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To Have and Have Not


Exhibit One: The Slippery Slope

And now it seems that there is an existential crisis in some quarters about Big Tech and their “bias”. The Galtian crisis is that these are private companies providing an (admittedly) popular service, but nobody is forced to use them. Indeed, by using them you agree to their terms of usage, and they have a private corporation’s right to set and enforce those terms however they see fit. First Amendment Rights? Better reread the Constitution. To paraphrase: “Congress (ie the government) shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” A private individual, and remember according to the Supreme Court that is what Corporations are, can control the speech in their realm anyway they want. Of course, there are limitations even on Free Speech, yelling Fire in the movie theater is the usual example, but Twitter has as much right to control the speech on its platform as Hanther has on Tandra. These same private individuals can choose where to do their business (MLB pulling the All-Star game out of Georgia), voice their concern about the directions of certain laws, and choose to contribute politically to any one they want to. Point of fact, most political contributions are not from Corporations but are from the individuals connected to those corporations. You feel Facebook is being mean to you, start your own service i.e. Mr Pillow. We’ll see how free his Freedom of Speech service stays once it starts getting flooded with Left-Wing trolls. But the Government did break up AT&T for instance but that was a monopolistic Utility service. Standard Oil? Monopoly again. Maybe they can go after Big Tech with that but you are talking years of litigation.  What about the deplatforming of Parlor? Yep, a private company decided not to do business with another private company. If that breached a contract, Parlor can sue. No contract? Too bad. “We don’t cater Gay weddings.”  It is a slippery slope, but there used to be a classic Republican response highlighted below.
Exhibit Two: Some Republicans still have convictions (the other kind)
From The Huffpost:

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he will veto HB 1570, a harmful anti-transgender bill that would prohibit doctors from providing medically necessary treatment to trans kids.
In a media appearance Monday, Hutchinson said concern about government overreach influenced his decision.

“House Bill 1570 would put the state as the definitive oracle of medical care, overriding parents, patients and health care experts,” he said. “While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue This would be, and is, a vast government overreach,” he added.
Exhibit Three: Talking Points
From Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice:

A quick thread on what we, in TV writing, call the Idiot Ball. This is a term used to describe when one character, in order to make the show work, has to behave, uncharacteristically, like a complete idiot. It is usually a different character each week.
— John Rogers (@jonrog1) March 8, 2021
This term was coined, I heard, by actor Hank Azaria, who was complaining about a show he was on and asked, “who’s carrying the idiot ball this week?” The modern conservative intellectual movement is now reduced to passing around the idiot ball.

   Dr. Seuss is this week’s idiot ball, and in order to be part of the show, you have to carry it. You have to make bad faith or stupid arguments to be part of the show. The difference is, now, *everybody* has to pass the idiot ball around, all episode. Ross absolutely knows that this was a decision by the [Seuss] Rights Holders to pull books with illustrations which are racist by even lax standards. This is their right and is actually just smart capitalism. But he has to carry the Idiot Ball.

   Freedom Fries. Antifa. Dr. Seuss. Millions of missing ballots. Neanderthals. Ordinarily smart people have to pretend to be earnestly dumb and make idiotic arguments about each of these or be tossed from the show.

  So now, you have the shorthand. Whenever you hear some ridiculous fake scandal or outrage, you can just chalk it up to “Oh, it’s this week’s Idiot Ball” and it says everything you need to know about both the subject, and the person carrying it.

   Museum Note: and it goes on. Meat Police, Taxpayer funds for books, etc. etc.
Exhibit Four: Peter paying Paul
From the NY Times:

Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the (Trump) campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election. Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.

As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.

The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars…
The sheer magnitude of the money involved is staggering for politics. In the final two and a half months of 2020, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts issued more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors. All campaigns make refunds for various reasons, including to people who give more than the legal limit. But the sum the Trump operation refunded dwarfed that of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign and his equivalent Democratic committees, which made 37,000 online refunds totaling $5.6 million in that time.

The recurring donations swelled Mr. Trump’s treasury in September and October, just as his finances were deteriorating. He was then able to use tens of millions of dollars he raised after the election, under the guise of fighting his unfounded fraud claims, to help cover the refunds he owed.
Exhibit Five: Beating the Dead Horse
By Ryan Grenoble:

The other week, federal and state investigators quietly wrapped up a major, four-year investigation into claims of voter fraud in North Carolina — without delivering a shred of evidence of the “systemic” or “pervasive” fraud that Republicans had long promised.

Despite “dragnet-style” subpoenas of 44 counties, across state agencies, invasive data mining and records collection, hundreds of hours of professional staff time and more, investigators were able to charge a grand total of 41 people of some form of fraud — out of 5 million votes cast and 7 million voters.

   Museums Note: Arizona is fixing this by baking the books. However no matter what they “find” none of it will hold up in a Court of Law, meaning it will just be used politically to further limit voting rights.
At the Exit: Presented without Comment

Here’s a bit more on that novel idea to dispose of Confederate monuments that was alluded to by TaMara in the live Biden event coverage downstairs. A group calling itself White Lies Matter, Inc, stole a commemorative “Jefferson Davis Chair” that was placed in an Alabama cemetery by the (white) “Ladies of Selma” in 1893. White Lies Matter, Inc. says they’re holding the chair captive to force the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to post a banner at that organization’s Richmond headquarters on Confederate surrender day, which falls on Friday (April 9th) this year. The banner, which the group says has already been delivered to the UDC, is emblazoned with a quote from Assata Shakur of the Black Liberation Army: “The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives.”

The cheeky chair-nappers are threatening to turn the stone throne into a toilet if their demand isn’t met.


Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from misguided souls who disagree.