2019-10-30 04:01:30

Four years ago, the media were talking about a “Libertarian Moment.”

I had high hopes!

Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) ran for president, promising to “take our country back from special interests.” But his campaign never took off.

He “shouldn’t even be on the stage,” said Donald Trump at a Republican presidential debate.

Paul quit his presidential campaign after doing poorly in Iowa.

In my new video, Paul reflects on that, saying, “Either the people aren’t ready or perhaps the people in the Republican primary aren’t ready.”

But Paul says, “We may be winning the hearts and minds of people who aren’t in Washington.”

Really?

The current deficit is a record $984 billion, and since Trump was elected, federal spending rose half a trillion dollars.

But Paul says progress has been made, in that Trump has introduced some market competition in health care, cut taxes, cut regulations, appointed better judges, and promises to get us out of foreign wars. Paul tweeted that Trump is “the first president to understand what is our national interest.”

“But he hasn’t pulled us out of anywhere,” I said.

“Compare it to George W. Bush, who got us involved everywhere,” answered Paul. “Or President Obama, who sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. The rhetoric of President Trump has been a relief.”

The problem, says Paul, is that, “When the president has said anything about it…immediately Republican and the Democrat leaders get together and pass a resolution saying it would be precipitous to leave Afghanistan.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) did recently make a speech about “the danger of a precipitous withdrawal.”

“Really?” replies Paul. “After 19 years? Precipitous?”

America went into Afghanistan to take out the killers behind the Sept. 11 attacks. We succeeded. So why are we still there?

Paul complains, “Intervention after intervention hasn’t had the intended consequence. We’ve got more chaos.”

In Iraq, America took out Saddam Hussein, but that has left a power vacuum and continued violence.

In Libya, we helped get rid of Moammar Gadhafi, but Libya’s “government” is now run by armed gangs that torture civilians.

In Syria, we armed rebels to fight Bashar Assad. But many of our weapons ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda, and Assad is still in power.

“Every time we think we’re going to get more stability or less terrorism,” says Paul, “we end up getting more chaos and more terrorism.”

Recently, Trump moved 50 troops from northern Syria. His action received widespread condemnation from people Paul calls the “war hawk caucus.”

Lindsey Graham said it was “the most screwed-up decision I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress.” That’s saying something; Graham has been in Congress for 24 years and has seen several screwed-up wars and failed domestic programs.

But Graham almost always seems to want more war.

Paul acknowledges that four years ago, he wanted to arm the Kurds who are now in harm’s way and give them their own country. In promoting American withdrawal, hasn’t he betrayed the Kurds?

“When I refer to the Kurds having a homeland, they kind of do. They have a section of Iraq,” responded Paul, saying he never proposed creating a Kurdish country in Syria. In any case, “Fifty or 2,000 American soldiers are nothing more than a target for bad people to kill.”

I don’t know whether Paul is right about Syria, but I’m glad Paul speaks out.

We need a strong military. But we should use it sparingly, only when we know it benefits our defense.

If we go to war, Congress must vote to declare that war. That’s what the Constitution requires. Congress hasn’t done that since 1942. That’s wrong. It allows politicians to hide their deadly mistakes.

“It’s a very complicated war over there,” says Paul. “They’re four or five different countries involved in it. The people who live there know better. We can’t know enough about these problems. And unless you want to put 100,000 troops in there and fight Assad, Russia, Turkey…we ought to rethink whether we should get involved in these wars to begin with.”

In both foreign and domestic policy, government plans usually fail.

COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Source link

2019-10-29 12:20:22

Just three years ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) ran for president and people talked about a “libertarian moment.” What happened? 

There has been some useful deregulation, but the size of government grew, spending grew sharply, and so did deficits.

John Stossel asks Paul what went wrong. 

Paul explains that neither Republicans nor Democrats were ready. But he points out that there is good news as well.

He cites President Donald Trump’s adoption of some of Paul’s free-market health care reform ideas, tax cuts, regulation cuts, judicial appointments, and progress on ending foreign wars.

