On my previous post I wrote about a frivolous defamation lawsuit from a whiny-boy US congressman, Republican Devin Nunes, who is miffed at Twitter, a fake cow, and a few other assorted parties. I also riffed a bit on the general hypersensitivity of conservatives who sure can dish out the harassment and bullying to their perceived "enemies" (liberals, progressives, Democrats), but can't take it when it's dished back. Right-wing/conservative (and, in the US., Republican or libertarian) whining is an issue that has received a bit of attention recently, because contrary to what the tough guys and gals fighting "political correctness" would like us to believe, it is actually a thing.
An 18-liter bottle of aggressive red whine was recently uncorked by Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, alt-right/alt-health fear crapitalist and rabble-rousing Trumpian. On a Natural News screed posted on March 22, 2019, Adams gripes at length, and not for the first time, about how the tech giants -- Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and all the usual suspects -- are systematically censoring and shadow-banning conservatives and any speech that is "pro-Trump, pro-Christian, pro-America," in favor of "granting artificially high visibility to pro-Democrat, pro-socialism, pro-communism and pro-Islam speech."
If you told me five years ago that I would wake up one day in America and have Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google all banning natural health news, and that the entire U.S. Congress and President of the United States would do absolutely nothing about it, and that there wouldn’t be a single prominent voice on the political Left who would speak out against the scourge of censorship, I wouldn’t have believed you.So... non-Muslim women in New Zealand donning head scarves to express solidarity with Muslim victims of white nationalist terrorism... that's the problem? What a putz.
Yet that’s where we are right now in America. Actually, it’s even worse. Our Brighteon.com free speech video platform is under such intense threats and assault from upstream internet infrastructure providers that we are now being forced to implement outrageous limitations on speech in order to avoid the entire platform being annihilated (new announcement to come soon). Certain ISPs in New Zealand have now blocked the entire domain of Brighteon.com, even after all the mosque shooting videos were removed from the platform under threat from other infrastructure providers. (New Zealand and Australia are now essentially Communist China in terms of internet censorship, with NZ rapidly becoming a new Islamic state that celebrates hijabs, a symbol of the oppression of women and gays.)
And it isn't just political and religious oppression that Captain Murica is fighting. He is also bravely standing up against the tech giants' suppression of "the truth" about vaccines, cancer cures, and all manner of things that, in the words of imprisoned serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, they don't want you to know about. Warns Adams:
We have now reached the point where the tech giants are banning all questions about vaccines… where “anti-cancer” content is being stifled on Facebook and Google… where any opinion that opposes the authoritarian left-wing techno-tyranny is silenced into oblivion.But he can't help himself: he brings it back to politix in the next part of the paragraph:
Our elections are no longer fair and free, given that Democracy depends entirely on public knowledge and public debate so that citizens who vote might decide for themselves which candidates and policy decisions to support, yet we now find ourselves in a world where tech giants like Google and Twitter are now deciding all future elections by silencing conservative, pro-Trump, pro-Christian, pro-America speech while granting artificially high visibility to pro-Democrat, pro-socialism, pro-communism and pro-Islam speech.And so on. Actually -- to address one of the points with which Adams led -- "the Left" has spoken out about censorship, and so have the mainstream media (aka the "fake news" in Trumpian parlance), sounding an alarm every time Donald Trump bullies his critics and frames that bullying in threats to the free press and to freedom of assembly and to other First Amendment and civil rights. Trump's re-election campaign is now even reaching out to TV producers and trying to get them to blacklist certain prominent Democrats for "lying to the American people" about the Mueller Report and the Trump/Russia scandal. Millions of us are hugely concerned about this. The rest of the world has also taken notice of the "Trump effect" on our freedoms.
But apparently our frequently expressed collective outrage is not enough for Adams. He is only focused on preserving freedom of speech for his kind, much like his idol Trump, who is fresh from signing an executive order to "protect free speech" -- at least conservative speech -- on college campuses.
And as for Adams' claim about Google and Twitter "deciding all future elections," presumably in favor of "the Left"... Hello!?? Russian interference, anyone? Of course, the tech giants played a starring role in that debacle too, and they've been faced with growing demands for accountability since then, but you don't notice Adams complaining about the results of the 2016 US presidential election, do you? Clearly he is only afraid of the Interwebs driving current and future voting trends leftwards.
Obeying Godwin's Law, Adams goes on to claim that what the tech giants are doing today to the conservatives "is far worse than the book burning of the Third Reich." Here he gets a bit rambly, as he is wont to do. (I know, I have no room to talk about rambling.)
