Nike's Embrace Of Colin Kaepernick Another Example of "Get Woke, Go Broke"
The spectre of the NFL's Anthemgate continues to rear his ugly face when Nike announced a new advertising campaign to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their original "Just Do It" campaign with scumbag Colin Kaepernick as the main face of the campaign. While the campaign also features Serena Williams & LeBron James(another brain-dead idiot ideologue), the inclusion of Kaepernick drew the most ire.
Just as many NFL fans burned their team gear last year after the NFL players protested the National Anthem(the form of protest Kaepernick started the year before for bullshit reasons) in response to President Donald Trump calling the protesting players SOB's at a campaign rally in Alabama(which in turn destroyed what little credibilty those initial protests had to begin with), people started burning their Nike products in protest of the company's promotion of Kaepernick, who is and always will be perceived as anti-American regardless of his reasons for protesting the way he did. Perception is reality regardless of what the actual truth of the matter is.
Nike's ad with Kaepernick included the tagline "Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything", which is highly laughable when applied to Kaepernick. What exactly has Colin Kaepernick sacrificed? His football career? That was more seppaku than sacrifice. He could have signed with Seattle or Baltimore last season to be a backup to Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco, but for whatever reason, he chose not to. Instead, he wants to claim that all 32 NFL teams are colluding against him to cover for the cold, hard fact that he was never that good of a QB to begin with. And the ad and the tagline has become an internet meme. Even Donald Trump Jr. made fun of it by replacing Kaepernick with his father President Trump.
And Nike had the nerve to defend Kaepernick, calling the scumbag "an inspirational figure". What a laugh. What exactly has Colin Kaepernick inspired? The furthering of the political divide, for one thing. Also, NFL fans turning away from the league in droves because of Roger Goodell not having the balls to suspend Kaepernick or any other player that refuses to stand for the national anthem. If anything, Kaepernick is more of a negative inspiration than a positive one.
Not long after the Nike clusterfuck, Levi Strauss, the maker of Levi's jeans, announced that they were going to start working with the gun control Nazis, which immediately drew the ire of supporters of the Second Amendment.
NIke's new advertising campaign and the negative response to it is another example of what YouTuber The Quartering, joined by Sargon of Akkad, Louis Le Vau, and Razorfist, has called "Get Woke, Go Broke" in that when a corporation engages in and advocates for far left political ideology, they don't make as much money as they once did as people start boycotting their products, in part because the quality of the product suffers from the infusion of the far left ideology in the product by far left ideologues hired by the company in the first place for diversity purposes. Examples of this can be seen within the entertainment industry in recent years, specifically the Star Wars franchise since Disney bought Lucasfilm(especially after the releases of the last two Star Wars movies, The Last Jedi and Solo, within the last year), the Ghostbusters namemake in 2016, and the American and European video game industry since Gamergate. Look at the NFL in the last few years since Kaepernick started acting no differently than the Westboro Baptist Church. As my brother put it, these corporations have chosen to commit commercial suicide.
And getting "woke" could lead to government intervention even if the intervention is ultimately unconstitutional. On Sept. 10th, a memo the mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, sent out on Sept. 5th was made public basically banning the recreation department from using Nike products or receiving them from boosters. And unsurprisingly, certain members of the public whined and protested the Kenner mayor's decision. Including current New Orleans Saints players Terron Armstead and Cameron Jordan. Two days later, the mayor of Kenner rescinded the ban on Nike products, though there still racist assclown SJW's in the area still calling for the mayor to resign over the attempted Nike ban.
On August 24th, the Houma Courier published an op-ed by an idiot named Marianne Stanley where the former lawyer/college professor/journalist (three strikes, you're out) spent the second half of the op-ed whining about the Louisiana Bond Commission's recent vote to block Bank of America and Citigroup from underwriting $600 million in infrastructure bonds at the behest of its former chairman, former state treasurer and current US Senator John Kennedy, as a response to the two banks' decision after the Parkland, FL school shooting on Valentine's Day to refuse banking services to businesses that work with guns.
Bank of America stopped lending to gun manufacturers that make AR-15s and other guns like them, while Citigroup no longer provides banking service to businesses that sell guns to customers under 21(something that violates the US Constitution since 18 is considered an adult; if you can buy a house at 18, you should be able to buy guns to defend that house), don't require background checks for gun sales, or sells high capacity magazines.
I would assume that Bank of America and Citigroup are violating federal banking laws with these new policies, but apparently not or it's in a grey area, as Sen. Kennedy has suggested that he is working with fellow members of the Senate Banking Committee on federal legislation to stop the banks from enacting policies that discriminate against businesses just because these banks don't like what a business sells to its customers in a form of corporate peer pressure. Maybe this legislation will also apply to discriminating against people based on political beliefs, like what Mastercard did to the people running Jihad Watch?
Keep in mind that even though he's currently serving his first term in the US Senate and was just elected in 2016 after winning a runoff election, Sen. Kennedy is rumored to be seriously considering a run for governor of Louisiana next year against incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards and Kennedy used this to further speculation of a 2019 gubernatorial bid.
Unsurprisingly, Mrs. Stanley showed her support for cultural Marxism when she criticized Sen. Kennedy for not giving praise to her corporate god-I mean, to those, in her words, "socially conscious" and "compassionate" banks for "looking out for young people" among other things.
As I stated in the last blog, corporations are capitalist ventures only in it for the money. As such, they are supposed to be amoral and not push their political views down the throats of the public, whether it's left wing companies like Time Warner, Google, and Facebook or right wing companies like Chik-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby.
It's hypocritical for Mrs. Stanley to criticize Sen. Kennedy for basically calling for other states to join Louisiana in basically boycotting those two banks when, in her very first op-ed for the Houma Courier published on Feb. 22nd(after the Parkland school shooting), she called for a boycott of fake "violent" video games after falsely blaming them for the school shooting. And there are at least two double standards in play here:
1) If a company does something I disagree with, I have every right to tell that company to kiss my ass and take my business elsewhere. If Nike starts promoting Colin Kaepernick and other crybabies like LeBron James and Serena Williams(especially after Serena tried to justify her on-court behavior in the women's final of the US Open Sept. 8th), then I can stop buying Nike products and start buying more products by Reebok, Adidas, or Under Armour. And it shouldn't matter if it's a sitting US Senator, a mayor of a New Orleans suburb, or an average citizen telling Nike or Bank of America to go pound sand. If it's OK for far left scumbags to protest against right wing groups like the National Rifle Association, then it's equally OK for people aren't far left to protest against left wing groups or far left ideology.
2) The far left thinks that any criticism of their beliefs or any company that promotes their beliefs is somehow invalid for one reason or another. My response to this is simple. If you want me to watch the shows then support those shows by buying every piece of merchandise you produce, pay $60 for a video game, or pay about that much at a movie theater between the movie, the popcorn, the soft drinks, and the candy to go see a movie that will be released on DVD three months later, then buy that $20 DVD/BluRay combo pack, you're damn right I'll be pretty hard to impress. And when you sell me stuff that both suck and blow at the same time like a vacuum cleaner, then tell me that I'm both wrong and somehow a bad person just for having that opinion, I'm going to tell you to go lick a llama's anus.
Marianne Stanley can't tell the readers of the Houma Courier to "Look beyond the fear-mongering and untruths that are causing unnecessary pain and injustice" when she just as much participates in fear-mongering and promoting untruths when it comes to products she doesn't like. Maybe she should practice what she preaches and pay attention herself since "nodding without thinking" isn't as beneath her as she'd like us to believe.
And, oh, by the way, Marianne........the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting! It never did! But I guess constitutional law wasn't her expertise as a lawyer or as a college professor.
Get Woke, Go Broke. If you don't like me, bite me.
Link to Houma Courier op-ed mentioned in this blog: http://www.houmatoday.com/news/20180824/opinion-has-common-sense-gone-bye-bye
Last year, I mentioned how the corporate legacy mainstream news media just continues to prove President Donald Trump right when he calls them "Fake News"(A term they coined, but was quickly turned against them) and "the enemy of the American people". But, at the same time, it's because we, the people, have allowed the news media to behave in such a irresponsible manner.
Recently, several hundred US newspapers published roughly the exact same editorial criticizing President Trump's continued attacks on the legacy news media, including my local newspapers, the Houma Courier and the Houma-Thibodaux Times a week later. Although, with the Times being a weekly paper published every Wednesday, it made their editorial a little more nuanced than some of the others, saying that while Trump's quarrel with the media is more with national news outlets like CNN and the New York Times, the rhetoric against the corporate legacy mainstream news media has trickled down to the local news outlets even if the local news is not owned by a multi-national media conglomerate like CNN(Time Warner), MSNBC(Comcast), ABC(Disney), and Fox News(News Corp) are.
A day after all those editorials, CNN and several other left-leaning news outlets tried to get the judge presiding over the Paul Manafort tax evasion trial to release the names and addresses of the jurors while they were in middle of deliberating the charges against Manafort.
Even though the judge rightfully denied the request(in part because the judge mentioned getting threats against him), I think that the request for the jurors' names and addresses(especially when the jury was not sequestered for the trial) played a bigger factor in getting Manafort convicted on 8 of the 18 charges against him. What CNN did was essentially jury tampering and I honestly think that Manafort could end up getting his conviction overturned on appeal based on that.
Last July, CNN got so butthurt over a tweet President Trump made mocking them(the clip from WrestleMania 23 where he attacked Vince McMahon with the CNN logo covering Vince's head) that they went after a Reddit user who allegedly created the altered gif and threatened to "doxx" the person if they didn't apologize to the network, even going so far as to hold it over their head for the rest of their life.
As I said then, CNN's actions just serve to make it more difficult for the corporate legacy news media to regain the trust of the people(and this isn't just going on in America). Especially when they behave in ways that cause the people to lose trust in CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and even Fox News in the first place. As I've pointed out, polls have shown that only 6% of the American people even trust the news media and that more people trust President Trump to tell the truth more than they do the news media.
When the people think that the President of the United States is more honest and trustworthy than the corporate legacy news media, that is not Donald Trump's fault, that's the legacy media's fault. And to a lesser extent, it's also ours.
Why do we perceive the corporate legacy news media as the enemy of the American people? In his book, "Do I Stand Alone?", Jesse Ventura pointed out several reasons why the corporate legacy mainstream news media acts so irresponsibly:
-The news media is obsessed with scandal and how to portray the ugliest sides of humanity. That just reporting on the news hasn't been enough for the news channels and the media conglomerates that own the station, it's about what will get the public's attention especially when they're competing against everyone, including entertainment medium that aren't direct competitors, for that attention.
-The news media is obsessed with conflict. They have to turn every story into a fight, acting like there's only two sides to every issue with no room for nuance.
-The news media chooses character assassination over focusing on issues. After all, they like tearing people down as much as they like building them up, possibly more so. They look for anything in a particular story that will generate the most outrage and ignore everything else including something that contradicts their narrative. They also have double standards about the opinions they push. Ventura used himself as an example since he was still governor of Minnesota at the time "Do I Stand Alone?" was published. If he did anything, the media would find anybody that had a negative view of him to counter him. But anytime someone said something negative about him, the media wouldn't bother to come to him for a chance to respond and counter potentially false statements. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
-The news media sometimes creates the news rather than just reporting on the news. And they'll even create a scandal even if there's none to be had. The media only reports on facts that either fit their narrative or throws gasoline on the fire. Or they'll make the facts fit their narrative by taking someone out of context either completely or partially.
-And the news media operates with little to no accountability for their actions.
I think another main reason why the legacy media has such a negative image with the people is because the mainstream news media always seems to attack everything we like. Whether it was television shows, comic books, movies, music, video games, pro wrestling, and even most contact sports like mixed martial arts and even football(both American football and soccer), the news media always seems to accentuate the negative aspects of everything to make everything look worse than they actually are. Also, it seems like most journalists are nothing more than political activists pretending to be journalists.
And it also doesn't help the legacy news media's case when it always treats a story like it's feeding a pig, constantly feeding that pig until it explodes, then the legacy media turns around and reports on the explosion, all the while acting like they had absolutely nothing to do with that pig exploding the way it did.
As I said two years ago in the weeks before the presidential election, the news media acts the way they do because we have allowed them to act that way for far too long. We have become a tabloid nation that cares more about gossip and scandal than we do about the actual issues. And this has been the case long before Donald Trump even thought about running for President of the United States, We would rather blame the news media for only reporting on gossip and scandal when we're just as responsible for their reporting since we respond more to muckraking and negative headlines that promote fear and hysteria than we do the actual issues and to headlines that show those fears to be unfounded. For example, the panic over the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 80's-early 90's, the Satanic panic in the 80's and 90's, the Red Scare in the 50's and 60's, and the pixel panic over fake "violent" video games from the early 90s through today.
We can blame the news media for being biased, but we all have our own personal biases, and we always tend to gravitate towards news that share our own viewpoints to confirm those biases.
The corporate legacy news media acts like any criticism President Trump and the people, whether they actually support Trump or not, have of them is an attack on the entire right of the freedom of the press. However, the freedom of the press is not as infinite as they'd like to think and have us believe. Look at what happened to Gawker when Hulk Hogan sued them for defamation and won. The same thing could very easily happen to CNN or MSNBC even with their billion dollar media conglomerates backing them.
And they don't like the fact that President Trump uses Twitter on a daily basis to tell everyone, not just his own base, everything on his mind. The media always wants to be the middle man and he essentially cuts them out of the deal unless he wants to speak to them directly(and even then, it's usually Fox News he talks to). And the legacy media, especially CNN, wants the people to be passive consumers who allow them to do the thinking(and even the talking) for us.
But, we have the freedom to not watch any news station if we don't like how they report the news. We can and should cancel our newspaper subscriptions and even our cable TV services and just get our news online. Like all capitalist ventures, the media conglomerates are all in it for the money regardless of any costs to our societies at large. When the National Enquirer has more credibility than the New York Times(especially when the latter hires Sarah Jeong, an anti-white racist, and defends that hiring) and TMZ has more credibility than CNN(especially when CNN host Chris Cuomo defends Antifa even when the far-left Communist group attacks journalists and not to mention CNN White House correspondent Jim Ascota's reckless and borderline treasonous behavior), that's not the fault of the National Enquirer or TMZ. It's not even our fault. It's the fault of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and even Fox News for behaving the way they do.
At the end of the day, we, the people, have more power than the legacy media does. If they want people to vote with their wallets against companies they don't like, we can do it to them.
On August 6th, Facebook, YouTube, & Spotify among other prominent internet services permanently banned Alex Jones & his news organization Infowars for violating "community standards" for "hate speech" and "bullying" after earlier unjustly handing them a 30 day suspension from Facebook and a 90 day suspension of their livestreaming abilities on their YouTube channel for four specific videos(including one that criticized how Muslims "conquered" Europe through the migrant crisis there, one that showed a clip of an adult shoving a child to the ground, & one that criticized a 9 year old drag queen in Montreal and that kid's parents for sexualizing him by allowing him to perform at a LGBT club there). Amazingly, Twitter didn't ban Jones, at least not yet(as of August 9th when I'm writing this), but I think there was a major reason why Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey didn't pull that trigger yet which I'll explain later.
Where to start on this one? Basically it was a dumb move on these sites' part and it should scare anybody that says they believe in the principle of freedom of speech.
First off, it was extremely disappointing for me to hear Scoot say on his WWL radio show on August 8th that he agreed with Jones & Infowars being banned from those sites mainly because Scoot doesn't like Alex Jones and doesn't see Infowars as a legitimate news source and also using the tired argument that the Constitution only protects against government intrusion on your rights. It's understandable, but I think Scoot let his own biases against Jones & Infowars drive his opinion even though he often criticizes confirmation bias and supports free speech.
The priniciple of freedom of speech goes far beyond the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as even the impotent United Nations calls freedom of speech a basic human right. In fact, our First Amendment does apply to private corporations and citizens just as much as it does to government officials and agencies. You can't defame someone to ruin their reputation, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded area when there's no fire in that area, and you can't directly advocate for violence against a specific person or group.
For example, Entergy, which provides electricity service to most of SE Louisiana, wouldn't legally be allowed to shut off the electricity to any TV or radio station in New Orleans because they didn't like how those stations reported on a story that Entergy hired actors to sit in on a New Orleans City Council meeting pretending to be supporters of a new power plant being built in the New Orleans area.
Also, just because Alex Jones has arguably defamed people in the past(the biggest example being the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and the push of the theory that the school shooting was faked by the government in an attempt to get the Second Amendment repealed) does NOT mean he loses his rights under the First Amendment. He can still be defamed and he arguably has been defamed by Facebook and YouTube when they banned him and Infowars for "hate speech".
I don't think Scoot even watched the videos in question that got Jones & Infowars kicked off those social media platforms to begin with. Granted, I wasn't able to either and my knowledge of the videos that got him banned came from episode 113 of the Beauty & the Beta podcast run by YouTubers Matt Christensen and Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.
Anyway, it was an extremely stupid move by Facebook and YouTube in particular for several reasons. George R.R. Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones book series, has said that "When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say."
1) Like I said two years ago when Twitter banned Milo Yiannapolis, Facebook and YouTube banning Alex Jones and Infowars only legitimizes Jones and Infowars not just in the eyes of his supporters, but also in the eyes of people who wouldn't normally have supported him. The bans will only make Jones more popular(remember what happened when that crazy bored Michigan housewife tried to get the TV show Married....With Children banned?), more infamous/famous. and as more internet services try to de-platform Jones & Infowars, more people will actually empathize with them even if they don't agree with them, thus be more willing to support him and Infowars.
More people will want to hear what Alex Jones has to say regardless if it's a conspiracy theory or not. And he'll acutally get the benefit of the doubt simply because he got banned from these platforms for a bullshit reason(thus proving him right about a conspiracy theory). These sites are only doing him a favor in the long run.
To use a wrestling reference, when WCW had a match in 1999 between Master P's group of No Limit Soldiers and Curt Hennig's West Texas Rednecks stable, Curt Hennig and his group were outnumbered 10 to 4. In the fans' eyes, even though Hennig and his group were being portrayed as heels because they didn't like rap music, they were seen as good guys because they were outnumbered.
2) Once again, these monopolistic social media sites continue to promote double standards in how they enforce their terms of service. As YouTuber Dave Cullen(Computing Forever) has pointed out, these sites' terms of service(which are part of the European Union's bullshit "hate speech" laws, which would be unconstitutional under United States case law) are left intentionally vague, but the far-left ideologues that run these sites and enforce these rules have a very broad definition of what constitutes "hate speech". It's very similar to how the United States Supreme Court defines pornography(the "I know it when I see it" argument).
