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Twitter suspensions will continue until every conservative is silenced, unless…

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Twitter suspensions will continue until every conservative is silenced unless

Twitter is targeting conservatives. Some would argue they always have, but things have changed in the past couple of weeks that should infuriate anyone who believes men are not women, migrant caravans are not harmless, or free speech should be allowable even on social media.

The pretense of being politically unbiased has been dropped based on Twitter’s actions. If you ask their press office, they’d never admit to it, but following a string of high-profile conservative suspensions and bannings, it’s clear they’re in the process of a purge.

Combat veteran Jesse Kelly, who hosts a radio show and is a regular contributor on The Federalist, was permanently banned from Twitter yesterday. At this point, nobody, including Kelly, seems to know why.

Once or twice and it could be a coincidence. But Laura Loomer, Michael KnowlesCandace Owens, Bruce Carroll, James Woods, Gavin McInnes, and other prominent conservative voices have been temporarily suspended or completely banned recently. Tucker Carlson and Fox News have stopped using the platform after Twitter refused to take down Tweets listing Carlson’s home address. Glenn Reynolds, better known as Instapundit, deleted his Twitter account in protest.

These recent actions have many conservatives concerned.

“Twitter started by banning people on the fringes, and now it seems they’re starting to move in and target conservatives who are closer to the mainstream like Jesse Kelly,” said Kassy Dillon, a writer at DailyWire. “It’s a shame. Twitter needs to be more clear about what rules people are violating.”

This isn’t the first time the site has been accused of quashing conservative voices. Earlier this year, reports of “shadow banning” emerged. Conservatives were allegedly targeted by the platform. Twitter denied it, but reports continued to come in of strange results on Twitter searches and reduced exposure for known conservatives.

With the rash of actual bans and suspensions, there’s no way for Twitter to hide it this time. It’s right in front of us. So how should conservatives respond?

“Twitter, clearly, is not a platform for free speech,” said Chris Pandolfo from Conservative Review. “So what are conservatives prepared to do about it other than… complain on Twitter? I don’t know the answer to that question and the bannings will continue until someone on the right can answer it.”

Is there an answer? Do conservative switch platforms? Do we abandon social media? Do we throttle down our opinions? Nothing seems immediately viable on the surface when faced with a platform many rely on that seems bent on stifling us.

There aren’t many alternatives with the same sized audience. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit are the only domestic social platforms with comparable reach. If a user’s goal is to share ideological messages and communicate to the masses, isolated alternatives like gab.ai won’t help. They’re simply echo chambers, which is possibly what Twitter is trying to become on greater scale.

Hateful conduct policy

At the heart of this issue is the recently updated Hateful Conduct Policy. In it are some obvious reasons for censorship such as calls for violence against an individual or group. But one of the additions that has many scratching their head is “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”

It means you can’t call a transgender woman a man even if biologically speaking they are.

It means you can’t call Caitlyn Jenner by her male birth name, Bruce.

It means you can get banned for asking why a transgender woman isn’t a man, as Meghan Murphy learned last week.

Murphy is not a conservative. She’s a progressive feminist. But even she was suspended for declaring that men aren’t women and asking questions about transgenderism. That tells us something very important. It isn’t necessarily conservative accounts that are being targeted, though they’re obviously more on Twitter’s radar. It’s conservative ideas that are the target.

This means the situation is actually worse than we thought. If conservative philosophies are Twitter’s focus, then it isn’t about not offending other users. It’s really more about offending social justice warriors such as the ones on Twitter’s leadership and censorship teams.

Bethany S. Mandel, who also writes for The Federalist with Kelly, sees the company culture at Twitter as a driving force behind the purge.

“This is the result of the left wing bubble Twitter staff operate in,” she said. “They whine and complain about Trump’s supposed war on the press, but have no qualms silencing speech they simply disagree with.”

To many, this seems like a free speech issue, but as Mandel points out, the Constitution doesn’t protect us from the whims of a private company. It’s their platform. They don’t have to be fair.

“We don’t have a 1st Amendment right to Twitter, but a lot of us give them an awful lot of free content,” she said. “The value add has been disappearing for some time. It’s time for conservatives to start considering alternatives platforms.”

It started on the fringe but has spread to the middle

Incremental change is what can kill conservatism on Twitter. They started by hitting the fringe elements attributed to the right, such as conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Now they’re moving towards the middle. How will they get there? By adding to the list of suspension-worthy offenses.

