Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech
Published time: 6 Aug, 2018 23:19
Edited time: 7 Aug, 2018 07:13
Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech
Alex Jones at a rally during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, 2016 © Lucas Jackson / Reuters
The US Constitution explicitly forbids government censorship. So Silicon Valley big-tech companies made themselves the gatekeepers of ‘goodthink,’ de-platforming anyone who runs afoul of their arbitrary ‘community standards.’
Alex Jones, the host of InfoWars, has often been derided by establishment media as a conspiracy theorist. Yet on Monday, Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Facebook proved right the motto of his show – “There’s a war on for your mind!” – by blocking or deleting InfoWars accounts from their platforms, saying he allegedly engaged in “hate speech” and violated their “community standards.”
Simply put, these corporations appointed themselves arbiters of acceptable political thought, and censored Jones for failing to comply with arbitrary political standards set in Silicon Valley boardrooms, not at the ballot box.
Whether you like @RealAlexJones and Infowars or not, he is undeniably the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants. What price free speech? https://t.co/DWroGYaWvk
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) August 6, 2018
The First Amendment to the US Constitution says that Congress shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” There is no “hate speech” exemption, either. In fact, hate speech is not even a legal category in the US. However, a chorus of voices all too glad Jones was purged immediately chimed up to argue that Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Spotify are private companies and this does not apply to them.
There is a wrinkle in that argument, though: civil rights outfits such as the ACLU have argued that social media amount to a “designated public forum” in cases where government officials tried to avail themselves of blocking, muting and other functions put forth by Big Tech as a way to police “toxicity” on their platforms.
“When the government designates social media a public forum, the First Amendment prohibits it from limiting the discourse based on viewpoint,” the ACLU said in a brief submitted last year in a case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. “When a government actor bans critics from speaking in a forum, it silences and chills dissent, warps the public conversation, and skews public perception,” the ACLU brief went on.
In a separate but obviously related case, a federal judge used the “designated public forum” definition to demand that President Donald Trump allow critics access to his personal Twitter account – not the official @POTUS one – because he is a public official.
However, if social media platforms are a “designated public forum” that government is not allowed to exclude people from on First Amendment grounds, how is it OK for corporations that operate these platforms to do so? Or is chilling dissent, warping conversation and skewing perception only bad when a government actor does it, thereby creating a legal system in which the what is irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is who/whom?
There is something deeply cynical about people who until yesterday denounced discrimination and evil corporatism – and will do so again tomorrow – suddenly defending private property and freedom to discriminate against political viewpoints. That’s because this isn’t about principles, but about power.
Liberals were once all for free speech, starting a movement by that name at Berkeley in the 1960s. Now that the media and academia overwhelmingly march in lockstep with the Democratic Party, however, they’re all about “no-platforming” opposing views and calling them “hate speech,” all in an effort to limit the range of permissible thought and expression in America.
This has manifested in many forms, from literal riots in Berkeley to “shadowbanning” of several Republican lawmakers on Twitter. That platform, which has so far refrained from banning InfoWars, didn’t hesitate to block conservative African-American activist Candace Owens after she pointedly echoed the hateful tweets of a liberal journalist hired by the New York Times. Needless to say, the same people up in arms about Alex Jones argued that Sarah Jeong’s tweets were fine, because one “cannot be racist against white people.”
If Infowars has been removed for pushing conspiracy theories and “glorifying violence and hate speech…”
Then what’s the plan for outlets who still push ‘Russian collusion’ and promote violent ANTIFA protests/harassing Trump admin officials?
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) August 6, 2018
This ideological conflict in American society actually goes back years, maybe even decades. However, the victory of Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, even though most of the media and all of the Silicon Valley were #WithHer, flushed it out in the open. Democrats quickly latched onto a claim of “Russian meddling,” intended to delegitimize Trump’s presidency but also, as it turns out, create an excuse for corporate censorship.
Consider the November 1, 2017 hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where lawyers for Google, Facebook and Twitter were subjected to a barrage of demands to regulate their platforms against “Russians” – or else.