For example, you can criticize Christianity all day on these sites, but criticizing Islam is haram. I could post on Twitter that Christianity glorifies violence by glorifying the torture and murder of its eponymous savior without fear of getting banned, but if I post that Islam glorifies violence and pedophilia becuase its prophet was a warlord who married a 6 year old girl and consumated the marriage when she was 9, I run the risk of getting banned.
Criticizing a religious ideology that demonstratably treats women and LGBT people like dirt is not "hate speech".
Also, you can criticize the behavior of a straight white man(or conservative white woman) all day, but criticizing the behavior of a person who is black, Hispanic, LGBT, etc. is verbotin.
Criticizing the behavior of any person regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or whatever, is not "hate speech".
If criticizing ideology and behavior is "hate speech", then anything can be "hate speech". I now declare that blaming fake "violent" video games for school shootings is a form of "hate speech".
Another double standard is that it seems like it's only conservatives and centrists that are getting hit by these rules much more than far left progressives are. Especially since conservatives and conservative media outlets like Fox News, The Blaze, and Bretibart have been criticizing these sites since 2015 for their perceived bias against conservative views and especially since Twitter employees were caught on tape by Project Veritas admitting their bias against conservatives and to shadowbanning conservatives. In fact, on July 26th, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter that his administration would start investigating Twitter over shadowbanning prominent Republican politicians, calling it a "discriminatory and illegal practice". Also, YouTube's parent company Google is currently being sued by James Damore over their treatment of white men and conservatives at their headquarters.
I think that's why Twitter hasn't banned Jones and Infowars yet. That and the fact that the site did not ban Peter Fonda for his reprehensible tweet advocating for violence against Melania and Barron Trump. I think Jack Dorsey knows if Twitter banned Alex Jones, Jones would win a lawsuit against them on that basis. It's also part of the reason why he won't ban President Trump.
Honestly, I think if Jones were to sue Facebook and YouTube in particular, he'd win based on these double standards whether they were private companies or not.
For example, even though Facebook has suspended far left feminists who posted "kill all men" and recently removed a video of Louis Farrakhan denouncing interracial marriage, the latter comes off as a thinly veiled attempt to deflect criticism.
YouTube is in a worse position than Facebook is, though. There are far left progressives who spout off more and worse "hate speech" against white people than Alex Jones has against any race or sexual orientation. Biggest example of this is a worthless turd named Gazi Kozdo. Dude sounds like Chris Tucker if Tucker was on crack cocaine and is a racist. The guy posts on YouTube and Facebook praising black supremacist cop killers Micah Xavier Johnson and Gavin Long as well as the four black scumbags in Chicago that held a white special needs man hostage because he might have been a supporter of President Trump. Kozdo also posts videos calling for violence against white people and compares white people to toilet seats, yet he doesn't get banned from either platform because he's black and he's gay. Which shows another double standard promoted by these social media sites.
Here's another interesting example: YouTuber Devon Tracey, who goes by the name Atheism is Unstoppable, is very pro-police, and has had his own problems with YouTube suspending his various channels in recent months(since he has been falsely accused of being a racist by quite a few YouTubers over the years), has posted videos outright blaming the YouTube channel The Young Turks and their hosts including Cenk Uyger, Ana Kasparian, Hasan Piker(who Devon refers to as "Brown Fabio"), Francis Maxwell(who looks and sounds like one of the guys from the one hit wonder band The Proclaimers), and comedian Jimmy Dore for partly inspiring Gavin Long to commit the murders of the Baton Rouge police officers. And in a form of inception, Long may have also inspired Micah Xavier Johnson to commit the murders of the Dallas police officers. Two days after the six Baton Rouge police officers were shot by Long, a caller to Scoot's show pointed out that Long used the term "Revenue and Blood" in his YouTube videos and using the reports after the Dallas police shooting that Johnson wrote the letters "R" and "B" in his own blood after the cops used a bomb to mortally wound him to stop the shooting, the caller suggested that Johnson may have been trying to write "Revenue" and "Blood" as some sort of sign.
Considering that TYT is partly funded by Al-Jazeera, which is basically the propaganda arm of the Qatari government, and has a partnership with the Fusion cable network(which is co-owned by Disney & Univision), should TYT be banned from YouTube for their alleged culpability in the attacks of police officers? Normally, I would say no on that particular basis, because at the end of the day, as someone who firmly believes in the idea of personal accountability, Gavin Long still chose to travel to Baton Rouge on a hot Sunday morning in July 2016 to murder three police officers and maim three other police officers. After all, as Andrew Ryan said, "A man chooses, a slave obeys."
However, since we're operating under the assumption that anything can now be considered "hate speech", criticizing the behavior of police officers is now a form of "hate speech". Especially considering that, in response to the shootings of the police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas as well as other attacks on police officers like in New York City, Louisiana passed a law, which Gov. John Bel Edwards signed, amending the state's existing hate crime legislation to make attacking a police officer just for being a police officer a hate crime. Therefore, yeah, TYT can be banned from YouTube like Infowars was because police officers are considered a protected class under Louisiana state law.
Although, this is a double-edged sword since the crazy far left addled with Trump Derangement Syndrome would turn around say that criticizing the actions of the FBI since Trump won the election(and the FBI's failure to prevent the Parkland school shooting) is "hate speech". But, if you like watching the (internet) world burn........
As I also said two years ago when Twitter banned Milo, the terms of service of these sites are supposed to be applied to all users, not just to the people you personally disagree with, and the terms of service should be enforced at all times, not just whenever you feel like it. If you're not going to enforce these rules all the time, then don't have them at all.
3) This is just continuing to push Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube into being left-wing echo chambers and Gab, Minds, Bitchute, Steemit, and DTube will be considered right wing echo chambers even though those sites are far more open to freedom of speech than Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have in the last few years. All it will do is just further radicalize people on either side.
Also, Facebook and Google thought this was a good idea, how? Especially considering that Facebook's and Twitter's stock took a big hit recently because they're losing users mostly because of their draconian rules. Blonde in the Belly of the Beast made an interesting point in a recent video called "The Real Reasons We're Sick of Social Media" that younger people are not using Facebook and Twitter as much as they used to because their parents and grandparents are also using those platforms, making both Facebook and Twitter uncool in the process. Banning Jones and Infowars will just drive their fans to whatever platform is willing to take them.
4) Game developer Mark "Grummz" Kern is right. This is a test by the far left ideologues to see if they can get away with this. And they smell blood right now. Vox Media almost immediately posted an article after Alex Jones and Infowars' bannings calling for other conservative journalists to be banned from these social media platforms, specifically naming Lauren Southern, Gavin MacInnes, Stefan Molyneux, Steven Crowder, Mark Dice, and at least a couple of others I forgot.
I also wonder if Alex Jones and Infowars' ban from Facebook and YouTube is a form of payback against conservatives Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec getting Disney to fire James Gunn from his job directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after the two dug up old tweets of Gunn's from around 2008 to 2010 making jokes about pedophilia because Gunn supported Disney owned ABC firing Roseanne Barr from her own sitcom and the Parkland Television Council's attacks on Laura Ingraham earlier this year. Even though the actors from the movie are trying to get Disney to rehire Gunn if Disney hasn't already rehired him as of this writing.
And once they ban all the conservatives, then what? They'll go after the centrists next. Even though Scoot works for WWL radio, which is owned by the media corporation Entercom, the far left ideologues running Facebook could ban him from there, saying that supporting gun rights is "hate speech".
Sadly, it may take the US government getting involved to protect the unalienable right of freedom of speech from these monopolistic corporations like Facebook, Google, Twitter, PayPal, and Stripe. Preferably, something like what Styxhexenhammer666 has often suggested, an Amendment to the US Constitution that expands the rights granted under the First and Fourth Amendments to internet usage. Otherwise, treating the social media sites as public utilities like water or electricity would be fair. Or even the FCC treating internet access like it's cable TV(you're paying for internet service, possibly from the same company that you get cable TV service from). Basically something where these sites can't legally deny services to anyone just because they said something these corporations or somebody else didn't like.
One last note: For the people who do agree with Facebook and YouTube's decision to ban Alex Jones and Infowars under the false pretense of "hate speech", here's something to think about. If you agree with Alex Jones being banned from Facebook and YouTube, but believe that the NFL players should be able to not stand for the US National Anthem without being punished by the league, then that makes you a hypocrite. Basically, if Facebook and YouTube can ban Alex Jones, then the NFL can ban any player that doesn't stand for the National Anthem.
But here's the flip side: It's also hypocrisy if you think Alex Jones should not be banned from those social media platforms, but that the NFL should be able to punish any player who refuses to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner. If Alex Jones can't be banned from social media, then the NFL can't ban any putrid pussy that kneels or sits for the National Anthem.
However, there is a major difference: the NFL players are employees of the NFL who operate under a collective bargaining agreement. Alex Jones is not considered an employee of those social media sites that banned him and Infowars. Again, YouTube may be in a more actionable situation than Facebook would be because YouTube has their own cable TV service, YouTubeTV. As I alluded to throughout this blog post, I think Jones would have an argument that his Fourteenth Amendment rights(not just his First Amendment rights, not to mention his Fifth Amendment & Sixth Amendment rights) are being violated by these internet services because they allow CNN, msnbc, Fox News, etc. to be on their platform with no consequences if they violate the terms of service of those sites.
Hmmmm........does that make YouTube similar to a public access channel?
It's a sad day for free speech advocates. And it's bound to get even worse before it gets better.
The controversy over NFL players kneeling during the US National Anthem has been the story that will not end for the National Football League and its fans. For the last two seasons, certain players have refused to stand for the Star Spangled Banner to protest against alleged racial inequality and the behavior of police officers in the line of duty.
However, after the NFL's TV ratings dropped last season in part due to the controversy, it appeared like the NFL would finally put the issue to rest. In May, the NFL owners approved a new policy giving players the option to stay in the locker room for the national anthem(like most college teams like LSU does with all its football players), but if the players set foot on the field for the national anthem, they would have to stand for the anthem or their team would be fined by the league and the offending player would face punishment by their team. No word on whether the policy only applied to the US national anthem or to the UK's and Mexico's as well(when the NFL plays games in London and Mexico City).
The new anthem policy sounded reasonable to me and every other rational thinking person. If a player doesn't want to stand for the national anthem, then they can just stay in the locker room until the coin toss.
Scoot from WWL Radio did make an interesting point when the policy was first announced that some fans' perception of the players wouldn't really change since the players that stayed in the locker room would get called out just as much as they would have if they came out and kneeled for the national anthem.
The only time I want to see someone taking a knee is if they're in the victory formation or if they're getting hit by Shinsuke Nakamura's Kinshasa, Daniel Bryan's running knee strike, Seth Rollins' Ripcord knee strike(the move he broke John Cena's nose with on Monday Night Raw in 2015), or Sasha Banks' Meteora. In fact, Kaepernick and the other kneeling players are lucky that they didn't become Joe Theismann to somebody's Lawrence Taylor. Or Darryl Stingley to somebody's Jack "The Assassin" Tatum.
Naturally, the NFL Players Association(the players' union) bitched about the new policy, whining that the owners didn't let them have any say in it, even filing a grievance against the league, claiming that the new policy was “inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player's rights.” But the NFL wussed out a couple of weeks ago when the NFL suspended enforcing the new anthem policy when it was reported that the Miami Dolphins planned to suspend any player not standing for the national anthem for up to 4 games(the maximum punishment the team owners can give to a player).
As I've said before, I don't see a moral difference between Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeling for the National Anthem and the Westboro Baptist Church protesting at funerals of fallen US soldiers. While both are protected by the First Amendment(the Westboro Baptist Church won in the US Supreme Court months before the video game industry's victory over California), the NFL players might not be as protected by the First Amendment as you would think.
Simply put, while the NFL players are protesting in a public forum during the National Anthem, they are doing it while they are in the workplace as employees of the NFL and its member teams. Remember that the First Amendment protects you from the local, state, or federal governments intruding on your freedom of speech and the NFL is not a government agency even if they get antitrust exemptions from the federal government or taxpayer money from local and state governments.
If you're going to argue that Twitter(or YouTube or Facebook) can ban Milo Yiannopolous, Sargon of Akkad, Owen Benjamin, Bunty King, Baked Alaska, or whoever else they want for whatever reason they pull out of their ass on the basis of the social media platform being a private company, then the NFL can fine or suspend any player that refuses to stand for the National Anthem and even force the players to stand for the National Anthem whether the players like it or not.
Yes, even with the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA. When the players agreed to the current CBA after a lockout in 2011, they basically let Commissioner Roger Goodell have free rein over punishments for violating Personal Conduct policy. Not only did Goodell get to hand out the punishment, he was the sole arbiter in the appeal process. Jonathan Vilma had to sue Goodell for defamation to force him to step aside in the appeal of his 1 year Bountygate suspension. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue heard the appeal and overturned the suspensions of all Saints players (Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith(who was killed in a road rage shooting in 2016), and Scott Fujita).
I think the only reason I can see why the NFL backed down and agreed to set the policy aside for a few weeks for the owners and players to hash it out is that the NFLPA threatened to go on strike and Goodell and the team owners were afraid that the players would follow through. However, I do not see a work stoppage happening this season over the NFL's new National Anthem policy. While a work stoppage over this issue would further damage the NFL's popularity, I think a work stoppage would actually hurt the players worse than the owners even if the owners instigated the work stoppage first. The owners would be seen even more as the good guys by the majority of the fans of the league(especially if the NFLPA went on strike over the Anthem policy) and forcing the players to stand for the National Anthem would bring the fans that left the NFL because of Anthemgate back to the TV screens. The NFLPA would pretty much lose all of their bargaining chips when it comes time to renew their collective bargaining agreement.
I'll reiterate: the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell had two options before them in 2016 that would have immediately shut the controversy down, but did neither:
a) suspend Colin Kaepernick indefinitely under the personal conduct policy for conduct detrimental to the league until he agreed to stand for the National Anthem or....
b) give the Dallas Cowboys permission to wear a helmet decal honoring the five Dallas police officers murdered by a racist black supremacist at a Black Lives Matter rally the month before. (A racist black supremacist who may have been inspired by another racist black supremacist who murdered three Baton Rouge police officers a week later who in turn may have been inspired by The Young Turks YouTube channel)
The NFL's refusal to take a definite stand on whether its players should have to stand for the National Anthem has damaged the NFL worse than any other controversy in the last 10 years combined. Spygate, Bountyscam, Deflategate, you name it, Anthemgate is worse than all of them put together.
And if Roger Goodell won't take that stand, then maybe it's time the NFL fires his worthless ass and replaces him with someone else who will.
On Wednesday, June 27th(the seventh anniversary of the SCOTUS decision in Brown v. EMA that ruled that fake "violent" video games are protected free speech under the First & Fourteenth Amendments), US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy officially announced his retirement from the bench about a month after it was reported that he was considering stepping down after 30 years on the bench.
After Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016, Kennedy was left as the most senior justice on the Supreme Court since his appointment by President Ronald Reagan and Senate confirmation in 1988(after Reagan's previous two appointments, the first being Robert Bork, were rejected by the Senate over their being far too conservative; In fact, I came to find out years ago that Bork would have been astronomically terrible for free speech rights). With Kennedy retiring, that now makes Justice Clarence Thomas as the longest tenured justice on the Supreme Court(he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 1991).
And since Kennedy was seen as more moderate, siding with the conservative members of the Court on some cases and the more liberal Justices on other cases, the Supreme Court will likely shift further to the right with whomever President Donald Trump ends up selecting as Kennedy's replacement. And as I said last year when Neil Gorsuch was appointed and confirmed as Scalia's replacement, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for it. But I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself.
Both sides are being hypocritical with their thoughts on when Kennedy's replacement should join the Supreme Court. Trump would further cement himself as a hypocrite if he appoints another solid conservative because he had said on the campaign trail that the Supreme Court should be a balanced court. Two years ago when Scalia died, the Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked any attempt to hold hearings to confirm President Barack Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland using the excuse of "It's an election year, let the next President make the appointment", ignoring that Kennedy was appointed and confirmed in an election year as well as a very recent Justice as I'll explain in a bit.
As I pointed out before in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, McConnell & the other GOP Senators did that for purely political reasons as they were afraid that Garland or anyone else Obama or Hillary Clinton picked to replace Antonin Scalia would have shifted the ideological balance of the US Supreme Court from center-right to center-left.* It was also a big gamble on McConnell's part that succeeded when Trump won the White House and the GOP kept control of both houses of Congress.
Now the Republicans are going to go through with quickly confirming Kennedy's replacement once Trump names him or her even though this year is an election year by saying that "we meant a Presidential election year". But the Democrats are being equally hypocritical by claiming that the GOP should wait until after the midterm elections in November to vote on Kennedy's replacement like they did with Scalia's replacement in 2016. Especially since the Democrats previously have had no problem with voting on Supreme Court appointments during election years.
Back in 2010(which was a midterm election year), when Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court, Obama appointed Elena Kagan to replace him, and the appointment was confirmed by the Democrat controlled Senate with some Republicans also voting to confirm Kagan because it didn't affect the ideological balance of the court.
However, the GOP holds all the cards in this high stakes poker game because the Democrats handed those cards to them. When Trump named Neil Gorsuch as Scalia's replacement shortly after his inauguration, the Democrats led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stupidly chose to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination even when they knew that Gorsuch didn't have the 60 votes needed at the time for confirmation. But all that filibuster did was allow the GOP to change the rules to make it where Supreme Court Justice nominees only needed a simple majority of 51 votes to confirm the appointment. It made it much easier for Trump to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court and by fighting Gorsuch, the Democrats basically forfeited this fight to replace Anthony Kennedy or a future fight to replace the ancient Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Gorsuch won confirmation by a vote of 54-45 with 3 Democrats voting for Gorsuch because they are up for re-election this year in states that voted heavily for Trump in 2016, though 1 Republican was unable to vote.
