This Bookworm Beat has a hodge-podge of posters but the dominant theme seems to be that a big government that becomes a bad government is scary.
It’s time for We, the People, to destroy Facebook’s overwhelming power — and the parable of the wheat and chessboard reveals that we have power too.
I’m wrapping up my presence on Facebook. This is not because of privacy concerns. I’ve always understood that, when it comes to Facebook, the reason it’s “free” for me to use is because Facebook feeds off of my information.
Instead, I’m quitting Facebook because I’m deeply disturbed by the power that Facebook has come to have in America, especially when it comes to controlling news and imposing its will on America’s political beliefs. No one entity should have that kind of power.
A lot of people have been saying that Congress should break up Facebook or regulate it as a common carrier. Those are good ideas, but at the rate Congress moves, it will still be debating that issue right up until Facebook has ensured that a Democrat candidate wins the 2020 presidency, at which point the issue will vanish.
There’s a different way to destroy Facebook’s power: We, the People, can do something.
We’ve voluntarily affiliated ourselves with Facebook and we can voluntarily leave. That’s what I’m doing on my real-me Facebook. I will survive not seeing pictures of my friends’ children, meals, and travels. Also, I will probably have lower blood pressure not seeing my hard Leftist friends say their hard Leftist things. Most importantly, I will no longer be Facebook’s fool (or do I mean tool?).
I’m switching to MeWe.com, which claims to be all about privacy. I don’t believe that. I know I’ll still be the commodity and that, if enough of us end up on MeWe, then that company will have inherited Facebook’s scary power. For now, though, MeWe is so small I’m not worried . . . yet. I’ll still have a social media platform and I know that the friends who matter will find me there. I had a fine life before social media and I’ll have a fine life after it — and when MeWe, which is Leftist too, starts to aggregate too much power, we’ll cross that bridge as well.
Regarding whether my actions make a difference, I don’t know. I’m only one person. But I’m one person with a little bit of a bully pulpit in the form of this blog. I’m also one person who knows the “Parable of the Wheat and Chessboard.” [Read more…]
On a day that sees the news look like news in Groundhog Day, with old stories endlessly repeating, today’s illustrated edition still brings fresh laughs.
This glimpse into my Facebook feed tells the whole Progressive story: It’s total Trump Derangement Syndrome, leavened only by my smart conservative friends.
The following articles, in the following order, one right after the other, showed up on my Facebook feed this morning. They represent Trump Derangement Syndrome writ large, first from the media and then filtered down to the ordinary Progressive in the street. If it weren’t for the sensible friend who posted the Andrew Klavan article, I would have been left with nothing to see but three hysterical Progressives looking to the MSM to give them their factual and emotional marching orders.
If you’re wondering why I don’t unfriend these people or give up Facebook, it’s because I’m not about to enter the same bubble that blind-sided the Left in November. It’s important to know how the other half of the political spectrum views the world — and right now, they view it through the Trump Derangement Syndrome filter, which is really ugly:
(You can read Paul Krugman’s overwrought NY Times article here.)
Given my increasingly lower tolerance for the Trump Derangement crowd that inhabits Facebook, I really need to get off of Facebook entirely or I’m going to be run out of the San Francisco Bay Area before I’ve had the chance to make the move on my own terms. It’s just that, as I’ve so often said, “The stupid . . . it burns!” And the Progressives on my Facebook feed are on fire!
Irritation the First: A friend put up a post bemoaning the horrors of the ICE raids against people who snuck into our country, completely bypassing our legislatively passed immigration laws. Never mind that, if you come here illegally, “you pays your money and you takes your chances.” If you don’t get caught, you’re lucky; if you do get caught, you need to be summarily evicted. That’s especially true when it turns out most of them have committed crimes in addition to their entering our country illegally.
So, in light of her mourning, I posed a straightforward question: “Do you distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants?”
She came back coyly: “Do you mean ‘undocumented’ immigrants?”
“No,” I answered, “I mean illegal immigrants, i.e., people who have completely bypassed American immigration laws to sneak into this country, so that they are are criminals from the moment they step foot on American soil. That kind of illegal.” And moreover, I raged (or peevishly whined), I am sick of euphemisms. If we’re going down that path, let’s start calling rapists “unauthorized sex partners.” Anodyne phrases shouldn’t be allowed to erase the fundamental illegality of what’s going on here.
