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I don’t like Alex Jones, but his social media ousters bode ill for all Americans

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I dont like Alex Jones but his social media ousters bode ill for all Americans

Alex Jones is outrageous. He’s been classified as a conservative, a conspiracy theorist, and a racist. I see him more as a loony shock jock, an entertainer who has found an untapped niche and taken full advantage of it to promote himself and his operations. I’ll explain why he’s not what people think he is, but first let’s address the elephant in the room: his removal from prominent social media sites.

I’m the first person to say any site has the right to remove or promote any user of their site for any reason they choose. People like to claim “free speech” when they see censorship of their favorite personalities on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, but it has nothing to do with free speech. The 1st Amendment protects us from an oppressive government. How private businesses operate is up to them as long as they stay within our laws.

My concern is the road upon which these social media sites are taking modern society. This road of “community etiquette” is one that draws us towards a not-so-distant destination where many would not willingly go if they saw it coming. Perhaps 1984 exemplified it best with the government’s control of information. One could ironically note it was in information war and the truth lost out in 1984. We’re heading towards a similar fate.

The dystopian society George Orwell envisioned relied on a willing populace. It’s hard to imagine Americans giving up so many of their freedoms directly through government decree, but it’s easier to imagine one driven by cultural phenomena. Our always-connected society of mobile devices combined with our group approval desires through social media are the types of phenomena required to coax us to give up our freedoms willingly. It’s a conspiracy theory that I’ll share shortly.

An unexpected good guy in the whole Alex Jones mess is Twitter. They have not banned him and even explained why they haven’t. He hasn’t broken any of their rules.

Twitter CEO says Infowars’ Alex Jones not banned because ‘he hasn’t violated our rules’

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/twitter-ceo-says-infowars-alex-jones-not-banned-because-he-n898616“We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules,” Dorsey tweeted. “We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.”

He added that the company is holding Jones to the same standard as every other user rather than “taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories.”

It’s a rare case of consistency superseding the common leftist desire to inflict social justice on all who oppose them. Unfortunately, Dorsey’s last comment about adding fuel to conspiracy theories tarnishes his actions a bit.

What Alex Jones is

On the surface, Jones is a patriotic Libertarian-minded blowhard who has some crazy ideas intermingled with some slightly less crazy ones. His fans say he exposes what he exposes to make America better and to protect us from the evil overlords in the Illuminati or lizard people or New World Order or whoever. There may be a little bit of truth in this, but only a little.

The more prominent reality of Alex Jones is that he’s an eyeball hound like so many other entertainers. What he says and how it’s received is less important to him than how many people hear him. We know this because he heavily promotes an image of barely-restrained insanity. He publicizes outbursts that do not help him in a quest to save America but that do get people interested in seeing his next batch of silliness.

He takes it too far because it’s the best way to get lovers and haters to continue loving and hating him. More controversy equates to more eyeballs.

He’s an entertainer. Think Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern combined with a willingness to explore the most outrageous topics.

It’s important to understand this aspect of his nature because he taints everyone he allegedly represents. His unwavering support of Donald Trump is conspicuously unaligned with his allegedly conservative values. His promotion of crazy conspiracy theories buries the rational conspiracy theories in a heap of insanity. There really are conspiracies afoot, but people like Jones make it harder to find the truth.

As for being a racist, I’ve seen enough of him to believe that it’s false but I haven’t seen everything so it’s possible.

Whatever it takes to get eyeballs, line his pockets, and secure his place in his “New Atlantis” is all that Jones is about.

Now for the conspiracy theory

All of this bodes ill for Americans. The government has exerted more and more control over our lives and most on the left welcome it. But what about those on the right? How do you get them to put aside freedoms? By letting companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and YouTube take away the things we crave.

We’re seeing attacks on conservatism, Libertarianism, and federalism on nearly every platform on the internet. This has been well publicized and scorned by right-leaning users of these sites. What can we do? Can we boycott? Many have, but that doesn’t help. If anything, removing anti-socialist opinions from these sites helps them achieve their goals.

Eventually, we will see an outcry for someone to step in and prevent the censorship. Who will be called upon? Yes, Washington DC. It won’t be the left but the right that prompts actions against Silicon Valley’s inherent liberalism. Many will believe this is a good thing because it provides equal footing for all opinions… at least that’s how it will be described. That’s not what will end up happening in the long-run.

