29 thoughts on “News/Politics 8-8-18

  1. First they cam for Alex Jones. But I didn’t say anything because I’m not an Alex Jones fan.

    But then they came for……

    Everybody else identifying as conservative.

    Either we all have free speech, vile as some of it may be, or none of us do.


    “There are several parts to this that should make all of us concerned.

    None of the companies involved in this action are considered “publishers.” While publishers bear some legal culpability for what they print, YouTube, etc., have a legal safe harbor in that they are considered communications platforms and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes online platforms from being sued for what appears on that platform. This is not a bad law. You shouldn’t be able to sue a bullhorn company because Al Sharpton used one to generate an anti-Semitic riot. What it does mean is that the decision to pull Jones, while leaving Louis Farrakhan untouched indicates this is less about “community standards” than it is about politics.

    CNN is claiming they and other media lobbied to get InfoWars pulled.

    The fact that CNN has the temerity to accuse anyone of spreading false information it sort of hilarious but, if we suspend our skepticism and credit Darcy with being able to utter the truth, then this looks like a media cabal, or actually a media mean-girls club, decided to deplatform InfoWars and actually succeeded. Keep in mind this is basically the model these same clowns used to drive firearms related information and conservative videos from YouTube. This is the first time, however, that the model used on YouTube has been rolled out across platforms targeting one outlet.

    This, in particular, should raise grave concerns because their next target it pretty clear. MSNBC’s Katy Tur refuses to let guests refer to Daily Caller reporters as journalists.

    And the self-avowed godfather of the deplatforming of InfoWars has started targeting the Daily Caller in the blowzy afterglow of his victory:

    The Federalist is clearly going to be a target as well.

    This is not the end of free speech but it might very well be the beginning of the end of free speech:”

    Here is where I cheerfully depart company with those who declare “they are private companies, they can do what they want.” If you believe that, I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. In the real world, Google and Facebook and Apple and to a lesser extent Twitter provide the only real outlet available for political activists and citizen journalists to communicate. What they communicate, so long as it doesn’t fall into areas that are clearly criminal violations, should be none of their concern. They can’t have this both ways. If they are going to act as publishers they need to be treated as such. If they are going to claim to be platforms, then they can’t be gatekeepers for information, particularly political information, that passes over them because we know how this movie ends. These platforms/publishers are working with groups like the SPLC and Snopes and Politifact to identify what is “fake” (Politifact “fact checked” Ted Cruz’s opinions on the Iran nuclear deal and declared his opinions false) and what is “hate speech” (the SPLC labeling the Family Research Council as purveyors of “hate speech” led to a leftist attempting to carry out a massacre at their offices).

    What is under attack here is not Alex Jones’s nutbaggery. The objective is to move any dissenting media or even nutty media off of widely available platforms and force it into internet ghettos where it can be slowly starved to death. InfoWars is simply a test run. We’ll see the same strategy aimed at other right-leaning media in the very near future.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. More….

    This battle is not about Alex Jones. Anyone who thinks it is, hasn’t been paying attention.


    “The targeted takedown of Jones was strategic.

    Few people want to defend the substance of his content. So CNN gets to wrap itself in self-righteousness, even though it was an act by CNN of political activism.

    And yes, these are private companies who can do what the government cannot. We understand that. But they have taken on a role approaching public utilities, without whom we can’t communicate politically.

    This is something we’ve covered a lot in the past year, how an oligopoly of left-leaning high tech firms control virtually all of our social media interactions. In my dreadful 9th Anniversary post, I wrote:

    If the assault on the Electoral College was the game changer for me, a runner up was waking up to implications of the concentration of power in a small number of social media and internet companies who have been weaponized to shut down speech and expression. Google, Facebook, Twitter and two handfuls of other companies now completely control our ability to communicate with each other, while internet backbone companies are poised to block internet access altogether.

    Imagine living in a repressive country in which the government blocked access to and suppressed internet content. You don’t need to move. It’s coming here but from private industry. This is, in many ways, more dangerous than government suppression of free speech because at least in the U.S. the government is subject to the First Amendment, and can be voted out of office.

    The social justice warriors have moved from shouting down speakers on campus to pressuring high tech companies to expand the definition of “hate speech” and “community standards” to the point that anything right of center is at risk.

