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Archive for April, 2013

In Which Facebook Is Not A Right

April 28th, 2013 No comments

Recently, some idiot started whining about a conspiracy theory to shut down his freedom of speech on Facebook. Let me be clear – I vaguely know about this guy from other people but I’ve never followed him, barely read him and know nothing really about him. In short, I’m staying ignorant about it but for a good reason.

The ironically named, Low Genius, claims that “liberal” sites have conspired to shut down his Facebook page. Except it’s not shut down. His account got a thirty day ban. I’m not exactly sure why nor do I really care. I recently came off a seven day ban. My next ban, should it come, will be thirty days. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass but it’s the price you pay for voicing your varnished and unvarnished opinions. (I got a twenty-four hour ban for non-hyperbolically  saying, “I disagree with you”. Srsly.) I’m sure this happens on left-leaning pages, too, but many extreme right pages will cut off your ability to comment if you voice opposition to them or correct an outright lie. Many politically motivated people use the report button on Facebook as a weapon. It’s not right and I’m in no way defending this, having been on the other end of it.

Let’s take a moment to get some definitions correct.

A “site” refers to a website that you personally own and operate. You pay a service provider money. You admin your site. It belong wholly to you. You are the king of it.

A “blog” refers to a blogging service such as WordPress.com or blogger.com. These are free services although you can upgrade your service for a fee. The big point is that you are not in control of the service. You sign a terms-of-service agreement and that leaves you vulnerable to those who may disagree with what you post. Piss enough people off and you’ll get booted. This happens neo-Nazi and jihadist sites. It also happened to Baptists For Brownback, one of the funniest satire sites that I’ve ever read.

A “page” refers to a Facebook page (or Google+ page, if you swing that way). This is a free service. You sign a terms-of-service agreement and that leaves you vulnerable to those who may disagree with what you post. Piss enough people off and you’ll get booted. The big danger on Facebook is when you comment on other pages. Get some fanatic who thinks you’re Satan incarnate for calling him an idiot and it’s pretty simple for him/her to take revenge by reporting you. I honestly don’t know what the rules for timeouts are. I know that I’ve been through several of them and, honestly, I’ve deserved a few of them.

I said that I don’t know anything about Low Genius except what he told me. The biggest fallacy he operates under (outside of his page being taken down…it’s not…he just can’t post to it) is that Facebook is a website. In one of the numerous emails he sent to me, he tried to make that case that his page being down (aka: not being able to post) or having his comments removed from opposition pages is the same thing as a service provider removing content from someone’s website. It’s a cute argument and, if you take away the part where it’s free and you signed a terms-of-service agreement that puts you at the mercy of Facebook and those who moderate it, it might work. But…it’s free and you signed a terms-of-service agreement that puts you at the mercy of Facebook and those who moderate it.

Rightly or wrongly, Facebook doesn’t give a shit about your “free speech” nor does it have to. When you sign up for Facebook, you’re signing your right to free speech away. That’s not to say you can’t say whatever you want. You can. But if it gets taken down because someone reported you, you don’t get to whine about censorship. Why? Because when you sign up for Facebook, you’re signing your right to free speech away. Facebook is a business. It’s not America. Facebook dictates the rules to you and doesn’t care if you don’t like them. The best you can do in that circumstance is to get a hold of Facebook and plead your case. In Low Genius’ case, it’s that there is an evil cabal of liberals that are OUT TO DESTROY HIM AND TAKE AWAY HIS FREE SPEECH.

I hope I’ve written this well enough for you to see where it’s going.

Low Genius’ free speech has not been taken away. He still has it. Granted, for the next thirty days, he can’t use Facebook as a soapbox. He might, however, use his Google+ account…or his website…or MySpace…or Reddit or any number of other services that allow communications with other people. Put another way – John Henry is not in a dark dungeon somewhere with a blindfold and ballgag in his mouth.

I don’t need to know the topic or political bent of John Henry because it’s not important. The Facebook TOS governs Facebook. If you don’t like it, get off of Facebook. But don’t whine about your free speech getting taken away when you’re not paying for the service to begin with.

