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!

Civil War II — Cancelled

As I reported earlier in the week, the U.S. was bracing for the onset of CWII (Civil War II) yesterday as the nation celebrated the Independence Day holiday.  Well, folks, you can come out now, for it didn’t happen and we seem safe, at least for the moment.  America’s numero uno conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, had pronounced on his InfoWars program earlier this week that he had been informed by reliable sources that the democrats had a huge plan to start the second Civil War on the symbolic Fourth of July, overthrowing Trump and taking over the government.  Today, Alex Jones must be busily washing all the egg off his face, eh?egg on faceSome got some humour from the whole thing, at least.  Here are a few tweets …

The war isn’t going as planned. Our supply trucks are limited. I’m out of wine and sunscreen. The enemy burned all the books and there is no place to recharge my Kindle. The only music is an old CD of Justin Bieber. – All is lost. 

“My love, I’m unsure you will ever read this. I was captured at the battle of Starbucks and have been forced to watch the Dukes of Hazard for what feels like eternity. When I asked for water, I was given Budweiser, when I asked for bread I was given KFC.”

Dear heart, today we took a captive. We forced him to do hard labor. So far he has baked 75 gay wedding cakes. Adam and Steve’s battle-side ceremony was beautiful, they thank you for the toaster. 

Dear Ma and Pa, It’s Day 2 of the #SecondCivilWar. My comrades and I have set up camp in a library. There is absolutely no chance they will find us here. Love, Sam

My brothers and sisters: I regretfully report that I will not be able to make it to the battlefield for the #SecondCivilWar. I was drafting battle plans in a Starbucks when I was arrested for not buying anything. You must stay strong in my absence.

Dearest Parents, The mess hall has run out of avocados so I was forced to top my toast with jam. The fog of war is so trying at times that even my therapy unicorn brings no comfort. 😢 

Dear General Rodham, we have  gained on the enemy by building a wall of your emails, which they can’t get over.

We have snuck behind enemy lines and removed the gender-specific signage from their latrines. Now we wait for their bladders to explode.

I have to go to Ralph’s then need to shower but I can shower after the war I guess

Dear Alexa, we are pinned down and in urgent need of ammunition. Please send ASAP… but only if it qualifies for Amazon Prime’s free shipping.

Some people are saying that the war is over. Can this be true? Those of us in Texas remain sceptical, recalling the end of the first war, when the declaration of surrender got lost in the spam filter for two years.

And on it goes, for in the few minutes I spent on #secondcivilwarletters on Twitter searching for the above samples, over 100 more tweets had hit the site!  I am glad that most found the humour in the lies that came from Jones’ mouth, for it had been my fear that enough would take him seriously to arm themselves as they went to various festivities.  Since most of those festivities include massive amounts of alcohol, and since most people aren’t too level-headed after consuming massive amounts of alcohol, I was anticipating at least a few incidents.  Jones’ claims were ridiculous enough that one would think they wouldn’t be taken seriously, but then … remember Pizzagate?

The Face of Evil 👿 — Alex Jones

When I wrote a post yesterday about two of the Sandy Hook families suing Alex Jones for the damage his 5-year-long conspiracy theory had done in the wake of the deaths of their children, I simply took for granted that everyone knew of Alex and his long, sordid history of conspiracy theories.  So, I was caught off guard when several people commented that they had either never heard of Jones, or had only a vague idea who he is.  Perhaps I should have made him Idiot of the Week, but I try to save that honour for people who are simply idiots, and not taint it with the face of evil.  Long story short, I decided to do a brief post summarizing some of his more heinous episodes.  There are video clips out there … you can find them easily enough, but I will not give him the courtesy of including any of his clips on this blog.

Alex Jones is most famous for his website/media outlet, InfoWars, his platform for his wide-ranging variety of conspiracy theories and fake news.  The Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as “the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America”, a title which he has said he is proud of.  Jones briefly attended college at Austin Community College, but dropped out soon after starting.  He got an early start in the conspiracy business … as early as 1996 he proposed his first one, that the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, was a plot by the U.S. government in order to put down a growing states’ rights movement.

