Category: Social Politics (Page 1 of 11)

Free speech ≠ forced speech; Facebook can and should control its own platform

Conservatives are playing victim once again and whining about yet another instance of some supposed anti-“conservative” bias by a company. Now it’s Facebook apparently limiting the reach of “Diamond and Silk” on Facebook’s own network. It is important to put “conservative” in quote marks here. Diamond and Silk are a pair of Trump surrogates, named Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who speak at Trump campaign rallies, sell Trump merchandise, appear on racist white supremacist radio shows, and make pro-Trump videos. Like many of the pro-Trump social media genre, they don’t talk about conservative policies or appear to have any considered beliefs. They can hardly be called conservatives.

I quote a brief excerpt just to illustrate:

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blockquote>”This week’s bowl of stupid goes to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Both of these here two morons exhibiting moronic behavior. Now, this one right here, Chuck Schumer done shut down the government because he is trying to tie DACA to the government spending bill. Now we gotta fund the government. Now what he want to do is he want to not fund the government and he want to fight for these DACA [inaudible] that’s illegal aliens that’s in our country and not fight for the American People.

Really, high-brow stuff. Intellect on level with the president of the United States. If this is what American Senators (Ted Cruz) are spending official time asking Mark Zuckerberg about during Congressional testimony, we must fear for our republic.

Editors need to control what they publish in their papers, and platforms need to control what they publish and broadcast just the same. Facebook is a private company with its own network and its own algorithms, and somehow people think that they should have full control over someone else’s platform. One week ago, an extreme lunatic shot up the YouTube offices because she was upset that her ad revenue declined after an algorithm change. Ben Shapiro is moaning that Facebook’s apparent algorithm changes to improve the quality of its feed are supposedly impacting him and other low-quality viral conservative pages.

“Toleration implies the existence of a distinctive procedure for testing ideas… It has nothing to do with a cacophony of screaming fakers marketing political nostrums in the public square.” – Barrington Moore

What these entitled outrage-mongers forget is that it’s Facebook’s network in the first place! How did they think their websites were getting so much traffic? Facebook created an algorithm in the first place that favored low-quality clickbait bullshit. They benefited from it and molded their websites and their social presences to leverage it. Now they talk about Facebook trying to “control” what we read; Facebook already was controlling what was showing up in our feeds. The 2016 election showed just how destructive this kind of viral garbage, partisan hackery, and outright lies and conspiracy theories can be to the quality of our public discourse.

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State of the Union highlights: Trump’s unpatriotic appropriation of the flag

Donald Trump attacked free speech in his first State of the Union address (and second speech to Congress) on January 30. As usual, he tried to claim the mantle of patriotism by referencing acts and words of others whose values he himself doesn’t appear to share.

In one case, he returned to one of his greatest hits tracks: the national anthem and attacking those NFL players who have been taking a knee to protest.

Preston’s [referring to a 12-year-old boy, Preston Sharp, who put flags in front of veterans’ graves] reverence for those who have served our nation…

It is worth noting here, that reverence for veterans is not something Trump shares with Preston. Trump has diminished the sacrifices of veterans, referring to John McCain as a “loser” for having served something larger than himself, and saying of prisoners of war, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump doesn’t understand why anyone would be an official, because he doesn’t understand serving the public

…reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.

Context and subtext are inseparable from meaning. That’s why Trump can say, “It’s big enough. Believe me,” and people know what he’s meaning without him saying it directly. Communication would be an impossible task if people didn’t include context and subtext in their analysis of meaning. (And, indeed, Trump’s speechwriters and supporters do so, too, even if they feign otherwise when it suits them.)

In this case, the context is clear. Trump has been attacking Colin Kaepernick and other football players who have been taking a knee to protest, both in support of #BlackLivesMatter and, later, in protest to Trump’s attacks on free speech. Trump lashed out and called for the firing of any player who takes a knee. He has also issued words of support for criminalizing burning the flag with punishments up to loss of citizenship.