Even though the GOP only has 51 senators and there are at least 3 GOP senators that may not vote for the confirmation of Kennedy's replacement(Jeff Flake of Arizona because he hates Trump although he's retiring when his term expires at the end of the year, and both Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine because they're both pro-abortion and are afraid that Kennedy's replacement will ultimately help overturn Roe v. Wade), those same three Democrats(Jim Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and some guy from West Virginia that I forgot the name of) may end up being forced to vote for the confirmation of Kennedy's replacement as they attempt to stay in office. Even if Heitkamp votes against Kennedy's replacement as Trump said he thinks she would at a rally in South Dakota the night of Kennedy's retirement, if the other two Democrats that voted to confirm Gorsuch votes for Kennedy's replacement, it might allow Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie vote depending on if John McCain's health would allow him to vote.
And even if Trump's pick to replace Kennedy fails to get the 51 votes needed for confirmation, he and the GOP can then turn around and blame the Democrats for the failed vote, further galvanizing the GOP's conservative base. And the Democrats are already on very shaky ground as it stands right now.
Before the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day, the Democrats held a 15 point lead over the GOP in the midterm polls. Since then, the lead the Democrats once enjoyed has completely disappeared and now the Republicans lead those polls, opening the door for the GOP to not only maintain control of both houses of Congress, but regain seats in the Senate(in part because most of the Senate seats in play this year are Democrats up for re-election).
A big part of why the Democrats lost their lead in those polls is because the two biggest issues being pushed right now, gun control and immigration reform, are the two major issues that Democrats regularly lose on. In fact, partly because of the Democrats & the news media's continued Roman Reigns/John Cena style push of the Parkland cult, support for gun control in the US has actually fallen since the Parkland shooting. It also doesn't help when Hollywood pushes blatant anti-gun propaganda on TV shows like Arrow and Supergirl. Plus, Trump won the 2016 Presidential election in part because he specifically pushed for immigration reform(building a wall on the border with Mexico among other things). Also, going against President Trump has hurt politicians on both sides. In the primary elections, several anti-Trump politicians lost to pro-Trump challengers, especially in states that Trump won in the 2016 election. For example, in South Carolina, Katie Arrington(who is currently recovering from a car crash she was recently in) defated the incumbent Congressman in the Republican primary for that House seat. It shows that Donald Trump is more popular than he is being given credit for in the polls.
As I said before, the Democrats have let far left ideologues dictate their policy and their behavior.** As Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock told Dave Rubin, the Democrats shifted away from moderate New York liberalism to militant San Francisco regressive liberalism. As such, the Democrats have alienated moderates and independents far more than the GOP have. And it continues to show that the Democrats didn't learn a damn thing from their loss in 2016. Instead, they chose to double down on the same bullshit that cost them in 2016 and it will cost them in 2018.
*- I still think that Garland would be on the Supreme Court right now if HIllary Clinton had won because the Republican Senators would have confirmed him just to keep Hillary from getting to pick Scalia's replacement.
**- When Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters call for Democrat supporters to harass people that work in the Trump administration on the streets like what happened recently with the Homeland Security director and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Democrat supporters like Peter Fonda suggest that the President's 12 year old son be kidnapped, put in a cage, and raped by pedophiles, it just shows rational thinking people how unhinged scumbags like Mad Maxine and Fonda(who probably defended Roman Polanski) really are. And makes those same rational thinking people more likely to vote against idiots like her. Another reason why Trump won in 2016 and will likely win again in 2020.
Also note that Peter Fonda probably was NOT banned from Twitter even though he directly advocated for violence against the First Lady and the 12 year old son of the current US President.
June 27th, 2018 will mark the seventh anniversary of the US Supreme Court's decision in Brown(originally Schwarzenegger) v. Entertainment Merchants Association(EMA) & Entertainment Software Association(ESA). A quick reminder of what SCOTUS led by the late Justice Antonin Scalia ruled and made the law of the land in the United States:
-Video games are free speech under the First Amendment
-Video games can NOT be treated differently than any other form of entertainment like movies, TV, or music under the Fourteenth Amendment
-Fake "violent" content in all forms of entertainment is exempt from US obscenity laws, thus can NOT be treated the same as sexual content
-People under 18 have a First Amendment right to view free speech with or without parental permission as long as the material in question is not judged to be obscene
In previous Brown v. EMA anniversary posts, I posted about:
- how the video game industry left it up to the gaming community in debating fake "violent" video games against the news media & the so-called parent advocacy groups, leaving us gamers high & dry in the process (Two part post in 2013)
- how the gaming community started fighting amongst ourselves during Gamergate (2015)
- how the ship sailed on legislation against fake "violent" video games because of the SCOTUS decision, the entertainment industry having the video game industry's back, fake "violent" content in entertainment not being the major issue it once was, politicians having bigger issues to worry about, & the virtual impossibility of overturning a SCOTUS decision or amending the US Constitution (Two part post in 2016)
- how the mainstream corporate legacy tabloid trash news media shifted its focus away from fake "violent" video games and towards the internet and especially YouTube because they've become the bigger threat to the media conglomerates' bottom line (Last year)
I've probably mentioned before that GamePolitics.com founder Dennis McCauley once posted a theory he had about the media's coverage of mass shootings and its relationship to video games. The theory is that if a mass shooter turns out to be younger than 30 years old, the more likely the news media and the politicians will scapegoat fake "violent" video games. Even though the average age of a person playing video games is currently around 35 years old.
After two major school shootings about three months apart earlier this year(the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day and the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas around the Houston/Galveston area on May 18th), that theory has come to pass. Politicians are starting to try to make fake "violent" video games an issue again, though the hysteria is being pushed much more by people on the right wing than by people on the left wing. Even then, the conservative far right are still trying to shift the false blame for mass shootings away from the guns that the far left have been equally falsely blaming.
Since the shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas last October that killed 58 people and wounded over 500(becoming the largest mass shooting ever in the United States) and the shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas a month later, the far left & Z-list Hollywood celebrities have ratcheted up their false blame of guns to include falsely blaming the National Rifle Association, the largest lobbyist for gun rights in the US. Not to mention TV shows like Arrow and Supergirl have done episodes that were nothing more than pushing anti-gun propaganda.
And since the Parkland shooting, the far left have been hiding behind five scumbag students of Stoneman Douglas(calling any of those five "survivors" is an insult to the students and teachers that had to actually dodge bullets that day)*. acting no different than the Parents Television Council when they hide behind children to justify censorship of the entertainment media. I don't really see a difference between the five Parkland students and the Westboro Baptist Church. Then again, I don't see much of a difference between scumbag Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players kneeling during the playing of the US National Anthem and the Westboro Baptist Church's protests at the funerals of fallen US soldiers. But getting back on track, all both sides are really doing is nothing more than shifting the blame away from the shooters themselves.
Granted, the conservatives, the NRA, and even President Trump(hypocrite that he is with his ties to WWE) weren't just falsely blaming fake "violent" video games, they were trying to falsely blame everything other than the shooters. This was very apparent after the Santa Fe school shooting. New NRA chairman Oliver North blamed Ritalin(which is medication prescribed to younger children to treat attention deficit/hyper-activity disorders). In an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolos 2 days after the Santa Fe school shooting, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick blamed abortion along with the usual scapegoats, making the claim that people no longer have any respect for life itself. Several conservative pundits like Ben Shapiro were blaming the news media by arguing that cable news channels were creating copycats with their coverage of mass shootings(the Santa Fe shooter allegedly studied the Columbine shooting in particular), which I've mentioned several times before starting with Roger Ebert claiming in his review of the movie Elephant that he made that same argument the day after Columbine in an interview with NBC Nightly News that producers wouldn't use because it didn't fit the narrative they wanted to push(even though Ebert & his movie reviewing partner Gene Siskel hated slasher movies like the Friday the 13th series to the point of calling for boycotts of the original Friday the 13th movie and being critical of star Betsy Palmer over her appearance in the movie). A crazy Tennessee congresswoman named Diane Black even tried to falsely blame pornography and made the asinine statement that porn was sold in every grocery store. Last time I checked, Wal-Mart didn't sell Playboy(which isn't really porn to begin with), Penthouse, or Hustler. Wait, was she talking about Cosmopolitian, Vogue, or GQ? Or even Soaps in Depth(the last soap opera magazine in existence)?
Wonder what conservatives would say if a school shooter claimed that the Bible made them shoot up their school? The Bible does have violent content in it. The conservatives(especially if they're Christian) are quick to whine about how fake "violent" video games, movies, and television shows "glorify" violence, yet they worship an organized religion that arguably just as much "glorifies" the brutal torture, death, & resurrection of its eponymous savior.
What these so-called conservatives fail to realize is that if it is not fair to falsely blame guns and the NRA for mass shootings, then it is equally not fair to falsely blame fake "violent" video games and movies for those same mass shootings. While I support the 2nd Amendment like these conservatives, I don't believe that the 2nd Amendment trumps the 1st Amendment in any way(pun completely intended). I don't believe that we should be sacrificing our 1st Amendment rights at the altar of the 2nd Amendment.
As I've mentioned before, it has been pointed out that older people, especially Baby Boomers, were more likely to believe that bullshit theory of fake "violent" media 'causing' real-world violence than younger people do, especially people that grew up playing video games like Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. However, the news media focuses more on those older people(the median age of the average viewer of a cable news channel like Fox News, CNN, & MSNBC is over 60 years old), while the entertainment industry focuses more on younger audiences with more disposable income, specifically in the 18-to-49 year old range. Even though, as I've also pointed out before, younger people are shifting away from television towards the internet and YouTube.
Even with President Trump and the US Department of Education's committee on school safety trying to falsely blame fake "violent" video games for the recent school shootings, what exactly are they expecting to accomplish? The US Supreme Court basically slammed the door on any attempt at legislation and as I've pointed out recently, if Trump thinks the US Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage was "settled law" in his eyes, then the US Supreme Court's decision that fake "violent" video games are protected free speech under the 1st & 14th Amendments is also settled law.
I even think the US Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. EMA would strike down any attempts to tax fake "violent" video games like some idiot politician in Rhode Island suggested after the Parkland shooting(it isn't the first time some blistering idiots have suggested such a "sin tax" and probably won't be the last). Legislation that would attempt to impose such a tax on fake "violent" video games violates the 1st Amendment as it is based on both the perceived "violent" content of the game and what the government defines as "violence" and not the sale of the game(which is already being taxed through regular federal, state, and local sales taxes), and it also violates the 14th Amendment as it only targets video games and not movies, TV show box sets, music, or even books(especially the Bible and the Quran).
Recently, Valve pulled a game called Active Shooter from Steam, although it wasn't necessarily because of the content of the game in question, but because the guy offering the game was known to be a troll.
The game drew controversy and media attention because the game was about a fictional school shooting and kind of like multiplayer games where you could choose to play either as standard military or as a terrorist, in this game, you could choose to play as the SWAT team or as the school shooter.
My take on this subject is simple. First, Steam should never have pulled the game off the platform to begin with. Just because something is in poor taste does not mean that it shouldn't exist. I've pointed out before that any publicity is good publicity even if it is bad publicity. I said numerous times before that if Jack Thompson didn't complain about Bully so much and call it a "Columbine simulator" when there was no information about the game at the time(and when there was, it turned out that there were no guns in the game other than one that fired potatoes and the game itself was really nothing more than a modern-day version of Dennis The Menace), it probably wouldn't have sold as well as it did and probably wouldn't have gotten a re-release called "Scholarship Edition" a few years later.
Second, how are video games expected to mature as an entertainment medium and as high art(video games are already a form of art to begin with) if certain subject matter is forbidden of the industry? We need to quit acting like video games are somehow only for kids when adults play video games just as much or even more than people under 18 do. YouTuber Liana Kerzner pointed out in videos after the Parkland shooting that were critical of President Trump's stance on video games that more adult women play video games today than teenage boys do. Because it's getting close to 50 years since Pong's commercial release, more people have grown up playing video games over the last three generations and I think it's safe to assume that parents are buying the games just as much for them as they are for their own children.
Lastly, if a TV show, whether they're older shows like One Tree Hill or NUMB3RS or current shows like Chicago PD, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, or Riverdale**, can use a school shooting as a plotline for an episode, then a video game should be able to do the same.
The people that did the most whining about the Active Shooter game are the same people that have profitted or are currently profitting off the deaths of their loved ones in school shootings or other mass shootings(for example, Columbine victim Rachel Scott's family had a religious movie made about her). I find that to be more reprehensible than a fake "violent" video game exploring a school shooting.
Although this started before the two major school shootings, an idiot politician in Hawaii made news in recent months by pushing for legislation against lootboxes in video games because people complained about them in the game Star Wars Battlefront 2.
A lootbox is basically a package you get that contains random items(gee, it sounds almost like it's no different than opening a treasure chest in a role playing game). What makes this issue different from the idiot politicians whining about the fake "violent" content in video games is that this particular idiot from Hawaii is trying to claim that buying a lootbox is somehow a form of "gambling".
Recently, WVUE Fox 8 in New Orleans did a story about the lootboxes, and a law professor at Tulane University basically made the same argument I made to Razorfist on Twitter when he posted a video about Belgium passing a law against lootboxes. If buying a lootbox in a video game is "gambling", then so is buying a pack of baseball cards. You know you're getting baseball cards, but you don't know which players you're getting in that pack. Buying a bag of Starburst is also "gambling". You know you're getting Starburst, but you don't know how many pieces there are in the bag or how many pieces of each of the four flavors is in that bag. Maybe there's more cherry Starburst in the bag than strawberry Starburst, maybe there's more lemon Starburst than orange Starburst.
In fact, anything you do in life is a gamble. When you cook a meal, you're gambling that the ingredients you use are fresh and that you're cooking the meal at the right temperture. When you drive a car whether it's to work, school, a dinner date, a movie theater, or even the grocery store, you're gambling that the car doesn't break down or that you don't get hit by another car(especially when distracted driving has become a bigger issue than driving under influence of drugs or alcohol***).
Hell, going to school is now a gamble since you don't know if one of your classmates or an outsider will snap one day and turn your school into the next Columbine or the next Sandy Hook. But that's now become the new normal. I think it's fair to say that school shootings are now part and parcel of living a free society if idiots like London mayor Sadiq Khan and French President Emmanuel Macron expect us to believe that Islamic terrorism is part and parcel of living in a free society(which in itself is highly ironic on Khan's part since the United Kingdom has become a totalitarian police state in the last several years as British law enforcement & British politicians care way too much about what British citizens say on social media than about either the Muslim rape gangs roaming British streets because the officers & politicians are afraid of looking like "racists" or the fact that London now has a higher crime rate than New York City).
It appears to me that the whole controversy over lootboxes in video games is nothing more than politicians looking for a different reason to regulate sales of video games since the US courts including the US Supreme Court struck down every attempt by individual states to regulate sales based on the "violent" content in the games.
It also comes off looking like that Hawaiian moron wants to redefine what gambling means. So what is gambling? It's putting money down to attempt to win more money. Comparing buying a lootbox in a video game to playing a slot machine at a casino, playing in the World Series of Poker, betting on the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby, buying a Powerball ticket, or even buying a scratch-off ticket is like comparing apples to uranium.
If the lootboxes involved more real money(for example, paying $10 for a chance at making $100 in real money), then the argument that it's a form of gambling would make more sense. However, if the lootboxes are only offering random items or even in-game currency that can only be used within that particular game(for example, Simoeleons in a Sims game, Munny in a Kingdom Hearts game, Zenny in a Capcom game), then that doesn't fit the definition of gambling.****
All I can say is keep fighting the good fight. Even though it seems like the politicians are trying to make it an issue again, they come off looking stupid when us gamers point out the cold hard facts the politicians don't want the public to know about. Because the politicians should face the facts that fake "violent" video games were not and never were a problem to begin with. The real problem is the lack of parental involvement in their children's lives and the lack of respect for personal responsibility and personal accountability in society.
*-Has anyone else noticed that you hear far more from the Parkland students(to the point of violent physical illness) than from the Santa Fe students. But it couldn't be because those dumbass Parkland students are more anti-gun than the Santa Fe students were, right? Nah..............
**- I know Riverdale hasn't done a school shooting episode yet(though they've had violence at Riverdale High and there was a reference to Jughead threatening to burn down the elementary school because of bullies as a kid), but I don't think the other shows I've referenced have either. I'm just using current shows as an example to point out a double standard.
***-With more states decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana for recreational use & for medical purposes, it isn't just drunk driving people have to worry about, but people driving stoned. Not to mention that with the issue with opioids, people could be driving under the influence of those drugs as well. Maybe it's time for Mothers Against Drunk Driving to change their name to Mothers Against Impaired Driving? Or even spin a organization off of MADD that focuses on other forms of driving while impaired if MADD hasn't done that already?
****-This doesn't take into account that the US Supreme Court recently legalized sports betting in every state, overturning a federal law that limited the practice to only in Nevada. That decision may play as much of or a bigger factor into attempts to legislate lootboxes in video games than the decision in Brown v. EMA would.
Gun Debate Hypocrisy: The Growing Backlash Against the Parkland Television Council
In my last blog, I pointed out the hypocrisy on both sides of the debate over the Second Amendment since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida between the right's continued whining over fake "violent" video games & the left's whining over guns.
In the last month, there was even more stupidity from the main five students being the most vocal advocates for gun control and I've already reached my breaking point with the tabloid trash mainstream news media's coverage of the shooting and the students.
So, around Easter weekend, scumbag David Hogg went after Fox News host Laura Ingraham over Ingraham's reaction on Twitter over an interview Hogg did with a reporter from TMZ where he complained about not getting into certain colleges he applied to during the school year. Pulling a page from the Parents Television Council's playbook, he tweeted a list of companies that advertised on Ingraham's Fox News show and he and his sycophant lapdogs got the majority of them to pull their ads. While Ingraham did apologize to the idiot, he refused to accept her apology because he felt she was only apologizing because she was losing ad revenue.
My thoughts on this are simple. For someone who complained about his school violating his First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights because they were requiring him and all the other students to use see-through backpacks, Hoggwash had no problem trying to silence Laura Ingraham and restrict her First Amendment rights because he got butthurt over a tweet.
I agree with Bill Maher that the actions against Laura Ingraham were and is a form of bullying. While those actions are free speech, by using the same tactics that the Parents Television Council uses, it shows a lack of respect for freedom of speech and the First Amendment. Not only is Hogg being perceived as anti-Second Amendment, he's now seen as anti-First Amendment.
Recently, there was yet another student-led walkout of schools across the county this past Friday(April 20th) on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre. While the Parkland Five weren't the ringleaders(some idiot from Connecticut was), they were still being shoved down the American people's throats like WWE does with Roman Reigns & John Cena before him. Fortune magazine put them number one on a list of influential figures or some bullshit like that ahead of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oprah Winfrey, and even outgoing New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Remember how I said that the American people's sympathy is not infinite? I'm at that point. Cue up the Phil Collins song "I Don't Care Anymore".