Now let’s take a look at where he went from there …

  • Jones first came onto my radar in the aftermath of 11 September 2001 when terrorists flew airplanes into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, as well as the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 2,753 people directly and thousands of rescue workers in subsequent years. On the day … the very day that those 2,753 people died … Jones was busily blaming the U.S. government of complicity, at the very least:

“Well I’ve been warning you about it for at least five years. All terrorism that we’ve looked at from the World Trade Center to Oklahoma City to Waco has been government actions. They need this as a pretext to bring you and your family martial law. They’re either using provocateur Arabs and allowing them to do it or this is full complicity with the federal government. The evidence is overwhelming.”

He later added that he had “smoking gun evidence” that Osama bin Laden was “a CIA asset” and “a CIA hireling doing his job” for the government.

Seven weeks later …

“I went on the air and said, ‘Those were controlled demolitions. You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center.’ I lost 70 percent of my affiliates that day. Station managers asked me, ‘Do you want to be on this crusade going nowhere, or do you want to be a star?’ I’m proud I never compromised.”

In 2005, Jones produced a film, Martial Law 9-11: The Rise of the Police State.  An excerpt:

“In summation, it’s important to note that we only covered a tiny portion of the facts and evidence that clearly shows that 9/11 was an inside job. Number one, the official story of 9/11 has been completely disproven. At every point we’ve caught them lying, manufacturing evidence or covering up evidence. From high-level government inside sources and publicly available facts, we now have a very clear picture of how 9/11 was carried out.

Number one, we know that the men who were on board the aircraft who were supposedly the hijackers had their houses, cars, credit cards paid for by the U.S. government. They were in truth agents taking part in drills and nothing more. Supposed computer malfunctions at American and United [Airlines] ensured that all four planes only had 20 percent occupancy on board on a day when flights on the East Coast were an average of 80 percent full. Once the decoys, known as hijackers, were on board the planes, a gas was released knocking out the occupants of the aircraft. Then a small criminal group in control of remote control systems patented for over 20 years took control of the aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. The CIA controlled drills that morning, confused NORAD for over an hour until it was almost too late for them to shoot down the hijacked planes. I said almost too late. When they did find out, Dick Cheney wouldn’t let the planes fly over 350 miles an hour so three of the aircraft were able to hit their targets. The fourth wasn’t able to because our sources in the Pentagon have told us generals didn’t follow their orders and had Flight 93 shot down. If it would have hit its target, the capital, the government would have been completely decapitated and the president could have declared total martial law.

  • When James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012, Alex Jones claimed that Holmes was an agent for the government. Jones stated: “He was totally set up, on government payroll, said he was drugged, told people in the jail — that was even in the local paper. Then they came out and said it was never said. He’s a patsy. He was set up. He was drugged outside.”
  • Remember 20 April 1999 when students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado? Yep, Jones was on that one like fleas on a dog, saying he had evidence that it was “100% false flag”.  Add to the list that he used the term ‘false flag’ on, the mass shootings in Tucson, San Bernardino, and Orlando.  Same story, only the names and places are changed.
  • Of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing: “This operation is a false flag. It is a staged event. These guys are definitely patsies that were set up and they’re manipulating our tribalism that, “Hey, the guys from the other tribe bombed us but we got them.” When the truth is they were young men recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly. And they could do it to any of us. We’re all in grave danger.”

The list goes on and on.  Most recently, of course, he targeted the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting and its survivors.  Of Parkland student David Hogg, Jones said he and his activist classmates were “crisis actors,” or paid actors who pretend to be victims of a tragedy to advocate for gun control.

