Filosofa Is A Bit Rant-y

I am rather rant-y tonight, for I am tired of so many things … tired of the divisiveness in this country, tired of the lies that regularly emit from our government, tired of the sheer ignorance of some people and the cruelty of others, and just tired in general, I suppose.  So, bear with me while I let off a bit of steam …

I expect conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones to say ignorant things like he thinks a White House staffer poisoned Trump’s Diet Coke and then told him he had the coronavirus.  Ol’ Alex thinks we aren’t smart enough to see the lunacy in his theory.  But I mistakenly credited the people of this nation, even Trump’s loyal base, with having a bit more intelligence, being a bit more discerning.  Some of Trump’s base who were interviewed had some lovely things to say …

  • “It’s a hoax. There’s no pandemic. As Trump said, how many millions die of flu?”
  • “If he’s sick, then they planted it when they tested him. It’s what they did to me when I went to hospital for my heart beating too fast. Two weeks later I got a cold. It’s political. I don’t trust the US government at all. Who are they to mandate personal safety? I listen to Trump.”
  • “Yes, it’s highly contagious. So are the measles. But I’m a firm believer that if you get it, it’s not a death sentence.” Oh really, ma’am?  Try telling that to the friends and families of the 214,000+ people who have died in this country alone and the more than 2.5 million who are still suffering from the disease!

ClaytoonzOf course, it doesn’t help that the doctor in charge of Trump’s case at Walter Reed hospital, Dr. Sean Conley, can’t give a straight answer to a simple question during a press conference, and is apparently yet another bootlicker telling the public what Trump has told him to tell us, so we cannot believe anything we are told.  It doesn’t give people free license to start stupid rumours that are likely to further divide the people of this nation.

Just to put the conspiracies to bed:  Donald Trump contracted the coronavirus because he thought he knew more than the experts, and so shunned the precautions that most of the rest of us are taking, such as wearing a mask when in public, avoiding crowded venues, and keeping a 6-foot distance from other people when in public.  He broke those rules time and time again, and now he’s paying the price.  There was no poison, no chemical plant, no nothing beyond Trump’s own stupidity.

And, in addition to stupidity, there is the big lie … the one where he claimed to have tested positive late Thursday night or early Friday morning, but in truth had tested positive and displayed symptoms a full day before!  On Wednesday, he attended a rally in Minnesota, and on Thursday, knowing that he had the virus, he attended various public events on a fund-raising trip to New Jersey.  Potentially, he could have infected thousands of people, yet his only concern was his re-election bid.

Due to his inept and intentional bungling of the pandemic, more than 214,000 people in this country have died, and that number is likely to double by early next year.  And now, he willfully exposed others, both within and outside his administration.  So no, I have no empathy for him. No, I don’t wish death on him, however whether he recovers or not is unimportant to me beyond the effect it will have on the upcoming election.  If you think that makes me hard-hearted, think again … I have a great deal of empathy for those who lost a loved one this year due to the pandemic, for Black people who must fear for their lives, for migrant children separated from their parents at the southern border, for the homeless and those barely making ends meet … yes, I have empathy, but not for a narcissistic megalomaniac who is paying the price of his own perfidy.

I also have no empathy for his wife, who on Tuesday night sauntered into the debate venue wearing a mask, then immediately took it off for the rest of the evening in violation of rules that both candidates had agreed to in advance.  The rest of his family also sat maskless throughout the debacle.  As for his trophy wife, I say to her what she said to the world …Melania-jacketAnd I have no compassion for those who are so blindly enamoured of Trump that they will literally follow him off this cliff he has taken us to the brink of.  Those who shun wearing a mask because Trump mocked mask-wearers, who go into crowded venues such as bars, clubs, arenas, and churches, deserve no compassion.  They risk not only their own lives, but the lives of their families, friends, co-workers … every one of us.

Save your sympathy for those who deserve it … the Trump family does not.

If people like conspiracy theories, why not look at real ones

Conspiracy theories abound and most do not bear repeating, for to do so is to give the one spewing the lies just what he sought: attention. However, there are some actual conspiracies, both past and present, as our friend Keith notes in his very excellent post this evening!

musingsofanoldfart

There has been a lot of press about Marjorie Taylor Greene, an advocate of the conspiracy theory website QAnon winning a GOP primary in Georgia. Unless the GOP finds its conscience, she will become a member of Congress. Getting less press is Madison Cawthorn who is the GOP candidate running for now Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ old seat. Cawthorn has some social media references to white nationalists and has bragged on visiting the Hitler bunker in Germany. In this case, the GOP leadership supported his opponent in the primary.

Some folks are unfamiliar with QAnon, but the president is not one of them. He often parrots conspiracy theories and it is nirvana for a conspiracy author to hear their words come out of his mouth. My favorite QAnon story is Hillary Clinton was running a Satanic child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor in Washington DC to raise…

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Dangerous Words …

These days, I generally don’t give Alex Jones much space or consideration here, for he is naught more than a two-bit carnival hawker, and we have more important things to talk about.  His radio show, InfoWars, has been dropped by Facebook and Twitter, and while he still has a loyal following of the ignorant who are willing to believe every conspiracy theory they hear, he is pretty much washed up.