The first walkout was enough to make their point. This walkout was just redundant and all the students are doing is turning the American people against them. As I've said, they've galvanized gun rights activists and the GOP's voter base by attacking the National Rifle Association.
And it's gotten ridiculous at this point. It's been two months since the shooting and I'm sick of hearing about Parkland, I'm sick of hearing about Columbine, and I'm sick of hearing about Sandy Hook.
And I'm sick of seeing vultures who prey on not just on the dead, but the living as well, trying to make blood money off of mass shootings(and unfortunately, that even includes the families of the victims of these shootings) more than Nashville country music recording artists have on the September 11th terrorist attacks.
In the last month since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, there's been so much hypocrisy coming from both sides outside of the standard Blame Game mentality.
Let's start at the top with President Donald Trump and his false blame of fake "violent" video games. President Trump has no credibility at all when he talks about fake "violent" video games when he contiunes to maintain friendly ties with Vince McMahon and WWE, which, as I've stated numerous times in the past, was also falsely blamed for "causing" violent behavior in teenagers & children. Those ties that bind Trump & McMahon include Trump's enshrinement in the WWE Hall of Fame, making Vince's wife Linda McMahon part of his Cabinet as the head of the Small Business Administration, as well as making a cameo appearance in the violent family-friendly movie "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York". Also, because WWE does help produce a video game every year with 2K Games, it creates the appearance that Trump is indirectly blaming WWE for the Parkland school shooting.
Trump's summit with the video game industry on March 8th looked like a total joke from my perspective. For starters, look at who was invited. Besides the people running the ESRB & ESA(and the White House actually misgendered ESRB head Patricia Vance, referring to her as "Mister"), also getting invites were....
-three Republicans in Congress including Florida US Sen. Marco Rubio(who Trump called "Little Marco" during the Presidential campaign)
-a representative from the Parents Television Council(as I've also mentioned numerous times in the past, the group had to pay WWE $3.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit over the aforementioned false blame of WWE over the Lionel Tate case)
-Media Research Center head Brent Bozell(who founded the PTC in the mid-90s and ran the group concurrently with the MRC for about ten or so years)
-retired Army Lt. Colonel David Grossman(what, Jack Thompson, the guy who stole Grossman's shtick, was somehow unavailable? I've also stated in the past how Grossman is a proven liar and has been irrevelant in the discussion over fake "violent" video games since the early 2000s)
And what did this closed door meeting actually accomplish? Absolutely nothing, just like Obama & Biden's summit with the video game industry after Sandy Hook. In fact, I've noticed that there was little to no mainstream news media coverage of this summit. Not to mention that there's a post on Twitter by a gamer that stated that Sen. Rubio has defended the video game industry and doesn't blame the industry for Parkland, so it seems to me that "Little Marco" has actually shown more testicular fortitude than President Trump has in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting.
Let's also talk about President Trump's double standard on guns. After the shooting, Trump surprised people including his own base by pushing for restrictions on gun ownership, speciifcally bans on "bump stocks"(devices that modify a gun to fire automatically) and raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21(which is already the minimum age to buy a pistol) while also calling for improving and expanding background checks.
President Trump has also talked about allowing teachers to be armed if they've been trained previously in handling firearms. While I agree with the principle of the idea that if somebody had the opportunity to shoot back, there might not have been as many casualities(and this has been a talking point since Columbine), I think arming the teachers themselves should be a last resort. In his book "Do I Stand Alone?: Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns & Media Jackals", former Minnesota governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura had a great, maybe better, idea where the custodians/janitors could be that well-trained guy that could shoot back.
After a closed door meeting with the National Rifle Association(which is still NOT & NEVER was a "terrorist organization" no matter how many times the far left, Z-List Hollywood celebutards, or even the survivors of mass shootings call them that), it seems like President Trump has backtracked on raising the age requirement, as well as on another statement he made about allowing law enforcement to take guns away from people deemed a "safety risk" before the courts get a chance to make that determination(which would violate the US Constitution's guarantee of due process under the law).
However, I think this has actually hurt President Trump more than it has helped him. If this was a four-dimensional chess move to undercut the Democrats, it didn't work. All it's done was alienate his own base outside of the evangelicals. The part of his base that unequivacally support the Second Amendment who have felt like they've been under attack since Parkland especially felt alienated by Trump's actions. At least one person called into Scoot's WWL radio show and said he will not vote for President Trump's re-election in 2020 over the comments about taking guns away from people before the courts determine that person is truly a safety risk. And as I've mentioned in the last blog, Trump's comments on fake "violent" video games may have alienated Generation Z and the other younger voters who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 because of her own anti-video game behavior.
Maybe the weirdest part in all this is that the video game journalists that turned on the industry itself and the gaming community during Gamergate are now defending the industry and fake "violent" video games. Even Anita Sarkessian herself has apparently done a 180 and is now defending fake "violent" video games because of President Trump blaming the industry for the Parkland shooting.
I wonder if this is genuine or it's because they all have Trump Derangement Syndrome? The enemy(video games) of their enemy(President Trump) is now their friend again all of a sudden?
I don't know, but something tells me if Hillary Clinton had won the Presidency in 2016 and she said the exact same things President Trump has said about fake "violent" video games in aftermath of Parkland, I think Anita and them would have still sided with Hillary over the industry.
Ultimately, I still think us gamers have nothing to worry about. As I've said before, the Supreme Court gave the video game industry a neverending invincibility star. However, I think some YouTubers like Mundane Matt have tended to miss the most important parts of the US Supreme Court's ruling in the Brown v. EMA case. Specifically, the parts of the ruling that say that video games are also protected under the Fourteenth Amendment and that fake "violent" content in entertainment is exempt from obscenity laws.
And here's one last point to show President Trump's hypocrisy on fake "violent" video games. On CBS' 60 Minutes the weekend after he won the Presidential election, President-elect Trump was asked by CBS reporter Lesley Stahl about the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and his response was that the decision was "settled law". If the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage is "settled law" in President Trump's eyes and if the Supreme Court's decisions in Heller v. District of Columbia & McDonald v. Chicago are also "settled law" in the eyes of conservatives and supporters of the Second Amendment, then the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. EMA should also be "settled law" in their eyes like it is to us gamers.
Then again, that may be wishful thinking since conservatives don't think the Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade or Engel v. Vitale is "settled law".
Now, let's move on the survivors of the Parkland school shooting as well as the high school students who have sided with them since the shooting.
After the shooting, the survivors and their allies started going after the NRA in earnest, including getting several companies to stop offering discounted rates to NRA members. The mayor of Dallas, Texas has said that the NRA should not hold its annual convention there this year, although I haven't heard anything else related to that.
However, all it's really done is galvanize the organization and their membership. Especially after NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch received death threats from members of the audience during the allegedly scripted CNN town hall meeting with the survivors of the Parkland shooting. Also, several people who let their NRA membership lapse paid the $40 to rejoin the group for at least a year.
As I said in my last blog, this "With Us or Against Us" mentality that's been voiced by certain survivors of the Parkland shooting doesn't really help their cause and just makes people lose whatever amount of empathy they may have had for them. It just shows the world that they ultimately don't want to find common ground with their opponents. But the survivors should recognize that by putting themselves out there and with the tabloid trash corporate legacy news media turning them into celebrities just as much as the news media has turned the mass shooters themselves into celebrities in the past, they've become public figures open to criticism. There's now no difference between them & the (mostly Republican) politicians they complain about.
While the NRA claims to have 5 million people in their membership, the actual number of NRA members cannot be accurately determined by the amount of money the organization makes because while an annual membership is $40, someone could pay $1,500 to be a lifetime member of the NRA. Two lifetime memberships equal 75 annual memberships. And the NRA also gets private donations just like any other political group or charity, receiving $20 million from one person in 2016.
Also, history has shown that the NRA has had significant increases in their membership rolls following a mass shooting. In 2007, the NRA saw its membership revenue triple after the Virginia Tech shooting, and their membership rose 63% in 2013 after Sandy Hook.
Although, gun sales have actually fallen since President Trump took office because unlike when Barack Obama was President, there's no real or perceived threat of firearms being banned.
In a statement about the companies pulling their sponsorships from the NRA, the organization said, “The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failure of both federal and local law enforcement.”
While I agree with the NRA here, especially about the failures of the FBI, the Broward County Sheriff's Office, and even the school itself, they ultimately brought this onto themselves by falsely blaming fake "violent" entertainment after Sandy Hook. Remember what I said about alienating the younger generations? The NRA now knows what it feels like to be falsely blamed for something they never had any responsibility for to begin with. Maybe Wayne LaPierre should be offering engraved apologies to the video game industry and Hollywood for the false blame he and other NRA members have put upon them since Sandy Hook.
If it is not fair to blame guns for mass shootings, then it is equally not fair to blame fake "violent" entertainment like video games, movies, TV, & music.
On March 14th, one month after the Parkland shooting, high school students across the United States staged a walkout of their classrooms for 17 minutes to protest gun violence and honor the victims of the shooting. And this past Saturday(March 24th), some of those students went to Washington, DC to participate in a march organized by those survivors of the Parkland shooting for the same purpose.
The gun rights advocates outright criticized the protesting students for walking out of class, but as Scoot pointed out on his show that afternoon, if the students had walked out of class to protest against abortion and Planned Parenthood, the same people criticizing the students for walking out of the classrooms would be cheering them on instead.
However, the so-called "March For Our Lives"(or "March For Our Deaths" as it really should have been called) looked no different than the so-called "Women's March" the day after President Trump's inauguration. Yet another far left feel-good festival to justify their own hatred for the other side.
Scoot seems to think that there are similarities between the students' protests against the political establishment over gun control & safety at school since the Parkland shooting and the students' protests against the political establishment over civil rights & the Vietnam War in 1960s & 70s. There might be, but I see one major difference between then & now. The protesters were more peaceful in the past. Back then, there was more violent pushback by the establishment against the protesters(for example, Kent State). Now, it seems like the protesters advocate for violence against the establishment or against people that dare to disagree with their beliefs.
As I've said in the past, people should be able to speak out without fear of being falsely and myopicly labeled or even physically assaulted just because someone didn't like what that person said. Being free to speak openly about any topic at any time without the fear of being persecuted or even prosecuted for their honest opinion allows society to stay civilized and functional. If that fear of persecution is allowed to exist, then people can only express their opposition with anger and hatred, which eventually could lead to violence.
Since Columbine, both sides, whether they're advocates for gun control or gun rights, have used the tragic mass shootings like Sandy Hook & Parkland to advance their agendas. However, just as it is not fair to judge all gun rights advocates whether they're a member of the NRA or not by the more fanatical members of the group, it is equally not fair to judge all gun control advocates by the more fanatical members of that group.
But I think both sides are missing the point. Gun control advocates need to quit acting like human beings somehow don't need to protect themselves or their families & friends anymore. The failures of the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff's Office that could have prevented the Parkland shooting proves that point. And the "dream" of a "gun-free world" will be just that, a dream. Gun rights advocates need to quit acting like they have to sacrifice the First Amendment rights of an entire industry and the group of people who actually enjoy the products of said industry to justify keeping their Second Amendment rights unmolested. The US Supreme Court put the kibosh on that in June 2011. But above all else, both sides need to QUIT PLAYING THE FUCKING BLAME GAME!!
That means no more falsely blaming fake "violent" video games. No more falsely blaming guns. No more falsely blaming the National Rifle Association. No more falsely blaming the video game industry. No more falsely blaming Hollywood. And no more falsely blaming everything other than the person who pulled the trigger for a mass shooting just because it makes you feel good about yourself because you somehow feel guilt for something you never had control over.
Another day, yet another school shooting, this time at a high school in Parkland, Florida(near Fort Lauderdale) on Valentine's Day. It was the most fatalities in a school shooting since the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
You could almost use a stopwatch to see how long it would take for the ignorantly insane morons on both ends of the political spectrum to politicize the tragedy and blame everything else other than the shooter himself. After all, it's not the FBI's fault they blew not one but TWO opportunities to potentially stop the attack months before it actually happened(which in itself was part of a spectacular clusterfuck of failure in which a Broward County sheriff's deputy/school resource officer did respond to the call of an active shooter and didn't even go into the school to stop the gunman). And it's also not the shooter's fault that he chose to join a white nationalist militia to get military style training. Or that he chose to go to a school he was expelled from, pull the fire alarm, and murder 17 people. It's somehow the gun's fault even though it's an inanimate object. It's the fake "violent" video games he may or may not have played, even though there's no evidence as of this writing(started on Feb. 16th) that the shooter actually played video games to begin with.
It is insanely idiotic and insanely laughable for Kentucky governor Matt Bevin(where a fatal school shooting happened last month) to say after the Florida school shooting that an "honest conversation on violent video games and movies needs to happen."
It would be nice to have that "honest" discussion. Unforunately, the lying scumbags that want to trample on the First Amendment and ban fake "violent" video games don't want an honest discussion and NEVER wanted one to begin with. If that honest discussion were to happen, the people who defend video games like myself would win that debate hands down. We gamers would expose these hypocrites for the liars they truly are. Wouldn't even take any longer than two hours.
The politicians, the so-called family advocacy groups like the Parents Television Council & Common Sense Media that hide behind children to justify their censorious views, & the tabloid trash corporate legacy mainstream news media with their bubble headed bleached blonde newscasters legitimately fear an "honest" discussion because it would mean two things:
1) they would have to admit that they have no real solutions to the problem of gun violence in the United States of America, &
2) they would have to pin the blame where it really belongs: on their own constituents. On the very people that vote for these idiot politicians like Bevin, or donate money to these family groups, or watch their garbage news networks promoting their biased Twilight Zone version of the world.
Just like with former Louisiana governor Bobby Bitchcakes Jindal after the shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon in October 2015, I have to ask what does the governor of Kentucky expect to accomplish in whining about fake "violent" entertainment? That is, other than parroting the National Rifle Association's whining since Sandy Hook in its thinly veiled attempt to shift the false blame from guns to the entertainment industry to protect themselves from the growing backlash against them and playing to their voter base.
Good thing I recently posted a lengthy defense of video games. Here's the link to that: https://beardoggx.livejournal.com/279438.html
Without rehashing too much, the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. EMA(which I was struck to hear that Scoot seems to know nothing about from listening to his show on Feb. 16th on WWL 870AM as of this writing) pretty much kills any legislative attempts at restricting sales of fake "violent" video games or movies. State legislators in Connecticut and New Jersey found out the hard way in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.
The scientific research is increasingly showing no connection between real world violence and fake "violent" video games.
Violent crime in the United States is down since peaking in 1991 according to the FBI's own crime statistics despite video games becoming more popular, more technologically advanced, and more graphic in its depictions of violence in the last 25 years.
It was also insanely idiotic and insanely laughable for Spokane County, Washington Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich to say that fake "violent" video games are why "society has changed" while defending guns in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting. Society really hasn't changed that much since humanity came into being. As I said in a previous blog, society has always been sick and loving it. Violence has always been a staple of humanity's entertainment diet since humanity has existed and evolved over the eons because violence is a part of everyday life.
Marilyn Manson said it best years ago when he was talking with David Duchovny about the issue in the Feburary 2005 issue of Official Playstation Magazine: "I think-----and I've said this before-----that times are far less violent and far more televised. You're just seeing it more.
If there had been television during the Civil War, I'm sure people would not have been thrilled about what was going on."
And Marilyn Manson is right. Since the advent of cable television and the 24/7 news channels like CNN, MSNBC, & Fox News, coupled with the growth of the internet and social media, we've become accustomed to getting our news instantly. Maybe a little too much so.
Idiots like Matt Bevin, Ozzie Knezovich, & even President Donald Trump(who I've lost a little respect for after he started criticizing fake "violent" video games & movies for the Parkland shooting) should realize that the American public is sick & tired of seeing both hypocritical politicians like them(and other idiots like London mayor Sadiq Khan) doing what amounts to nothing & hypocrite celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel & Stephen Colbert virtue signal about guns after a mass shooting. The American people are also getting sick & tired of seeing mass shootings like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, & this latest one in Parkland get politicized while the bodies are still warm, even by the families, friends, & classmates of the victims of the shootings. But I don't believe in blaming everything other than the person responsible for the tragedy.
Only one person is ultimately responsible for the attack on Marjory Douglass Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day and that's the 19 year old who murdered 17 people. Nobody else is. Nothing else is. It is completely ridiculous to suggest that fake "violent" video games are responsible for the negative behavior of individuals and it is wildly inappropriate to hold the content of fake "violent" video games or any other form of entertainment responsible for the actions of individuals. You are the only person responsible for how you act in society.
Many of the problems we're facing in America today are directly because we no longer seem to have any respect at all for individual accountability. Holding individuals accountable for their own behavior has been replaced by blaming everything other than the individual.
Scoot said it best in a blog about some idiot blaming Facebook for people being "addicted" to social media: "The foundation of any civilized society is built on the concept that individuals are responsible for their actions. The further we drift from that premise – the further we drift into societal chaos."
Let’s end this decades-long trend of trying to blame everything other the individual for their actions. Just because it's easier to play the Blame Game by blaming fake "violent" video games or even guns doesn't mean that you should play the Blame Game. The only way to win the Blame Game is to ultimately not play the Blame Game.
One last note: The students that survived and the families of the victims of the Parkland school shooting should recognize that the American people's sympathy for them is not infinite. While pushing for "common sense" gun safety legislation may appear to be laudable, it's still seen as politicizing the deaths of your sons & daughters and fellow classmates. The families of victims of the various mass shootings over the last 20 or so years know this all too well.
But being scarred forever by a deranged individual doesn't excuse your own negative behavior. Saying that the thoughts & prayers of the President of the United States(and by extension, the American people, since the President represents every American citizen) are "meaningless" and having the mentality of "you're either with us or against us" is going to be counterproductive to your cause. Attitudes like that will cause the people to be less sympathetic to not just you, but to the victims of the next mass shooting, because the people are going to wonder if their families, friends, & classmates are going to be just as disrepectful towards people offering their condolences.
Also, calling your movement "#NeverAgain
" is a dumb move because if another school shooting happens, then your movement has automatically failed in its stated goal of no more school shootings.
I also wonder how many of the students of that school actually knew all or even half of the people that were killed other than the assistant football coach(who was in a position of power)?
