🚫 The Banning of The Right
Hello everyone. Welcome – once again – to another episode of Drinking From Human Skulls, my name is Doni Cordoni – I’m your host. And we’re going to be getting into some crazy happenings with a little app called Parler. And before I get into my feelings on what exactly took place here. I want to give you a bit of a rundown.
And I think the way I can do that is by reading this article on CNET. But before that let’s play this video that Fox news put together, just introducing you to Parler, mostly through the words of the CEO, John Matze. Let’s take a drink of this:
So that was John Matze, CEO of Parler… just a disclaimer before I get into anything else. I’m going to mispronounce this guy’s name a few times in the podcast. My sincerest apologies. Thank you very much. Okay.
So I want to point out that this video was produced on December 12th and it’s now mid-January (as of the recording). So a lot can change…
🤷 What happened to Parler?
Anyhow, let’s read through this CNET article.
Here’s the headline: Parler offline following Amazon, Apple, Google bans over capital violence content sub-headline reads “The app was used to help organize the Capitol Hill attack, pushing tech companies to reckon with the part they played in the riot”.
Okay. You know, depending on your point of view, that could be an accurate take, but let’s read because it’s a little twisted. The article starts:
Parler has been rife with violent comments since before the attack on the Capitol and Apple and Google say they’ll restore the app only when Parler moderates its service better. Parler chief executive John Matze posted on his service late Saturday that Amazon had informed him. It would no longer host its service on its Amazon web services platform.
The move followed earlier, announcements by Apple and Google that they removed the app from their respective app stores as well.
Okay. So… I mean, It seems to me like it’s collusion. You can say it was due to their inability to moderate, but if you just continuing the article, here’s what John Matze, the chief executive of Parler had to say, and I quote:
I just want to stop there and reflect… is it not possible that people were DM-ing and whatever, and sending their little rendezvous points on other social media apps, messaging apps, et cetera? This is just nonsense. We’re talking about perhaps people who have been pushed to the fringe and have been banned from other social media apps and who are on Parler because they have nowhere else to go.
And so Parler, you know, one of the ways I guess, that they attract people is by saying: we’re not going to censor you. We still will draw a line apparently at violence. So this is where it gets a little hazy, crazy. Because Parler thinks they’re doing a fine job with that. And the other side doesn’t think they’re doing a fine job with that.
Anyway, let’s keep reading the news here and see what else we can get into:
Which I think is pretty fair, but you know, it could be just lip service. Let’s play both sides:
Okay. So it’s not just Amazon, Apple, and Google…
Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats, to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the app store until they resolve these issues.
So they seem to be leaving it open… maybe this is all just a misunderstanding… It could be a misunderstanding…
People are scared. They saw a bunch of lunatics attacking the Capitol building on the 6th of January in 2021. And you know, who knows, there were people who got killed. Maybe everyone’s just a little bit afraid and they want to deescalate. And they think that this is a way to deescalate.
But it certainly does, if you read between the lines, look like corporate collusion against a very up-and-coming social media app. So we’ll just have to see. I think that if Apple does put it back on the store, Google will probably follow and who knows what Amazon will do. So it could be that they are given a chance here.
And if they aren’t given a chance, then we have to really, really follow this and see what happens. So let’s just keep reading:
Let’s see what Google had to say. Quote:
Google said I mean, okay. What just the omnipotent voice of Google said:
👺 The employees demand it!
Alright – we’ll skip ahead a little bit. There’s a disturbing trend where employees of companies are sort of speaking out against business dealings. And a lot of times it’s politicized.
This happened with Spotify protesting the Joe Rogan podcast, and now apparently has happened with Amazon employees protesting the Parler app. Let’s read:
I want to read you this tweet. This is a tweet from a Twitter page called “Amazon employees for climate justice”… Amazon employees for climate justice. Oh, you mean the company that is one of the biggest polluters in all of America.
Are you kidding me? Okay so take what they have to say with a grain of salt, but let’s just listen to it because this is the kind of world we live in. They say:
And that’s dated January 8th, 2021 so that’s two days after this attack on the Capitol – the insurrection…
Once again, I just… honestly, to be living in a world where you can, without a shred of irony, form a group that says Amazon employees for climate justice…
🔗 Corporate assassination
So that’s what’s happened? And obviously, we can dig deeper – there are all sorts of different things that we can listen to and different opinions we can sort of think about. I’ll just quickly tell you where I stand on this for what it’s worth. It seems to me like this is a corporate assassination of Parler.
