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I’m Not Alex Jones, But I Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night

Over the past 48 hours, Alex Jones has been “memory-holed” by most of the Internet for what has been called hateful and dangerous speech. Instead of listing all the social media sites that no longer carry Jones or Infowars, it might be easier to count the social media sites that do. And so far…it looks like it’s just Twitter.

Jones has taken his situation in stride, meaning he’s trying to figure out how to blame it on fluoride making frogs gay or something. One of the things his supporters and he have said is the removal of Jones from social media is a violation of free speech. It’s even inspired a hashtag, #WeAreAlexJones.

Although recent events are more disturbing than a Jeffrey Dahmer cookbook, it’s not really a free speech issue. The First Amendment starts with five words that often get overlooked in discussions like this: “Congress shall make no law”. As hard as it is to accept, social media sites have the authority to decide who gets to use their service and can punish people who don’t abide by the rules they set. Congress didn’t pass a law, so the First Amendment doesn’t play a role here. (Oddly enough, the same argument can be used against the ACLU when they try to ban school prayer, but that’s a blog post for another time.)

That’s not to say Jones and his followers have no legal recourse. It can be argued those social media sites are not applying their rules fairly, which opens the door for Jones and company to argue they are victims of disparate treatment. Although this concept is usually reserved for the workplace, the fact Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and Louis Farrakhan among other groups that have shown as much if not more hate have yet to see even an iota of the punishment Jones has experienced in the past two days means there is evidence of the rules not being enforced evenly.

It may be a long shot, but it’s a stronger argument than the free speech argument is.

There may be others (after all, I’m a blogger, not a lawyer), but we should avoid invoking the First Amendment when defending Alex Jones and Infowars. But there are two things that I do know. First, this is a great opportunity for social media sites looking to attract users to make a splash and get people away from the big ones. And second, Alex Jones, as bat-crap cray-cray as he may be, can and will be turned into a martyr for those who already don’t like existing social media sites. That is a really dumb idea because it creates a situation where people who wouldn’t give Jones the time of day can defend him against what is a gross overreaction to someone who is at best a minor problem…and be absolutely right to do so.

Is Alex Jones being made into a free speech hero worth looking like hypocritical partisan asshats? Social media may need to answer that question sooner rather than later.

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Take a Knee on Taking a Knee

This past weekend saw NFL players taking a knee or not coming out for the Star Spangled Banner during football games, and both Left and Right went ballistic. The Left cried “free speech” (along with “Trump is a racist/sexist/homophobe/islamophobe/phobe-du-joir), and the Right cried “disrespect.” So, where does your favorite free speech loving, ruggedly handsome independent blogger stand on kneeling?

To put it mildly and in the form of a Facebook relationship status, it’s complicated.

Both sides of this controversy have good points, and both are completely wrong. (Told ya it was complicated.) The football players who decided to protest have a right to express themselves in the ways they did. You may not agree with why they were protesting, but it’s not even up for debate: they have the right to protest.

The people saying their protest was disrespectful to America, the flag, and our fighting men and women are correct. I see it as only slightly less offensive than Michael Moore’s eating habits. But free speech isn’t limited to speech we like. If we limit free speech only to speech we like, we could be looking at a situation where only a handful of people (probably people who post cute dog and cat pictures on the Internet) would be allowed to speak, and even they would be able to be silenced with a single complaint.

So, where exactly do I stand? In favor of free speech for the protesters, and the protesters of the protesters. In a situation like this, I will always opt for whatever guarantees the maximum amount of freedom for the maximum number of people because the alternative sucks. When you put a lot of power in the hands of only a few, abuse occurs. Case in point: the IRS under Lois Lerner. Or the IRS in general.

But I do hope the protesters are open to having their actions criticized in the name of the same free speech they cloak themselves in when it suits their needs. Otherwise, their concern for free speech/protest would look rather…superficial.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

The home of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s is at it again! The University of California at Berkeley (home of the Fighting Totally Non-Violent Yet Destructive Antifas), is preventing conservative commentator Ben Shapiro from giving a speech on campus, citing their inability to find a venue. Similar circumstances affected Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter when they attempted to give speeches on campus.

Leftists, those champions of free speech as long as you agree with them, cheer whenever a conservative speaker gets shut out from giving a speech or offering an opposing viewpoint on news show, citing it’s not right to give these people (if the Left deem to call them that) a platform to share their opinions. Those vital spots should go to people who actually bring something to the table (i.e. who regurgitate the squawking point du jour). To better understand the Left’s objections, let’s take a look at the core of their complaints.

platform

What the Left thinks it means – an area where ideas can be expressed with the consent/approval of the person, people, or entity providing said area

What it really means – the free market arena of ideas

One of the driving forces behind the Left is control. To put it simply, they are control freaks to the point Lady Macbeth looks like a coma patient. Since so much of their agenda revolves around controlling what is said and who is given credence, the Left needs to ensure theirs is the only voice people hear and their people are the only ones who are deemed credible. As a result, they need tight control over the medium, the message, and the messenger, and for many years, they had it all.