“You have to be the ones to do something about it, or we will,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California). She also pressed for the removal of RT from YouTube, only to have a Google representative say that despite looking very hard, the company hasn’t found any policy violations that would justify such a move.
“I’m not really satisfied with that,” said Feinstein.
YouTube is also banning channels unrelated to the InfoWars brand, but have livestreamed Jone’s show daily. © Dado Ruvic/Reuters War on InfoWars? YouTube shuts down Alex Jones’ channel with 2.5mn subscribers
Now, imagine how much more chilling this would be if Feinstein represented the ruling party, rather than the opposition. It isn’t that far-fetched: during the 2016 election, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta that she “badly” wanted Clinton to win, while Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, actually spent election night at Clinton HQ with a “staff” badge. More recently, this April actually, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey described as a “great read” an article describing how Democrats should fight and win the “civil war” currently being waged in the US.
This isn’t about how much one likes or dislikes Alex Jones or InfoWars. This is about corporations deciding for you what you should be allowed to hear, read, say or think – and the people normally criticizing such behavior cheering it on, because it suits their political agenda.
As Jones’s colleague Paul Joseph Watson put it, “The great censorship purge has truly begun.”
Ask not for whom the censorship bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Nebojsa Malic, RT
I had been doing so much better about keeping up with my blogs, until about this last week. I had not gotten back to posting as much as I had in the past, but was doing much better.
I have to admit though, every month, beginning the week before foreclosure hell (the day they auction the homes foreclosed upon), have been particularly hellish.
I guess for a while, no one I know was being foreclosed upon. But beginning last month, my friends began being sold at auction again. It had been a whole year until just these last couple of months. Then all of the sudden, properties that the banks had lost interest in, out of the blue, and with little or no warning, were sold at auction.
We all managed to stop two of the sales, those two were cancelled, but last month, one was lost to foreclosure, and it took a lot of work to get cancelled, the two that were cancelled.
So, even though there may not be the number of foreclosures every month that there had been for a long time, looks like the banks have managed to get lined up, these companies, that will purchase damn near any house at auction. These companies that want to turn around and rent you your house they just purchased at foreclosure.
I told everyone, back in 2008-2009 when Goldman Sachs’ sorry ass said that “only the rich should own houses, everyone else should be renters”, that this is what could be expected. Yes, it took another 8 years for it to happen to this scale, but it is here, and it won’t be going away, till they get every one of our homes.
I have watched foreclosure sales every month since around 2006, and all the properties that were fought for, and the banks, just kind of fizzled away without a lot of fuss, homes that they realized would be close to impossible to get the foreclosed upon owner to leave, now that they can work it out to where these rent home companies, are the ones that has to get rid of the previous owners of the properties.
The banks see this as minor housekeeping, which they don’t mind at all.
A Great Piece on Teenagers and Gun Control
Rush Limbaugh.com ^ | March 28, 2018 | Rush Limbaugh
Posted on 3/28/2018, 4:45:31 PM by Kaslin
RUSH: We’re not quite through with the gun control aspect of this, because that’s the big area, number one, where the left has finally decided they don’t have to lie anymore and they don’t have to pretend. They’ve been saying for years: We don’t want to confiscate every gun. We just want life to be safer in America. We want get rid of the assault rifles. We wanted to get rid of the semiautomatics. We want to get rid of the killing machines. We love our children.
Well, that’s never been the case. Not that they don’t love their children. What’s never been the case is that they only have a few things they want to do. They want total confiscation of every weapon in this country. And if it takes them 20 years, fine and dandy. They don’t put four-year time limits, something the Soviets and communists taught them very well. The Soviet Union never had a time limit on things like we do.
We have four-year administrations. If the president doesn’t get something done in four years or a second term, eight years, that’s considered, “It’s over. Somebody else has to start again.” In totalitarian countries, dictatorships, there’s no such thing as a time limit. You just get it done when you got it done. You have an objective and you work towards it, period. You don’t get derailed, and you don’t get stopped, and you don’t stop yourself. And people on our side just don’t believe anybody could have that kind of commitment and intensity. But these people have had it trained and educated, burned into them.