Certainly, we can’t argue that there are people expressing opinions on Parler that may be less than sanguine. But can we not say that about other platforms and et cetera? And if it’s a matter of just maybe Parler needs a few weeks to get their resources in place, to hire people, to get the solution done.
The fact that they’re not allowing for that – the fact that they would send a message on a Friday and then ban them two days later... you’re going to de-platform a platform over the weekend? It just doesn’t make sense. It seems like it was just really rushed out.
You know, maybe they were really afraid that if they didn’t take action soon more violence would happen. Maybe? The fact is people were doing this across all apps: Twitter, Facebook – you name it. And especially if you consider the private messaging features of all these apps. So what’s the deal?
It just seems like there’s real hypocrisy here. I think these people exist on all platforms. And so if that’s a constant and maybe people who have been banned from those platforms have also gone to Parler… they’re forced to go there because they have no other platform.
It could be that there’s just a larger amount of this stuff happening on Parler, and growing pains, and who knows? Are we not able to give them the benefit of the doubt?
What if I wrote an article and published it online and just somehow a KKK group took over the comment thread of that article… were those comments my responsibility?
If you follow the same logic, then that’s where we go.
📣 Suppression of free speech
So this is the suppression of free speech, first of all, because I really think the reason why these people are so radicalized is that they’ve been pushed to the fringes and it just so happens that Parler is the best app that they can get on that isn’t one that they’ve been banned from.
They probably have been banned from Facebook or Twitter, and a lot of them are on Parler because of that. So what do you expect to happen? You put all these neglected looney tunes in the same box and they’re going to start talking to each other.
Listen. I got empathy for these people. They probably are out of work the majority of them. They’re probably living a very unhealthy lifestyle. They thought Trump was their savior. Obviously that’s not the case. And you know, they really, really still have that desire to reach out and connect with the community.
They’ve just kind of gone off the rails a little bit. I don’t think that the majority of the people who have been pushed to Parler after being banned from these other apps, I don’t think they’re bad people. I think they’re misguided. I think they’re uninformed in some ways. And I think they’ve just been pushed into a corner.
It just seems, honestly, that there is class warfare going on right now. It seems like you’re either for science or you’re against it. You’re either for rational thinking and good people or you’re against them. You’re either anti-racism or you’re racist.
And, the left is saying all these things and they may well believe it. They think they honestly think that everyone on the right is racist. They honestly think that everyone on the right doesn’t believe in science. I think a lot of people, the core leftist, the core Democrats… I think they honestly believe, in their tribe, they honestly believe that everyone on the right is sexist.
I think in their heart of hearts, they believe that. Of course, it’s not correct. Of course, it’s wrong, but I think they believe that. And so when people reject being called sexist, racist, misogynists, et cetera – all the little labels that they get put on them.
And they also get banned from those platforms for voicing their opinion in what they thought was a free and open public square, which it should be, and they get pushed to Parler and they get a little bit more fringy whingy.
And when you put all these people together, that’s how conspiracies are born. I think all this is just to be expected and it’s going to get worse and worse.
🎩 Monopolistic moves
It seems to me for all those reasons that this is a planned coup in broad daylight and a monopolistic move. I think these companies colluded at the top. Whether the collusion was overt or whether they were united in a particular worldview, it could be that.
They all saw what they thought were incitements to violence, which probably there were, and instead of giving Parler the benefit of the doubt, they assumed Parler was guilty of riling the crowd up themselves. I think that’s really the accusation here.
So we’ll have to really wait and see what happens. I mean, you’re not only silencing a business you’re silencing all of the users who have invested their time in this platform.
For it to be taken away because you have a bunch of loony people who are saying crazy stuff. Well, that ain’t fair. That ain’t right.
And by the way, Twitter, the most direct competition here, they’re also hosted by AWS cloud services.
So before we get to the thoughts and opinions of a few other people who are out there, broadcasting I want to just point out that this is still an ongoing case.
