Impressions of Gab

I was an early adopter of Gab.ai and have been on it for about eight months now. Twitter’s Orwellian SJW policies prompted me to leave their platform. I left happily never to return and toyed with my own microblog (on WordPress) as a means to keep track of articles etc. that interested me. Somewhere along the way, I read something about a platform truly dedicated to free speech (with expected exceptions about threats, illegal activities, and fraudulently impersonating another). I took the leap and gave it a whirl.

The Good

Gab.ai really does adhere to full free speech. No opinion is censored. Rather than the staff flunkies (ala Twitter) dictating what you can or cannot say or view, you are entirely in control of that (you can mute/filter users, subjects, hashes, keywords).

Discussion is very open and allows as much engagement as you want. I have also appreciated the larger character count (300). That allows users to put a few more specific thoughts and tends to allow posting of full URLs (rather than the shortened ones) so you know what you’re clicking on.

The platform is clean, easy to read and interact with others. It is continually improving and becoming more user friendly. Developers are very responsive to user suggestions as well.

I’ve had much more engagement on Gab than I ever did on Twitter. Overall, I’ve enjoyed my time there despite not agreeing with many other users (more on that below).

Room For Improvement

I’m not going to go into any technical bugs/dislikes as the platform is still in beta and changing rapidly enough that whatever gripe I put up now will soon be moot or outdated. Rather, I’m going to address potential threats to the success of Gab.

Ironically, the adherence to free speech may be, for now, Gab’s greatest obstacle to overcome. The dominant user group is ‘alt-right’. There is also a contingent of vocal racists (note: some are ‘false flag racists’ who want to discredit Gab) as well as a contingent of Russia-apologists and/or propagandists. Frankly, that is expected as several of those folks are those who’ve been chased off/banned on other sites so, of course, they’ve gravitated where they won’t get kicked off. Thus, a greater than normal user proportion of them are on Gab.

Meh, their presence doesn’t really bother me – Gab allows people to be fully open about who they are so you don’t have to guess (they don’t need to put on a fake veneer to avoid getting booted). As a result, you know who your are talking to, who to avoid and filter out, and who to engage with. Clarity is a good thing and I see that as an potential opportunity to change minds and outlooks (even if it is a long shot).

During my time on Gab I’ve noted other viewpoints joining and slowly beginning to balance the other groups out. However, this influx seems to have plateaued a bit and needs to continue for Gab t have longterm sustainability instead of only being able to draw a niche audience. Plenty of Gab users have noted this and the developers are certainly aware.

Basically, the aforementioned groups can ‘poison the watering hole’ for new users who don’t understand Gab’s mission nor make the connection as to why there currently is a larger than normal proportion of these groups on the site. It’s easy to see the problem but solving it may be a tough nut to crack (I wish I had a suggestion here). If developers can find a solution and entice greater numbers of users, we’ll see the proportion of the above groups dwindle to typical levels.

End Notes

That briefly sums up my current impression. If free speech appeals to you and nanny organizations controlling content you view/post does not, click here and request an invite. I’ve got plenty right now but give me a couple of days to get it to you as I admittedly stink at checking my inbox.

Final note: I am biased in that I am not a big fan of social media and limit my time on it. I like topic related discussions but even those are best done in person. Real relationships are personal, not digital. I understand that social media may be waning (another possible problem for Gab). That’s a good thing. Hopefully, we all will put priorities where they belong, set aside the gadgets and take the time to actually talk and interact in person family (and friends). There is simply no substitute for such.

UPDATE: Here’s another perspective from a Gab user: Why You Should Join and Use Gab.

Time For Utah To Declare Entitlement Addiction A Public Health Crisis?

I recently stumbled across this article by Dennis Prager:

Entitlements: The Most Dangerous Addiction

There is one addiction, however, that might be more difficult than any other to escape – in part because it is not even regarded as an addiction. It is Entitlements Addiction, an addiction to getting something for nothing.

One indication as to the power of Entitlements Addiction is that, while great numbers of people have voluntarily given up – almost always at great pain – drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., few give up an addiction to entitlements. For the majority of able-bodied people who get cash payments, food stamps, subsidized housing, free or subsidized health insurance, and other welfare benefits, the thought of giving up any one of those and beginning to pay for them with their own earned money is as hard as giving up alcohol is to an alcoholic.

