Freezenet’s Official Podcast: January 2021: Biden Begins

In the 27th episode of the Freezenet official podcast, “Biden Begins”, we take a look at the news and reviews we covered in January 2021.

Welcome to the public version of episode 27 of the Freezenet official podcast for January 2021. This month’s episode is entitled “Biden Begins” because of the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidency.

This month, we cover the online fallout of Donald Trumps incited terrorist attack on January 6th. We also cover the fallout hitting Parler in response to the attack. In addition to that, we cover the Trump NDAA veto override vote.

Also, we cover all the usual music and video game reviews. We even cover the story about a COVID-19 vaccine rave. All this and more on this month’s podcast.

You can check out our official podcast on Soundcloud or Anchor. Alternatively, you can take a listen below:

What follows is a transcript of this month’s episode:

Intro

Biden Begins

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson. Welcome to episode 27 of the Freezenet official podcast for January, 2021. Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

Dramatic online fallout against Trump after January 6 terrorist attack

Parler struggles to remain online over extremist content

… and Trump’s NDAA veto override ends efforts to kill Section 230

Top Stories

It was truly a day for the history books. Donald Trump held a rally called the “Save America” rally. During the rally, Trump urged his supporters to storm the Capitol buildings and “cheer on” certain politicians. This as lawmakers vote on whether or not to certify Joe Bidens election victory. During the same rally, Rudy Giuliani called for a “trial by combat”.

Riled up, Trump supporters – a number of them armed – then stormed the US Capitol buildings. They successfully breached police lines. Some point out that insider officers even aided them in the process. In one famous photo, an officer even posed for a selfie with an invader.

Lawmakers, in the mean time, were forced to evacuate the buildings. Some made it out just in time. This just before Trump supporters broke into the room with zip tie handcuffs with the intention of taking lawmakers hostage. In the aftermath, the attack was called an insurrection. Many even remark that this is the first time an invading force penetrated the buildings since 1812. Threatening messages were left behind in the aftermath including a note saying that they “will be back”.

While the fallout of the incident was explosive offline, online was just as nuclear. Twitter, a platform that has a long history of allowing Trump to violate the rules, apparently had enough. Up to that point, the only action Twitter took was to put warning labels on Trump’s tweets. Twitter reacted by banning Trump for 12 hours. This in an effort to try and curb further violence.

Meanwhile, authorities began their investigation into the terrorist attack. Social media wound up being a spectacular source of evidence for them. Many platforms contained hours of evidence and a constant stream of uncensored pictures. Hardly anyone covered their faces and many seemed to be proud of their actions. In our own browsing, we saw plenty of footage that featured the faces of insurrectionists. This is generally something investigators love having because it strengthens their case against the perpetrators.

Shopify, for their part, reacted by banning Trump. This cuts off a potential revenue stream for the former president. As that happened, Facebook, another platform that did everything possible to ensure Trump remained untouched by moderation, extended Trumps ban to permanent. By that point in time, Trump’s Twitter ban had lapsed and he initially didn’t post anything. After a period of time, Trump tweeted a video of him making a statement on the insurrection. While the heavily scripted speech said that he denounced the actions of his supporters, he also said that all of this is the beginning of a “long journey”.

After that happened, Twitter said that it had done a review of their ban of Trump. After that review, Twitter then banned Trump permanently. They said that there was a risk of a further incitement of violence and that this violated their rules.

Twitter then released a statement, explaining in detail why they chose to ban Trump permanently. They expanded on their explanation of the risk of further incitement of violence and quoted the tweets that triggered the permanent ban.

Meanwhile, YouTube said that it had banned Trump for 7 days. The reasoning behind the ban is the risk of further violence incited by the former president. Some criticized YouTube for being so light on the suspension, but YouTube said that it operates on a three strike system. That three strike system applies to the last 90 days of the account. As a result, that is why the suspension wasn’t more severe like other platforms.

CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, then later issued his own comments on the matter. He said that banning Trump was the right thing to do. However, he also acknowledges the risk that such a ban has on free speech. Dorsey said that he was saddened by the ban, but acknowledges the “extraordinary and untenable circumstances” as well.

While Trump bore the brunt of social media action for his incitement of the mob, Trump wasn’t the only one facing consequences for the attack. Right wing platform, Parler, has been blamed for allowing the extremists to organize freely. In addition to that, Parler has been accused of hosting extremist material.