There might be some stuff that emerges that’ll totally invalidate some of the thoughts that people are having… but I want to document when people are thinking right now and also invite you, the listener, to go to my website, drinkingfromhumanskulls.com: consider this a curation station.
I’m really interested in creating a historical record of these events. These little micro-events that go on throughout the year, I think if you’re reading a history book of 2020, 2021… going back, it’s going to be really hard to pick up on all the nuances. So I really want to document it and just see how that goes.
🤔 Parler hoped for a ban?
So the first person we’re going to take a drink of here is Tim Pool speaking on his IRL podcast. And if you don’t know who Tim is, he’s a great broadcaster who got his start, actually covering years ago, the Occupy Movement and since then, he’s grown his YouTube channel.
And he’s been on a bunch of other podcasts as a guest. Famously he has been on a podcast with Joe Rogan and the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. Basically spent two-plus hours calling him and his lawyer out on their… I would say misconduct and here he is speaking on the Parler situation, let’s take a drink:
So there’s Tim, obviously, he’s active on social media. He’s been paying attention for a long, long time. And he’s calling out some of the hypocrisy. His story is not an isolated one. There are plenty of people who are used and abused on every social media platform. And there are plenty of cases where people have not been silenced or banned fast enough.
And there are also plenty of cases, I’m sure, where it can be debated: should they be banned or should they not be banned? And of course, Tim also pointing out early on in that clip that maybe there’s a little business finagling going on and maybe Parler actually put themselves in a position where they could be ambushed.
And now they’re taking legal action. Very interesting tale this is turning out to be…
🍑 Covering your ass 101
Well, speaking of addressing those… malicious types of posts on Twitter. Actually, Twitter did do that recently. They banned 70,000 accounts according to their own blog… All of them having to do with QAnon. So let’s read what they say in a quote from the Twitter blog:
So I guess Tim was wrong – Twitter is addressing some of the things that they see as damaging. Of course, I think this is just anti-free-speech. You know, people tweeting something like, “Hey, trust the plan!” Isn’t it obvious what’s going on here?
It just seems to me like they’re trying to cover their ass. They want to be able to say, look, Parler is the place where this is happening – not on Twitter – we’re taking action, we’re doing blog posts, we’re blocking all of the crazy loony loons. And it just so happens that they’re doing it on Facebook as well.
They’ve recently blocked a ton of accounts… including Tim Pool’s Facebook group and he’s come out and said that he’s just going to abandon Facebook. I think it’s a great idea. And a few months back, they banned Dave Smith. He’s a libertarian podcaster and comedian really, really fantastic.
And recently they banned a conservative Facebook group called Walk Away, I think they had half a million members. It was basically people walking away, quote-unquote, from the democratic party. I don’t think it had a lot of vitriol and hate on their platform, but they were banned anyways.
📜 Trust in the anti-trust
So then we have Dave Smith and Robbie ‘The Fire’ Bernstein on their podcast: Part of the Problem. They’re a couple of libertarians and they got some very interesting points here to consider. Dave Smith calling it the biggest antitrust case in American history and that’s really saying a lot. So let’s take a drink of this and see what they have to say:
So it would seem that a few different parties agree that the forces that are behind this, whatever they are – we can wager our conspiracy theory bets – but… whatever’s behind this doesn’t seem to be applying its rules fairly. And if it’s just the social media cabal, well, what’s their motivation?
Could it be just money? Could it be power? Could it be control? Could it be that the governments are working with them together? And when I say government, I mean the establishment government.
And by the way, that probably is people existing on both sides – left and right. Not just Democrats on the left and Republicans on the right. I think the establishment are the people who recognize what it takes to get power and recognize what it takes to control the situation so that they can remain in power.
🐴 From the horse’s mouth
Well, let’s check back in with the CEO of Parler John Matze, who came on Tucker Carlson’s show. Tucker Carlson, of course, is a host on Fox News, he used to be on CNN.