Jones has gotten himself in trouble of late, has numerous lawsuits against him as a result of his claim that the Sandy Hook shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and 6 teachers in 2012 was all a hoax, that it never happened, that the parents were paid actors.  Well, some of Jones’ viewers believed him and in the years since, some parents have received threats and even had to relocate to ensure the safety of their remaining children.

His latest is so strange that I was all set to ignore it … why give him the attention he craves … until I thought about the potential ramifications, rather like the Sandy Hook fiasco.  We can shrug off the conspiracy theorists and their theories, can ignore them and hope they go away, but the real danger comes from left field, from the ignorant who, lacking education or common sense, will believe and act on the conspiracy theories.

Remember Pizzagate?  A rumour, started by a Reddit user and picked up by Alex Jones and others, made the rounds.  The rumour was that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John Podesta were kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in tunnels beneath the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C.  The restaurant’s staff and owner began receiving online threats against themselves and worse yet, their children.  And then one day,  Edgar Maddison Welch walked into the restaurant armed with two assault weapons and opened fire … a regular Bugsy Malone.

There is a very real danger in the fact that there are more guns in this nation than there are people, many of them assault weapons that can kill hundreds inside of a minute or two.  There is a very real danger in that this nation is a tinderbox waiting for someone to light a match.  Enter Alex Jones, claiming that the United States will soon have to resort to cannibalism and he is fully prepared to eat his neighbors.  Yes, friends, that’s what he said.

In a video clip from one of his recent broadcasts that is currently circulating across social media, Jones graphically expounds about how the food supply challenges of the current crisis could require extreme measures, including cannibalism.  I will not play the video here, but this is what he said …

“I’ll admit it. I will eat my neighbors. I’m not letting my kids die. I’m just going to be honest. I have extrapolated this out. I won’t have to for a few years, because I have food and stuff. But I’m literally looking at my neighbors now, going, ‘Am I ready to hang them up and gut them and skin them and chop them up?’ And you know what, I’m ready. My daughters aren’t starving to death. I’ll eat my neighbors. … I’ll eat your ass, I will. I’m combat model. Optimum self-efficiency. Probably the leader. My point is, have you thought about this yet? Because I’m somebody that thought I could fix this, and I’m starting to think about having to eat my neighbors. You think I like sizing up my neighbor, how I’m gonna haul him up by a chain? Chop his ass up? I’ll do it. My children aren’t going hungry.”

wtf

Now, ol’ Alex is likely just trying to get attention … that’s what he does.  But think of one of those gun-toting white supremacists who have been instrumental in some of the recent protests demanding that cities and states re-open for business, despite the continued threat of further spread of the disease and tens of thousands more deaths.  Picture one of them, already filled with anger and hate, listening to Mr. Jones’ podcast.  Is it a stretch of the imagination to picture him cleaning his precious guns, oiling them, and loading for bear … waiting for the first time he cannot find chicken or potatoes at his local supermarket?

Given that farmers are plowing under their crops, fruit is being left on the trees to rot, and meat-processing plants are denizens for the coronavirus, it isn’t a stretch that there may be periodic shortages of certain foods over the course of the next year.  But, this is not the Donner expedition and there is literally no danger that we will run out of food.  But, for the diehard fools who will believe the likes of Alex Jones over reason and common sense …

Personally, I see these words as incitement, and while I am a long-time defender of freedom of speech, I have always said there must be limits.  In my book, Mr. Jones has stepped over the line and has set this nation up for an extremely dangerous situation.  With any right, whether it be free speech or the right to bear arms, comes responsibility.  Alex Jones has taken his rights and shunned the accompanying responsibility.  There need to be consequences for stirring a pot that is already about to boil over.  Even if people don’t start threatening to eat their neighbors, I will not be surprised to see that Jones’ words lead to a new wave of hoarding, or people using guns to fight over that last pack of chicken legs.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer, folks.  According to the guys at the National Weather Service, the hottest on record … ever.  We will still be under threat from a devastating pandemic, we will continue to have high unemployment and periodic business shutdowns due to a resurgence of the virus.  We don’t know quite what to expect, and tensions are already running high.  The last thing this country needs is a loud-mouthed jackal telling us to be prepared to eat our friends and neighbors.  The FCC needs to shut Mr. Jones down, for he has ceded his 1st Amendment rights by putting lives in danger.

Deep Sighs From Deep Within …

Filled with angst, I share with you today another version (what is this, version XXMVII?) of Snarky Snippets.  Deep breaths … in … out … in … out …


You know how, if you tell a child not to do something, he/she will do it or die trying? (I know this because I was once that child!)  It seems that such stubbornness is not limited to children, for humans around the globe are guilty of the same.

There has been no dearth of information about how CO2 emissions are causing damage to the atmosphere that will ultimately be fatal to the human race.  Humans have been advised, on a large scale in every nation on the globe, to cut back on energy use, and that the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are among the largest offenders, putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, when renewable energy sources are more efficient, less toxic, and ultimately less costly.  But have we listened?  Apparently not!

The International Energy Agency released a report yesterday saying that energy demand around the world grew by 2.3 percent over the past year, marking the most rapid increase in a decade.WAKE UP PEOPLETo meet the increased demand, the report continues, some nations did, in fact, turn to renewables such as water, wind and solar energy.  Other nations, however, responded with increased use of fossil fuels, which satisfied nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity demand.  As a result, greenhouse-gas emissions from the use of energy — by far their largest source — surged in 2018, reaching a record high of 33.1 billion tons. Emissions showed 1.7 percent growth, well above the average since 2010.