Shortly after the terrorist attack, Apple and Google banned Parler from their respective app stores. They cited threats of violence and illegal activity as some of the reasons for the ban. Amazon, for it’s part, threatened to pull their Amazon Web Services (or AWS) from Parler if it didn’t comply with a plan to improve it’s moderation. Amazon gave Parler 24 hours to comply.

After 24 hours, Amazon followed through with their threat and discontinued their services for Parler. The action caused Parler to go offline. Parler then responded by filing a lawsuit against Amazon. As part of the lawsuit, Parler demanded that a judge immediately re-instate the services that kept the platform afloat.

CEO of Parler, John Matze, admitted that the situation isn’t looking good for Parler to make a full return. He said he was optimistic that the site will make a return, but acknowledges the possibility that the site may be down for good.

Trump supporters, for their part, responded to the situation by scattering to other platforms. Among the platforms mentioned as destinations include Telegram, Signal, Rumble, MeWe and CloutHub.

Matze later said in court documents that he had received threats against him and his family. In response, Matze says that he and his family are now in hiding.

Regardless, Parler lost their case to force Amazon to re-instate their services immediately. This left the site scrambling to find new hosting.

One thing is for sure, when we said that 2020 was nothing but one long string of dramatic stories, we meant it. What we didn’t exactly predict is that things would go from exceedingly dramatic to full nuclear. Even if the events are unsurprising in retrospect, it’s still shocking. It’s also shocking to see how the Section 230 story managed to get relegated to the number three spot this month.

Last month, we brought you news on how Trump vetoed the NDAA. The National Defense Authorization Act is basically the military’s spending bill. Trump attempted to tie passage of the legislation to provisions that killed Section 230 – basically, one of America’s online free speech laws.

As it turns out, the military companies were absolutely livid when Trump vetoed the NDAA. The Aerospace Industries Association condemned the veto. They said, in part, “There is no more essential duty for the American government than to ensure the safety and security of its people. The President’s veto undermines our national security preparedness and jeopardizes the jobs of Americans who make up our defense industrial base at a time when the country is in crisis. It is also a letdown for our troops and their families, both of who selflessly continue to serve our country. We urge Congress to prioritize national security and override this veto”

As a result of the veto, all eyes were on both Congress and the Senate. While Democrats controlled the house and Republican’s controlled the Senate, a veto override requires a super majority of votes. Because of this, both houses needed to have bi-partisan support.

Things got off to a rough start when US Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, said that he would choose Trump over the troops. He made it clear that he wouldn’t support the veto override. The question then became whether this would be the start of a trend amongst Republican’s, or if this is an isolated voice in the debate.

Shortly after those comments, the US congress ultimately passed the override vote. Some feared that the vote would be tight, but the ultimate tally was 322 to 87. A very decisive vote in favour of overriding the veto.

With that critical step cleared, all eyes moved to the Republican controlled Senate. Signs started becoming positive. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, urged his fellow Republican’s to vote in favour of the veto override. Republican’s also said that there would be enough votes to pass the veto override vote. This, of course, is the last critical step to overriding Trump’s veto.

Shortly after New Years, the senate voted on the legislation. Senators came together and overrode Trump’s veto. The final tally was 81 to 13 with 6 electing not to vote. The move forced the passage of the NDAA and put the final nail in the Section 230 killer coffin.

Other Stories Making News

At the risk of repeating ourselves: wow, what a dramatic month! That was just the top three stories too. Despite those three stories dominating headlines, though, we actually did cover some other stories as well. So, here are those other stories making news this month.

Perhaps one of the more overlooked stories we were able to report on revolves around the legislation known as EARN IT. As some of you might recall, EARN IT was America’s anti-encryption law. Previously, we reported on how the legislation was watered down at the very last minute after significant public outcry. This month, as the last session of government ended, all legislation not passed died. This includes EARN IT. While EARN IT is now technically dead, nothing is stopping lawmakers from trying to re-introduce it in the next session. Still, this does represent a reprieve for security and digital rights advocates for now.

There’s been a significant update in the US efforts to extradite Julian Assange to the US. The UK judge has denied the US’s demands that Assange be extradited. While many hoped that it would be based on the fact that journalism is not a crime, that didn’t actually happen. Instead, the judge commented that Assange’s mental state is so bad that he might attempt to take his own life. The judge found that the American prison system is so awful, that it wouldn’t be adequate to prevent Assange from taking such an action. The US is expected to appeal the decision.

