Taking Note of a Few Things: The Free Speech Is Special Edition

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TikTok for me is the sound I hear at night when I can’t sleep. The steady consistent sound of time passing from a wall clock that I can’t see in a dark room. However, for 170 million Americans, half the country, it is another of several social media outlets.

The problem with TikTok is not that it is a popular choice of Americans as much as it is owned by a Chinese company. To our politicians, it is a possible source of Chinese government influence over the thinking of our people. You see, only our leaders want to influence our thinking.

America once prided itself on the idea of competition in business. We all know now that is a joke as one industry after another is run by fewer and fewer corporate giants. These giants have powerful lobbies that influence, uh, make that purchase, our leaders’ votes in congress. We essentially get to choose leaders who are bought and paid for by people who could care less about our values.

It’s not often when there is overwhelming bipartisan support of any law. However, this is what happened when the house voted to ban TikTok in this country unless it essentially is sold to and run by an American company.

In other words, the nation that invented free speech is opposed to it when it is controlled by a nation that bans it in its own country. What is even crazier, in my opinion, is we can google any form of thought on our phones and be exposed to thinking that is anti-American, but the House doesn’t want it dropped into our apps.

At the same time, Elon Musk canceled Don Lemon’s new show on his owned and controlled X after he did not like Lemon’s initial interview of himself. Facebook has long been pressured to up their standards for what can and cannot be shared to millions of folks. What one person finds offensive another finds humorous. However, others in power no longer want that decision to be ours and it is basically because apps have turned mostly the under 50 crowd into zombies, or something akin.

TikTok can’t buy Congress and influence their vote because Congress has been bought off by Musk and Zuckerberg. Two’s company: three’s a crowd when it comes to buying votes. Tik Tok is trying to use this and influence the mostly younger vote to their advantage while old farts like me are probably being influenced by the big two or Trumpy Stiltskin’s app.

What is also ironic is after Lemon was canned by Musk, he was interviewed on CNN, the same network that fired him over comments he made about Nikki Haley. Where does news and information jump the shark and become an absurdity, or at least reality TV?

In 1976, I was talked into running for senior class president by my goofball friends. It was my turn to make a mockery of student elections and to use my three minutes of “free speech” for original comedic material. I use quotations only because our speech had to be approved by Mr. Dobbins, our vice principal and a man I was all too familiar with. When he read my speech, he crumpled it up and tossed it in his trash can and said, “Mr. Moore, under no circumstance are you giving that speech.” I told him not to worry and that I had it memorized.

Fortunately, on the day of the speeches, Mr. Dobbins was called away and my window of comedic opportunity opened. My biggest laugh came when I promised if I was elected I would have a third locker room built for people who did not know what their sex was. It was cutting edge sophomoric humor that 40 years later would become an actual issue on a national level.

In case you are interested, I finished in sixth place among the five of us running for office.

We all support free speech until we hear or read what we find offensive, disgusting, or insensitive. Our nation used to be much smarter than it is today only because we lacked access to all the world’s information. Hate, ignorance, and mockery existed just as it does today, but for the most part, we were more civil toward one another. If you did not like a comedian, you changed the channel instead of setting out to cancel him. Today, we can’t just disagree, we have to clap back and whatever other terms people use to make personal attacks on those they do not agree with.

So what’s the solution to TikTok? Based on the crap I have read on Facebook and the quotes often used by the media that come from X, banning TikTok won’t solve any of our problems. If our leaders are really concerned about the spread of misinformation, they would not only ban all social media platforms, they would sew their mouths shut and allow the media to return to just reporting facts.

Misinformation is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around as long as advertising has existed. American companies have no problem misleading us into thinking we need to buy a product, look a certain way, or attain a certain level of status. I’ve written before about how our school system makes us believe college is the only path to a successful life. Dating apps are filled with lies. The more information we have access to, the more misinformation comes with it.

The problem, as I see it, lies with the internet in general. It has become nothing more than a form of entertainment designed to advertise and promote a way of life being shoved into our craniums by powerful groups interested in controlling our voting, spending, and thinking in general. Maybe the solution is to rid it from the general public and for us to return to landlines.

Laverne and Shirley are both in heat and across the street is a rather large male pitbull that has not been fixed. He will have to breach three fences before he has access to either one.

Oh boy. Yipee. I am overflowing with a case of March Madness. Mine has nothing to do with a basketball tournament and everything to do with having more days to work in the yard and fewer days of rain.

I saw a headline today where Oprah intends to have a special about her weight loss journey and the problems we have as a society with excess weight and obesity. Apparently her new thing is a weight loss drug she takes. I don’t know and really don’t care. I personally think she has done more harm than good pushing fads than anyone else when it comes to weight loss. If anything, she should be the poster person for yoyo dieting and not for healthy living.

The sad thing is we would not have the issue we have with food and weight today if the food industry were not allowed to create fake food. Yes, I used the word fake. The crap they create in laboratories to make consumers become addicted to fast food, junk food, and even most fine dining is just as harmful as the dealer on the street who gets your kid hooked on drugs.

You can add big pharma to the issue. If they can tout a drug for weight loss and have it shoved down the throat of fat people without letting us know its dangers, they will do it and profit. They have no problem paying off lawsuits because that is just the price of business.