Even as renewable energy rapidly expands, many countries — including the United States and China — are nevertheless still turning to fossil fuels to satisfy ever-growing energy demand.fossil-fuels

Way to go United States and China!  Why not just sign our death warrant?

Michael Mehling, deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described Monday’s findings:

“To me, all this reflects the fact that climate policies around the globe, despite some limited pockets of progress, remain woefully inadequate. They’re not even robust enough to offset the increased emissions from economic expansion, especially in the developing world, let alone to spur decarbonization at levels commensurate with the temperature stabilization goals we’ve committed to under the Paris Agreement.”

Yo, Republicans … want to pat your ‘hero’ on the back and say, ‘Way to go, Prez’?


In yet another effort to quash freedom of the press, the jerk-in-chief has urged major news networks to not allow on their shows several people, including Democratic lawmakers, who have been critical of him.  WHOA … STOP THE PRESSES!  Not even the president, as if we had one, has the right to dictate to the news media what of who they can or cannot cover!

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, called on the networks to refuse six commentators:

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
  • Representative Adam Schiff of California
  • Representative Jerry Nadler of New York
  • Representative Eric Swalwell of California
  • Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan

Why?  Because they, as well as millions of others of us, have criticized Trump and stated they (we) believe Trump did conspire with the Russians to sway the 2016 presidential election.  THIS is illegal.  It goes against the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  I believe Trump conspired … I KNOW he did … so, come on, Murtaugh … I dare you to try to stifle me!

What a ‘fearless leader’ Trump is to be so scared of a little bit of criticism that he would willingly violate the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold!  Look how much criticism President Obama had to contend with, but never once … NOT ONE TIME … did he suggest stifling the freedom of the press!Obama-free-press-quote


Lastly (bet you’re glad, aren’t you?), you don’t hear much from or about ol’ Alex Jones lately, do you?  It could be because he’s been tied up in court a lot these days in the suit brought by Six families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.  Or, it could be because he has been banned by Twitter, Apple, YouTube, and Facebook.  Personally, I find it like a breath of fresh air not to see his ugly mug and hear his ranting conspiracy theories all over the ‘net.

But apparently, he still does a radio show … or internet show … does anybody still watch this crap?  Anyway, yesterday he began his show by saying ‘traitors’ should be executed, and defining traitors as, I gather, anybody brave enough to stand up to, or disagree with, Donald Trump.  Okay, typical fare for the Jones-inator, yes?  But in the background, while he was spluttering his message of hate, he was playing a video of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in the background.  Maddow took it all in good spirits …

Maddow

Y’know, Alex, your brand of ‘humour’ went out in the 1930s.  It’s old, Alex.  Take your retirement package and go live on an island somewhere, please?


Okay, folks, that’s all I’ve got for tonight.  You may have noticed that I haven’t written yet about the Mueller report, William Barr’s brief summary, or the right-wing street dances.  I will.  Give me a moment, please.  If I had written on Sunday or Monday what I thought, I would be sitting in a jail cell now.  I need to take just a few more deep breaths, let the hand pull me a bit more out of the rabbit hole, then you will hear my take.  Meanwhile, both Robert Vella and Jeff over at On The Fence Voters have written excellent posts on the topic.

Head-Shakers …

I don’t know about you guys, but I need a just a tiny break from this week’s relevant news stories that are swirling in a mad maelstrom of colours rather like a Picasso painting gone awry.  And so, this afternoon, I give you two almost completely irrelevant stories that gave me cause to shake my head and roll my eyes.  🙄


I am somewhat of a dud when it comes to pop culture these days.  I don’t watch television, for I far prefer to read, and I have little enough “me-time” as it is. So I am not ‘up’ on the latest in entertainment.  For the past few months, a name kept crossing my radar, but I ignored it, for it didn’t seem apropos of anything.  But now, this person is being sued by Roy Moore, so my curiosity is piqued.  Thus, I was drawn to Google where I typed in “who is sacha baron cohen”.

Per Wikipedia:

sacha baron cohen“Sacha Noam Baron Cohen (born 13 October 1971) is a British actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer. He is best known for creating and portraying fictional characters Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno, and Admiral General Aladeen. Like his idol Peter Sellers, he adopts a variety of accents and guises for his characters and rarely appears out of character.

In most of his routines, Baron Cohen’s characters interact with unsuspecting people, documentary style, who do not realise they are being set up for comic situations and self-revealing ridicule.”

Okay … so, just what did he do to annoy former judge and pedophile Roy Moore?  Well, apparently Moore accepted an invitation to appear on Cohen’s show, Who Is America, because he “thought he was receiving an award for supporting Israel.”  Now wait … Moore was a federal judge for years … surely the man cannot be so bloomin’ stupid as to believe that a comedian, known for setting people up to make fun of them, would be awarding him for supporting Israel!  According to The Guardian …

“In the segment Baron Cohen appeared as the bushy-eyebrowed faux counter-terrorism instructor “Colonel Erran Morad” discussing bogus military technology, including a supposed paedophile detector. The device repeatedly beeped as it got near Moore, who sat stone-faced.”

moore-cohenSo, why didn’t he get up and leave when he figured out that he was the brunt of the joke?  Not that he wasn’t getting what he deserved, but still … he had the option to get up and walk out.  The lawsuit asks for $95 million in punitive and compensatory damages for “defamation and emotional distress”.  Awwww … pobrecito!  First, he was stupid enough to get suckered into going on the show, and then he just sat there like a bump on a log while being insulted, and now he wants to collect $95 million!!!


