The 1st Amendment limits the government, you idiots

With Twitter banning Donald Trump and Parler being limited and people losing their jobs over their participation in an armed rebellion against the United States, some idiots on the right are screaming that their 1st Amendment rights are being violated … which just goes to show once again that these people who claim to be patriots don’t understand the most basic things about the country they pretend to love.

Here’s an excerpt from my book HOW TO ARGUE THE CONSTITUTION WITH A CONSERVATIVE that explains it all:

The 1st Amendment says that the government cannot limit your rights. The government.

Every day there’s another article about someone whining that their 1st Amendment rights were violated because they lost their job or got kicked off Facebook or got criticized for something they said. All that does is demonstrate to the world that you have no idea what the 1st Amendment is.

One recent case involved a bank teller who was fired for saying “Have a blessed day” to her customers. She also criticized patrons for “taking the Lord’s name in vain” and talked to people about “salvation.” She was told by her boss to stop that, but she didn’t, because Jeebus demands her to do so or something. And she was fired.

An employer has the right to tell their employees not to discuss religion, or politics, or anything of the sort with the customers, in the same way they can tell you to not wear boxing shorts and tank tops to work.

There’s a place for everything, and that is not the place. It’s a business decision.

If the business fired her simply for being a Christian, she would have a wonderful case, because her rights were clearly being violated. For that matter, if the bank fired her for saying any of those things on her own time when she wasn’t working, then I would happily take her case and fight against such a clear violation. But reasonable work rules such as “Don’t piss off our customers” don’t get that kind of protection. (We’ll talk more about this kind of thing when we discuss Freedom of Religion next chapter, especially when dealing with idiots who think that they have the right to discriminate because their god tells them to.)

A few years ago, “actor” Rob Schneider was fired from a nice job doing insurance company commercials when they discovered that he had been arguing against vaccinations. Insurance companies like vaccinations—they save lives and save insurance companies lots of money. But Schneider—who gets typecast as an idiot in movies for a reason—screamed that his constitutional rights were being violated.

Look, Rob, you have every right to say whatever the hell you want to about vaccines. You can spout nonsense about the world being flat if you want to. No one has the right to stop you from doing that. You can continue to spout this idiocy forever if you so choose, because the 1st Amendment guarantees your rights there.

What you don’t have is the right to a job or a platform for your speech. A newspaper doesn’t have to print your opinion. A TV network can cancel your show if you are saying things that they disagree with (especially if it hurts their ratings). A public school can fire you as a science teacher if you’re trying to teach your students creationism. An internet discussion group can kick you out based on what you say. Facebook and Twitter can decide you’ve violated their terms of service. Your freedom of speech is not violated in any of those incidents. You can continue to say whatever you want, just not with an audience provided by someone else. Because the 1st Amendment prohibits the government from taking away those rights. The government. I’ll say it again. The government.


Proud Boy

One party rule

“Don’t you think it’s better when the government isn’t in control of one party?”

With the Democrats ready to take back the Senate (as I write this), that question comes up.

My answer? Normally, yes.

But that concept labors under the assumption that the parties will then work together and compromise. As long as one of the parties refuses to do that — refuses to even let bills come to the floor to be debated — then no, all that does is make government inefficient, useless, and nonresponsive to the electorate.

Give me a reasonable Republican party and maybe I’d agree.

Trump: Murder is no big deal!

Chris Britt

The government is giving us $600!

A friend on Facebook recently posted “What’s everyone so upset about? The $600 check the government is giving us is better than zero, isn’t it?”

First thing you have to do is look at it this way: It’s our money. All the money the government has is ours. We can spend it on helping people when they need it most, or we can waste it on more giveaways to rich people and corporations who don’t need it, or to build a wall that does nothing to prevent illegal immigrants from coming here. (Those two things are in the bill, by the way. I am not making this up.)

Stop looking at this payment as a gift. It belongs to us. The government is us, not them. The money is ours.