And finally, the NRA & conservative politicans & President Trump in particular, should realize that whining about fake "violent" video games is going to alienate younger voters & in particular Generation Z. It has been stated in surveys that the next generation after the Millennials, Generation Z. is tracking to be just as conservative as the Baby Boomers eventually became. They may not want to hurt their standing with a potential voting bloc that could help their cause in the long run because they chose to moralize about fake "violent" media in the short term. As I stated before, whining about fake "Violent" media is part of what ultimately cost Al Gore the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush. This might be President Trump's most disliked move as President by his core base since the airstrike on a Syrian airbase last April.
And President Trump should realize that whining about fake "violent" video games makes him look like a total hypocrite. Trump had no problem play-fighting with Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit in 2007(and using a gif of his fight with Vince to mock CNN last year) and being a member of the WWE Hall of Fame years after WWE was falsely blamed for "causing" real world violence(in particular, the Lionel Tate case, which led to WWE forcing the Parents Television Council to pay $3.5 million and publicly apologize to WWE to settle a defamation lawsuit).
Deja Vu All Over Again Part 3: Still Fighting the Good Fight & How to Defend Fake "Violent" Video Games
It never fails to annoy & amuse me how after every school shooting(especially after the most recent shooting Jan. 23rd in Denton, Kentucky, over 20 years after the shooting in Paducah, Kentucky), morons rush to attack fake "violent" video games for "causing" the shooting when everyone who understands the idea of personal accountability & personal responsibility knows that the industry had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting.
So, here's a refresher course on the best ways to defend video games, A Greatest Hits package, if you will:--1) The US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. EMA(originally called Schwarzengger v. EMA because then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the court to hear the state's appeal of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that California's law was violated the US Constitution)--
When the US Supreme Court ruled in the video game industry's favor in June 2011 by a 7-2 vote to affirm the Ninth Circuit's ruling, the majority opinion written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia(and joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, & Elena Kagan) pretty much destroyed any attempt by the US government & the states to regulate the fake "violent" content in video games. Justice Samuel Alito admitted as much in his concurring opinion(which Chief Justice John Roberts joined) when Alito wrote that Scalia basically no room for a more narrowly defined law and SCOTUSBlog agreed because the majority ruled that:
-Video games are free speech protected under the First Amendment
-Video games can NOT be treated differently than any other form of entertainment like movies, TV, or music under the Fourteenth Amendment
-Fake "violent" content in all forms of entertainment is exempt from US obscenity laws
-People under 18 have a First Amendment right to view free speech with or without parental permission as long as the material in question is not judged to be obscene
From my LJ post "Five Years After Brown v. EMA Part 2": 1) Because video games cannot be treated differently than other entertainment media like books, movies, television, and music under the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the law, any bill restricting fake "violent" content would have to apply to all forms of entertainment media, not just video games. Which means that either everything in entertainment is OK or nothing is. If it's OK to watch Saving Private Ryan or Scarface in a movie theater or on TV, then it should be OK to play Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto on the video game console of your choice.
2) Even if that bill did try to restrict any depiction of fake "violent" content in all entertainment media, because Scalia said the Supreme Court made it perfectly clear in Winters v. New York that only sexual content or conduct can be considered obscene, fake "violent" content is essentially protected free speech under the First Amendment. Which means that fake "violent" content can not be restricted in the same way that sexual content can be or for any reason.
3) As the Supreme Court said in its holding in Brown v. EMA, "A legislature cannot create new categories of unprotected speech simply by weighing the value of a particular category against its social costs and then punishing it if it fails the test." Since the Supreme Court says that fake "violent" content is exempt from obscenity laws, that's essentially what any type of legislation against fake "violent" media would be doing.
And even if such a bill is meant to help parents, there's two problems with that. First, such laws do not actually enforce parental authority, but in reality, imposes governmental authority subject only to a parental veto. And second, if fake "violent" video games are really so "dangerous" and so "mind-altering", why would it be OK for a minor to even have or play one even if one of their parents says it's OK for that child to have and play it? It nullifies the whole argument against fake "violent" video games.
And this US Supreme Court decision is the culmination of a roughly twenty year legal battle that saw every attempt to legislate the sales of fake "violent" video games by nine different cities & states(Indianapolis, St. Louis, Washington state, Illinois, Michigan, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, & Minnesota) ultimately get struck down in the courts as unconstitutional.
Ever since then, no politician has seemed willing to challenge the SCOTUS decision in Brown v. EMA, not even during the last Presidential election. In fact, fake "violent" content in entertainment media has been a dead issue since Sandy Hook. Especially when all of the past critics of the video game industry have virtually disappeared as they either retired, been discredited, or even sent to prison for unrelated reasons in the cases of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and former California state representative/state senator Leland Yee(who authored & sponsored the bill that was ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS).--2) All the research claiming a link between fake "violent" video games & real world violence or "aggressive behavior" is flawed & biased while also being negated by other research from sources that have more or equal prestige--
Part of the reason why the video game industry basically went undefeated in the courts is that the judges were very unconvinced by the so-called scientific research that claims a link between fake "violent" video games & real world violence or even "aggressive behavior".
The science is still very inconclusive despite people & parent advocacy groups claiming the science is settled on fake "violent" video games(ignoring how science & scientific theory actually works). For each study that claims that a causal link between fake "violent" video games & real world violence/"aggressive behavior" exists, there is another study that suggests that the link does not exist or even has the opposite effect.
In fact, a study done in 2013 by the United States Center for Disease Control at the order of President Barack Obama after the Sandy Hook shooting couldn't find a link. http://www.guns.com/2013/06/27/cdc-releases-study-on-gun-violence-with-shocking-results/
A more recent study by the University of York found no evidence that fake "violent" video games "caused" real world violence. Looks to me like if the science is indeed "settled", it's on the pro-video game side instead of the anti-video game side.
When the US Supreme Court looked at the research, Scalia & the other justices in the majority opinion were left unimpressed. The court noted that California's attorney admitted in the courtroom that the state couldn't prove a direct causal link between fake "violent" video games & real world violence and that the research California entered as evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that violent games caused minors to act aggressively. The court also pointed out that nearly all the research is based on correlation(Correlation does not equal Causation) and most studies suffered from significant, admitted flaws in its methodology, citing Iowa State University professor Craig Anderson's admissions that "effect sizes" of exposure to violent games were "about the same" produced by exposure to television and that the same effects were found after watching Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons, E-rated games like Sonic The Hedgehog, even viewing a picture of a gun.
As I've pointed out in past posts, the research done by Craig Anderson & Brad Bushman in particular have inherent bias to those studies. Anderson told Entertainment Weekly in its December 8th, 2002 issue that he hoped that his research into fake "violent" video games would lead to the video game industry paying monetary damages in civil courts over youth violence. Bushman has also authored research claiming that violent passages in the Bible(Cain killing Abel, the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah, the crucifixation of Christ) causes people to exhibit more aggressive behavior, as well as another study into lack of food and finding the same result. It should make a rational thinking person wonder if Bushman thinks that any tangible object causes people to become more aggressive and if Anderson had ulterior motives for his research.
A few years ago, some professors went looking into the office of the late Frederic Wertham, whose book "Seduction of the Innocent" about his research into comic books led to comic books getting neutered for decades(the main reason the video game industry fought back against the state and federal governments' attempts to censor the medium), and found some notes showing that Wertham falsified much of that very research, making comic books look worse than they actually are/were at the time.
Some people, especially conservatives, will try to use David Grossman's research, but his research is considered to be a joke after John Stossel debunked Grossman's false claims that the military uses video games to train soldiers to kill(laughably, Anita Sarkessian's former boytoy Jonathan McIntosh actually plagarized Grossman a couple of years ago).
As I posted in the LJ blog "It's Deja Vu All Over Again": As Stossel recounted in his book "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity", Stossel called the Marines and asked them if Grossman's claim was true. The Marines told Stossel "No, we only use video games to teach the soldiers about teamwork and to improve their hand/eye coordination." That's it. Stossel then wrote "Get out the shovel", implying that he thought Grossman was full of shit. Which Grossman is.
Grossman also made claims about the 1997 Paducah, Kentucky school shooting that were proven false by Thomas J. Aveni of the Police Policy Studies Council. For example, Grossman claimed that the Paducah shooter had never fired a gun prior to the attack and somehow getting 8 headshots with 8 bullets. It turned out that the shooter had learned how to shoot a gun from his father and at a 4-H camp that summer. And it's kind of easy to shoot 8 people in the head and neck, killing 3, when you're basically standing right next to them in a crowded hallway. Talk about shooting fish in a barrel.
Recently, I realized that Grossman's own military background also discredits his research. By rising up the ranks of the US Army and eventually retiring as a Lt. Colonel, Grossman was in the position of both giving orders as a commanding officer(sometimes working as a drill sargent like Hartman in Full Metal Jacket) and receiving orders. In the military, you're told as a recruit that you have to follow the orders of your commanding officer without question(this doesn't take into account things like immoral orders). Outside of the military, you're essentially your own commanding officer, so you're still responsible for your own actions. And "just following orders" is not considered a vaild excuse for your actions.
Trying to compare fake "violent" entertainment to tobacco & alcohol is also a very weak argument as a tobacco product & alcoholic beverages are not protected by the First Amendment.--3) Violent crime rates in the US have fallen as video games became more popular, more "violent", & more technologically advanced--
Another problem that people ignore when they're falsely blaming fake "violent" video games for society's ills is that according to the FBI, violent crime in the United States has actually fallen by roughly 1/2 since 1991 despite a slight uptick in violent crime in each of the last two years. Yes, the US population has increased since then, but if fake "violent" video games were actually "causing" people to become more violent in the real world, then wouldn't the rate of violent crime have stayed the same or even increased since then?
Also, America shares a lot of its entertainment with the rest of the world, yet violent crime hasn't gone up around the world either. Separate investigations by both the Houston Chronicle and the Washington Post after Sandy Hook showed no correlation between sales of video games & violent crime in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, the Netherlands, France, & South Korea.
Which says a lot. Why is it that Canada has lower crime rates than the United States when we Americans share the same viewing habits with our neighbors to the north and share each other's movies & TV shows?
Why is it that Japan also has much lower crime rates than the United States when Japanese entertainment media has more fake "violence" and the Japanese are much more permissive of nudity and sexuality in entertainment than the US is? In fact, most other countries are much more permissive of nudity and sexuality in entertainment media than the United States. I know that the US was founded by prudes, but it's been long since time that we shed that image.
Not only that, but video games are/were much more closely scruntized than movies, TV shows, & music ever were. The US Federal Trade Commission found in its most recent shopper survey in 2013 that the video game industry's ratings system was better enforced by retailers like Wal-Mart & Target than the movie or music industries. Especially when video games are the most expensive artform. Games still cost upwards of $60+ for a new release and that doesn't take into account downloadable content added to the game later on. What kid has $60 in their pockets?
Not to mention that, according to yearly surveys done by the ESA, the average age of a person playing video games is actually much closer to 40 years old than 20 years old. So it stands to reason that the video game industry is going to cater to an older audience that can afford to buy their products than to teenagers that need an adult to buy the game for them if the game is rated M.
It's no different than the television networks considering 18 to 49 year old adults the target audience of the shows they put on their channels. The reasons they go after that segment of the population is because those adults tend to have more disposable income(more likely to be less frugal, have less loyalty to a specific product, & less likely to buy the cheaper product Wal-Mart or local grocery store offers). The TV networks have their own problems, though, as that audience is leaving TV for the internet because internet service has become cheaper than cable service.--4) Point out the hypocrisy of critiicizing video games for their "violent" content but giving a free pass to movies, TV shows, music, books, & even the NFL--
People somehow think that video games are automatically bad because they're more interactive than the other entertainment media, ignoring that all entertainment is interactive. And when they whine about the fake "violence" in video games, they ignore the fake "violence" in movies, on TV shows, & in books.
In his own autobiography "Total Recall", Arnold Schwarzenegger says that he doesn't believe fake "violent" movies "causes" real world violence, which makes him look like a total self-righteous hypocrite for pushing California's anti-video game law.
People tend to forget that as long as humanity has existed, violence has always been a staple of our entertainment diet whether the violent actions were real or make-believe. In his book "Foley is Good and the Real World is Faker than Wrestling", Mick Foley pointed out the violence in some typical family favorite bedtime stories including:
-The Little Mermaid - amputation of tongue, suicide, impaling
-Jack and the Beanstalk - trespassing, robbery, cannibalism, murder by fall from beanstalk
-Hansel & Gretel - child abuse, child abandonment, trespassing, destruction of property, imprisonment, starvation, attempted cannibalism, murder by boiling in an oven
-The Wizard of Oz - decapitation, chopping off of both arms and both legs, breaking of necks, kidnapping, imprisonment, attempted murder, death by falling house, suggested drug use, contract killing, murder by melting
-Sleeping Beauty - rape, adultery, attempted cannibalism
-Little Red Riding Hood - attempted double homicide by eating, murder by drowning
-The Emperor's New Clothes - full male nudity
Even the Bible doesn't come away unscathed with stories of murder(Cain killing Abel), attempted murder(the Crucifixation & Resurrection of Christ), genocide(Noah's Ark), & destruction of property(Sodom & Gomorrah).
In his majority opinion of Brown v. EMA, Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out other books that minors read or have read to them have some gore in them. Besides citing Hansel and Gretel, Scalia also mentioned the stories of Snow White, Cinderella, The Odyessy, Dante's Inferno, and Lord of the Flies.
While people whined about video games, they also whined about how Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC was too violent for minors to view, yet they ignored that other contact sports like football and hockey are just as violent if not moreso. As I mentioned in my LJ post about the UFC's fight to overturn New York state's ban on MMA(which NY did overturn in 2016), Mick Foley, in his defense of WWE, pointed out that the NFL players themselves admitted how violent the sport of football is:
-"I like to think my best hits border on felonious assaults." - Jack Tatum in his 1979 autobiography "They Call Me Assassin"
-"I could never find a nonviolent way to hit a guy." - Conrad Dobler in his 1988 autobiography "They Call Me Dirty"
-"You hit hard and you hit first, where bashing someone unconscious is a badge of honor, and breaking bones is a treat. You need to be bad on the playing field, vicious and mean, that's part of the game. That is the game." - Tim Green in his book "The Dark Side of the Game"
-"I've always seen football as a sport like boxing where you get all your frustrations out and not be punished for it. We get to hit someone as hard as we want on every play and the man who beats the other man up worse wins. Bottom line." - former NFL player and WWE wrestler Darren Drozdov, who is best known for vomiting on the football between plays during a live broadcast of a preseason game on Monday Night Football, when asked by Mick Foley about the violence in an NFL game for Foley's 2nd autobiography "Foley is Good and the Real World is Faker than Wrestling". It should be noted that Drozdov became a quadrapalegic in 1999 when he was accidentally injured when D-Lo Brown slipped and fell attempting a running power bomb during a TV taping of WWE Smackdown.
-"Yeah, because you're not pulling hits in football. Whether you want to believe it or not, people are trying to hurt each other on every play."- Drozdov, when Foley asked him if the violence in football was worse than in pro wrestling as a follow-up question
To be fair, it's possible that Tatum and Dobler's statements were written by a ghost writer taking creative license even though they were known for being dirty players(Tatum is best known for a hit that left Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed and unable to walk ever again, and both Tatum & Dobler were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame), but Green and Foley(whose first two autobiographies hit #1
on the New York Times best seller list) wrote every single word of their own books.
-"What's football? It's chess. Tackle chess. And what's the quarterback? He's the king. Take him out, you win the game. So that was our philosophy. We're going to hit that quarterback ten times. We do that, he's gone. I hit him late? Fine. Penalize me. But it's like those courtroom movies, when the lawyer says the wrong thing and the judge tells the jury to disregard it, but you can't unhear and the quarterback can't be unhit." - Doug Plank(whose jersey number is the name of Buddy Ryan's 46 Defense he developed in 1981 as the Chicago Bears' defensive coordinator from 1976-1985) in an interview with Rich Cohen for Cohen's book "Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football"
-"It's a word we're not allowed to use because of the concussions, but it's violence. Fans love to see the player wounded and even more to see that player get off the turf and stay in the game and strike back. Ben Roethlisberger limping across the end zone, Jack Youngblood playing on a broken leg in the playoffs, Emmitt Smith going on with his busted ribs and bruised lungs to carry the ball thirty times for almost two hundred yards in a big game against the Giants. He's dying, but he's playing. People can connect with that. It's how they want to be." -NFL Films producer Rob Ryan(no relation to Buddy Ryan or his sons Rex & Rob) when asked by Cohen why football became more popular than baseball as a response to then-Bears QB Jay Cutler leaving the 2010 NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers with a knee injury--5) Blaming fake "violent" video games for societal problems is just making excuses for someone's negative behavior--
Exactly as it says, the Blame Game is more popular than Grand Theft Auto or the NFL, simply because it's easier to blame tangible objects like video games or guns than it is to teach the public about how personal responsibility and personal accountability works or even teaching things like conflict resolution. How you act is ultimately your responsibility regardless of what you are exposed to in movies, TV shows, music, or video games. But it's become easier to feel good about yourself when you can divert the blame onto something else.
If fake "violent" video games or guns "cause" real world violence, then a pencil "causes" misspelled words.
It is not Anheuser-Busch's fault if a person abuses alcoholic beverages or drives drunk. It is not Chevrolet's fault if someone purposely breaks the speed limit and crashes their car. It is not Smith & Wesson's fault if someone uses a gun in the commission of a crime. It is not the NFL's fault when a high school football player dies from being tackled in a game.
And it sure as hell isn't the video game industry's fault or Hollywood's fault when a disturbed teenager shoots up their school.
It's not the video game industry's fault that parents today just don't understand that it is their responsibility to teach their child the difference between right and wrong, to monitor and control their child's consumption of entertainment media, and to teach their child that they are the only ones responsible for their behavior regardless of what they were exposed to both in entertainment and in real life.
The entire entertainment industry should not and cannot be held hostage by a small segment of the American public that wants to decide what the rest of us Americans can hear on the radio, watch on the television or in the movie theater, or play on the XBoxes, Playstations, or Nintendos. But what if a child should see, hear, or play something they probably shouldn't? Don't give me that bullshit about how parents can't control their children and can't be expected to monitor their children 24/7. Ultimately, it is the parents' responsibility to control their children's media consumption. The entire nation should not and cannot be held hostage so that everything in the entertainment media is suitable for 9 year olds who are still easily amused by flatulence, defecation, diarrhea, and urination.
