Three Dots: The Russians Are Coming...
Kangaroo Congressional Court, Neo-Racism, and other news of the week
Reclaiming My Time
A few fun highlights from the Inquisition of Michael and Matt:
Double Standard on Drugs
"When you see TV pharmaceutical commercials, you listen to the long list of side effects—it is required by law in the name of public safety. But malinformation experts decided that similar information about covid vaccines may be 'misleading.'"
So writes Andre Mir in a smart essay at Discourse.
The relationship here between the speech regulators and citizens is somewhat similar to that between adult and child. The younger and more vulnerable children are, the more likely adults will hide from them the truth that is harmful and ‘misleading’ at a younger age.
The excellent essay is yet more evidence that the more censorship the government demands, the more brilliant the societal resistance.
The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!
Clint Watts just won’t go away. The former FBI official who ran a disinformation campaign called “Hamilton 68” that generated hundreds of fake news articles falsely accusing dozens of Twitter users of being Russian bots is now claiming that a Russian “influence operation” is underway to — wait for it — weaken U.S. support for the war in Ukraine.
The New York Times is credulously citing the report by Watts, who now works for Microsoft, even though, thanks to his access to the Twitter Files, our friend Matt Taibbi exposed Watts’ Hamilton 68 scam to smear dozens of Twitter users as Russian bots. If you think “scam” is too harsh, consider that Twitter’s then-Head of Safety said about Watts’ project, “I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is” because it “falsely accuses a bunch of legitimate right-leaning accounts of being Russian bots.”
The Times article by Julian Barnes, David Sanger, and Marc Santora fails to mention Watts’s disinformation campaign, quote a critic of his analysis, or even contain an alternative perspective. Watts’ report, and the article, appear to be pretexts to smear critics of US support for Ukraine.
These paragraphs appear to be aimed at laying the groundwork for Watts, Microsoft, NYT, Biden, et al. to slander anyone who criticizes the war as a potential Russian agent, even though Biden himself blamed higher energy costs on the war.
Watts and the authors of the NYT article also appear to be attempting to conflate in the minds of readers two different things: cyber attacks and influence operations. This is a trick that the advocates of government censorship have used in the past, as Michael noted in his congressional testimony last week.
As such, there are good reasons to distrust what Watts, Microsoft, and the NYT are claiming. They may be carrying out a disinformation campaign like the other disinformation campaigns we have uncovered.
Now Hiring Freelancers
We interrupt this week’s Three Dot column to say: we’re hiring freelancers! Do you want to report on energy, free speech, homelessness, drugs, crime, trans or other issues that we cover? Shoot us an email!
Abolish The (Censorship) Police
We’re pro-police. Not only do most of our big cities need more of them, but we need to reaffirm their value to society, given years if not decades of mistreatment.
But there is one group of police we want to abolish: the Censorship Police. A good start would be to get rid of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which Mike Benz of the Foundation for Freedom Online caught secretly deleting all mentions of its domestic censorship efforts a couple of weeks ago.
“CISA's self-invented censorship powers,” writes Benz, “went from being pointed outward against supposed Russian bot accounts to being pointed inwards at tens of millions of US citizens.”
CISA’s founders, leaders, and programs have flagrantly and repeatedly violated the First Amendment. It is a deeply dishonest and creepy government agency. It tricked everyone into thinking it was doing "cyber security" when it was actually doing censorship.
Eliminating CISA won’t entirely dismantle the Censorship Industrial Complex. But it’s a good first step.
Biden’s Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria Denial
President Joe Biden on Monday called efforts in Florida to stop doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and performing “sex reassignment surgery” on children in Florida “close to sinful.” Biden suggested that Congress should pass laws that require children to be able to undergo those procedures.
“It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I wanted to become a man’ or ‘want to become a woman’ or ‘I want to change.’”
In fact, there are a significant number of kids who do wake up one morning, after several weeks or even just a few days, and decide that they are the other gender. This is known as “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” and friend of Public Abigail Shrier wrote a whole book on it.
Now, as the evidence grows of children being misdiagnosed with gender dysphoria, and mistreated, some progressive nations, including Finland, Sweden, and Norway — hardly bastions of the Christian Right — are taking action to protect children from using drugs and surgeries to cause irreversible damage.