That’s when people like Rush Limbaugh came into the picture and started taking on the Left. Once there were new players on the board, there were different opinions that could be given attention. It was no longer one voice and one message, but multiple voices with multiple messages. That created chaos in the Leftist utopia, so they did what needed to be done: they tried to silence and marginalize the opposing voices.

Yeah. That totally worked. I mean, who in 2017 has heard of Rush Limbaugh? I mean, aside from his approximately 20 million listeners per week.

When the platform didn’t exist or wasn’t readily available for Rush, he created his own platform and turned it into a global phenomenon. No matter how the Left tries to demonize or disregard him, Rush finds a way to get his message out there. And Rush spawned others like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and scores of others who found their niche over the airwaves, in print, and online.

And the Left doesn’t have an answer. The current mainstream media are writing and reporting stories that make the Weekly World News seem credible by comparison. And the Weekly World News has fracking Bat-Boy! Err America…I mean Air America failed spectacularly, even with George Soros bankrolling it. And when it comes to online presence, the Right has the edge. Then again, when your Leftist standard bearers are Vox, Slate, and Daily Kos, the Right could just run a Blue Screen of Death and be ahead of the game.

And the Left can’t stand it. Since their efforts to delegitimize the Right have failed worse than an Al Gore exercise tape, their next step is to deprive conservatives of the ability to spread their message to people who might be receptive to it. That brings us back to UC Berkeley. Instead of allowing multiple voices on campus, the Leftists have resorted to any means necessary to take away the platform given to conservatives and then using that as proof the conservatives don’t have anything worth saying. That’s like an arsonist starting a fire and then saying it proves the need for more firefighters. These tactics include shouting down speakers, actively engaging speakers, physical altercations, violence, death and bomb threats, and rioting. In many cases, it’s worked.  This tells me two things. First, liberal arts majors are taking some seriously disturbing electives, and second, the Left isn’t prepared to defend their positions against opposing viewpoints. By taking the stance they have, Leftists are conceding the intellectual battlefield through trying to turn college campuses and other venues into actual battlefields.

Not exactly an air of confidence from the “smart” ones.

The Left’s approach stems from the notion that allowing someone outside of their ideological and intellectual bubble to speak his or her mind gives the ideas legitimacy and means the entity hosting the outsider agrees with him or her. That’s an assumption without a basis in fact. Sometimes television news programs or radio shows give time to people with opposing viewpoints for ratings or to give another side of a situation. That does not mean they necessarily agree with the opposing viewpoint. In this case, silence is not consent, and silencing others is not an appropriate response. As we’ve seen with CNN, the Left will put on people the hosts vehemently disagree with just to get a rise out of people or to try to give the Left’s arguments more credibility by comparison. And that worked about as well as you might think from one of the networks running with the “Trump colluded with Russia” story.

If you want to showcase your brilliance, test it against those who disagree. If you win, great. If you lose, that shows flaws in your thinking that can be addressed to make your arguments stronger. But the Left can’t bring themselves to making better arguments, so they resort to trying to win debates by default through intimidation, disinformation, and shouting down arguments they don’t like. They think a crappy argument without a response makes the crappy argument unassailable, but what they don’t realize it is only makes their argument seem weak when you realize what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. If you have to win by deceptive means, you’re not really winning. You’re merely participating.

Then again, the Left loves participation trophies, don’t they?

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A Constitutional Crisis That Isn’t

The latest in the Donald Trump Constitutional Crisis Sweepstakes comes courtesy of our good friends at Twitter. Recently, the Knight First Amendment Institute posted a demand on Twitter that President Trump unblock his critics on Twitter, citing…wait for it…the First Amendment.

That’s right, kids. An institute committed to the First Amendment has asserted trolling a sitting President is a free speech issue. And people wonder why I think we’re doomed…

If it were just the Knight First Amendment Institute going out on this limb by themselves, it would be easy to dismiss it, but there are others, including attorney Lawrence Tribe, who take it seriously and are arguing the President should not have the ability to block people because it stifles their free speech. Now, I’m not a lawyer like Mr. Tribe, but I have a little experience with the First Amendment, given that I’m using it right now.

How can I put this so Mr. Tribe, the Knight First Amendment Institute, and others like them can understand? Oh yeah. This isn’t a free speech issue!

Twitter is a private company and, as such, they have rules that each user has to follow. (Whether those rules are enforced evenly or at all is another matter for another blog entry.) Twitter also allows users the ability to block or hide some people’s posts at the discretion of the user. In fact, previous Presidents have blocked Twitter users before Trump, so it would lead me to believe it’s not really a free speech issue so much as it is a don’t-be-an-assbag issue.