Knowles was suspended over a joke which was actually pretty common on Twitter. He told Democrats to get ready for election day on Wednesday, November 7. This was very clearly a joke and even some on the left told a variation of “alerting” Republicans to get their voting shoes on for Wednesday. Even if we put aside the idiocy Twitter assumes in people by thinking they could miss the election over a Tweet, we can’t dismiss the fact that he was kidding.

We’ve already seen what happens when questions are asked about transgenderism. What’s next?

Will climate change skeptics be deemed a threat in the future? Yes.

Could it be deemed offensive on Twitter to refer to illegal immigrants as anything other than the acceptable term, “Undocumented immigrants?” That one may happen sooner rather than later.

What about anti-vaxxers? Flat-earthers? Moon landing skeptics? Could these pseudo-scientific views be labeled dangerous just as Knowles’ joke was? Yes, and while some conservatives won’t grimace about these conspiratorial concepts being purged from Twitter, we should be. Just because a particular fight isn’t one we share doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on their right to express their opinions.

The left is demonstrably hypocritical. Conservatives need to take the higher road.

Can we save Twitter? Should we?

To me, the answer to both questions is “yes.” I’m not ready to give up on one of the most widely used communication and broadcasting tools available. That would be a victory for Twitter and for leftists. If Twitter used their platform’s Infinity Gauntlet to suspend half the conservatives on their platform, they wouldn’t shed a tear. They would be one step closer to the indoctrinating echo chamber they really want to be.

I’ve head several ideas about how to fix it. Some are calling for government regulations. Call me jaded, but I’d rather keep DC out of this battle.

Others have suggest finding an alternative. None exist right now, at least not anywhere near the scale of Twitter. It would take a large investment for someone to build a free-speech social network that could grow quickly and achieve half the reach of Twitter, and it’s hard to imagine such an investment would be fiscally prudent.

If I were leading the Twitter revolt, I would coordinate a campaign that highlights Twitter’s hypocrisy, doubles down on sharing our conservative philosophies, and fights the urge to play the left’s ban-game.

Step-by-step, it would look like this:

  1. Call out as many hate-filled leftist Tweets as possible. When leftist darlings like Louis Farrakhan, Michael Avenatti, or Eric Swalwell post things that would get a conservative banned, we need to share these Tweets with an attached hashtag, something like #NotBanned. We need to point out as many instances as possible, but we cannot report them to Twitter. More on that shortly.
  2. Share conservative ideas like never before. They want to silence us. That means we need o get louder. Some will get banned. Heck, all of us might get banned. But now is not the time to back down. Tweet more. Share more conservative articles and videos. Get loud and help other conservatives get loud. Retweet like crazy. If they ban us, they ban us. To quote Twitter darling Hillary Clinton, “what difference, at this point, does it make?”
  3. Fight the urge to play the ban-game. We don’t want conservatives banned, but we should also not want leftists banned. Don’t give Twitter examples of them being “fair.” Don’t give leftists reasons to call us hypocrites. I’ll be pointing out all suspensions and bans that I see regardless of ideology because our goal is to have a platform that adheres to lawful protections of free speech. Twitter doesn’t have to abide. It’s their platform. They could ban anyone who likes soccer more than football if they wanted to (not that many would). But if we can point a mirror their way to let them see their own hypocrisy, maybe they’ll have a reason to stand down. It’s a long shot, but it allows us to take the high road regardless of their choice.

The purge has started. Now’s not the time to back down. It’s their platform and they don’t want us on it, but that doesn’t mean we should roll over and put our eggs in a different basket. There’s a way to fight this if we stay true to our beliefs.

Here are some of the best Tweets following Kelly’s ban:

 

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Guns and Crime

Two steps to gun confiscation

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Two steps to gun confiscation

Six years ago, the Liberty grabbers on the Left dropped the mask, going full throttle for taking guns.

Image Credit: Gun Owners of AmericaConsider the situation 6 years ago, Obama has just won re-election, the Left held a tight grip on the government and then the Sandy Hook mass murders took place, changing the way the Left approached the subject of gun confiscation. Obama and the rest of the nation’s Socialist-Left seized on the issue of Liberty control with a vengeance. They were finally were going to vanquish the common sense human Right of Self-defence.

It was at this time that they made a major course change in how they talked about the issue of our basic civil rights. They had previously denied what was obvious about their assaults on Liberty. After the tragedy in Connecticut, the dam burst on their demands for gun confiscation as can be seen in the updated lists on the subject. These are excerpts in how they’ve telegraphed their plans for this over the years.