But beyond the conspiracy theories, there are other acts of evil attributable to Jones:

  • Jones said that being gay is a “destructive lifestyle, but I don’t hate these people. But the reason there’s so many gay people now is because it’s a chemical warfare operation. I have the government documents where they said they’re going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don’t have children.”
  • Jones claimed that the push for transgender protections is actually “the collapse of civilization, it’s the destruction of the family, it has nothing to do with somebody’s sexual preference. It is about messing with everyone and making everyone adopt this particular lifestyle.”
  • Jones has claimed that President Obama is obsessed with transgender rights so he entered into a “completely fake” “arranged marriage” with Michelle Obama. He purported to explain of the Obamas’ marriage: “I think it’s all an arranged marriage, it’s all completely fake and it’s this big sick joke because he’s obsessed with transgender, just like some weird cult or something. I think Michelle Obama is a man. I really do. I really do. I believe it.”
  • On vaccines: “They’re testing to see how many children they can give neurological disorders and see if the nurses and doctors and public don’t notice. They’re testing soft kill on the public to see if they can manage massive numbers of dead and dying and maimed children.”
  • Jones has claimed that the government possesses a weather machine that can create floods and tornadoes. He said in 2013 that “of course there’s weather weapon stuff going on — we had floods in Texas like 15 years ago, killed 30-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force.” He added that while there are some “natural tornadoes,” the government “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.”
  • Ever wonder where that rumour that passes around every so often about the government running prison camps … FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) camps? Yep, ol’ Alex started that one too: “The military industrial complex is transforming our once free nation into a giant prison camp. A cashless society control grid, constructed in the name of fighting terrorism, was actually built to enslave the American people. Body scanners, sound cannons, citizen spies, staged terror and cameras on every street corner — it’s only the beginning of the New World Order’s hellish plan.”
  • When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in Texas in February 2016, Jones suggested that Obama murdered Scalia so he could push gun control legislation.

All of this is only a partial list of the sheer hate, bigotry, and ignorance this man spews on a daily basis, but I think you have a pretty clear picture now of the evil that is Alex Jones.  And the really scary part?  People believe his garbage and act on it.  And finally, why does he do it?  Money, plain and simple.  The InfoWars website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making it more visited than some mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.  10 million viewers = 10 million potential customers for the junk he peddles.  Jones sells videos, books, T-shirts, dietary supplements, and even subscriptions videos. In 2013 alone, Alex Jones was estimated to be making $10 million/year from all of his merchandising sales.And if you aren’t already disgusted enough, in February, two of Jones’ employees accused him of anti-Semitism and sexual harassment.  And now, though you do not know all there is to know about Alex Jones, you know enough to understand that his is indeed … The Face of Evil.

The Case Against Alex Jones

Well, well, well … well, well.  All I can say is it’s about time.  Well past time, if you ask me, that ol’ Alex Jones of Fox News’ InfoWars is heading off to court.  In December 2016, I considered Alex for an Idiot of the Week post, but I didn’t do that post.  Today, curious as to why I hadn’t, I found in my notes that I considered him simply too evil for an IOTW post.  A brief bit of background …

On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  As first responders arrived at the scene, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.  President Obama, as well as leaders from many countries and organizations throughout the world also offered their condolences through the weekend after the shooting.There were a few however, who chose to further add to the grief and torment of the families, rather than join in offering compassion, and among those, Alex Jones led the pack.  Within days, Jones put out a video, since removed by YouTube for violation of terms of service, saying that the massacre was “staged,” “inside job,” “undoubtedly there’s a cover-up,” “giant hoax,” “the whole thing was fake,” “in my view, manufactured”.  He was selling snake oil, nothing more, and he knew his snake oil wasn’t the cure for anything, but guess what?  He didn’t care, for he was making money.  He was the talk of the town, his video having been viewed more than 10 million times by mid-January 2013, less than a month after the murders.

Nope, Alex didn’t care, but can you even imagine what it must have been like for the parents of those murdered children?  They lost the most precious part of their lives, and then to hear this nutcase say it never happened?  I remember now why I thought he was too evil for an IOTW post.  But it didn’t end there.  Jones’ claims that the ‘deep state’ government orchestrated the ‘event’ in order to justify shutting down or repealing the 2nd Amendment were as nothing as compared to what came next.