It’s not just books that are under attack today, of course: It’s all human knowledge which runs counter to the insane, deranged narratives of the political Left.I don't want to waste too much time and space unpacking this mishmash of alt-right conspiranoia, but I do want to address a few points in passing. The "insane, deranged Democrat" with the "low" IQ is, presumably, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose IQ, education level, and accomplishments so far in her young life far outstrip most of her critics, probably including Adams himself, despite his very lengthy boasts on his own sites about his amazing intelligence and impressive accomplishments. Adams' comment about "Leftists" as a group completely disavowing the existence of biological genders is really too stupid to address at length here. Suffice to say that there is a wide range of beliefs and opinions about these issues on both the left and the right, but clearly neither Adams nor his target audience are fans of nuance and complexity. As for Adams' anti-environmentalist grousing about the carbon dioxide issue, basing his gripes on the fact that because plants need CO2 to survive there's no such thing as too much CO2, that's bollocks. Too much of a good thing is... well... usually a bad thing. It's a pretty simple principle.
We are now being told that biology no longer exists and that gender is “fluid.” Despite the fact that this insane idea violates the basic sciences of physiology, this is now such an ingrained position in the minds of the tech giants that anyone who opposes the gender fluidity delusion is labeled as being engaged in “hate speech.” Facebook has even announced it will no longer allow advertising companies to market to women or women by gender selection, claiming there is no such thing as biological gender. (Yes, Leftists now literally believe there is no such thing as a “man” or a “woman.”)
We’re also being told that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” and that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t shut down all combustion engines and fossil fuel consumption (the “Green New Deal”). This is pure insanity on its face, especially given the fact that India and China are the world’s largest producers of CO2 by far, and they would obviously not be stupid enough to collapse their entire air travel, agriculture and transportation industries in order to appease some insane, deranged Democrat from New York whose IQ is so low that is strains the very definition of “intelligent species.”
The "only way to avoid a civil war"
Adams projects that if the online oppressors aren't stopped PDQ, there will be "civil war" as a result of the tech giants having designated all "pro-America forces" -- in other words, people who think like Adams and his conspiranoid audience -- as "terrorists." To preserve their good name as well as their freedom, these brave patriotic Muricans will have no choice but to engage in a civil war with the Left, and one of the very first things they'll have no choice but to do is seize control of all online platforms, including and especially Google and Facebook.
Seizing control over these assets and forcing a restoration of First Amendment freedoms for all Americans would be one of the most urgent priorities for pro-America forces. At the boots-on-the-ground military tactical level, this would be made difficult by the fact that tech giants tend to reside in left-wing Antifa-ridden areas of the country where anti-America forces would fight any patriots, National Guard troops or military forces that attempt to halt the Left’s Fourth Reich crimes against humanity via speech oppression.Absent civil war, what is Adams' proposed solution to the "censorship" that he says is destroying America? It's something that any sane person would see as tyranny: He wants Donald John Trump -- the man whose butt-cheeks have, for the past few years, been the virtual repository of Adams' smug nose and probably much of the rest of his face as well -- to "seize the domain names" of the tech giants and hold them hostage until they stop their oppression.
It’s worth noting that the tech giants really are engaged in crimes against humanity. Silencing the speech of human beings in the way now being conducted by the tech giants is an assault on human dignity and basic human rights...
The “ace in the hole” in all this would be a conservative president declaring a national emergency and seizing the domain names of Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other tech giants. By declaring these tech companies to be engaged in an active insurrection against the United States of America — and operating in open complicity with Antifa terrorists and Mexican drug cartels that engage in human trafficking across the open border — the President could demand those domains be seized by the U.S. State Department and prohibited from operating...If I'm reading this correctly, the Health Ranger is declaring that the tyranny of a right-wing prez is a far, far better thing than the tyranny of a left-wing leader. So Trump has a mandate to tyrannize while the tyrannizing is good.
...On the flip side, a left-wing President could exercise the same power against conservatives sites and seize domain names such as Infowars.com or ZeroHedge.com — two independent media websites which are already targeted and largely de-platformed by leftist tech giants. Control over the domain space is the ultimate control over online speech, and that’s exactly why President Trump needs to give the tech giants this ultimatum:
If you will not halt your oppression of human rights and your censorship of Americans based on political and religious bigotry as well as active election meddling, you will no longer be allowed to operate as the dominant “public square” content controllers......Believe it or not, any President of the United States has the power to seize corporations if they are engaged in treason against America. It is time to exercise that power and restore a level playing field of free speech for all Americans...