How the Left plans on confiscating guns.

Leftists will often signal how they plan to carry out certain parts of their agenda, with their final solution to the Liberty problem being no exception. Many talked about how they wanted to grab our guns, with one prime example coming from the Daily Kos entitled: How to Ban Guns: A step by step, long term process. Another similar but malevolent screed was also published later on with the ominous title of Effective Gun Control – A National Semi-Auto Ban.

The author in the first piece began with emotional arguments in preparation for the illogical and unfair punishment of 120 million innocent people. Then the author talks about how it’s a good thing that this has to be done incrementally because of non-compliance with laws that would violate our Liberty. Both clearly lay out how they plan to deprive the people of their natural Right of self-preservation. We begin with their first step in the process.

Step one: Expand background checks to develop lists of gun owners.

Both articles detail how they would develop these lists, with the one article emphasising that they must make it ‘easy’ to get on the mandatory gun confiscation lists.

The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them. Canada has a national firearms registry. We need to copy their model. We need a law demanding all firearms be registered to a national database. We need to know who has them and where they are. We need to make this as easy as possible for gun owners.

[Our emphasis]

The author also emphasises that they must have control over personal property with ‘expanded’ [Intergalactic, Comprehensive, Universal, common sense, etc. or whatever they are calling them this week] Background Checks. In essence, they want to make it illegal for someone to have control over their private property:

Along with this, make private sales illegal. When a firearm is transferred, make it law that the registration must be updated. Again, make it super easy to do. Perhaps over, the internet. Dealers can log in by their FFLs and update the registration. Additionally, new guns are to be registered by the manufacturer. The object here is to create a clear paper trail from factory to distributor to dealer to owner. We want to encourage as much voluntary compliance as possible.

[Our emphasis]

Now with the current situation in Boulder, we see why they obsess over government control of personal property. As reported in the Daily Camera, only 85 assault weapons certified in Boulder as ban compliance date looms even with the threat of ‘fines, jail time, plus confiscation, destruction of firearm

Along with forcing innocent people to jump through hoops to keep what they already own, the authorities perform a background check to see someone is worthy of keeping their possessions.

The police department then performs a background check and, if the owner is clear, issues two copies of a certificate with the owner’s name, date of birth and signature; the make, model and serial number of the gun, and the date of issue and issuer’s name. Both copies go with the gun to prove it was owned before June 15, 2018.

[Our emphasis]

It’s also claimed that this isn’t registration. However, with the simple expedient of keeping records of these background checks, they will have a de facto registration system with a list of gun owners. Thus we see how they want to accomplish the first step of the gun grabbing process.

Step two: Set up the equivalent of confiscation with gun registration.

So, now with lists of gun owners, they can initiate tight control over guns by having the ATF descend upon Federal Firearms License dealers and find out who didn’t get permission to keep a basic human right.

Now we get down to it. The registration period has passed. Now we have criminals without registered guns running around.

So remember those ATF form 4473s? Those record every firearm sale, going back twenty years. And those have to be surrendered to the ATF on demand. So, we get those logbooks, and cross reference the names and addresses with the new national registry.

In the later ‘National Semi-Auto Ban’ piece the author fantasies about an enhanced ATF shutting down thousands of private businesses for ‘days, or week(s) until the audit is complete’. If some of those dealers go out of business due to the heavy-handed audit, the author of the piece considers it a win.

The result would be gun owners having to obtain government permission to keep their private property – Registration. The example from Boulder showing that would entail as yet another background check to keep what people already own.

Gun Registration is virtually Gun Confiscation.

This point has been made in the past, especially in these columns from Dean Weingarten on Gunwatch: Gun Registration is Gun Confiscation

The holy grail of the anti self defense and anti rights special interest groups is gun registration. This is because once your gun is required to be registered, it is in effect, already confiscated. Only a little thought will reveal to you why this is so. The Government will know who has legal possession of each firearm. They will know where the firearm is stored. When physical possession of the gun is desired, they can order you to turn it in. This has happened repeatedly. The historical examples include NAZI Germany, Soviet Russia, Red China, and Cambodia. Recent examples include Kosovo, Great Britian, Australia, New York, and California. Not having possession of the firearm registered to you can be grounds for criminal action. If you have reported the gun stolen, and it is then found in your possession, you can be charged with obstruction of justice.