“But he hasn’t pulled out of anywhere,” Stossel pushes back.

“Compare it though to George W. Bush…who got us involved everywhere. Or President Obama, who sent 100,000 troops to Afghanistan. The rhetoric of President Trump has been a relief,” Paul says.

Paul adds: “Has it happened yet? No, but I continue to push.”

It’s good, says Stossel, that Sen. Paul reminds Americans that the best plans of those who take us to war often go bad.  

In Iraq, America took out Saddam Hussein, but the people who replaced him (ISIS, for a while) were worse.

In Libya, America got rid of dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, but now torture and slave markets operate in the power vacuum left behind.

In Syria, America armed rebels to fight Assad. But often our weapons ended up in Al Qaeda’s hands. 

Now Trump’s removed some troops from northern Syria. Lindsey Graham calls that “the most screwed up decision I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress.”

Rand defends it: “I promise you—50 soldiers, or 2,000 American soldiers, are nothing more than a target for bad people to kill or maim, which will get us drug into a bigger war.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

Source link

2019-10-23 04:30:12

Student loan debt keeps growing.

There is a better solution than the ones politicians offer, which stick the taxpayer or the loan lenders with the whole bill.

It’s called an “income share agreement.”

Investors give money to a college, and the college then gives a free or partially free education to some students. When those students graduate, they pay the college a certain percentage of their future income.

It’s a way “for the school to say to students, ‘You’re only going to pay us if we help you succeed,'” explains Beth Akers, co-author of the book Game of Loans.

Andrew Hoyler was thrilled when Purdue University got him an ISA loan. Now he’s a professional pilot, and he’ll pay Purdue 8 percent of his income for 104 months.

“After that 104-month term ends, if you still owe money, it’s forgiven, forgotten, you don’t owe another penny,” he says in my latest video. “Now, if I find myself in a six-figure job tomorrow, there’s a chance that I’ll pay back far more than I took out.”

Hoyler wouldn’t mind that, he says, because of “the security of knowing that I’ll never (have to) pay back more than I can afford.”

What students pay depends partly on what they study.

On a $10,000 ISA, English majors must pay 4.58 percent of their income for 116 months. Math majors, because they are more likely to get higher-paying jobs, pay just 3.96 percent for 96 months.

“It conveys information to the student about how lucrative a different major’s going to be,” says Akers. “Some think that’s unfair, but really that’s just a way (investors) can recapture the money that they’ve put up.”

“It may also sway students away from majors that don’t have job prospects,” says Hoyler. ISA recipients learn “not only what a career may pay, but how stable it may be, what the future is like.”

“We should invest in students the same way that we invest in startups,” says Akers. “Share equity.”

With one difference: The college picks the student, so investors don’t have a direct relationship with the student.

Purdue ISA recipient Paul Larora told me, “We don’t know who the investor is, but I’d love to give him a hug or buy him a beer!”

“The institutions are saying, ‘If I’m operating as the middleman, I can make sure that no one’s taking advantage of my students,'” explains Akers.

Sadly, many politicians would rather have the government handle student loans and charge all students the same rate.

President Barack Obama signed a student debt relief bill that he claimed would “cut out private middlemen,” meaning banks. He said that “would save taxpayers $68 billion!” It didn’t. Costs to taxpayers increased.

Some politicians are so clueless that they still blame banks.

In one hearing, Rep. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, demanded JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tell her, “What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt?”

“We stopped doing all student lending,” responded Dimon, pointing out that “the government took over student lending in 2010.”

Instead of forcing banks out of the loan business, we should get government out of it. Banks are in the business of assessing loan risk.

If actual private lenders, people with skin in the game, made loans, then they’d care about being paid back.

They’d tell students which majors might lead to higher-paying careers and warn them that studying sociology, art history, or gender studies may make it tough to get out of debt.

But with the government charging the same rate to everyone, students don’t have much incentive to think about that.

The Brookings Institution found that 28 percent of students don’t even know they have a loan.

The market would make better judgments and stop students from starting their adult lives under a burden they may never escape.