    It’s no surprise then that Prager U, a completely mainstream conservative educational group, has been fighting a running battle with YouTube over restrictions on its popular videos.

    The problem is not limited to social media. There were attempts after the Parkland shooting to deplatform NRA TV:

    It should surprise no one that what starts with an attack on 2nd Amendment rights quickly moved to an attack on free speech via the handful of internet oligopolies. Leftists have identified a weak point — private entities are not constrained by the 1st Amendment the way the government is, but they perform on the internet quasi-governmental functions over internet infrastructure and access….

    If you think the attacks on the NRA are only about the 2nd Amendment, then you haven’t been paying attention. These people are totalitarian in nature, and that nature is on full display.

    These social justice censors start with neo-Nazis, then define everyone who opposes them as the equivalent of neo-Nazis. So they move on to Alex Jones, then the NRA, and won’t stop until mainstream conservatives are banned.

    Yet lunatic leftist #Resistance conspiracies proliferate on these same social media platforms without hindrance.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a very telling piece. Christopher Steele, the fraud behind the fraudulent “Trump Dossier” doesn’t want to talk to Congress about his most famous work to date. As this whole charade has collapsed, it’s easy to see why. Then he might be publicly exposed as the fraud he and his work are.


    “A lawyer for a Russian businessman suing BuzzFeed News over the infamous Steele dossier says he will provide the Senate with a video of a deposition that Christopher Steele, the document’s author, gave as part of the BuzzFeed lawsuit in June.

    Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the judiciary panel, asked Val Gurvits, a lawyer for Boston Legal Group, to provide a transcript and video of a deposition that Steele gave in London on June 18 as part of a lawsuit against BuzzFeed in a July 25 letter.

    Gurvits’s client, Aleksej Gubarev, is suing the media company for defamation for publishing the dossier. The 35-page document, which Steele wrote while working for the Clinton campaign and DNC, accuses Gubarev of being a Russian spy and using his web hosting companies of stealing information from the DNC’s computer systems.

    BuzzFeed published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017. Gubarev has accused the outlet of failing to investigate the dossier’s claims before publishing the report.

    Gurvits tells The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Gubarev legal team plans to comply with Grassley’s request.

    “My client has instructed me from the very beginning of this lawsuit to fully cooperate with all US government requests,” he said.

    Congressional committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election have failed so far to interview Steele, a former MI6 officer based in London.

    “It is my understanding that Mr. Steele has refused all Congressional attempts to interview him. Thus, this information is otherwise unavailable,” Grassley wrote to Gurvits.

    Using a middleman in 2017, Steele sought to meet with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss his investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russian government officials. North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intel panel, recently said the committee has been unable to get an interview with Steele despite being in frequent contact with him.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is interested in finding out more about Steele’s contacts with the FBI and the FBI’s use of the dossier to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

    Grassley and his fellow Judiciary Committee member, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, have also referred Steele to the Department of Justice for investigation over what they claim are the ex-spy’s misleading statements to the FBI about his contacts with the media.

    “The consistency of sworn descriptions of Mr. Steele’s dossier project and attendant media contacts is particularly relevant to the Committee’s inquiry,” Grassley wrote.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alex Jones yelled fire once too often. He propagated the so called Pizzagate which led to a follower shooting the place up. He called Sandy Hook a false flag and grieving parents actors. This led to followers hounding one family so badly they had to move several hundred kms away to a secure compound. One of his followers was just released from prison for uttering death threats. Private corporations have a responsibility and may be legally liable if they allow people like Jones to incite violence. Plus they have a shareholder responsibility to generate profit and there is no profit in hosting Alex Jones. To cite Jones in the famous First they came poem does a disservice to the Jews Unionists Communists and Christians mentioned in the original

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Actually, though, isn’t that the point, HRW? That free speech is free speech for all, not “preferred” speech. That was the point of the Skokie ruling all those years ago. Vile though it was for the KKK to march through the Jewish section of Chicago and scream about whatever stupidity they screamed, they had the right to free speech.

    But, the other side is I have the right of free speech NOT to listen to them or this Jones character–about whom I know nothing.

    The ACLU used to understand that fact–I’m pretty sure they supported the KKK in the Skokie trial. I certainly understood their reasoning–it was about free speech, not about the specific words the KKK used.