Politicians know this, which is why it is close to impossible to ever reduce entitlements. And, of course, the Left knows this, which is why the Left almost always wins any debate over entitlements. Every American who is the beneficiary of an entitlement backs entitlements, and many who are not beneficiaries of entitlements would like to be.

Read the whole thing.

Anyway, the article got me thinking: Last year, Utah State Senator Todd Weiler passed a bill declaring pornography a public health crisis which was subsequently signed by Governor Herbert. This year, Herbert signed Weiler’s bill passed by the legislature allowing you to sue porn makers if a minor has been injured.

Any chance a Utah Legislature and the Governor would support a bill identifying entitlement addiction as a public health crisis or is that an approved addiction so long as the GOP/Democrats are acting as a dealer?…

No More Entitlement And Fiscal Irresponsibility, No To RyanCare

Unacceptable.

RYANCARE: 5 Serious Problems With The Republican Replacement For Obamacare

1. It Retains Requirements That Insurance Cover People With Pre-Existing Conditions.
…nonsensical notion that government could force insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions. This turns insurance companies into piggy banks rather than insurance companies…

2. It Creates A Back Door Mandate.
…allow insurance companies to charge an elevated 30% fine for those whose insurance lapses…

3. It Creates Individual Healthcare Subsidies.
[Tax credit is just another name for subsidy]

4. It Subsidizes Medicaid
…allow the feds to cover Obamacare Medicaid expansion…

5. It Subsidizes High-Risk Pools On The State Level.
…sends $100 billion to states over the next ten years…This, of course, won’t be nearly enough…

This bill would just, maybe, delay Obamacare’s implosion but it too will financially implode on our backs.

As an added bonus it also appears to give benefits to illegal immigrants. Further, the “phase” thing is a dead end road. As I understand it, the first bill can pass under reconciliation whereas any others can (and will) be blocked by Democrats. So much for a repeal.

No mention of buying insurance across state lines (and hopeful breaking the employer-insurance link to shift things to something like the auto insurance system we have). No, that’ll be in the ‘next phase’…to nowhere.

Mike Lee and Rand Paul, among others (like Tom Cotton), are on the right track:
Lee Statement on American Health Care Act

As one Gab user stated:

2009: Barry does O’Care.
2010: R’s promise to repeal O’Care if they get House; R’s get House
2011: nothing
2014: R’s promise to repeal O’Care if they get the Senate; they get the Senate
2015: nothing
2016: R’s promise to repeal O’Care if they get the presidency; they get presidency
2017: RINOcare™

 

Utah’s Sanctuary Link To An Illegal Immigrant Cop Killer

During President Trump’s address to Congress, he had the widows of Officers Michael Davis and Danny Oliver in attendance. An illegal immigrant, Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte (aka Marcelo Marquez), had murdered them.

Looking up the case, one finds a Utah link of neglected opportunities in CBS Sacremento’s article “How Did Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte Hide In United States Illegally Until Deputy Killings?” Apparently, Mr. Bracamonte was a return client to law enforcement and the revolving border door:

Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte had a lot to hide. He was living in the United States illegally, had been convicted in Arizona for selling drugs and twice deported to Mexico.

Eventually, he and his wife moved from Arizona and settled in West Valley City. However, he still had brushes with the law:

A search of Utah court records for Marcelo Marquez shows a history of about 10 tickets and misdemeanor traffic offenses between 2003 and 2009, which typically don’t trigger a fingerprint check against immigration records. The records list one speeding ticket in 2009 and three small claims filings attempting to collect outstanding debts.

One of the traffic offenses was more than a minor parking ticket, it was a hit-and-run:

Police in West Valley City, Utah, said they took a fingerprint from a man using the name Marcelo Marquez during a misdemeanor hit-and-run arrest in 2003.

However, Utah authorities say fingerprints from such suspects are not regularly entered into a database that would flag other arrests in the US or deportations.

Fortunately, Utah is an accommodating State for illegal immigrants. Salt Lake City Police Chiefs consistently and explicitly state that they refuse to enforce immigration law. Meanwhile, the LDS Church monetarily assists illegal immigrants (via fast offerings), pushes “compacts” intended to lead to amnesty, and lobbies the state legislature to pass clearly unconstitutional legislation (among it’s myriad of flaws).