I await being unfriended.
Facebook just announced that it will start cracking down on what it calls “fake news.” We know what that means: It will block anything that does not toe the Democrat party line. To this end, it’s teaming with such hard-Left luminaries as Snopes, the Associated Press, and ABC to identify what constitutes “fake news”:
To combat fake news, Facebook has teamed up with a shortlist of media organizations, including Snopes and ABC News, that are part of an international fact-checking network led by Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Starting as a test with a small percentage of its users in the US, Facebook will make it easier to report news stories that are fake or misleading. Once third-party fact-checkers have confirmed that the story is fake, it will be labeled as such and demoted in the News Feed.
Technically speaking, Facebook is a private corporation and can do whatever the heck it wants. In reality, though, Facebook is a major news purveyor, much in the way the big broadcasters are (or used to be). It might be useful to have the FCC investigate whether it can block Facebook’s plan to censor political content it does not support.
Government action is always slow, though. What’s also slow is the lead-time needed for conservatives to build up another social media outlet through which they can disseminate information and news of interest to conservatives. In the meantime, I suggest that everyone start following the reverse “Oprah Rule.”
The other day, I wrote a post entitled “Dear Elites — no, Trump is not a fascist, but Hillary probably is.” I illustrated it with a picture I found on the internet of Hillary giving her famous “what difference does it make [that four men died on my watch]” testimony, with the slight addition of a toothbrush mustache (yes, of the type Hitler wore) and a raised middle finger.
Putting aside the picture, the entirety of the post is given over to explaining what fascism is (statism with cronyism is a good shorthand); explaining why Trump, whatever else he is, is not a fascist (primarily because he promises to keep guns in citizens’ hands, but also because the core of what he’s saying is that his administration will obey laws already on the books and because he promises to shrink our bureaucracy); and why Hillary does fall into the fascist mode (everything within the all-powerful state, a disarmed citizenry, government-controlled rights to speech, and solid cronyism with Wall Street).
I thought it was a good post, making a point that is too frequently overlooked by Trump critics on both the Left and the Right, as well as by Hillary’s fans on the Right. It’s a small antidote to the fact that, in the decades since WWII, American Leftists have done a superb job of destroying fascism’s completely statist (i.e., Leftist) roots and attaching this negative label to conservatives. Conservatives, of course, are the antithesis of fascism, in that they stand for small government, the free market, and individual liberties, including the right to bear arms, a freedom that’s anathema to despots.
Others seem to have thought it was a good post too because I got what is, for me, a nice number of views when I posted it on my blog’s Facebook page (see above): 448 as of this writing. Indeed, up until an hour or two ago, what existed in the place where you now see that “Not Boosted” notice was a message from Facebook telling me that the post was doing better than 95% of my other posts on that same page and suggesting that I “boost” it — meaning that I turn it into one of those irritating “sponsored posts” that periodically show up on your Facebook feed.
Since I’ve been working hard lately, I admit to wanting to live a little large. Couple that “rich” feeling with the fact that I felt (and still feel) that the post says something important, I decided to blow $3 and promote the post for three days. Sometimes you just have to go for it!
Sadly, five minutes after mentally kissing the $3 goodbye and hitting “go” on the boosting, I got this message:
Curious as to what policies I violated, I followed the link. Here, in its entirety (along with my interlineations), is that portion of the advertising policies regarding “prohibited content”:
The Washington Times published an excellent article pointing out the hypocrisy of Apple, PayPal, and other corporations boycotting North Carolina because the state said biological males and females should use separate restrooms in public places:
PayPal drew a line in the sand when North Carolina enacted a law prohibiting people from using the restrooms of the opposite sex, but critics say that line got washed away on the shores of Malaysia, a nation that consistently ranks among the least LGBT-friendly in the world.
The company canceled its plan to build a global operations center in Charlotte after the passage of HB2, which CEO Daniel Schulman called discrimination against the transgendered. He noted that the move would cost North Carolina 400 well-paying jobs.
But Malaysia’s Penal Code 187 — which punishes homosexual conduct with whippings and up to 20 years in prison — did not stop PayPal from opening in 2011 a global operations center there that it estimated would employ 500 workers by 2013.