In a March 2014 broadcast, speaking of the parents of the murdered children in Newtown, Jones said …

“Undoubtedly, there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it.” 

He has accused the families of the murdered children of being paid actors, of lying and the media of staging coverage with green-screen video technology.  Does Jones even belief this himself?  I seriously doubt it … any more than I think Leonard Nimoy believed he was on the Starship Enterprise saving the world from evil.  (All you Trekkies out there, please forgive me for my blasphemy!)  But it got attention, it had entertainment value, and Fox, InfoWars and Jones were making money.

Today, a few of those parents stand a good chance of getting a bit of their own justice.

Leonard Pozner and his former wife, Veronique De La Rosa, parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner who died in the shooting, have filed a lawsuit in Travis County District Court in Austin, Texas, where Jones lives and InfoWars is broadcast.  A second lawsuit, also in Travis County District Court, has been filed by Neil Heslin, father of murdered 6-year-old Jesse Lewis.  Both lawsuits are based on comments Jones made just last year in a segment on his radio show called “Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed,” which aired on April 22, 2017, as well as other broadcasts he has done over the 5-year period since the murders.  Four-and-a-half years later, and Jones was still milking this tragedy for all he could, bringing new waves of grief to the parents.  And not only grief over their lost children, but threats and obscene phone calls & letters.  One such threat was by 57-year-old Lucy Richards, who last June pleaded guilty to issuing death threats to Leonard Pozner, for she was convinced by Alex Jones’ taunts that the entire thing was a hoax and that the parents of the slain children were lying.  Ms. Richards is now serving a five-month prison term.

Noah Pozner

Jesse Lewis

The lawsuits contend the defendants acted with malice and their defamatory publications have injured the plaintiffs’ reputation and image and that they have exposed them to “public and private hatred, contempt, and ridicule.” Both lawsuits are for a minimum of $1 million, a paltry sum for Jones, whose net worth is estimated at between $7 million and $10 million.

I am a firm supporter of the 1st Amendment, the right to freedom of speech, the press, and religion.  However, I do not support unlimited free speech, nor does the law.  Remember Pizzagate, another of Jones wild conspiracy theories?  People almost died because one man actually believed his fantasies.  I hope these parents win their lawsuits, if for no other reason than to send a message to Fox and other media outlets that allow such pure garbage as Jones puts forth.  The message needs to be that there are limits, there is accountability, and the media has a responsibility to be truthful, else to label fiction as just that – fiction.  I think networks such as Fox and Breitbart that allow … nay, encourage … such falsehoods, should be obligated to label them as such, to present a clear and bold disclaimer that “what you are about to see is not based on fact, but is for entertainment purposes only.”

Jones is also being sued by Brennan Gilmore, who received death threats after Jones maliciously and incorrectly claimed Gilmore was a CIA operative who helped stage the scenario where a driver plunged into a group of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, killing Heather Heyer.

Alex Jones is not at all a nice man, not even a decent human being, for he puts forth his theories in order to make money, with no thought as to the lives he is endangering, the grief he is causing.  I would very much like to see Fox decide that he isn’t worth the trouble, but since he brings in the money, that is unlikely.  It is also unlikely that the public will tire of his garbage and tune out, or wise up and realize that he is not a newscaster, not an analyst, but merely an entertainer.

One final thought:  Donald Trump has praised Alex Jones, saying “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”  Perhaps Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, the one who also represents conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity, will take on Jones’ case. Think on that one for a while …

Life After Pizzagate … ON MARS!!!

Ol’ Alex Jones of InfoWars fame is at it again.  The man has a vivid imagination, I will say that for him.  It might be humorous, except for the fact that some lunkheads (my new word for those who blindly support Trump and the alt-right) actually take Jones’ rhetoric seriously and if you remember what happened in the Pizzagate incident, it can lead to tragedy.  So what is he up to now?

An excerpt from Jones’ interview with one Robert David Steele:

“We actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20-year ride,” said Steele. “So that once they get to Mars they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony.”

