Et tu, WordPress?

Thanks to photog for informing me about this one:  legendary conservative blog Conservative Treehouse is being deplatformed.  WordPress has given them to 2 December 2020 to find a new host.

It’s another sad casualty in the never-ending pogroms of Big Tech.  I am not a regular Conservative Treehouse reader, but it’s fairly standard, non-controversial conservative commentary.  CT was big on debunking the Russian conspiracy and Ukrainian hoaxes, and really delved deeply into the weeds of those baseless witch hunts.  It’s also been going hard to illuminate the theft of the presidential election.

But that’s enough.  In a world in which Twitter posts Orwellian “fact-check” tags to tweets about the election, any questioning of the orthodoxy is a thoughtcrime.  CT itself points to the real reason for their deplatforming:

The WordPress company is not explaining the reason for deplatforming because there is no justifiable reason for it.  At the same time, they are bold in their position. Perhaps this is the most alarming part; and everyone should pay attention. They don’t care.

Truthful assembly is now the risk.  CTH is now too big; with a site reach of 500,000 to a million unique readers each day; and with well over 200,000 subscribers; our assembly is too large, too influential, and presents a risk… we guard the flickering flame.

That’s the key—Conservative Treehouse is effective; ergo, it must be eliminated.  I’ve written far spicier posts on this blog, but I’m so small, WordPress doesn’t care (or, more likely, doesn’t notice).

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TBT: [Censored.TV] Lineup Announced

Other than Roosh V, probably the greatest influence on my deeper red-pilling was Gavin McInnes.  McInnes’s commentary is funny, lively, and fresh.  I have consumed hundreds of hours of his popular podcast, Get Off My Lawn, so I’ve heard a lot of his thoughts on a broad range of topics.  Even when I disagree with his assessment of some event, his perspective is unique and interesting.

Milo is also a part of McInnes’s world, and his sharp, erudite, biting commentary—and excellent journalism—routinely inspire posts on this site, such as Monday’s piece “What is Civilization?

Back in Summer 2019, McInnes—who, like Laura Loomer, has been banned from multiple platforms—launched Censored.TV, which at the time was FreeSpeech.TV (thus the brackets in this post’s title, and in the original post below; the service changed its name after another company threatened a trademark suit against McInnes).  The service, which is just $10 a month or $100 for a year, features about a dozen different personalities and shows, ranging from “Gary’s Mailbag”—a homeless man who wanders around outside the studio and reads letters—to Milo’s raucous “Friday Night’s All Right.”

The main message of the original post was to encourage readers to support content they like (myself included!), especially conservatives.  Platforms like SubscribeStar help give conservatives and dissidents a voice, but those platforms are oases of freedom in a desert of techno-tyranny.

With that, here is 2019’s “FreeSpeech.TV Lineup Announced“:

Thanks to my brother for this nocturnal news update:  Gavin McInnes’s new subscription-based service, [Censored.TV], is ready to launch.  Listeners to the excellent, hilarious Get Off My Lawn podcast know that Gavin has been planning this platform for some time now, so it’s exciting to see the lineup.  The most exciting part of that schedule:  the twice-monthly sit-downs with Milo Yiannopoulos to talk about the news.  Talk about throwing gasoline onto a raging fire of awesomeness.

The service is $10 a month, or $100 a year, which is on par with Steven Crowder’s Mug Club or Ben Shapiro’s subscription.  I just don’t think it comes with a Leftist Tears Hot-or-Cold Tumbler, much less a far superior hand-etched mug.  But with McInnes’s crazy, controversial, humorous observations about life and culture, I can live without a drinking vessel tossed in (although it would be hysterical to drink coffee from a mug made to look like McInnes’s bearded mug).

Because of constant censorship from techno-elites and their ever-shifting “terms of services,” conservative and Dissident Right voices have fewer and fewer options to raise funds.  Some sites, like immigration patriot website VDare.com, can’t even use PayPal anymore.  As such, more and more content creators are turning to alternative or free-speech-friendly services, or undertaking the cost of creating their own infrastructure, so they can continue to get their work to fans.