Second thing is to realize how little this is and how this will make hardly a difference to people who are about to be evicted from their homes. We’re in a national tragedy right now, and the way to solve it (as other countries have proven) is to pay people enough so they can stay at home for a few months and not have to work. The virus only travels from person to person, and if you stay away from everyone else, it will eventually die.

This is not theoretical. Countries like New Zealand, that did this exact thing, is now open again. They’re even having public sporting events. Americans, however, have proven to be selfish (especially when the country’s leader is the most selfish man ever) and that’s why we’re worse off now than we were a year ago when we started quarantining and addressing this issue.

$600 is nothing. That won’t be enough to allow people to stay at home for months. This is a “Let them eat cake” amount.

Keep in mind that the Democrats proposed $2000 a month back in May. They’re still trying to increase that $600 to $2000, but even then it’s just a one-time payment. Republicans have lied and have claimed that it was the Democrats who passed the $600, but there is literally a Democratic bill on the floor today to increase that, and it’s up to the Republicans to do it (which they won’t).

Heard Immunity

Adam Zyglis

The Beatles “Get Back” film looks great!

There were over 50 hours of film recorded during the making of the “Let it Be” album, and the film LET IT BE tended to pick the parts that showed the band arguing instead of having fun with their music. Paul has repeatedly said that the film did not properly represent the group dynamics at the time, and, as someone who has been in a bunch of bands, let me tell you that there are always arguments. That’s just part of the process.

It doesn’t mean we don’t like our fellow band members or that we’re about to break up. I mean, I sometimes argue with my wife and I love her — of course I’m going to argue with my fellow band members.

They weren’t about to break up at that time. After all, after this was done, they worked together to create what I consider to be their greatest (and last) album ABBEY ROAD. Even then, there are recordings from that session where they were discussing what would be their next album after that!

So anyway, Peter Jackson is now recutting a new film from the old footage and he is making sure to show the fun part of making music as well as the arguments that go into arranging a song and deciding who plays what when and so on.

I’m enthusiastically looking forward to this, because as much as I am a Beatles fan, LET IT BE has never been the kind of film I want to watch over and over again. Maybe this one will be.

The Barr Legacy

8th Annual War on Christmas Contest

Merry War on Christmas, everybody!

Anger drives ratings, as Fox News is well aware. And that’s why they created the War on Christmas. Those poor Christians, being attacked and persecuted and treated terribly — how awful it must be to be a discriminated against majority. All those laws requiring people to never say “Merry Christmas” …  oh wait.

cartoon by Rob Tornoe

Every example Fox News gives for a “War on Christmas” always boils down to something like “They won’t let us force kids to sing our religious songs!” or “They say ‘Happy Holidays’ which acknowledges that not everyone is a Christian and therefore they are attacking us!” or “They are refusing to allow us to use their money (taxpayer dollars) for a religious display.”

So for eight years now, I have challenged anyone to give me an example of a real “attack on Christmas,” because every one of these examples is, in reality, fought in defense. You wouldn’t even hear about them if these particular Christians weren’t trying to require everyone to obey their beliefs.

Acknowledging other beliefs by saying “Happy holidays” does not diminish the belief in Christmas one bit. Those who complain are just mad that you aren’t treating them special. That’s hardly a war — it’s the temper tantrum spoiled kids get when you give attention to someone else.

Or else they’ll point out one misguided grinch who complains about a decoration or something as if that was evidence of a vast, coordinated attack. Last year, they trotted out an elementary school principal who, in an effort to avoid controversy, banned even secular representations of Christmas such as Santa Claus and Christmas trees. She changed her position once people complained, but that was hardly a “war on Christmas” as much as it was someone who understood that religion does not belong in a public school but mistakenly went too far.

And this in no way prevented any family from celebrating their religion in any way they wanted to on their own.

So there’s my yearly challenge: find me one example of anyone trying to prevent people from celebrating a religious Christmas. Just one.

I have a feeling I know what the result will once again be.

EDITED TO CLARIFY: I’m talking about the US only; clearly there is a war against various religions in other countries

(And yes, of course, just to clarify: #notallChristians)

Definition of insanity