But I ran across a piece today that I want to share some excerpts with you from. This is Bruce Thornton, Shillman Journalism Fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center. This is from FrontPageMag.com. “Teenagers Make Great Progressive Shock Troops.”
I just want to read a few excerpted paragraphs here, because you know what this piece is? This piece is one of those I wish I would have written. It contains elements, details, explanations for why things have been happening by certain people on the left for all these years, what the objective is, how they’ve gone about it and so forth. It’s really enlightening. And it deals with, how did we go off the rails?
It wasn’t that long ago that there were virtues and that there were tenets, there were time-honored traditions, institutions, and philosophies that everybody followed because they were time-honored and believed in, and they worked. And they were all oriented around virtue and morality, doing the right thing, overcoming obstacles, learning how to deal with adversity, not whining, not moaning, not complaining, not becoming a victim. When did all this change? Bruce Thornton here tackles it. So I JIPped this. I join it in progress.
“Once upon a time, experience in a hard, indifferent world, the virtues like self-reliance and impulse-control nourished by faith and tradition, and an education based on mental skills and the lessons of history taught the young that their feelings and ‘self-esteem’ don’t amount to a hill of beans in this flawed world.”
Once upon a time experience mattered, virtue, self-reliance, impulse control nourished by faith and tradition and an education system that taught people how to think, taught the lessons of history, taught young people that feelings were no substitute for knowledge and experience.
“Once upon a time people learned that good deeds are more important than fine words, that acting on their impulses and seeking instant gratification carry a high price, and that duty and obligation and responsibility to others in the end are the foundations of our political and social order.
“Starting in the postwar fifties, increasing wealth, more time spent in school rather than factories and fields, consumer capitalism’s promotion of impulse-buying, and a culture of materialism that defines the self through fashion, consumption, and popular culture rather than through education, challenges, and character — all exacerbated the flaws of youth that the larger culture once tried to correct, but now indulged.”
So he’s saying that the descent into current pop culture can be traced back to the economic boom of the postwar fifties. He’s not blaming economic booms. He’s not blaming a good economy. What he says is that with the increased wealth per capita, family income, more time spent in school rather than in factories and fields, so more professional training rather than vocational, consumer advertising promoting impulse buying and a culture of materialism as a definition of yourself. And of course yourself is defined by fashion, consumption, pop culture. That’s when it all began.
“Movies, music, and soon the therapeutic curricula of schools reinforced and glorified these flaws rather than disciplining and correcting them. The ‘human sciences’ replaced the doctrines of faith and wisdom of tradition in explaining human nature and its proper aims. The last three generations have been marinated in these social and cultural dysfunctions –” So he’s talking about anywhere from 60 to 75 years. So the last 60 to 75 years people have marinated, kids have “marinated in these social and cultural dysfunctions that have resulted in a sense of entitlement and outlandish expectations. Adolescence has been extended far beyond the traditional beginning of adulthood.”
That means parents are perfectly fine with their kids not growing up. Parents are perfectly fine with their kids remaining kids. I have a story in the Stack today, 75% of Millennials, mom and dad are still paying most of the bills, even after they’ve left the house. Because their parents say, “It’s so hard out there.” Good Lord. But, anyway, Mr. Thornton here is exactly right. Adolescence has been extended far beyond the traditional beginning of adulthood. What would you say that is, 21? Graduating from college, you’re an adult, you strike out on your own.
Anyway, it’s a great point here that parents have willingly accepted that their adult kids are still their kids, they’re still adolescents. This has been “increasingly shaped by a leftist political ideology that rationalizes and exculpates bad character and destructive choices as the fault of a corrupt political, economic, and social system. But the old-left call for the violent overthrow of such an evil establishment is now merely a rhetorical flourish. Symbolic politics like marches and demonstrations that occasionally stray into vandalism and petty thuggery are preferred, for they are relatively risk-free, and draw the attention of sympathetic media and like-minded adults who praise the youngsters’ ‘passion’ and ‘commitment’ to ‘change’ and a ‘better world.’”
