Scary times folks. While I don't like falling down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, I do keep an ear out when I can. At the least the ideas are entertaining, but sometimes they're also a good indicator of possible directions things might take.
Before going any further, I must admit, for the first time in my media career, that I left the intelligence community under the Obama administration because, as I saw it, the administration was using the intelligence community, including the military arm of that community which I was a member, in ways that violated not just the spirit of our nation, but also the basic structure, concept, and some federal laws. With that off my chest let's take a look at something that just caught my eye.
What is a "Violent Militia Extremist"? According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:
"Those who take overt steps to violently resist or facilitate the overthrow of the US Government in support of their belief that the US Government is purposely exceeding its Constitutional authority and is trying to establish a totalitarian regime; oppose many federal and state laws and regulations, particularly those related to firearms ownership."
While I doubt many of us have any interest in facilitating violence of any kind, the wording of this definition causes some concern. Apparently, simply believing the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed qualifies someone to be labeled as a violent militia extremist. We've seen this level of judgement before. Not long ago Facebook had been categorizing users not just for ad revenue (a wise business practice that I support. If a free platform I use is free because of ad revenue, at least make sure the ads I see are relevant. I don't care about upgrading the plumbing in an RV, I don't own one. I do care about seeing ads for outdoor gear as I do spend time outdoors year round.) Facebook took things too far when they began labeling folks politically based on who they knew and what posts they liked and did not like. By digging through my settings I was able to find that I had been improperly been labeled as an extremist, most likely because I spend a lot of time supporting the First and Second Amendment.
What's extra scary is that this definition is being used to categorize users of several platforms (list below) so that censorship can be applied. Because platforms like YouTube, Facebook, etc. are private businesses they can turn off a voice without the same legal duties to the First Amendment that the government has. That's no big deal unless you've become and effective monopoly. "Big Tech" as they're often referred to has so far escaped having to ensure civil rights on their platforms despite being nearly the sole source of their media type. Until they're deemed a public utility they have the right to act as they wish, or in this case, act as their favorite political party wishes. We've all seen YouTube channels disappear, and many of you must be aware of the "shadow bans' and repression that many social media platforms also enforce. For example, our Facebook community has over 5,500 members, but we're lucky is a post is seen by even 200 of those members. You can forget about being discovered by non-members all together. These are some of the reasons we created this website where we pay to have a page and so are free from many of the restrictions we face or could face on the "free" platforms.
There's a lot to digest here, and I mean only to start the thought process, but do you think you're a "violent militia extremist"? Did you know that the government thinks you are simply for opposing laws and regulations? Though I may have the means and skills to do violence, I am not a violent person. I do not like violence, I have been to two wars (on behalf of American freedom) and conducted, witnessed, and been the target of violence there. I hope to never see that again and yet according to the government my belief in our basic civil rights qualifies me as "violent".
List of participating companies. These companies started this as a way to crackdown on international terrorism. The tools they've created however appear to now be used politically here in the US. The same kind of stuff that I wanted nothing to do with years ago and so left the Intelligence Community.