Then later in this column in Ammoland:

Washington Post: The Purpose of Gun Registration is Gun Confiscation

The Takeaway

Being disarmed is a mistake a free people only get to make.. once. We close with a link to an article from Fox news: Venezuelans regret gun ban, ‘a declaration of war against an unarmed population’.

Collectivists always depend upon force to achieve their aims, this is why they always work to disarm the people so the people cannot ‘resist’. This is also why the Democrats obsess over attaining unlawful government control over personal property with ‘Expanded’ Background Checks.

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Entertainment and Sports

Binge-worthy show: Counterpart works because J.K. Simmons is incredible. Twice.

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With season 2 of the Starz hit Counterpart getting going, I thought I should go ahead and binge the first season to see if it’s one to follow going forward. Despite a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and universal acclaim, I’ll admit I probably wouldn’t move forward to season 2 if it weren’t for two letters and a surname: J.K. Simmons.

Very minor spoilers ahead for the sake of understanding why you should see this show.

Imagine if the world we know copied itself 30-years ago. These two worlds continued without knowledge of each other, save for a select few on each side who are aware of the tunnel below a building in Berlin that connects the two worlds. Now, imagine if both sides kept the existence of this secret from everyone, even most of the world’s governments, and instead ran a shadow organization in the building above the tunnel that allowed the two sides to cooperate.

That’s the world of Counterpart.

This is where it gets interesting. J.K. Simmons plays Howard Silk… twice. In the “alpha” version of the world he’s a mild-mannered operator working in the building above the tunnel but unaware of what it does or the role he plays in everything. The “prime” version is a badass secret agent who must travel to the “alpha” side to foil a plot that would bring the two sides to war.

The premise is pretty clever, albeit not completely unique. There have been stories of alternate realities playing with or against each other in everything from comic books to Star Trek shows. This is the first I’ve seen that plays it more as a spy game in an inter-reality Cold War setting, but nonetheless it’s a relatively common premise. What Star Trek fan doesn’t remember evil Spock?

Spock Mirror

On the merits of the story alone, I’d see this as an acceptable show to watch. Not quite binge-worthy, but a nice aside while waiting for the next season of The Expanse for sci-fi fans. What pushes it up to the binge-worthy level is the dual performances of Simmons. Despite the parallels between the two characters he plays, the audience is never confused about which one they’re seeing. He doesn’t even have to speak most of the time. We can tell by the way he carries himself, the expressions he makes, and the bearing he holds when looking at people.

That’s actually not that hard. What Simmons does masterfully is he accomplishes this without exaggerating the differences. He brings them to light with subtly, giving us just enough understanding of who the characters are without overplaying those differences.

There’s one more thing that the show does well that should be noted since it almost lost me otherwise. Just when you’re getting a little bored with the mundane aspects of the spy game, it slams you across the face with an unexpected twist or impromptu action scene. Even a simple conversation about arranging travel can turn into a gun versus fireplace poker fight to the death.

Great actors can take good material and turn it into something special. Though we’ve only seen one full season of Counterpart, it’s clear that J.K. Simmons makes it worth the watch.

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Opinions

In Israel, the deception of quiet has been shattered. Now what?

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In Israel the deception of quiet has been shattered Now what

Terrorism threatens both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The coming weeks will see whether Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be able to contain an escalating situation and roll back the violence, or whether the region will slide into a new and dangerous phase.

 The succession of deadly Palestinian terrorist attacks in the West Bank in recent days is a painful reminder of a bigger truth, and that is that the security quiet that prevailed until recently was little more than an illusion.

The motivation of terrorists—whether backed by an organized armed faction or acting on their own—to attack Israelis remains high, and the relative quiet that existed was not for their lack of trying.

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet intelligence service have thwarted a staggering number of attacks this year alone. A look at the official figures confirms the scale of the threat and highlights just how deceptive the so-called quiet really was.

According to Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, no fewer than 480 organized terror attempts based in the West Bank have been attempted (and prevented) this year. Those murder plots included 280 planned shootings, 76 attempted bombings, six suicide bombings and seven kidnappings. The intended Israeli targets were on both sides of the Green Line.

The number of unorganized attackers stopped in their tracks in 2018 is approximately 400, and their arrest has been made possible due in part to technological breakthroughs in the collection and analysis of big data.

The threat Hamas poses to Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been the glue that’s held together security coordination on the ground.

New technology in the service of national security has helped drastically reduce such attacks, which were frequent just a few years ago.