The natural progression of anything that DC sticks its fingers into is state control. Mandates become regulations. Regulations become laws. Laws become oversight. Oversight becomes control.

If we continue down this road, social media and mobile communication will both be so heavily embedded with government meddling that they will be state-run industries. They will “protect” us from Russia, Alex Jones, hate speech, anonymous trolls, offensive images, and anything else they deem inappropriate.

In the end, it will not be the government that takes control of social media and mobile networks. It will be the people who will give them control.

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Democrats

Veronique de Rugy: Green New Deal would be hundreds of TRILLIONS of dollars in federal commitment

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Veronique de Rugy Green New Deal would be hundreds of TRILLIONS of dollars in federal commitment

If there’s a word that’s not necessarily negative one could use to describe the Green New Deal, it would be “ambitious.” The deal has so much wrapped into it that it’s hard to tell which components are designed to save the environment and which ones are intended to destroy the economy.

Estimates put costs for the “green side” of the resolution at somewhere between $12-$20 trillion. Then, there’s the Medicare-for-All component that is estimated at $32 trillion over a decade.

And that’s just the start.

This isn’t just a “green” deal. It’s a hodgepodge of policy proposals that include massively growing the welfare state, inserting government even more into the job markets, and a universal basic income that they refuse to actually call a universal basic income. The much-maligned FAQ that was posted and quickly removed from the website of sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) mentioned paying people who were unable or even “unwilling” to work.

“Even in the best case scenario where you substitute a UBI for all the other forms of welfare, it’s insane,” said Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, on ReasonTV.

But here’s the problem. The Green New Deal doesn’t substitute a universal basic income for other welfare programs. In the Green New Deal, the programs recommended are supposed to be additions, not substitutions.

“It’s a really hard system to support even in its ideal form,” de Rugy continued. “Then there’s this Green New Deal version which doesn’t even seem to entertain this notion of actually substituting for all the rest, so it’s on top of what we have now.”

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The real question we need to ask is whether or not the Democratic Party is actually going to support this. In its current form, the Green New Deal is a fantasy, and perhaps that’s what the more-sane Democrats are shooting for by supporting it. By giving it their attention now, they can work their way down to more reasonable proposals for everything from environmental protection to job creation programs to different versions of socialism.

In other words, they may be using the hyper-leftism of the Green New Deal as a gateway to get to the palatable leftism of what’s quickly becoming mainstream socialism.

The Green New Deal shouldn’t scare conservatives because it can’t happen. What should concern us is the end result negotiated down from this starting point. Given the GOP’s negotiating track record lately, we don’t know what we’re going to get when the Green New Deal is trimmed down to reality.

 


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Economy

Trump administration is optimistic about failing economic policies

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Trump administration is optimistic about failing economic policies

In an article I wrote last week following Trump’s campaign rally disguised as a State of the Union Address, I documented how his claim that his trade war and tax cuts had produced “the hottest economy in the world” were merely the rhetorical ramblings of a failed “Republican” running for re-election.

Trump’s trade war has created an economic hell that will take years to recover from, and his tax cuts have failed to provide tax relief for the middle class. In addition, when you throw Trump’s big-government spending into the mix, the federal deficit now exceeds $22 trillion.

The stock market fell late in 2018 and all gains made in the year were wiped out, a crash the administration blamed on Democrats and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

While the slide on Wall Street was dismissed as a market correction, recently released economic data from the Commerce Department shows that the overall economy ended the year much worse than the White House would have you believe.

U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December of 2018 as receipts fell 1.2 percent across the board. This is the largest decline in retail sales since Sept. 2009 when the economy was in a recession.

Trump brags about low unemployment numbers, but according to a Department of Labor report released yesterday, unemployment claims increased by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ending Feb. 9th.

While it’s tempting for some to dismiss yesterday’s report as an anomaly, let’s take a look at the data from another angle.

The four-week moving average of claims — considered a better measure of labor market trends because it irons out week-to-week volatility — was 231,750, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the highest level for this average since January 27, 2018 when it was 234,000. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 224,750 to 225,000.

Of course, the administration famous for identifying unfavorable news as “fake” went right to work trying to spin these economic failures into policy victories.