Remember back in 2016 on the campaign trail when things got ugly? Oh yeah … that’s right … the entire fiasco was ugly, wasn’t it?  But there were a few that stood out, like the feud between Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.  Trump kept mocking Rubio, who stands only 5’9”, calling him “Little Marco”, and so finally in March 2016, Little Marco decided to reciprocate by saying of Trump …

“He is taller than me, he’s like 6′ 2″, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5′ 2”. Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands — “

Anyway … to the point … turns out “Little Marco” is a tough guy after all.  After attending a Senate intelligence committee hearing yesterday, Rubio was being interviewed by reporters in the hallway.  Alex Jones happened to be in the same place at the same time and he was heckling and harassing, interrupting the questions, and then, he … touched Rubio on the shoulder!  GASP!!!  And that touch led to … The Confrontation:

Rubio:  “Hey, don’t touch me again, man. I’m asking you not to touch me again.”

Jones:  “Sure, I just patted you nicely.”

Rubio:  “But I don’t want to be touched. I don’t know who you are.”

Jones:  “You want me to get arrested.”

Rubio:  “You’re not going to get arrested. I’ll take care of you myself.”

alex-jones-marco-rubioWow … who knew he had it in him?  Jones, by this time out of patience, proceeded to call Rubio a few choice names like “little frat boy,” “snake-like” and a “gangster thug.”  Heh heh heh … don’t you just love the maturity here?  Now, personally I don’t much like being touched by strangers, and if Alex Jones ever so much as looked like he was going to touch me, he would be on the ground holding his nethers in a heartbeat, but then, I’m not a senator.


And that’s it for now … I’ll be back later!  T.G.I.F.  (Please don’t disabuse me of the notion)

Ready For More … Snarky Snippets?

There is so much to write about that I don’t know where to start.  I have two posts started, but they are both a bit heavy on the research, so I decided that rather than strain my brain tonight, I would go with some more of Filosofa’s Snarky Snippets to start your Sunday morning!


He believed the “enemy of the people” b.s.

Many of us predicted it would happen, and it damn near did.  When Donald Trump repeatedly, hundreds of times, refers to the press as the “enemy of the people” and his followers, already looking for a fight, believe him, it is a recipe for disaster.  Last week, that disaster almost happened.

A 68-year-old man, Robert Darrell Chain of Encino, California, began making threatening phone calls to The Boston Globe on August 10th, the day the Globe announced a cooperative effort among media outlets to publish editorial responses to Trump’s political attacks on the media.

Robert-Chain

The face of a Trump supporter …

According to the New York Times

“In one call to the paper’s newsroom, Mr. Chain threatened to shoot the newspaper’s employees in the head, the F.B.I. said. Three days later, in another call, Mr. Chain said: “You’re the enemy of the people.” Using profane language, he threatened to kill “every” Globe employee.”

Altogether Chain made twelve threatening calls, one in which he threatened to shoot employees in the head.  It was at that point that the FBI was called in and Mr. Chain was arrested on Thursday.  As if right on cue, Trump tweeted …trump-tweetMr. Chain was 3,000 miles from Boston, where The Boston Globe is located, and quite likely would never have gone beyond the threatening stage.  Or … would he have?  Maybe, maybe not … we won’t likely ever know, but that isn’t the point.  The point is that sooner or later somebody will.  Somebody who doesn’t care if they are gunned down, as long as they accomplish the deed for their beloved Donald Trump.

Chain was released on his own recognizance later on Thursday, and as soon as he left the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, he had something to say …

“America was saved when Donald J. Trump was elected.”

Saved from WHAT???  Sanity??? Mr. Chain is not, I am certain, the only one out there who would, as a zombie blindly following orders, attempt to kill journalists, thinking they were doing Trump’s bidding.  And who knows?  Perhaps they are.  All I can say for certain is that if one single reporter is killed “in the line of duty”, his or her blood will be on Donald Trump’s hands.

Hey, republican friends!  Will there come a time that you agree Trump’s mouth needs to be taped before he gets somebody killed?  Or are you still clapping for him?


When will they ever learn????

mark-harrisMark Harris is the Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives from North Carolina’s 9th congressional district.  Mark Harris is also a former minister at the First Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  And Mr. Harris is among the most bigoted people I have never had the pleasure to meet.

Harris is as anti-LGBT as they come, but that is not surprising in the Republican Party these days, and wouldn’t earn him space on this blog in and of itself.  But Harris is also an unabashed misogynist. The evidence …

  • “Many marriages could save beaucoups of marriage counseling money if they would just understand; husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church. Wives submit [emphasis added] yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.” Submit???  Did you say, “submit”, Jack?

And regarding women having careers …

  • “But nobody has seemed to ask the question that I think is critically important to ask: Is that a healthy pursuit for society? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our homes? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our children? Is that the healthiest pursuit for the sexes in our generation?” And I suppose we should bring you your slippers and pipe when you come home from work, huh?