Apparently, obesity is now listed as a disease and is not something we can control without the help of pharmaceuticals and doctors. Portion control, food choice, and movement are not under our control according to doctors and researchers. Our culture refuses to learn from those who live the longest and have the fewest amount of self-inflicted diseases like many cancers, heart disease, and obesity.

Our problem with weight is we trust the wrong people. Our parents are too busy to feed us properly or to teach us portion control while we refuse to consider the lifestyles of healthier cultures. We prefer a quick fix like a pill, lap band, or liposuction over a change of lifestyle. It’s why the diet and weight loss industry is a sham.

The other day at Winco, I picked up what was listed as a healthy frozen meal to see its ingredients and read the sodium content of the single serving meal. It contained 84% of the recommended daily sodium for individuals. Others were loaded with high amounts of fat, sugars, and names of things you can’t pronounce. The average consumer reads the word healthy and believes it to be. They have no idea the wool has been pulled over their eyes.

For the life of me, I do not understand why the media still relies on national polls for presidential races. They only provide a snapshot of the outcome of the popular vote. If we have learned anything since 2000 it is that the national vote doesn’t matter when we elect a president. Polling should reflect the electoral vote and rely on a state by state predicted outcome. This election, like all others this century, will come down to six or seven swing states. Those are the numbers candidates follow and they should be what we follow.

Now that spring has arrived in Chico, I can’t shut off my brain at night. I have so many ideas for projects bouncing around inside my head that sleep has been in spurts. This morning, I am awake at 3:30 even though Lowe’s won’t open for a few more hours. I was up so early that Laverne and Shirley thought I was nuts.

If you are a fan of the 49ers, you are glad to see Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams retire. The man was a menace to opponents and regularly drew double and triple team blocks. It’s been a long time since such a dominant player played on the defensive side of the ball.

L.A. Rams DE Aaron Donald has retired (Claudia Gestro)

Give me Donald and Reggie White on the defensive line, Ray Lewis and LT as linebackers, and Deion Sanders and Ronnie Lott as defensive backs and it won’t matter who the other five guys are on defense.

Somehow I had it in my head that I would be paying through the nose on my tax return this year. I’ve never been so wrong about anything, well, most anything. I was certain I would even be paying a penalty for failing to send the IRS a quarterly payment.

Why is it the IRS expects us to make quarterly payments if we have a high tax bill? Isn’t it supposed to be my money until April 15th? What’s the point in selecting our deductions if we get penalized for not taking out enough? They don’t pay us extra when we claim too many dependents.

I guess it is a big deal that Kate Middleton, or someone who she employs, photoshopped a picture of her with her kids. Why would any media company make a big deal of this when they profit off of stars who augment themselves in endless ways? Why would a commoner feel slighted when they use filters for their selfies?  And why am I even mentioning it? When does baseball begin? (The day after I wrote this thought, she announced she was treated for cancer)

Since I do not own a TV, I tend to watch video clips of interviews on my laptop. I am continually amazed how Joe Rogan can conduct an intelligent interview one day and the next come across as a mouth breathing idiot touting a conspiracy theory. I know he is not a journalist so he has no obligation to check facts nearly as much as be engaging, but does he ever go back and look at himself and think he came off as a clown?

Rogan is a better interviewer than he is a comedian. However, he is best at covering MMA fights.

 Mathtime for MAGA’s. If your orange colored savior is worth billions as he claims, why can’t he pay off a fine of $464 million dollars? Why can’t he secure a loan with all his assets?

Mathematics for the Left: It wasn’t that long ago that Californians wondered why potholes couldn’t be filled when there was close to $100 billion dollars in surplus. In less than two years, our leaders, a Democrat supermajority, have managed to turn it into a $38 billion dollar deficit. If they can’t blame the right, do they: A) take full ownership of the problem; B) show us they are best qualified to solve it; C) blame Mother Nature and our drought, fires, and winter storms; D) raise taxes for the already dwindling middle class?

One thing both the left and right have in common is they have no regard for how and where they spend our tax dollars. It’s not their money and they are never held accountable for failing to spend it wisely. Raising taxes or gutting needed programs are their solutions while pet projects go untouched. They see the average citizen as someone who works for them and not the other way around and we keep re-electing the same morons who add two and two and come up with 100 as their answer. A middle school math class could do a better job of allocating money than any state government or the feds.

Say it ain’t Sho. How does your best friend and personal interpreter for ten years run up millions in gambling debts and “steal” from you without you knowing about it? Shohei Ohtani is looking less like a victim and more like someone who had his hands involved in gambling. Major League Baseball has a massive problem on its hands and how they handle this is going to show whether they apply their rules equally to all its players or have a separate set for the game’s biggest star.

The limits of our freedoms are all too often based on how much is in our wallets. It is why Trump still walks the streets and hurls verbal threats at people while his January 6th minions sit in jail cells. Life reels you in and spits you out much faster when you are an average person than when you represent a movement. If you are poor and/or of color, you have no chance. It doesn’t matter if it is a political, sports, or musical movement, your wealth buys you time in the court of law that it does not offer the rest of us. Don’t think for one second you enjoy the same degree of free speech, or any other freedom, that the top rung of the ladder enjoys. Remember, they stepped on all of us to get to where they are.

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