Yet some people still call ISAs “predatory” because investors hope for profit. They say ISA makes students “indentured servants.”

Larora had a good answer to that, which is also serious advice: “If you don’t have a job, you’re not paying anything! Where’s the servitude in that?”

COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Source link

2019-10-15 12:40:16

Lately, we’ve been hearing that men and women are biologically the same.

A BBC video claims, “There seems to be no purely male brains versus female brains.”

“Seems like we’re just not that different after all,” echoes HuffPost.

Politically correct corporations act as if that were true. When Google engineer James Damore merely suggested that biological differences might explain why half the people in tech are not women, he was fired.

Professor Gina Rippon recently wrote a book that confirms the popular narrative. “New neuroscience that shatters the myth of the female brain” is the subtitle.

Rippon tells Stossel it’s important to tell people that that men’s and women’s brains are the same, so people don’t mindlessly follow gender stereotypes.

Stossel pushes back, “It’s not natural that in school, more boys want to play football and more girls want to do ballet? I want to run and bang into people.”

Rippon responds: “Well, I think actually girls might want to run and bang into people, but because there’s an image that girls don’t do that, they’re stopped from doing that.”

That’s popular to say, but Stossel has covered research that shows big innate differences. In one experiment, students were blindfolded and then walked through the maze of tunnels. They were then asked which direction they’d moved. Men had a much better sense of that than women.

In another experiment, students were left in a cluttered room to wait. Later, women were much better at remembering all kinds of details about that room. Men were more likely to say: “I dunno, some stuff.”

Of course, the students may already have been molded by a sexist society, Stossel notes. But newborns also show gender differences. Boys tend to look longer at objects, like tractor parts, while infant girls stared more at faces.

Stossel asks Rippon about that, who responds: “If you look very closely at the data, a third of the girls actually seem to respond more to the tractor parts than the boys.”

“A third,” Stossel repeats.

“A third,” Rippon replies.

“But two-thirds didn’t!” Stossel retorts.

Rippon says the study should be redone. “Do it again with a bigger set of newborns [and] a better controlled set of stimuli.”

Evolutionary psychologist Diana Fleischman says there’s overwhelming evidence of biological differences.

“Cultures around the world show very similar differences between men and women,” she points out. “Men are more likely to seek status, women are more likely to take care of children. Women are more likely to stay in the home. Men are more likely to do dangerous, aggressive things like go to war.”

Stossel pushes back: “Because we men have been socialized: ‘Work’s important!’ And you women have been told by your mothers, ‘Take care of the kids.'”

“Why would you see that across every culture in the world?” Fleischman responds.

“Even if you look at nonhuman animals…monkeys…they don’t have culture, yet there’s still these very large differences between males and females,” she adds. In those species, too, males focus on war and status, while females nurture children.

Among scientists, these differences are well-accepted, Stossel notes. The journal Neuroscience cited 70 studies that found differences.

Stossel asked Gina about some of the most obvious mental differences.

“I stutter. Most stutterers are boys. It’s not a brain difference?”

“Yeah, yeah. There are those kinds of brain differences and I’m definitely not a brain difference denier,” Rippon replied.

“It’s kind of how you’ve been presented by much of the media,” Stossel responds.

The journal Nature, for example, ran an uncritical review of her book headlined, “Neurosexism: the myth that men and women have different brains.”

The Guardian summarized her book with: “Are there any significant differences based on sex alone? The answer, she says, is no.”

“Perhaps they haven’t read the book,” Rippon says.

Fleishman argues: “Gina Rippon seems to be a sex difference denier depending on kind of what audience that she’s talking to.”

In her speeches, Rippon does say things like: “They’re thinking there’s differences between men and women. People like me stand up and say ‘actually no, there’s not.'”

“It’s an incredibly alluring message,” Fleischman says. “It’s really sad that it’s not right.”

Rippon worries that talk of sex difference will increase sexism, but Fleischman notes that minimizing sex differences can hurt people, too, by pushing them into fields they’re not naturally suited for. Politicians pass laws to force “equality.”

