As any fule kno, beloved Vermont senator Bernie Sanders was sent down to earth by St. Karl of Trier to redeem us for the horrible sin of inequality and forgive us our transgressions and also our student loan debt. You may have heard rumors that his mission was actually to bilk gullible kids so he could buy a third house and a really expensive car, but that’s all fake news spread by Russians from Macedonia, so ignore that.
I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am to hear that a man who has literally never done anything productive in his entire life while simultaneously hectoring hard-working Americans about their "greed" and "privilege" would turn out to be a thief. In the illegal sense, even.
The mincing communists over at Salon gave all four of their readers a bad case of the vapors a few weeks ago by calling on Twitter to ban Donald Trump. Their reasoning? He’s, like, rude and stuff. This sort of clueless line-toeing is par for the leftist course with Salon, to be sure, and I don’t intend to waste my time or yours refuting it, not least because I think it would be quite frankly hilarious if Twitter were to ban a popular celebrity loudmouth who will, in a few weeks, also be the sitting president of the United States.
No, what I’ve come to talk to you about today is Peter Van Buren, who is normally a reliable foreign policy commentator, but has apparently acquired some type of Trump Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome, as he’s written an entirely madcap article entitled "Ban Trump, Twitter, and Free Speech" in which he seems to claim that the First Amendment compels the government to nationalize Twitter. You think I’m making that up? You tell me:
The U.S. Army’s chief of staff on Tuesday issued a stern warning to potential threats such as Russia and vowed the service will defeat any foe in ground combat.
"The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven’t faced in many, many decades," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
"I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm… the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that."
Your humble narrator is compelled to point out that history doesn’t contain a very comprehensive set of examples of Russia being beaten before. At least United States Army chief of staff Milley had the presence of mind to clarify which nation he claims membership in — a point that probably needed repeating at the Association of the United States Army’s meeting in the capital of the United States.
I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite auction on the internet
Last year, Kapersky reported on the existence of a secret, highly sophisticated hacking group they dubbed the Equation Group. The Equation Group was all but confirmed to be a part of the NSA, due to its frequent use of encryption techniques otherwise only observed to be used by the NSA, and was discovered to be responsible for a series of highly advanced hacks that could do things no other known malware could do (such as rewrite hard drive firmware). Clearly, this was evidence that the United States government employed the most terrifying, invincible hackers anywhere in the world!
A month ago, a Democratic National Committee staffer called Seth Rich was shot to death in Washington D.C. The police advanced the notion that his killing was part of a robbery, which deranged conspiracy theorist his father refused to believe for no better reason than because absolutely nothing was stolen from the young man, despite the fact that he was carrying cash, credit cards, a cell phone, and a watch, all generally things that robbers display a tendency to rob. The internet picked up the story and ran with it, eventually linking Seth Rich to the DNC e-mail leak that led to the resignation of chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a fairly hefty amount of embarrassment for the Clinton campaign. As snotty media outlets with large onhand supplies of scare quotes explained, though, this was a "crazy conspiracy" and a "fantasy," and as much Donald Trump’s fault as anything he was completely unconnected to could possibly be.
Then last week that crazy Julian Assange stopped just shy of confirming that, yes, Seth Rich was a Wikileaks source:
Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material, and often very significant risks. There’s a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, shot in the back — murdered — just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons, as he was walking down the street in Washington…
I’m suggesting that our sources take risks, and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.
When it comes to trolling, alt-right wunderkind Milo Yiannopoulos — whose name I had to check four times to make sure I spelled correctly — is the very best, like no one ever was. You may recall some months back, when he was mysteriously "unverified" on Twitter, as though suddenly it had become unclear if he was the real deal or perhaps a pod creature or some type of replicant. Well now he’s upped the ante a bit: Yiannopoulos has been officially permanently banned from Twitter. His crime? He irritated Leslie Jones, who is apparently famous, but who I had honestly never heard of until this story broke. Jones was indeed so flustered by Yiannopoulos’ horrible racist harassment campaign that she abandoned Twitter entirely.
The ironic masterstroke, of course, is that Yiannopoulos did not send the tweets that so infuriated Jones. He was, indeed, one of the targets of the tweets, which were sent by an account impersonating Jones. None of this appears to matter to the social justice crowd, who apparently view Jones’ blackness as being higher on the victimhood hierarchy than is Yiannopoulos’ homosexuality. It’s also cute to observe that, just last week, I was pointing out that it’s no longer important for hate crimes to contain any hate or any crime, and now just one short week later it’s not even important if the hate criminal actually did what he’s accused of. But what about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s constant quacking about how Twitter "doesn’t censor?" As Buzzfeed’s bizarrely gleeful summary explains it:
According to the company, Yiannopoulos’s permanent suspension isn’t a matter of speech as much as a matter of behavior — specifically, a violation of Twitter’s rules regarding the targeted abuse of specific users.
Though this is not explicitly a gaming publication, I have no concern about my readership’s familiarity with Pokémon Go — Nintendo’s augmented-reality monster-catching phenomenon is redefining what it means to be a hit mobile game, having long since drawn a larger user base than previous efforts such as Candy Crush Saga, Twitter, and Google Maps, while bringing in so much revenue that one has to suspect the Bernank himself is giving Nintendo advice on how to print money. Indeed, Pokémon Go has been such a runaway success that New York City assemblyman Felix Ortiz has decided that the game now requires his personal oversight:
"Like any new technology, it has its advantages and disadvantages, and like any new technology, it has to be looked at very, very carefully. Everything comes down to people’s responsibility as well as corporate responsibility," Ortiz said Tuesday. "Every single one of us who might want to play this game have to be very cautious. Who’s sending what, and what is the follow up? Everyone should be cautious to make sure that no intruders will be able to tap into this and have people think they’re going to the park when in reality they’re going to a be targeted by some rapist. People could think they’re going to the bank, but in reality, someone is waiting to take their money."
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Those are the exact words the irresponsible hippies who founded this country chose when they wrote the First Amendment. Those words are important; they were very carefully and very specifically chosen, and they reflect, as Judge Napolitano has forcefully explained, a very specific understanding of what it means to speak freely, and what the government doesn’t get to do about it:
The freedom of speech, as the framers envisioned it, is a preëxisting right; it came before the United States government, it was never abandoned to the United States government, and the United States government is obligated to respect it. The people are fundamentally and inherently free to speak as they please, completely irrespective of whether or not their overlords like it. This freedom is also understood to be a freedom not merely to speak as you please, but to put those words into writing — hence freedom of the press.