60 Minutes, one of CBS’s biggest news shows, took a massive credibility hit this month. The show ran an episode called “The Argument Against Section 230”. In it, the show detailed people who were harassed by online Internet trolls. The show’s producers seemingly contend that, because of Section 230, the victims cannot sue those anonymous trolls. Unfortunately for the producers, the argument fell apart during the show itself. For one, the “anonymous” trolls weren’t anonymous. Second, those trolls did face repercussions from the sites via banning. Third, Section 230 had nothing to do with the cases they presented in the first place. Fourth, the lack of action from law enforcement generally spoke to how law enforcement handled such cases, not that Section 230 stopped them from doing anything about it. Critics quickly attacked the piece. Mike Masnick of Techdirt commented, “It’s almost difficult to describe just how bad the 60 Minutes segment is. It is, quite simply, blatant disinformation.” Masnick added, “It’s pure propaganda. And it’s an online piece that seems to be suggesting (falsely) that without 230, we’d no longer have misinformation online. It’s bonkers.”

Of course, we couldn’t talk about the news of this month without the story of Joe Biden being sworn in as president of the United States. Many are expressing relief that this represents a restoration of sanity in the country. We offered our own thoughts on what Biden being president means for digital rights. There is some promising good news, but also some potential bad news as well. On the good news side, the effort to ban TikTok is effectively dead now. Another bit of good news is that it’s looking promising that Network Neutrality might be restored in the country. There’s also the spinoff benefit of Ajit Pai, and his giant Reese mug, being shown the door at the FCC. On the potential bad news side is that Section 230 still might not be safe. Democrats have been hoping to tie Section 230 protections to the effort to fight disinformation. Obviously, tying it to Section 230 is a terrible idea, but it’s possible that Democrats will forge ahead with this idea anyway. Then there is also the potential re-introduction of EARN IT that spy organizations have been pushing for for years. It’s entirely possible we’ll see a continued war on security with this administration. Additionally, there is the CASE Act and felony streaming bill that America has to contend with now. With those bad copyright bills being passed through the NDAA, Democrats will likely have no problem leaving them in the books. So, digital rights advocates will have a tough time trying to undo the damage caused by those bills. At any rate, it’s a mixed bag on the digital rights front.

Meanwhile in Canada, there is a worrying sign for digital rights happening. Innovation Minister, Navdeep Bains, has retired from his role. Bains has been an advocate for network neutrality and pushing for Canada to be an innovation leader of the world. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, did a small Cabinet shuffle to replace Bains. Taking his position is François-Philippe Champagne. Champagne has said that he is open to Canada implementing a so-called link tax law. Network neutrality didn’t really feature in his remarks. As a result, this represents a troubling development for digital rights in Canada.

Finally, our observation of Biden restoring network neutrality already began to see fruition. A critical first step is the nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel. Rosenworcel was speculated last month as being a leading contender for the position. Now, she will act as interim chairwoman for the Federal Communications Commission. Rosenworcel is a fierce advocate for network neutrality and is widely expected to get straight to work restoring it in the US.

Video Game Reviews

So, for those keeping score at home: yes, that was 6 other stories I just read out. That is just how dominant those top three stories were. There were times when the top three stories were developing by the hour. It was exceedingly difficult to keep up with it all.

Now, let’s relax things a little and talk about entertainment.

Before we get into the video games we reviewed this month. I wanted to point out that we have posted two, yes, two first impression video’s this month.

The first video is for the game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. This RPG game is the sequel to the original game, The Witcher, which we previewed a couple months ago.

The second video we posted this month showed us talking about the Playstation 3 console. We did show off some other hardware we have in our possession as well, but the focus is on how we recently obtained the Playstation 3 console. During the video, we noted that we are upping our video content game by doubling our production to two videos per month. Oh yeah, it’s happening. The first video will be the standard Steam game of the month. The second video, however, will show off a Playstation 3 game. So, a bit of a move on our part. We hope you like what we have in store for you in the future!

Now, if you’d like to keep tabs on all of our video developments, you can keep an eye on our website or subscribe out our YouTube channel.

Now, here are the video games we’ve reviewed this month:

First up is Asteroids for the Game Boy Color. New content does breathe new life into this classic, though the inventory system does leave a bit to be desired. Still, this one gets a solid 74%.

Next up is Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color. Old issues with stiff controls continues to be problematic for the title. Still, other tweaks do improve gameplay. Added modes are also a nice bonus as well. This one gets a great 84%.