“Saying that men and women have different aptitudes isn’t sexism. It’s actually a statement about the true nature of the world,” Fleischman says. “If we keep saying that those differences in what men and women choose to do are because of sexism, nobody’s going to end up happy with what they’re doing, and we’re going to keep making laws to remedy what’s actually just the result of freedom.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

Source link

2019-10-11 12:15:38

This is John Stossel’s full interview with Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard. To watch an excerpted version, click here.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) will be in the Democratic debate next week. John Stossel says that’s good, because she’s different from the other Democrats. 

One difference is that she served in Iraq, and now pushes for ending wars. “We have to honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice,” Gabbard tells Stossel.

Instead, American interventions are often open-ended. “There’s seldom a discussion that I’ve heard about what is our mission,” Stossel says.

“Exactly! That’s exactly the problem…what is the clear, achievable goal?” Gabbard responds. She says her Afghanistan policy would have been: “Go in. Defeat Al-Qaeda. Get out.”

Gabbard also says: talk with our enemies. She met with Syria’s dictator. The media and other Democratic candidates give her grief for that. 

CNN’s Chris Cuomo lectured her: “You need to acknowledge that Bashar al-Assad is a murderous despot.”

Kamala Harris called Gabbard an “Assad apologist.”

“What’s going on with your party?” Stossel asks Gabbard. “Democrats used to the antiwar party.”

Gabbard responds that both parties are “heavily influenced by the foreign policy establishment…whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo. So much so to the point where when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, ‘well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist.’ As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them, or by putting crippling economic sanctions in place.”

Stossel also asks Gabbard about taking down a Democratic front-runner. In the fourth debate, she criticized Kamala Harris for her history of jailing people.

“She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said in the debate.  

That moment changed the race. Harris lead in the betting at ElectionBettingOdds.com, with a 26% chance of winning the nomination. During the debate, she fell seven points. 10 days later, another seven points.  

“You killed her off,” Stossel says.

“I’m for the people, man,” Gabbard replies, laughing. “I was speaking the truth, and speaking for a lot of people.”

Gabbard and Stossel argue, too. Like most democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs. She backs Medicare for All and free college.

“Don’t you think colleges already waste a lot of money?” Stossel asks.

Gabbard agrees, “They do. Absolutely. Why is it costing more and more and more every single year?”

“Look how much more it will cost when it’s free,” says Stossel.

Gabbard responds, “We have to deal with…the root cause of the problem. One of which is…how much administrators of a lot of these colleges are being paid or overpaid.”

Stossel and Gabbard also argue over her proposal for a $15 minimum wage.

“How does that not destroy opportunity for a 17-year-old in his first job who isn’t worth $15 an hour?” Stossel asks.

“I think we’re looking at this as an investment in people,” Gabbard answers. 

In the end, Stossel says, “I’m glad we could have a civil argument about some of these areas where we disagree. Few politicians want to do that anymore.”

She adds: “Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let’s come together as Americans with appreciation for our Constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

Source link

2019-10-09 04:01:11

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) is controversial within her party.

She says the U.S. should talk to its enemies. She was criticized for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

But Democrats were supposed to be the anti-war party, I say to her in my newest video.

“They’re heavily influenced by a foreign policy establishment…whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo,” Gabbard tells me. “So much so, to the point where when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, ‘Well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist?’ As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them.”

Gabbard is a veteran, and now says, “Honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice.”

She enlisted because of the 9/11 attacks. However, there, too, she thought a limited response was necessary but now says that our government has “used that attack on 9/11 to begin to wage a whole series of counterproductive regime-change wars, overthrowing authoritarian dictators in other countries, wars that have proven to be very costly to our servicemembers.”

She blames both parties. “I call out leaders in my own party and leaders in the Republican Party (and all) who are heavily influenced by the military-industrial complex that profits heavily off of us continuing to wage these counterproductive wars.”

She also wants to end our big domestic war, the war on drugs. She’d start by legalizing marijuana.