I think he’s kind of a center-right kinda guy. I always thought he looked like a bit of a cartoon character when he was on CNN. I was a bit younger then, I didn’t know what was really going on in the world. And now I know a lot more, he seems to be quite fair. Although… a little bit sensationalist, I guess that comes with the territory. But let’s check-in and see what they have to say, take a drink of this:
Well, there it is straight from the horse’s mouth, quite a harrowing tale. Getting death threats is always no good. Who knows what those are and what context they exist in, but certainly not a good thing.
👿 We don’t serve your kind
And at the end of that segment, you might’ve heard Tucker asking if John would come back with a list of those companies that have boycotted the Parler service. Well, it just so happens that another glorious podcaster, two of them actually from the No Agenda podcast, Adam Curry and John C. Devorak, have come up with a list and it is quite shocking to behold. So let’s run that clip. Take a big drink of this:
Um, yeah. So that was a crazy list of all of the different companies that are coming out against, I guess you could say people on the right, but it seems like mostly Trump supporters.
And if you’re like me, I think that Trump actually wasn’t really a Republican. He just kind of hijacked the Republican party to become president. Look, Donald Trump is the first anti-establishment president.
That doesn’t mean he was a good president. Doesn’t mean he’s a good guy. Doesn’t mean he’s the savior or the future savior of America or anything like that. But he was certainly not part of the establishment, as we can see from this latest political assassination against him.
But it’s clear to me to see, and I’m not a right-wing looney toony toony. But I can look at social media and say, yeah, they’re either in the pocket of the democratic establishment or the establishment at large, or they’re left-leaning. It could be both.
👁️🗨️ Free speech is in trouble
Well, now I want to bring it to a guy named Ira Glasser, who you may or may not have heard of, but he’s sort of a champion of free speech. He’s a guy who was the executive director of the ACLU, which is the American Civil Liberties Union from 1978 to 2001.
And that seems like a long time to hold that position, but okay – at least he’s very focused on the issues of free speech and he has some relevant things to say about that in an episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast. So let’s take a drink of that:
So there’s Ira Glasser on hate speech and why you can’t really ban it. And it makes all kinds of sense: you don’t really want to centralize that power of speech because then you get 1984 and it’s kind of feeling a little bit like that right now.
But this guy’s wise, he’s been in the field for a long time. I don’t agree with everything he had to say in this episode, but he did make some great points. And he also even went as far as to describe his relationship with people he didn’t agree with.
He forged friendships with people who he was forced to debate with over the years. And I think that just is something we really need to latch onto the fact that even if we don’t agree with each other, we have to be able to talk to each other.
We have to be able to work with people who don’t have the same views as us. And we ultimately want to have that conversation so we could pull people towards the center.
There’s a great quote by Eisenhower who, when he was president was accused of being too tied to the center. He said:
And although I didn’t agree with everything that Eisenhower did policy-wise – you can look back and see there were some blunders there, but I think his sentiments here make a lot of sense.
We should be pulling people towards the center. And how can we do that if we’re not even allowed to have a discourse? If we’re simply silencing and putting out of sight out of mind thoughts and ideas that we don’t like.
I think there’s a class divide. I think there’s an intellectual superiority complex on the left. They think that they know best. They think that they are the arbiters of what is right, rational and reasonable, and scientific. And that is just not true. They have become corrupted, unfortunately.
And there are many, many instances of people who are not existing on the left, who are bringing fantastic scientific breakthroughs to the forefront, and who are saying things that make all kinds of sense. To completely discredit them and put them aside is to deny any sort of evolution of people’s worldviews.
😧 If you ban them, we all suffer
I think about Megan Phelps Roper, who used to be in the Westboro Baptist church. And for those who don’t know what the Westboro Baptist Church is, they’re are a bunch of heinous hatemongers who hate gay people, they hate all other races except for the white ones, I guess.
So that’s the kind of crazy stuff they do. Anyways, Megan Phelps Roper, famously left the church her story is pretty well-documented. She actually left because she was de-radicalized on Twitter. Helloooo!?
So she was on Twitter, getting de-radicalized publicly, in private DM’s. And you know, now she’s on – and this is a real joke. The Twitter… what’s it called? The Twitter trust and safety council.
And, according to Wikipedia, she works with law enforcement agencies to combat extremist groups. So I don’t know what her specific role is on the Twitter trust and safety council, but there ain’t much trust right now it would seem.
