Happy Thanksgiving!

Thinking about all the reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving this year reminds me that Ratburger.org is soon to celebrate Its first anniversary.

Thanks again  @johnwalker and  @10cents, just knowing Ratburger.org exists gives me something to be thankful for everyday!

P.S.  Exactly when is the big day?  My memory is that it was around the end of the week; first week of December maybe, around the 5th, perhaps?

BTW, Will we be having a party, perhaps a RAMU?  🙂  Will adult beverages be served?

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Breaking 911 — Massachusett Fires !

Sorry, just realized I was not paying attention to my verb tense!!!   Sometimes my curious nature gets the best of me, and I just type waaaay too fast to make any sense!   (Be glad you can’t see my Text messages 🙂 )

Very quickly … any members in the area of Massachusetts gas explosions in homes and businesses [that were] going on in Lawrence and Andover?

Just heard  now there are  there were 50+  homes on fire in three different cities [yesterday].   Anyone with any information?  Other than that gas is was involved, they seem to have had no idea what is was going on or causing the explosions.

[Link below from a broadcast yesterday].

It caught my attention when I had heard they were sending in the FBI to take a look at the scene.  I’m just wondering if anyone in the area has heard what actually happened

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1984? Money? Rabbit Holes? It’s complicated.

I am not an Alex Jones fan, so at first I had no interest or concern about anything involving him.  But then, the sheer number of headlines and articles about Him finally drew my attention.   I became curious to find out what really was happening (I believe about zero of what is promoted by the MSM).

The first online websites I went to, looking for more information/insight was actually talking loudly about censoring/faux news the prior day.  This is because they had themselves become targets that day.  More specifically there had been in excess of 4 pages of anti-conservativeMSM articles (all saying essentially the same things) attacking their website.  The articles were all disseminated via broadcast, print, and social media during the same timeframe, on the same day!  The obvious concerted ‘attack’ really had the website users excited.

The chatter on this website was focused primarily on the money/government angle and, since many think Jones is a ‘black hat’, they argued whether it was legit news/actual banishment,  or if Jones himself was involved and it was some sort of tactic to gain more direct subscribers to his website.  I have read the number of subscribers to Alex Jones’ website has soared.

Regarding the government/money, the focus was on H.R. 5181 which was passed by the house and which in the Senate became the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act.  This Act was signed by President Obama in December 2016 and quietly snuck into NDAA 2017 by the Senate.  Some speculated Obama and friends took this action to provide legal authority for strangling free speech.  Also, the ‘bad guys’ wanted to ensure the Left/Globalist/MSM would be able to legally retain control over information disclosure by blocking any information that independent websites attempted to be share.

There was also some noise being made about exactly how much of the people’s money was taken to fund implementation of the Act, which includes establishment of a Center for Information Analysis and Response,  (aka the Ministry of Truth).   Some on the website stated the amount is $160 million, some say it was only $20 million.   I could only find official confirmation of the $20 million figure for period 2017 to 2018.

Some speculated the current censoring activities are occurring now due to upcoming elections, some say it’s just the MSM extending the use of the “Russian Bots” narrative: in essence the theory is, if you support President Trump or conservative ideas then you must be a Russian Bot, so therefore you can be legally censored/countered as ‘permitted by H.R. 5181.  ???  But wait, it gets better, the MSM/Silicon Valley ‘Censors’ can also collect money from Uncle Sam for censoring you, or me … or even Alex Jones.

On still other websites folks were thinking about other aspects.  One website seemed to want to focus on the 1st Amendment vs. Private property.

On Ratburger, I found interesting thoughts about the potential legal and liability aspects of the situation, as follows:

Excerpt from post I Thought Libertarians were for Freedom of Speech by Mate De 08.08.2018

John Walker:
Platforms like Twitter and Facebook have taken the position, successfully so far, that they are common carriers like the telephone network, as opposed to publishers, and are therefore content-neutral.  In return, the federal government has granted broad exemptions from liability for content published on their platforms.  See Phil Turmel’s comment on the Alex Jones post and subsequent discussion for details.  By choosing to explicitly restrict access to their platforms based upon content, they are putting themselves into the position of a publisher, not a common carrier, and in so doing expose themselves to forms of liability from which they’ve been shielded so far.  It may be that whatever you think of the political consequences of explicit and acknowledged filtering, it may be a very bad business decision for these companies.  Imagine lawsuits from victims or their families of an attack by a jihadi recruited by a Facebook page.

Excerpts from post Alex Jones, unperson by Cyrano 08.07.2018

The Sinistral Bassist:
Doesn’t this open up those platforms to lawsuits over the content they choose not to ban? When they only banned people from doing illegal things, they could claim they were not content-providers and merely a platform for others to publish on. Once they start selectively choosing who to ban, they now become curators and publishers. They should be sued for every troll posting that is rumor or libel now because they didn’t ban it.