Whether it’s Apple opening stores in Saudi Arabia or American Airlines looking to dominate the Cuban travel market, many of the companies that have threatened to cut business ties to North Carolina over its bathroom bill are eager to do business in countries with regimes far more repressive of gays (and everyone else).
Read the rest here. It’s well worth your time.
I posted the article on Facebook and, as I expected, my Leftist Facebook friends went on the defensive. One comment acknowledged the hypocrisy but said that North Carolinians were no better because they don’t follow all the rules in Leviticus (such as refraining from wearing clothes made of two fabrics).
Ted Cruz is a decent human being. Contrary to Rubio, Trump, and Ted’s former college roommate (who was offended from the get-go by Cruz’s lifelong conservativism), those who know Ted Cruz say he’s an extremely nice and decent man.
Many good reasons to vote for Ted Cruz. Melissa Clouthier’s letter to her fellow Texans asking them to vote for Cruz seems to have worked. Perhaps residents in states with upcoming primaries might want to read it too.
Why does Donald Trump like Harry Reid? Nobody likes Harry Reid, not even his colleagues and constituents, but Trump keeps going around saying nice things about him.
Is Marco Rubio everything that was bad about Bush? Laura Ingraham thinks that Marco Rubio will be George Bush all over again, except only the bad parts of his presidency.
Thomas Sowell thinks this election is our last chance to get it right. Sowell, level-headed Sowell, is thinking in apocalyptic terms about the world Obama leaves us and the need to elect the right president to steer our ship of state. (NB: Sowell doesn’t think Trump has the temperament or ability to captain this ship.)
Megan McArdle on #NeverTrump people. They’re genuinely offended by Trump’s character (or lack of same).
A primer for those who need to be reminded why Hillary should be incarcerated, not inaugurated. Deroy Murdock has a knack for political parables. Using the example of the “Foggy Bottom Department Store,” he makes it clear just how heinous Hillary’s conduct has been in connection with her egregious national security violations.
And a primer on foreign trade and capitalism. Larry Elder has a truly brilliant piece about the benefits that flow to America from low tariffs and foreign trade — benefits that are very real even when it seems that American jobs are going away. I urge you to read it. (This is a different issue, of course, from the Democrats and Chamber of Commerce types manipulating and violating American law to ship in cheap labor at the expense of American citizens.)
One of the things I like about Ted Cruz is the long list of people who hate him. You can know a man by his friends and by his enemies. Strong conservatives respect Ted Cruz; RINOs (and RINO’s are the majority of “Republicans” in Congress) hate and fear him. That works for me. Spengler, aka David P. Goldman, has more to say about Cruz’s well-earned Iowa victory (it was a brilliant ground game, not cheating) and about Cruz’s rejection of the Washington establishment and embrace of ordinary conservatives — core conservatives — across America.
Shurat Hadin is using the power of the law to challenge antisemitic institutions and to shut down terrorist organizations. Its latest target is Facebook which, ironically enough, is primarily owned by a Jew.
Sadly, Mark Zuckerburg is a Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky kind of Jew — he’s someone who is so imbued with Leftism (Harvard does that to people) that he’s incapable of seeing that there’s a difference between a moral state (that would be Israel) and an immoral entity (that would be the Palestinian Authority and Hamas). In this regard, he’s another young American Jew mired in self-loathing, and trying to pass that self-loathing off as a weird form of pride.
Lest you doubt the righteousness of Shurat Hadin’s challenge against Facebook, here’s a little experiment Shurat Hadin conducted:
“You’re so judgmental, Mom,” my teen told me yesterday. The reason for this statement (and he totally missed the irony of his judging me for being too judgmental) was the distaste I expressed for Mark Zuckerberg.
I didn’t defend myself against my teen’s charge.
“You’re damn right I’m judgmental. Zuckerberg deserves to be judged.”
When my teen expressed incredulity at my claim, I elaborated. I told him that groups such as Hamas frequently use Facebook to disseminate incitement to kill Jews. They put up cartoons, videos, instructional posters, and just about anything else that tells Hamas’ Facebook friends to slaughter Jews on Israel’s streets.