Hamas has been instrumental in attempting to destabilize the West Bank, both because this serves its jihadist siren call of violence against Israel and because it serves its goal of weakening its domestic foe, the Palestinian Authority, which it seeks to replace, just like it did in Gaza. Hamas believes that it is entitled to set the West Bank alight with violence, even as it keeps its home turf of Gaza in a state of ceasefire most of the time.

The threat Hamas poses to both Israel and to the P.A. has been the glue that has held together security coordination on the ground between Israeli and Palestinian forces. This glue has so far stuck, despite severe diplomatic clashes between the P.A. and Israel. The P.A. subtly recognizes that Israel’s anti-Hamas operations benefit it as much as it does Israelis.

Israel broke up more than 220 West Bank Hamas terrorist cells this year, including one cell that was ordered by Hamas’s military wing in Gaza to bomb crowded targets in the heart of Israeli cities in October. That cell was preparing bombs that were unprecedented in their quality of explosive materials, the Shin Bet investigation found.

In recent months, Israel quietly arrested hundreds of West Bank terror suspects, including students, and young men and women who were recruited into Hamas’s secret networks.

That has not stopped Hamas from trying, again and again, to turn the West Bank into a hotbed of terrorism. Israel’s preemptive capabilities have served as a silent, life-saving safety net around the clock.

Shifting the balance

Harrowingly, however, no safety net is fool-proof. It’s too soon to say whether Thursday’s deadly shooting attack on a bus stop near Ramallah was the result of organized terrorism or a local “initiative.”

Either way, the most immediate risk is that this shooting, as well as the attack that preceded it on Dec. 9, will provide the fuel to light a chain reaction in the form of copycat attacks. The first signs of this risk came in a car-ramming attack that injured a soldier just a few hours after Thursday’s incident.

Anticipating this trend, the Israel Defense Forces mobilized a number of back-up infantry battalions to the area, who will be tasked with both defending Israeli communities and assisting the offensive raids, and searches for the perpetrators.

In the past 24 hours, Israel’s Counter-Terrorist Unit conducted successful operations that resulted in the killing of the gunman behind the Barkan shooting attack and a gunman linked to the Dec. 9 Ofra Junction shooting.

Israel’s ability to catch up with the terrorists—no matter how hard they try to hide or embed themselves in challenging urban settings—reflects a world-leading counter-terrorism level that is unmatched and should not be taken for granted.

It also reflects the fact that Israel can send forces to operate anywhere in the West Bank, at any time—a reality that did not exist during the dark days of the Second Intifada some 15 years ago.

A dangerous period ahead

The commemoration of Hamas’s founding, which will be marked on Dec. 14, the risk of another Gaza escalation and the unending “bubbling up”’ of terror plots under the surface can all act as catalysts, accelerating a deterioration in the security situation in the coming days and weeks.

The IDF’s challenge in the West Bank is in some ways much more complex than its border-protection duties on the fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. In the West Bank, the IDF protects some 400,000 Israeli civilians who live in the midst of around 2 million Palestinians, with no obvious separating border the two populations.

The Israeli army’s challenge in the West Bank is in some ways much more complex than its border-protection duties on the fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

The Israeli army’s challenge in the West Bank is in some ways much more complex than its border-protection duties on the fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

To pursue this enormously complex mission effectively, the military offers both carrots and sticks; both are aimed at preventing the situation from worsening.

The sticks come in the form of nightly security raids targeting terrorists, while carrots are offered to Palestinian noncombatants in the form of freedom of movement and increased economic opportunities to push them away from the calls to violence, which are issued by the armed Palestinian hardline factions and fill social media.

The IDF’s own experience and its analysis of past trends tell it that driving a wedge between Palestinian civilians and terrorists—and seeking to maintain a normal fabric of life for ordinary Palestinians who are not involved in terrorism—drives down the number of attacks and saves lives.

Yet this balancing act of attempting to isolate the terrorists from the civilians changed dramatically on Thursday, when the IDF encircled Ramallah and placed it under lockdown. Placing a city that is the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority under such restrictions reflects the severity of the latest attack, and the Israeli military’s urgency in placing its hands on the perpetrators.

Such a development could also act as a reminder to the wider Palestinian public, according to which, Israel can employ more disruptive sticks. A return to the days of mass violence, as many realize, will likely result in significant harm to Palestinian freedom of movement and economic stability.

Ultimately, the terrorism that has reared its head threatens both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The coming weeks will see whether Israel and the P.A. will be able to contain the situation and roll back the violence, or whether the region will slide into a new and dangerous phase, a development that Hamas will be sure to celebrate and exploit.

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