“I’ve never smoked marijuana,” she says. “I never will. I’ve never drunk alcohol. I’ve chosen not to in my life, but this is about free choice. And if somebody wants to do that, our country should not be making a criminal out of them.”

Even if they use stronger drugs? Heroin? Meth?

“That’s the direction that we need to take,” she says.

Although Gabbard just barely polls well enough to make the Democratic debates, she made a big impact at one debate by basically knocking Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) out of the race.

Gabbard simply pointed out Harris’ hypocrisy in suddenly becoming a criminal justice reformer.

Gabbard said, “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

That debate clash crushed Harris in betting predictions about who the Democratic nominee would be. Harris’ numbers started dropping from that moment, and she quickly fell from first place to, as I write this, seventh.

Good for Gabbard for bringing up the drug war—and for running an ad that at least mentions America’s huge federal debt.

But like most Democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs, funding it with military cuts.

But Bernie Sanders admits that “Medicare for All” alone would cost $3 trillion. The budget for the entire military, by comparison, is $700 billion per year.

“The money that we are going to save by ending these wasteful wars—you’re right, it won’t cover every other thing that we need to accomplish,” Gabbard admits.

At least she’s willing to debate with me. No one else polling over 1 percent has been willing so far.

“Our leaders are increasingly unwilling to sit down with those who may be ‘on the other team,'” she explains. “Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let’s come together as Americans with appreciation for our Constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together.”

COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Source link

2019-10-08 12:35:12

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) will be in the Democratic debate next week. John Stossel says that’s good, because she’s different from the other Democrats. 

One difference is that she served in Iraq, and now pushes for ending wars. “We have to honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice,” Gabbard tells Stossel.

Instead, American interventions are often open-ended. “There’s seldom a discussion that I’ve heard about what is our mission,” Stossel says.

“Exactly! That’s exactly the problem…what is the clear, achievable goal?” Gabbard responds. She says her Afghanistan policy would have been: “Go in. Defeat Al-Qaeda. Get out.”

Gabbard also says: talk with our enemies. She met with Syria’s dictator. The media and other Democratic candidates give her grief for that. 

CNN’s Chris Cuomo lectured her: “You need to acknowledge that Bashar al-Assad is a murderous despot.”

Kamala Harris called Gabbard an “Assad apologist.”

“What’s going on with your party?” Stossel asks Gabbard. “Democrats used to the antiwar party.”

Gabbard responds that both parties are “heavily influenced by the foreign policy establishment…whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo. So much so to the point where when I’m calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they’re saying, ‘well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist.’ As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them, or by putting crippling economic sanctions in place.”

Stossel also asks Gabbard about taking down a Democratic front-runner. In the fourth debate, she criticized Kamala Harris for her history of jailing people.

“She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said in the debate.  

That moment changed the race. Harris lead in the betting at ElectionBettingOdds.com, with a 26% chance of winning the nomination. During the debate, she fell seven points. 10 days later, another seven points.  

“You killed her off,” Stossel says.

“I’m for the people, man,” Gabbard replies, laughing. “I was speaking the truth, and speaking for a lot of people.”

Gabbard and Stossel argue, too. Like most democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs. She backs Medicare for All and free college.

“Don’t you think colleges already waste a lot of money?” Stossel asks.

Gabbard agrees, “They do. Absolutely. Why is it costing more and more and more every single year?”

“Look how much more it will cost when it’s free,” says Stossel.

Gabbard responds, “We have to deal with…the root cause of the problem. One of which is…how much administrators of a lot of these colleges are being paid or overpaid.”

Stossel and Gabbard also argue over her proposal for a $15 minimum wage.

“How does that not destroy opportunity for a 17-year-old in his first job who isn’t worth $15 an hour?” Stossel asks.

“I think we’re looking at this as an investment in people,” Gabbard answers. 

In the end, Stossel says, “I’m glad we could have a civil argument about some of these areas where we disagree. Few politicians want to do that anymore.”

She adds: “Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let’s come together as Americans with appreciation for our Constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together.”

That’s just a fraction of Stossel’s full 45-minute discussion with Gabbard. The full interview will be posted later this week. 