The sticking point the Left has with this position is the fact President Trump has a Twitter an official White House Twitter account as well as a private one. Their argument is the fact Trump is President means his private Twitter account is a public forum because he is a government official. Yeah, that’s not how the First Amendment works. The first five words of the First Amendment read, “Congress shall make no law,” which means…well, that Congress can’t act. Since the President is not a member of Congress or the legislative branch, the First Amendment prohibitions would not apply to him, even if he is President.

The most confounding part of the Left’s line of thinking for me is how they can say their free speech rights are being violated by not being able to respond to whatever the President tweets. Hmmm…if only there were a way for these people to respond using the same technology the President uses. Oh, wait, there is. It’s called Twitter! The very forum they use to see what the President says is the same one they can use to issue a response. Trump isn’t stopping them from tweeting; he’s only ignoring what these folks tweet for various reasons. As hate speech critics are so quick to point out, the freedom to speak does not guarantee an audience. And, oddly enough, some of the same people who say hate speech isn’t protected are the same ones who think their tweets are free speech. Things that make you go “what color is the sky in your world?”

In the end, the Left’s treatment of President Trump’s Twitter as a free speech issue is shakier than Michael Moore in a vat of Jello on the San Andreas Fault during a 7.2 on the Richter Scale. No matter how many times they try to make it so, it just doesn’t work. Although I have to admit it’s funny to see people who get offended at insignificant things working so tirelessly to defend the right to troll.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

It’s been quite a week or so since Election Day. Between the press trying to explain why Donald Trump won (hint: Hillary Clinton sucked as a candidate), the Leftists deciding to make friends and influence people by calling Trump voters and third party voters racist/sexist/homophobic/stupid/fascist/Nazis/traitors/insert-insult-of-the-day-here, and a lot of millennials crying more than Tammy Fae Baker cutting onions, it seems the country might be in need of a break from politics.

That’s probably what Vice President-Elect Mike Pence thought when he attended a presentation of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” in New York City last Friday. During the performance, not only did he get booed, but one of the actors, Brandon Dixon, delivered a monologue that included the following statement:

We, sir, we, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

Afterwards, President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted his disapproval of the actor’s actions and requested an apology. Mr. Dixon tweeted back saying “conversation is not harassment.”

And with that, we have our latest addition to the Leftist Lexicon.

conversation

What Leftists think it means – talking to someone about your opinions and why you’re right

What it actually means – two or more people exchanging ideas

That’s right, Leftist kiddies. Conversation is a two-way street, meaning when you stop talking, you need to let someone else talk for a while. What Dixon did, as noble as it may seem on the surface, was as much of a conversation as when I speak to my dog. Not to say my dog isn’t a great conversationalist, mind you. It’s just that I don’t speak Dog.

Now, before you get your First Amendment panties in a bunch, let me make something perfectly clear. The actor and his fellow castmembers have the right to speak their opinions without fear of censorship by the government. Even if there is a soon-to-be-Vice President in the audience, the government has no business forcing silence on a dissenting opinion.

Ah, but there’s the rub. The government wasn’t trying to shut down a dissenting opinion. It was not a conversation, but a monologue. If the cast gave Pence a chance to respond, then it would be a conversation. But as yet, we have not heard whether the cast of “Hamilton” is going to allow Pence an opportunity to respond in the same manner in which he was spoken to, but let’s just say I’m not holding my breath for that day to come.

The Left loves to operate like this. They want to dominate the discourse whenever they can because they really don’t have a good response to opposing ideas. You’re either with them, or you’re lower than a worm’s codpiece. Not exactly a good way to start a conversation.

Then again, the Left really doesn’t want a conversation because the more you question their reasoning, the more it becomes evident reason just isn’t in their wheelhouse. Just try to nail them down on any topic. Global warming, the Electoral College, what wine to serve with free range gluten free tofu patties. If you’re lucky, you’ll get out of the conversation with your sanity and a few good tofu recipes. (My favorite: throw the tofu in the garbage and order a pizza.)

If the Left really wants conversation in the era of President Trump, they are going to have to get used to the idea theirs isn’t the only opinion out there. If the “Hamilton” cast is any indication, I get the feeling it will be a while before they’re ready for an actual conversation.

Say, when a Democrat becomes President. And even then, it’s iffy.

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What’s Eating Colin Kaepernick?

Before the first kickoff of the NFL regular season, we have our first NFL-related controversy not involving a dirty rotten cheater named Tom Brady. (Not that I have an opinion on Brady, mind you.) From our good friends on the West Coast, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the playing of the National Anthem before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick explained his actions on Twitter, saying it was because there are so many blacks dying in the streets and that he felt it was part of the American culture, as symbolized by the flag.