Saying that he was still “optimistic” about the economy, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow called the retail sales number a “glitch,” and he invited the feds to “step aside” while praising the president for “ending the war on business.” He then parroted SOTU talking points about how the overall economy was “very strong” despite these recent reports.

There are those who label me a pessimist because I refuse to whitewash the political graffiti of optimism Trump and the GOP spray paint on their crumbling wall of lies and broken promises, but in the words of C. Joybell C.: “Some people are optimists. Some people are pessimists. I’m just a realist who believes that some things are worth fighting for.”

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

 


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Democrats

Losers all around: Untangling the border bill that benefits literally zero Americans

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Losers all around Untangling the border bill that benefits literally zero Americans

The Senate and House just put a bill on the President’s desk that he intends to sign. This bill will keep the government funded for most of the year and has many components worth discussing within its 1200 pages. For this discussion, let’s look specifically at the border security components because there seems to be losers across the board without a single winner in sight… at least not from this country.

First, let’s look at the two parties.

Democrats lose the political clout that would have come from a bipartisan agreement to fund the border wall. While most on the left see it as a win that they were able to put together a bill that snuck in so many atrocious immigration loopholes (which we’ll cover below), those loopholes will be used to demonstrate how bad their border policy really is.

But it would all be worth it to them if the wall never got built, at least politically speaking for 2020. The wall is President Trump’s post-midterm achievement if he can get a good chunk of it built, so stopping him from doing so would have been a win. There’s still a chance it can be a win for the Democrats if the White House doesn’t play their cards right. The national emergency declaration may or may not get the wall started before the election, so they’ll need to invoke 10 U.S.C. 284 to get it going sooner rather than later.

Of course, the biggest loss for Democrats is their own policies. It may not have the immediate negative impact necessary to affect them in 2020, but it will have a negative impact nonetheless. As drug cartels and criminal illegal immigrants benefit from the insane policies they put in the bill, the only defense the Democrats will have is that a majority of Republicans backed it as well.

Republicans lose because this deal demonstrates their weakness. They were too weak to fight the border wall battle when they had control of the House, Senate, and White House simultaneously. There’s no reason to expect them to have grown a backbone since the midterms, and this bill proves they did not.

They folded on the border wall dollars. They folded on the restrictions placed on the border wall itself. They folded on the number of beds set aside for detained illegal immigrants. They folded on the allowance of what can only be construed as amnesty for future illegal border crossing unaccompanied minor sponsors (it’s a mouthful, but we’ll get into those protections a bit later).

In short, they folded on nearly everything and put the President in a position where his only viable option was to declare the national emergency. Sadly, it means the GOP not only accomplished nothing since the shutdown began, but also demonstrated the shutdown could have easily been avoided by simply caving then instead of waiting two months to cave.

Now, let’s look at everyone other than the parties themselves.

President Trump loses because this deal makes the shutdown look meaningless. It also exposes him to the wrath of conservatives who are both unhappy with the deal itself and infuriated by the massive overreach the national emergency declaration represents.

The only possible way for him to make it out of this mess with chances still intact for a reelection win are if three very specific things happen:

  1. He has to get a good chunk of the wall built before the election.
  2. Crime and illegal immigration numbers must go down before the election.
  3. Somehow, the negative components of this deal cannot come back to haunt him, though that seems unlikely at this point because the negatives are so numerous and utterly horrendous.

But the worst loss of all for the President is that it will be very hard for him to spin the use of a national emergency and creative appropriations to build a wall when he said literally hundreds of times that Mexico was going to pay for it. Yes, this catchy line helped him win the primaries and possibly even the general election, but it’s turning into such an inaccurate campaign promise that it can’t even be called a broken promise anymore. At this point, it appears to be a bald-faced campaign lie.

Most of all, the American people lose, This will be demonstrated on so many levels over the next couple of years that it will be hard to keep track of every instance that this bill makes us less safe, wastes our money, steals from our prosperity potential, and undercuts our sovereignty.

I’ll let Twitter explain this even further:

And the winner is…

Drug cartels, criminal illegal immigrants, and anyone willing and able to take advantage of Washington DC’s stupidity are the only winners from the border omnibus deal. National emergency declarations cannot take away from how bad this is. In fact, it may make it worse.

 


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