Phil Turmel:
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act includes a “Safe Harbor” provision for any site allowing users among the general public to post content, such that postings that infringe copyrights of others may be taken down with a simple process, and if followed with certain time limits, disallows lawsuits against the website operators.  One of the criteria to qualify for this clause is that the site must be content-neutral. Bingo.  Discriminating on political viewpoint (probably on much else, too) seems to open these social media operators to enormous potential liability for misconduct among their users.  We’ll see.

After reading the above, I stopped briefly to wonder if H.R. 5181 would will effectively act to eliminate the potential liability issues.   Not an attorney, so I don’t know.  But in a school debate, I think there is enough information conflict to argue either side of the debate successfully.

And, then I continued my searching.

More digging provided additional information from other websites, and articles on H.R. 5181 bill and its support for censoring of information:

Press Releases (from Senator Portman’s website)

Home / Newsroom / Press Releases

December 08, 2016

Senate Passes Major Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill as Part of NDAA

Portman/Murphy Bill Promotes Coordinated Strategy to Defend America, Allies Against Propaganda and Disinformation from Russia, China & Others 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today announced that their Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act – legislation designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations – has passed the Senate as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senators Portman and Murphy in March, will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. To support these efforts, the bill also creates a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work. This will better leverage existing expertise and empower local communities to defend themselves from foreign manipulation.

“The passage of this bill in the Senate today takes us one critical step closer to effectively confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us. While the propaganda and disinformation threat has grown, the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel. Today we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines. We are going to confront this threat head-on,” said Senator Portman. “With the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against our allies and our interests will fail.”

“Congress has taken a big step in fighting back against fake news and propaganda from countries like Russia. When the president signs this bill into law, the United States will finally have a dedicated set of tools and resources to confront our adversaries’ widespread efforts to spread false narratives that undermine democratic institutions and compromise America’s foreign policy goals,” said Murphy. “I’m proud of what Senator Portman and I accomplished here because it’s long past time for the U.S. to get off the sidelines and confront these growing threats.”

NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is organized around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation. They are as follows:

  • The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering foreign propaganda and disinformation. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China in addition to violent extremists. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level participation of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.
  • Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.

https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=3765A225-B773-4F57-B21A-A265F4B5692C

And, I found a couple of articles from ZeroHedge:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-10/senate-quietly-passes-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-07/propaganda-bill-congress-could-give-america-its-very-own-ministry-truth

And a comment from a Dr. Mike Spaulding (I am including his comment for the links provided in his comment:

Much has been made over the past week or so following the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 by Obama of the insertion into it of HR 5181, the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, and what it means for the independent media. I definitely urge everyone that reads this article to read those two pieces of legislation and come to their own conclusions on what this law means for free and independent media, and how it will affect the covering of world, national, and local level events.”

I found all of the above very helpful in clarifying my own thoughts about the issues surrounding the Alex Jones ban, and I hope the collected information contain herein proves to be of value to others as well.  That said, what really made me sit-up and pay attention is the following video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBo9uRuTVYk

I found it quite worrisome (if what MSM reports is real).  The video also proved to me that I am not as well informed as I thought I was.  I simply had not been paying enough attention in December 2016 and had not noticed that Obama, with the help of both Democrats and Republicans, the House and the Senate – effectively created The Ministry of Truth before he left office.

It will be interesting so see how tactics of the Ministry of Truth play out in our country’s future.

Then again, being an optimist, my mind smiles as it wonders how far this hand will be allowed to continue before the President shuts it down by playing his trump-suit ace, squashing the MSM/Globalists/Leftists dreams that they are actually going to be able to control dissemination of information in the digital age.

In closing, I thought the whole Alex Jones ‘thing’ was nothing of interest to me.  Now, I realize it could be very serious, or then again, maybe it is not.  Maybe I could go back to sleep pretending this is all a nothing-burger or perhaps just another false flag.

It’s complicated.   The truth is out there but I can’t figure out which money trail to follow to find it.  Alex Jones himself and all his new ‘business’, or the MSM and Ministry of Truth?  I guess time will tell.

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Another Good News Sunday

 

Perhaps some news outlet reported on this ruling, but I had not heard about it until this morning.  It is very good news.

(Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

Can the government force an organization to advertise for its competitors?

The Supreme Court says no.

The case, NIFLA v. Becerrainvolved a California law that forced licensed pregnancy centers to advertise for state-funded abortion clinics.

The Supreme Court has struck down the law as a violation of the First Amendment.

But the real bombshell was Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion. He started by denouncing the law as “a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.