This isn’t religion … this is male chauvinism taken to the nth level, pure and simple.

50s homemakerThe estimated population of the state of North Carolina as of July 2017 is 10,273,419, of which 51.3% are women.  If Mark Harris wins this one … we will know the women were too busy baking cakes, cleaning house, and ‘submitting’ to go to the polls and vote.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …


Is he finally going to pay?

Ol’ Alex Jones is back in the news, only not quite on the end he likes to be on.  For some reason (I would call it narcissistic arrogance) he thought that he could snap his fingers and make his troubles go away.  He is, after all, the one and only great Alex Jones!  But guess what?  His magic seems to have worn off and he is now being held to some of the same standards as the rest of us.Republican National ConventionJones’ attorney, Mark Enoch, had filed a motion to have the $1 million lawsuit filed by Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa thrown out on the grounds that he was simply “dispensing political speech”.  You may remember that Pozner & De La Rosa were the parents of Noah Pozner, one of the children murdered in the Sandy Hook mass shooting.  When Jones put forth his conspiracy theory that Sandy Hook was a hoax and the parents were crisis actors, Pozner and De La Rosa were harassed and received persistent death threats by Jones’ followers.  The couple has had to relocate 7 times since 2012 to protect their family, and finally decided enough is enough, bringing a defamation lawsuit against Jones.  Jones’ bid to have the suit thrown out was denied by district Judge Scott Jenkins in Austin, Texas.

This isn’t the only lawsuit that is currently pending against ol’ Alex.  Six other families, an FBI agent, and a Foreign Service Officer have filed their own similar lawsuits.

I seriously doubt Jones will see prison time, even if found guilty in every case, but perhaps the blow to his ego and his career will be punishment enough.  Then again, the fools who fall for his disgusting trash-talk may just put his pedestal a notch higher and his career could soar.  Stranger things have happened.


I could go on, but it’s late and I’m tired, so I’ll give you a break from my snarkiness for a bit.  Have a great Sunday, folks … I’ll be back with more later.

Thoughts on Censorship …

I applauded the recent banning of Alex Jones and his InfoWars program by a number of social media outlets, notably Facebook, YouTube, Apple and Spotify.  Twitter has resisted the call by the media and politicians to ban Jones, saying that thus far he is not in violation of their terms of service.  Makes one wonder if they even have ‘terms of service’, doesn’t it? I noted this in a recent post, and a reader replied that he disliked censorship in any form and was perfectly capable of deciding what to see or not to see.  Which made me start pondering … again … sigh.

Alex Jones’ hate-filled lies and rhetoric pose a very real danger.  After his lies about Sandy Hook, families who had lost their children in that tragedy were threatened by people who listened to and believed Jones.  One family has had to move 7 times since 2012 in order to protect their remaining children from harm.  Words have very real consequences.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but is it an absolute guarantee to unfettered and irresponsible speech?  I think not.  There are a few restrictions on free speech, as have been noted before, such as yelling “FIRE!!!” in a theater full of people, or “BOMB!!!” on an airplane.  It is the opinion of this writer that those restrictions are not enough.  With the privilege, or ‘right’ to free speech comes responsibility, and if we do not accept the responsibility, then we lose the right.

In a perfect world, it would be lovely to allow everyone complete and unrestricted free speech, but we do not live in a perfect world.  We live in a world where a percentage of the population is under-educated and will believe whomever yells the loudest.  We live in a world where ignorance abounds and there are those who delight in scandal, juicy gossip, and conspiracy theories.  This is the crowd that Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec play to, the audience they can rile and incite to a frenzy.  This is not harmless entertainment, but more than once has led to violence and the threat of violence.

Censorship is a slippery slope.  Where do you draw the line?  Who decides where the line gets drawn?  I can well understand my reader’s concerns about censorship, for it would be all too easy for it to be taken too far.  But simply because something is hard, or is likely to offend some, doesn’t mean you shelve the notion.  To those who would argue against any degree of censorship, my response is that if people would think for themselves, learn to read between the lines, ask questions and be discerning, then we wouldn’t need to censor.  People like Alex Jones would be out doing real jobs to earn their living instead of feeding off the remains of the ignorant, for there would be no market for his brand of hate.

There is an argument that ‘censorship’ can only be applied to government, not private enterprise.  Again, it’s a slippery slope, and there is the potential for censorship by private companies to lead to discrimination against entire groups such as minorities or LGBT people.  This, too, must be carefully considered, for the potential lies just under the surface, waiting to bubble up in a nasty mess of bigotry and racism.

Facebook and the rest who have banned Jones have done so, not out of good conscience, but because the hue and cry against Jones was loud enough to get their attention and they saw visions of dollar signs flying away.  My guess is that once the brouhaha dies down, they will let ol’ Alex back in again, albeit quietly.  It is said that the InfoWars website gets some 10 million views per month.  More than 300 thousand people every day tune in to listen to an ugly man spew lies, filth and hatred.  This, folks, is what is wrong in society.  And because at least some of those 300 thousand people will believe Jones and then decide to take the law into their own gun-filled hands, I’m so sorry, but yes, we do need to censor this type of speech.