In this case, by proclaiming “stand[ing] for the national anthem” as something “we” do, he is saying anyone who does otherwise is deviantly violating the rules and norms of our society. In fact, the vast majority of people already do stand, and it wouldn’t even be an issue in the NFL anymore if Trump hadn’t made it an issue (the number of players kneeling in solidarity increased hugely after his attacks), and anyone who kneels isn’t actually disrespecting veterans or causing any material harm. (The only potential harm they might be causing is offending—or annoying—people who are offended by words and speech, and Trump says he is against political correctness.)

Trump doesn’t have to say he’s specifically attacking those who protest, nor does he need to issue the threat, which he has already made clear in the past, any more than a triad collector needs to spell out what happens if you don’t pay your protection fee.

Of course the Republicans gave Trump a standing ovation for this bit of low brow refuge-seeking.

Even divorcing the words from all context, they are empty drivel not worthy of applause, much less ovation. Any president and any politician and the vast majority spectators do the ceremonial standing at the sound of the anthem. It doesn’t require any sacrifice. It doesn’t help the soldiers injured in Iraq and those still serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere. At best it is a symbolic gesture, and at worst, as in Trump’s State of the Union, it is a manipulative appropriation of a symbol of patriotism used to prop up a man who values the flag only for what political value it might bring him.

Feature photo by Shealah Craighead, official White House photographer. Public domain.

Who’s next? #MeToo concerns women who care about the men in their lives

We, and many other women, are concerned about their neurodiverse loved ones being falsely accused.

With the recent magnitude of sexual harassment claims being thrown about from every corner of the media, and ruined careers piling up like carcasses, often from unproven accusations, every man must now be questioning their own past behavior, fearing it will be misconstrued into some harrowing sexual predation that would affect every aspect of their life without evidence, a trial, or a jury.

The suicide of Welsh MP Karl Sargeant four days after such nebulous accusations unnamed women has been shamefully swept under the carpet as the #MeToo frenzy continues. Calls for an internal enquiry into the clearly deficient process he went through, where he was suspended from his job without knowing the details of the complaint, have been dropped. We can only hope Mr Sargeant and his family get the answers and the justice they deserve via the official coroner’s inquest. The tragedy of Karl Sargeant is the most extreme example of the incredible injustice many men –not forgetting their families- are going though as a result of this appalling witch hunt and trial by media.

All of us know people in our life—family members and friends—who are otherwise smart, witty, empathetic, but socially awkward, either for cultural or neurological reasons like autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or just as part of their personality. They struggle to read body language, situations or atmospheres, let alone female mind games. Men, who walk a tightrope of social acceptance already, now stepping into a world where feminists want men deemed as second-class citizens, to be distrusted and their social interactions scrutinized at every second.

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Keep Transgender mania out of schools and changing rooms

In this day and age where having an opposing opinion to liberals makes you an instant fascist, Nazi or Trump supporter, the art of debate is losing its lifeline and it feels society will shortly be pulling the plug. If only ever hearing one opinion is allowed, what happens if it’s the wrong opinion? This has become more apparent with the fiasco and utter ridiculousness with the transgender and gender fluid argument.

It started with which bathroom transgender people can use. Is it socially acceptable for a man who identifies as a woman, but still has a penis, to use the female toilets? Or if you look at it the other way, is it fair for a man who feels as though they were born a woman, to have to use the same toilets as men. (Or they could use the unisex disabled toilet; not implying in any way that they are disabled, but it’s a pretty easy solution, no?) If you had any form of evidence-based opinion that did not comport with what trans and 4th wave feminists were preaching, you would instantly be called “transphobic”.

I did not think I’d be looking back at those times of toilet squabble with fondness, as that such time was so much simpler and less frighteningly going a direction that I don’t we can go back from now.