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce (via Senator Curt Bramble “Bramnesty”), in an apparent lust for cheap labor, heads up efforts at the Utah legislature as well for the aforementioned legislation and fights tooth-and-nail to block legislation that would address enforcement or even identity theft prevention measures like E-Verify (illegal immigrants frequently engage in employment-related ID theft, leaving victims in their wake).

This welcoming sanctuary coupled with flouting established law has consequences. In this case, enforcement officers bore those consequences:

Two deputies who approached the pickup while it was parked alongside a road were shot with an AR-15-type assault weapon, police said. Homicide Detective Michael David Davis Jr., 42, died at a hospital.

Despite being illegally in the United States and a convicted felon, Bracomonte, aka Marquez, had illegally obtained a firearm  and, despite multiple police stops while he was using his Driving Privilege Card which clearly identified him as someone who could not provide proof of legal presence in the United States,  no law enforcement officer saw fit to check with or hold him for immigration authorities nor even run his fingerprints. After all, they were just following the policy established by their police chiefs and elected officials. However, had just one officer checked his immigration status or entered his fingerprints in the above database, he could have been incarcerated for illegal re-entry and two lives would have been saved.

It’s no wonder the Mexican Consulate plans on aiding illegal immigrants in Utah with legal assistance to fight deportation. If you were Mexico, would you want someone like Mr. Bracamonte/Marquez to ‘come home’? No, especially when you have a state and with leaders so willing to enable his presence and turn a politically-correct blind eye to his crimes and the victims left behind.

Bountiful Halts City Hall Project For Now, Looks To Keep Plaza Boondoggle

Some good news. The Bountiful City Council has pulled back and stopped the new city hall project and will shortly cancel the contracts for it. From the Better Bountiful group that opposed the project:

The Better Bountiful Committee and its many supporters welcome the Bountiful City Council’s decision to cancel their plans to build a new city hall.  The City Council and Mayor have heard the voices of the people and will now invest funds to properly maintain our current City Hall rather than abandon it.  That is a decision we welcome.   We particularly appreciate those City leaders who took the time to listen and discuss the matter with us.

All major plans involving taxpayers’ money are always best accomplished when citizens are allowed a voice at the ballot box. We assume the City Council will apply that principle to the proposed Downtown City Plaza, major infrastructure improvements, and all other similar plans going forward.

The city council also sent out a release citing the reason for the cancellation was to “promote community harmony over the new building.” Hopefully that’s the case but I doubt the motives are so pure. As Fox 13 notes: “The lawsuit was the tipping point for the city.” The city council also held a special (previously unscheduled) closed session meeting to discus “pending litigation” on February 21 (6 days before the release).

The city council plans on continuing with the next pet project (the plaza) and certainly doesn’t appear to embrace Better Bountiful’s request that residents be able to vote on it: “The Downtown Plaza will also remain a priority, and will require a new contract to complete.” They continue to justify this by saying it’ll ‘revitalize Main Street’. People aren’t going to go shop there because of a cute plaza or gleaming city hall and Main St. isn’t in disrepair (it’s a pretty, quaint area). Besides locals, Main St. is a hassle to get to and doesn’t have any store(s) to draw significant traffic to the area. It will remain a local shopping area unless something drastic happens (think huge project redeveloping a massive area and road infrastructure). The constant pet projects gambits justified by saying “revitalize Main St.” are tiring.

I’ve said it many times. Politicians don’t give up on pet project easily. They won’t hear either. I’m glad the new city hall was stopped but one to point one last thing out: Milton Friedman continues to be proven right, these unnecessary pet projects rarely fail despite opposition. As Better Bountiful notes:

This outcome is a reflection of many hundreds of hours of hard work, many thousands of dollars, and some of the best community teamwork…

Read the above linked post and you’ll understand why that quote proves Friedman right despite this being one of the rare successes by “diffused interests”. If you don’t see the connection, drop a comment or use the contact page.

In the meantime, enjoy the success. Ultimately, the only way to have a lasting success is to elect local/state/national representatives who respect limiting government to core functions.

Unknowingly Register To Vote And Let Utah Sell Your Personal Information

State Representative Handy (also backed by Senator Adams) has a bill (HB159) that will automatically register anyone to vote who gets a driver’s license. The only way to avoid this is to opt-out (that is, the state demands you register or catch the fine print and be inconvenienced to opt-out of such).

