Monday, June 1, 2020
Nothing helps clarify the decision about when to return to a virus-ridden society like nationwide riots actively trying to burn that society to the ground.
The provocation of said riots, at least in theory, was the sad and almost certainly criminal death of George Floyd, an African-American who died after having a policeman kneel on his neck for an unconscionable amount of time. There was video of the incident, and all who saw it - of any race or political disposition - agreed "this is wrong. The officers involved need to face legal consequences."
Outrage and protest from the Black community and sympathetic persons of all races was and is completely understandable. Peaceful protests are absolutely appropriate. Our nation has real racial problems that run deep and need solving, though any longterm solutions are going to be difficult, multi-tiered, and involve hard questions for everyone involved.
But that's not what these riots are about. They are about anarchy, and the most violent offenders couldn't care less about George Floyd. Many are politically motivated antifa-style terrorists, emboldened by previous spasms of destruction that not only went unchecked and unpunished but were actively praised by left-leaning media. There are opportunists who want to loot whatever businesses the crowd chooses to pillage, stripping shelves like a plague of locusts. And there are those who are simply feral, getting a drug-like high from senseless violence and carnage.
All of that is bad enough. But where are the leaders - local, state, and federal - who are willing to take a stand against all of this? Police are told to stand down, government officials become apologists ("We think white supremacists have infiltrated the mobs"), and the many existing crowd-dispersal technologies go unused.
It is no stretch at all to imagine that there are many in power who want to see these riots continue if only to make Donald Trump look bad in the run-up to the election: if he doesn't react strongly, he'll be tarred for not protecting lives and property. If he does react strongly, he'll be pilloried as a racist.
We've seen all of this before, far too many times. What we haven't seen, and what we must see, is order restored to our streets by immediate and appropriate use of force (including, as a final resort, deadly force), and severe legal consequences for the agitators and anarchists who are setting flames not just to buildings, but to our nation's soul.
Friday, May 29, 2020
On Thursday, the President signed an executive order which will turn up the heat on the giant social media corporations who are currently curtailing the free speech of Americans in order to advance their own political and business goals. This has always been discouraged, but there were no enforcement teeth which could truly tame these media megaliths. Until now.
We'll do our best to explain what we think this means, since you're going to be hearing wild distortions and misrepresentations about this executive order. Which, come to think of it, is nothing new - and exactly why this executive order is so important.
Currently, there is something called "Section 230 Protection" which says that Twitter, Facebook, Google, and similar services are "platforms" which host content, but do not control it. In this way, they avoid any legal liability for what is said by others using that platform. It was the government's way of trying to guarantee that speech would remain free.
Other platforms would be the phone company which doesn't censor your calls, or jump into a conversation to "fact check" what you're saying. Similarly, the postal service is a platform which delivers your letters without redacting parts they don't like, or just banning you from using their service. Simply put, a platform is simply a delivery system with no editorial control...and therefore no liability for the content that is transmitted.
BUT, at the point content is edited, manipulated, labeled as untrue, or banned entirely, the entity in charge is no longer a platform but is instead a publisher - a status which is not protected by Section 230.
Despite what we see in the NY Times, publishers are not allowed to make up or propagate lies and smears about a person, company, or news event without legal consequence. They can (and should!) be sued for libel when that happens, because they're responsible for everything that appears on their printed page or website.
Trump's executive order clarifies and updates Section 230 to make these distinctions clear: if you're a platform allowing everyone to post whatever they want, you're shielded from liability. If you're a publisher, editing, changing, "correcting," or banning content, then you're going to share the legal liability for all of the content that you've "chosen" to publish.
If the executive order manages to stick, social media sites will have to go back to letting citizens air their views, right or wrong, without encumbrance. More importantly, they'll have to stop shifting and slanting information for the express purpose of manipulating the minds and votes of the American people. And it couldn't happen at a more crucial time.
BONUS: FRIDAY FOOLISHNESS
Wow, we didn't mean to go on so long (and so humorlessly) about the story above, but it's an important one. Still, Friday deserves a lighter touch, so we present you with another edition of...
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
In an interview speaking with the distinguished African-American journalist "Charlamagne tha God," Joe Biden quipped that "if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."
Even for Biden, this was an impressive accomplishment: using only three words, he denied the existence or significance of biological race, suggested that Black Americans are still wholly owned and controlled by Democratic slavemasters and, just for good measure, used "ain't" because he apparently thinks African-Americans are too dumb to understand correct grammar.
To date, none of the African-American women Biden is considering for his VP candidate have voiced any problem with Biden's insulting remark. But then, maybe they "ain't Black" except when it can be used to their advantage.
BONUS: SPACE-FILLING FRIVOLITY!