American Elephants


Give a Little Thought to Freedom of Speech. by The Elephant's Child
December 7, 2020, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Freedom of Speech Versus Identity Politics.” That’s the title of an essay from Real Clear Public Affairs, which certainly grasps where we are today. Did it all start with Facebook and Twitter deciding to monitor and control what could or could not be said on their websites? They didn’t like some things that were said, and they weren’t going to allow them to be said. Suddenly we have “Fact Checkers” everywhere, and who appointed them to monitor our words, or what expertise and authority do they offer in support of their claims? It is, of course, all about control, or what expertise and authority do they offer in support of their claims? It is, of course, all about control.

Having devised websites where people could connect with their friends and acquaintances online, they were apparently astonished to learn that some people said mean things. We have been hearing about this from the Left for some time. And, of course, it has all been greatly exacerbated with the tendency of President Trump to refuse to roll over and play dead when he was insulted and attacked. That was a call for more attacks: “Not presidential” was the claim, but it probably had more to do with the fact that he was accomplishing things and making the economy grow, eliminating unnecessary regulations and responding to the Covid crisis.

The problem with monitoring “hate speech” is that it is in direct conflict with freedom of speech, one of Americans’ most treasured Constitutional freedoms. As free people we can say what we damn well please. Which explains the outrage of those finding themselves banned from Twitter. Do read the essay cited in the first paragraph.

Here’s another, from Kim Holmes, Executive Vice President of the Heritage Foundation. He says: “Instead of openly arresting people who say the wrong things, the new purveyors of intolerance try to sublimate their prohibitions on speech, expression, and thought into more popularly accepted channels. Something must be done to make these prohibitions more palatable, because there is still a great deal of respect in America for freedom of thought, speech, and expression.

One of the most popular strategies is to carve out a special category of speech that, in theory at least, leaves the rest of free speech alone. If this can be done, speech can be regulated and criminalized without involving a direct assault on the First Amendment.

A prime example of parsing good speech from bad is the notorious notion of “hate speech,” which involves designating certain kinds of remarks, gestures, expressions, and writings as intentionally hateful and thus worthy of regulation and even criminalization.

There are always plenty of people around ready and willing to be the controllers. Unfortunately, it’s way more appealing to stop someone from saying something you don’t like, than to grit your teeth and remember the Constitution. You could flood Jack Dorsey’s e-mail with copies of the First Amendment, or with one of these brief essays, but it probably wouldn’t make any difference.



Only a Few Days Until the Election, Thank Goodness! by The Elephant's Child

The days close to an election get a little wild. Everyone is panicking. at least slightly, and frightened that the opposition will possibly win, so it’s getting nasty out there. Congress has called Big Tech in before them to have a little discussion about their interference in the election which has gone far beyond what is allowed or permissible. Or if the laws don’t control what they have done, Congress may have to fix the laws, which is completely within their power. Twitter is, of course the biggest offender, but the others are not far behind.

Corporations used to understand their role, but Big Tech has been called “masters of the universe” in jest so often that they may have come to believe it, to assume that their “fact-checkers” have some validity, or that their interference is fine because all their employees agree with them anyway. Congress does not agree, and if they need to fix the laws, Congress will do just that. Corporations used to have a clear idea of their role, which was to cooperate and stay out of it.

Democrats biggest claim is that Donald Trump is somehow responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, responsible for all the deaths, and it is all clearly his fault. So There! Au contraire. Back when the Chinese virus first arrived and we first began to understand what we might be in for, Dr. Deborah Birx who was adviser to the president along with Dr. Anthony Fauci said that if we were very fortunate and very lucky, we might have only somewhere around 200,000 deaths over the course of the disease. We are at 231,000 today, so perhaps we have done pretty well, while regretting every loss.

Democrats are now preparing to impeach Amy Comey Barrett. They don’t know what for yet, but they’ll find something. Which shows not how much they dislike the immensely competent and capable new justice of the Supreme Court, but that they do not understand the purpose of the Supreme Court and view it as a partisan organization, which they must control along with everything else. Their drive for control of the economy is insatiable, so perhaps the Bidens are not the only ones prospering from their time in public office.

I’m beginning to think we should change the qualifications to run for public office which should be adjusted a little more, and require some greater understanding of American history and contemporary economics. Kamala Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff, remarked that his wife was going to be the President of the United States, so apparently they don’t think Joe Biden is going to make it through a full term either.

