Take the [please!] newest, most naive form of sharing personal news and information, let it be a for-profit business and just for kicks, make it the most profitable non-product the world has ever known. What would you get?

On the one hand, the company wants to curtail the spread of disinformation across its site. At the same time, it wants to avoid alienating the groups and candidates who depend on its platform for fund-raising and organizing. So in trying to find a way to please everyone on the issue, Facebook has managed to please no one.

The social network has now become an outlier in how freely it lets political candidates and elected officials advertise on its platform. While Mr. Zuckerberg declared last month that Facebook would not police political ads, Twitter said it would ban all such ads because of their negative impact on civic discourse. On Wednesday, Google said it would no longer allow political ads to be directed to specific audiences based on people’s public voter records or political affiliations.

Part of our own vulnerability rests within an inability to understand simple words like ‘sharing’, and reluctance to engage with non-simple contracts like the many we would rather click agree to and just get back to posting our favorite stuff. More on all of this soon, but we’re really staring into the abyss here without noting the swirl. We hear the sound, but not its signal; can do steps but are not invited to the dance.

Thumbs up!

Longview, Taking in the

An intense labor battle is happening in Longview, Washington, but it is not news so pay no attention.

One of the most determined local union struggles in recent times is unfolding on the waterfront at the Port of Longview. The struggle pits members and supporters of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) against EGT, a multinational consortium that built a $200 million grain terminal in Longview, largely with nonunion, out-of-town labor, and now seeks to operate it without employing ILWU members, in violation of its lease.

On July 11, up to 100 members and supporters of Longview’s 202-member ILWU Local 21 were arrested after demonstrators knocked down a chainlink fence and entered the terminal; arrestees included the presidents of ILWU locals in Vancouver and Portland. Then, after midnight on July 14, as many as 600 demonstrators gathered, and about 200 occupied train tracks to block a mile-long Burlington Northern Santa Fe train from delivering grain to the terminal. That prompted the railroad to say it would suspend deliveries while the dispute continued.

ILWU’s cause appears to have widespread support in Longview, a town of 37,000 with an economy centered on manufacturing, forest products, and the port. An initial print run of 800 support placards ran out in three or four days, said Local 21 President Dan Coffman; more are on the way. As many as 250 local businesses are displaying the signs, which read: “We Support the ILWU in the fight for a decent standard of living in our community.” Hundreds more appear in yards and vehicles.

Pickets and placards are the latest front in a four-year local battle with EGT LLC, the multinational consortium; the dispute is also in federal court.

EGT, which stands for Export Grain Terminal, is a joint venture run by the giant agribusiness multinational Bunge in partnership with Japan-based ITOCHU Corporation and South Korea’s STX Pan Ocean Co. Bunge, which reported a $2.4 billion profit for 2010, has a 51 percent controlling interest in the venture.