And I don’t know how much safety there is either because people are at each other’s throats on Twitter all the time, at least from my observation. I’m not that active on Twitter. I might have to be to promote this podcast. I sincerely hope I don’t have to do too much though.
The point is that Megan felts Roper was on the fringes, she was active on Twitter and she was pulled a little bit towards the center. And she was de-radicalized. So the point is when they ban platforms, and when they ban people from platforms and they push them to the fringes, this de-radicalization can’t happen.
And so obviously Megan Phelps Roper is a famous case of this. I wonder how many, and if there’s anyone who’s even documented, how many success stories there are?
And there’s another guy named Daryl Davis who has had his story documented about how he engaged with KKK members and Daryl Davis is himself a black man, but he engaged with KKK members asking them why they wanted to stay in that cult. And just asking them questions and conversing with them over time, meeting with them again and again, and eventually de-radicalized several members.
According to one article by NPR 200 Klu Klux Klan members because of this man’s interventions. The point is their conversation, in whatever context it was allowed to carry on… it wasn’t stifled. He conversed with these KKK members out in the open, in public spaces where he was able to meet them.
When you ban people from these public spaces, which I think social media platforms are, you are reducing the amount of more public and open conversations they can have, which are subject to the scrutiny of all others around us.
And here’s the deal. I want to reduce people fighting online because I think Twitter might be a fun platform if people had even just twenty-five percent more reservations.
There’s a lot of problems that exist on social media. I think that tribalism is part of the equation… it’s just that this issue is so nuanced. There are many ways that people communicate, there are many languages. I mean, somebody could be speaking the wildest stuff in Iranian, and I wouldn’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about.
They could be talking, talking about me specifically and how they want to come and steal my entire family. And it wouldn’t land because I don’t understand what language they’re saying. Do you see what I mean? So… there’s the variable of language, there’s the variable of humor. There’s the variable of fake anonymous accounts.
There’s a lot going on here. There’s a lot also at stake for people, because it seems like everyone wants to grow their following to attain some sort of leadership status in the Twitter-sphere, I guess, for lack of a better word.
🦉 Was this accidental wisdom?
So anyway, with all these different variables in mind, I don’t think banning people off of platforms and, now as we’ve seen, banning entire platforms… I just don’t know if it’s a good idea.
Now, there is the analogy of perhaps considering, the beer halls in Germany, where we had Fascist uprisings being planned. We had Hitler and he met his little cohort of Nazi followers and they groomed each other over beer and many conversations in these beer halls.
So maybe the banning of Parler, and by the way, I don’t think that the average person making this decision when it comes to Twitter and the tech companies – I don’t think they’re this well-informed. I don’t think they could make that analogy. I don’t think they know what they’re doing.
But is it possible that this is sort of the same thing happening on Parler? People are apparently insurrectionists. I don’t know how seriously they should really be taken. But if you really think that they’re planning an insurrection, it would make sense to ban this platform.
And it would be something that, if they had prevented these late-night beer hall conversations, could we have prevented World War II? It’s just something kind of neat to think about. Could the banning of Parler actually be a genius move that prevents a civil war in America?… which a lot of people are talking about at this time in early 2021.
A lot of people are seriously talking about and having conversations about the possibility of a civil war in America, which is wild. Who knows what a modern-day civil war looks like. When you take the grand scope of munitions, just the plethora of choices that people would have to arm themselves with.
I don’t know how that would play out because in every city there are left and right people. So what the heck happens then? Do they just start fighting amongst each other in the city or? That sounds horrendous to me.
So maybe the banning of Parler – there’s some wisdom there… I think it’s an attack on free speech, but could it also be deft prevention of disaster? I think we have to account for that line of thinking.
We can’t just say, Oh my God, the tech overlords are taking over… and they are taking over, but that’s not the entire thought is it. And this is kind of a problem that I see happening very often today.
☯️ Struggling with nuance
It seems to me that people are very black and white these days, and very unable to think in terms of nuance and the different variables that are to be considered in every single line of thinking.
There’s often not a clear A and B choice for issues when you’re discussing them. Stealing is wrong. Okay. Well, what about stealing from a very large corporation with an endless bank account and you’re a very poor person?