This is not the first time that Mike Adams has endorsed Trumpian tyranny. I've written about that a few times on this blog, such as on this October 2018 post (scroll down to the sub-head, "Elsewhere on the conspiranoia front: martial law is okay as long as it's alt-right martial law"). Back in May 2016 I also mentioned the matter (scroll down to the sub-head, "The Health Ranger is also a major Trumpian"). In both instances I cited Adams' endorsement of Trump declaring martial law in order to whip the country into shape. And in July 2017, I wrote about Adams' endorsement of "burn(ing) the leftist-scripted newspapers," which segued into another one of his tributes to Trump. See under, "Little Hitler strikes again" (I am not above obeying Godwin's law myself).
Unfortunately Adams doesn't seem to be alone in his wish that Trump would just take matters into his own fat orange hands and totally remake the United States according to the MAGA wet dream. At a recent event held by gone-but-not-forgotten Trump aide Steve Bannon, an angry Trump supporter expressed a wish for Trump to become a dictator and "crush Congress" -- and she was applauded by both Bannon and the audience.
That's pretty scary stuff.
Nothing could be finer than to block a little whiner...
Meanwhile, in the conspiranoia outback, where the traffic and the Facebook "likes" and the retweets are much lighter than they are around the Natural News scampire, cancer quack/fake doctor/neo-Nazi/ridiculous little hater-man Leonard Coldwell (who is a fan of both Trump and Mike Adams) has bottled his own third-rate whine. He is upset about having been thrown in Facebook jail for 30 days...again. The graphic on his blog post about the matter, employed without any apparent trace of irony, depicts a Nazi, and the clear message on the graphic is that Lenny was Facebook-jailed for posting anti-vaccination info.
But we've heard that song before. More than likely Lenny was reported for hate speech, as has happened so many, many times before. There's more than a hint of this on his main English-language Facebook page, in what appears to be his last post under his own name before Facebook took action. One of Lenny's alter egos, "Eyn Rand," had to take over the whinery on that Facebook thread.
As you'll see if you take a closer look at the screen grab, "Eyn" couldn't just leave it at bitching about Lenny being "censored." He also had to post a link to a video offering "proof" that the horrific mosque shootings in New Zealand were a "hoax."
For those of you who might be wondering why I keep spending (or perhaps you think "squandering" is a better word) time and energy writing about these crackpots, it's simple, apart from the fact that they're low-hanging fruit and I am still a lazy blogger. It's also because Mike Adams is undoubtedly an influencer of sorts, about which I'll have a bit more in the next section. And though Coldwell is a far lesser influencer, except in his own mind -- yes, even though he is so nearly irrelevant that even the UK blogger Longdog, who has devoted his entire blog solely to Coldwell's hatefulness and stupidity, has grown bored with him -- Lenny nevertheless reflects the nuttiest conspiracy narratives, the most toxic right-wingnut hatreds, and the most egregious medical and scientific misinformation, and all of these things have become all too mainstream. My philosophy is that as long as Coldwell continues to make blatantly stupid and hateful and wrongheaded public statements, he should continue to be held up as an example of blatant stupidity and hatefulness and wrongheadedness.
Just the (anti)-vaxx, ma'am
Mike Adams and Leonard Coldwell, like numerous others harvesting the fruits of the alt-health whinery, are chronic complainers that "natural health" information is being ruthlessly censored by Big Pharma and the medical industry and the Rothschilds and the Killuminati and, of course, Big Tech. As a result, they insist, untold numbers of people are surely getting sick, and many are even dying, because they are being deprived of this life-changing, life-saving health information. I have spilled more than my share of words about this false narrative, one example being this August 2014 post. It's long. I'll wait.
One of the focal points of the alt-health brouhaha -- and certainly a perennial pet issue for both Adams and Coldwell -- is the anti-vaccination or anti-vaxx movement, about which I've also written a few words before. This matter has received a lot of renewed attention lately due to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the US and numerous other spots across the world. There's also the story of Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky, who became one of the latest heroes of the anti-vaxx movement after he announced that he had deliberately exposed his nine (!) children to chicken pox rather than having them vaccinated. He presented it as being all about personal choice re vaccinations, but at least one opinion writer believes that Bevin's "choice" was informed by darker cultural and religious forces, and she may very well be right.
One of the latest developments that got the anti-vaxxers all fired up again was Facebook's announcement earlier this month of a plan to rein in anti-vaxx conspiracy theories. The company didn't say it would actually remove the anti-vaxx groups and pages; it will simply wipe these pages and groups from its recommendations, and it will stop allowing advertisers to target people whom Facebook's algorithm identifies as being interested in "vaccine controversies." But in the views of the anti-vaxx fanatics, that's "censorship" and as such it allows them to whine a little bit louder.
Ahead of its announcement, Facebook had lamented the seemingly infinite reach of the anti-vaxx misinformation machine, insinuating that it was going to be exceedingly difficult to handle the problem. But as a writer on The Atlantic site noted:
...while Facebook’s scale might as well be infinite, the actual universe of people arguing about vaccinations is limited and knowable...And here we run into our old friend the Health Ranger again.