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

Source link

2019-10-02 04:30:54

I now make my living by releasing short videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I assumed you who subscribed to my feed or became Facebook “friends” would receive that video every Tuesday.

Wrong! Turns out social media companies send our posts to only some of our friends. (That’s why I ask for your email address. Then they can’t cut us off.)

Why might they cut us off?

One reason is that we’d drown in a fire hose of information if they showed us everything. The companies’ algorithms cleverly just send us what the computer determines we’ll like.

Another reason may be that the companies are biased against conservative ideas.

They deny that. But look at their actions. Social media companies say they forbid posts that “promote violence,” including ones that encourage violence offline.

But antifa groups that promote violence still have accounts. The Twitter account of the group in Portland, Oregon, that recently beat up journalist Andy Ngo, leaving him with brain damage, is still up.

“In Austin, they were calling for a paramilitary operation!” says Glenn Beck. That antifa group’s Facebook account is also still up, even though it links to a manifesto calling for opponents to be “beaten bloody.”

In my newest video, Beck, who runs a big media operation called The Blaze, says social media companies push a leftist agenda.

“They manipulate algorithms to reshape our world.”

Beck himself hasn’t been banned, but he says Facebook limits his reach, putting him in a “digital ghetto.”

“They’re shaping you,” he warns.

Is it true?

Although I’m not a conservative, sometimes I do notice odd things happening with my posts.

On average, my videos get more than a million views. But when I did one that criticized Facebook, that video got half as many views.

Because Facebook didn’t show it to many people?

I can’t know. Facebook won’t say.

Today, social media companies are pressured to cut off anyone spreading hate. In response, YouTube and Facebook say they now even demote content that almost violates policies.

But those antifa accounts are still up.

By contrast, Beck says, conservative accounts are censored merely for making fun of Democrats.

“Remember the person who slowed down (a video of House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi?” he asked.

The video made Pelosi sound drunk. It went viral, but once Facebook got complaints, the company announced it “dramatically reduced its distribution.”

When Facebook did that, notes Beck, “The person in charge happened to be one of the leaders in Nancy Pelosi’s office who had just left to go to work for Facebook.”

I told Beck that Facebook hires some Republicans. “They do,” he replied, “but only about 20 percent, and not in top level positions.”

The site Spinquark did the research Beck cites, finding dozens of Democratic campaign workers who now work for social media companies.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once invited Beck and some others to come to his offices to talk about bias.

“I sat with him and he said, ‘Why would we do that?’ And I said, ‘I want to believe you, but your actions don’t match.'”

Beck was also unhappy with conservatives at that meeting. “Some said, ‘Mark, solve this by having affirmative action…. For every liberal you hire, hire a conservative.'”

“I don’t want that!” Beck said. “We don’t need more regulation!”

We don’t.

But it’s human nature, when people see a problem, to demand government do something.

Beck himself fell prey to that when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed she saw border guards telling migrants to drink water from toilets. On his radio show, Beck said government should “prosecute anyone making outrageous charges like this!”

I gave him a hard time about that. “You want prosecution of members of Congress who say nonsense?!”

Beck laughed and quickly walked his statement back. “John, I speak five hours off script every day…. There’s a lot that I vomit out.”

The solution?

“No censorship,” says Beck.

“Publish everything?” I asked.

“Yes!” answered Beck. “We can handle it. Stop treating us like children.”

I agree. On at least some platforms, all speech should be free. The more that is blocked, the less we learn.

COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Source link

2019-10-01 12:15:23

Social media companies like Facebook don’t show you all your friends’ posts. You may think they do, but they don’t. Instead, an algorithm picks which ones to show you—and which not to show you. How do they decide? The companies won’t reveal the details.

Glenn Beck, publisher of the major conservative outlet The Blaze, tells John Stossel that social media companies are biased against conservatives.

Beck says Facebook reduces his posts’ reach. And he notes that when a video made fun of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi by slowing down her voice, Facebook put a warning on the post and reduced its reach.