I am definitely a small fry in this game of commentary, but that’s why I’ve setup a page with SubscribeStar.  My goal isn’t too live off of subscriptions, but just to supplement my income slightly to make blogging more on a daily basis more feasible (and to reinvest some of the funds into maintaining and improving the experience).

For guys like Gavin McInnes, who has been hounded from even supposed safe havens like his old employer, CRTV (now BlazeTV), reliable income streams aren’t a passing lark—they’re absolutely crucial.

In a better timeline, McInnes would be hosting Red Eye.  But he’s a fighter, and I have no doubt his new service will continue to deliver the laughs.

Free speech isn’t free.  Support creators like McInness, Crowder, Shapiro, and Milo to the best of your ability to keep their content alive.

If you’d like to support MY content, consider signing up for a subscription to my SubscribeStar page.  New, exclusive content every Saturday, starting at just $1 a month.

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SubscribeStar and Free Speech

Readers know that I’ve been using SubscribeStar to host subscription-based content—like SubscribeStar Saturdays for $1 a month subscribers, and Five Dollar Fridays and Sunday Doodles for $5 a month subs—for over a year now.  It’s a fairly rudimentary blogging platform, without some of the robustness and customization options of WordPress, but unlike WordPress, it’s leadership is not inherently left-leaning.

In other words, there’s very little chance SubscribeStar is going to shut down a “star“—their term for their content providers—over groundless accusations.  That’s one big reason I signed up for their service:  I had confidence that they wouldn’t shutter my blog posts simply for thinking critically and questioning the prevailing orthodoxy.

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More Tech Censorship

Another round of tech censorship is upon us.  The Trump campaign has been banned from streaming service Twitch (which I thought was just for gamers and girls with big boobs).  A bunch of conservative and Right-leaning personalities have been banned from YouTube, including Gavin McInnes, who built his own platform at Censored.TV.  Immigration patriot website VDare may lose its domain registrar, forcing the website to the Dark Web and TOR browsers.

Probably the most shocking is the digital defenestration of Stefan Molyneux, the grandiloquent Internet philosopher.  Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio touts itself as “the world’s number one philosophy show,” and Molyneux’s output is ponderously prolific.  Within hours of major news events, Molyneux will have long “The Truth about [Insert Controversial Figure or Event Here]” videos uploaded, meticulously researched and supported with fact-filled PowerPoints.

Lately, though, Molyneux has been posting videos of his daughter’s tadpole pool, or of the two of them building a turtle garden.  He’s also been livestreaming Doom—controversial in the Tipper Gore era of schoolmarmish censorship of video games and music, maybe, but not thirty years later, and certainly not grounds for deplatforming.

So why did the Left decide to destroy Molyneux’s livelihood?  The simple answers:  because he’s Right-wing, and because they could.

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Trump Takes Action on Big Tech

President Trump finally did it—after years of calls from blackballed conservatives, GEOTUS signed an executive order yesterday removing liability protections for social media companies that censor users based on their political views.

Here is a lengthy excerpt from Fox News‘s reporting:

The president’s order, which also cuts federal funding for social media platforms that censor users’ political views, came just two days after Twitter took the unprecedented step of slapping a “misleading” warning label on two of Trump’s tweets concerning the fraud risks of nationwide mail-in balloting. The move immediately backfired: Experts disputed that Trump’s tweet was actually misleading, in part because mail-in balloting has been linked to ongoing fraud; Twitter’s fact-check itself contained false statements; and Twitter failed to apply the standard of review to other users.

At Thursday’s signing ceremony, Trump called the fact-check “egregious,” and held up a photo of Twitter executive Yoel Roth, who heads up the site’s fact-checking and rules-making operation. Fox News reported on Wednesday that Roth has mocked Trump supporters, called Trump’s team “ACTUAL NAZIS,” slammed “scary trannies” in New York City, and called GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a “bag of farts.” (In a statement, Twitter did not dispute Fox News’ reporting, but called it “unfortunate.”)