To begin with, I think it is everyone’s duty to cast an informed vote. However, voting (and registering thereto) is a deeply personal choice and is something that should not be forced on others nor set up in a manner where you may unknowingly register to vote simply by filling out a mundane form. Right off the bat, the bill fails muster with this alone.

In Utah, however, registering to vote also means that the State will turn your information into a money making scheme by selling it to anyone willing to pay the Lieutenant Governor’s office. I’ve been tracking this for years. The only way to avoid this is to qualify and make your record “private” (contact your County Clerk for details on qualifications). This defacto public release results in a threat for unknowing voters who have security concerns (eg domestic abuse survivors etc) along with scam targets (the elderly via the list containing birth dates).

While some progress has been made to restrict list distribution, it remains up for sale. State Representative Becky Edwards is trying to further restrict information that is released but faces another uphill battle against political crony interests, both major political parties, and lobbyists* who believe they’re entitled to data mine your information, without your consent. All because you wish to fulfill a civic duty.

Certainly, the list should be made available for voter/vote result vetting by the media and concerned groups. However, we’re not even close to that. It’s still effectively available for anyone’s use as they please. It needs to stop.

Please contact your Representative/Senator and ask them to end this practice. Ask them to support HB348.

Addendum: Speaking of security concerns, Republican voters in general may have this. Just think if the black block folks buy or are provided a copy of the list. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such upstanding young people intimidate protest at your front porch…

*Inexplicably, the libertarian-leaning Libertas Institute, whom I often find common ground with, is also opposed to this. They too feel entitled to government forcing you to cough up your personal information for their organization & lobbyists to use as they please. Not sure who that possibly melds with respect of individual rights/freedoms…
UPDATE: See comments section for Libertas statement. Thanks to Mr. Melendez for adding their perspective.

Utah’s Fake News And Single Sided Compassion: Park City ICE Action

Here’s a case study of local Utah media ginning up emotion by spinning a mundane report and presenting only one side to suit their bias/narrative.

A few days ago, Utah news outlets ran with a report that Park City Latinos were ‘panicking’ and in ‘fear’ after being targeted by ICE. Here are a few examples: ABC4, Fox13, SLTrib, etc.

The news was spun for some emotional pap and glossed over the following:

  1. Only those who committed crimes (besides entering illegally) were arrested: “According to Park City police the arrests were part of a normal operation by ICE agents and only those with criminal records were taken into custody.”
    “He said his son and nephew were taken but he was left behind despite being in the U.S. illegally.” (ABC4)
    Additionally, the SL Trib states that some of them had re-entered (ie been previously deported).
  2. The operation was a normal operation – it was under Obama’s guidance as Trump is just issuing new guidance (just today) and has thus not yet been implemented. Yet the media would prefer you believe all this angst is due to some Trump policy. It’s BS just to try to demonize Trump or any enforcement, for that matter (under Obama, it ok but the same thing under Trump is of the devil…).
  3. Given they have a criminal background (felonies), it seems the media and the virtue signalling organizations, couldn’t give a rip about the possible victims these guys have left in their wake. Nope, it’s all about families being separated.
    Here’s the thing: plenty of citizens and legal immigrants commit crime and are separated from their families understandably, no one cares about them no should they (“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”). There we care about victims. BUT if an illegal immigrant flouts our law at the border/visa entry point and commits additional crime…well, that’s different! No, it is not!
  4. Speaking of Trump policy: Here’s a gem from today. Apparently, he’s cool w/ DREAMers committing ID theft and not having to inform the victim thereof. Nope, they get the same free pass Obama gave them. So no, they sure don’t have much to be ‘fearful’ of.
  5. The media continues to intentionally conflate illegal immigrant with “immigrant”. The two are very different things.
  6. Lastly, why is this stuff only focused on Hispanics? They are aware that plenty of illegal immigrants who are (hopefully) deported aren’t Hispanics, right? Sure they know – but that doesn’t fit the ‘racism’ narrative they’ve been pushing all these years (especially now that Trump is in office).

This crap has been going on for years and will only increase if allowed. Certainly, the media and illegal immigration proponents/enablers will continue the one-sided compassion and attempt to ‘wag the dog’ for the foreseeable future. I hope the dog is now alert enough to this crap and will bite the fake news media’s hand.