What’s worse is that Facebook isn’t doing anything to stop this outpouring of genocidal antisemitic incitement. It’s gotten so bad that thousands of Israelis have joined Shurat HaDin – The Israel Law Center in a lawsuit against Facebook demanding that it remove this material:
Shurat HaDin wants to force Facebook to not only remove the terrorists’ pages, but also to better monitor and block users who post videos glorifying and encouraging terrorist attacks, and publish messages with instructions on how to carry out an attack.
“The terrorists do not come on their own; they write posts and encourage their friends to kill Jews,” Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, told Fox News. “Facebook has been transformed into an anti-Semitic incubator for murder.”
The lawsuit says that since Facebook uses algorithms that match users with personalized ads and connect them to potential “friends,” the company should have the ability to monitor and block such postings.
Facebook’s defense is that it can’t possibly do what is asked of it because there’s just too much going on. Cry me a river. . . .
Near the end of his talk about American communists’ long-term plan (now coming to fruition) to flood America with a permanent Democrat majority through Hispanic amnesty, Trevor Loudon tossed in an interesting throwaway. When someone asked him why Leftists would want to reduce the US to the status of a Latin American banana Republic, he said that, in a conversation with Tammy Bruce (a former hard Leftist herself), she told him “They’re all damaged individuals.” That is, we have a powerful political movement made up of damaged people out for revenge.
That notion popped into my mind again today when I read on my Facebook stream the newest attack against the Tom Cotton letter. (You’ll recall that the first attack was to call Cotton and the other signatories “traitors” and “Logan Act violators,” followed by efforts to claim that reserve officers violated various military codes.) The newest claim that’s come to my attention is that Cotton and Co. are AIPAC’s puppets:
Yesterday, as my little Bookworm and I were driving along, she turned to me and said, “You know what my dream job would be, Mom? It want to be a singer who actually makes money and doesn’t have to have all sorts of other horrible jobs to pay the rent.”
Inspired, I said to her, “My dream job would be having a full-time political writing career and getting paid for it.”
Imagine my surprise when I came home and discovered that one of my readers, totally out of the blue, had made a donation to my site. In other words, within hours of my voicing my dream came true!! Admittedly, the money donated won’t pay my mortgage, but it was a generous amount and made me very happy.
Sometimes the timing on things is just perfect.
Also, while I’m talking about my site, please feel free to “like” my Bookworm Room Facebook page or friend me on my Sunny (Bookworm) Berman page. (That’s a nom de cyber, by the way.) I try to link most of my posts on those two pages so, if you’re a Facebook fan, friending or liking is a good way to see whether I’ve updated my site lately. And of course, you can always feel free to follow me on Twitter.
Yesterday, as we were driving along, my daughter asked me if I’d heard about the gal in Texas, a college student, who posts pictures of her African big game shots (some dead, some tranquilized) on Facebook. I’d heard about it vaguely, so my daughter elaborated.
“They’re trying to kick her off Facebook. I think she should be banned.”
“I don’t,” I replied.
She gave an outraged gasp!
“You support her going around and killing all those innocent animals? Some of them are endangered! That’s awful.”
I answered, “I don’t like big game hunting. It doesn’t make sense to me to kill for sport, but not everyone agrees with me. So let me ask you this: Is what she’s doing legal?”
“Yes,” said my daughter, “but it’s a horrible thing to do.”
I gave the only answer a good First Amendment libertarian could give: “Just because you don’t like it, that’s not a reason to ban her from speaking. Banning her from speaking is tyrannical. Saying ‘I disagree with you, so shut up’ is not a valid argument in a free society. A functional free society has to let people speak even if they disagree with each other. There are extremes where even the most free society should and will prevent speech, such as a gathering to talk about killing a president or the famous ‘shouting Fire! in a crowded theater’ type of talk. Otherwise, you have to be willing to accept that others don’t agree with you. If you don’t, you end up with a country in which everyone has to think the same thoughts and do, and say, the same things.”
“Okay, I get it,” she wearily replied. “Don’t get on the soapbox again. Anyway, this whole thing has been good for her. She says she got 600 new fans. [Pause.] Who would ever like her page?”
“That’s easy. People who believe in hunting or people who want to make a point that, in a free society, ‘free speech’ includes speech that not everyone supports.”