It is not and it never was the entertainment industry's fault that the American public is seemingly disinterested in using the various parental control features that have been already offered to them for years whether voluntarily(like the various ratings systems) or involuntarily(the V-chip in TV sets was mandated by federal law in the mid-90s). And if they aren't interested in using those parental controls, it's either because they're comfortable montioring their own kids or they simply don't care. Plus, with the internet at our fingertips thanks to smartphones and tablets, it shouldn't take a parent no more than 5 minutes to do research on a particular game or movie or TV show so they could judge if it's appropriate for their own kids.
Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest each won lawsuits filed against them claiming their music caused people to commit suicide. Oliver Stone won a similiar lawsuit filed against him claiming that a young couple was influenced by the movie “Natural Born Killers” to commit a crime spree spanning three states. Even the video game industry itself has won every lawsuit that was filed against them over the years.
If we're going to expect people to respect personal responsibility, it starts with dismantling the Blame Game mentality, as well as demanding that parents take a more active role in their children's lives.
Can the XFL Succeed the Second Time Around?
The weekend before Christmas, news broke that Vince McMahon was giving serious consideration to resurrecting the XFL, the football league he started in 2000 and only lasted one season in 2001, because of the NFL's hit in the ratings mainly due to the National Anthem protests. Later in the week, VInce added more fuel to the rumor mill's fireplace by selling off some of his shares in WWE to raise $100 million for his new sports entertainment company called Alpha Entertainment. And finally, on January 25th, Vince finally announced that he is indeed bringing back the XFL in 2020 and in a way that will focus more on the game of football than on the sidelines.
But why would Vince McMahon want to bring back the XFL in the first place? Did taking part in the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary about the league give him the idea to bring it back?
I think the bigger question I have is can the XFL succeed the second time around? Does a relaunched XFL even have a chance to succeed? I think it could since it seems like VInce has learned from the mistakes he made in 2001.
One of the major moves he's making is starting Alpha Entertainment with the intent to keep that company completely separate from WWE(or as close to separate as it can get). Vince initially started the XFL as a part of WWE(just like he did with the World Bodybuilding Federation in the early 90s & WWE Films later on) with NBC coming in a month later as its partner in the league.
Also, it would appear that Vince must feel that his children Shane & Stephanie are now ready to run WWE without his input(the last couple of years, it does seem like Stephanie & Triple-H have been given more control of WWE, case in point would be the women's division being given equal footing with the men's division as it has reported that Vince isn't a fan of women's wrestling), so it looks like Vince will run Alpha Entertainment while Shane & Stephanie run WWE(with Stephanie & Triple-H running the wrestling product, Shane running the financial part). Vince still ran both WWE & the XFL while being the face of both products simultaneously.
Another thing helping Vince is the decision to start the new XFL in two years. The extra year should give the league time to develop players and the type of football they want to play, find cities to place teams, & Vince announced the XFL in 2000 to start play in 2001, but waited until a month before the season started to start training camps for the league with only two preseason games.
Vince will run into problems, mainly finding television partners & advertisers for the XFL. Has enough time passed that the XFL brand has lost its toxicity to advertisers & TV networks? While WWE has become much more corporatized in the last ten years, when Vince started the XFL, WWE was still in the middle of the Attitude Era. Which I think hurt the XFL just as much as the poor play on the football field and Vince & other WWE stars being involved in the product(WWE Monday Night Raw announce team Jim Ross & Jerry The King Lawler were calling NBC's B-game the 1st week before Vince quickly soured on Matt Vasgersian and moved good ol JR up to the main game with Jesse Ventura; Lawler ended up leaving WWE entirely weeks later because of a contract dispute between WWE and his then-wife Stacy "The Kat" Carter). Advertisers were skittish working with WWE to begin with(in part because of the Parents Television Council's campaign against WWE, though when the XFL season started, WWE had sued the PTC over its lies about the WWE product).
Also, the football landscape has changed dramatically since 2001. The original XFL had teams in New York/New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Memphis, Las Vegas, & Birmingham, Alabama. Los Angeles once again has two NFL teams(the Rams & the Chargers) and Las Vegas is getting the Oakland Raiders and got an NHL team. It helped that the league played games in Feburary, March, & April and it appears that will be the case again. Will the XFL keep the old eight teams or go with eight new teams?
And can Vince even find a willing TV partner? Dick Ebersol's no longer with NBC, NBC has been airing NFL games since 2006, and the XFL's other TV partners UPN & TNN no longer exist(UPN merged with The WB to form The CW in 2006; TNN was renamed Spike TV in 2002). While WWE has worked with ESPN on some ESPN 30 For 30 documentaries, like This Was The XFL and the Ric Flair 30 For 30, as well as letting ESPN do SportsCenter from WrestleMania & SummerSlam and the E:60 episode about NXT that focused primarily on Corey Graves and Adam Rose, would ESPN be willing to work with Vince on the XFL? Not to mention that the league will be once again competing for eyeballs against the NBA, NHL, NCAA(especially during March Madness), & NASCAR.
Then again, now that Vince has announced the new XFL and that the new XFL won't be like the XFL of 2001(no nicknames on the jerseys like "He Hate Me", for example), maybe that will help him get those sponsors & TV networks? Though it would be funny to see Bob Costas, the league's biggest detractor in 2000-01, working with Vince McMahon if McMahon's truly serious about focusing on the product on the field.
Recently, I read the book "How Trump Won" by Breitbart editor Joel Pollak & author/history professor Larry Schweikart about the 2016 Presidential election. While it did confirm a few things I pointed out in my LiveJournal blogs(how Donald Trump won the election), there were other things I was surprised by.
For example, the Access Hollywood "Grab them by the pussy" tape. While I was correct in assuming that NBC was saving the tape for the weekend before the election(as TMZ reported that NBC held the tape for "maximum impact"), I've always thought that NBC leaked it in a panic to 1)counter Wikileaks' release of the Podesta DNC e-mails and 2)because Tim Kaine losing the Vice Presidential debate to Mike Pence. Larry Schweikart points out in the book that he felt the tape("Sex Bomb #2
") was released early because polling data he was getting from PeoplesPunditDaily pollster Richard Baris & several Trump supporters showed that Trump was actually on his way to a much bigger win in the Electoral College(as high as 360 electoral votes) & a possible victory in the popular vote.
Schweikart noted that before the Access Hollywood tape dropped, Trump had Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, & Iowa on lock and was poised to win Michigan & Pennsylvania, while they still didn't seriously think Wisconsin would go to Trump despite having a few indictators. They even got an internal polling memo that showed Trump was within striking distance in Oregon(3 points down), Minnesota(1 down), Connecticut(2 down), & Rhode Island(2 down) & leading in Virginia & New Hampshire.
After the tape dropped, there was a pronounced effect despite Trump countering at the 2nd Presidential debate by inviting all the women that accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct. The tape ultimately cost Trump New Hampshire, Minnesota, & Virginia as well as the popular vote(Richard Baris' data had Trump potentially getting between 64 to 68 million votes before the Access Hollywood tape, but voters Baris called "wannabe elites" dropped plans to vote for Trump).
The book also showed how far off the polls were for the election especially in the states. RealClearPolitics had Hillary Clinton winning Florida by 3.2%, Pennsylvania by 1.9%, Michigan by 3.4%(Trump won by .3%), & Wisconsin by 6.5% as well as Trump winning Ohio by 2.3%(Trump won Ohio by 8.6%). Schweikart showed how one polling group that was considered an outlier got the election closer than the other polls. The Trafalgar group asked people participating in their polls, "How do you think your neighbor
will vote in the election?"
Another interesting point Schweikart & Pollak makes in the epilogue chapter is that Bernie Sanders would not have beaten Trump if he were the Democratic nominee, pointing out that Sanders' radical far left views would have cost him Nevada, New Hampshire, & Colorado among other states(Schweikart points out that Trump could have won Nevada, New Mexico, & New Hampshire if Gary Johnson wasn't the Libertarian Party's candidate).
There was also some funny mentions of Election Night stories on Twitter of CNN banning all "Hillary in the bunker" stories as the election results were coming in and increasingly in favor of Trump, including a mention of her blaming then-FBI director James Comey and even President Obama for her losing the election, a story of Hillary having to be physically restrained from violently attacking her campaign managers John Podesta & Robby Mook(whose friend built a computer program that simulated the election based on data inputs the Clinton campaign relied heavily on), and even Hillary in a drunken rage screaming psychotically about the Russians.
All in all, a good read. Highly recommended if you want to understand how the 2016 presidential election played out.
The special US Senate election in Alabama to replace current US Attorney General Jeff Sessions came and went on Dec. 12th and Democrat Doug Jones edged out Republican & former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore by roughly 16,000 votes, if I remember correctly. But while the far left are celebrating Jones' victory as a blow against President Trump, they should keep in mind that while Jones did get more votes than Moore, he didn't exactly earn the win. And it may not even hurt Trump's re-election chances in 2020.
If we're being honest with ourselves, Doug Jones would not have won the Senate seat if the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore didn't exist. Jones' margin of victory was less than the amount of votes for various write-in candidates(about 22,000), so in a two-candidate race, Jones didn't even get 50% of the vote. Even though Moore is a far right Christian fundamentalist zealot who was kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court twice for his refusal to abide by the US Supreme Court's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building(as it the violated the separation of church and state), Jones was still trailing Moore by double digits in the polls until the Washington Post published the first allegations against Moore. Moore was basically done after that no matter how many times he denied the allegations against him.
As Styxhexenhammer666 pointed out, Jones' victory shows how weak both the Republicans and the Democrats are. The GOP lost an election in a solid red state(just like in the Louisiana governor's race in 2015 where then US Senator David Vitter lost in a runoff to Democratic state representative John Bel Edwards in part due to Vitter being involved in the DC Madam scandal as a client), but the Democrats barely beat a guy who was accused of molesting teenage girls!
So there was no real winner last Tuesday night. Jones might have won the election, but he won in such a way that it turns off people that would have supported him if the allegations against Moore weren't in play. And he would have gained more support if he hadn't acted like a neverTrump Democrat. Jones may very well be a half-term senator if he doesn't become a more moderate Democrat or actually address issues important to the people of Alabama. That means Jones can't just play to the far left progressive base(i.e. the racist black women and other minorities).
I said before that there is not enough people on the far left or the far right to win a national election while the two sides do tend to cloister in certain parts of the country(the far left in the West Coast and the Northeast; the far right in the Southeast and Midwest). There are moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans, & independent voters in the center who reject the extreme views of the far left & far right, and they've been increasely marginalized over the years because the extremes on both sides have become the loudest voices.
As Scoot has consistently pointed out before & after last year's Presidential election, the GOP was in the middle of a civil war between the far right conservatives & the moderates over the direction of the Republican Party. And it doesn't appear to have settled even with Donald Trump's victory. Adding to the GOP's woes is that their base doesn't like that some politicians within the party have had little to no support of Donald Trump since he took office(in particular, John McCain & Lindsey Graham among others). Also, the GOP has spent the last seven years promising their base that they would repeal and replace Obamacare, and they still haven't done it. They might at least repeal the requirement that a US citizen had to buy health insurance or pay a fine to the federal government as part of the tax reform bill, but for some Republican voters, that wouldn't be good enough for them.
Likewise, I think that there will be a civil war within the Democratic Party over that party's direction between the far left progressives & the moderates(if there isn't one already and we're just not hearing about it because the corporate legacy news media won't report on it), especially if the Democrats lose in next year's mid-term elections despite the public's growing disapproval of President Trump's job performance as President. Even though it seems like the moderate Democrats have sided with their more progressive counterparts for the most part, that could change as the far left has become more authoritarian. What doesn't help the Democrats is their lack of a party platform beyond being against everything President Trump does in office. It didn't work for them against George W. Bush in 2004 and it didn't work for the Republicans in 2012 against Barack Obama. And being against Trump can only go so far for the Democrats, especially if Robert Mueller announces he found no evidence of collusion between President Trump and Russia during last year's Presidential election and clears Trump of any wrongdoing.
Also, the recent rash of allegations of sexual harassment & assault that have continued unabated since the beginning of October has arguably hit the Democrats harder than it has the Republicans so far. Two prominent Democrats in Congress, Senator Al Franken(Minnesota) and Rep. John Conyers(Michigan) recently resigned their seats over the allegations against them, as did Republican Rep. Trent Franks(Arizona). But it's the allegations in Hollywood that may end up doing the most damage to the Democrats as the vast majority of Hollywood are Democrats(or pretend to be to get work) and heavily donate to Democrats with a few exceptions(Clint Eastwood, James Woods, Tim Allen, Arnold Schwarzenegger even moreso since he divorced Maria Shriver). It stands to reason that the Democrats' ability to raise money for future elections might take a hit as more allegations surface.
Eventually, the actions and broken promises by both parties will turn off their respective bases. You would think that it would help third parties like the Libertarian Party or the Green Party. But the problem is that we have used the results of last year's election to become even more territorial with our political beliefs and have further justified our divisions to the point where we can't really call ourselves the "United" States of America.
While listening to the Saints getting royally screwed out of a game against the Atlanta Falcons in the Falcons' new stadium(C-O-N-spiracy theory being floated around at the time of this writing(Dec. 8th)) is that the NFL wanted the rematch two weeks later on Christmas Eve to mean something because a Saints win would have all but eliminated the defending NFC champions from playoff contention by then), the same two things that seem to plague the Thursday night games reared its head:
1) One team getting too many players injured during the game
2) The game just not being good to begin with
And that's mainly because 90% of the time, the two teams have only two days to prepare for the game. In fact, the Saints got shafted by the NFL's flex scheduling in that the team's game Dec. 3rd in the Superdome against the Carolina Panthers was moved from a 12pm kickoff to a 3:25pm start time because both teams are playing for 1st place in the NFC South division. And it wasn't the first time that happened(in 2014, the Saints played a Sunday night game vs. the Green Bay Packers before playing a Thursday night game against Carolina in Charlotte).
The NFL is not going end the Thursday night games anytime soon as long as they're getting millions of dollars from both the legacy TV networks(CBS & NBC in this case) and the internet streaming sites(Amazon Prime in this case; last year, the NFL had a deal with Twitter to stream Thursday night games online. While it was a one year deal, the NFL probably would have found a way out of a long term deal with Twitter losing users and having no user growth in the last year between the draconian rule changes, unjust bannings of certain people, and new similar platforms like Gab & MInds popping up).
So here's how the league can improve player safety and make the games more watchable:
1) Expand the bye weeks from Week 2 through Week 15. That way every team plays Week 1, Thanksgiving week, Week 16, & Week 17. And as LiveJournal user Freezer suggested, teams getting the bye week play the Thursday night game the following week. WWL Radio host Kristian Garic(also Saints radio sideline reporter) has suggested giving teams two bye weeks(which the NFL did try during the 1993 season).
2) Work out a deal with NBC to air a Thursday night doubleheader(like the Monday night doubleheader on ESPN) or even a Friday night game on opening weekend and have one team from each game play the Week 2 Thursday night game like the NFL already does with the Thanksgiving Day games(two of the teams playing on Thanksgiving Day play the following Thursday).
3) Expand the rosters to 60 players(and letting them all dress out for the game as opposed to having 46 for the game) and expand practice squads from 10 players.
Another way the league can improve player safety: Add the targeting penalty from the NCAA where any helmet-to-helmet hit gets a player ejected from the game(not just for hits on the quarterback or a defenseless wide receiver).
Also, there's no real difference between running into the kicker and roughing the kicker, so just do like they did with the face mask penalty(used to have a 5 yard penalty for inadvertantly grabbing the face mask, but the league got rid of it and just made all penalties for grabbing the face mask a 15 yard penalty) and make running into the kicker in the act of kicking the ball a 15 yard penalty regardless.
-Note: This was written before news came out about a former Falcons player being one of the referees for the Saints-Falcons game.-
The Sexual Harassment Allegation tidal wave & the hypocrisy swimming next to it
Over the last two months, there has been a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct starting with Hollywood studio executive & power player Harvey Weinstein(who is now being investigated for sexual assault in New York, where he has been accused of rape by actress Paz de la Huerta, & in London) and has continued almost unabated as the list of prominent public figures beyond Hollywood that are also being accused of or have admitted to sexual misconduct is starting to grow longer than Hillary Clinton's list of excuses for why she lost the 2016 Presidential election or Chris Jericho's list of wrestling holds he knows.
The list of well-known people accused of or admitted to sexual misconduct(that I can remember) included celebrity chef John Besh(who lost his steakhouse deal with Harrah's Casino in New Orleans as a result), actors Kevin Spacey(who used the allegation by actor Anthony Rapp to come out of the closet as gay, making him look worse in the process), Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Dustin Hoffman, Slyvester Stallone, George Takei, Charlie Sheen(who apparently had sex with Corey Haim on the set of "Lucas"), & Ed Westwick(Gossip Girl star who is under investigation by the LAPD for rape), filmmakers Brett Ratner & James Toback, comedian Louis C.K., fashion photographer Terry Richardson, US Senator Al Franken(D-Minnesota), former President George H.W. Bush, & former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and current US Senate candidate Roy Moore. Even musician Mariah Carey has been accused of sexual harassment.
Several prominent news media personalities & executives have lost their jobs over sexual harrassment & assault allegations in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal including NBC News political commentator Mark Halperin, Defy Media senior vice president Andy Signore, Vox editorial director Lockhart Steele, Ain't it Cool News founder Harry Knowles, The Atlantic contributing editor Leon Wiseltier, & NPR news chief Michael Oreskes.
And it wasn't just just women that were telling stories of harrassment against them. Even male actors like "Dawson's Creek" star James van der Beek & Terry Crews made statements on social media about being harrassed. Crews mentioned a time when a male studio executive grabbed Crews' crouch in front of Crews' wife at a party. Corey Feldman has begun naming people he claims assaulted him & Corey Haim as teenagers.
Roy Moore has denied all the allegations against him, even threatening to sue the Washington Post for defamation over the Post's publishing the allegations. In particular, it has since come out that one of his accusers is now herself being accused of lying about Moore by her own stepson.
But the allegations of sexual harassment & assault have become another example of the growing amount of hypocrisy that has been the biggest contributor fueling the deep political divide within America.