“My executive order calls for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to make it so that social media companies that engage in censoring any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield,” the president said.

Essentially, social media platforms have always had a choice:  either act as a publisher, in which case you’re liable for what users post, but you can remove and censor content as you see fit; or act as a neutral platform, in which case you’re protected from liability for what users post.  Twitter, Facebook, et. al., are trying to have the best of both worlds—ban political posts and users with which they disagree under the companies’ “Terms of Services,” while disclaiming responsibility for everything else.

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Big Deal

A big story in media this week is Joe Rogan, host of the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, has signed an exclusive deal with Spotify that could be worth over $100 million.

Joe Rogan’s podcast has been around since 2009, and features long (two hours or more) interviews with personalities from every background and occupation.  The long-ranging, free-flowing conversations (really, they’re more conversations than traditional interviews) make for great listening, and I suspect part of the key to Rogan’s success is that he offers something for everyone.  For example, I ignore most of Rogan’s content, but I’ll never miss an interview he does with any of the various figures on the Right, from Ben Shapiro to Gavin McInnes (persona non grata from Rogan’s show these days, unfortunately).

McInnes describes Rogan as a man with a “blue-collar brain,” but who is generally open to learning.  That is, he’s rather meat-headed and unsophisticated in his analysis, but he’s willing to discuss anything with anyone (Flat Earthers, for example, are regulars on his show).  His only real sticking point, until the SJWs targeted him, was marijuana.  He lost it on Steven Crowder for merely suggesting that copious consumption of marijuana isn’t completely benign.  Yikes!

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Lazy Sunday LXV: Techno-Weirdos II

The New Year is chugging along, with Democratic primaries and caucuses mere weeks away.  Early voting has already started, as I noted yesterday.  “Tom Steyer’s Belt” continues to drive surreal amounts of traffic, which I suppose is one metric for the ubiquity of his ads.

Perhaps the greatest ally the eventual Democratic nominee will have is Big Tech.  We’re already witnessing the preemptive deplatforming of various conservative and anti-Leftist figures.  Attempts to weed out “fake” news—which to the Left is any news not reflexively critical of Trump—and to “fact check” conservatives are going to pick up as the election approaches.

Tech censorship raises a number of thorny questions that our traditional understanding of rights and obligations struggles to answer.  The question of free speech is particularly tricky, as it does seem that the monopolistic power—and the active collusion between them!—of Big Tech companies effectively strangles dissent.

That might be constitutional in a strictly literal sense—at least it’s not the government infringing on our rights—but it certainly violates the spirit of freedom of speech.  And, seriously, who doesn’t think the apparatchiks in The Swamp aren’t eagerly working hand-in-iron-fist with Google to keep tabs on us?

Does anyone have a copy of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act sitting around?  Maybe we should dust that off.  Trump would make a good trust-buster, as would Attorney General Bill Barr.  I’d sure love to see a political cartoon of the ursiline Barr swinging a club at a computer screen.

With that, here are two recent pieces I’ve written on tech companies and censorship:

  • Free Speech in the Private Sector” – This post looked at a lengthy essay from science-fiction author Cory Doctorow, in which he argued that our traditional understanding of freedom of speech is insufficient in addressing tech censorship.  The old libertarian canard that “a private company can set whatever limits on speech it wants” is a worthy ideal, but when the “private company” dominates the public square and effectively makes some forms of expression or some ideas unspeakable, then do we really have free speech?
  • Mailchimp Monkeys with Molyneux” – As if on cue, Mailchimp obligingly proved Doctorow’s point when it deplatformed Stefan Molyneux in a Twitter-induced panic.  Mailchimp might not be monopolistic in the way, say, Google is, but it’s all part of that cabal of freedom-hating e-litists.  Molyneux is a bit grandiose, to be sure, but he’s been maligned as being all sorts of unacceptable -isms and -ists that he simply isn’t.