While his statements and actions have been inflammatory, the beautiful thing about America is he has a right to say it without the government smacking him down like a linebacker getting a sack on him. As much as it pains me to do it, I have to defend his right to make a stand, no matter how misguided it is.

Of course, that same right gives us the ability to mock him for the benchwarming, Super Bowl losing, underperforming and overpaid, selfish douchenozzle he is.

After the incident, Kaepernick said he was inspired by Black Lives Matter, a network of people who have made it a point to cry “police brutality” in lieu of “wolf” and turn a blind eye to the problems in their own communities. Kaepernick himself is biracial, with a white mother and a black father. His birth mother gave him up for adoption, where he was adopted by a white family and got a lot of benefits from that experience.

But, yeah, he’s totally legit when it comes to The Struggle.

Granted, Kaepernick has been vocal in his support for Black Lives Matter in the past, so this most recent of acts shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I have to question the timing. To put it mildly, last season wasn’t the best for him. Not only did he find himself riding the bench like a stripper in a rich man’s lap, but his prospects of making this year’s team are dwindling faster than the aforementioned rich man’s wallet with said stripper. Imagine the uproar if Kaepernick would be cut, benched, or traded to another team after this incident. Regardless of the facts involved, there would still be people who would think it was because the 49ers organization was racist and would protest in that vein.

Yeah. You might want to ask Michael Sam how that approach worked out for him. That is, if you can catch him between shifts at the Frialator.

Whether it’s a position based on firm conviction or selfishness, Kaepernick made his bed, and now he has to lie in it. Of course, being the kind soul that I am, I’ve devised a way for him to help.

Just give the portion of your contract that derives from white fans and give it to the communities you feel are most racially oppressed. Of course, the FBI states more white are killed by cops than blacks, so logically that would mean whites are more oppressed by cops when it comes to death by police officer.

In other words, you’d be giving your white fans refunds. And instead of blaming it on The Man, you can be The Man and help oppressed people like me avoid getting shot by police. That might mean you have to give up some of your wealth and ability to buy nice things for yourself, but isn’t it worth it knowing you’re helping stamp out oppression?

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

About a month ago, the University of Massachusetts hosted gay libertarian Milo Yiannopoulous, feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, and conservative comedian Steven Crowder in an event called “The Triggering.” And trigger they did. Campus Leftists felt the need to not only attend the event, but to do everything in their power to try to disrupt it.

To put it mildly, it didn’t go well for the campus Leftists, but it made an unintentional YouTube star out of one of the participants, Cora Segal.

Or as she’s better known, Trigglypuff. (A word of warning. There are parts of her outburst that are not safe for work…or for rational human beings, for that matter.)

During Ms. Puff’s…I mean, Ms. Segal’s rantings, she mentioned two concepts that I felt would make great additions to the Leftist Lexicon Words of the Week.

free speech

What Leftists say it means: the freedom to say what you want when you want
What it really means: the freedom to say what you want, but the intelligence to know when to shut up

hate speech

What Leftists say it means: speech that is hateful and should not be protected as free speech
What it really means: any speech the Left can’t handle

Ah, nothing like college kids thinking they understand the nuances of freedom of speech to teach us about how things should be. I know I feel better about the future when I think of people like Ms. Puff…I mean Ms. Segal.

Yeah, and I’m President of the Bernie Sanders Fan Club.

Here’s a pro tip for Trigglypuff: a difference of opinion isn’t hate speech in and of itself. I’m sure they didn’t teach that in your Multicultural Albino Feminist Tap-Dancing Midget Postmodern Poetry and Basket Weaving class, but it’s true. In fact, there is no fixed legal meaning of hate speech which means it could be literally anything. Including…oh, I don’t know…making an ass of yourself at a public forum by lying about a gay man and a feminist woman. In fact, that could easily be a…hate crime!

Of course, I wouldn’t be the one to press charges because I happen to believe in free speech beyond the confines of the First Amendment. Yes, Ms. Segal, I want you to speak your mind for two reasons. First, it creates a healthy environment for all parties who want to say something to do so. Second, it creates a healthy environment for me to mock you mercilessly.

That’s right, Trigglypuff. Free speech includes mocking people who richly deserve it, and you, my dear, have earned every bit of derision you have earned. Of course, you’ll call this mockery hate speech because it hurts your feelings. That’s nice. Now, care to engage in some real intellectual discourse? No? Didn’t think so.

By trying to paint free speech as hate speech, Leftists try to silence anyone who disagree with them. When that doesn’t work, they resort to the kind of antics we saw at the University of Massachusetts: disrupting the actual speakers. Although you have every right to do that, you look like an ass doing it. That’s the thing about free speech; you’re not guaranteed an audience, and you might just wind up being the Jim Fixx of running gags.

You know, like you are now.

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