“Take David [‘Camera’] Hogg, who was present during the attack last month on the high school in Parkland. The 17-year-old appears with four other Stoneman Douglas students on the cover of Time [magazine], and has become a darling of the anti-gun crowd for his profanity-laced tantrums that demonstrate perfectly the portrait sketched above…” Adolescents not being reined in. Profane language and behavior being applauded.
Isn’t he cute? Don’t we want to reward his passion and commitment? You know, I ask people who have kids, “Would you let your kid be doin’ this? Would you let your kid go on national TV at a march and make YouTube videos, and every other word be the F-bomb?” “No way! No way!” See, every parent that I ask… Where are this kid’s parents? I don’t know. I don’t know anything about him. I don’t know if they’re applauding. I don’t know if they’re troubled by it.
He’s out there calling the people that he’s upset with “‘The pathetic f—ers that want to keep killing our children, they could have blood from children splattered all over their faces and they wouldn’t take action because they all still see those dollar signs,’ [Hogg] said of the NRA and” people like Marco Rubio. “Notice how this…” I’m reading now Mr. Thornton. “Notice how this callow youth simply regurgitates the stale clichés of the gun-control fundamentalists. [This kid] obviously has no clue that the NRA has political clout not because of the pittance it gives politicians compared to, say, public-employee unions…”
No! “[T]he NRA has political clout … because millions” and millions and millions of Americans support it to defend a constitutional right they cherish. “Nor does [this kid] realize that a young person dying in a mass school shooting by a psychopath with a rifle is a rare occurrence, compared to dying in a car accident, or being beaten to death, or being killed by a motorist while walking or biking to school. He has no clue that the demonized, perfectly legal AR-15 was already banned from 1994-2004, without lowering gun-deaths…
“Like his equally addled elders, he can’t fathom that more regulations of guns do nothing to keep them out of the hands of” bad guys. In other words, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about — and it was that long ago where people that didn’t know what they were talking about were not given pedestals, and were not proclaimed experts, and the rest of the country was not required to agree and shut up. The rest of the country was not required to applaud and say, “Isn’t that cute!”
And the rest of the country was not prohibited from calling out that whoever didn’t know what they were talking about. But all of that’s changed. We can’t criticize it! We have to respect it. We have to applaud it for reasons that have nothing to do with fact, reasons that have nothing to do with truth. “This same juvenile thinking characterizes another high-school teen, this one interviewed by The Wall Street Journal:
“‘I make it a point to tell my mother I love her every day, because I want that to be the last thing I say to her in case anything happens to me at school,’ [the student] said, adding that gun violence ‘is something I don’t want to have to think about on a daily basis.’ While the young [student] is obsessing over the rare deaths from school shootings, 11 teens die every day from texting while driving. But we see no mass-movement to hold cell-phone manufacturers, and their billions spent in lobbying po[itician]s, responsible for the carnage their products cause.”
And likewise my old standby: We don’t see anybody protesting the automobile companies because the number of people killed every year by the wheel dwarfs the number of students shot in school. “Throw in drug overdoses and drunk-drivers, and kids and their parents have much more likely risks to worry about when a child leaves for school.” He’s the thing: “But we can’t blame the young. The progressive transformation of our culture has been directed at creating just such students, whose natural inclinations to self-drama and emotion rather than thinking make them perfect constituents for an ideology that flourishes among those who obsess over their feelings, and who demand the elimination of the sad constants of risk and suffering.
“The tragic wisdom that flawed humans are free to choose wickedness, and that the utopia of a world without risk or suffering is impossible, contradicts the pipe dreams of the left,” and all they are teaching. “So those who believe traditional wisdom must be trained from an early age to [give up] their freedom and autonomy to the technocratic elite that needs them to remain children.” So his point is that those kids are who they are because somebody has a design that it stay that way, that they become useful, that they become trained not to think but rather as sponges.
