Silicon Valley Billionaire Goes After Online scandal Site Gawker

Gawker is a US based scandal sheet, a sort of online tabloid  that speciaizes in sleazy celebrity gossip and repetition of unsubstantiated rumour. They’ve published stories that have attracted the attentions of copyright and privacy lawyers. There has always been a market for such sleaze and in the contemporary, celebrity obsessed atmosphere, gawker has found an eager audience.

But when Gawker went after wrestler and actor Hulk Hogan it all went pear shaped for the sleaze merchants. Hogan became upset over an intrusive article containing revelations about his sex life, which we would agree is a private matter. So the Hulkster decided to sue.

And a very wealthy and very secretive silicon valley figure, a man obsessed with privacy, decided to help him by hiring a team of the very best lawyers. And then it all went pear shaped for Gawker. Hogan won the case, which was justice. Punitive damages which were out of all proportion to the offence, but would certainly bankrupt Gawker, were awarded. And that was not justice but something very dangerous.

Society and the law are headed down a very dangerous road if the extremely wealthy can use their money and power to avoid scrutiny of their activities and thus can destroy publications they want to silence, not just scandal sheets that reveal sleazy details of their sex lives, but more respectable publications. One of the functions of a free press, we should remember, is to hold to account the rich and powerful and expose any crooked dealings they may be involved in. If the law is perpared to help such people suppress free speech and avoid being held to account, that is an intolerable threat to democracy and free speech. If megamoney damages awards in lawsuits are to be the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich who believe they are above the law, few publications have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.

So the question is, in a battle between two piles of shit, which pile of shit should a fair minded person support.

from Talking Points Memo

A Huge, Huge Deal

This morning The New York Times reported an interview with Gawker owner Nick Denton in which Denton said he had begun to believe rumors that some extremely wealthy person had been bankrolling Hogan’s suit. Read the Times article for the specifics. But the gist is that Hogan’s lawyers made key decisions which made zero sense if the goal were to maximize the plaintiff’s settlement. Denton said he thought the person was likely someone from Silicon Valley, where you have a strong overlap between people who have virtually unlimited wealth and people who are not accustomed to the intrusive and aggressive coverage Gawker and its sister sites specialize in. It was a little difficult for me to believe something like this was actually happening. But the evidence of the legal strategy was pretty compelling. And in recent weeks, in the aftermath of the Hogan verdict, there have been a spate of new lawsuits brought against Gawker that are unrelated to the Hogan case. All have been brought by the same lawyer who handled Hogan’s suit.

Now sure enough, this evening Forbes reported that the bankroller of the Hogan suit is none other than Peter Thiel, a prominent Silicon Valley billionaire who styles himself a libertarian but somewhat incongruously is a big time supporter of Donald Trump in addition to numerous other right wing causes, most of which have a distinctly Randian cast.

Regardless of his politics, this news should disturb everyone. People talk a lot about the dominance of the 1% or in this case more like a tiny fraction of the 1%. But being able to give massive political contributions actually pales in comparison to the impact of being able to destroy a publication you don’t like by combining the machinery of the courts with anonymity and unlimited funds to bleed a publication dry.

So one again we see that for all the liberal, politically correct, ‘caring and sharing’ posturing of politicians, the world is increasingly dominated by big money and big power. And everywhere in what we have called ‘the free world’ power is being concentrated in the hands of the obscenely wealthy, and exercised on their behalf by the politicians they control

And whatever label people who support such a system pin to their clothes, liberal, progressive, left wing, socialist, the only label that truly describes it is ‘fascism’.

 

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Elsewhere: [ The Original Boggart Blog] … Daily Stirrer …[Little Nicky Machiavelli]… [ Ian’s Authorsden Pages ]… [Scribd]…[Wikinut] … [ Boggart Abroad] … [ Grenteeth Bites ] … Ian Thorpe at Flickr ] … [ Tumblr ] … [Ian at Minds ] … [ Authorsden blog ] … [Daily Stirrer News Aggregator]

Obama administration ‘blocking’ information from the press

Obama White House makes war on free speech – via Russia Today

Now some will say this story is worthless because it comes via Russia Today and … well you can’t believe anything those nasty Russian propagandists might tell you. And if you say, “I’ll make up my own mind thanks,” these people will wave a bit on paper bearing a university seal and say, “I’ve got a PhD that proves I’m more intelligent than you, so you must defer to my wisdom.”