People on the left that were cheering over the last year when Fox News fired its founder Roger Ailes & its longtime anchor host Bill O'Reilly over allegations of sexual harassment from former female Fox News hosts inculding Megyn Kelly & Gretchen Carlson where Ailes & O'Reilly paying multi-million dollar settlements found themselves having to denounce Harvey Weinstein and they're now being forced to denounce former President Bill Clinton over the allegations against him that have hovered over Clinton since they first surfaced in the 1990s(after defending Clinton while criticizing current President Donald Trump over the Access Hollywood tape with Billy Bush last year). In fact, US Senator Kristen Gillibrand(D-New York) recently said that Bill Clinton should have resigned as President in 1998 after the scandal with Monica Lewinsky came out.
It is hypocritical for Democrats & their supporters to claim to champion women's issues, yet look the other way when Democrats like Bill Clinton & Harvey Weinstein use their positions of power to lure unsuspecting, unwilling females into sexual situations. I think this counts as irony that using their power to attempt to have sex with women who may not have been willing participants has put Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Ailes, & O'Reilly within the same group of people regardless of their political beliefs.
Going back to the allegations against Roy Moore, it is hypocritical for people to call for Moore to be expelled from the US Senate if he wins the special election to replace current US Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the allegations are proven to be true, yet not call for Al Franken to resign his seat after he admitted to groping Leeann Tweeden's breasts while she was sleeping on a flight back to the US from a USO tour overseas before his election to US Senate.
And if it is true that one of the accusers is lying and even faked Roy Moore's handwriting on her high school yearbook, then shame on her, because it damages the crediiblity of the other accusers regardless of if those accusers are telling the truth about Roy Moore.
But the biggest hypocrisy involves the whole idea of "listen and believe" that feminists like Anita Sarkessian & Zoe Quinn among others have pushed in recent years. Third wave feminists & the left have been stating that any victim of sexual assault or harassment must be believed without question. However, just like Colin Kaepernick & the other NFL players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem to protest "racial inequality", their ideals fly in the face of the US Constitution.
The US Constitution guarantees that when you are accused of a crime, you are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that applies to every citizen of the United States regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. And those words in the US Constitution must apply equally to all citizens of the United States or those words will mean absolutely nothing! The idea of "listen & believe" automatically presumes guilt regardless of evidence proving innocence beyond reasonable doubt. Modern day McCarthyism at its finest(even if "Tailgunner Joe" ultimately dindu nuffin).
Women's rights advocates like Sarkessian, Quinn, & Linda Sarsour and male feminists/SJWs like Steve Shives have seemingly abandoned the idea of equality to wanting women to have it both ways where women are both protected like they were in the old days and autonomous but only when it suits them. Sarkessian, Quinn, & Brianna Wu argue for equal treatment, but when the going gets tough, they go whining to the United Nations about harassment and abuse.
Society has created a problem by allowing the definitions of harassment and assault to be defined too broadly(and by conditioning people to automatically assume the worst in people). We've made it seem like women can't handle any sexual overture from men. We've allowed telling an off-color joke to weigh the same as unwanted and inappropriate physical contact, and as such, it really does a disservice to victims of sexual & physical abuse. Female comedians like Amy Schumer can make sexist jokes about men, but male comedians like Andrew "Dice" Clay get criticized and crucified if they make sexist jokes about women.
Is it equality they really want or do they want to replace a so-called "oppressive patriarchy" with an equally oppressive matriarchy? As long as the "war between the sexes" mentality continues to exist, equality between men and women will continue to be undermined by political opportunists. Respect is a two way street and if you want respect, you have show respect in kind.
We need to end this idea of guilt by association. Anita Sarkessian doesn't represent all women(or speak for all women for that matter) just as Harvey Weinstein or his behavior is not representative of all men. As Scoot posted on WWL.com on Oct. 11th, "There are many men who have never felt the need to use their position of power or their sense of male superiority to lure women into sexual situations.
There are those of us who do not define what it means to be a man by the number of sexual encounters we have had, and we also reject the notion that sex should be seen as a conquest of man. But I know those men exist.
Sadly, men like the Harvey Weinsteins of the world look down on the men who are secure with their masculinity and do not feel the need to have masculinity defined by a superficial and casual act of sex with a women who is not an equal and willing participant.
In the same way that women do not want to be defined by the women who use their P-power to get what they want(*cough*Zoe Quinn*cough*), there are a lot of men who are powerful, masculine and intelligent who do not want to be defined by the Weinsteins of the world."
One last thing about Roy Moore, who looks worse if Moore somehow wins the US Senate election? The people of Alabama or the Democrats? This election is becoming eeriely similar to the Presidential election last year in which accusations of sexual misconduct is more important than the issues and if Moore wins, it would show that the Democrats did not learn a damn thing from last year. Main difference is that, unlike Donald Trump, Roy Moore is a Christian fundamentalist zealot who actually has no respect for the US Constitution that he would be swearing an oath of office to uphold.
Over the last month, there were a couple of major mass shootings in the United States that once again caused the nanny-state liberals & the far left to push for gun control.
On October 1st in Las Vegas, a 64 year old man ambushed people at a country music festival, killing 58 people and wounding over 500 others from his Mandalay Bay hotel room with semi-automatic weapons that were modified to make the weapons automatic. while five weeks later in Sutherland Springs, TX(about 30 miles SW of San Antonio), a 26 year old gunman killed 26 people & wounded 20 others in a church before he killed himself after he was shot himself by a bystander who chased him until he crashed his car in an attempt to get away from the scene.
The shooting in Las Vegas in particular surpassed the Pulse nightclub shooting by a Muslim terrorist in Orlando last June as the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
The calls for more gun control in the aftermath of the shootings wouldn't bother me too much if there wasn't so much hypocrisy and stupidity behind those calls.
For example, there is washed-up has-been comedian Michael Ian Black whining on Twitter calling the National Rifle Association a "terrorist organization" just because the NRA defends the 2nd Amendment. Safe to say that scumbag wasn't joking.
While I do have my issues with the NRA & its supporters falsely blaming the entertainment industry, specifically the movie & video game industries, for previous mass shootings like Sandy Hook, calling the NRA "terrorists" (and thus equating the NRA to actual terrorist groups like ISIS & Al-Queda) does absolutely nothing to advance the conversation about gun rights. It's name-calling for the sake of name-calling & lessens the meaning of the word "terrorist". No surprise there as insane far leftists have lessened the meaning of the words "racist", "sexist", "Nazi", and so on. And also, blaming the NRA for mass shootings takes the responsibility for the shootings away from the shooters. Guns are no more to blame for a mass shooting as trucks are for for the terrorist attack in New York City by a Muslim terrorist days before the Sutherland Springs church shooting.
It also points out the hypocrisy of the left. When there's a Muslim terrorist attack, they expect only thoughts & prayers, but when a white man shoots up a church, a school, or a music festival, they demand more than thoughts & prayers.
There was also the CBS executive who got herself fired for a Facebook post where she said she had "no sympathy" for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting because they were "Republican gun-toters".
Jeff Holiday made a great point recently on his YouTube Saints podcast he co-hosts with Wizard of Cause that Hollywood is too obsessed with the quick fix for complex problems(then again, both the left and the right push for solutions that are politically expedient). The point that idiots like Michael Ian Black, Christopher Titus, or Michael Moore completely miss is that taking away guns from law-abiding citizens won't solve a gun problem that America doesn't really have to begin with.
America's problem isn't with easy access to guns, fake "violent" entertainment, or even the legacy news media's 24 hour coverage of tragedies like Las Vegas or Sutherland Springs, for that matter. They are symptoms of the actual problem America has and that is with instant gratification.
Scoot made a great point in a blog he posted on WWL.com on October 10th. We as a society have become a little too conditioned to expect things to happen in an instant. We can immediately post our thoughts about anything on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Gab, Minds, etc. We can order stuff online on Amazon or eBay and get it the very next day. And such, patience is losing its status as a virtue.
Because of instant gratification, people today, even if they are normally responsible gun owners, have become more willing to use a weapon or use any other form of violence to settle any dispute they may have.
America has another problem has exacerabated the problem with instant gratification and that problem is with rage. We've become rageaholics and not in a good way like Razorfist.
Scoot made another interesting point recently saying that there is an unprecedented level of hatred in society today. People try to blame President Trump for it, but he's ultimately not the cause, he's the product of it even though he has arguably benefitted from it to an extent.
These problems with instant gratification and rage are solvable by teaching personal accountability, respect, & conflict resolution.
The Trump Derangement Syndrome continues unabated as the National Football League became the latest to become infected by the disease when everyone involved in the league got butthurt over recent comments by President Donald Trump at a Sept. 22nd political rally in Huntsville, Alabama. President Trump took shots at the NFL and its continued allowance of players kneeling or sitting during the playing of the US National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, to protest what they see as racial inequality and the behavior of police officers in the line of duty when it comes to black criminals, saying that the NFL team owners should fire any player that refuses to stand for the national anthem(referring to the protesting players as sons of bitches, which I can understand people complaining about the President using the term, but I think it's a trivial thing to complain about as I don't care what kind of language President Trump uses). President Trump also suggested that NFL fans should boycott NFL games if players continued to sit or kneel during the National Anthem.
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A new NFL season just started as of this writing(Sept. 8th) and the NFL is dealing with the same problems they were last season.
Just like then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started during preseason last year(which spread as other players joined in), some players like the Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett and several Cleveland Browns players have taken it upon themselves to refuse to stand for The Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States, as a form of protest against what they perceive as racial inequality and injustice.
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Being Our Own Worst Enemy: The Extremely Politicized Reaction to President Trump's Response to Charlottesville
The continued push by both the extreme far left & the extreme far right to divide the people of the United States of America into several factions came to a head on August 12th when during a protest by white nationalists in Charlottesville, VIrginia over the city's planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, an alleged white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter protestors, killing one woman and injuring others.
So naturally, the response became more politicized than the response to when white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine black people in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina ever was. Everybody felt the need to virtue signal that they were against racism, some Southern US cities like Baltimore, Maryland pushed to do like New Orleans and took down Confederate statues in their city in the middle of the night, and a group of Communist black supremacist racists in Durham, North Carolina pulled down a Confederate statue like they were members of ISIS(a judge in Georgia was unjustly suspended for making that comparsion of the counter-protestors in Charlottesville).
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Back in February, I posted about how the argument over whether the tabloid trash corporate legacy mainstream news media has become the enemy of the American people has actually made the American people our own worst enemy by focusing more on confirming our own biases and excusing the left's childish behavior since Trump won the election in November.
However, what CNN did recently just proved President Donald Trump right when he tweeted that the news media is the enemy of the American people.
On July 2nd, President Trump tweeted a gif he found online of him attacking Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit with a CNN logo covering Vince's head. The tabloid trash news media cried foul like they always seem to do when Trump does anything, defending CNN while criticizing Trump for "inciting violence" against journalists, which is a laughable claim. The gif was meant to mock CNN because of recent videos from Project Veritas that showed a CNN producer and CNN political analyst Van Jones separately admitting that the alleged collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia was "bullshit" and a "nothingburger", which it actually was and still is despite Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney who falsely claimed to have information on Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Two days later on July 4th(America's birthday), a CNN reporter apparently was able to find out the identity of the person that originally posted the gif on Reddit and allegedly threatened to release his identity if he didn't apologize, which the person did. But in the story, CNN said that they reserved the right to release the person's identity at a later date.
It doesn't matter how old the person in question is(some reports had him as 15 years old, CNN claims he's over 30), CNN, a news organization owned by a multinational media conglomerate, can't just threaten to ruin somebody's life just because the network was butthurt over a joke. And what makes it worse is that if CNN could do that to one person, they, MSNBC, or even Fox News can do this to anybody.
It also shows how pathetic CNN is that they have no problem spending money and putting forth an effort to go after a Reddit user for making jokes about the network, but they can't put forth that same effort when it comes to investigating the corruption in Washington outside of the allegations against the Trump administration.
This blackmail by CNN makes it even harder for the corporate news media to regain the trust of the American people. A survey late last year showed that only 6% of the American people currently trust the news media and Fox News did a survey in Februrary that showed that more people thought President Trump was more honest & trustworthy than the news media is!
I've once posted that once you lose all credibility, it's very hard to regain it. The corporate legacy news media has lost all of its credibility by focusing more on being the first to break news as opposed to being accurate, as well as being too focused on pushing a preconceived agenda as opposed to being fair to both sides of any given argument.
If the role of the news media is to report the news in a credible manner & to see through political agendas to find the truth, then they have failed in that role, and CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. should be replaced by networks that will report news accurately without bias. However, everyone(not just the American people) has to recognize that the news media is biased because we've conditioned ourselves to hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see instead of challenging our beliefs.
At the end of the day, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. are all for-profit commercial enterprises run by multinational media conglomerates. If we really want them to change, we have to speak out against them. Even if it means cancelling our cable and newspaper subscriptions and just getting our news online.
June 27th, 2017 marked the sixth anniversary of the landmark Brown v. EMA decision by the US Supreme Court. For those that haven't previously read my past LiveJournal posts & for those on Minds.com, here's a quick summary of Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion:
-Video games are free speech under the First Amendment
-Video games can NOT be treated differently than any other form of entertainment like movies, TV, or music under the Fourteenth Amendment
-Fake "violent" content in all forms of entertainment is exempt from US obscenity laws
-People under 18 have a First Amendment right to view free speech with or without parental permission as long as the material in question is not judged to be obscene
In previous Brown v. EMA anniversary posts, I posted about:
-how the video game industry left it up to the gaming community(and leaving us high & dry in the process) in debating fake "violent" video games against the news media & the so-called parent advocacy groups (Two part post in 2013)
-how the gaming community started fighting amongst ourselves (2015)
-how the ship sailed on legislation against fake "violent" video games because of the SCOTUS decision, the entertainment industry having the video game industry's back, fake "violent" content in entertainment not being the major issue it once was, politicians having bigger issues to worry about, & the virtual impossibility of overturning a SCOTUS decision or amending the US Constitution (Two part post last year)
To be honest, I didn't think I'd have anything to write about this year. But then, a couple of stories, one that's been ongoing since February & one that came up recently, made me wonder if the focus of the both the moral panic profiteers and the corporate legacy tabloid trash mainstream news media has shifted away from the video game industry(especially since the entertainment industry has been taken over by SJW's) and towards new targets, specifically the Internet.
The recent story that drew my attention was about some group of idiots in Denver trying to put forth a ballot initative to ban the sales of smartphones to people under the age of 13. Really, Denver? Really?
To state the obvious, it's blatantly unconstitutional even if the proposed ban doesn't appear to be completely based on content, as it doesn't just violate the rights of the minors that want a smartphone, it violates the rights of the parents who think that their child is mature enough to handle a smartphone. The argument of the people pushing for the Denver smartphone ban is similar to the one rejected by the late Justice Scalia & the US Supreme Court in Brown v. EMA.
Not to mention the obvious question that is similar to the arguments against fake "violent" video games, and that is "What kid has $500 to buy an iPhone, an Android, or a Samsung Galaxy?"
The ongoing story that shows the news media and the moral panic profiteers' shift to new targets for their fake morality policing to continue playing the "Blame Game" is YouTube's recent mass demonetization of content creators.
Back in mid-Feburary, three reporters for the Wall Street Journal wrote a hit piece targeting YouTube personality Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie. The reporters watched several of PewDiePie's videos, taking several jokes about Nazis completely out of context, and presented their findings to Disney & Maker Studios, PewDiePie's business partners, before publishing the story. causing both to drop business ties with him & cancel his show on YouTube Red.
I've said in the past that there is a huge difference between being genuinely offended and just looking to be offended, and it's usually the latter. While there was criticism generated against the tabloid trash reporters by PewDiePie's fellow YouTubers and his subscriber base & the reporters' plan basically failed(PewDiePie actually gained at least two million more subscribers since the WSJ article was published on Valentine's Day), the problem with moral busybodies whether their outrage is genuine or not is that if you give them a single inch, they'll want to take a mile or more.
So it should have come as no surprise that about a month later, the same reporters at the Wall Street Journal started going after companies that advertise on YouTube before videos play if those content creators allow ads to play before or during their videos, claiming that their ads appeared before racist & terrorist videos. And as a result, dozens of companies pulled their ads, basically screwing over every content creator on YouTube that isn't backed by a multi-national corporation like Time Warner, Comcast, or Disney.
And the news media wonders why they've been losing the public's trust for so long.
While the advertisers have returned to an extent, the content creators have only gotten half as much ad revenue as they were getting before, at best. And it doesn't help when YouTube is demonetizing videos for any vague reason that they deem not friendly for advertising. Like for example, criticizing Islam & talking about current events like terrorist attacks.
The content creators that aren't backed by multi-national corporate entities have had to rely on their fans donating money through Patreon, GoFundMe, or through YouTube's Superchat format as well as posting videos on other video sites like Vid.me, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Twitch, or Minds to make up the difference.
It appears that YouTube has joined the long list of entertainment mediums that have been attacked by self-appointed "moral guardians" attempting to shove their beliefs down the public's throat. The same "moral guardians" that whined in the past about fake "violent" video games, WWE, rap music, heavy metal music, television, movies, books, William Shakesphere's plays, and so on.
And YouTube has been getting hit in recent months. There was controversy in late April/early May over a YouTuber named DaddyOFive who posted videos of him and his current wife playing pranks on their children, especially on his youngest son, that some felt were child abuse, including a video where his stepson destroyed the kid's tablet and he ended up shoving the child face first into a bookshelf, causing a nosebleed. He ended up privatizing all his videos except for an apology video he made when the story was featured on ABC's Good Morning America. And he also lost custody of his two youngest children to their mother.
Then there is this very recent news of a 21 year old YouTuber who convinced his 19 year old pregnant girlfriend to shoot him with a .50 caliber gun while he held a book to stop the bullet for a prank video. Unless that book was the size of War & Peace or an encyclopedia, a book wasn't going to stop a bullet like that, and it didn't. He died, and now his girlfriend is being charged with 2nd degree manslaughter & reckless discharge of a firearm.
There may be some people trying to blame YouTube for that guy's death, and while YouTube may have some culpability for that particular stunt because of the demonetization caused by the Wall Street Journal(and the Wall Street Journal should get some blame themselves), it seems like they would have tried to do the video anyway to get more views. That guy somehow thought it was a good idea to risk his life for a stupid video and now he's dead because of his own stupidity.
It goes back to personal accountability. The only person ultimately responsible for your actions is you. It doesn't matter what you watch on TV, what you listen to on radio, what books you read, or what video games you play, you still make the conscious choice to commit an action.