And they grow up to be exactly who they are as 17-year-olds, and they never change.
And they end up being incapable of self-reliance, incapable of thinking for themselves, incapable of being moved by facts.
They remain intolerant. So his point is: You can’t blame the kids. This is how they’re being raised. It’s how they’re being educated. It’s how they’re being taught. But at the same time, there are millions and millions of kids who somehow have managed to avoid this progressive inculcation. They join the military. They work for charities. They march for the right to life of the unborn. You just don’t know hear nearly as much about them, but they’re there, and they’re in much greater numbers than the students on Saturday. And that crowd, again, is estimated to be 10% kids.
‘F— This Court’: Woman Files Bleep-Filled Tirade Against Judge
BY M. ALEX JOHNSON
A woman upset that a federal judge dismissed her $10 billion lawsuit against Georgia officials responded with a nine-page profanity-filled tirade against the judge — calling him “an old … geezer” and saying he’s on a “one-way ticket to hell” — according to remarkable court records made available this week in Atlanta.
In an order filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr. — who’d dismissed most of Tamah Jada Clark’s claims on March 31 — recused himself from hearing the rest of her complaint “in light of Plaintiff’s decidedly vitriolic pleading.”
According to court records, the complicated case began almost five years ago when Clark, of Pensacola, Florida, and East Point, Georgia, showed up near the south Georgia jail where Jason Joseph Clark was being held after his conviction for aggravated assault, domestic battery and other crimes. Court records identified Jason Clark as the father of Tamah Clark’s child, while Tamah Clark identified him as her husband.
Tamah Clark was arrested after Pelham police found her 1-year-old son, an AK-47 assault rifle, a .45 caliber pistol and wilderness survival gear in her car. Both Clarks were charged with conspiring to aid in an attempted escape after investigators described phone conversations in which they plotted his jailbreak, according to the court records, but there’s no record that she was ever convicted or served any prison time.
IMAGE: Title of Tamah Jada Clark’s court filing U.S. DISTRICT COURT
The title page from Tamah Jada Clark’s court filing this week.
In July 2014, Tamah Clark filed her suit for $10 billion against a slew of Georgia officials for the wrongful arrest, conviction and incarceration of her husband. (The suit was filed in Atlanta, in the Northern District of Georgia, because Jason Clark was held in a Gwinnett County jail to help relieve crowding in south Georgia facilities, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.)
Hunt dismissed the bulk of the case late last month, on the legal ground that it was filed after the two-year statute of limitations to bring such an action had expired but also because, he said, it was “nonsensical.” As a believer in the so-called sovereign citizen tax-protest movement, Clark claimed not to be a U.S. citizen and couldn’t bring the action on Jason Clark’s behalf, he wrote.
IMAGE: Tamah Jada Clark GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA, SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Tamah Jada Clark in an undated arrest mugshot.
Cue Clark’s response Monday, pungently titled “To F— This Court and Everything that It Stands For.”
“Don’t you ever again in your motherf—–g life attempt to disrespect me, my family, or our status again. Keep our names out of your unworthy mouth,” the papers state.
Clark couldn’t be directly reached for comment, but she referred reporters Thursday to a Facebook posting where she wrote that she would address the matter at a later time.
“There is a lot of ambiguity and confusion as to what exactly has taken place heretofore to provoke what may appear to some to be a ‘rant’ of sorts,” she wrote, adding:
“The court will not allow me to say anything on record. Instead, it has allowed the Defendants free range to attack me without recourse on my part. I was tired of that bull and realized that the court and judge only have power so long as the matter is kept quiet and secret. So … what can I say? I had had enough. I let him have it.”
In a one-page order filed Wednesday in response to a related claim, Hunt — who is 83 — didn’t address any of Clark’s insults, saying only that “in light of Petitioner’s decidedly vitriolic pleading that she directed against the undersigned in another action … the undersigned concludes that he must RECUSE from this action.”
Hunt’s after-hours contact information isn’t public. The court didn’t answer a call for comment late Thursday.
First published April 23rd 2015, 10:05 pm