It is critical that decisions regarding any form of censorship be made by wise and well-informed people, people without a political agenda, people who are open-minded, fair and honest.  Where do we find such people?  NOT in the halls of government, but rather in think tanks and academia, I should think.  Certainly people with self-interest and the motivation of money, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, are not qualified to sit on the panel.

Again, the reason we need censorship is the same reason that we need sensible gun regulations:  responsibility.  When a large portion of this nation refuses to step up to the plate and act as responsible citizens, placing the value of human lives above their own desires, when they refuse to ‘self-police’, then there need to be regulations.  Such regulations must be fair and invoke common sense, but they must exist.  Even some of the most democratic nations in the world have both gun laws and hate speech laws, and so must we.  Your thoughts?

Note to Readers in Response to Comments:

Dear Readers …

So many of you adamantly spoke against any form or degree of censorship, that I decided to respond to your comments collectively, rather than individually.

My goal with this post was to express my opinion and hopefully get some interesting dialog started.  I found, interestingly, that my friends from across the pond agreed that some degree and type of limitation on free speech is both necessary and desirable, while the majority of my U.S. friends are dead set against any limitation on the 1st Amendment. 

For those who believe that hate speech laws in other countries are typically used to silence opposition, I respectfully disagree, having over the years become friends with people from the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and the UK, all of whom agree that the laws in their countries that make Nazi symbols and speech that is intended to incite violence, such as Alex Jones’ are fair and just laws and do not interfere with ordinary and responsible free speech.  This article in The Atlantic, written by a citizen of the Netherlands who now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, tells the story from across the pond.  Remember that Europe has a much more direct link to the Nazis and Hitler, and are thus, perhaps, more sensitive to that sort of hate speech than we in the U.S.  

One reader said ‘goodbye’ to me over this post, which is certainly her prerogative, but does nothing to further civil discourse, but rather shuts down any attempt to see each other’s point of view.

As I tried, but obviously failed, to convey in my post, I do not like censorship either.  BUT … even less, I like that which endangers innocent human lives.  In my opinion, Alex Jones ought to be sitting behind bars for his role in inciting people to make threats against others.  Those who made the threats should be sitting right next to him in that prison cell.  Instead, they all run free while innocent people whose children were killed have to change their phone numbers and addresses to keep their families safe.  This is where I run into an ethical problem with unlimited free speech, and I sincerely believe that the framers of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers as we often refer to them, would be horrified at what is today protected as “free speech”. 

I sincerely do appreciate all the comments today, and have spent quite a bit of time pondering them and debating how to best respond to your opinions.  I certainly agree that this is a slippery slope, and not one to be taken lightly, but I must stand by my opinion that there simply MUST be consequences for falsehoods and speech that puts people’s lives and livelihoods in danger, for otherwise we are on a path toward anarchy, and humans have proven themselves incapable of handling unlimited freedom, I think.

Snippets Filled With Snarky …

So many things of interest in the news yesterday, that I don’t know where to begin.  Let’s start with my favourite …


The bully is losing his pulpit …

  • “The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform.”
  • “Apple does not tolerate hate speech. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
  • “We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe. It’s why we have community standards and remove anything that violates them, including hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others.”
  • “When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”

Alex JonesFinally we are coming to see that there is a very real danger in the hate speech of Alex Jones and his ilk, and finally social media is taking a stand against it.  I am pleased.  Alex Jones, on the other hand, is not.

Paul Joseph Watson, Infowars’ editor at large, wrote, “Spotify has now completely banned Infowars too. Apple, Facebook, Spotify all within 12 hours of each other. This isn’t enforcement of terms of service, it’s coordinated big tech censorship. This is real election meddling.”

Jones tweeted (Twitter hasn’t yet banned him) that “America has been sold out”.  But then, to make it all better, he urged his followers to buy a t-shirt from him!  What a great guy, eh?Alex Jones shirt 2


Proof of ignorance, yet again …

The California wildfires started in early April this year and many are still less than half contained.  One of the fires nearly doubled in size over the weekend, making it the largest fire in the history of California.  Currently, 16 major fires are still burning in hot, dry and windy conditions.  At last count, more than 600,000 acres have burned, there have been at least 12 fatalities, and the cost is estimated to be more than $500 million.  The Carr fire alone destroyed more than 1,000 homes and I have no estimate for the total number of homes destroyed thus far, but I would guess it is at least in the tens of thousands. CA wildfireA pretty major disaster for our California residents, wouldn’t you say?  And yet, Donald Trump remained silent and apparently oblivious until Sunday.  He should have stayed silent and oblivious.

“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

And still not knowing when to shut up, he continued on Monday …

“Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water – Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.”

GOOD GRIEF!!!  The ‘man’ has absolutely no idea what he is even talking about!  State officials and firefighting experts dismissed the president’s comments. “We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.

According to Henri Grissino-Mayer, a geography professor at the University of Tennessee, “California does NOT divert water to the ocean. Ridiculous. It’s true that water is diverted to the coastal cities for a constant water supply but all such water is used by the coastal communities.”

Somebody needs to remind Mr. Trump that he represents every single person in the United States, and that includes Californians.  If I were a resident of California, I would want to go to Washington and slap his face.  Oh wait … I want to do that anyway.  And just how many more times does Trump need to prove that he is both ignorant and incompetent before his followers come out from under their trance?