Within a couple of days, two stories came to my attention via Twitter concerning this such direction I speak of. One, was when Topshop announced it was getting rid of women’s changing rooms, and making them all gender neutral, after one person, Travis Alabanza, felt they were the victim of “transphobia” after being refused entry to the women’s changing room. I have absolutely no problem with a person born as a male, still with a male body, wearing women’s clothing and self-identifying as a female. I do have a problem with letting men into female changing rooms where young teenagers get changed. The alarming hilarity and hypocrisy in this is most people championing this decision are also the ones crying out for “safe spaces”. How about a safe space for a bunch of 13-year-old girls to change and show each other their new outfits without the prying eyes of men who will obviously take advantage of this new goldmine peeping tom hangout? To make such a brash and harmful decision that affects the whole country is outrageous and an extremely troubling sign of where things are leading to. It will take one attack. 

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Time’s Up for Feminist fads, it’s time for #NotMe

 

I gave myself a well-earned few days off, turned 30, and then decided to see how the world has changed on Twitter. To my dismay, within 5 minutes of Golden Globes, I realised, that the intersectional feminist movement had made me want to be more of a misogynist every second I scrolled.

 

The Golden Globes predictably fuelled a pretty pathetic fire and like moths to a flame, any narrow-minded female ‘feminist’ followed idiotically, without research, free thought, or caution. You play with fire, you get burnt. I shudder to think the endgame when this fad will soon tire out, innocent men will get accused, lives will be ruined and the reputation of strong women will once again be tarnished by misandrists and one track liberal lefties.

 

As “times up” sprawled on the red carpet, and celebrities draped in black to show their solidarity against sexual harassment (the dresses were the best thing about the whole night if I’m absolutely honest, the fashion designer in me leap out in joy seeing my favourite colour finally be worn, and my eyes were able to rest from horrendous pink fluff and green disasters they usually waltz around in) what’s not to love? Well, quite a lot actually. Let me elaborate.

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James Damore plays race card, files “discrimination” suit

If there are two things Americans love, it’s filing lawsuits and claiming victim status.

Now ex-Google employee James Damore is doing both. Damore, who was fired in August for sending a memo that went viral, is suing Google claiming discrimination on the basis of his race, gender and politics (culturally conservative). Or, what is often referred to in conservative circles as playing the race card.

Look, here’s a Wall Street Journal writer accusing Barack Obama of playing the race card.

Ann Coulter says that criticizing Republicans for racism is “playing the race card.”

Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano attacks Al Sharpton for “playing the race card.”

Ben Carson says Jesse Jackson was playing the race card when he criticized the police shooting of a resident of Ferguson, Missouri.

Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee’s claims of racism were dismissed by the NY Post as “playing the race card.”

So now we see whenever anyone raises the issue of possible racism, even when it might have some merit, it is shot down as “playing the race card.”

How about James Damore? Does he seriously think white people face egregious discrimination in the tech industry, an industry whose owners, investors, managers, and employees they constitute the vast majority of? He says Google is putting extra effort into hiring women (in order to correct for perceived discrimination against and/or lack of women in tech). In fact, even in a natural state, there wouldn’t be 50-50 gender parity in most vocations or hobbies. Nonetheless, even if hiring an extra woman here or there makes results in one less qualified man being hired, is that policy that Google, a private company chose, an illegal infringement on men’s rights? It’s a drop in the bucket.

Damore wasn’t fired for his race or gender, anyway. He wasn’t even fired for his politics. We don’t know, from his memo, or much of his public statements, where he stands on political issues like taxes, welfare, healthcare, drug policy, gay marriage, or many others. He was fired for sending a long-winded memo opposing Google’s policy towards diversity.

One can argue against Google’s policy on gender diversity or its policy towards firing people simply for publicly disagreeing with its policy. It may very well have been stupid of Google. It may also have been stupid of Damore to send the memo. It was almost certainly an overreaction by social media hordes who don’t even work at Google spreading his memo along and acting offended. But doing “stupid” things is all well within our rights as individuals or companies.

Even if one were to be fired for holding a political position, political viewpoints are not a “protected class”, in the legal sense, afforded the same protections as people discriminated against for innate characteristics of their identity.