Beck mentions that while social media companies censor right-wing sites that might advocate violence, similar left-wing groups still have Twitter accounts.

In Portland, Oregon, antifa thugs attacked journalist Andy Ngo because he had criticized the group’s violent tactics. They kicked him and punched him in the head. The attack left Ngo with brain damage.  

But the account of the local group, Rose City Antifa, is still on Twitter. The group justifies the attack on Ngo on their website: “If you rally the far-right to attack our city and profit by their violence, you are one of them. And the community will stop you, however it can.”

Other antifa accounts are still up—despite supporting violence, Beck points out.

“In Austin they were actually calling for the next phase to have people be a paramilitary operation. That was up forever,” he tells Stossel. 

The Austin antifa group’s Facebook page is still up, linking to a manifesto calling for antifa’s opponents to be “beaten bloody…annihilated.”

Beck says a double standard exists because social media companies are based in left-wing San Francisco. Also, they mostly hire Democrats.

A Spinquark analysis found dozens of former Democratic staffers working at social media companies.

Stossel pushes back at Beck: “They must hire some Republicans, too.”

“They do, but it’s about 20 percent and they’re not from top-level positions,” Beck replies.

In the case of the Pelosi video that was shown to few people, Beck says, “The person who was in charge happened to be…one of the leaders in Nancy Pelosi’s office, who had just left Nancy Pelosi’s office to go to work [at Facebook].”

But Beck doesn’t want hiring quotas. He says he opposes affirmative action for conservatives in social media.

“It bothers me that there are so many conservatives [who] want more regulation,” Beck says.

Stossel suggests Beck is not consistent about that. After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) claimed immigrants were “being told by [border patrol] officers to drink out of the toilet,” Beck demanded that she be punished.

“I would prosecute anyone making outrageous charges like this,” he said on Blaze TV.

When Stossel asks about that, Beck laughed and backed off the idea.

“I speak five hours off-script every day. There’s a lot of stuff that I vomit out!” he replies.

“So, you’re not eager to prosecute Cortez?” Stossel asks.

“No. No. No.” Beck replies.

Stossel says he’s glad Beck walked that back. “Truth comes out through argument—open debate. The more social media companies censor, the less we learn.”

Stossel notes that social media companies have a right to censor—but that, on at least some social media platforms, if not all, all speech should be free.

Beck agrees, “We can handle it. Stop treating us like children.”

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

Source link

2019-09-27 15:23:35

Here is the federal witness-tampering statute (18 USC 1512(b)):

Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, … with intent to —

(1)influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding; [or]

(2)cause or induce any person to—

(A)withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official proceeding … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Here’s what our president said yesterday, at an event for UN staffers and their families:

So the whistleblower came out and said nothing. Said: ‘A couple of people told me he had a conversation with Ukraine.’ We’re at war. These people are sick. They’re sick. And nobody’s called it out like I do. I don’t understand. People are afraid to call it out. They’re afraid to say that the press is crooked. We have a crooked press. We have a dishonest media. So now they’re devastated, but they’ll always find something. I’m sure there’ll be something they’ll find in this report that will suit their lie.

But basically that person never saw the report, never saw the call. Never saw the call. Heard something, and decided that he or she or whoever the hell it is — sort of like, almost, a spy. I want to know who’s the person that gave the whistleblower, who’s the person that gave the whistleblower the information, because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right?”

I believe that his reference to “what we used to do in the old days … with spies and treason” refers to execution, which is indeed what we used to do with (convicted) spies (see, e.g., Julius and Ethel Rosenberg), though I do not believe we have executed anyone for spying since then (hence, the reference to the “old days”).

This sure looks like a prima facie case of witness tampering to me.  There is an ongoing official proceeding; we know that the whistleblower him/herself is going to be called to testify, and one can certainly expect others who were present during the July 25th call, or who had notice of the July 25 call and who might, therefore, have “[given] the whistleblower the information,” will be called to testify. The President of the United States—our chief law enforcement officer—has called these people “close to spies” and made reference to the punishment to which spies were subjected “in the old days when we were smart,” and to “treason” (a federal crime that still carries the death penalty). The effect of these comments, surely, will be to make potential witnesses think twice about providing evidence against the president (and having their identities revealed to the public and to federal prosecutors who work for the President).