Trump loses a follower …Juarez.jpgSargeant Cuauhtemoc “Temo” Juarez is an Iraq combat veteran who served as a Marine infantryman and then an Army National Guardsman.  He is a U.S. citizen and, until last week was a Trump supporter.  He has been married to his wife, Alejandra, for twenty years and they have two daughters, Pamela, 16, and Estela, age 9.  Alejandra came to this country illegally as a teenager more than 20 years ago, and has lived with her husband and two daughters in Davenport, Florida.  Until Friday, when she was deported.juarez-2Yes, you heard me right.  She was taken from her husband and daughters and sent to Mexico, a country where she is now a stranger.  Until last week, Temo didn’t really believe it would happen.  The couple had met with lawyers, there is a bill in her name pending in Congress, and they had contacted immigration officials asking for a hearing before an immigration judge.  But all their efforts were for naught, and on Friday Ms. Juarez returned, against her will, to Mexico under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

Mr. Juarez, once a supporter of Donald Trump, says “I am eating my words” in an interview with military newspaper Stars and Stripes.  What a way to treat a veteran who did three tours of duty in Iraq, eh?  Don’t expect any acts of human kindness from this administration, folks.


Pooh is not welcome in China …

Pooh-1-aYou may not remember, but it was just over a year ago that I wrote a post about Winnie the Pooh and his friends Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger and the rest being banned from China.  An attempt to seek them out on China’s social media outlet Weibo returned a message of “content is illegal”.  All this came about because Pooh and his friends had a bit of fun taking some photos of Pooh emulating Chinese President Xi Jinping.  They say that imitation is a sincere form of flattery, but Xi was apparently not flattered.

Last Friday, the new Winnie the Pooh movie, Christopher Robin, was released in the U.S.  China’s film authorities, however, have denied permission for the film’s release.  It has been suggested that the censorship of Pooh bear may be taking place because the comparisons with the President are seen by Beijing as “a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself”.  I sure am glad we don’t have such a thin-skinned leader!  {sarcasm dripping}

I feel sorry for all the poor Chinese kids who are being deprived of one of the most joyous icons of childhood, Pooh and friends.


And that wraps up this episode of Filosofa’s Snarky Snippets!  Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more in the foreseeable future!  Have a great day, my friends!

Early Morning Thoughts …

As I lay awake this morning, unable to return to sleep after having slept a scant 2 hours, I engaged in my frequent activity of pondering.  Today I will share with you some of the results of that mind-bounce sort of pondering …


Taxation without representation …

We declared our independence from Britian in 1776 for a number of reasons, however the main stated reason was ‘taxation without representation’. The British passed many tax laws that impacted the colonists.  The colonists had no representatives in Parliament to vote on or discuss these laws.  In English government, the people had to have representatives who could vote on taxes that would affect them.  The colonists had no such voice in British government. Long story short, the colonists declared their independence, represented by the Declaration of Independence penned by Thomas Jefferson, fought off the British and ultimately became the nation known as the United States. Today, we are in a very similar situation, though there is the appearance that we are properly represented.  Yes, we go to the polls each November and every other year we vote for men and women to represent us, to be our voice in the U.S. Congress.  But are they?  No, they are not our voice, they are the voice, the ‘yes-men’, actually, of only one group of people, the very wealthy.  Our taxes?  They go to those who already hoard the majority of the wealth in the nation, but number less than 1% of the population.  Our taxes are merely donations to those who least need them.  Look at the example of Scott Pruitt, already a wealthy man, who now heads the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   A very important job, and one that he is not bothering to do, as he is keeping busy trying to absorb as much money as he can into his own coffers.  For the complete story, see Gronda’s comprehensive series:  EPA Head Is One Sick Cheap Corrupt Puppy/ Pity His Poor Wife/ Part I, Part II, Part III  

This is but a single example of how our tax money is going to feed the overfed.  Think about the ‘tax cuts’ of last December.  If you saw any increase in your pay, it was minimal and has since been eaten by rising fuel and food costs, the latter thanks to Trump’s tariffs.  But trust me, people like Pruitt, the Trump family, the DeVos family … they gleefully saw a huge decrease in their quarterly taxes last month, and thus a rise in their profits … as if they needed any more.  And no, folks, it isn’t going to “trickle down” to us.


Free Speech, but for whom?

It’s puzzling to me that nearly 600 women were arrested last week during a peaceful protest against family separation and detention, yet people like Richard Spencer, Milo Yiannopoulos and others who preach hate and incite violence are guarded and their free speech protected.  So … if I am understanding correctly, 600 unarmed women marching in DC from Freedom Plaza to the Department of Justice to Congress, then sitting peacefully in the Senate’s Hart Office Building are a bigger threat than white supremacists and neo-Nazis inciting violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was intentionally murdered and dozens injured by a man driving his car into the crowd – intentionally?  Can anybody explain this one?  I surely cannot.  The 1st Amendment, as I have said numerous times, gives us the right to protest when we feel our government is in the wrong.  If we no longer have the right of peaceful protest, but Nazis have the right to incite violence, what does that say about our nation?  And speaking of abuse of the right to free speech …


Alex Jones rants again …

We haven’t heard a lot from America’s #1 Conspiracy Theorist lately, but he is making up for lost time now.Jones-civil-warSeñor Jones is once again riling the masses, just in time for the nation’s Independence Day celebrations, with his declaration that the democrats are planning to use the July 4th holiday to start a “second Civil War”.  Good grief, what is this man smoking???