...While there is no dearth of posts related to vaccines, the top 50 Facebook pages ranked by the number of public posts they made about vaccines generated nearly half (46 percent) of the top 10,000 posts for or against vaccinations, as well as 38 percent of the total likes on those posts, from January 2016 to February of this year. The distribution is heavy on the top, particularly for the anti-vax position. Just seven anti-vax pages generated nearly 20 percent of the top 10,000 vaccination posts in this time period: Natural News, Dr. Tenpenny on Vaccines and Current Events, Stop Mandatory Vaccination, March Against Monsanto, J. B. Handley, Erin at Health Nut News, and Revolution for Choice.
Among the most prominent anti-vax pages is Natural News, an Infowars-like conspiracy site sprinkled with tumeric powder and the essence of chemtrails. The site, which has 2.9 million likes and comes up high in a variety of search results about vaccines and vaccination, runs stories with headlines like “Left-Wing Media Run by Actual Demon-Possessed Anti-human EVIL Entities … Watch This Stunning Mini-documentary” as well as “Tech Giants’ Censorship Is an Online ETHNIC CLEANSING Campaign, Equivalent to Intellectual Genocide.” According to a list of the site's popular stories, the two most popular posts are both about vaccines.Natural News -- and this will probably come as no great surprise -- did not respond to a request for comment.
Natural News has kept up a steady drumbeat of posts about how the site is going to be “silenced” or “censored” by the tech platforms. The site’s owner, Mike Adams, has claimed that Apple (among other tech companies) is defending “satanism” by asking Natural News to make changes to its app in the App Store. “This is the first time that a dominant tech company has overtly come out in defense of Satanism while threatening to censor a prominent publisher that exposes the evils of Satanic influence,” Adams wrote in a recent post. He refers to the tech companies as “techno-fascists.”
In any case, it is clear that Facebook and other tech giants such as Google seem to be making efforts to stem the tide of misinformation about vaccines, as well as misinfo on any number of other topics. And just a few days ago, GoFundMe announced that anti-vaxxers can no longer use their platform to raise money. Other platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Amazon have acted in various ways to curb anti-vaxx content. How this will all play out is still uncertain, but it's a pretty sure bet that strident conspiranoids will continue to cry foul at even the mildest efforts to rein them in, while others will say that the tech giants aren't doing enough to stop dangerous misinformation.
Marketplace of ideas, or menacing monopolies?
Like millions if not billions of other people all over world, I have a love-hate relationship with the tech giants, particularly social media such as Facebook. I've never claimed that they're above reproach. Among numerous other issues, they have been playing fast and loose with users' personal information and they should not be let off the hook for that.
More to the point of this post, and as I mentioned in my previous one, a poll taken last year by Hill.TV and American Barometer showed that a majority of the respondents believed that there's a sytstemic bias against conservative views in social media. But the poll was heavily divided along party lines. And the view that conservatives are unfairly being targeted is not a universal one by any means. It's just that these days, the conservanoids seem to be doing the loudest whining about being grievously wronged (with the Whiner in Chief leading the charge, especially now that he has been fake-exonerated by his hand-picked AG's coy letter "summarizing" the Mueller investigation).
Many who decry any form of Internet "censorship" paint the online world as a "marketplace of ideas," where virtually anything goes, or should go. Others say that parties hosting or providing content have an ethical if not a legal responsibility to ban or at least control content such as hate speech and misinformation -- although then we get into the quagmire of deciding what exactly determines "hate speech" and "misinformation." It's not always clear. These are topics far too large and complex for this little Whirled; I mainly wanted to acknowledge, as I have previously, that I am aware that there are some serious issues with the tech giants, and that these issues are both more significant and more nuanced than, "Mike Adams is a putz" or "Leonard Coldwell is a whiny little hater-man."
One issue is the question of whether the tech giants need to be taken down a notch or two via antitrust enforcement, since companies such as Facebook and Google represent virtual monopolies in their respective realms. The Verge ran a thoughtful piece about this matter last September. And a January 2019 piece on the GovTech site drives home the point that monopolies are bad for innovation. These are real and serious issues that affect nearly all of us.
But none of the above is even remotely a suggestion that Donald John Trump should "seize" the tech giants and remake them into a tool to further elevate himself and the hateful, fearmongering blowhards whose vitriol has already left an indelible stain on the public conversation. I don't want Donald Trump or Mike Adams or Alex Jones or even Leonard Coldwell "censored." But the swill they distribute should be called out for what it is, and for what it's worth, I will continue to do just that. And I am glad to know that I am not alone.
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