After that, we tried Centipede for the Game Boy Color. Everything on those old Atari ports remains intact here, but new features are virtually non-existent. This one gets a barely passable 52%.

Lastly, we played Frogger for the Game Boy Color. A game that also does everything it could to keep the old style of play. As a result, this ends up being a very outdated game. So, this one gets a passable 56%.

Music Reviews

As for music we’ve listened to this month, we’ve got…

Wet Wet Wet – Make it Tonight

Rancid – I’m Not the Only One

Alice in Chains – Got Me Wrong

Grindstone – Mir

Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness

Social Distortion – Bad Luck

Orbital – Halcyon + On + On

… and finally, Voodoo People – Altitude (Malana Edit)

Picks of the Month

So, that leads us to our pick of the month. This month, our pick of the month belongs to Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color. Also, be sure to check out Grindstone – Mir.

Oddities

And in other news…

A restaurant owner in Astoria, Queens, wasn’t too happy about COVID-19 restrictions. In fact, it forced him to shut down his own restaurant. So, he decided that the best thing to do was… light his own restaurant on fire. Apparently, he didn’t think his cunning plan all the way through, though. Apparently, he forgot about the sprinkler system that was installed in his restaurant. That system apparently knocked down the flames and prevented further damage. On top of it all, the whole incident was captured on video surveillance also installed in his restaurant. That footage made its way into the hands of police who laid charges against him. Something tells me that this isn’t the smartest owner in the world.

In Britain, police in Essex were alerted to an illegal rave. You might expect the story to talk about how people were arrested for violating health orders to stay home. That’s not where this story went, though. When police arrived, they found a lineup of old pensioners waiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Apparently, delays in the vaccine’s arrival caused people to wait, sparking the line-up in the first place. So… must’ve been one of those COVID-19 vaccine raves then.

Sometimes, typos are a fact of life. They might turn up in a text message, show up in a paper, or worm its way into a news article that you thought was ready to go. Many typos are easy to correct, of course, but others, well, it might never get corrected. For owners of the Jeep Cherokee XJ, they may find the typo manufactured right into the vehicle. Hundreds of vehicles have door cards right under the arm rests that sports the text: “5700 PIONEER – CHEIF.” The manufacturer accidentally swapped the “I” and “E” in “chief” by accident. Don’t worry, I’m sure Jeep’s failure will turn the vehicle into a collectors item… or something.

Outro

Before we close out this months podcast, we got two announcements to make. First, we are excited to tell you that our official podcast is now available on the Apple ecosystem. If you get your podcasts via an iPhone, HomePod, iPad, Apple CarPlay, or on Desktop via iTunes, you can now access the Freezenet official podcast through those sources. As an added bonus, you can even ask Siri to play this podcast. I won’t say the actual instructions on the podcast because that would be, well, mean. I will say that it’s entitled “Freezenet Official Podcast” If you want to know the instructions, you can check out the announcement on our site. At any rate, we hope you enjoy having even greater access to our podcast!

We would also like to point out that we have posted the December wiki content patch. This month, we’ve added the show Resonation to the archive. This show continues where Corsten’s Countdown leaves off. So, we’ll be occasionally updating our archive to include the latest episodes of that show in place of semi-regular updates to Corsten’s Countdown. We already have 5 episodes archived as of the patch. In addition to that, we also have generated over 2,000 Wiki pages now. This happened shortly after the patch was posted. It’s a great milestone we’ve achieved and we look forward to hitting even more milestones in the future. Also noted in the patch is the fact that we have archived the first 20 episodes of the V Recordings podcast. This is our second Drum n Bass show that we are archiving. We are excited to hear what you think of that show. With that, we’ve also added pages for Bryan Gee, V Records, V Recordings, and Liquid V. So, a bunch of added information was made available for you to check out. Also, we’ve updated the Random Movement Podcast and the Fables podcast too.

Also, huge shoutout to Nolan for providing mixing services!

If you’d like to get your hands on some behind the scenes stuff, exclusive content, and early access material, you can check out our Patreon page at Patreon.com/freezenet. Through this, you can help make Freezenet just that much better all the while getting some pretty cool stuff in the process. That’s Patreon.com/freezenet!

Alternatively, you can simply buy us a coffee via ko-fi.com/freezenet!

…and that’s this months episode for January, 2021. I’m Drew Wilson for Freezenet. Be sure to check out our website at freezenet.ca for all the latest in news and reviews. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Thank you for listening and see you next month.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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