In an ironic note, Kennedy chastised the California legislature by urging them to read the First Amendment: “The California Legislature included in its official history the congratulatory statement that the Act was part of California’s legacy of ‘forward thinking.’ But it is not forward thinking to force individuals to ‘be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view [they] find unacceptable.’

Click on the link for the full article.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/nancy-pearcey/scotus-pregnancy-centers-government-may-not-compel-speech

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Sunday Lessons: THIS!

 ... Says the Teacher:     

“In the mind of a far-left progressive they believe their insane political perspectives are the only views that matter.  They consistently over-estimate their geographical support, and find their need for superiority such that it affords them a bizarre moral right to force their positions upon others.”

Teacher then calls on us to remember that …

Control is a reaction to fear. Think in terms or politics and society – the fear behind liberalism is the fear that someone might withhold things (opportunities, money, whatever) from me.

Fear that if you live your life in a way I dislike that it might affect my life; fear that if you get that job, there will be nothing left for me. Fear that if you make tons of money, it’s means there’s less money out there for me.”

We are then reminded, however, that …

“Trying to control others does nothing in the way of making oneself happy.

And Observes …

“The conservative believes in abundance. The liberal believes in scarcity.

….  And therein lies the roots of love and fear respectively.

 

Restaurant Owner Who Kicked Out WH Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: “I would do the same thing again”..

Above is just some of the highlights of the article.  Article is definitely worth the time for anyone still struggling to understand Progressives enough to be able to reach out to them to find a place of peace within the space between us.

Have a happy day of Love and Abundance.

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Thank you for the Correction.

When I first saw the original July 8, 2018 Time magazine cover.   I thought it seemed to be missing something, such as the truth.   Sigh.

I felt much better later when I came across the following ‘corrected’ cover.   

I think it was very kind of someone to attempt to correct the cover art with a little hope and, a dash of wishful thinking, don’t you?

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TOTD 31 May 2018: Longest Loser Tantrums Ever Continue

Hope you all enjoy the following as much as I did.  It reminds one of the perpetual arrogance of ignorance saluted by the Progressives, and at the same time, is educational.   A two-fer Thursday!  I have included the entire article for your reading pleasure.

Teacher Who Corrected Trump’s Grammar In Viral CNN, NYT Story Got Lots of Stuff Wrong

by Aaron Keller | 5:00 pm, May 29th, 2018

The retired English teacher who “corrected” a now-viral letter from President Donald J. Trump and who then returned the “corrected” letter to the White House could perhaps use some schooling on the way the law works. In correcting Trump’s letter, the teacher marked something incorrect which was actually correct — legally speaking. (While we’re at it, the grammatical errors weren’t really errors, either; indeed, the letter was more correct than the teacher thinks.)

The teacher, Yvonne Mason, received the letter from the Trump White House in response to a letter she sent to President Trump. Her original letter raised concerns about the Parkland, Florida school shooting and asked President Trump to visit the families of those who died in the massacre. Perturbed by what she claimed was sloppy grammar in the rare return letter from the president, she posted her “corrected” letter to Facebook. It initially made the pages of her local paper, then the New York Times. She appeared on CNN on Monday to continue her jabs. There, she said the letter deserved a grade of “D.” She also opined that while the letter was probably written by staffers, the president signed it. (Has she ever heard of Autopen?) (WATCH the interview here.)

Here is the legal issue we noticed:  in his letter to the teacher, President Trump references a number of laws which he seeks to change or which he did change in response to the Parkland shooting. He also references a “rule.” Confused, the teacher circled “rule,” put a question mark in the margin, and said, “explain ‘rule.’”

That sound you just heard is me slamming my head against the desk at which I’m sitting.

There is a hierarchy of laws under the American system of government. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It sets forth three branches of government:  executive (which enforces the laws); legislative (which writes the laws); and judicial (which interprets the laws). Here’s the thing:  the branches each basically write their own “laws” which play off of one another. So, really, there is more than one type of “law.” The president’s letter accurately notes this. The teacher appears to be confused by it.

Perhaps the English teacher could benefit by calling up her social studies buddies for a primer. When most people reference federal “law,” what they really mean are the statutes written by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Executive branch agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, etc., etc., etc., which are constitutionally attached to the president, have “rulemaking authority” to write “rules” which expound upon the more rough parameters set forth by the legislature in statutes. Lest we forget, the hierarchy, in descending order, contains all sorts of laws: the Constitution, statutes, administrative rules (which have the “force of law”), and judicial opinions (which — oh no! — have their own hierarchy, too!). What about the opinions of administrative law judges who work for executive branch agencies authorized by congress but constitutionally attached to the president? Gosh, this gets complicated, and we haven’t even gotten into city ordinances or state statutes.