    I didn’t like it, but even as a child I understood that.

    That’s what’s troubling about the new Google move back into China. They’re allowing their search engine to be used as a tool by the Chinese government–blocking some speech and possibly other nefarious means.

    It is a strange, brave new world.

    Other than that and the heat, how’s Europe? Did you visit Poland this trip?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Some good news….


    “Elizabeth Heng, who is running against Democratic incumbent Jim Costa, posted an inspiring campaign ad that began with chilling images from the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s while telling about her parents’ survival. The theme of her campaign: “Great things can come from great adversity.”

    It seems that the message may have been too powerful for Team Facebook.

    Heng’s campaign said Facebook “revoked approval to advertise” the video last week. According to a screenshot posted to Twitter, Facebook said it was not approved because it does not adhere to its advertising policies.

    “We don’t allow ads that contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence,” the message from Facebook read.

    The ad is compelling, which might explain a bit of the motivation behind Facebook’s decision:

    However, it appears that Facebook officials have seen the light, after news of Heng’s blocked video went viral.

    Facebook lifted Tuesday its block on Republican Elizabeth Heng’s campaign ad, but the California congressional candidate said the company still owes her a public apology.

    “I’m deeply disappointed that Facebook would not give me a public apology for targeting a conservative candidate for Congress,” she said in a statement. “It took them 5 days and an immense amount of pressure before they ‘realized’ that they deliberately blocked my history and my story.”

    …After a deluge of criticism on the right, a Facebook spokesperson said Tuesday that the ad had been cleared for distribution.

    “Upon further review, it is clear the video contains historical imagery relevant to the candidate’s story,” said Facebook in an email to the Washington Times. “We have since approved the ad and it is now running on Facebook.”

    The chances for Heng’s victory in the 16th District are good, which could be another potential motivator for the progressive social media overlords. “

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some breaking news….


    “Well, this might make the midterms just a wee bit tougher for Republicans. NBC News reports that three-term GOP Rep. Chris Collins surrendered to the FBI earlier this morning on charges relating to securities fraud. The indictment alleges insider trading relating to an Australian company on whose board Collins sits:”

    “Collins, 68, faces insider trading charges along with his son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins’ fiancée, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

    The case is related to Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company, on which the elder Collins served on the board.”


  8. Alex Jones is entitled to free speech but Twitter etc are private corporations which offer a platform. If its not in their corporate best interest they shouldn’t be forced to publish Alex Jones esp if it effects their profit.

    This does not limit free speech….he can find a different platform, march anywhere he wants, etc.

    Now if the argument is these social media platforms have a virtual monopoly, then we can argue for govt involvement or even ownership but I would find it amusing if the right seeks to limit capitalism.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. HRW,

    When you act like fascist brownshirts, the comparisons to them will inevitably be made. Don’t like it, stop acting like it.



    Some questions…..

    Does the left today…

    Harbor radical anti-capitalist notions? ☑

    Attack the rallies of their rivals? Antifa anyone? ☑

    Attack and berate their perceived enemies in public places? Like the press sec, Candace Owens, etc.. ? ☑

    Intimidate voters in national and local elections. ☑

    Carry out unchecked street violence against their opponents? See what happened this past week in Portland? Again, unchecked because the authorities call off the cops, just like the Nazis did. ☑

    Employ propaganda and lies against their opponents thru the a complicit media to advance their cause? Hello…. Trump. ☑

    About the only difference I see is the originals were virulently nationalistic, while the modern versions is virulently anti-nationalistic.


    And as these groups of idiots become more emboldened, these incidents will increase. As happened with the original brownshirts. They didn’t start out as what they ended up, but grew into it as their power increased. A correction will come from right minded folks who will inevitably clash with such tactics after tiring of them. That will be painful, but necessary. A free and just society simply cannot tolerate such nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “This does not limit free speech….he can find a different platform, march anywhere he wants, etc.”

    Yeah, except you know he can’t because all the other platforms have done the same.

    Look I agree he’s vile, but he’s got a right to speak his mind. It’s the very first Amendment. That may not matter to a Canadian, but here it’s a pretty big deal.

    “Now if the argument is these social media platforms have a virtual monopoly, then we can argue for govt involvement or even ownership but I would find it amusing if the right seeks to limit capitalism.”