Is it a little murky now? What about if you’re homeless and you haven’t eaten in three days and you happen to take an apple from a fruit stand? Is it a little gray? Can we have a clear A and B yes – that’s right, no – that’s wrong?
So I think you see my point… and this inability to think in a nuanced way is largely tribalist. Let’s just say every issue has an A or a B, a left or right. So if you’re trying to gain a following, and if you’re trying to establish yourself as a thought leader on the left or on the right, well, then you have to hit those left-right points really hard.
You know, look at these blue checkmark fools on Twitter. They’re saying the right things for the party line of the left-wing because that’s where Twitter has basically said, that’s where we are.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Look on Parler and you’re going to see the same thing on the right. Not that there’s anything wrong with that either, but here’s the deal. How is it that people are not able to think nuanced? These teams reward you and I think on social media, the reward is more followers.
We’ve got tribalism, we’ve got corporate influence. We’ve got people’s inability to think in a nuanced way. We’ve got people’s inability to discern what’s a joke was not a joke. We’ve got the fact that people can be anonymous on these platforms for the most part. So there’s a lot of things muddling the view of this.
And I think there probably should be some formal attempt at a hierarchy of what’s most important all the way down to what’s least important. And then there should be some attempt to solve these problems. You know, free speech should always be allowed, but are there limits on that – incitement to violence?
I think I would agree, but think of why people are inciting violence. Either they’re insane, which is another variable we could probably add to the mix. And quite a lot of insane people do a lot of violence, so that’s not an attack on the mentally ill. Would it be safe to say that Hitler probably had some mental health issues?
I’ve seen a lot of videos of the guy. He doesn’t seem quite all right. But then again, he supposedly was high on meth, cocaine, and heroin all the time.
♾️ Same thing happened to Gab
Later on that year on August 17th, Google removed Gab’s app from the play store for violating its policy against hate speech, stating that ‘The app did not demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people’ on September 14th…
And by the way, if you’re not noticing this sounds like a very similar tale to me. But:
Stripe for those of you who don’t know is a very big payment processor. That means they couldn’t accept monies anymore.
Later on that same day, Gab announced on Twitter, that Joyent, Gab’s hosting provider, would terminate their services on October 29th, 9:00 AM eastern time. The tweet said that the site expected to be down for weeks.
Stripe and Backblaze also terminated their services with Gab after the shooting and after the site was taken down, Gab’s homepage was changed to the message saying it was down due to being under attack and being systematically, no-platformed.
Whoa. Systematically no-platformed. So anyway, long story short, they did the same thing to Gab in 2016 and 2018.
And Gab was able to get another host and, you know, get someone to sell them the domain name, that kind of stuff. Here’s the thing about Gab… I think it’s a lot of people who are way out there.
And some of the stuff that they share around and believe… they use this platform because it considered a safe Haven. And if it’s only one group of people doing a little circle jerk on their bad ideas, getting worse and worse and worse.
Well, then you’re just going to get a growing contingent of real, real loony people.
➡️ The right can go more right…
And in fact, I just heard Dan Carlin speak about this on his podcast. Let’s actually clip him because the way he says this, when I heard it, I was like, that’s it right there:
So that’s Dan Carlin’s take and I think he kind of spells it out real nice. Couldn’t have said it better myself. This is just another one of the layers of the issue here.
Well, folks, I’m going to leave it there. I’m going to be following this closely. I really want to take a historians’ approach to this and really curate what’s going on because I find that the most helpful history programs are the ones that consider the events in between the big events.
It’s not that I wouldn’t call this a big event, but if you were to take 2020 as a whole, the banning of Parler, I don’t think it even makes the top 10. But it’s a huge, huge event.
And I guess maybe if you’re going to take the history of the whole Coronavirus period, we’ll say not just 2020, because that’s spilling over into 2021. Anyhow… we’ll leave it there and we’ll come back to this. As I said, please, if you’re hearing this, absolutely get in touch. My webpage is drinkingfromhumanskulls.com leave a comment, send me an email, join a mailing list.
I think I’ll have a button to donate – do that if you can, I guess and later on, we’ll have like a formal, maybe a Patreon or whatever platform. I’m just not sure if I trust these platforms anymore, you know what I’m saying?