Trump’s letter accurately differentiates between “rules” and “laws.” The teacher’s question mark response suggests either (1) she just doesn’t get the concepts I just painstakingly explained; or (2) if she does get it, she wants her “student” — President Trump — to explain it to her solely to prove that he knows it as well. The second tactic is ridiculous given the Trump letter’s careful differentiation between the two. He gets it. My guess is that she does not.

Thus concludes the lesson about legal hierarchy. There’s more, which I’ll address briefly.

The teacher told CNN she was most “appalled” by the “random capitalization of words that typically aren’t capitalized.” In the letter, the word “Nation” is frequently capitalized. When CNN pointed Ms. Mason to the fact that the government has its own stylebook, Ms. Mason botched the answer by flipping the script and pretty much claiming she was the authority: “My philosophy as a teacher is if we aren’t teaching this in the classroom, then why are we using it in a stylebook.” She then went on to entirely misinterpret the rule being applied.

Under the Government Printing Office’s stylebook, available here, Rule 3.20 on page 32 and the example on page 68 clearly state that “Nation” is capitalized in federal publications where the word is used as a replacement for the proper name of the country.

Rather than take the time to pull out her own stylebook(s), Ms. Mason confused that rule with the one for proper nouns, which in the stylebook is a totally different rule, and accused Trump of engaging in a “grammatical tragedy of the commons” where people start “randomly deciding which words are proper nouns and which aren’t.”

The teacher said her dream was “clear communication.”

“Communicate clearly what you want, and you’re more likely to get it because language is the currency of power.” (That’s a grammatically-incorrect sentence, Ms. Mason; plus, the stylebook clearly communicates what it wants.)

Hopefully, Ms. Mason taught her students that the rules change depending on the intended vehicle of publication:  the MLA, APA, and Chicago Manuals of Style are not the end of the stylebook world. The legal profession uses the Bluebook for citations, the Chicago Manual of Style where the Bluebook is silent, and the Redbook for other grammatical guidance. Reporters use the Associated Press Stylebook. The Government Printing Office has its own stylebook. Guess what? President Barack Obama followed it when he also capitalized words like “Nation” in his own letters (examples are hereherehere, and here). So did Michelle Obama (here). We are not certain whether Ms. Mason plans to spend her retirement correcting the Obamas, too.

Having been schooled by and having worked with both good and bad educators over the years, I am well versed in the sorts of histrionic fits some educators can get themselves into while defending their perceived entitlements to paychecks. If Ms. Mason gives President Trump a “D” on grammar and communication, I give her an “F” on defending her rationale for her judgment.

Aaron Keller is a live, streaming trial host for the Law&Crime Network. He is licensed to practice law in two states and served as a professor of English and communications for several years before joining Law&Crime. Follow him on Twitter:  @AKellerLawCrime.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

https://lawandcrime.com/crazy/teacher-who-corrected-trumps-grammar-in-viral-cnn-nyt-story-got-lots-of-stuff-wrong/

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TOTD MAY 24, 2018: In the News … and got me smiling.

48 Hours Later, Media Still Keeps Dems’ Total Collapse in Reuters Poll a Secret

 On Monday, Reuters/Ipsos announced that the Democratic Party’s strong lead on the generic ballot question, which had remained stable for most of 2018, had rapidly collapsed over the prior week

Couple of tweets from Elon Musk …

Elon Musk@elonmusk

Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda …

Elon Musk@elonmusk

The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them

:-))

 

https://pjmedia.com/trending/48-hours-later-media-still-keeps-dems-total-collapse-in-reuters-poll-a-secret/?utm_source=PJMCoffeeBreak&utm_medium=email&utm_term=May2018

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/elon-musk-teases-website-tracking-journalists-and-media-outlets-credibility

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Wake-up Call?

For some reason, reading the following paragraph from an article titled:  President Trump is fulfilling Prophecies made me feel optimistic today.   I am hoping the italicized [my emphasis] sentence in the paragraph will have the effect of being a wake-up call.

“Credit also goes to the current Evangelical Christian community and its leaders and to many non-liberal Jewish individuals and organizations. Unfortunately, too many liberal Jews have traded in their Judaism for multiculturalism and left-wing intersectionality. They have detached themselves from their historic identity with the Promised Land and currently find their promise in hedonistic and anti-Trump causes. They have chosen faddishness over eternity. For them, Israel is but a yawn.”

 

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/rabbi-aryeh-spero/trump-making-history-fulfilling-prophecy-moving-american-embassy

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

Vocabulary Exam:  Give an example of schadenfreude.

Schadenfreude —   “Gotcha,” tweeted White House counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway.” (1)    After New Yorker Magazine reports:

New York’s Top [Progressive Democratic] Lawman QUITS After Progressive Democratic Feminists Accuse Him [of sexual and physical abuse].(2)

 

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