A few things to understand there – first, the letters PhD actually stand for Phenomenally Dumb; second, Russia Today is not like the old Soviet Union’s official newspaper Pravda, RT is funded by the Russian Government and staffed by British, American, Canadian and Australian reporters and its purpose is to provide and English language news channel that reports news the governments of western nations do not want reported and thus, governments being controlled by the same international financiers as the media, broadcast and print news will not touch.

This story, for example is not a Russia Today spin piece but comes via RT from Associated Press (AP) a highly respected news agency that is clearly getting frustrated with the control freakery of the American government, which routinely blocks access to information.

You will not have seen a word about this war on free speech and press freedom being waged by the Obama Administration in the USA and that is why we must turn to Russia Today.

The Russian government, after all, is not so stupid as to refuse to score political points by telling the truth when the truth will hurt those they want to hurt.

War On Free Speech

Uncovering information that should be available to the public has become increasingly difficult under the presidency of Barack Obama, an Associated Press bureau chief says. In some cases, it surpasses the secrecy of the George W. Bush administration.

The White House’s penchant for secrecy does not just apply to the federal government, according to AP’s Washington bureau chief, Sally Buzbee. During a joint meeting of news editors, she stated that the same kind of behavior is starting to appear in state and local governments.

Buzbee pointed out eight ways that the Obama administration is stifling public access to information – including keeping reporters away from witnessing any military action the United States takes as it battles Islamic State extremists in the Middle East.

“The public can’t see any of it,” Buzbee said, referring to the military campaign. “News organizations can’t shoot photos or video of bombers as they take off – there are no embeds. In fact, the administration won’t even say what country the [US] bombers fly from.”

She also expressed frustration with the government’s handling of the upcoming 9/11 trial, during which journalists are prohibited from looking at even non-classified court filings in real time.

“We don’t know what prosecutors are asking for, or what defense attorneys are arguing,” she said.

Meanwhile, basic information about the prison complex in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is being withheld from the public, despite the fact that the Bush administration freely shared this data. The media is unable to learn how many inmates are on hunger strike in the infamous prison, or how frequently assaults on guards take place.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have become harder than ever to process, Buzbee added. Government officials often fail to do so unless media outlets bring a lawsuit to bear.

READ MORE: National security reporter shared drafts with CIA press office, emails reveal

Genetically Modified Truth? How Corpoate Money Corrupted Science.

Little Nicky is sceptical about many things, it’s in my job description. Incidentally, for the benefit of those over qualified, under educated idiots who think I’m right wing extremist, it is a basic tenet of Liberal philosophy that we all have a duty to question that which is presented as an established truth.

Recent established truths have included ‘Mass immigration is good for the economy’, ‘borrowing money to pay interest on debt already owed is sound financial management’, ‘the science is settled’ and ‘Genetically modified food crops will feed the world and turn us into a race of superbeings’.

No doubt you have come across many fascists who would suppress free speech in order to silence questions on such topics. They will call themselves liberals but how can anybody be a liberal when they oppose the freedom to doubt and question.

We will return to the first three areas in which the ‘liberal’ fascists are trying to control debate very soon no doubt, but for today we are looking at an article from the left leaning alternet.com (common sense has no political bias) on …

6 of the Biotech Industry’s Biggest Marketing Myths to Convince You GMOs Are Great

After an opening section which looks at how biotech corporations have bought scientific opinion (which, like Barack Obamas arse when he was a teenage ‘crack ho’) is sold very cheaply) and describes how corporate money has corrupted the scientific research process and turned higher education into a kind of brothel for compliant intellects, it gets more specific, focusing on Elanco, a biotech subsidiary of pharmeceutical giant Eli Lilley to expose the blatant lies in their document How We’ll Feed The World, which is presented as an objective study but is really nothing more than marketing puff for the products of the parent company and their partners.

Enriching life in the USA says the Elanco web page. OK, but enriching it with what you might well ask. Bovine growth hormones to create milk cows (sorry, units – we must make the process impersonal) that produce more milk.

The next lie is that consumers who want unadulterated food are a nutty fringe minority.

Actually most consumers want unadulterated food, the fringe minority is not defined by their eccentricity but their wealth. Governments and academic crooks have collaborated with corporate interests to make pure, unadulterated foods unaffordable to the majority.

And so it goes on. Click HERE to go to the Alternet page and read the full, three page exposé. And remember, its not the freethinkers and sceptics that support political movements whose leaders talk of criminalising dissent on topics like global warming scaremongering, or the lies that hide the dangers of GM foods.