But why have the news media & the self-appointed moral guardians shifted its focus from video games to the internet within the last year? The simple reason is that the internet has become a much bigger threat to both the news media & their corporate masters than video games ever were. Fewer people are watching TV shows on the television itself, more people are canceling their cable TV services and getting just internet service(because in some cases, internet access has become cheaper than even the basic cable bundle), more streaming video websites like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, & Hulu are offering original content in addition to the shows on broadcast & cable TV, & the television audience is getting older while younger people are tuning out and going to the internet.
Even the National Football League's ratings for regular season games were down for the most part last year, even factoring in that it was a Presidential election year and the NFL's ratings usually dip until after election day during those years. LiveJournal user Freezer made a great point about the NFL's ratings dip in October, explaining that the NFL has its own issues to take into account regarding their TV ratings with a diminished quality of play, rules changes that put bigger emphasis on the passing game(even if you have a Hall of Fame QB, if you don't have an average at best defense or an offensive line to protect said QB, you're always going to struggle to make the playoffs), the Thursday night games being unwatchable mainly due to teams only having two days to prepare, and the league's promotion of the Sunday Ticket package exclusive to DirecTV for $100 to $200 a year(it allows you to watch every game instead of just the games in your area) & the Red Zone channel available everywhere for $5 a month extra for a sports package(Red Zone is Sunday Ticket on one channel, but it switches games whenever a team is in a position to score a touchdown).
To paraphrase Freezer, just like the NFL, Disney, Comcast, Time Warner, CBS, Viacom, News Corp, & Discovery want to still scream "The Sky Is Falling" even as they're raking in all that money from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, & Google.
It also doesn't help that the politicians outside the US, specifically & especially in Europe, are pushing for laws to restrict people's access to the Internet because they don't like that people can speak their minds freely, the one thing they fear the most about America.
Keep fighting the good fight. Just because video games aren't under attack now doesn't mean they won't be in the future. But it's become bigger than just video games.
Also cross-posted to my Minds.com account: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/728617934926127104
On June 14th, another shooting made national headlines, this time in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. However, unlike other shootings, even though nobody died other than the shooter, one of the victims was relatively well known as the shooter, a 66 year old Bernie Sanders supporter who hated President Donald Trump, targeted Republican legislators as they were practicing for a charity baseball game the next night at Nationals Park against the Democrats.
Rep. Steve Scalise(R-Louisiana*) was wounded along with several other lobbyists & Capitol Police officers. It was said that if Scalise wasn't there or didn't have a 24 hour security detail from being Majority Whip in the House of Representatives(the 3rd biggest job in the House behind the Speaker and the Majority Leader) with him, the shooting would have been a lot worse with many more victims. (As of this writing on June 17th, Scalise was still in critical condition, though his condition was improving to the point where he is awake, after taking a bullet to the hip, damaging internal organs in the process.)
Yet, the shooting brought Republicans & Democrats together, as it could have been the Democrats targeted if Hillary Clinton had won in November instead of Trump. The politicians' talk of unity is growing as the political violence that has become increasingly prevalent in the last year because of the political divide hit very close to home.
The talk of unity should also extend to the American people and the American news media. I've mentioned in the past on how we as Americans have become our own worst enemy. We've become our own worst enemy through our own confirmation bias, our reliance on a news media that seems more beholden to the interests of their multi-national corporate parent companies than the general public's, as well as our tendency to promote hysteria on any given issue.
As I previously pointed out as well, we've lost the spirit of the First Amendment when we have been made to be afraid to speak out against things we disagree with, especially on social media. (It doesn't help when the social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, & even YouTube, which are based and operated in the United States, are actively working with foreign governments like England & Germany to suppress people's criticism of certain topics such as the refugee crisis in Europe.) Again, being free to speak openly about any topic at any time without the fear of persecution or even prosecution allows society to stay civilized and functional.
This is probably the biggest reason we've become our own worst enemy. Because of this attitude, we have lost our civility & have become way too willing to be confrontational with our beliefs to the point of becoming violent towards those who dare to have an opposing viewpoint.
While I firmly believe in personal accountability and that the only person responsible for the shooting in Alexandria, VA on June 14th is the 66 year old Bernie Sanders supporter, I feel like the left-leaning news media, certain SJW's, & even some people in Hollywood must also bear some responsibility for James Hodgkinson's actions.
When reports came out after the Presidential election about people being attacked in the streets and in schools just for supporting Donald Trump's campaign, the left had both a legal & a moral obligation to denounce this behavior as wrong and nip it in the bud. However, not only did the left seemingly support this behavior, they outright encouraged it in some aspects. Here's some more examples:
-in January, CNN pundit Symone Sanders(a former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, no relation to him) defended the behavior of the four black people in Chicago who kidnapped and tortured a white special needs person simply because they hated Donald Trump. Sanders, who is black, two months earlier also mocked the report of a white girl being attacked by a black girl at school for supporting Trump when another panelist called her out for not condemning the violence.
-at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, during his acceptance speech, the creator of the Netflix show Stranger Things made reference to "punching bullies in the face" to a standing ovation.
-on Inauguration Day, white nationalist Richard Spencer was sucker punched in the face without provocation while being interviewed. The SJW response to the act was of glorification and justification because white nationalism was conflated with Nazism.
-in early February in Berkeley, CA, Milo Yiannopolous had his planned speech at the University of California-Berkeley canceled because of student protests that turned into full-scale riots led by scumbag far-left groups called By Any Means Necessary and Antifa, which included attacks on perceived Trump supporters. Due to fear of rioting, Ann Coulter had her planned speech in late April canceled as well.
-on the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, comedian Jim Jeffries told Piers Morgan to "fuck off" when Morgan was defending Trump from the false comparisons to Adolf Hitler that the far left ideologues have been pushing since Trump announced his Presidential candidacy in June 2015.
-in April, a free speech rally in Berkeley, CA run by Trump supporters turned into a fight with BAMN & Antifa when the far-left groups were allowed to jump barricades. The Trump supporters fought back and ran the Antifa scumbags off despite getting no help from the Berkeley Police Department, who were allegedly ordered to stand down by the scumbag mayor of Berkeley, an alleged supporter of those far-left groups.
Because the left, fueled by their irrational hatred of President Donald Trump, chose to encourage negative behavior at every opportunity, they essentially set the stage for what happened in Alexandria, VA. Steve Scalise's blood is on their hands.
Bridging the divide and keeping the bridge from being burnt down will take time. We can start building that bridge by denouncing violent behavior and groups that support violence against people that have opposing viewpoints and also by encouraging an open dialogue that challenges our views without fear of myopic labels("racist", "sexist", "homophobic", "Islamophobic", etc.) that are nothing more than cheap shots meant as a silencing tactic. Finally, cut the cord. Call Comcast, Cox, Charter, DirecTV, etc. and cancel your cable & satellite service. Just get internet service. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc. are owned by multi-national media conglomerates and will maintain their biases until it affects their bottom line.
*- The district Scalise(who's from Metairie) represents covers the southern halves of Terrebonne & Lafourche Parish.
Also cross-posted to my Minds.com account: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/723547176105418752
Between the Wall Street Journal's libelious hitpieces on PewDiePie & later YouTube and Stephen Colbert's joke about President Donald Trump performing oral sex on Russian President Vladimir Putin on his late night talk show, both sides of the political spectrum have complained recently that comedy is going too far.
There is a difference between being satirical & just being mean-spirited. PewDiePie's jokes about Nazi Germany that were taken completely out of context by three yellow journalists looking to make a name for themselves was satire. Stephen Colbert telling a series of jokes about President Trump culminating with Colbert saying that Trump's mouth was Putin's "cock holster" because Trump abruptly cut off an interview with the host of CBS' Face the Nation(a friend of Colbert's) was mean-spirited.
In the last week, however, one comedian took things so far, it made both sides call her out for her mean-spiritedness.
So Kathy Griffin decided to pose for a photo with her holding a bloody knife in one hand and what appeared to be the severed head of President Trump in the other.
The backlash against her not just from President Trump's supporters & conservatives but also from liberals including Chelsea Clinton(the daughter of former President Bill Clinton & failed Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who I'm certain Griffin supported for President in the last election along with 95% of Hollywood) was so intense, not only did she have to apologize within hours of posting the photos on Twitter, she also lost several stand-up comedy gigs, an endorsement deal with some company called Squatty Potty(I had never heard of it, but my brother pointed out to me that the product was on Shark Tank), and her job co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper(who also disavowed her & her actions). And the Secret Service is said to be investigating her.
However, during a press conference on Friday, Kathy Griffin lost any & all credibility & respect she had left, as well as any goodwill she might have gained through the contrite apology she gave after the initial backlash to the photo by appearing unapologetic despite offering a second apology and even trying to blame President Trump & his family for HER behavior towards him.
Griffin gave a lame excuse for the photoshoot, claiming that it was in response to Trump's comments about then-Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly(who has since moved to NBC) having "blood coming out of her ears & wherever" in regard to Kelly being moderator of the first debate amongst the Republican Party's Presidential candidates that Fox News hosted & aired in July 2015.
So Griffin waited almost two years to respond to some throwaway line that the tabloid trash mainstream news media used as one of many soundbites during the election to make Trump look worse than Hillary Clinton? And then decides the logical response is to make herself look exactly like an ISIS terrorist?
And then as if it wasn't bad enough, she turns around and tries to falsely accuse the Trump family of "trying to ruin her career" because President Trump himself called her sick, his current wife First Lady Melania Trump questioned Griffin's mental health, and his older sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump also criticized her behavior. Griffin also complained of receiving death threats herself and even falsely accused the Trumps of orchestrating it.
To quote Ron White, Kathy Griffin, the next time you have a thought, let it go. And to paraphrase Chris Jericho, Kathy Griffin, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!!
You're the one who chose to have photos taken of you holding up what appeared to be the severed head of the President of the United States of America.
You're the one who chose to post those photos on the internet thinking you were going to get a positive response. Well, other than from the Hollywood scumbags who already don't like Trump.
You damn well knew those photos would cause controversy and get you in hot water, because you told the photographer "We may have to move to Mexico" and "We may end up in prison", because those photos could be perceived as a death threat against the President of the United States of America!
WHAT DID YOU FUCKING THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, YOU STUPID BITCH?!
If Kathy Griffin somehow thinks that something that could be and was seen by some people as a death threat to the President of the United States of America was supposed to be seen as a joke, then Melania Trump is right to question her mental health & President Trump is right to call her sick.
President Trump & his family didn't ruin your career, Kathy Griffin. You ruined your career the second you clicked the Tweet button and you fucking know it. Then you burned down what was left of the bridge between you and the American people by falsely blaming Donald Trump for something you did. President Donald Trump didn't screw Kathy Griffin. Kathy Griffin SCREWED Kathy Griffin. You reap what you sow.
Recently, the city of New Orleans started removing four Civil War monuments roughly two years after the New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 to remove the monuments as "public nuisances" and several attempts in the court system failed to overturn the decision. Within the last month, the Liberty Place monument and the statue of Jefferson Davis were removed and placed in a storage facility with the statues of PGT Beauregard & Robert E. Lee still left to eventually come down.
However, was there really any good reason to take down the monuments beyond New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu wanting to make a national name for himself as a recent report of a 2020 Presidential bid suggests?
The NFL, the NBA, and the NCAA apparently had no qualms with those monuments when New Orleans was hosting Super Bowls, NBA All-Star Games, Final Fours, & BCS National Championship Games on a semi-regular basis. In fact, the NBA handed New Orleans this past season's All-Star Game after pulling the game from Charlotte because of the North Carolina bathroom bill. And WWE is holding WrestleMania at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in April 2018 for the second time in five years.
So, why are those statues a problem now if those major sports leagues seemingly didn't have one to begin with? It started with the racially motivated mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, SC in which nine black people were murdered by a white supremacist. After the South Carolina state legislature voted to permanently remove the Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol's grounds in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it seems to me like Mitch Landrieu saw an opportunity to one-up then-South Carolina governor Nikki Haley(a Republican who has since resigned after being appointed by President Donald Trump as US Ambassador to the United Nations). Landrieu, who is a Democrat from a very prominent political dynasty in New Orleans, apparently saw a way to break out of the shadows of his father Moon Landrieu(a former mayor of New Orleans) and his sister Mary Landrieu(a former three term US Senator who lost her re-election bid in 2014 to then-US Rep. Bill Cassidy in a runoff).
So it can be argued that the push to remove the Confederate Civil War monuments was not a grassroots effort by the people of New Orleans, but came from the whims of a power hungry term-limited DemoCuck mayor looking for greener pastures. To paraphrase the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the majority opinion he wrote in Brown v. EMA, it's like Mayor Landrieu's goal in removing the statues was what he thinks the people ought to want as opposed to letting the people decide for themselves.
And knowing of the widespread corruption within politics whether it's in Louisiana, New York City, Chicago, Washington, DC, or even Berkeley, CA, even though we live in a representative republic, were the members of the New Orleans City Council that voted for removing the monuments really representing the people of New Orleans or were they acting on their own self interests?
When you give self-appointed moral guardians such as the Parents Television Council & the Wall Street Journal(see the WSJ's recent attacks on PewDiePie & YouTube) an inch, they're going to want a mile or more in return. And the racist black supremacist groups supporting the removal of the statues want that mile as they want the statues of President Andrew Jackson & Bienville taken down as well as wanting Tulane University & Touro Hospital to change their names.
And as such, the Louisiana state legislature is looking at bills to keep other monuments from being taken down to draw a line somewhere. The decision to take down the monuments is increasingly unpopular within Louisiana & outside New Orleans as a recent survey by LSU showed that over 70% wanted the statues to remain.
Regardless of the reasons why the statues were even put up in the first place(I tend to think it was as an act of defiance stemming from the Southern states being treated like conquered territories after the Civil War by the Radical Republicans in the US Congress going against the plans of President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth*), removing them will not change history and also won't change what's in the hearts & minds of individuals.
And if the monuments really are nothing more than "consolation prizes", then there's no point in people celebrating the removal of the statues. Geaux to hell, Mitch Landrieu.
*-which in itself begs the question, if the South was treated better than they were after the Civil War, would those statues even had been built in the first place or would there even be as much pride in the Confederate battle flag as there has been? Also, on that same thread, if Germany had been treated better than they were after World War I, would Adolf Hitler have risen to power as quickly as he did?
I mentioned in a previous post on LiveJournal
about how the Republican Senators' refusal to even consider President Barack Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland to the US Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia's death was the result of the GOP betting on both winning the White House and keeping control of the Senate to give their party's nominee(which ended up being Donald Trump) the chance to replace Scalia with a similiarly conservative judge to maintain the ideological balance of the Supreme Court. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ended up winning that bet when Trump won the election and the GOP maintained control of the Senate.
With Neil Gorsuch's confirmation and swearing in, the Court is back to full strength and to its 4-4-1 split, keeping the Court center-right as opposed to a center-left shift.
While the Republicans started the fight by not giving Garland hearings, by attempting to block Gorsuch's nomination with a filibuster to keep the Senate from calling for a final up-or-down vote where Gorsuch needed 60 votes to be confirmed, the Democrats allowed the GOP to finish the fight. The GOP Senators voted to change the rules to make it where Supreme Court appointments now only need 51 votes for confirmation instead of 60 votes, and Gorsuch was confirned by a vote of 54-45(1 GOP Senator was unable to vote due to having back surgery; 3 Democrats voted for Gorsuch in part because they face re-election bids in states that Trump won decisively in the 2016 election).
The Democrats made a huge mistake in filibustering Gorsuch, regardless of whose bright idea it was to filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, DNC chairman Tom Perez, and any Democrats that agreed to filibuster Gorsuch are idiots for having done so.
The Democrats claimed that filibustering Neil Gorsuch wasn't about getting some form of payback against the Republicans for their treatment of Merrick Garland, but it appeared that it was indeed payback from last year. Not to mention that the Democrats and their supporters are still butthurt over Trump winning the election. The Democrats allowed their increasingly far-left ideology to get the best of them.
Even if Neil Gorsuch is going to be nothing more than a carbon copy of Antonin Scalia or worse than Scalia or Clarence Thomas as the Democrats claimed, then it wouldn't change the ideological balance of the Supreme Court one bit. There would still be four conservatives on the court with four liberals and one moderate that leans conservative.
The filibuster shows that the Democrats were not as confident in their claims that Gorsuch would not have gotten the 60 votes needed even though more than 40 Democratic Senators publicly stated that they weren't going to vote for Gorsuch. They knew that there were some moderate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 and at least three of them did say that they were voting to confirm Gorsuch(and those same three did). They also knew the Republicans threatened to use the so-called "nuclear option" to change the rules for Supreme Court appointments from 60 votes needed to 51. President Trump even told McConnell & the other GOP Senators to change the rules if they had to.
If the Democrats were confident that Gorsuch would not win confirmation, then they didn't need to filibuster. But by filibustering, they gave the GOP reason to change the rules, thus making the Democrats look like they were the ones unwilling to compromise instead of the Republicans. Perception is reality.
Not only that, by filibustering when there really was no need to do so, the Democrats made it so much easier for President Trump's future appointments to the Supreme Court to join the bench. They made it easier for Trump to replace aging Justices like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anthony Kennedy, or even Stephen Breyer, potentially pushing SCOTUS further to the right with 7 conservatives to 2 liberals. It stands to reason that there is now some internal pressure on Clarence Thomas to retire so Trump can go ahead and replace him on the bench. By choosing to fight Gorsuch's nomination, the Democrats basically forfeited any future fights against replacing Ginsberg or Kennedy.
Not only did Chuck Schumer drop the ball, moderate Democrats also dropped the ball by not challenging Schumer and staying silent when the party decided to filibuster Gorsuch. Moderate Democrats should have been telling Schumer and other far left Democrats that it was a bad idea to filibuster Neil Gorsuch.
Moderate Democrats need to start fighting the extreme far-left within the party if the Democrats expect to regain a foothold in American politics. The Democrats have lost almost 1,000 seats in the fifty state legislatures since Obama became President. There is not enough people on the far left or the far right to win an election in the United States.
The Democrats have not learned anything from their loss to Trump. The far-left extreme faction within the Democratic Party have pushed moderates and even regular liberals to the other side by refusing to compromise and work with the other side.
The recent confirmation of President Donald Trump's appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia continues to show that there may be no end in sight to the partisanship in politics.