The hard questions, as always in a witness-tampering case, is: Did Trump act with the “intent” to “influence” or “prevent” the testimony of these individuals? Using the ordinary (and rebuttable) presumption that a person “intends” a consequence when (a) they foresee that it will happen as a result of their conduct and (b) desire it to happen,” I think he did—though of course without more evidence (including Trump’s testimony, under oath, about what he did or did not intend, and other actions that might suggest proper, or improper, motives) one cannot be certain of that conclusion.  [That’s why it’s just a prima facie case of witness tampering at this point].

I expect, given many of the comments on my earlier postings on the Ukraine matter, that some readers will, in the face of this, continue to hold to the position that Trump has done nothing wrong. Here’s my best guess as to the arguments they will raise—and if I’ve missed any, please do set me straight in the comments.

  1. “It can’t be ‘witness tampering’ under the federal criminal code, because DOJ takes the position that the president can’t be charged with any (federal) crime.”

False. First of all, the current DOJ position is that the President cannot be charged with a federal crime while in office; if Trump were no longer the president, he could be criminally charged in connection with the Ukraine affair (or anything else).  More importantly, even though a president can’t be charged with a federal crime while in office (because, as head of the DOJ, he would in effect be acting as prosecutor and defendant in such an action), he can certainly commit a federal crime while in office.  That, of course, is the whole point of an impeachment proceeding; Presidents Nixon and Clinton were both charged with the crime of obstruction of justice, though the charge was contained not in a criminal indictment but in Articles of Impeachment.

2. It’s not “witness tampering,” because nobody’s been charged with anything at this point, and therefore there aren’t any witnesses who could have been “influence[d]” or “prevent[ed]” from testifying.

Wrong again. The statute refers to “testimony … in an official proceeding.”  An impeachment inquiry is an “official proceeding” (as is, I believe, any Congressional hearing).

3. “He was just joking—chill out! He wasn’t actually saying that the whistleblower should be executed!”

Well, that’s a harder one to deal with, I admit, especially because the President’s intent is an element of the crime.  I’m a little dubious, generally, about the “it’s a joke” defense, having heard it before, when Trump invited the Russians to hack Clinton’s server (which—coincidentally enough—began, according to various federal indictments and the Mueller Report, that very day).  And listening to the audiotape of his remarks, he certainly sounds like he’s not joking.  But again—it’s just a prima facie case we’ve got here; if Trump was joking, let him come forward, under oath, to say so.

4. “He couldn’t have intended to intimidate any potential witnesses, because he was speaking at a private event, and therefore had no reason to think that the targets of the supposed intimidation would ever hear about it.”

Again, this gets a “Maybe, but …” First off, this wasn’t really a “private” event like a family dinner or a confidential briefing by a few top aides; it was an event staged for hundreds of US employees (and their families), and it seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that Trump expected that his comments would not be made public or otherwise communicated to the officials in the White House and the Intelligence Community who were being accused of spying and treason. Furthermore, because we don’t know the identity of the individuals who were the target of Trump’s ire, and we don’t know (and perhaps Trump didn’t know) for certain that none of them were in the room.  UN Ambassador Kelly Craft, for instance, was in the room, and, as a senior official with international responsibilities, might have been the source of some of the leaked information.  So this is hardly like an offhand comment to a couple of friends over dinner; as unfortunate and intemperate as such comments might be, they wouldn’t, in that case, be directed specifically at the whistleblower or any of the whistleblower’s sources.  Here, it’s a little easier to presume—again, rebuttably—that Trump knew full well and intended that word of the threats would get to the “right” people.

As I said, perhaps some readers have other possible defenses they could proffer.  Please do—but I’d appreciate it if you could avoid discussion of the many irrelevant defenses that are simply variants of the “Fake News! Hillary’s email server! The Steele Dossier! What Biden did was worse!” etc. arguments.

 

Source link