Forget the warlords and the madmen, it is the truth tellers who pose the real threat to power.

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Philo and Sophia – The Page For Lovers Of Wisdom
You might find some of the more bizarre fringes of philosophy and thought from history and from around the world here here, among the original thinking of our contributors. As with most pages in The Greenteeth Labyrinth this is not a page for academics or conventional students but for explorers and people who like to play with fresh or off – centre ideas.

New GMO Approval Will Go Ahead Despite Public Outcry.
Another Obama Sponsored Genocide – not Alawi or Christians In Syria but Yazidi in Iraq.
Independent Scientists Demolish The Lies About GMOs And The Safety Of Glyphosate
Astrophysicis condems GM doubters – well he’d know (not!)
The toxic effects of GM foods
GM danger to human health – the evidence
Government – Corporate collaboration to force GM foods on us
GM crops: lies will not feed the world
Genetically engineered organisms will never be safe says leading geneticist
Big Pharma Criminality
Black Hat Biotech Menu
Threat to free speech
Corporatism is Fascism – Benito Mussolini (who would know about fascism)
How Fundamentalists Of Materialism Hijacked Science

Another goal to the Conspiracy Theorists

Libertarian and freethinking bloggers and new media writers are having a great time. For years our efforts to warn people about the push towards global fascism earned us hate attacks and accusations that we were conspiracy theorists. And now, almost daily, another of those conspiracy theories is being proved true The latest, this week, is the admission that online shills are being paid by government, supra national bureaucracies and corporate interests to patrol the web, using the tactics outlined by the Trotskyite demagogue Saul Alinsky to challenge, contradict, smear, discredit and undermine anybody who publicly challenges the official line. It is war on free speech and the bad guys are making up the rules as they go along.

You didn’t really think all those hundreds of people who joined the hate attacks on anyone who questioned the very dodgy science behind the climate change scam, questioned the wisdom of insisting only the mistrusted MMR vaccine could be used against measles when there had been 98% (official figure) take up of the single vaccine, who pointed out that GM seeds don’t produce bigger yields if the don’t have enough water, carbon dioxide and plant nutrients but do provide a handy mechanism to deliver the toxins present in Monsanto herbicide and pesticide into the human food chain …

and so on and so on.

Well now it is official.

Online shills paid to control your perception by spreading propaganda using up to 10 online personas

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Bye Bye Blackbird
Feeding the world – with cancer causing chemicals

Freedom Of Speech

Our right to Free Speech is under threat:

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. Winston’s heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth’s centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote:

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984″

The Threat To Free Speech

When the law forbids us to insult or offend somebody, to insult or offend a religion, race, skin colour or sexual preference, free speech and other important democratic rights are under threat.

When the law then goes on to say that anyone accused of these offences has no right to defend themselves and the word of the accuser is sufficient evidence on which to obtain a conviction then we have abandoned justice and returned to the law of the medieval witch hunts.

These stupid laws insult the public and threaten free speech

Beware the siren voices of the left who hide their abhorrence of freedom and invividuality behind a mask of political correctness. Everything we say and do could be interpreted by somebody as aggressive or insulting. There have been cases of a look being deemed racially or sexually harrassing.

Stand up for your right to express your opinions by being grown up enough to ignore things you overhear that might not even refer to you but could equally be said because you behaved like an arse towards somebody else.

Nobody promised life was fair. And making life sterile by imposing conformity on everybody will not actually make life any fairer.

The Sensible Party Must Oppose War On Free Speech

I’m a Liberal, always have been. Not a lib dem, not a “progressive liberal” but an ex member of that bunch of oddballs, weirdos, mavericks and tree huggers that always seemed to have the most sensible policies but never got any votes.

Yes, the people in the Monty Python election sketch who were the sensible party but got no votes at all.

What made me a liberal was a belief passed down by my ancestors in thinking for oneself and not being afraid to say out loud what one really thought.

Thus though I don’t suport UKIP I am appalled that one of their MEPs has been suspended for criticising the unelected head of EU foreign policy, Baroness Ashton.

Read what happened in Speaking With One Voice at Trixy’s blog. We blogged last year sometime before the EU elections on the proposal in front of the Europan Parliament to suspend members who opposed further integration of member states and erosion of national sovereignty.

How soon will we be blogging:
First they came for UKIP and I did not speak out…

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Free Speech Is Under attack And Journalism Dead