Jones echoed Steele, saying “clearly they don’t want us looking into what is happening” because “every time probes go over they turn them off.”

“Look, I know that 90 percent of the NASA missions are secret and I’ve been told by high level NASA engineers that you have no idea. There is so much stuff going on,” Jones said.

The segment with Steele begins at around 2:10

Who is Robert David Steele?  He was, from 1979 until 1993, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) clandestine services case officer.  From 1993 until 2010, he served as chief executive officer of Open Source Solutions, a pioneering open-source intelligence firm. In 2011 he attempted a bid for the presidency under the United States Reform Party, but dropped the effort in 2012 due to a lack of support from … basically anybody. In 2015, he tried again for the presidency, this time with the Libertarian Party, but in 2016 dropped out due to … again, lack of interest.

A visit to Steele’s website informs us that …

“Robert David Steele is the pro bono Chief Enabling Officer (CeO) of Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 devoted to teaching holistic analytics (HA), true cost economics (TCE), and open source everything engineering (OSEE).”

Whatever all that means.  He also claims that he was recommended for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.  He also claims to have published eight books, as well as many papers and articles too numerous to list here.  I did not bother to check this out, as it is of little interest to me at this point, but unless I miss my guess, based on his claims about NASA, the man is a nutcase.

NASA spokesman Guy Webster responded to Steele’s claim with, “There are no humans on Mars. There are active rovers on Mars. There was a rumor going around last week that there weren’t. There are. But there are no humans.”

Alex Jones buys into these ridiculous conspiracy theories, though I strongly suspect that for him, it is all showmanship, a way to make a buck and rile the masses.  However, much as I may dislike and choose to discredit Jones, the reality is he is a dangerous man.  First, because the lunkheads are altogether too willing to accept this garbage at face value, and when riled, it is a short step from talk to action. Which is what happened with Pizzagate last December when a man, Edgar Maddison Welch, entered Cosmic Ping Pong Pizza in Washington, D.C., with two assault weapons and began shooting.  He believed Alex Jones’ trash talk that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was running a child sex ring under the basement of a D.C. pizza shop that has no basement.

Donald Trump vilifies legitimate media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, but yet in 2016 he referred to Alex Jones as “amazing”. Over the years, Jones has claimed that 9/11 was plotted by the U.S. government, and that the Sandy Hook massacre was “staged”.  And yet, the Trumps have nothing but admiration for him.  In February, the White House distributed a press release, a document intended for actual news outlets, to InfoWars, then in May, they actually issued them a press pass!

And to add icing to the cake in the Trump-Jones coziness, Trump’s son Donald Jr. said of Idiot of the Week Mike Cernovich, the man who dreamed up the Pizzagate fantasy, claimed that Cernovich should win a Pulitzer prize for his “excellence in journalism”!

Given what happened as a result of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory propagated by Cernovich and Jones, the latest conspiracy theory should be of grave concern to us all.  Most of us … at least 60% of us … will read it, shake our heads and understand that this is a bad joke, faux ‘news’, somebody’s idea of cute.  But there is a portion of the populace that will believe it.  Now, unlike Cosmic Ping Pong, the lunkheads will not be able to just make a quick trip to Mars to shoot the place up.  But … it doesn’t mean they might not attempt violence against NASA, an agency of the executive branch of the federal government.  It doesn’t mean that a NASA employee walking to his car at the end of the workday might not find himself the victim of a crazed lunkheads.

It is obvious that Alex Jones has no sense of compunction, no conscience, so it is up to the public to use their brains for something other than keeping their skulls from collapsing.  And, Trump simply must distance himself from people like Jones and Cernovich, lest he give the impression that he is supportive of this type of dangerous fantasizing. And folks, if somebody you know appears to believe these things, please enlighten them!  There are no humans on Mars, there is no child slavery happening on Mars.  It is up to us to help them learn to focus on real-life issues, rather than the fantasies of loons like Cernovich and Steele!