4 words that should be banned in 2018

This month, it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had decided to “ban” seven words like “fetus” and “transgender” for fear they might offend the fragile minds of conservatives, keeping the CDC in line with universities affraid that words will offend liberals and “vulnerable” people.

I would like to jump into this word-banning game as Editor and Publisher of Bombs + Dollars, and I have the power, too, at least on my small corner of the internet. The following are words (in some cases, “words”) that I will never allow to be published at B+D going forward. Tongue-in-cheek, of course; the real problem with the following words is not that they are offensive, but that they just don’t make for good and clear writing.

Bodies, when used in place of “people”

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Latinx is bullshxt

Just want to call attention to this op-ed by Daniel Hernandez in the L.A. Times from December 17: Op-ed: The case against ‘Latinx’.

In particular:

Nor is “Latinx” an organic neologism. It did not emerge from L.A.’s bilingual FM stations. The term is used mostly by an educated minority, largely in the U.S. And although there is little to no research yet on its specific origins, “Latinx” is definitely not used by working-class immigrant adults, who probably have no idea that some of us brown folks are debating this at all.

I want to immigrate to America, and I think Trump is right

Trump has been called an “anti-immigrant” extremist, but I’m telling you, as a Korean aspiring to immigrate to the United States, that is simply not true. Trump wants to set a new way of immigration system by following both Canadian model and Australian model. Both Canada and Australia are far stricter than the United States when it comes to immigration. They do not have a lenient policy on illegal immigration. They do not try to attract people without a high English-speaking ability and high education level. And there’s no green card lottery in those countries. Rather, they give points to the immigrant applicants when they have accomplished each step of requirements such as official English exam scores (Either TOFEL or IELT), high educated diploma in the speaking-English countries, certified careers of occupations.

Trump and some of his allies in Congress are pushing to abolish the diversity lottery for green cards and increase security on the borders. He has put a halt to Obama’s DACA policy of giving temporary citizenship-level status to illegal immigrants who came to America as children. To be honest, many international students who come to America legally quite agree with suppressing the number of illegal immigrants because they might reduce the potential for legal immigration. At the least, it is extremely unfair to let illegal immigrants stay—or even become citizens, as some have proposed—while enforcing a harsh line on law-abiding students and foreign workers who have to jump through many hoops to try to get a job or student visa in the States.

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The difference between hypocrisy and evil

When Republican senators Mark Foley and Larry Craig were forced to resign because of sex scandals just over a decade ago, Byron Williams accused them of harboring “the hypocrisy of the hypocrisy.” Articles about the right-wing’s biggest sex hypocrites flood out every time a Donald Trump is exposed as having sexually assaulted someone or a Roy Moore is found to be a child molester.

The primary problem with Foley, Craig, Trump, and Moore, however, isn’t hypocrisy but immorality. Foley abused his power to proposition a page for oral sex. In addition to sexual harassment and abuse of power, Trump and Craig also committed adultery.

Sexual harassment and assault is a crime and an immoral violation of one’s rights no matter what one’s ideological or moral values system one follows. If a sexist man who believed that it was his right to grab women anytime, anywhere committed sexual assault, it would still be immoral despite the fact that that evil man wrongly believed it was his right.

To focus overwhelmingly on the “hypocrisy” aspect could have the unfortunate effect of downgrading immoral acts committed by immoral men. In effect, we are giving a free pass to the worst of the worst.

A common refrain from Trump supporters when Trump is caught lying, speaking like a 5th-grader, or having a temper tantrum at 5 am, is that, “We knew what we were getting with Trump.” Why, we did indeed know that he was guilty of multiple character flaws. He still is. Period.

If Osama bin Laden had been caught and brought in front of a judge, should he get off if he argued, “I have directed terrorist attacks for years. I openly talked about it and threatened it in propaganda statements. You already knew this”? Pathological dishonesty, incompetence, corruption and the like are in and of themselves.

When hypocrisy really matters

The Republicans just passed a tax bill that increases the deficit by $1 trillion and repeals the mandate that individuals purchase health insurance.

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