That’s it for this week, folks.  Here’s to another week of selling our data to faceless technocratic overlords.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: First They Came for Crowder

It’s been a week for discussing tech censorship.  Yesterday, I wrote about Stefan Molyneux’s suspension from Mailchimp.  That was the result of deliberate misinformation and a handful of Twitter trolls.  It’s scary to consider that that’s all it takes to be deplatformed.

Such incidences are eerily, distressingly common.  Milo, Gavin McInnes, Laura Loomer, Alex Jones—all victims of Big Tech’s insatiable lust for virtue-signalling and social control.

This week’s TBT, then, looks back to Summer 2019, when conservative comedian Steven Crowder saw himself at the center of an on-again, off-again controversy regarding a mincing radical.

The great English physician said (I’m paraphrasing here) that we don’t need to be taught so much as we need to be reminded.  Crowder has endured with an excellent legal team, but it’s worth our time to consider the past (and present) battles in the ever-raging culture war.

Here is 2019’s “First They Came for Crowder“:

The big news in the conservative world this week was YouTube’s unceremonious demonetizing of Steven Crowder, yet another example of techno-elites censoring conservative and dissident voices.  Apparently, YouTube has somewhat reversed that decision if Crowder removes the hilarious “Socialism is for Figs” t-shirt from his website’s store (which, if that link is any indication, they have done).

The occasion for this deplatforming was a bout of limp-wristed hysterics from gay Hispanic (that’s a two-fer) Carlos Maza, a whinging, soyboy-ish fop with a penchant for calls of violence against conservatives.  Once again, loafer-lightened totalitarianism rears its fabulous head.

Maza argued that Crowder had “bullied” him in a series of sketches lampooning the sassy Latina’s emphatic videos for Vox.  As such, Maza demanded YouTube demonetize Crowder’s videos on its site.  When YouTube refused, Captain Canines led progressive journalists on a crusade against YouTube, claiming it didn’t do enough to protect LGBTQ2+etc. creators.

Please.  As Will Chamberlain writes in a piece on Human Events, Maza is one of the most privileged people on the planet:  he’s a flamingly gay Hispanic journalist.  Few people enjoy greater access to the full might and rancor of the progressive press (but I repeat myself) than this guy.

Crowder, on the other hand, has to hawk humorous t-shirts and hand-etched mugs to create a source of non-YouTube funding in order to keep his show going.  He’s been urging fans to subscribe to Mug Club for years for precisely this reason:  YouTube could pull the rug out at any moment (use promo code “Free Speech” for $30 off an annual subscription—that’s an incredible bargain).

YouTube brought in users with the promise of using their platform to make a living.  Now that they have a monopolistic market share of viewer eyeballs, they murkily shift their guidelines like a witch’s cauldron, booting conservatives for the slightest perceived offense.

Conservative content creators need reliable sources of funding to fight against the progressive media machine.  Steven Crowder needs your support.

And trust me—the mug alone is worth $70.

Mailchimp Monkeys with Molyneux

I purchased a new vehicle a couple of weeks ago.  Since then, I’m seeing Nissan Versa Notes everywhere (and they are not terribly common).  We’ve all experienced this sensation before:  we learn a new word, for example, and suddenly we hear it spoken frequently, when before it went unheard.

That’s the phenomenon I’m experiencing this morning:  no sooner did I write about Big Tech’s crippling control over our freedom of speech, e-mail service Mailchimp unceremoniously dumped Internet philosopher and YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux.  Molyneux hosts Freedomain Radio, which bills itself as “the world’s number one philosophy show.”

I’ve listened to a lot of Molyneux’s videos.  He’s not my favorite commentator, and he can be a bit rambling (not that I can judge him too harshly for that), but his demeanor and style are endearing, and his output is insanely prolific.  Within hours of a major news event, he’ll have a detailed, lengthy video breaking down the relevant information.  On top of all that, he hosts a live call-in show, from which he’ll derive videos that often ninety minutes in length.  It helps that his callers often have entertainingly tragic problems.

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