Be sure to vote, only once each, please. And take it very seriously, for it is a very serious matter.

ADDENDUM: One would think that businesses would understand that probably half of their customers would belong to the opposite party, and wouldn’t approve of being lectured to or their expressing their party line.



Big Tech Efforts to Control Political Thought, Attacking Your Freedom. by The Elephant's Child
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Corporate leaders used to rise through the ranks, much like the military, through gradually getting promoted to higher responsibility, if you were worthy. The first mass produced personal computers didn’t appear until 1977, and I imagine it took quite a few years before they were common. Jack Dorsey sent the first message on Twitter on March 21, 2006, and it was 2010 when they unveiled “promoted Tweets,” ads that would appear in search results as a revenue source. So there’s not a long history of learning how to behave in the American corporate world. Heretofore corporations went to great lengths to stay out of politics, partly presumably, because it was assumed that their employees would have differing allegiances and party preferences.

As Josh Hammer wrote at American Greatness this week:

The increasing brazenness with which the various Big Tech behemoths distort their search algorithms to hide conservative viewpoints, undermine conservatives through “shadow banning” and weaponize the sanctimonious and self-serving “fact-checking” cottage industry to suppress conservative voices has long been clear to those of us who, to use the parlance of the day, are “very online.”That kind of common sense is no longer the case.

The American people are becoming aware of the Big Tech efforts to control conservative viewpoints, and they are not happy. The demands for the federal government to step in and break up these companies is growing increasingly common. Facebook and Twitter ganged up againstthe New York Post, founded by Alexander Hamilton, and is today the nation’s oldest continually operating daily broadsheet in galling fashion.” They broke an important story about Hunter Biden’s dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and his efforts to get Burisma people in contact with the “right” people in Washington DC through his connections with his father. The Post is one of the nation’s largest daily newspapers by circulation, and no one actually seems to be denying the Post’s reporting.

The Senate prepared to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but they hastily responded that they would be happy to be there without being subpoenaed. Our Constitution usually deals with what the government may or may not do, and only the 13th amendment deals with the private sector at all. There are quite a few of our representatives in Congress who have already spoken out on this matter, and they are well aware that they have the responsibility of dealing with threats to our liberty. Suppressing the views of one of America’s political parties in the run-up to an election isn’t going to work. If they were paying attention, they might have noticed that as a whole, America’s responsible corporate leaders were not out playing politics. There is a reason for that.

ADDENDUM: They also seem to have a major problem with their “fact=checking”. I don’t know how they have arranged it, but they might start with someone who is highly literate and widely read. The current office holders don’t know the difference between a “trusted source” and someone of the correct (in their minds) political persuasion. In short, the fact-checking is embarrassing.

I apparently misspoke. They still may be subpoenaed. That remains to be seen. It’s clear that there is a lot of anger out there at Big Tech, and they might do well to be very cooperative. Apparently many of their employees really hate Trump, so they’re stuck between the proverbial rock and…Did you ever hear, ever? of employees demanding that management conform to their political preferences? We have a lot of ignorance of history, of the Constitution, and ordinary good manners there.



Is Big Tech Going to Control Our Elections? by The Elephant's Child

A very liberal professor warns that Google has manipulated voters,and can manipulate them far more in the 2020 election.

Dr, Robert Epstein explains what happened in the last election and the potential for Google to manipulate votes by manipulating search results. Scary.

When you need to search, use Duck Duck Go. They don’t track you.

Facebook has just been fined $5 billion, which is apparently the maximum the law allows, but is a drop in the proverbial bucket for Facebook which earned many more billions this last year.

Ted Cruz has been holding hearings on the misbehavior of Big Tech, and Congress is hearing plenty from their constituents. The monitoring of the citizenry in China is an alarming example of what is now possible, and what Big Tech knows about us is disturbing as well.

I don’t know that I have ever been aware before of business companies playing politics. not just in their advertising attempts, but actually getting into national politics. Apparently Conservatives are not welcome at Google, as James Damore showed us. And supposedly the rest of that bunch as well. One would think that they would know better, but apparently not. Write your congressperson if you are concerned. Congress does not as yet have a clear understanding of the public attitude nor understanding of what is going on.




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