IRONIC POSTSCRIPT – Early this morning, I posted on John Henry’s Google+ account. In the process of checking the address for it I found out that (and I hope you’re sitting down) he’s blocked my access to it. HE’S STIFLING MY FREE SPEECH!!!

In Which They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

April 9th, 2013 No comments

I’m on record as stating that Rick The Dogboy Santorum will be the 2016 GOP nominee should he decide to run. It’s his turn. At the heart of the GOP lies a rigidity to the rules that never does it service. Thus, since Santorum came in 2nd in 2012, he gets the nod in 2016 just as Romney (despite being the worst possible candidate) got the nod for coming in 2nd in 2008.

Ricky’s already spilling his political seed in Iowa, laying the groundwork for his dogged adherence (get it??) to some 12th century vision of a perfect world where no one is gay, sex is only for pro-creation and witch burnings happen every Tuesday in the town square.

“I’m sure you could go back and read stories, oh, you know, ‘The Republican Party’s going to change. This is the future.’ Obviously, that didn’t happen,” Santorum told the Register. “I think you’re going to see the same stories written now, and it’s not going to happen. The Republican Party’s not going to change on this issue. In my opinion, it would be suicidal if it did.

The Republican Party needs to kill itself. I think a lot of Republicans understand this. The real story of the Obama Presidency looks like how the GOP finally destroyed itself on its socially conservative rhetoric. It turns out that allowing gays to serve openly in the military didn’t bring about The Rapture. John and Jane Q. Public know that. Perhaps, when DADT still reigned, they thought it might. But it didn’t. It’s not that the Republican bosses lied to them about toads falling from the skies if DADT got lifted. It just didn’t happen.  Even Grandma and Grandpa Q. Public realize that, while it might make them physically sick (or aroused) to imagine the marital bed of two husbands or two wives, it’s really not their business and, anyway, that gay couple down the street always smiles and says hello.

Santorum and the other self-flagellators of the GOP represent the end of the line. Yes, the GOP as it stands today will continue to blather on about gays and abortion and God and guns. They may even damage the economy again with their instance that giving money to the wealthy makes they poor richer. But once Santorum and Rubio and Cantor get reverently tucked into their transports to Heaven and buried in the ground, this strain of legislating God’s Will™ via Republican policies goes back up to Heaven where it belongs.

The Religious Right had a really good run. They convinced otherwise sane people that God voted Republican and that Democrats only cared about the government financing their lifestyles of drugs, sodomy and bestiality. With the gay marriage debate and Sandy Hook, that script got retired. Say what you will about us, but Americans don’t want their children shot. If there’s a way to prevent that, we will find it. Anyone who gets in the way becomes a casualty. My guess is that any GOP House member that opposes some kind of gun control, no matter how mild mannered, will find a 2014 Democratic opponent plastering his face all over the district with the words “Child Killer” across his forehead. Any Democrat that doesn’t use a no-vote on gun control against a Republican opponent deserves to lose.

GOP: Background checks hurt our freedom!
Dem: So no background checks.
GOP: None!
Dem: So a terrorist operative can walk in off the street and buy an AR-15.
GOP: Er…
Dem: And a paroled murderer can pick up a Glock at a gun show and kill his prosecutor.
GOP: Um…
Dem: So no background checks.
GOP: Er…go back to Russia?

I used to think that its fiscal policies would kill the GOP and the Occupy movement would stir us up to reject this trickle-down bullshit once and for all. I’m not so sure anymore. Americans, while still overwhelmingly profess to believe in Jesus, find themselves looking at GOP social policies and asking, “Would Jesus really do that? Cuz I’m pretty sure that He wouldn’t.”

Organization like Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented have sprung up to reclaim God from the stranglehold the GOP put on Him. Their message is simple and clear – GOD judges, not the GOP.  They may consider America a Christian nation, but they understand that all Americans aren’t Christian nor should they be. In their paradigm, God gave his “children” free will. “Free Will” doesn’t not mean turning the Bible in House Bill #1. You make your choices. You die. God judges you.

Jesus, I’m told, died for my sins. I hope the GOP will, too, and whether that’s by suicide or crucifixion doesn’t really matter to me.