    You almost had it. They are virtual monopolies and for that reason I think it needs to be regulated somewhat, the way all public utilities are. But I’d argue they aren’t very good capitalists anyway, because this will lose them money. Like it or not, Jones had a large audience, and advertisers. They’d actually regain lost revenue by reinstating him. We’d be helping capitalism. 🙂

    I know…. I know….

    Just the thought gives you the willies…. 🙂


  11. Aj. Your fascists checklist can apply to the right also….its easy to cherry pick behaviours of the few to paint a wide brush.

    Twitter isnt banning Alex Jones…apparently its not where they want to go….so be it, they are a private corporation.

    If you want to treat social media similar to public utilities, I would have no objection but I think it would become far too political…..imagine hate speech laws being by various groups right and left…..

    There are those on the left who would agree, social media needs to regulated so it wont suppress its anti-capitalist messages. I have leftist friends who make the same complaint about social media as Republicans are making now. Each side has a persecution complex….the truth is these platforms are there to make money and that is their principle


  12. Michelle

    I taught for three weeks in Poland. Enough to pay my flight. Ive spent the last two weeks in Tallinn, Helsinki Stockholm and Copenhagen. Right now I’m on my way from Amsterdam to my cousin’s place.

    I’d recommend Tallinn and perhaps Stockholm. Copenhagen is the most expensive.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The Alex Jones/Social Media thing is only a snapshot in time. Just wait it out and let the market do its thing. I don’t know what hwesseli’s opinion has been in the past, but I do know plenty of “leftists” (or whatever we’re calling them now) in the past were up in arms about an alleged conservative radio monopoly a few years ago, or how Sinclair Broadcasting required TV affiliates to get in line. Conservatives need to take the bad with the good and just stay committed to principle; let “the left” do the flip-flopping.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not quite getting the meaning of this:

    There are those on the left who would agree, social media needs to regulated so it wont suppress its anti-capitalist messages.


  15. I find it interesting that those in arms over social media bias are some of the same people who would not support net neutrality. Internet providers function act far more like public utilities than social media platforms.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. SP.. some leftists think social media companies suppress or marginalize anti-capitalist facebook groups, tweets etc. Essentially the same complaint the right have.

    Btw …..the heat in northern Europe was insane. At 60 degrees latitude it was plus 30 for days. And nobody including stores restaurants etc has AC.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I opposed Trump’s policy on net neutrality. The internet is not a privately owned entity and should have regulations that ensure open access. But then I also believe that publicly traded companies, as ‘fictitious persons’ are entitled only to the rights that we the people choose to grant them. And we grant way too many, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Net neutrality was a power grab, and that’s why it wasn’t supported, much of it based on lies…

    Like I said, with the aid of propaganda and a complicit press.


    “Last May, former FCC Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Bray claimed that the agency was “a victim to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS attack, a scheme in which hackers overwhelm a target site with fake traffic” during the net neutrality fight.

    It looks like an upcoming report from the FCC’s inspector general will dispute Bray’s (DDoS) claims that a cyberattack hit the agency’s comment section in May 2017. Instead, it appears that concerned citizens, not bots or fake people, who wanted to show their support net neutrality made the FCC website slow down.

    This supposed cyber attack happened after John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight urged his “viewers to flood FCC comments with support for ‘net neutrality’ legislation.”

    A letter from Bray on May 8, 2017, stated that the agency “was ‘subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks” and they “were ‘deliberate attempted by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.”

    The FCC said in July 2017 that the agency could find any “records of such an analysis ever being performed on its public comment system.” This response came after Gizmodo filed a Freedom of Information Act request for information regarding the alleged attack. The website received 16 pages, but most had redactions.

    The inspector general’s office has worked on its investigation for several months and has not released the report, but FCC Chairman Pai has released statements on it:

    “I want to thank the Office of the Inspector General, both for its thorough effort to get to the bottom of what happened and for the comprehensive report it has issued. With respect to the report’s findings, I am deeply disappointed that the FCC’s former Chief Information Officer (CIO), who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable. I’m also disappointed that some working under the former CIO apparently either disagreed with the information that he was presenting or had questions about it, yet didn’t feel comfortable communicating their concerns to me or my office.

