”


Scenes from New York

Is Eric Adams making friendship bracelets with (and cashing checks from) Turkey’s Erdogan?


QUICK HITS

  • Checking in on California:

The fire under the 10 Freeway is believed to have been purposefully set, and it consumed wooden pallets and hand sanitizer first placed there by “bad actors” who leased the space from the government, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.https://t.co/j7UcjlSLmu

— KTLA (@KTLA) November 14, 2023

  • Since 2019, Race2Dinner has allowed white ladies to pay a fee ($2,500 per event) to go to a dinner party hosted by anti-racist luminaries Saira Rao and Regina Jackson, at which we can be told how bad we are due to our immutable characteristics. (Hey, I’m not gonna kinkshame.) Unfortunately, Rao and Jackson have now been dropped by their agents for their “words in support of Palestinian life,” said Rao on X. “This is McCarthyism on steroids and ethnic cleansing,” she added. An agent making a choice as to who they want to work with constitutes ethnic cleansing?
  • Robot CEO discourse:

So why aren’t unionists rushing to start their own firms with automated CEOs? https://t.co/2wOALc7b8j

— Chris Freiman (@cafreiman) November 14, 2023

  • Nothing wrong with open carry:

“Innocent Israeli civilians.” pic.twitter.com/fCpSjwT6wj

— Hassan Mafi ‏ (@thatdayin1992) November 12, 2023

  • No amount of encampment sweeps and pressure-washing sidewalks is going to solve the problem of thousands of people living on the streets,” writes Reason‘s Christian Britschgi about the San Francisco sweeps.
  • Trump and Univision get a little more cozy: 

Transcript of the interview worth reading, too – if the questions were any softer you could use them for pillow stuffing. https://t.co/uIyQR63l7P https://t.co/v8jMSOASzv pic.twitter.com/PF6VRA2fGU

— David Weigel (@daveweigel) November 14, 2023

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