I tried to watch the clip from his program, InfoWars, where he expounded on this theory, but frankly after about two minutes, I felt ill, angry, and decided it wasn’t worth putting myself through.  It would, perhaps, be funny if it weren’t so dangerous.  The danger, however, is very real and I will not be surprised to find that tomorrow brings outbreaks of violence in our cities.  If it happens, the blame rests largely on the shoulders of Donald Trump, Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the minions who parrot these ridiculous taunts.  There is a saying among the saner of us, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should”.  It is a lesson that many in this nation need to learn.  Without this sort of incitement, we might be able to work through some of our differences, find common ground and stop the madness that has led to the great divide.  But no, we have people whose entire careers revolve around keeping the pot of hatred filled and stirred.


And now you know how I spent the hour between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., before finally uttering an expletive and getting out of bed.  To my U.S. friends, please have a fun holiday, but most of all keep safe.

An Idiot of Long Standing

I do try not to rant very often … I really do.  I try to remain professional, keep my speech and tone well-moderated, not use profanity and … and … not beat the paint off my poor little laptop keyboard.  I apologize in advance, for this post is indeed one of those moments when the story simply pushed the wrong buttons at the wrong time.

Coulter2In July 2016, I awarded several Idiot of the Week awards, one of which went to Ms. Ann Coulter.  The others were Pat Robertson, Roger & Ann Stone, Phyllis Schlafly, and Newt Gingrich.  Less than a month later, I did a follow up on Ms. Coulter, for she continued to shriek and clamour for attention.  In recent weeks, I have seen her name, occasionally her picture floating about on my screen, but I have largely ignored her, for she is one of the few people that I simply cannot stand to watch nor listen to.

But tonight I could no longer resist the urge to slap the smile off her face.  However, since I am several hundred miles away, I shall settle for a written slap.  In a rather juvenile expression of angst, I did send her a tweet with a link to the Idiot of the Week award post.  Yes, yes … I already admitted it was juvenile, but sometimes it’s fun to get down ‘n dirty.  I needed the comic relief … my blood pressure needed it.

What has she done now?  She’s apparently been taking private lessons from Alex Jones on how to invent a totally off-the-wall conspiracy theory using kids as pawns.  The most egregious news this week is the separation of children from their parents at our southern border, per orders of none other than Donald Trump, though he has a convoluted way of trying to point the finger back on the democrats.  Pictures and sound tracks of crying children being taken from their parents, detention centers cloaked in mystery that even an elected senator was not allowed to tour … Americans are up in arms, and not just us ‘bleeding-heart-snowflake-liberals’, either. coulter-jones.jpgSo along comes Coulter and says, aka Alex Jones, that she has knowledge that the children portrayed are actually child actors who have been coached!  Sound familiar?  Of course it does … there was Sandy Hook and the Parkland, both of which Mr. Jones claimed the survivors were ‘child actors’ and had been ‘coached’.

An estimated 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and are being housed in overflowing ‘detention centers’ – abandoned stores such as the Wal-Mart in Brownsville, Texas.  Some are teens, others much younger children, even babies.  These are not … I repeat not … child actors!  These are children, for Pete’s sake!  INNOCENT CHILDREN!  Ms. Coulter … please sit down and shut the f— up!

coulter-5Coulter’s apparent ‘concern’ is that Trump, upon seeing the images on television, will have his heart softened and loosen his ‘zero tolerance’ policy.  No need to worry, Ms. Coulter, for Donald Trump has no heart to soften!

“These child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now, do not fall for it Mr. President. I get very nervous about the president getting his news from TV.”

Now, why does she think that these children are little Shirley Temples being coached to cry and wail on command?  Because, she claims, she read it in the New Yorker.  Only problem is, she didn’t reference the article directly, and several news sources – reliable ones – tried every combination of keywords and came up blank.  Finally, Ms. Coulter, with her usual dripping nastiness, said  …coulter … and finally provided a link to a 2011 New Yorker article about a woman from Africa seeking asylum in the U.S.  Hellooooooooo???? And just how does this make the case that the children on the Mexican border are coached child actors???

Excuse me, but can somebody tell me why Ann Coulter is even allowed to continue breathing the same air as the rest of us???  Why she is taking up precious resources on our planet???

Sorry … I’m riled, in case you hadn’t guessed … probably wore the paint off three more keys on my laptop tonight.

Donald Trump is using 2,000 children as pawns, as bargaining chips to obtain funding in the budget to the tune of $20 billion for his damned wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Not, mind you, because there is  a need for the wall, but because he promised his followers.  Of course, he also promised them, foolishly, that Mexico was going to pay for the wall, and all of us who ate our Wheaties for breakfast knew from the start that was never going to happen.

And now this blonde bimbo comes along and further denigrates these innocent children whose only crime was being born???

I fully support the right to free speech, but I am also a big fan of truth, of honesty.  Coulter is lying through her teeth, Trump is lying, and innocent children are paying the price. Coulter is an avowed white supremacist who supports white nationalist and ‘scientific racism’ causes … why would anybody listen to her???  I don’t know, but apparently some do.  And that, folks, is reason enough for this rant … that we cannot even trust the people of this nation to think with their brains.