    “On the other hand, I’m pleased that this report debunks the conspiracy theory that my office or I had any knowledge that the information provided by the former CIO was inaccurate and was allowing that inaccurate information to be disseminated for political purposes. Indeed, as the report documents, on the morning of May 8, it was the former CIO who informed my office that ‘some external folks attempted to send high traffic in an attempt to tie-up the server from responding to others, which unfortunately makes it appear unavailable to everyone attempting to get through the queue.’ In response, the Commission’s Chief of Staff, who works in my office, asked if the then-CIO was confident that the incident wasn’t caused by a number of individuals ‘attempting to comment at the same time . . . but rather some external folks deliberately trying to tie-up the server.’ In response to this direct inquiry, the former CIO told my office: ‘Yes, we’re 99.9% confident this was external folks deliberately trying to tie-up the server to prevent others from commenting and/or create a spectacle.’

    Pai went on to say that the FCC will upgrade its comment section, but has also instilled a new culture where people don’t have to fear or second guess themselves questioning a superior.”


  19. …however, Solar does have point @1:06. Patience is a virtue, and there is often no need for regulatory remedies when time will do the job. Knee-jerk policies often have unintended negative consequences.


  20. This will shatter a few memes. 🙂


    “President Trump Boasts That He Went ‘5 For 5’ – And He’s RIGHT
    Republicans won every race Tuesday in which the president made an endorsement.”

    “Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump boasted, cryptically, on Twitter that he was “5 for 5.”

    But while mainstream media struggled to figure out precisely what the president meant, results from five Republican primaries rolled in, and Trump endorsed the winner in all five primaries — something that sets him far apart from previous presidents, including President Barack Obama, who notoriously failed to pick winners during much of his tenure.

    Trump racked up a win in Ohio: Trump-backed Republican Troy Balderson eked out a “razor-thin” win in an Ohio special election, defeating Democrat Danny O’Connor. Democrats tried to play off the loss as a “win” (because of the narrow margin) even though, before the vote, Democrats touted O’Connor as the first splash in what they believe will be a “blue wave” in November.”

    “And one in Kansas: Trump-endorsed Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach also found himself narrowly edging out his opponent, a fellow Republican running against the Trump agenda. Trump tweeted support for Kobach on Monday, calling Kobach a “fantastic guy.”


  21. I suspect conservatives will some day regret their stance on net neutrality, but I won’t quibble over it now. ;–)


  22. As a rule on this site, you can pretty safely disregard any post that starts with, “I find it interesting that….” or “I find it amusing how…” as what follows is usually a combination strawman -special pleading. I find it hilarious how that rhetorical tactic is employed.

    Which social media companies suppress or marginalize anti-capitalist facebook groups, tweets, and how? Are those “social media companies” somehow *separate* from facebook, twitter, etc?Honest question.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. But Solar…..

    I find it interesting AND amusing how the Republican won in Ohio (Or did he?). I think you will too. 🙂


    “Green party spoiler candidate in Ohio election whose 1,100 votes could tilt outcome says his ancestors were from another planet and can’t remember his own campaign website address

    Joe Manchik played spoiler Tuesday in Ohio, taking nearly enough votes in from the Democrat in a special election to trigger a statewide automatic recount

    The native of Hell, Michigan says his ancestors came from a distant planet and couldn’t remember his own website address during an interview this year

    He claims marijuana is the solution to opioid addiction and says he speaks 19 languages including ‘Spanglish’ and ‘Sheet Music’

    Calls Israel’s prime minister a ‘war criminal’ and says every American should be required to grow hemp

    There are still thousands of absentee and provisional votes to count, nearly 5 times the Republican candidate’s apparent margin of victory

    Ohio law says officials can’t start counting them for 11 days “

    Liked by 1 person

  24. SP …..I don’t personally think leftists are suppressed…..its usually an algorithm or a specific complaint that suppresses a message but this hasn’t stopped both the left or the right from imagining a conspiracy.

    And I’m generally amused by most issues in American politics. Cdn politics are far more boring and consistent

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Obviously fox news thought you should care…..wasn’t she the girl on who’s the boss or do i have the wrong 80s sitcom?


  26. I wasn’t really asking what you thought, hwesseli, but about those you referred to who claim social media companies suppress or marginalize anti-capitalist facebook groups, tweets.


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